Whalechaser's Musings

No Matter Where You Go...
There You Are
Make the Best of It

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Ponca to Kyles Landing, Buffalo River -- Arkansas

The trip was planned for some time and as it got closer and closer I was sure that we would have to cancel it because of all the rain we've been having, but the rain Gods and Goddesses smiled on us. They gave us the only non rainy day in a string of ten or so to enjoy our outing on the Buffalo River. This particular section was new to me. Last year I paddled from Steel Creek to Buffalo City for a total of about 122 miles, but we missed this section due to low water last year, so I can now say I have paddled the full 131 miles of the Buffalo River.

We used the Lost Valley Canoe Outfitter in Ponca. The approach was a little different than usual. We drove to the put in point and they took the car and left it at Kyles Landing for us at the take out point. That makes it really easy when you are finished you can just get in the car and go. There is no waiting for a shuttle bus to bring you back to your car, pretty neat I thought.

We all opted for kayaks and I for one was surprised that Otters were as short as 6 feet; it made for a slightly more unstable float than I expected, but they are so easy to maneuver we didn't give it any more thought. The current in many places was stronger than I was used to and I found myself swamped once in deep and rushing water. I wasn't the only one to take a dunk, we all did at least once but there was no real danger. We were able to get to shore pretty quickly in most cases and we all appreciated the temperature of the water on a warm day!

Here is the group Cat, Tom and Jill enjoying the first pretty rock formation after starting our float trip

You never know where along the way you will find a pretty waterfall, this one went way back in the woods and was very pretty to look at from the river

Here is my friend Cat floating down a ripply rapid, it didn't take long for all of us to scope out the rapids and if all was well the paddle went up in a horizontal position for the others to see and enjoy their turn!

Here is Jill, she has found yet another waterfall.  The sounds were delightful!

We found our way to Kyles Landing a little later than I anticipated, but still plenty of daylight and were very happy to switch into dry clothes.  We all got in the car and headed out and that is when our perfect day began to unravel.  The road to Kyles Landing is very steep, dirt and because of all the recent rains was graded and graveled that day.   My little car was unable to negotiate the hill.  I got about halfway up and the car just stopped.  It was like driving in snow, that was absolutely no traction.  I tried backing down the hill, got a good head start and tried speeding up the hill, but still could not do it.

Stuck out there I really did not know what to do.  I had no cell signal so I could not call AAA. Others with 4 wheel drive could barely make it so it was not likely that anyone was going to give us a tow.  After about 45 minutes, the outfitter had returned after bringing the canoes and kayaks back to the office.  He had a friend with him that does mountain-climbing.  What a fortunate turn of events, he had plenty of rope (that does not stretch when tension is applied) so he threaded it three times through the two tow loops on the front of my car, and shaped it into a triangle, so the chain with a hook could be attached.  Then they and I drove up the hills.  It was pretty scary since I was only a couple of feet from the pickup truck

But it worked and in practically no time at all we were on our way for a well deserved dinner.
The very next day I read in the paper that this very road was going to be posted that 4 wheel drive vehicles only were to be allowed on it since the grading had made it so treacherous !
Those fellows from Lost Valley Canoe, sure saved my skin that day and I appreciate that they were able to help me out of that nasty predicament!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Great Cookie Recipe

I figured it was time to memorialize my favorite cookie recipe before my cookbook falls apart. These are my favorites because they have no added fats...no butter, no lard or margarine, nuthin' and I just go a little goo-goo over a cookie that is crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside. These are just fabulous with coffee...

Here it is:

Crunchy Chews

3/4 Cup of all purpose flour
1 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
3/4 Cup of Sugar (I like to mix brown and white equally)
1/4 teaspoon of salt
2 Eggs
1 Package of diced dates ( 8 ounces )
1 Cup of broken up Walnuts (not too finely)

Start by heating the oven to 325 Degrees

Then grab a large bowl and combine the dry ingredients (flour, powder, salt and sugar)

Beat the eggs in a separate bowl till they are light and fluffy

Fold them (eggs) gently into the dry ingredients, just until combined.

Then add the dates and walnuts and fold gently also to combine. Handle as little as possible.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (your WILL thank me for this later) and put a tablespoon or so of the cookie mixture for each cookie on the sheets. You should end with exactly 24 cookies...space them as much as possible because they spread a little when baking.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes and remove from the sheets to cool. Let them air dry so they get crisp, then place them in an airtight container and munch away when the mood hits!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

HH Dalai Lama Visit to Fayetteville, Arkansas

This past Wednesday was a very special day. It was the day that the Dalai Lama came to visit Fayetteville, Arkansas and discuss nonviolence as the ultimate way to solving the worlds problems. In addition to his keynote presentation in the afternoon, there was a panel discussion held in the morning with

Sister Helen Prejean
of the Congregation of St Joseph, who is perhaps best known for "Dead Man Walking An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States" as well as "The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions" which was inspired by her belief that several of those whose executions she witnessed were innocent. She has dedicated most of her life to the poor and powerless and has been working to abolish capital punishment for over 25 years.

Vincent Harding, who is an icon of America's Civil Rights movement, traveled to Atlanta where he met Martin Luther King, Jr and later worked toward the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The panel discussion can be seen here

His Holiness the Dalai Lama who has worked tirelessly for the betterment of the six million Tibetans who currently remain in Tibet, as well as those who have chosen to follow him. He has become a major spokesperson for human rights, environmental concerns and the practice of nonviolence in solving problems that range from the purely personal to the broadly political. He has also worked tirelessly to promote understanding and harmony among the world's religious traditions.

The photo opportunities were not so good but I got a couple of shots that I thought were worth sharing.

I was sitting directly in front of a huge screen where the speakers were being projected.  Here I must have gotten the shot when Vincent Harding was about to speak and the previous shot of Sister Prejean and HH Dalai Lama were fading into the background.
I like it because it shows visually all three in harmony, with one voice for nonviolence.
This is a shot of His Holiness just before receiving his Honorary Degree from Chancellor Gearhart.

This is just prior to the opening of the morning session. 

The afternoon presentation "Turning Swords into Ploughshares" can be seen here

Mount Magazine, Arkansas

Last week I joined the local OLLI group for the last hiking outing of this season to Mount Magazine. We rode the limo bus to Mount Magazine and had a buffet lunch at the lodge perched atop Mt. Magazine and afterwards we all took a mile and a half loop hike at Signal Hill which is the highest point in Arkansas. I did not have to get acclimated to the height as is necessary at some of the higher peaks in Colorado.

So the leader was nice enough to take this shot for me...we were lucky on all of our outings this year, while rain was predicted, we had none, yet again!
The butterflies were all over the mountain top...the wildflowers are a great attractant.  Here is a yellow swallowtail partaking of wildflower nectar.
I always try to include an unusual picture when I can.  Here, as it was explained to me is fresh (well relatively so; perhaps a couple of hours old) bear scat!  The leader poked it a little and uncovered the fresher stuff in the middle of the dried outer portion.  Fortunately, we didn't see any.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Just Lazy I Guess

I've been a little lazy lately. There have been a couple of good things happening which I will write about soon, but I guess I have just needed to chill out for a couple of days.
I think it helped because I seem to be feeling a lot better and my strength finally seems to be coming back! For a while I thought I was going to be stuck in some kind of funk as a result of my earlier accident, but I think I am rounding that corner and will back to my old self soon. Yippee!
So be patient, I have some good stuff that will be up soon. Probably not today though.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Poor Doggie

I almost feel sorry for this pooch

Monday, May 2, 2011

And So...

So, I was having a discussion with a fellow Sangha member the other day. We were talking about how we have changed over time, by attending Dharma talks and applying some of the principles to our daily life. Without really thinking about it, I blurted out that I had changed a lot over the years.  She was nodding in agreement.

Then, again without really thinking too much about what I was going to say, I said: No I hadn't changed all that much, but I had rearranged the percentages of my personality quite a bit.

We both thought that was a pretty good way of saying it.