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Monday, January 12, 2009

Travels of a Tracker

So here's the story I've been wanting to
tell for a couple of weeks, but couldn't.

My old Missouri friends sent me a surprise for my
birthday, and I couldn't blog about it because I didn't
know if my Mom reads my blog or not....and my sister and I have been planning a surprise 70th birthday party for her for months. She thought it was a party for Andrew, my great-nephew who turned 6 on the 5th!

My hospital co-workers sent me a banner that nearly 50 people had signed with good wishes and kind thoughts...They also collected $110 in one and five dollar bills to help me get to Arksansas for the party! I'm not the "msuhy" type, but their kindness nearly made me cry. I had been a bit worried about how I would eat on the trip...the tickets were bought, but I would be short on traveling money. You could say that it really met a need!

I flew out of Seattle just ahead of a storm that would cause record flooding in my part of the state, and which would have kept me from going at all if my flight had been 24 hours later. It was a bumpy ride out of SeaTac, and my seatmate was a twitchy fellow who wanted to talk all the way to Dallas/Ft.Worth. I hoped to sleep on that part of the trip because we left just after midnight, and I had worked most of Tuesday and was tired.

There was a 2 hour delay while our pilot to Little Rock found a plane that he liked - I'm not complaining...if the pilot doesn't trust it, I don't want to be in it. I was really gald to see my sister Susan at the gate.

It's still a 3 hour drive to Violet Hill, where she and Mom live, so we stopped to have a bit of dinner on the way. Out here in Washington, they call it lunch, but I always had breakfast, dinner and supper, so that's what we had. It's been a while since I enjoyed steak and loaded smashed potatoes with sweet tea...I have to say that Pacific Northwest cooking doesn't come close to Southern meals...I miss the food more than I realized.

Mom was truly surprised...and happy. We had a big combined birthday party for the two of us and the 6 year old. I bet that Andrew still has blue lips from the frosting on the cupcakes!

On Thursday, Mom followed me around for a couple of hours while I tracked 4 more dogs, and found groundhog tracks in a cow pie in the pasture. We spooked a whitetail doe from the old slave cemetary . No armadillos or tracks were found, much to my dismay. Susan had promised I'd see and/or track them, but the ground was dry, hard and rocky, and we didn't even see any road-killed ones to check out.

Since Tracking Intensive class was this weekend, I flew home on Friday. About 130 miles out from Seattle, the pilot noted that we could see Mounts Rainier, Adams, St. Hellens and Hood all lined up against the horizon! What a beautiful welcome home it was.

Saturday we learned about bird feathers, and on Sunday we played in silt under bridges at Fall City and thing about floods is that the tracking is really good when the water goes down. Look for more photos soon!

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My Favorite Fiction Authors and Books

  • Suzanne Arruda- the Jade del Cameron mysteries: "The Mark of the Lion" "Stalking Ivory", "The Serpent's Daughter", "The Leopard's Prey" and "The Golden Cheetah"
  • Ken Goddard - "Balefire" and others
  • Stephen White - the Dr. Alan Gregory books are all great. "Kill Me" is my favorite.
  • Harlan Coben - anything he writes is great
  • Elizabeth Peters - Amelia Peabody mysteries

My Favorite Nonfiction Authors and Books

  • "Coyote's Guide to Connecting With Nature" by Jon Young, Ellen Haas and Evan McGown- 2nd edition coming soon!
  • Gavin De Becker - "The Gift of Fear"
  • "Deep Survival" by Laurence Gonzales- the best survival book I've ever read! Not a how-to, its more of a who does,and why.
  • Candice Millard - "The River of Doubt -Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey"
  • Anything that starts with "Peterson's Field Guide To..."
  • Tom Brown, Jr. - "The Tracker" and others
  • Mark Elbroch - "Mammal Tracks and Sign" and "Animal Skulls"