Friday, October 23, 2009

Fall/Winter Hiking

We are planning another hike, that is the good news....the bad news is the fluctuation in the weather. If it is going to be warm you plan for it to be warm, if it is cold you plan for it to be cold. How do you plan for a hike when it is 35°-45° (or colder) one day and 45°-75° the next.

Which sleeping bag do I take?

What coats do I take?

You can prepare for any possible weather, but then your pack weighs 35 lbs and it is so much more enjoyable carrying around a pack that weighs 25 lbs. Of course if it is between being really, really cold and carrying a 35 lbs pack....give me the 35 lbs pack!

More important is the question, do I take Kallie? And how cold is too cold for her?


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Talking a Good Game

Anyone who sets himself up as "religious" by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world. James 1:26-27

I need to apologize, I need to say I am sorry to God, to his Son, to my fellow believers for not always walking the way I should, for not always loving the way I should, for not always showing compassion the way I should. I need to apologize to the world for not reflecting the compassion, the love, the truth of Jesus in everything that I have done. There have been many times in my life where I have "talked a good game", where my words spoke much louder than my actions.

I hope that has changed, I want less talk and more game....I want to walk as Jesus walked. Jesus said in John that he is the way and the truth and the life, my prayer for myself is that I can walk in His way, live in His truth, and have His abundant life in me. If you are a believer, my prayer for you is that you walk in His way....and if you are not a believer, that you find His truth and discover His love.


Friday, October 16, 2009

Hiking with Kallie - Part 2

Ok, here are the real pictures of Kallie and her pack. I am not sure she is fully used to the pack, I think she feels she is in trouble when I put it on her.

I am sure she will like it in time.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hiking with Kallie

What is it about a dog that makes her man's best friend? Why is it that a dog is such a wonderful and often healing companion? I am not quite sure, but I do know that my Chocolate Lab (Kallie) is that companion for me. To date, Kallie has not been hiking with us, but I sense that she really, really wants to go. I am not sure if it is because she wants to be with me or she senses there are a whole lot of sticks out on the trail that need chewing (in case you do not know Kallie, she always has a stick). The other day I received a package in the mail that will help Kallie realize her dream.

Actually this is our Pekingese Wicket, who has delusions of grandeur, he thinks that he is a big dog. Meghann thought it would be funny to send me this picture instead of a good one featuring Kallie with the pack. Pictures of Kallie with the pack to follow, and I will definitely give you all a detailed report when we return from our first trip, good.....or bad.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Hiking in Running Shoes

So, Straight Leg and I have been hiking in running shoes instead of boots and I have to tell you it has been a terrific experiment. Absolutely the only issue I have run into is wet grass, because they are simply running shoes they do not keep water out.

We used to hike in boots and there is much to be said for the ankle support and the sole protection of the boot. However, with the lightness of the running shoes and the overall comfort, our feet feel so much better upon arriving at camp.

My plan is to transition to a water-resistant or water-proof trail runner or low top hiker very soon. Probably after the winter season.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Virginia AT 09-2009: Punchbowl Shelter to US 60 -- Mile 783.9 to 795.2

Day 2 was beautiful, we packed up and headed down the trail. We were feeling the previous days hike but it really was a terrific hike. There was lots of water (something absent from day 1), bridges, educational signs, and wildlife.

There is something about waterfalls and rushing water that really speaks to me, I just love it. This was a neat area with a few camping spots.

I love educational/informational signs, there were two on this leg of the trail.

Towards the end of the trail (roughly 2 miles from our pickup point), we met up with Bike. He usually hikes in a ways and waits for us, we often are in conversation and walk right up on him before we realize it. Bike is sneaky (and quiet) like that.

I know, I know....I said wildlife earlier, but I took this picture because my oldest daughter looooooooooooooves caterpillars. She goes around the yard making "homes" for them and even knows which ones she can touch and which ones she cannot touch. This picture is for her.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Virginia AT 09-2009: James River to Punchbowl Shelter -- Mile 773.2 to 783.9

The James river is quite impressive, as is the footbridge crossing the James. Bike returned for support on the trip and let me tell you, it is so much easier when you have support. We were able to drive straight to our drop off point and head straight home from our pickup point.

The trail was wonderful and the day was beautiful. We started out about 10 with no real worry about making it to shelter before dark so we just enjoyed the hike.

There were a few vistas, however early in the day they mostly were obscured by overcast conditions and fog.

However, by midday the fog had lifted and the views looked more like this.

We also found a place to sit and enjoy the view on top of Bluff Mountain. It always amazes me how they get the building materials up on top of some of these places.


Friday, October 2, 2009


Wow, this season in my life has been incredible....I truly have more fun with each passing year than the year before. Not that there are no ups and downs, but the total sum of my life is always increasing -- day by day, hour by hour.

This year alone (just to state a few) we found out we were going to have baby #3, I went on an amazing journey to Nicaragua (shameless plug for reading more of my blog inserted here), we found out the baby we were having is a boy (our first boy), my daughters amaze and astound me in so many new ways each day, I fall in love with my wife so much deeper every day, I have been able to do two really good hikes with Straight Leg (and hopefully 1 - 2 more this year), went to an awesome U2 concert with wonderful friends, and daily become more and more thankful for our wonderful church. I also recently found out that my sister-in-law, who has battled cancer for the past few years, not only can see the light at the end of the tunnel....but is about to drive out into the daylight. Visit her blog to read more of her story (

There is so much more, these are just a few, but I am just thankful for the awesome and wonderful life I have been given. I have had years where the darkness did not seem to end, and I know full well that there are trials and troubles ahead of me, but I know that like Molly Jeremiah 29:11 is always true even if we cannot visually see where it is all leading.