Saturday Hike & Storm

Just back a while ago from my morning hike. I only did a little over 8 miles due to the weather. Another huge wind fest but with lots of rain this time. Then as it so often does in the desert the rain stopped, the sun came out, the wind died away, and the humidity reigned!

Here’s a few clips I shot while having some fun!

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Saturday Hike & Storm

First Impressions – Altair Timps

I’ve been hearing about Altair trail runners for a few years now. They tend to be either hated or loved by those who use them. I’ve been wanting to try a pair for a long time now, but didn’t want to take a shot of buying over the internet since I have a track record of getting the wrong sizes!

Monday I went to REI and checked things out. They  didn’t have any Lone Peaks in my size but I had been wanted to check out the Timp and they did have those, so I checked them out.

I learned that for me at least they fit to size. I’ve read a lot about having to buy a size larger in Altairs, but not so here at any rate.

The first thing I noticed when I put them on was how light they are. It’s amazing. They have to be the lightest trail shoes I’ve ever used. Here’s a shot of the pair I bought, for $110, which isn’t bad at all really.

Altra Timps

So this morning my old pay jet lag woke me up early, I decided to take advantage and make jet lag work for me! So I suited up, put on my Timps and headed out the door at around 4:15 or so. It was about 94 degrees and fairly humid. I ended up doing almost 5.5 miles and my feet felt great.

If you know about Altairs you know they have two outstanding features which I’ll comment about below.

Zero Drop

Most shoes are made with the heel being slightly higher than the toes. But Altair have a naturalistic philosophy so they decided to make their shoes like you feet, with no, or zero, drop from heel to toe.

When you put them on and stand up you feel this immediately. It stretches out your calf and Achilles tendon a lot more than traditional shoes. It doesn’t feel bad to me, just different. As I hiked I could feel the stretch for sure, especially at first going steeply downhill. But there was not pain at all.

I did notice that without that extra weight in the heel I walked a bit differently. I tend to plant my heel hard, which has caused me some injuries in the past. I stepped a bit lighter this morning which is probably a good thing.

Expanded Toe Box

If you look at the picture above you might notice the front of the shoe (the toe box) is wider than what’s normal on most shoes. That’s is another naturalistic feature of Altairs. They don’t squish your toes together but give them room to breath.

I have to say it felt good as soon as I put them on. The more I walked the better I felt. By the time I got home I was loving the feeling in my toes. I’ve had a lot of trouble in the Salomon’s I’ve been using, but not here.

Now granted I only did five and a half miles, but still my feet felt much better then usual at the end. I did notice some slight rubbing on one toe on my left foot. So time will tell on this and I’ll keep a close eye on it.

First Impression

My first impression of the Altair Timp is very positive. I’m looking forward to seeing how they do on longer hikes and am planning on taking them to Spain for the last 300 miles of the Camino. That will be the real test!

As things develop I hope to keep you updated with other posts.

Till then don’t stop walking!

First Impressions – Altair Timps

Larry Norman and the Perils of Christian Rock

This is a book review of sorts. I just finishing reading Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music?: Larry Norman and the Perils of Christian Rock by Gregory Thornbury. It’s the first real biography of Larry Norman that I’m aware of.

Yes, I was a big fan of Larry’s music while not always being such a big fan of Larry himself. Besides not being on the same page as he was on many issues, Larry was a very controversial figure and over the years I found that very off putting.

However none of that changed my love for his music. I still love it, dated though most of it is. So I was excited to read a book that was written with full access to all his papers and material given to the author by the Norman family.

It’s a good read for the most part. I did get the impression that the author wasn’t much on the church in general and I couldn’t quite figure out where he stood on the Gospel itself. You might think that shouldn’t matter, but it does to me. Larry spent most of his life trying to communicate the Gospel and if you don’t understand it I doubt you can really understand Larry.

I’m sure a lot of people won’t like the book. It shows Larry warts and all. It also shows those around him warts and all. I was disturbed by the way the author talked about some other Christian musicians I’m also fond of. Randy Stonehill comes off in a particularly bad light. If the book is true then it’s sad that they never really reconciled completely as I had thought they had.

I also felt the author didn’t investigate the allegations that came very late in Larry’s life that he had fathered a child out of wedlock. He does talk about it but I wish he had interviewed those still living who are involved in this. Perhaps he tried and couldn’t, I don’t know.

All in all this is a picture of a man who was far from perfect. He loved Jesus, music and wanted to be a huge player in an alternative to the “church world” as it existed in the 1960’s and ’70’s. Like everyone else Larry Norman has plenty of faults and struggled to live up to what he preached. In the end he might have had as many successes as failures in that regard. But how many of us can do better? We aren’t all paragon’s of virtue like Billy Graham.

When the dust has settled on Norman’s life what’s left for those of us who never knew him is his body of work. That stands the test of time. In 2014 his signature album, Only Visiting This Planet, was inducted into the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry as one of the best rock albums ever made.

I doubt Larry Norman could have ever asked for much more than that for his work. He is gone but his work lives on. If you’d like to know more about the man behind the music, I encourage you to check this book out.

Larry Norman and the Perils of Christian Rock

Billy Graham & the Gospel

Billy-Graham

Isn’t it funny that even when you know things will happen it’s seems to always be at least a bit of shock when they do? That’s how I felt this morning when I saw the new that Billy Graham had died at the ripe old age of 99.

What a life and what a man!

As far back as I can remember in my walk of faith Billy Graham was there. I had heard of him and knew that he was the most famous evangelist in the world. He didn’t have anything to do with my decision to believe the Gospel and follow Jesus but I knew about him.

In our Youth Group (embarrassingly enough called the “Key Teens”) we watched several of the movies the Billy Graham Association put out. They always ended the same way too – the star of the movie would go to one of his crusades, hear him preach and then give their life to Christ.

Sure enough that’s a good ending for a movie intended to be evangelistic, but I always wished they would have followed the character to see how he or she did in their new Christian life. I was probably secretly hoping they would have some of the struggles I had with understanding and living out my faith.

Billy was a fantastic role model for anyone in the ministry. I am tempted to say the role model given how most famous “evangelists” act and live today. But of course that’s not true. There are thousands of good people in the ministry out there and I hope God blesses them all. Hopefully I can number myself among them.

Still I can’t help but wish we had more Billy Grahams.

But we don’t and we won’t. He was a one of a kind. A man called to minister to a specific time in world history. That time has passed and so has Billy Graham. Let us remember him warts and all and learn all we can from him.

I’ve decided that I’m going to devote next weeks edition of Disciple Up to Remembering Billy Graham, I hope you’ll check out the episode when it drops next Wednesday morning. Listening to people talk about him on TV made me realize how most of them don’t understand the Gospel that the Bible teaches and that Billy preached. I want to talk about that and some personal memories of him as well.

Thanks Billy, God bless as you enter into your rest and the presence of your Lord Jesus.

#BillyGraham  #RIPBillyGraham  #Welldonegoodandfaithfulservant  #BillyGrahamandtheGospel

 

 

Billy Graham & the Gospel

Doctors, Tests & Pushing On – All Glory To God!

Docs office

I snapped this picture this morning at the doctors office. It pretty well summarizes what I like so much about him and his office. They are laid back, very personal, yet offer the best of care. Hopefully he’ll last at least as long as I do so I won’t have to find a new one again!

I went in at 8:30 AM, turned in my 24 hour heart monitor. Waited and then had an echo cardiogram. No one told me not to eat so it took a bit longer but we got what was needed. Then after much more waiting I did the “stress” test on the treadmill.

Through the years I’ve heard a lot about how hard and strenuous this test is and I was a bit apprehensive about it since I’ve lost so much of my conditioning in the last few months. Well they’ve either lowered the standards quite a bit or I have a lot of out of shape friends – because it was a breeze!

The fastest the treadmill went was 2.5 miles an hour. Anyone in the distance walking/hiking community will tell you that speed, on flat terrain, is really slow! I mean Poky McSlowville kind of slow!  I didn’t even breath hard for the 15 minutes it took, much less work up a sweat.

I need to listen to myself more often when I teach on how fear always magnifies things far beyond what they really are.

Anyway – bottom line the old heart is fine. I’m officially cleared to do what I want. So I’m keeping up the hiking to rebuild my strength and endurance. I will also be starting to diet and get rid of this 40 pounds of blubber I picked up over the last year starting January 2nd. I hope to enjoy Christmas and New Years but not too much on the food side. Then in January it’s on!

I want to say that I’m so grateful to God for allowing me to do this at this stage of my life. I know plenty of people who can’t, and by all rights I should be one of them. Most of my adult life I’ve been sedentary and overweight. Somehow through all that my heart has held up. I am a blessed man and believe me I know it and am grateful to God for it.

Thanks for your prayers and concern. Now start praying God will kick me hard in the booty and these slabs of fat will fall of starting in the new year!

 

Doctors, Tests & Pushing On – All Glory To God!

Starting Over

Me hiking 11-18-17

Yep, I’m starting over. Not quite from the very beginning but pretty close. After missing my planned hike on the Arizona Trail due to sky high blood pressure I’m nearly back to where I started.

About 3 years ago I started hiking and losing weight. It culminated in 2016 by hiking in and out of the Grand Canyon in one day, and then hiking the first 200 miles of the Camino.  What amazing experiences. I came home firmly focused on doing more long range hikes.

But my blood pressure intervened and after a more than a three month battle it’s almost back where it should be.  However having to take all that time off has taken it’s toll. I’ve gained mucho weight and my hiking stamina is waaaaaay down!

I just got in from walking 2.47 miles in the desert. It took longer than it should have, but I managed to finish without being totally exhausted. So that’s a good sign. When I starting hiking a few years ago I couldn’t even do two miles, and was wiped out in the effort. So I’ve lost lots of ground but I’m still better off than when I started.

For all of that I’m grateful. I’ll be 65 by the end of the year and am also grateful I’m able to do what I can do at this age. I am also determined to get back what I lost and get back to where I want and need to be.

So yes, I’m starting over, by the grace of God, and am looking forward to where this new road will take me. Will I finally get to the Arizona Trail?

Stay tuned…film when I get it!!

 

 

Starting Over

What I’m About To Do On My Fall Vacation

Once upon a time school teachers actually had students stand up and talk about what they did on their vacation. These presentations were usually accompanied by some sort of props either illustrating their trip or some bought while on it. I’m not sure if I ever did anything like that as a kid. I seem to have some vague memories of it but nothing for sure.

So I thought I’d do a report on what I’m going to do before I actually do it, just to give me something to write about on this blog. Here goes…

Just over a year ago I took two weeks off, went to Spain and walked the first two hundred miles (approximately) of the Camino De Santiago. I came home realizing I couldn’t afford to make two more trips to complete it, and aside from a couple of very special people, it hadn’t been the experience I thought it would be anyway.

So I began searching for something like it but not it and hopefully a lot closer to home. Turns out there really isn’t anything like it. I began to realize that, like it or not – and I didn’t, I was going to have to do the camping thing if I was going to continue to do any long form hiking.

Sigh – but then I stumbled upon the Arizona Trail and was a bit happier. Yes, I’m going to be camping, etc. But at least it’s pretty close to home. So starting on October 10th I’ll be hitting the Arizona Trail for two weeks, hoping to do a little more than 200 miles in that time. It’s a lot rougher than the Camino and I’ll only have two chances during that time to get a shower and bed, so it’s really going to be different.

The Arizona Trail (AZT) is a fairly new trail that runs from our border with Mexico to the border with the state of Utah. It runs through a lot of mountains and of course goes through the Grand Canyon. For more information visit the official site here.

at_map

Obviously I won’t be able to get anywhere near finished in just two weeks. But I’m hoping to get from from the start to the little town or Oracle, which is a little bit north and east of Tucson.

AZT Southern map There’s a close up for you.

I’ll probably post more later, and will do a pre-trip video on what I’m taking etc. I don’t know how often I’ll be able to post while on the AZT. But when I get home I’ll be posting what I hope will be a lot of videos.

Till next time.

What I’m About To Do On My Fall Vacation