Sunday, March 4, 2012

March 4, 2012 - Busy Ozians, The Big Darn Walk: Wheeler Wildlife Refuge

Ack. We've been busy. Most of February was taken up with the Oz production the kids were all in. Not so much time for hiking. The play went well, better than I thought it would at times. And I'll say one really negative thing and then move on: when your kids are rehearsing for a play and you, the adult, the parent, are in the audience with the other adults, the other parents... maybe you should shut up or leave the theater to run your big soccer mom/redneck dad mouth. Talking in your "middle of Cracker Barrel" voice is detrimental to the production. You are not the most important thing happening during rehearsal, the rehearsal is.

And I'm done.

Here are a few pictures I took during dress rehearsal. My little Powershot was really out of its element and not quite up to the task, but I grabbed a few shots that aren't that bad.

Now just this last weekend (I'm typing this on the 7th) Boss Lady and I were looking for a nice long walk to really stretch out on for a few hours. We found our destination on the Wheeler Wildlife Refuge right outside of Decatur, on the shore and floodplain of the Tennessee River.

We started under the north end of the I-65 bridge and headed west and north, looped back around and under the bridge again and walked between the elevated northbound and southbound lanes back to our start. Total trip- a little over nine miles.

Spread across the floodplain is a network of irrigation canals that control the flow of the river water through the nearby fields.

To say we've have a mild winter does not begin to describe the out-of-season warm weather that's settled over our area. Spring flowers have been popping up for a couple of weeks now- most of which the names I don't know. 

I know this one!!!! Spring beauty!!!

I also found a fairly old geocache that was placed in 2002 and hadn't been found since 2010. Sometimes the story of the hide, the cacher that hid it, or the history of the area is more interesting than the actual container you find. This one has come up missing and been replaced over the years and it's probably seen better days. 

The log was soaking wet and mildewed and there was about a quarter cup of water inside. But this wasn't a disappointment because in reading over the web page for the cache I was led down a path of discovery about the person that originally placed the cache here and his unfortunate passing due to leukemia. His caches are for the most part still out in the wild and being maintained by others that have adopted them and keep them going. So while I may have only found a waterlogged note pad inside a drippy plastic container at the hide location I also found a little piece of our local cachers larger story.

Marvin the egg shortly before ingestion.
A few days earlier, the kids had spent the afternoon devising ways to protect an egg from damage in a fall. The "hero" egg was given a face and a name: Marvin. This past Friday, Esther boiled most of our eggs in preparation for a really nasty storm that didn't materialize (thank goodness).We packed up some of the boiled eggs to eat on our hike. There was much speculation over who would be the unlucky soul that would have to eat Marvin, the boiled egg. Chan drew the Marvin.

More of the Oz pictures can be seen here.
The rest of our hike on the riverside is here.
Here's the tracklog of the hike and here's the route along the refuge roads to reach the start of our hike from Mooresville.

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