Tuesday, April 06, 2010


The day and the adventure go on. We are staying at the Best Western in Cave City KY tonight. I was somewhat startled upon our arrival in this tiny, sleepy town this afternoon--we were the only car in the motel parking lot--by the "This motel owned and operated by the Krishna of Cave City". It was a bit... unexpected... to say the least!

After checking in we headed up to Mammoth Caves--and a parking lot packed with spring breakers from all over over this side of the country. First we picked up a Junior Ranger program book from the information desk for Jessie, and she is on her way to earning her first junior ranger certificate. We were disappointed to find all the cave tours we wanted to take sold out for the next four days. We took a short self-guided tour this afternoon and tomorrow we'll do the New Entrance Tour and that will end our time here in Mammoth. Tonight I'm going to research a bit to pick another cool Kentucky State Park between here and Natural Bridge State Resort Park (where we have reservations for Friday and Saturday).

Eagle Falls--More Hiking...

I sit in the dappled sunlight on the little deck off the bedroom of our cabin at Cumberland Falls for a last post before heading to Mammoth Caves National Park a few hours west of here. Yesterday after the in-laws left we took a little 2.3 mile hike to Eagle Falls (including the bottom and the top of the falls) and the surrounding area. I am not whining or a wimp--really--but it was the weirdest hike I've ever taken.

First we went from the river at the top of Cumberland Falls all the way up to the ridge line on the eastern side of the river. Then we went all the way down to the river again--but this time at the bottom of the falls (also the bottom of Eagle Falls). Then we went up to the top of Eagle Falls, then up to the top of another ridge line, then down into a valley between ridges, then back up to the original ridge line, THEN, finally, back down to the river at the top of the falls. It was so steep for much of it that the trail had stairs--either rock, wood or metal--built into it.

We didn't see any black bears (in spite of the warning signs posted everywhere), nor did we see any other wildlife--not even a squirrel. Do you think they have all been eaten by the locals?

As with any good trail there were periodic trail markers painted onto the trees to let you know you were still on the right path. However when we got back down to the river by Eagle Falls, the trail sign was painted on the boulders in a follow-the-yellow-brick-road kind of way. I figured it was enough to hear the noise of the falls and follow it, but I guess a little reinforcement never hurts.

It was a gorgeous trail, I'm really glad we did it, but wow was it a tough 2.3 miles! The beer back at the cabin was especially welcome.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Spring Break

It's spring break. J has the week off and Dave took the week off (at my insistence) so the least I could do was take it off too. Our destination? Cumberland Falls State Resort Park in Kentucky, a place from Dave's childhood family vacations and source of find memories--just what we all needed after a long stressful winter!

We packed up the minivan and headed into the wilderness--just like our pioneer ancestors--to meet up with my in-laws here in Kentucky. I'm from Montana, how daunting could Kentucky be? Turns out to be pretty daunting. For one thing, it's dry, and I mean dry as a bone (as in NO ALCOHOL!). For another, Tennessee just across the border is dry but for beer... Oh joy. I am getting in touch with my inner redneck. Then there's the whole no cell phone coverage (even the cabin at the lake in Montana has cell coverage). At least there's Internet (wireless in the cabin!) and three tv's in the cabin--which is moot for me as we left the Apple tv at home the better to enjoy the wilds.

But it is beautiful here in a southeastern mountains kind of way. The first night we were sitting out front waiting to go off to see the moonbow, and we heard an irritated squeak followed by some rustling. Turned out to be a couple of raccoons behind the cabin. J was all excited and wanted to follow them down the cliff. We dissuaded her. We actually came a couple of days early just so we could see the moonbow (shown at left). The moonbow we saw was very subtle--only about 30% of the arch visible and a soft misty white instead of rainbow colors. The one in the photo is someone else's photo of another moonbow night at Cumberland Falls. For us, it was the last night of the full moon and maybe that made it less bright. We were also told to go at 1:30 in the morning as the moonbow is most visible a half hour later on each successive night of the full moon (it was at 11:30 on the first night).

We all took naps starting at 10:30 and got up at 12:45 to drive down. I'm glad we didn't try to walk the trail as it is steep and narrow and we only had one little flashlight between all of us (so much for our wilderness skills). Even with the nap J was pooped and not up for Mom taking pictures.

Yesterday we walked from our cabin to the falls. It is hard for me to refer to it as a hike because we went steeply down to get to the falls and I think of hiking as going up (first). We got the hike part on the way back up and it was really warm--84 degrees and it's only the beginning of April! The deciduous trees are all still bare of leaves which only emphasizes the stark columnar skeletons of the pines decimated by southern pine beetle. The damage is so bad they warn you not to hike on windy days as there is serious risk of damaged or dead trees falling (and killing you).

Okay, everyone's back from their walk. It's time to have some lunch, play a game or two
(Alhambra, Set, Race for the Galaxy, Waterworks or one of several others). Maybe later I'll have a beer and a nap...

Monday, March 01, 2010

Tuffy's Big Adventure

I have taken the blog from the cat. After the past two days, I am invincible! I am very tired, still thirsty, and my mouth is packed full of seeds, but I need a place to tell my tale and, well, the cat is snoring on the couch (as usual) so I just took over the blog. Here we go.

Friday afternoon the little girl had a playdate with a friend. She was showing me off (as she likes to do) and when she was finished, she and her friend went away to play somewhere else. I was glad because it was the middle of the day and, you know, hamster, nocturnal and all. I had sleep to do and didn't really want to be bothered. But later, later when I woke for the evening, I noticed that she had left the door to my cage open... Oh. My. To Mexico and freedom!

Just to be clear, I don't actually know where Mexico is. My family was originally from Syria, but I've been in this country for generations (lots and lots and LOTS of generations). But I've heard it's beautiful and warm with lots of senoritas and pina coladas. The closest I've come to a senorita here is the bunny, Jasmine, and she scorns me. (*sigh*). So I headed to Mexico via a long drop to the floor, and headed out the kid's bedroom door. But then I got a bit lost.

Somehow I ended up in the big people's bathroom off their bedroom. The last time I escaped I ended up there too, and I was so tired I just fell asleep in a corner. This time I managed to stay awake long enough to poop a lot in the corner and then skeedaddle for parts yonder. I think I really confused the big female human with all the poop because the little girl told me the big female human searched all three closets off the bedroom and bathroom several times looking for me. Heh. The little girl was also made to empty out her closets and look for me, and the big female human searched the entire upstairs--closets and all--again the next day. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I made good my escape on Friday and, apparently, the little girl didn't notice I was gone until Saturday afternoon. When my absence was noted by the little girl, she had several minutes of indecision and consternation, but eventually she went to the big female human in tears and said she was afraid the big female human was going to be mad at her, but she had to tell her she had left the cage door open and I was missing. The big female human sighed and trudged upstairs with the little girl to look for me, but it was in vain. They searched and searched the upstairs, but what they did not know was that I had, in the dead of night on Friday, braved the STAIRS. and not just the stairs, but TWO flights of stairs, the CAT and TWO dogs to get all the way downstairs to the basement--though I really shouldn't count the big dog because she couldn't care less about tracking down her own meals and just ignored me. In fact, the cat is pretty lazy too. I think he saw me come down the first flight of stairs and head for the basement stairs and he just kept dozing on the couch. Guess he's more into bacon than hamster (lucky for me).

So while the humans were all searching upstairs (even the big male human looked for me a bit on Saturday) I was down in the basement. I don't know how I got all turned around and thought Mexico was down there, but once I got down all those stairs (and wasn't THAT exciting!), I couldn't get back up. Heck, had it not been for the little girl having a playdate today, I might have DIED down there! She told me that when she and her friend came down the stairs, she was concentrating on something else, but then she saw a streak of brown move out of the corner of her eye (it was me, I was still looking for Mexico). She and her friend chased me round and round the room (and under the treadmill several times) before she caught me. I really wanted to go to Mexico, but then after all that running and two days with no food or water (the little girl told me they had been putting my sleeping box and food out for me in different parts of the upstairs each night since I escapayed), I decided it would be good to let the little girl catch me, cuddle me, feed me, and tuck me back in my bed.

So now I'm back in my home, the big female human came and petted me and made a fuss over me too, and I am none the worse for wear for my adventure. Maybe next time I'll get all the way to Mexico.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I'm Back...

Yo. I'm still here. Been hard to get to the computer even though the female human gave up Mafia Wars. What can I say? I sleep a lot. I have firmly staked out the couch as my own, and anyone wanting to share it has to bring me tribute. Life is good--though it did get annoying for a bit over Christmas when the little girl's grandfather came to visit and brought his obnoxious dog.

The grandmother brought her bird too--but they were smart and kept it upstairs in a cage. Too bad, it looked a tasty morsel. The one day the grandmother brought the cage downstairs and had it on the table I hopped up and peered in at the bird. It said "Hey bird!" to me. Stupid bird. Or maybe it was just hoping I was come to play a game with it. Yeah, I have a good game. "Here little birdie, let's play hide and seek. you hide, and I'll seek you... with my teeth!"

The grandfather's dog was a German shepherd basset hound mix (picture a shepherd on really stubby legs) and it's favorite game was to charge me as I lay on the couch and jam it's nose into my face. I thwacked it a few times with my paw (claws extended, of course) but it wasn't too bright and didn't get the hint. Dogs. Who needs 'em? The deerhound wasn't too fond of him either. She bared her teeth, growled and snapped at him when he got too close to her. Guess he wasn't too stupid 'cause he stayed out of reach. Man, she's got some serious teeth!

Now he's gone home and the I get to sleep uninterrupted again. It looked for awhile like I might actually finally move to the studio, but the male human deemed it too cold there for me yet so I still have the couch. The female human is preparing for my move by getting a studio cam (so you can all watch me sleep on-line) and a comfy bed for me. The male human apparently won't let her move the couch. *sigh*

Life is good here in Atlanta. I haven't had a chance to eat either the little girl's hamster or her bunny, but there's still time. They look tasty, and I can move fast when I want to. Just ask the female human when she tries to block the door and keep me in at night. I am a stealth cat then, and fast like the wind.

The deerhound was sick over Christmas--looks like cancer in her nostrils, poor thing. But she is cheerful and perky still--and best of all, when she gets her pills in raw hamburger, the Spaniel and I get balls of raw hamburger treat too. Sweet.

Thanks for all the birthday wishes. I got chicken leather dog treats from the new family, and it was good. Wish Dee would visit again soon--she brings the best tribute.

Keep those notes and letters coming, I'll get the little girl to read them to me while I lay on her legs.