Saturday, February 28, 2009

Appalachian Trail Gear Mods and Noxubee Refuge

I made a few changes to my gear that I wanted to post prior to starting my trip on Monday. Instead of going with the jetboil stove I opted to go with a the giga stove and snowpeak mug/pan titanium cookset. I wanted something a little more versatile for cooking different meals and a little lighter weight. I also purchased tree huggers for my hammock and few raynox micro adapter for my FZ28 digital camera.

I wanted to make a trip back to Noxubee Wildlife Refuge to visit the baby eagles prior to my A.T. Hike. I was pleased to see the babies more active than last time and even though the weather and cloud coverage were not cooperating, I got to see one of the parents flying into the nest with a duck and watched it for another 20 minutes while it plucked the feathers. While they did not seem to notice me there, I still did not want to spend anymore time there so headed back to bluff lake where I had seen several herons earlier.

If you are heading over to Noxubee Wildlife Refuge and have the time, one of my favorite trails is the beaver dam trail. Instead of taking the out and back, I continue walking along the levee of Green Timber Reservoir 1 and then walk back up River Road to Bluff Lake. It is not uncommon to see hawks and woodpeckers on the trail and you will usually spot alligators, herons, and waterfowl along this section of Bluff Lake.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Test to send blog by cell phone

This was my first test to send a blog through my cell phone. I have to say I am pretty pleased with the picture from my LG Dare. I am going to have to limit my blogs to 1000 characters this way, unless I find another way.

Tishimingo State Park

I start my A.T. Thru Hike on Monday so I have a few more post until then. I hadn't been to Tishimingo State Park since I moved away after college, but I always remembered rock climbing, rappelling, canoeing, and hiking the trails. Tishimingo State Park is consistently voted one of if not the best State Park in Mississippi, consist of 1530 acres, and was named after a Chickasaw Indian chief. The park is located right on the Natchez Trace Parkway and is an easy trip from Southwest Tennessee or Northwest Alabama and is an easy drive from J.P. Coleman State park on the Tennessee River.

The park features 13 miles of trails, most of which runs either on top of the gorge or down below between the rock outcroppings and Bear Creek. One of the newer additions to the park is a frisbee golf course that has grown in popularity and is now host to several tournaments throughout the year.

The park also features campsites, picnic tables, swimming pool, ball fields, cabins, etc. Rock climbing and rappelling is allowed, but a permit is required. Next time your passing through Northeast Mississippi take half a day and visit one of the better parks in the state.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Noxubee Wildlife Refuge

It had been 12 years since I last visited Noxubee Wildlife Refuge. I spent a considerable amount of time there while I was at Mississippi State University. 12 years later and I remember my way around the Noxubee Wildlife Refuge more than I did my way around Mississippi State University. I guess that should be expected since the refuge served as my study hall many times. The way I figured it, why sit in your apartment and do homework or sit in a library when you can sit on the banks at bluff lake or study at one of several overlooks.

Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge is located in east-central Mississippi about 20 minutes South of Starkville, Mississippi. It contains 48,000-acre of which about 42,500 acres consist of hardwood bottoms and upland woodlands offering prime habitat for deer, turkey, quail, woodpeckers, waterfowl, etc. Several endangered species are located within Noxubee Wildlife Refuge including the Bald Eagle and Red-Cockaded Woodpecker. The Red-Cockaded Woodpecker is a resident bird to Noxubee Wildlife Refuge and receives a considerable amount of attention from the park staff. The Refuge goes to great lengths overseeing the habitat to ensure the bird continues to thrive. Management includes control burns, removing hardwood in pine forest, and installing manmade cavities in select trees that birds to for nesting. (This is a Red-Bellied Woodpecker pictured)

Noxubee Wildlife Refuge consist of two lakes, several ponds, and several creeks and rivers and areas flooded for waterfowl management. The main lake within the Refuge is Bluff Lake and is a great spot for viewing waterfowl. The Refuge has an overlook at the lake where you will more than likely see deer or turkey in addition to waterfowl. It is not uncommon to see alligators along the banks.

While visiting the Noxubee Refugee I was able to photograph two Bald Eagles and with two babies. These eagles have been visiting the park the last couple of years and hopefully will continue to return to the Refugee. If you are visiting, please keep your distance and do not disturb the eagles.

Friday, February 20, 2009

New Beginnings

"There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." - Anais Nin
I couldn't help but notice the early blooms and spent a little time today photographing in the backyard. I just received my Raynox Micro Adapter for my Panasonic FZ 28 and wanted to give it a try. I still have some learning to do, but overall I was pleased with the results.
I am about just over a week away from starting my hike on the Appalachian Trail and can't wait to photograph the wildflowers along the way. I am still planning on taking micro lens for my Canon 30D as well.