Monday, October 6, 2008

Beaver Creek Valley State Park October 1st-5th, 2008

Well, folks, we just can’t quit. The beautiful fall weather and our new found freedom have motivated us to continue to push the camping season. We prefer being outside instead of listening to the news.

It actually is quite scary!!!

And, enough of the negative campaigning. Our decisions have already been made.

For this trip, we chose Beaver Creek Valley, which is located in the extreme southeastern corner of the state, near the town of Caledonia.

We had been to this state park with Suzanne and Nick back in our Scamp days. The park is known for its clear streams fed by the "Big Spring."

In fact, we had to drive through one of the streams to get into the campground.

It is not a large park, but is a perfect place to camp, especially for tent campers, who can find great spots right along a “babbling” brook.

Supposedly, there are very few mosquitoes in this area of the state!!!!

We set up our campsite

and had a pork chop and squash dinner.

It was too cold for a campfire, so we made an early night of it to be rested to get out and hike the next day.

When we woke up the next morning, we could see our breath in the camper.
One of us thought it was just right and one of us refused to get out of bed until the thermostat was turned up. Fortunately, we were able to find middle ground so this moment did not occur again!!!

We headed north of the park for a trip to the nearest SNA, Mound Prairie Scientific and Natural Area.

The 126 acre site contains goat prairies separated by oak forests and steep, rocky ravines.

The goat prairies support a highly diverse plant community that includes rare species. Our book stated the spectacular views from this SNA make the upward climb well worthwhile.

Well, the book was right. The hike was worth every upward and difficult downward step. We spent about four hours there and probably walked four miles without one step on the same plane.

Now, a goat prairie receives its name because it is, by definition, a vertical prairie, making it too steep for any creature except for goats to graze.

I had never been on a vertical prairie. Where I come from, the prairie is horizontal.

Extremely horizontal.

I also find great beauty in my kind of prairie. And, it is much easier to hike there, too!!!! However, it was a beautiful fall day up on that hilltop and we had a great time.

When we got back to our campground, we were greeted by our neighbor from across the road
and his dog, Pickles.
He was quite an interesting individual and we enjoyed our initial visit. Little did we know we would get to listen to him quite often as our stay progressed.

That night we grilled chicken.

Again, it was too cold for a fire so we went into the camper and watched the vice presidential debate.
Paul had stowed a little television in the camper and we were surprised we could actually get reception. The two remotely kept our attention. Our books were more inspiring, though.

On Friday, we hiked all the way to the north boundary of the park, along East Beaver Creek.

It was a very flat trail, so it was a nice switch from the previous day. The hike was all along water, so Paul was in his element.

I was able to find some interesting mushroom species, so that held my interest.

There were lots of birds along the creek and we saw two new ones for our list, the Yellow Rumped Warbler and the Louisiana Water Thrush,

a bird found only in that particular region of the state.

The park is known for its abundance of brown trout.

Paul kept finding areas along the creek that were perfect habitat for trout and spotted lots of them along the way. At one pool, he counted about 50 trout!!!! He stood there and just stared at them for at least twenty minutes. And, imagine seeing them right where God intended them to be and not in the trout tank at the state fair. Amazing.

We drove into the town of Caledonia that afternoon and bought a steak for the grill. We were joined for dinner back at our campsite by our “neighbor” Robb and Pickles, who sat right up at the table with us. Robb is one of those people who is not really “on the grid.” He has never really had a job, although he is in his forties.
And, he had so much inside information he willingly shared with us.

We were not able to write everything down. But for the record, when it comes to Inauguration Day and if Hillary Clinton and Wesley Clark are sworn in as President and Vice President despite whomever has won the election, just remember you heard it here. If that does happen, you will want to talk to us, because we also learned quite a bit more about Osama Bin Laden,

who actually is one of the Osmond Brothers.

Robb will be traveling the United States at inauguration time seeking relief from daily stresses at different hot springs throughout the southwest. Their locations remain a secret.

Aren’t people interesting??? We really did get a kick out of him. And, Pickles enjoyed my cooking!!!!

Saturday morning found us up early, headed back to the hiking trail.

The frost was still on the grass as we began our walk, but the sky was clear blue and the sun warmed us up quickly.

We hiked the south half of the park, which brought us up and down the rim of the valley three times.

As you can see from the pictures, it was a beautiful walk.

However by the time we finished the four mile hike, my right knee was barking at me. Too much down hill abuse, I think. I took some Motrin and read while Paul took one last little hike up to a scenic overlook we had missed. There are a little over eight miles of hiking trails in the park, and we covered them all.

That night, we had a spaghetti dinner and had a great campfire to end a great trip.

I have worked hard to get my strength back since my surgery. These trips have helped so much and I am blessed to feel well again.

Paul has been so great and patient to help me along the way. What would I ever do without him?

Next, we will put our bikes on the truck and head north for a park with good bike trails. We’ll be in touch!!!!


Lisa D said...

As usual, another AWESOME post!

The part about your 'neighbor' was hilarious!! What a character! I don't know how you kept a straight face when he was divulging all that info!!

Glad to hear you are feeling back to 100%! You sure have covered the miles!!

qwerkyqook said...

This vacation is far too strange for me to comprehend