I’ve read somewhere that summer is the best time to camp (and thus possibly by extension to hike). To that person, I ask “Have you ever hiked in the South?”
Maybe in Seattle where the summers are a balmy 70 degrees and the weather channel warns of a heat wave when the mercury rises to 85 (For my fellow southerners – I am not kidding. It may have something to do with the fact that AC is not a standard features on homes) but in when its 95+ degrees out the only activity I want to do outside is drink beer.
That said, as August gets ready to give way to September, Atlanta has been treated to unseasonably cool weather! An early Fall? Fingers crossed!
So in order to take advantage of the cool weather a hike was called for! Continue reading →
My experience with swamps is fairly succinct: When I was in 8th grade we took a class trip that included a jaunt down to the Okefenokee Swamp. A brief raft ride, some pointing at alligators, and I think someone may have drank the swamp water after the guide assured us it was cleaner than it looked.
And that’s been it really. As such, I think I should be forgiven for expecting to do any hiking in the vicinity of a lake swamp in Louisiana.
I’ve gone my whole life without ever setting foot, driving through, or really knowing anything about Arkansas. It turns out that the south western bit of Arkansas is a lot like the two states it borders: Texas and Louisiana. Sort of a hybrid really…pine forests with swampy bits rather than the dense pine forests of Texas or the swamps of Louisiana.
Our walk (I can’t call it a hike because it was short enough to not bring our packs) took us through the woods around Millwood Lake in Millwood State Park. The path was mostly submerged. If you’re not into waterproof shoes – this hike might make you reconsider.
As I am already a waterproof mid-height hiking boot wearing kind of guy I was able to take it in stride.
If you ever find yourself in the San Pedro de Atacama area of Chile, Lascar will prove to be an easy volcano to spot. Its not the famously conical shaped one that everyone takes pictures of, that one is Licancabur.* Lascar is the flat topped volcano streaked with white. The white streaks aren’t snow (most of the time…occasionally it snows too) but are sulfur deposits. Also, on most mornings you can see a small cloud over Lascar, due to the fact that Lascar is an active volcano.
Not only is Lascar active, it is the most active volcano in Northern Chile. Its volcanism is the cause of one of the strangest climbing difficulties I’ve ever heard of: toxic clouds of sulfur. If the wind is coming from across the crater the hike can get very unpleasant. It is sometimes so bad that the hike can’t be accomplished.
Sometimes along our journey the logical route between two predetermined points takes us through, well, what could perhaps be described as the middle of nowhere. I’m not certain that Watonga, OK is in fact the middle of nowhere – Oklahoma City is only a short 70 miles away.
Ok, perhaps slightly to the right of nowhere.
And to the North of slightly right of nowhere is the park we spent a couple of nights at: Roman Nose State Park.
Sometimes I would like to have the opportunity to meet the individual responsible for naming places. Some names have history, others describe appearances or animals you might happen across (looking at you Golden Warbler Trails in Texas).
And then there are names like Devils Canyon. Obviously the namer thought of this name before he saw the canyon and was just itching to put it to a canyon, any canyon probably. Is there much devilish about this place? Well, its hot. Even in late March it can approach miserable. This is a place I would advise against hiking in high summer. Or at least doing so in the early morning, with lots of water and a hat.
Devils Canyon as best as I can discern is but one of a series of canyons near the Colorado National Monument. As it is near but not in the Monument it is free! Yay!