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!

 

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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

Why It’s So Hard To Hike the Grand Canyon In One Day

I found this video on YouTube last night and this guy explains just why hiking the Canyon is so much harder than it looks better than anyone I’ve ever seen, including me! You might remember I did this last year when I was 63 and it exhausted me completely. I’m very happy to finally find someone who captures why it’s so diffiult.

He can’t pronounce Kaibab right and his distance for the length of Bright Angel trail is wrong. He says it’s about 6.3 but it’s really longer than the South Kaibab and less steep. It’s length is about 9.5 miles.

But he explains why 17.5 miles in the Canyon is like double or triple that most other places. Listen and learn my friends.

Why It’s So Hard To Hike the Grand Canyon In One Day

From the Top to the Bottom & Back to the Top Again – Grand Canyon May, 2016

Here’s all the pictures I took on my one day hike down the South Kaibab Trail and then back up Bright Angel Trail. It was quite a trip – about 11 1/2 hours hiking. Totally exhausting and totally worth it.

Just a bit of sound track at the start and then you can listen to whatever you’d like too.

I hope you enjoy.

From the Top to the Bottom & Back to the Top Again – Grand Canyon May, 2016

My Camino – Sept. 2016

Well I’ve finally gotten around to doing a long form video of my time on the Camino de Santiago this past September. I’ve been wanting to put something out but just never got to it – as usual!

So, I threw all the pictures into Corel’s quick video maker and then did a bit of editing and put some titles in to help make sense of it. I also took out the soundtrack because I didn’t like it and didn’t really have time to find music that YouTube would be okay with.

So now you can provide your own soundtrack but you might want to get really comfortable and have a snack on hand because this is LOOOONG! 55 minutes long! Happily you can pause it anytime you desire.

My thanks to all the souls I met along the way. Whether we spent much time together or not it was interesting to meet so many from all over the world, including Phoenix! And a special thanks to those who traveled with me for days at a time. I’ll never forget some of you that’s for sure.

Hope you enjoy!

My Camino – Sept. 2016

My New Trail Running Shoe

Update – I sent them back as they were too narrow and gave up on Trail Runners until this past Friday. Bought a pair of Asics Gel-Venture 5 shoes in Havasu. Fit is good and I walked 6 miles in them yesterday and they felt pretty darn good. So we’ll see how these goes but I’m planning on wearing them for my mostly pavement, next to the road walks and the boots for the desert, off road hikes.

asics-gel-venture-5

Last week I decided to take a shot at trying using Trail Running shoes instead of hiking boots. There’s a lot of debate about which is better and after looking things over and discussing it at Thanksgiving with my Nephew John who is quite knowledgeable about all things related to hiking; I jumped in.

I bought, from Amazon of course, Salomon Men’s Speedcross 3 Trail Running Shoe.  They were waiting for me when I got home so I popped them on and without any warming them up took the trail this afternoon.  Below is a picture for those who haven’t seen them.

p1020938

The Good:

  • Amazing grip with that amazing sole. Nearly like having cleats on!
  • Lightweight. My boots are lightweight but these things are amazing. Makes your feet seem super light.
  • The way the shoestrings tie. They’ve come up with a system that I’ve never seen before that everyone ought to use. Hard to explain but really nice.

The Bad:

  • My foot moved around quite a bit in the shoe, more than I’m used to in a boot for sure. This could be my not having the shoe tightened correctly or perhaps they are a half size off? But it concerns me.
  • Lack of protection. I’m not so much talking about ankle support here, though that is an issue with all trail runners. That didn’t bother me too much. Instead I’m referring to a lack of stiffness in the sole of the shoe. My feet were a little sore after just over 5 miles. The terrain was rough and I walk hard, still this could be a problem for my old feet.
  • The shoe was very comfortable in some places and not so much in others. I’ll have to get used to them and let them break in a bit before I know if this is a serious issue.

This is going to be an interesting experience and hopefully work out ok. At this point I’m pretty sure I’m going to get another pair of boots in the new year (more on boot issues in another post soon).

But I do hope that these will work well as they are cool and breath like crazy so would be perfect in the heat of our long summers.

My New Trail Running Shoe