Wednesday, August 29, 2012

West Simsbury - Hedgehog Mountain Hike

Date Hiked:  Sunday, August 26, 2012
Number in group: 3
Estimated distance round-trip: 3 miles
Weather:  Sunny, 84°F
Resources:  Simsbury Walkbook, West Mountain Trails Map
Highlights of the trip: Views

On Sunday, I went with a friend and her husband to hike the Western Mountain trails in West Simsbury.  He geocached as we hiked along.  Using the map below, you can get an idea of our route.  We started at the Master's School parking lot and hiked north along the red trail until we came to the bridge where the Hedgehog Trail joins the Cathles Trail.  Here we took the white trail west to the blue trail to return to the car.

From Simsbury Land Trust website.
The views from the overlook on the Hedgehog Trail are some of the best around.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture, so I will share one from April of 2009.

Overlook on Hedgehog Trail from April 2009.

The trail to the overlook wasn't too bad, probably because I had someone to talk to to keep my mind off of the climb.  Plus, we stopped a few times for the geocacher to look around.

After the view, we headed, down, down, down, to the bridge over the stream where the Cathles Trail starts.  Instead of turning around and going back up, up, up, we used the white trail as a cut-off over to the blue trail and took that back.

Bridge where Hedgehog and Cathles Trails meet.

The blue trail saved us from the steep ascent we would have had to make if we retraced our steps.  The trail was pretty rocky, though.  We did get a great view of the talus slope on the back side of the ridge.

Along the blue trail.

Talus slope.

The blue trail also takes you alongside the Simsbury Resevoir.  We could see it a little through the trees, but we didn't venture down to it.  The reservoir didn't look as clear as I was expecting.  It looked like it might have a bunch of lily pads or other plants, but like I said, we didn't go down to check it out.

This is really a nice hike.  It would be great to do in the fall so I may get my homeschool hiking group out there to enjoy it.

Starting to Explore plus a Blogger Frustration

I decided to start this blog as a place to record some of my outdoor activities and interesting things I find along the way.

I have two other blogs.  One is a private blog intended to keep family members up-to-date on what my kids are doing.  The other is a homeschool hiking blog (Farmington Valley Homeschool Hikers).  Granwood Explores will likely be similar to that one, but will include outdoor activities I take part in outside of the homeschool group I hike with.  I am also hoping to use GranWood Explores as a way to join in the Outdoor Hour Challenges posted at the Handbook of Nature Study blog.


Now, to my frustration with Blogger.

I will preface this by saying I really do not understand much of anything about computers and the internet.  I know how to turn my computer on and I have managed to figure out how to accomplish most of what I want, but probably not in the most efficient way.  I do not know HTML, which is why Blogger is nice.  I don't have to know anything.  I just type.  That being said, when I run into a problem, I am in trouble.

Like my other blogs, I would like to add a photo to my header.  Unfortunately, when I try to do that, I get this message:

We're sorry, but you have exceeded your photo upload quota. For more information, check out this Blogger help page.

Okay, but the interesting thing is that I can still add photos to the body of my blog posts.  Upon further research, I see that if I have reached my quota, all the pictures I upload using Blogger (stored in Picasa Web Album - PWA) will be automatically resized to 800 pixels on the longest side.  Any files smaller than 800x800 pixels don't count toward my 1GB of free storage.  I'm cool with that.

With that information in mind, I figured I'd upload the picture I want to use for my header into the body of a post just to have PWA automatically resize it.  Once it was in PWA, I figured I could put it in my header by linking to it.  No dice.  I guess because the link is https?  (Why is the header different than the posts?)

I tried resizing it myself and grabbing it straight from my computer.  No, I get the same message about reaching my quota.  Either the picture counts toward my quota or not.  If I reduce its size, shouldn't I be able to put it in the header?

This is where my lack of understanding has hurt me.  If I had understood or, let's be honest, even known about the storage restrictions, perhaps I could have reduced picture sizes from the beginning of my foray into the blogosphere.  Questionable, but maybe.  I have looked to see if there is a way to reduce the pixels in the pictures already there, but I think it would require exporting and reloading and the likelihood of messing up all my previous blog posts seems pretty high.

On another note, I have looked at both the help page and my Picasa Web Album and there is a bit of a conflict.  If I go to the area where it shows the price for the upgraded storage plans, it shows my current plan and says I have only used 37% of my free Picasa storage.  However, if I go to the bottom of my Picasa web page, it shows that I have reached 100% capacity.  Strange.  I don't doubt that I could be at my maximum, but the inconsistency bothers me.  If I buy more storage will it really solve my problem?

The end result is, for now, this blog will have to go without a picture in the header.