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HALF-BAKED AND ON A VISION QUEST | Hiking Blog #6 OF 77 @ McKenzie Conservation Area

The Vision Quest Trail was completed in 2018 and adds 1.5 miles of pathway to stomp upon at the McKenzie Conservation Area. Ted and I sought to conquer the Vision Quest Trail at the beginning of our journey at McKenzie, in the hopes we’d come away from this section of the trek, with a few new insights into life, love, hiking, and the pursuit of happiness.

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TAKING ANOTHER VISION QUEST | Ted Talks #6 OF 77 @ McKenzie Conservation Area


“There is a delight in the hardy life of the open. There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy and its charm. The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased and not impaired in value.”
– President Theodore Roosevelt, Speech in Kansas, August 31st 1910

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AWE-STRUCK BY BEAUTY | Ted Talks #5 of 77 @ Van Horn, Edburg, & Bass Conservation Area


While dedicating the Gateway Arch at the North Entrance to Yellowstone National Park in 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt praised the successes of wildlife protection in the park.

“Here all the wild creatures of the old days are being preserved, and their overflow into the surrounding country, so long as the laws are observed by all, will ensure to the people and to their children and to their children’s children much of the old-time pleasure of the hardy life of the wilderness”
-President Theodore Roosevelt

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SQUEAKING ONE IN AT ANTOINE | Hiking Blog #4 OF 77 @ Antoine Peak Conservation Area

As a hiking, camping, and all around outdoor enthusiast, I’m always on the lookout for potential wildlife. Anytime I’m outside, or in nature, I try to keep my eyes open. Likewise, I’ve also had a number of unique and interesting encounters, with a multitude of unique and unexpected creatures, over the time I’ve been stomping around, on hundreds, if not thousands of trails. So I’ve been told, that correlation does not imply causation, but in my case, what else could it be?

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PEAKING AT ANTOINE | Ted Talks #4 of 77 @ Antoine Peak Conservation Area


In his book “The Deer Family” Roosevelt wrote about his life in North Dakota:
“It was beautiful to see the red dawn quicken from the first glimmering gray in the east , and then to watch the crimson bars glint on the tops of the fantastically shaped barren hills when the sun flamed, burning and splendid, above the horizon. In the early morning the level beams brought out into sharp relief the strangely carved and channeled cliff walls of the buttes.”
-Theodore Roosevelt

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WHATS UP TED? | Ted Talks #3 OF 77 @ Saltese Uplands Conservation Area


On June 8th 1906, President Roosevelt signed the Antiquities Act into Law
The Antiquities Act authorized the President to declare “historic landmarks, historic and pre-historic structures, and other objects of historic and scientific interest” as National Monuments. Fundamentally, the Antiquities Act allows the President to set aside valuable public natural areas as park and conservation land. President Roosevelt established the first National Monument at Devils Tower in Wyoming, later in 1906.

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WINTER CAN BE ROUGH | Hiking Blog #3 of 77 @ Saltese Uplands Conservation Area

As we all continued our journey to wander, over yonder, at the Saltese Uplands Conservation Area, we eventually came upon a new fork. The alternative trail at the intersection in question, also appeared to still be, untracked. Because first tracks is the option I’d always choose to take in such a situation, I began selling Gwen on the virtues of always taking first tracks. I explained that whenever the opportunity arises in life, you should always choose to take first tracks. She eventually agreed on the understanding that I must tromp down the very first, first tracks, and she would follow in the footsteps I’d be stomping down into the snow.

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UH-OH | Ted Talks #2 OF 77 @ McLellan Conservation Area


In his Autobiography (Published 1913), Roosevelt explained his ambitions for creating protected refuges for birds:
“The Establishment by Executive Order between March 14th, 1903, and March 4th, 1909, of fifty-one National Bird Reservations distributed in seventeen States and Territories from Puerto Rico to Hawaii and Alaska. The creation of these new reservations at once placed the United States in the front rank in the world work of bird protection. Among these reservations are the celebrated Pelican Island rookery in Indian River, Florida; The Mosquito Inlet Reservation, Florida, the northernmost home of the manatee; the extensive marshes bordering Klamath and Malheur Lakes in Oregon, formerly the scene of slaughter of ducks for market and ruthless destruction of plume birds for the military trade; the Tortugus Key, Florida, where in connection with the Carnegie Institute, experiments have been made on the homing instinct of birds; and the great bird colonies on Laysan and sister islets in Hawaii, some of the greatest colonies of sea birds in the world.”  

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THE HOBBIT HOUSE WAS ABANDONED | Hiking Blog #2 of 77 @ McLellan Conservation Area

I’m the type of person that does a fair bit of wondering with my free time. I also wonder about quite a few different topics and questions. And so, while I was hiking around at McLellan, I got to wondering about the natural history of the area. Are these little Douglas Fir trees, encroaching on habitat that was once exclusively dominated by Ponderosa Pine? I wouldn’t be able to say with any kind of certainty, but it seemed like a potential possibility.

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THE PRINCIPLES FOR WHICH WE STAND… | Ted Talks #1 OF 77 @ Iller Creek Conservation Area


EXECUTIVE ORDER MARCH 14TH 1903
“It is hereby ordered that Pelican Island in Indian River in section nine, township-thirty-one south, range thirty-nine east, State of Florida, be, and it is herby, reserved and set apart for the use by the Department of Agriculture as a preserve and breeding ground for native birds.”
-President Theodore Roosevelt

And with those words from the President, the first unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System was born.

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THIS IS WHERE IT ALL BEGINS | Hiking Blog #1 of 77 @ Iller Creek Conservation Area

Any day spent hiking, is a good day in my book. Even so, hiking in beautiful weather makes everything just a little bit better. And what a beautiful day for a hike it was! Temperatures were consistent in the upper 40’s, and the sun was out, shining bright. I couldn’t have asked for a better day to kick off the Take a Hike Project.

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