Expectations are a funny thing. Go into an experience expecting great things, and you’re frequently disappointed. A location sure to yield amazing birds instead gives you Mallards at point-blank range, while the flock of Avocets feeds three football fields away. The stunning 360° views from the highest point east of the Mississippi are completely obscured by thick fog and driving rain.
On the other hand, it’s when you expect nothing that you are often pleasantly surprised. A fussy old mansion turns out to be surrounded by acres of stunning landscapes. The search for a humble lunch spot surprises with an amazing cavern hitherto unheard of.
When my friends and I left for a week in the Catskill Mountains of New York, we took with us our many expectations. Don thought “the Catskills would be touristy with lots of gift shops, restaurants and taverns.” I felt the same, expecting development, hotels and kitsch. Robb thought “the Catskills were going to be like the Adirondacks, very mountainous and ferny.” I, on the other hand, was sure the Catskills would seem like gentle hills, compared to the rugged heights of the Great Smokies and the Adirondacks.
Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday, a day to celebrate the harvest and give thanks for all the blessings in our lives. Family, friends, and home. Good food, like turkey, sweet potatos, stuffing, pumpkin pie…
BUZZ BIXBY: Good Morning and Happy Harvest to you! Welcome to Critter Radio’s broadcast of the 73rd Annual Harvest Festival Pollinator Parade, right here on 99.9 KRTR!
I’m Buzz Bixby…
CECILY SWALLOWTAIL: … and I’m Cecily Swallowtail…
BUZZ BIXBY: …and we’re your hosts for this wonderful panorama of floats, performers, balloons and marching bands, all celebrating pollinating insects and their buggy friends. It’s a beautiful day for a parade… Continue reading →
One of the fun parts about a trip to West Virginia is driving the country roads. Winding, twisty mountain roads through farmland and forests. There are roadside attractions aplenty, from the historic to the quirky. Adventures and misadventures abound. Continue reading →
West Virginia is full of surprises. Take the Canaan Valley for instance. In a land of densely forested mountains, who would expect a bowl-shaped valley that, at 3200’ in elevation, is the highest large valley east of the Rockies? And who would expect that valley to hold such rich and extensive wetlands, with a climate and flora more typical of Maine and Canada? Continue reading →
I have yet to take a trip where I got enough of the place in one visit, where I didn’t immediately want to go back. For many places, like the Smoky Mountains and the Adirondacks, once may have to be enough. Other locales, a little closer to home, can be visited again and again.
Like Blackwater Falls State Park. You may recall the last trip my friends and I took to the Potomac Highlands region three summers ago. Seneca Rocks & Cavern. Lindy Point. Dolly Sods.
The list of things we didn’t see during that trip was even longer: Spruce Knob. Cathedral State Park. Canaan Valley NWR. Bears. More of Dolly Sods. (One can never get enough of Dolly Sods.)
Clearly, a return trip was in order. And so, on Labor Day weekend 2018, we went home to the mountains of the West Virginia. Continue reading →
Dozens of flavors of ice cream, and each one more delicious than the last. How does anyone choose? That’s the way I feel at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan. There are so many great trails. How do I choose?
Too hot on an August day for the wide-open trails through the dunes. Too crowded for the Cottonwood Trail. The Empire Bluffs Trail? My favorite, but I’ve done it before. Maybe something new? Maybe something with a meadow, and cool woods that open onto Lake Michigan. A triple-scoop Sleeping Bear Sundae, as it were. Maybe the Pyramid Point Trail? Continue reading →
Once upon a time, feeling neglected, Lady Autumn wept.
And the Court of the Seasons’ calendar pages turned. It wasn’t long before the Court Photographer awoke to see the calendar had turned to an entirelynew year.Startled to find herself deep in the Winter Queen’s leafless territory, she wondered where the Autumn Lady had gone.
“How can it be that I have missed my Lady’s appearance?” she cried. “Surely it was just yesterday that the Summer Queen and I were hunting for mushrooms. What happened to Autumn?”Continue reading →
Fall smells like grilled cheese sandwiches and chicken noodle soup.
Fall smells like the muffled thunk-thunk-thunk of the liquid-smooth piano keys. Like the tick-tick-tick of the practice timer until it rings freedom and the promise of Outdoors.
Like the soft and cozy fleece inside an Eagles sweatshirt, white with kelly-green sleeves, over brown Toughskins and leather boondockers. Like the refreshing shock of the crisp cool air, the fleeting sting of wind-whipped hair. Continue reading →