Thoughts on Depression and Time Spent Outdoors

Shaina Niehans:

The amazing Cathy Bell, park ranger extraordinaire, is through-hiking the WHOLE Appalachian Trail this summer [that's 2,185 miles!]. But more than that, she’s also dedicating her hike to mental health research. She’s asking for a dollar per mile–anything helps!!!

Originally posted on Homelandscapes:

Three days ago, on March 26, I announced that I would dedicate my 2014 Appalachian Trail thru-hike to HIKE for Mental Health , a nonprofit that directs donations to mental health research and preservation of wilderness trails .  While building my fundraising page , I hesitated over what dollar amount to set as a goal.  I settled on $500, which seemed a modest but attainable figure.

I vastly underestimated the generosity and caring of my friends, family, and readers.  Together, we surpassed that $500 goal in just two days.  I decided to step it up and go for a new reach goal of $2,185, or one dollar for each mile of the AT.  Can you help?

That new $2,185 goal seems unattainable to me as I write this, but perhaps that is fitting: for many people, the very notion of walking all the way from Georgia to Maine must seem like an…

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Solitude, but Not Alone

Solitude, but Not Alone

Trying out a new way to post blogs, since I have so much trouble with the wordpress formatter. It will be interesting to see how it pans out with regard to SEO. To me, this manner lets me add more of a personal touch that I can tailor according to how much time I have. Hope you enjoy!

2014-3-29 Houda Point Post

Here They Come!

Here They Come!

Perhaps you’ve been watching the amazing Neil deGrasse Tyson on the Cosmos television series? Last night, he touched on the fact that stars have long been used as a calendar, indicating when new seasons are around the bend [get planting, you!]. Certain constellations are tightly tied with seasons–such as Orion and Winter.

Less than 45 miles from Indianapolis, Brown County State Park is flooded with light pollution.

Less than 45 miles from Indianapolis, Brown County State Park is flooded with light pollution.

This winter, I’d been fussing about how slowly Orion moves. He’d climb over the eastern mountains, dangle over the Golden Gate Bridge [from the Marin Headlands, of course], and all and all, be a slow poke about his waltz across the sky. My impatience, stemming from the fact that I don’t usually look at the winter night sky, kept growing. It’s so difficult to live in a place where the temperature is mild year round [Ha! But I don't ever feel warm.]. We made several trips up to Kneeland, a patch of human-created prairie where the astronomy club meets, this winter to stand in a forest of telescopes and gawk with like-minded folks and only encountered nippy conditions, but no frostbite.  To me, looking at the stars says very loudly SUMMER! My brain, in that warm, wind-swept prairie of South Dakota-mode, wondered why long underwear was necessary, and why the stars weren’t as familiar. Sirius? Isn’t that some form of radio?? Aldebaran? Don’t you mean Altair? And who is this Orion fellow anyway? Hercules! Hercules! [In my defense, my star gazing occurs between the hours of 9 and 12 pm--no early morning viewings for me, hence the missing the "other" part of the sky.]

So last night, after what feels like a long winter [probably since there was hardly any rain--hardly a winter!], the Big Dipper pointed to two bright stars [and one planet] creeping over the eastern mountains–Arcturus and Spica [and Mars--that's a story for another day]! Summer stars, the stars I’m most familiar with, were shining and climbing. Soon they will be directly overhead, crowning the night skies of summer. Good Bye Orion! Good Bye Stars of Winter!

Orion sinks into the Pacific [center left], Sirius, the brightest star we see, glows in foggy conditions [left]. Taurus and the Pleiades follow to the right. All of these are topped by the Milky Way running horizontally across the top of the photo.  The orange glow of Eureka competes with the blue light from the Trinidad Head Lighthouse [on right].

Even with some light pollution but less-densely populated, we are lucky to live in such a dark area. Orion sinks into the Pacific [center left], Sirius, the brightest star we see, glows in foggy conditions [left]. Taurus and the Pleiades follow to the right. All of these are topped by the Milky Way running horizontally across the top of the photo. The orange glow of Eureka competes with the blue light from the Trinidad Head Lighthouse [on right].

Flowering Up

I feel like I have been glued to this computer for weeks now. I don’t know how the students earning a digital media degree do it; homework for one class can take hours, especially if a problem arises. Our instructor said he wanted at least 12 hours of work each week, so you can imagine what full time students deal with.

I took a break the other day to survey Spring’s progress (it comes early here). Lo and bethold, there are flowers despite the little rain!

currant, flower, spring, photography, pink

Hort. variety of Red-flowering currant

flowers, toothwort, spring, pink

Coast toothwort

Ferns on a tree

Claytonia sibirica, flower, stripes, pink, spring

Candy flower

Evergreen huckleberry

Evergreen huckleberry

Waves crashing at sunset

Waves crashing at sunset

Black and White Beaches

The rain and homework have slowed photo taking recently. Guess it’s good to give the camera a rest once in a while, since there are only 150,000 or so actuations for this camera model! Here’s two of those longer actuations, both in black and white with the bottom one treated with a little split-toning for the heck of it.

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