Sunday, August 30, 2009

August 2009!

Well, it's mid-November, so that means it's just about time I should be uploading pictures from August, right? So here they are. First up is a picture of the community event held by the church near my house. There was food, there was music (see the band under the tent on the right?), and there were games.

There was also a rock wall for kids. How about that?

Ever seen a tree exploded by lightning? These are some pictures from the first of a few geocaching trips I made in Greenbrier State Park.

This tree kind of wrecked its immediate surroundings. It was pretty tall.

A side view of the tree.

A close-up of the burned core of the tree trunk.

Here's the other side, equally charred.

This is why it is a bad idea to stand near a tall tree in a thunderstorm. The lightning strike blew burned, splintered shrapnel like this all over the place.

I think this was just another tree the exploded tree took out.

This is a picture of the top of the tree trunk.

And this is a picture of the bottom of the tree trunk. See how it goes all the way down? The roots are probably burned up, too.

This is a picture of the clearing that the falling tree both left and made. Maybe I'll visit the site again in the spring and see what grows up there.

I spent most of the weekends in the last half of August hiking around Greenbrier to find geocaches. This bolt was in the post of the sign that is at one of the park entrances.

Oh, but that was not just any bolt! It was a geocache container, big enough to just hold the log to sign.

There were all sorts of critters living on the sign. Or is it in the sign. Or around the sign? Anyway, I remember that on this trip I saw all kinds of granddaddy long legs. Granddaddy long legs are arachnids, but they are not spiders. Wikipedia also says there are 6400 species of them. Don't ask me which one this is. The article on Wikipedia refers to them as harvestmen--apparently this is the more common name for these things, but I never heard it before.

There were also some yellow jackets, which did not seem overly aggressive, which is a good thing. Apparently, yellow jackets are wasps. But not all wasps are yellow jackets, eh? Thanks again Wikipedia.

There are trails that go all through Greenbrier. Next to one of them is this low stone wall. I have no idea what it's doing in the middle of the woods. But there it is. I am sure there is some sort of history attached to it.

On this particular day, I was on a trail that lead up to a spot near the dam that created the lake. Looks remote huh?

Yeah, not quite. Unlike some of my geocache adventures, this is a state park, not a forest, preserve, or wildlife management area. That means it's developed! Of course, I was on the other side . . . .

This is a picture of Black Rock. I think. You can see a picture from Black Rock looking down at the lake in my blog entry called, conveniently enough, Black Rock. It is a little hard to see the lake in the picture though. You can only see the edge.

The following weekend, I went on a different trail. I saw these vines with blue berries and perfectly triangular leaves. I had never seen this kind of plant before.

Some hunting on the Internet led me to unhappy conclusion that this is an aggressive invasive species of plant known as Mile-A-Minute weed. It's a shame that it causes problems because it is not really a bad-looking plant! This was the first of two vines I encountered with small blue berries on them in Greenbrier. The second will have to wait until the next blog entry!

The remaining pictures are of a weird sunset near the end of August. I was on my way home from work, so these pictures were all taken with the camera in my phone.

The sky was gray and overcast, except that beyond the mountains, the sun was setting and causing the whole sky to take on a weird, uniform, orange-gray color in the west that gradually turned into gray.

Hopefully I will never see a color in real life that looks like this. If I do, it will probably be the last thing I do see before the shock wave from the nuclear blast hits me. But the orange glow was getting brighter the further I headed west. Still no visible clouds, though, just the uniform gray lit up by the orange.

Finally, when I cleared the second mountain on my way home, I got to see the edge of the clouds. The setting sun had apparently managed to find one patch of clear sky to squeeze into that was underneath the low-hanging solid gray cloud but still above the horizon and too low to be seen behind the mountains. It was something I've never seen before as far as I can remember.

From here on out, it's just the weird things that the sunset did to the color balance of my phone's camera.

Kind of the same as the last one, but the clouds are a little more interesting in this one.

Seriously, if you ever see this on the horizon, it's time to duck and cover.

Last one. Reality was somewhere in between these last few pictures. Even if the color is off, I still think they look neat. On the plus side, I didn't wreck my car while I was so busy driving and taking pictures. For this picture, at least, I had stopped. I was stopped in the middle of the road, but I was stopped! That's it for August!

Sunday, August 30, 2009 

Category: Life

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