Prepping for Buckeye Trailfest

Whew! I’ve been prepping for Buckeye Trailfest 2018! Last year, I attended my first  Buckeye Trailfest. This year, I am an active participant at Trailfest!

Buckeye TrailFest

What is the Buckeye Trailfest?

Buckeye TrailFest is the largest annual gathering of BT hikers, volunteers, members and enthusiasts. On April 25-29, 2018, we are proud to host our friends from all along the North Country National Scenic Trail for the Annual North Country Trail Celebration! All this during the peak of spring wildflowers and waterfall flow in the heart of Ohio’s Hocking Hills at Camp Oty’Okwa!”


I am giving two presentations for Buckeye Trailfest. One is called Presentation: Technology for the Buckeye and North Country Trail Hiker” I call it  “Map Apps for the Cell Phone” and the second is “Hands-On Workshop: Newby Guide for an Overnight Hike”.

Map Apps for the Cell Phone

A presentation last year about GPS for hiking led to thinking, what about us newby folks who don’t even know there are hiking apps out there? It seemed like it would be a good over-winter project, I would learn a bunch about hiking apps. My presentation was approved, so whoops, gotta get something down in writing!

I decided to focus on a few free apps. As a total newby myself, I can’t see shelling out money for an app I may not understand and then not use!

I’ve been working on my slide presentation. This is available now on

How to Set Up a Tent

The official title is ” “Hands-On Workshop: Newby Guide for an Overnight Hike”. I’m not sure how I am going to do with time constraints. I was originally going to set up three tents. Since I can’t locate the third tent (I may have given it away) I went with the two tents.

Learning curve! I got the tents out to see how long it would take me. The first attempt took about 40 minutes! Yikes! I forgot everything!


I have two tents. The green tent is a REI One Passage. It weighs about three pounds. I don’t know if I would backpack with this, it’s a little heavy. It’s fine to car camp, and probably do an overnight bike.

The second tent is pretty cool, it’s a Tensegrity from Sierra Designs, a light weight design. I had a bit of a learning curve with using the hiking poles as part of the tent design, but after the third set up, I felt pretty confident.

You Tube is your Friend

This was a good video to watch to help set up my  Tensegrity tent

This video was also helpful

Sierra Design tent



I have a few stoves to show how they work.

I got my ancient Jet Boil out to make sure it still functioned. Yep! Fired right up! Check! A Jet Boil is not something you most likely would like to schlep on a long hike, but it’s great for campground cooking. Heats water in less than one minute!

Rocket Stove

This is the rocket pocket MSR stove. As you can see, it fits in the palm of your hand, and will fit into a pocket. It uses the can fuel just like the Jet Boil does. Combine the MSR rocket with a can of fuel, this would be far better to backpack with.

Solo Stove

For those hikers who don’t want to carry fuel with them, consider the Solo Stove. You fuel this stove with Mother Earth-small pieces of wood and dry grass.

Once you have your fire going, the ring on the right goes on top, then your pot goes on that. You keep feeding wood chips/branches/twigs into the large opening on the ring.

The instructions do say you will need a wind screen around this. I set this up in my driveway, when it was windy, and it took a bit to get the fire going.

Considerations with Solo Stove: ability to find dry kindling. It takes much longer to get water to boil versus the MSR and Jet Boil, but you don’t have to carry fuel along with you. You can buy an alcohol burner which contains denatured alcohol (which weighs far less than the canned fuel) that fits into the Solo Stove as a back up.


I am leading a hike on Thursday, the Grandman Gatewood Hike! This six mile hike will take us past  Old Man’s Cave, Cedar Falls and Ash Cave! This section is part of Buckeye Trail, North Country Trail and American Discovery Trail.


The weather is looking “okay” for Buckeye Trailfest. I’m looking forward to getting outside after this snowy spring we’ve been having!

Are you coming to Buckeye Trailfest? Why not?

Art Journal Challenge Week Fifteen Cities

This week’s Art Journal Prompt was Cities!



I’m not a city person. When I first think “city” I think, buildings, steel, traffic, lots of people, streets, cars.

Beauty in Cities

But sure, there is beauty in cities. I’ve seen great ‘works of art’ in some graffiti. I guess I wouldn’t want it if I owned the building, but is there a way to stop it?


What about gardens and parks? They are usually beautiful. People can get a little bit of a nature fix with a flower pot on a balcony. I really like the idea of rooftop vegetable gardens.

This was a fairly easy prompt to work with. I had printed out an old city map of Berlin, the picture on the left is of Columbus from inside the Columbus Statehouse.

Monopoly Stamps

The Monopoly stamps I found in the air duct in our guest bedroom-who knows how  old these are! I had to figure out how many years we’ve been in our house, so these have to be more than 18 years old..


(Remember that game from McDonalds?) A little internet research showed this should have been the game from 1995.

artjournalchallengeweekfifteencitiesThis was a pretty good prompt for the week. I actually did a little writing, or journalling on this challenge.  Onto Week Sixteen!


Day Late for Opening Day for Trails



I fully planned on getting outside on Saturday for “Opening Day” promoted by the Rails to Trails Conservancy, yet I woke up to this!Snow in April

Snow in April

It wasn’t going to warm up and I wasn’t going to fight wet clumpy snow on the Towpath, so I bailed. My Opening Day would have to be postponed.

A Day Late

Sunday I was determined to get training accomplished. It was going to be a high of 40, but nice and sunny outside. I drove to my local Great Guernsey Trail, a six-mile now seven mile bike trail!


Two Laps

With our constant spring snow and cold temperatures, our landscapes are still very much brown. Hence not much to look at while you bike along. I listened to podcasts. “Chasing Creativity” “The Hamilcast” accompanied me today.


Very few folks out this sunny Sunday, a few walkers, two runners, and at the end of my ride, two bundled up cyclists.

I was starting to get rather cold at the end of my ride, but I managed to get a solid 24 miles in. I’m planning on riding the Ohio to Erie Trail at the end of May, so I need to get time in the saddle in!


#RTCOpeningDay on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Art Journal Challenge Week Fourteen Little Red Riding Hood



This week the pen landed on Little Red Riding Hood for the week fourteen prompt. It’s the fourteenth week of the year! Where is the time going?

Daffodils in snow

Why won’t spring arrive in Ohio?

Little Red Riding Hood

With this prompt I had an immediate idea of what I wanted to do. I just about nailed it. I decided to quit before I ruined it.


I painted too deep a blue on the left hand side,trying to cover up the orange that bled through from the week/page before. I gesso’d the page, painted it twice, and finally hit it with the deep blue. Oops. I painted over it again. I decided to add trees to try and mask my mistake. I then quit before I wore a hole in the notebook.


Close Calls

I set the notebook down next to the hot air register, wanting to dry up the paint to move on. My German Shepherd then picked it up in his mouth and settled down to chew! Luckily I caught him in the act. I’m growing rather attached to my little Book of Challenges. I think it’s going to be a cool momento for the Year 2018.


Art Journal Challenge Week Thirteen Hurricanes


Ooh, Week Thirteen, the unlucky number, and my pen happened to land on Hurricanes! I think we can all agree hurricanes are unlucky. They’re big, formidable, unstoppable, leaving a path of destruction in their wake.

Art Journal Challenge hurricane


Three song lyrics came to mind from “hurricanes”. Two are from the American musical “Hamilton”.  Alexander Hamilton writes one of his first essays after a hurricane hits the island of Nevis. This comes from the first song of the musical, called “Alexander Hamilton”

Art Journal Challenge hurricane

Then Lin Manuel Miranda brings the theme back around again, where Hamilton decides he can write himself out of the scandal that could have been brewing about an alleged embezzlement by outing himself and his sexual affair by writing about it!!

Art Journal Challenge hurricane

“Like a Hurricane” is an old Neil Young song. This is also one of Young’s song, if you saw him Live in Concert, goes on for about ten minutes.

Art Journal Challenge hurricane


I dabbled with crayons, pens, paint, ephemera (fancy word for paper). Onto Week Fourteen!

Biking the Panhandle Trail

The Panhandle Trail

Panhandle Trail

The Panhandle Trail is a Rails to Trail stretching from Weirton West Virginia east to Carnegie, Pennsylvania, about 29 miles long. Weirton WV is about an hour drive for me, so that was my starting point.

West Virginia Start

Panhandle Trail

It was easy to find the trail head in Weirton. I got all my gear assembled. I only forgot my chapstick. Off I went! The WV portion of the trail is limestone/dirt. The first mile was a bit muddy, as there had been a good rainstorm two days ago. Panhandle Trail  I knew the trail had a gradual uphill incline in this eastward direction. I still felt kind of sluggish. It started out being a nice bluebird blue sky ride.

On to Pennsylvania

There was the photo op at the state border.  Panhandle TrailI was pleasantly surprised to see the asphalt begin!  I started biking a bit quicker.Panhandle Trail

How I Fared

It was a good ride. It was a bit cold, yet I could feel myself sweating. There seemed to be a headwind both ways, how does that work?

Panhandle Trail

I greatly under fueled for the ride. I am actively trying to follow Weight Watchers, and only brought a string cheese and some Vanilla Wafers as fuel. As in running, I saw more folks close to where the trail heads were.Panhandle Trail

The sun disappear and the skies clouded over. WIth the bit of wind that picked up,  I was glad I had worn what I had: a tech shirt, a long sleeve biking jersey, with a stretchy blue jacket over that. I swapped out my sweaty buff on the way back for my wool buff. I did use of my paniers to carry my bike repair, spare bottle of water, too little food, and my spare buff. I was glad to have my full biking gloves on.

Panhandle Trail

The Panhandle is a very nice trail. It is out in the open, so I could only imagine it’s hot in the summer.

Panhandle Trail

I biked 15 miles out and back, 30 miles is my biggest effort for the year-so I am a bit tired now!

Top 10 Activities to Pursue Whilst Waiting for Barkley Marathons Updates

Barkley Marathons Top Ten

Another year, another Barkleys Marathon. Last year I was lucky enough to crew for a Barkley runner.

Gate Guardian

Me babysitting the Yellow Gate while my runner ran around in the woods all night and day.

You know what? You get more intel sitting at home in front of the computer than in camp! Plus it’s far more comfortable! You can’t spend all your time on your phone as there is limited space to charge up a phone. Cell coverage is still poor there.

Lazarus Lakes Barkley Marathons

My latest Top Ten List Whilst Waiting for the elusive and cryptic Barkley Marathons Update

    1. Go for a run-there is time. Nobody is going to come back to camp within six hours at the earliest unless they have quit already. Go run a 5k, half-marathon, hey, even a 50K can be raced before you hear of updates from the front runners. Mike Wardian
    2.  Read an account of a very long first loop-32 hours. Spoiler alert: they timed out.
    3. Watch Inside the Documentary at Popcorn Talk, where producer Annika Illtis chats about the making of “The Barkley Marathons: The Race that Eats its Young”.
    4. Since you have plenty of time, kindly peruse Christian Griffiths 2010 Barkley Race Report
    5. Read a book. Specifically, Cathy Henn’s “Danger Beyond the Yellow Gate”. Cathy is the wife of Raw Dog and the mother of Danger Dave. Cathy knows her Barkley! Danger Beyond the Yellow Gate
    6. Read some of my curated lists from over the years! Here is 2017 Barkley Interviews, My 2017 Top Ten, My Top Ten 2016 List,
    7. Watch “Where Dreams Go to Die”. It is-was available to download in March. Will Gary pull off five loops this year? Race Director Tools
    8. Check out  the map of FHSP and pretend to be a Barker! Look at those really close together contour lines! Frozen head state park map
    9. Read Frozen Ed Furtaw’s Book “Tales from Out There”. Your best Barkely reference tool.
    10. Listen to a long form interview with John Fegyversi on Ten Junk Miles-very good!

Is anyone back to camp yet?