Wednesday, May 15, 2013

What was I thinking?!

When the sign says you must be in good physical condition to hike at Clark Creek, it actually translates "Must have completed AT LEAST 3 months of boot camp, sanctioned by the U.S. Army".

What a freaking horrible birthday! I won't bore you with the details of Double D's scary driving getting us there AND him passing by several gas stations because they were .02 cents too high even though we were on Double E. Ha! I just realized Double D was on Double E. Anyway, twenty minutes into the hike, after going up one particularly steep incline, I knew deep in my gut that I had made a terrible mistake planning this hike. Possibly a fatal error. :/

At one point I sank down on the gravel path and cried. Double D kept trying to encourage me that I could do it. I envisioned needing an ambulance, but with no cell service so deep in the woods, I feared death was imminent. Good thing I had obeyed the warning on the web site about bringing bottled water, though one bottle each wasn't really enough.

When I returned home I only had 40 shots on my memory card. We heard birds everywhere, but because the trees are so tall and there were so many of them, the birds could not be seen. This is what I managed to get with my camera when my hands and legs weren't shaking. Don't worry about trying to compliment these photos as I know they are not my best. I hesitated putting my name on them and posting them at all.
As I came up a hill I saw these trees. I thought "How pretty!"
It all feel apart after that.

There are six waterfalls on the established trails. We only saw two.
And those two were so pathetic that I had no desire to find the other four. 

One of the few stairwells. More of these would have been helpful to have
something to hold onto. Imagine negotiating 8 extra pounds of camera gear
on the inclines with no railings or steps. BRUTAL.

Ebony jewelwing damselfly


Any idea what type of lizard this is?
Hilary, thank you so much for selecting Battle of the Birds as a Post of the Week! What a huge honor. Thank you, thank you!! Please visit Hilary's blog to see other POTW winners and Hilary's own amazing photography.

On a separate note, I am on a Facebook sabbatical for an undetermined time. It has not enhanced my life in any way. In fact, I either feel depressed after reading all the challenges that people face, or I feel less than adequate as I compare my life to those who seem to be living large. It's not healthy for me, so I hope those who recently befriended me will not take it personally. It's something I've been struggling with for quite some time. I've been on Facebook since 2007, and I've had to remove myself a couple of times for the same reasons.


38 comments:

TexWisGirl said...

the damselfly shots are very worthy of a post! and thanks for sharing your 'worst birthday ever' story! bless you! made me laugh at your expense, but so glad you survived!

Stephanie said...

Awww... indeed, bless you, Gail! But I do have to say that the damselfly photos are quite delightful. Thanks for sharing, friend!

Hugs to you!

jan@twoscoopz said...

Oh no!
I'm sorry it was such a nasty experience. But I DO think your photos are wonderful, especially that first one. How pretty, indeed.
I say you do a birthday do-over. With wine :)

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Sounds like quite the workout. The first picture is especially pretty,but I can almost feel your aching legs. Ouch!

Linda said...

Oh, poor you! I've been on hikes like that. Usually, there's something to look back on and think "that was worth the effort." But, sometimes, there isn't. On those occasions, all you get is the satisfaction of having done it.

I think your pictures are lovely, as always. Those green trees are spectacular, and the damselfly is just stunning. I'd say that, although difficult, it wasn't such a bad day after all.

Karen said...

I think your shots are great, and have no trouble saying so. The damsel flies are gorgeous as is that first shot and the waterfall. I love the little lizard. As for the steps shot...been there, didn't do it...turned back. Hope you are having a nice recovery day!

Barb Brookbank said...

Sorry about the bad experience!! But the damselfly shot is magical!

Buttons said...

Oh Gail I am so sorry you had such a miserable time I have had experiences like that you remember them years from now and only remember the good parts you shall see. I am older I just know these things:) HUG
Oh the photo front I LOVE them I have no idea what you are talking about the dragon fly ones blow me away. NEVER doubt your skills my dear you have them in abundance.
About Facebook yup I feel the same way:) HUGS HUGS and more HUGS B

Chatty Crone said...

I am soooooo laughing my head off at your post. Happy Birthday and you did survive thank goodness!
Those steps - my grandson has steps at his school that look like that that he has to climb everyday - from his classes to his lunch and gym class.
Well I am glad you are safe and home.
sandie

Amy Burzese said...

I hate that you had a terrible birthday experience. The photos are great. I've been thinking about getting the camera harness that I've seen Betsy use at JOYFUL REFLECTIONS. I'll send you a link.

Gone Country said...

Love those damselfly shots but so sorry your trip wasn't at all what you had hoped.

I, too, find myself wanting a sabbatical from FB. I tire of people posting their political views even LONG after the last election. I tire of foul language. If they weren't family members I'd block or unfriend them. But, I have several friends that live oversees and far away (and now I live far away!) so I always change my mind and stay on it. I also stay on there because of my FB page that alerts people when I have posted a new blog post. So, for now, I try and tolerate all the other garbage that's on there daily!

I don't know what kind of lizard that is but we have lots of them at home. Several times I've had to get them away from Hunter as he likes to play with them, sigh.

HansHB said...

Great post!

LaColline said...

The trees brought me back to days long ago walking in the woods behind Grandma's house in Turkey Creek, La. Thank you for the memory.

So glad you survived ~ I'd miss you!

The Facebook withdrawal is a smart move; I did the same months ago and I've not missed it.

Terri said...

Sorry it was a rotten day- but the photos you posted are fantastic. FB has become a huge bore to me. I can't seem to make up my mind about leaving it though and I don't know why.

Karen said...

Oh Gail you poor thing, Those damselflies are beautiful I have never seen them before, and your shots of them are great I like the top one as well. Don't worry all photographers really only get a few good out of a lot of bad shots. And you got a few good.

Renae at simple sequins said...

Oh Gail, oh Gail. Oh my sweet, so sorry it was so difficult, esp on your birthday. My goodness, I feel for you so.

and regarding FB, oh yes I am the same way. I think it's trend is trending downward fast. I have taken myself off also. I have Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram that fit the bill perfectly. FB is so political now days and in such a mean spirited way, I had to run from the sickness there. I was on since 2009 and now I don't even miss it!

eileeninmd said...

Oh I have been on a few of those hikes! Always glad when they came to an end. I think your photos are pretty. I love the first shot of the trees and the pretty damselfly. Sorry, the waterfall did not have more water. The lizard is cool, sorry I can not help with the id. Wishing you a happy day and week ahead!

Jacquelineand.... said...

Poor Gail, what an awful birthday but you made it! Absolutely love the photos of the damselflies.

Sending you a gentle hug.

Shug said...

So sorry for the stress on your birthday. You did deliver some great photography of some beautiful things. wish I were there to give you a big ol' hug. I certainly do understand that you need a break....I've felt like that Many times. Hopefully, the rest of your week will be much better. Thinking of you and you can always Msg me if you just need to talk. You have supported me many times and I so appreciate it. Hugs to you
Shug

She Who Carries Camera said...

You are SO funny...I think it's because you remind me of ME!! Our lakehouse is surrounded by like 200 waterfalls, but when you read about many of the hikes to get you to them, I think "YIKES!". One time, my better half, convinced me to try one out called "Hidden Falls". Well, after driving into oblivion and seeing beat up pick-up trucks parked along the gravel path we were driving along, we finally came to a dead end in the middle of nowhere. Well, this was supposedly where the path to "Hidden Falls" began. No defined path, but overgrown grasses. I said "We're outta here, now!" I got "the look" but we left! I have other funny stories, as well! If nothing else, at least you got that beautiful damselfly and you SURVIVED!! :-)

She Who Carries Camera said...

And, and as far as FB goes...I enjoy it, but I think the key is not to let other's updates get to you!

Rambling Woods said...

On no... I am so sorry about this..... Glad there were no injuries.... Michelle

hootnonny said...

Well, it will be a memorable birthday! Sorry it wasn't as joyful as you'd hoped. Love the damselflies!

Brian King said...

Sorry to hear the trip didn't work out as planned. It happens to all photographers sooner or later. I've gone out very excited and hopeful only to have something ruin the trip. It just made me determined to make up for it the next time.

The lizard photo is cool! It's almost upside down. The stream bed looks bone dry. The waterfall is more like a trickle. I've found woods to be difficult for photography. It's hard spot subjects like birds and the light is often low.

Congratulations on your post of the week!

Evelyn S. said...

Well...I think the damselfly images are terrific. In fact, I thought they might be little "ornaments"---the shape is fascinating! As for Facebook, I think that's fine... I ignore so much of it but like the connection with some former students (they make up my largest contingent of "friends")and even relatives. It takes a lot of time, though, and there are truly better things to be doing with our time. ;-) Sorry about the bad experience!

ladyfi said...

It does look so pretty! Shame it was too tough a trail for you to enjoy. That damselfly shot is just gorgeous!

Happy Birthday anyway!

Linda R said...

I had to smile when you mention Double D passing the gas station because of it being .2 cents higher. That sounds exactly like my hubby. We have gone miles out of our way to save .2 cents on gas. Even though it cost us more to get there. It does look like a gorgeous place to hike. and I think your photos look great..

Hugs~

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Oh no! Sorry it was such a rough bday. I think you got wonderful pictures though!

I still get paranoid when I forget stuff due to Still Alice. But it was a good read. Glad you enjoyed it!

FB is a big time suck. I check in once a day, for about 5 minutes, and that's it.

Reena Walkling said...

Ugh ... I hear your pain! Love those damselflies but not sure they would compensate me for the hike.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...


Bummer, I'm sorry bout that hike! But wow at least it lets me know you're human (that you don't always find perfect birds and that you struggle with breathing sometimes). Dunno if that helps any to know you're not alone. And of course although you said not to, I do like the damselflies a lot.

I still go to FB mostly to see pictures of my great-grands, but I found a little trick where you can uncheck people from appearing on your news feed.(You don't have to unfriend them, they just don't show up.) That way I just see the little guys pictures (and a few others I left) every time I go, and I don't look at the other people until I feel able to cope with stuff I don't want to face on a daily basis.

Phil said...

Intentionally or not your "hike" gave me a smile or two Gail, if only to admire your keeping a sense of humour during the trauma. It is something I have learnt the hard way too - bird photography in dense woodland hardly ever works. Don't be too hard on Double D though, you can spend all those 2 cents on more camera gear.

Donna said...

I love the picture even you took them on the verge of death. Those damselflies are gorgeous.

Mitzi said...

While the photos are not those glam shots of up close and personal birds and such, I find them to be quite beautiful. Though as you know, I'm a fan of nature, so naturally I would love these. I can understand the FB sabbatical, I would do that myself if it weren't for my children. Sorry the hike wasn't all you had hoped it would be...but good for you for sticking it out. Big hugs...xoxo

EG CameraGirl said...

OH dear! I haven't been on amy difficult hikes this week but I have spent way too many hours looking for birds that just weren't there...or were hiding from me. But it wasn't my birthday so I feel like you definitely had a more frustrating time!

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Well some beautiful photos came out of it :-)

Barbara said...

I can't imagine a hike like that with all the extra photography gear. Yikes! And welcome to my world, hearing the birds but not being able to see a single one through the greenery. I understand about FB. I've learned to limit myself to a certain amount of time a day. But usually blogs have more of an effect on me that you describe for some reason. Whatever causes it, it's good for us to take a break from it all every so often! I'm glad you're still here!

Laura Delegal - Leroy Photography said...

Oh so sorry but you got some fascinating shots. Glad Double Zd did not let you give up. Happy belated birthday.

MICKAN from QUEENS FIELD¸.•°`♥✿⊱╮ said...

Oh, I'm sorry that your birthday didn't feel that good.

But I tell you that I can feel how hard it must been to walk there.
Your pics are great in my eyes:)