I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means.– Joan Didion
Yet another year passes without an update for this website. I think May 2006 was the first time I clicked “publish” on a blog. Building a blog and a community around shared interests was new and exciting for this stay-at-home-mom who needed like-minded women in her life.
Perhaps 2019 will be the year I return to blogging about my life.
Jan. 2020 update: nope. Didn’t happen.
Not far outside of Tuscaloosa is the Oakmulgee Division of the Talladega National Forest. I first became acquainted with the forest thanks to geocaching (a game that uses satellites & GPS to hide/find hidden items around the world). There are hundreds of caches hidden in this forest, and Karl and I have spent innumerable hours the last several years driving and hiking through these woods in search of geocaches.
On these hours-long hunts, we have talked through our issues with one another, our various parenting conundrums, and the hopes for our future and our kids’ futures. The forest is a good place for long walks and long talks.
It’s also a good place for viewing nature. In this forest, you will find a variety of hardwoods, pine trees, birds, deer, coyote, rabbit, snakes, and other small animals.
My first hike for 2020 was a short, out-and-back hike in the Oakmulgee along an old forest-service road that is no longer open for vehicles. According to my Garmin tracks, the distance is 2.4 miles. There is ample parking on either end of this trail.
Directions from Tuscaloosa: Take HWY 82 East. Just past mile marker 65, turn right onto the Oakmulgee entrance road (Lake Payne Road). You’ll stay on the main road (forest road 726) until you come to N32° 59.123′ W87° 23.205′, the coordinates for parking area A (on the above map). The trailhead is to the southeast of the pull-off for parking. Just walk along the ridge and enjoy the views until you come to the gate about a mile away. Turn around and walk back to your vehicle. There are not any water sources along this trail, so be sure to bring your water with you.
So, that was my first hike for 2020. Though I was sweating by the end, it wasn’t a very strenuous adventure.
“The problem is no longer getting people to express themselves, but providing little gaps of solitude and silence in which they might eventually find something to say…. What a relief to have nothing to say, the right to say nothing, because only then is there a chance of framing…the thing that might be worth saying.”— Gilles Deleuze
I struggled to recall my favorite moments / memories of 2017. After spending several minutes scrolling through photos and reviewing my calendar, I decided on the highlights from each month. So, without further ado…
January – Hiking at Hurricane Creek park:
February – A driver ran a stop sign right in front of me as I was taking my daughter to school. Though there was not enough distance for me to stop, I was able to slow down so that no one was injured. Our insurance company totaled our trusty minivan, and we had to purchase another vehicle. It was a significant event, but I shouldn’t say it was the highlight.
Wood Badge was the highlight for February and March. Karl and I both had two wonderful weekends making new friends and learning more about the scouting program.
March – Hannah turned 18. My baby grew up.
April – I ran in a 5K and we took a trip to Blue Springs
May – We graduated the first one.
June – Noah enjoyed his first job on staff at summer camp. I snapped this pic as he slept on his way home after the first week.
July – I took my girls to the historic Alabama Theatre to see Steel Magnolias. In this picture you can tell that my nose is still puffy from crying.
August – This month was more eventful. I had my wisdom teeth removed.
I took the girls on a quick get-away to go kayaking on the Hiwasee River. Also, at the end of our float down the river, Abbey and I jumped from the bridge over the river.
September – Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Football season started.
October – I saw my favorite band in concert. DAWES.
Also, I backpacked to Walls of Jericho in a hurricane. The rain started around 10:30pm Saturday night and did not stop. The hike out of the canyon the next morning was windy and wet, to say the least.
November – I met one of my closest friends in Birmingham for a short get-together since she moved away. Margaret Atwood visited Tuscaloosa, and Abbey and I went to hear what she had to say. Bama lost the Iron Bowl. Karl and I went camping together.
December – It snowed. I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with family during the holiday break. I ended the year the way I began it: with a hike. This time I went to the Sipsey Wilderness. And it rained! But I have to learned not to allow the weather to get in the way of a good walk in the woods.
And that’s my 2017.