Tag Archives: essay

Oh My…This Is Beyond Insanity

We have to have an FBI investigation they cried. This is shameful they whined. We can’t proceed without an investigation they brayed. So what happens? An FBI investigation is done, and now???? It’s not good enough.

I’m sorry, but you folks have gone off of the deep end. We know what you are trying to do. You aren’t slick as you think you are. We get it! It doesn’t matter who the nominee is, you folks on the left will repeat what has been going on since before Kavanaugh was even nominated. The holier than thou posturing has really made you look like squirrels that have taken too much acid.

All of this behavior is a direct result of having a president for eight years who went unchecked by not only everyone in his own party, but the media as well.

Now that someone is actually calling you on your hypocrisy and slimy behavior, you can’t handle it. Boo-Hoo.

How could this have been different for all of you on the left? Run a candidate next time that doesn’t think that they are owed the presidency. Actually campaigning might help as well. Unfortunately this is just more sour grapes because you lost.

Sorry folks, in this case you don’t get a ribbon for second place.

As always, if this offends in any way, shape or form…I don’t care.

Hmmm…What About The Men??

I have tried my best to keep this blog free of politics because quite frankly, I like hiking more. But for the longest time now politicians on both sides of the aisle have proven that they are nothing but lying cretins who thrive on a scorched earth policy. I have listened to the accusations being thrown at Brett Kavanaugh since he was nominated. But one thing I have not heard, especially from the left is, what about the man? What if he is truly innocent?

Now before you get all self-righteous and start calling me names and saying I don’t care, it is about time to talk about the other side of this. We all have friends, relatives and acquaintances who are male. What if one of them were accused with something as horrible as what we have seen? Knowing your friend, relative, or acquaintance as well as you do, would you immediately jump on the she’s right and he’s wrong band wagon?

I have an almost 22 year old son who I have spent years preaching the importance of avoiding situations that might be misconstrued. I have gone on and on about drinking, over drinking and using drugs at parties. I have tried to raise him with a moral system that would make him think about putting himself into a situation that could damaging. I hope that he has listened. To this point he has not been in any type of compromising situation that could ruin his life. Is it by luck or through his upbringing? Or both?

Is it just a matter of time before he becomes one of the accused?

Of course I am not saying women are not sexually assaulted. They are. But’s let’s focus on that instead of demonizing every living male. The calls for all Republican males to be castrated is repulsive. Where is the anger at that.

Yes, women do make up stories for whatever the reason might be. Yes, that is a fact. But the left keeps coming up with more and more ridiculous claims. Think about that when it is your son, father, cousin or friend who has been accused. Will it matter if you know he is innocent? If you know that he couldn’t have done what he is accused of? According to the left it won’t matter. He’s guilty. He has to pay!

Be it through career, job or reputation,  (or all three) he will pay!!!!

Once again, think about it if your friend, relative or acquaintance was on the receiving end of a vicious attack like this. I’ll bet you would sing a different tune.

As noted on some of my Facebook posts recently, if you are in any way offended by this post, I don’t care. Comments are more than welcome but please keep them clean.

I’ll end my rant here.

Camino de Santiago

camino

A couple of days ago I wrote that after careful consideration, a thru hike of the Appalachian Trail was not going to happen. After consulting with my doctor, the fact that something could happen during a thru hike related to being dehydrated and my kidneys was too much to ignore. Also, if I were to get injured on the trail, I’m not confident that I would be able to either get out under my own power or be able to contact someone for help. This latest incident really made me think!

So what am I to do? A couple of years ago two of my colleagues completed a portion of the Santiago de Compostela. As I sat in my usual spot earlier this summer waiting and waiting for my ankle to heal, I thought about that and began researching what it would take to hike the entire Camino Frances.

What is the Santiago de Compostela you might ask? (taken from Wikipedia)

“The Camino de Santiago “Pilgrimage of Compostela”; known in English as the Way of Saint James among other names, is a network of pilgrims’ ways serving pilgrimage to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where tradition has it that the remains of the saint are buried. Many follow its routes as a form of spiritual path or retreat for their spiritual growth. It is also popular with hiking and cycling enthusiasts and organized tour groups.”

Although there are many different routes to get to Santiago, “The commonly agreed-upon route for El Camino de Santiago (a.k.a. the Way of St. James) begins at Saint Jean Pied de Port, France, and travels 500 miles through four of Spain’s 15 regions, ending at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia.” This is the route that I intend to take.

Because so many people choose to hike, walk or bike the Camino, it has actually become a livelihood for the poeple living there and as a result has been broken up into 32 stages. Although the distance of each of the stages are similar, the difficulty can range from really difficult to really easy. It all depends on the day. They say you should allow for a total of 35 days to hike the Camino Frances, but some take longer, some shorter. There are so many towns and villages along the way so that if you decide that you want to go longer one day or cut a day short, it’s all up to you.

This is the main reason I have chosen to hike the Camino Frances. The fact that being isolated along the Camino is next to impossible, water is plentiful and places to stay are in abundance makes this an ideal place to spend a month or two right after I retire. You can even add on mileage at the end to add a hundred or so miles to your trek!

So the dream for now to thru hike the AT is gone. That’s ok. The large amount of other places to experience what it offers can be found elsewhere and I think that I have found it.

Has anyone reading this hiked any part of the Camino de Santiago?  Is anyone planning to do so? Let me know. 

 

 

Disconnect

shhhh

In his essay about silence, noted explorer, author and publisher Erling Kagge notes three things-1) The basic state in our brain is one of chaos, 2) An abundance of activities leaves us with a feeling of experiential poverty and 3) We are living in the age of noise.

Why does he say this? Think about it. What do we do every day? We wake up and what is the first thing we do? We look at our phones. We check e-mails, texts and phone messages. We get to work and do the same. After work we repeat the process and it never seems like we get off of the electronic devices crazy train.

One of the things I learned while I was in the hospital a couple of months ago was that nothing happened to me when I couldn’t use my cell phone or ipad (to face time). The world didn’t end, I didn’t cease to exist or go crazy. I just did what I did when I was a kid, I read books. Honestly, I didn’t care that i couldn’t access my phone.

Imagine this-six days of quiet. Not total silence (I was in a hospital), but I did not have the usual distractions that we are all forced to endure every day. I will admit that it was nice. My mind became uncluttered and I didn’t find myself checking the phone or ipad for messages, notification and e-mails.

My idea is a simple one. Take one day a week and disconnect. It’s not that difficult. As a matter fact, it’s really quite nice. I did it and survived.

Does anyone out there do anything to disconnect on a daily basis? I would love to read some of your thoughts.

Don’t Let Them Fool You, PT Is No Joke!

'Shall we start with some stretching exercises?'

My first PT session.

Yesterday I started PT. My daughter, who is 17 and has had the “pleasure” of participating in some quality PT told me that I would be in some pain after the first session. She was right. She was also quick to remind me of the time when she complained about the pain after a PT session and was told to, “suck it up.” So when she asked how my ankle felt when I got home, I told her. Her response??? You guessed it-“Suck it up dad.”

Since it was an initial visit, I spent about twenty minutes being questioned, then another thirty having my ankle twisted, turned, bent and pulled. This, I am told, will bring me closer to getting me back to where I want, no, need to be.

The need to be back in the woods hiking is a strong one. It has been two months to the day since I slid, fell and fractured my ankle on that fateful backpacking trip. Two months of sitting around recuperating isn’t as much fun as it sounds! Obviously it is sitting around time that is necessary, and that is what makes it somewhat bearable.

But as uncomfortable as it has been and will continue to be for a while longer, it also means that I am healing, and that is a good thing. The bottom line is this-You have to be positive. Life is way too short to set sucked into the negative. It will most certainly kill you.

My goal? I want to be back on the trails no later than October 1st!!

What I Have Learned…

The Urban Dictionary defines Cabin Fever as: A type of hysteria brought on by spending too much time indoors.

It has now been forty-one days since I had surgery on my ankle. Due to the layout of our yard (it’s on a hill) and the steps leading in and out of my house, it has been next to impossible to leave my humble abode. That is where the Cabin Fever comes in. Being stuck in the house is no fun. The danger of doing nothing was, and is always there. You tend to get a little wacky sitting around. Luckily, I can say that I have had a lot of time to think and can tell you that I have learned many things over these last six weeks.

I have learned that:

  1. No matter how many precautions you take when you are hiking, things will go wrong. Case in point being I was the third person in line the day I fractured my ankle. I heard my friend say to #2, “Watch out, it’s slippery, move to the left.” #2 then turned to me and said, “Watch out, it’s slippery, move to the left.” So what did I do? I moved to the left and still ended up with a busted ankle.
  2. Even if you think that you drink a lot of water, drink more.  I drink a lot of water. I mean a lot. But somehow I still ended up in renal failure.  Think and Drink!!!!
  3. At 53 , you can learn to speak another language. One of my biggest fears in coming home was that I would sit in front of the boob tube all day. I went ahead and bought Rosetta Stone and have been pleasantly surprised to find out that an old dog can learn new tricks!
  4. I could rekindle my love of reading. Not that I sopped reading, but I have read more books this summer than I can remember. Old books, new books, short books and long books, nothing has been off limits!

Finally and most importantly:

If it hadn’t been for my friends, I would have been in serious trouble. They immediately knew that my ankle wasn’t the only issue and called 911 immediately. As my condition worsened, they didn’t panic and kept me calm. For this I am forever grateful!

Needless to say, these six weeks haven’t been easy. But by making decisions that would keep me moving mentally, it has lessened the effects of my perceived cabin fever.

Happy Hiking!!!

Hiker Culture

What do I love about hikers? Pretty much just about everything. With the exception of a couple of folks, I can tell you that every hiker that I have ever met have been unique individuals who have great stories to tell of one hike or another. Over the years the number of hikers that I have encountered has grown ten fold and for the most part that has been a good thing. I love seeing the sweaty smiling faces as I pass them on the trail. The greetings of “What’s up?” and “Have a nice hike!” stay with me as we each move past each other in our own space and time.

But what else is it about hikers? What has attracted to me to this culture of hiking and its intrepid travelers? Many things. But before we get into some specifics, what is culture?

A very simple definition of culture that I got from the Cambridge dictionary is the following and says that culture is “the way of life, especially the general customs and beliefs, of a particular group of people at a particular time”. I would think that hikers, no matter what kind, fit this definition. They are an incredible diverse group of individuals that come together and create their own dialect, customs and lifestyle. So, what are my top three characteristics or values of what I see as hiker culture?

Overall, hikers are an incredibly welcoming group. It doesn’t matter what how old you are, your race, weight, height or religion, If you are out traversing the trails, then you are a full fledged member of the group. They aren’t afraid to break bread with strangers or share what they have if they encounter someone who may not have planned a hike properly.

I have also found that hikers aren’t afraid to ask for assistance from other hikers if they aren’t sure of where they are or where they may be going. And this is the coolest part. If they can, they will help you! Out comes the map and together you will work towards a solution to get you on your way. Although both of these provide an example of a sense of community, they are on different levels.

The one thing that truly makes me proud to be part of this tribe is the respect that fellow hikers have for trails that they are walking on. Words such as “Leave No Trace” actually mean something to people who hike. I can count on one hand the number of times that I have had to pick up trash while hiking. To me, that sends a powerful message.

Now remember, this list is by no means a comprehensive one. I have chosen my top three and shared them with you.

What are the values or characteristics that define hiker culture for you?

Happy Hiking!!!