Thursday, August 27, 2009

No 'poo, part 2

Status: 1 week.
So far I'm fairly pleased with the results of substituting 1 tbsp wet baking soda for shampoo and diluted vinegar/bottled water for a rinse. I no 'poo-d last Thursday, then on Sunday & Monday, and again today.
My hair has felt less greasy between washings since trying this, I hope that continues!
Yesterday I bought some apple cider vinegar and used it today instead of the white vinegar... the smell was a little stranger but results seemed about the same.
I've not used any other of my hair products (detanglers, root lifters, mousse, shine serum) since starting this project. If my ends feel fried I've rubbed on a small amount of jojoba oil.
Also, I'm allowing my hair to air-dry... if I must use the blow dryer, only on the cool setting and for a minute or two at a time.
The experiment continues.....
(No 'poo, part 1)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

"No 'poo"

So today I decided to try the "no shampoo" regimen on my hair, wherein you wash with 1 tbsp of baking soda mixed with water, then rinse with diluted apple cider vinegar... I substituted white vinegar instead and used just a little. I've been feeling like my scalp is unbalanced and I'm trying various things to see what might make a difference.
A few months ago I ditched the 'regular' shampoo and conditioner for an organic variety with no sulfates, which helped some because before that my scalp was sometimes so irritated. I also think our hard water may have an effect - I keep thinking of that tv show where the guy's water was turned off and he had to wash his hair with bottled water and loved it, then he brainstormed a water filter for showerheads.
Now I'm willing to give no 'poo a go, and I'm hoping it will work out. Reading comments from others on the net makes me a bit leery as a few girls with long, fine hair reported negative results.... but everyone is different and you never know until you try, so here goes.
I'd already done a light oil treatment on my dry hair before 'washing' so I anticipated that it might not feel clean at all with no 'poo. Actually it came out looking pretty well and with a nice texture. I used no conditioners or sprays and let it air dry, then gently combed and braided it.
I'm aware of the potential for a transition period where the oil-production part of my head may go into shock and wonder, "wth? no shampoo?! then let's kick this grease up a notch!" I just hope it doesn't get too out of control, and certainly hope it doesn't go in the other direction and frizz out, either.
It'll be interesting to see how this progresses.... wish me luck! If you've tried no 'poo and loved it or hated it, drop a comment - any suggestions, tips or observations would be appreciated.
(No 'poo, part 2)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Indian Flats Falls hike

A couple weeks ago we hiked in the Tremont area of the Smokies in effort to check another waterfall of our list. There'd been a hard rain previously, the day was mostly cloudy and we anticipated showers and good water flow at the falls - we weren't wrong.
The access to Indian Flats Falls is via Middle Prong Trail, an old railroad bed which parallels Lynn Camp Prong. It is just under 4 miles to reach the Falls, but if you don't want to go the whole distance there are many attractive little cascades to enjoy along the way.
Heavy rain had contributed to a fresh rock slide near the beginning of the trail.... that large rock is about the size of a bean bag chair.

A nice bench to view Lynn Camp Prong Cascade.

Rain did fall, slowly at first then progressed to a steady downpour then sporadic showers - we broke out the ponchos and continued onward.

Some serious force to pile these huge rocks.

A small creek falls on the right of the trail, runs under it and feeds into Lynn Camp Prong.

By now it was really raining hard and as we approached from a distance I saw the handrails of this bridge and thought maybe we could shelter underneath it until the downpour slacked off.... then again, maybe not.

When you get to the downed log across the trail, look for a well-worn footpath to the right for viewing the old car.

At 2.3 miles is the intersection with Panther Creek Trail, which branches off on the other side of the swiftly flowing Lynn Camp Prong... one would get majorly wet crossing there on this day.

A brick chimney still stands.

Old fire ring behind a tree growing on top of a rock in a wide clearing. Iron rail is nearby.

Occasional bursts of color punctuate an otherwise green and brown landscape.

The trail bed becomes quite rocky along the way and by the return trip I'd developed a stone bruise on my left arch, which was uncomfortable but not unmanageable.

A wooden bridge crosses the river at about 3.5 miles, then you climb a few switchbacks to a wide muddy spot with a scraped tree (probably from horses being tied to it). To the back and right of that tree is the narrow footpath to Indian Flats Falls. Use caution as the footing is a little treacherous in spots, especially when wet.

The falls are quite wonderful and have a nice little area to spread out and enjoy the atmosphere. We spotted a crawfish in the shallows. I took off my shoes and waded for a couple minutes until the icy waters made my feet numb.... yeah, in August. Then some aggressive honey bees discovered us and sent us packing along.

Video at the falls - showing the main/upper portion of 4 drop-offs, then panning over to the second drop-off.

We encountered several groups and an individual moving toward the falls as we headed back. Always pays to get an early start, as we are finding it more common to encounter folks on nearly all trails lately. Summertime + the most-visited national park = running into others is just about inevitable these days.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Rainbow Falls hike

A couple Sundays ago we hiked out Rainbow Falls Trail in the Smokies. As many times as we've traveled along the Roaring Fork Road (which is a LOT), this was our first time out to the falls because we generally try to avoid crowds.
Already having visited Laurel Falls, Grotto Falls and Abrams Falls (along with various less popular Smokies falls) we decided to finally bag this busy one.
The distance is 2.6 miles from trailhead to falls, with an elevation gain of about 1500 feet.

We started early and enjoyed our typical hiking weather - cloudy with sporadic showers. At one point we broke out the ponchos but after about 5 minutes it slacked off.

The trail is very heavily traveled with many eroding 'shortcuts' at switchbacks along the way, probably caused mostly by kids.

Lots of neat things to see if you're as obsessed with observation as I am.... I kinda feel sad to see others plod along viewing mostly their feet the entire way. I'm not gonna name any names or claim that I LIVE with anybody like that. Uh-uh. (Uh-huh.)

The obligatory tree-beats-rock photo :-)

That's a big tree, right there!
I think the ones on Ramsey Cascades trail are larger but this one is quite impressive nonetheless.

We overtook several groups along the way including several people wearing flimsy footwear and most were carrying no water.

You're probably saying, "seen one log bridge, seen 'em all".... well look, here's another!

We reached the falls. The water was low due to a dry spell; just a couple days after a great deal of rain caused some flooding around the park - I'd imagine the falls were fairly strengthened then.

One other group had arrived just before us and we observed as they frolicked about the place (see them in the photo for scale). We decided to hike a little farther up the trail in hopes they'd leave and we could enjoy some quiet at the falls. With luck on our side it worked out perfectly and when we returned they were gone. I enjoyed 10 minutes of bliss exploring and photographing before the next hikers arrived.

And another video from underneath the falls.

On the return trip, many people we passed asked if we'd made it all the way to the falls and of course, the most-asked trail question ever: "How much farther is it?" A lot of the folks we talked to said everyone else they'd met coming down before us had turned back before they'd reached the falls..... much to our surprise, as we've built up to 8-mile round-trip hikes and we felt the 'shortness' of this one in comparison. Hey, for sure we huffed and puffed going up, too. After all, it is uphill all the way....

I counted: we passed 140 people while on the trail (+/- 5)

Upon return to the parking lot, there was commotion over a mother bear and 2 or 3 cubs foraging. We've seen bears within that same area (far end of the Rainbow Falls parking lot) on several occasions. People crowded around much too closely (IMO) and one teen boy had even fled to the roof of the family mini van after the mother bear hissed at him.... last year a young boy was attacked by a bear near the start of Rainbow Falls Trail. Park rangers shot and killed a bear there shortly thereafter.