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!

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

Camino Countdown #2

In just about 10 days I’ll be walking the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain for about 12 days or so. If you want to know about what that is check out my first post in this little series.

This time I wanted to answer a question I’ve been asked several times – “Why are you going all the way to Spain to do this? Aren’t there hiking trails in America?”

Yes there sure are. But they aren’t the Camino. So here’s a few of my why and why not’s for walking the Camino.

1) Spain has nothing to do with it.

Aside from the fact that Spain is where the Camino is of course. I’m not doing this because of the great scenery in Spain, thought I’m sure I’ll enjoy it. I’m not doing this because I’ve always wanted to go to Spain. I’ve been to southern Spain and enjoyed it. But frankly I’m still amazed that I’m doing this and not spending my time in France checking out all the World War 1 & 2 history there that I’ve always wanted to see!

2) No, I’m not becoming Catholic.

While it’s true that I’ve been called “The UnCatholic Priest” for being celibate for such a long time, this has nothing to do with this as a Catholic pilgrimage. I don’t believe the tradition that James is buried in Santiago or all the other tales that have accrued around it.

3) It’s the Infrastructure Silly!

One of the reasons why I’m doing this is the infrastructure that has built up around the Camino. There are lots of small villages along the way with inexpensive hostels, etc. Most of the restaurants offer cheap “pilgrim meals” as well. It’s cheap and you don’t have pack your tent and stove along with you. That really makes this a great way to go for me.

4) Time with God.

While I’m not becoming a Catholic I do find the spiritual focus of the Camino appealing. It’s going to be (I hope) a great way to get out, get away, and spend significant time with God apart from all the usual pressures of life and ministry. I also hope to be able to have some enlightening conversations with my fellow pilgrims along the way and hopefully be a little salt and light to them.

5) Good for Body and Soul.

I first got interested in this because it seemed like a neat combination of my losing weight and getting in shape and my faith. God had helped me to get back where he wanted me physically, this would be a great goal to aim for once I hit my goal. This is the kind of thing I need to do to motivate myself to “keep on walking” and keep that weight off.

So that’s a little bit of my mindset going into this. More next time when I might just tell you the amazing story of a mysterious Spanish wallet that will going along the way with me.

 

 

 

Camino Countdown #2

Grand Canyon Follies, Pt. 2

South Kaibab Going Down

Part One Here.

It was cold and even though my stomach wasn’t cooperating very well I was determined to do this hike and hopefully to enjoy it. One out of two isn’t too bad is it?

After waiting to catch the shuttle to the South Kaibab trail head I started down at around (I didn’t look at my watch right away so I’m guessing) 6:35 AM. I was excited and started out trying to walk my usual brisk pace. It didn’t take long to realize that I was going to have to slow down. The trail wasn’t steep yet, but it was a bit rougher than I thought it would be.

That was a foreshadowing of my future as the trail would get a whole lot steeper and rougher shortly.

One of the first things I noticed was the amazing views that South Kaibab Trail gives you. Just like the literature said and the videos I had watched showed, it was breath taking. Kaibab is built mostly on ridges so you get amazing panoramic views of that canyon. Incredible!

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Things went along pretty well for a while but after a couple of hours I became painfully aware that the steepness of the trail and the height of the “steps” (the pictures don’t really reflect how high most of them were) was getting to me. By the time I reached the first stopping point for the Mules I knew my legs were pretty played out. Taking mile after mile of steps that varied from a foot to two and a half feet tall was wearing me out fast.

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I met a lady and her daughter who were taking some pictures and they very kindly took some shots of me. They also discussed with me their plan to take the Tonto Trail over to Bright Angel and avoiding going all the way down to the river. 

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That sounded smart but it really bothered me. So as I slowly made my down the trail and all those unending steps I had two things on my mind. One: I really didn’t know if I was capable of getting back out if I went all the way down as planned. Two: I felt like a loser and a quitter for taking a short cut.

That’s vintage Louie all the way folks! I kept going back and forth between the two and kept on feeling worse and worse. The only “good” thing about that was that my mind set matched the state of my leg muscles – really bad!

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It was somewhere during all this, but I don’t remember when, that I caught my first glimpse of the river. It shows just how far I had to go at that point.

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As things turned out I did all the worrying for nothing – because I missed the turn off to the Tonto Trail! I kept going down and seeing the river get closer and closer and guessed that I must have missed it. I was later told were it was, and I have no recollection of seeing another trial in that spot at all! 

What I didn’t know was all this angst about not going all the way to the bottom was actually good, because something was waiting for me around a few more bends in the trail that would make it all worth while.

I’ll cover in my next installment of the Grand Canyon Follies!

Grand Canyon Follies, Pt. 2