Haunting 2021 Part III: Night Terror

I always underestimate the amount of work it takes to get the multiple posts out covering the Haunted Trail of Tears each year. Thinking this is why I subconsciously put it off so long ha. The good news is the hard part is past. The prep/teardown (link here) and day walk (link here) posts have a ton of shots that all have to be processed and then I try to focus more on the details and backstory when presenting them. Today’s night walk post still has a ton of pictures which need even more work due to the limited lighting on the trail, however, I can just focus on the experience writing it up thanks to the those other two lead ins.

So, less words today, but hoping you enjoy a sampling from the big night. The Headless Horseman prop is the prop that gets the most attention throughout the night, both from our guests and us. The flaming pumpkin is quite the entertainer, but a hollowed out pumpkin full of kerosene in the woods takes extra caution.

Haunted Trail of Tears 2021

Hit the jump to see the various sights on the Haunted Trail of Tears 2021

Continue reading Haunting 2021 Part III: Night Terror

Haunting 2021 Part II: Day Walker

And we are back into this haunted March. In the last post I took you through the Haunted Trail of Tears 2021 prep phase and went ahead and covered the tear down while I was at it. It is time to once again to burn a hole through your browser’s image cache with the fun part of putting on this annual event – taking the run through and hitting some of the highlights and features our guests have come to expect to jump start their Halloween season. Today, the focus is on the “Day Walk” while I try to power through the work needed to get the “Night Walk” post prepped – yeoman’s work for sure.

Unfortunately, I forgot to get a shot of the Headless Horseman the first day of the two day event. Corrected this oversight the following morning, but the first pumpkin had already been through the burner ha! You will understand that more when you see the night shots.

Haunted Trail of Tears 2021 Day Walk

The Headless Horseman (link here), has definitely been a guest favorite since making its debut a few years ago. He is placed up near the house instead of on the trail so we can keep an eye on the flames pouring out of the pumpkin. Last thing I need is to set the woods on fire – although that might actually be the only way to flush the rabid clowns out of there.

Hit the jump to see more from the trail!

Continue reading Haunting 2021 Part II: Day Walker

Haunting 2021 Phase 1 and IV: Prep and Teardown

Those that have been following the March Haunt here at Intrigued are already aware that I discovered a huge gap in last year’s post cycle. I completely forgot to put the traditional recap of our annual Haunted Trail of Tears event. Not sure how that happened and I can’t even us the work crutch now that I’ve crossed my 1 year retirement anniversary. Admittedly, there was a giant sigh when this came to light as it is daunting work to get the images ready for such a post. The good news is the background tasks for the prep and tear down phases is now complete. Time to get that checked off my to-do list!

Each year the first item on the project plan is to open up all the trails in our woods. Since we have a large number of guests that attend, we want to make sure the trails are easy to walk, free of downed obstacles and even more important, falling hazards addressed. Adding to the importance is the fact the event happens mostly in the dark with little to no ambient light. The month leading up to the date requires a lot of time on Big Orange.

Haunted Trail of Tears 2021

Mow all the grass/weeds down, haul off dead trees, smooth out the mole highways and cut back the god-awful invasive Multiflora Rose – a constant pain in my ass. At least our Locust Trees drop their thorns within the perimeter of the tree where the Rose sneaks under cover of night and plants itself where it can inflict the most pain. After a month of hard work and buckets of blood loss, the trails are in good enough shape and ready for a final mowing a couple of days prior to the big date.

During this same timeframe, night activities turn to prop prep. All the tubs have to be brought down from their storage racks in the outbuilding and those requiring assembly and/or batteries are brought down to the basement. That also brings on one of the bigger reoccurring expenses for the event – BATTERIES. Took this picture of a small portion of the required DC power. I stopped counting when I got to 100 9Vs, 35 AAAs and then 245 AAs.

Hit the jump to go behind the scenes at the Haunted Trail of Tears! (don’t be scared, we turned the lights on)

Continue reading Haunting 2021 Phase 1 and IV: Prep and Teardown

Project Injection Freddy

Hopefully with this latest barrage of non-wildlife posts, I am putting to rest all those false accusations Intrigued has completely gone to the birds. A quick count puts this at the 5th consecutive post featuring non-living topics. Some would say this is getting out of “hand”! Speaking of which…

Project Freddy Injection Prop for Haunted Trail of Tears 2021

Yep, we are bringing another Halloween prop project that was first introduced in last year’s Haunted Trail of Tears. Halloween may only be a day in most people’s standard year, but around Intrigued it is 363 days a year (we have to take two days off from prop building in order to hold the actual two day event ha). Today’s feature was in the works for probably 3 years and the pieces were just not coming together very well. Made the head first, wasn’t really happy with it as there were issues during the foam filling process. Fixed that issue the next year, got the iconic Freddy hat and then ran out of time to build the Posey frame (link here and earlier versions here). It wasn’t until Covid (more accurately the Covid “response”) that it finally provided the spark …err needle to get me going.

Project Freddy Injection Prop for Haunted Trail of Tears 2021

Hit the jump to read about how the key element of this prop came to fruition.

Continue reading Project Injection Freddy

Project Mini-Me Fire Breather

March at Intrigued is slowly turning into October junior. This isn’t by any divine strategy (although a spring Halloween would be awesome!). Nope, this is entirely due to looking at my post queue and realizing I need to get my ass in gear and get at least LAST year’s Halloween related posts out. If not, it pretty much snowballs from there as the prop building is already in progress for this year’s event and before you know it I’ll be in full stress mode trying to get everything planned for the big event. How the hell did I get all this done when I was still working!?!

Whining about it, isn’t going to solve the problem, so let’s get to work. Today’s featured Halloween prop is another “upgrade” project.

Project Mini-Me Fire Breather prop for Haunted Trail of Tears 2021

Our Mini-Me dragon started out as a base prop that one of my nephews or nieces gave me for Christmas. Note to others, if there is ever a need for a gift idea, you can never go wrong in the haunt department. I picked up the daddy dragon the year before at Big Lots (will show that later). It was a more featured offering with lights in the eyes, moving mouth and various dragon related sounds. The Mini-Me version looked similar, but was lacking these additional features.

Project Mini-Me Fire Breather prop for Haunted Trail of Tears 2021

Hit the jump to see how this store-bought prop underwent a dramatic improvement before heading out to the haunted trail.

Continue reading Project Mini-Me Fire Breather

Project Toxic Spidey Upgrade

Hitting the non-wildlife side of Intrigued hard this month. I have way too many projects waiting in the queue and need to keep pressing if I ever want to see above the waterline this year. Priority one is to at least get through the Halloween related posts before we get deep into setting up this year’s Haunted Trail of Tears. There are always at least two haunt projects in the works here which always draws one or two strange looks from the service people that come into the house for one reason or another. The regulars are used to it by now and some have even started giving me feedback on the finished props positioned around the basement. The new ones have a very worried look and waste no time getting their tasks done ha! Today I thought I would bring you the latest addition to the collection.

Toxic Spidey Halloween Prop 2022

I call him Toxic Spidey and is an elaboration on a store bought skeleton spider my nephew and niece gave me for Christmas this year. They know my sickness, I mean affinity for all things scary. I am really fond of this new wave of props that have been coming out that focus on skeletal structures of smaller animals and insects. Note, they do give us quite the chuckle when they keep the cartilage features like ears – this spider is slightly truer to reality although thankfully larger than the ones we see out in our woods.

Toxic Spidey Halloween Prop 2022

Hit the jump to see how this lifeless prop gets a brighter life.

Continue reading Project Toxic Spidey Upgrade

Project Cemetery Sentry

Getting to crunch time.  We are now officially under 8 months to Halloween and we still have LOTS to do to get ready for the 2022 Haunted Trail of Tears event (link here).  Just realized I didn’t post the detail shots for that event – will get on that stat.  Right now I wanted to focus on one of the props I built for last year’s haunt.  Technically it is an “upgraded” of a prop that was several years old. 

Cemetery Fogging Gargoyle prop for 2021 Haunted Trail of Tears

I had designed two Nightwings (link here) and was looking for a clever way to incorporate them into the haunt.  Ron found this really cool Gargoyle at Home Depot and bought it for me to use with one of the wings.  That heavy resin prop already came with wings so we just tried to cover them up.  I also whipped up a stand the night before that year’s event to hold the Gargoyle and the mechanical wings.  Trust me, it did look better at night.

Cemetery Fogging Gargoyle prop for 2021 Haunted Trail of Tears

After looking at for a couple of years, decided it was time to give it the presentation it deserved – the black plastic tablecloth covering didn’t fit the high standards we set for the trail. Bring on Project Cemetery Sentry.

Cemetery Fogging Gargoyle prop for 2021 Haunted Trail of Tears

Doesn’t that look a lot better!?! Thought I would walk you through the effort involved with the transformation.

Hit the jump for more details on the ’21 addition to the prop collection.

Continue reading Project Cemetery Sentry

Break Out the Parachute Pants, It’s Humor Time

The geopolitical landscape is pretty much a shit-show at the moment and I figured everyone might like a quick escape from the doom and gloom being peddled nonstop in the lamestream media. What better way to do that than roll out another episode of Fails in the Wild. Been a spell since my last one (link here) – eesh, just checked, a little over 2 years now. That just means I’ve have more options to choose from! So, turn away from the talking heads, thicken your skin (there is a good chance something might offend you in the name of a cheap laugh), grab a tasty adult beverage assuming you are old enough, toss some popcorn in the microwave, sit back and enjoy. Feel free span this post over multiple sittings as it turned out rather lengthy. Note, all complaints can be sent directly to our legal team who will respond once someone frees them from the locked closet.

There is no better fodder for public failure than signs. We all make “Engrish” mistakes from time to time – hell, I messed up on “threw” just a few posts ago. That, of course, doesn’t make us hesitate in the least when making fun of others hehehe. I do appreciate they at least tried to sound out the syllables in the high value Scrabble word they were trying to impress us with.

Now, credit is due to the above author. Americans (that is my current data pool) seem to have a problem when trying to go long distances in all capital letters. At some point in that string of letters they will revert to lowercase. Ron can attest, I enjoy playing the Where’s Lowercase Waldo. Personally been handwriting in all caps since my first high school computer language class and I still have to concentrate like Brandon trying to make out letters on a teleprompter to keep my fingers from taking the low route. Kudos on keeping it up (you know you want to laugh at that pun), but now let’s work on straight lines.

Saw the following sign at a state park during our January trip to Texas. Guess what place I do NOT need to be instructed to stay at LEAST 6 feet away! The fact they felt this might actually happen concerned me greatly.

Now that you know what you are in for, hit the jump to see the rest of the fails.

Continue reading Break Out the Parachute Pants, It’s Humor Time

Burt’s Bees Please

I predicted it – we’ve come to the end of this short month and I’m scrambling to hit my monthly quota. Hats off to my fellow bloggers that are far more productive than I am – not to mention those dedicated souls that are releasing content daily. I need at least one if not two really long runs between posts just to figure out what my next topic is going to be. Luckily I managed to get a decent 9.5 mile run in yesterday that resulted in this bundle of cuteness being selected to close out February.

Ross's Goose found at Henderson Bird Viewing Center in Henderson, NV while there in February 2020

Not sure what the key trigger was, but somewhere in the fog of fatigue I remembered our trip to Las Vegas in February 2020 – possibly thinking about warmer climates being confronted with unexpected snow/ice on the difficult ascents and descents where I was training. That led to remembering I had not processed a single picture from that trip – thousands of pictures just sitting there alone in a cold dark folder in a long forgotten drive hoping with all their bits to be found and presented to the world – yeah, my mind is all over the place when trying to forget that my legs aren’t lounging on the beach sipping drinks with tiny umbrellas.

Ross's Goose found at Henderson Bird Viewing Center in Henderson, NV while there in February 2020

Hit the jump for more background on our extremely cute Goose.

Continue reading Burt’s Bees Please

An Olive Bath

This being a short month, I’ve been watching the calendar closely so I do not blow my self-imposed monthly post quota. Even with that extra scrutiny, I still feel I’m lagging behind. It hasn’t helped that I’ve had a myriad of doctor appointments to take care of and a dentist appointment this week that ended up with multiple needles being shoved halfway up my nose (“Hey, is that grey matter I see on that railroad spike you call a needle!?!). One more doctor visit left this month and then I should be free for two months until I can get in to finally see my referral consultation – very much appreciate all the well wishes in the comments, especially Brad who offered me a pint of his blood (Cat family bonds run strong!). On a happier note, we had the chance to run up to Iowa today to play Santa Claus – unfortunately had to miss Linda’s family Christmas and then we spent the next month in Texas. We joked we wanted to wait until there was snow on the ground unlike the real date ha! While there, Linda drove me around to some birding hot spots. True to winter form, the Eagles were thick on the Mighty Mississippi. Quick count was at least 30 of those majestic birds were hunting the frigid waters down by I280. In tribute to that success, thought I would go with another sure bet when it comes to winter birding.

Olive Sparrow found at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge in January of 2021

Today’s featured feathered friend is a winter bird only in the sense we have encountered them only in our winter excursions. You will not see this particular bird ANYWHERE near cold temperatures unless you count the bizarre cold snaps that have hit Texas the last couple of years. Their region maps consists of year round residency along the coasts of Central America and just barely into the southernmost tip of Texas.

Olive Sparrow found at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge in January of 2021

Hit the jump to read more about this LOJ (warning space aliens may be watching)

Continue reading An Olive Bath