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Rocky Mountain High

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Since my wife passed away in January, I decided to make three trips this year to help with the grief. I planned to visit friends and do something active on each trip. This was my second trip - a trip to Colorado to visit friends and do some hiking, fishing, and camping. Since I got there early in the day (and my friends were working), I went hiking around the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. That is such a beautiful place. Here are a few pictures from that hike.











I spent the first weekend visiting a friend of ours whom we had previously gone on a trip to Alaska with. His home escaped destruction last year when the deadly fires in the Black Forest area of Colorado Springs destroyed 500 homes. I helped him remove brush all day on a Saturday from an Animal Rescue Center that he volunteers at daily. (It was kind of like working at my ranch...) On Sunday, we visited Cripple Creek and I won $110 within the first 15 minutes of playing the slot machines. Not to say that I'm a conservative gambler, but I quit shortly thereafter when I was still $100 ahead.

That evening we went to the person's house that runs the Animal Rescue and had steak and king crab. My friend contributed over 10 lbs of crab for that dinner! Boy, it was good! Here is a picture of my friend and I clowning around with some king crab legs. The woman to the left is the mother in a family of Blue Grass musicians who won a national contest that we attended in Branson, MO last spring. The other young lady is a volunteer at the Rescue Center. She is also Miss Teen Colorado! She is a very sweet and giving young woman.



From there I went tent camping for a couple of days at Lake Ruedi, near Aspen. I was supposed to go for three days, but I discovered that camping alone just wasn't as much fun as with my wife - it was actually a little depressing as it rained all night each night I was there. During the day, I did catch some trout and go on some hikes, but it just wasn't the same. This is something I am going to have to work on (or find a friend to go with me). Here are a few pictures from those days camping.







On my way back to Colorado Springs, I did a demanding hike near Independence Pass to an overlook above Lake Linkin. It was on this trip that I learned about the sudden afternoon storms that are typical this time of year. When I got to the top (13,000 feet), the storms hit, and I got hailed on, ice'd on, snowed on, and rained on as I headed down. I brought a rain jacket, but I still wasn't prepared for all of that!









After I returned to Colorado Springs, I spent the weekend with a very close friend that I used to work with in my Air Force days in San Antonio. We went on a demanding 4-mile hike on the grounds of the Air Force Academy to a place called Stanley Reservoir - it was on top of the mountains surrounding the Academy. Here are some pictures of that hike.







I also went on an extremely difficult 14-mile hike on the trail towards Pike's Peak. I would have gone a little further, but the forecast was for storms up top and people are killed by lightning every year hiking to the summit. It was still a fantastic hike and good training for an 18-mile hike I plan to do with my son in the Grand Tetons in late September.









All in all, it was a great trip. Visiting with friends was very therapeutic, and I really loved the hiking. I also enjoyed getting away from the 100 degree temperatures in South Texas. This may just have to be an annual trip!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IMEMINE1 8/24/2014 5:52PM

    These pictures were so beautiful. emoticon

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EJOY-EVELYN 8/21/2014 8:46PM

    Beautiful photos and events. So glad you're following up on all the trips you planned. It's as if your wife is smiling upon you during this difficult time when the comfort of friends means so very much. Hug, hug - Evelyn

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KAREN-IS-HERE 8/21/2014 12:00PM

    I lived on Manitou Blvd, Garden of the Gods often my drive home to cross from on side of town to the other.

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GRACEOMALLEY 8/20/2014 3:07PM

    You picked some great places to go in Colorado! You'll have to let me give a few suggestions for the next trip here. Garden of the Gods is such a special and magical place, as is Aspen and Independence Pass and Maroon Lake (I hope you got to see that) and the Maroon Bells - and then there's the town of Marble and Mt. Sopris and . . . Lots more adventures await you! San Luis Valley is very special too and down into Taos, etc. The Great Sand Dunes are spectacular. We shall discuss this over the winter. I'm delighted you had mostly fun. Missing your wife won't go away over night, but you'll find new friends to camp and hike with. It'll get more pleasant. emoticon

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BARBIE176 8/20/2014 11:26AM

    Bill what beautiful pictures. This is definitely a place I would love to visit one day. I am glad to hear that your trip overall was good. I can certainly relate to it not being the same solo as I have been experiencing the same thing on many of my activities this summer. Good luck on finding someone to do these things with or learning to do it solo. I am hoping that I will be able to find someone that likes the same things as I do before next summer. emoticon emoticon

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QUEENIEBELLE 8/20/2014 9:49AM

    Bill that was all quite an adventure! I love it!! What a variety of friends and activities. I think you were very brave to give it a try on the camping alone....now you know. I'm sure you must have seen your wife in every star at night and every amazing rainbow during the day. Wow the pictures tell quite a story and are really nice...thanks for sharing them. You're taking care of yourself and looking healthy! emoticon emoticon

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JUSTME29 8/20/2014 8:45AM

    Those are great pictures! You chose some really fantastic spots to hike.

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BA5454 8/20/2014 8:27AM

    So sorry to hear about your loss! Your blog reminded me of meeting my husband, I was in the Army at the time (at Fitzsimmons in Denver) we were married there and took more than a few trips to the Garden of the Gods and surrounding areas (he was at Ft Carson). We keep talking about moving back there! Love your pictures and thanks for the memories.

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FUNLOVEN 8/20/2014 8:01AM

    Thanks for sharing. Love all of the pictures. When I saw the pic of Lake Linkin it sort of made me think of Crater Lake. There is nothing better than the magic of nature to sooth the soul. Mountains always look so majestic and are a nice place to visit. You will love the Tetons. Keep you eyes on the lookout for moose!

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BROOKLYN_BORN 8/20/2014 7:53AM

    What beautiful pictures! It's nice to see you looking happy and content.

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1MORNINGWALKER 8/20/2014 12:24AM

    Wow, so beautiful, the pictures were just great, the sky so blue. So many great hikes. Yes, I would think it would be hard sometimes without your wife there, but I am sure she was in spirit. emoticon

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SVELTEWARRIOR 8/19/2014 11:53PM

    What a great trip!!!!! The pictures are wonderful, I envy you getting to see all the beauty up close.

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TERI-RIFIC 8/19/2014 7:21PM

    Gorgeous pictures. You really did a lot of hard hiking! You survived the rain hail and snow! Yikes! I'd love to go to those places someday. I'm glad you are being so active and taking these trips to deal with overcoming a big loss. I'm looking forward to seeing pics of the Grand Tetons! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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GINNABOOTS 8/19/2014 6:35PM

    Sorry to hear about your wife passing. Glad you got to go on your trip to help you with the grief. The pictures are so gorgeous, thank you so much for sharing.

I lost my parents last year and I know that for myself I have to keep busy so I am not in my head so much with the grief. It can be overwhelming at times. Stay busy and be with friends and family. It is indeed therapeutic. Have a great time with your son in September!

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SLIMMERJESSE 8/19/2014 6:28PM

    What gorgeous pics and scenery! And what a fabulous trip. Good for you.

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AALLEY2 8/19/2014 6:13PM

    emoticon Nice blog! Love the pics too! Glad you had fun and therapeutic! emoticon

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A Little Introspection

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I have not been successful during the past two 5% challenges. I get the fitness minutes in, but I don't lose the weight. I seemed to be so busy getting big "fitness" numbers with easy and fun activities that I wasn't doing enough of the really strenuous aerobic exercise. I also was still recovering from the recent passing of my wife, and I wasn't watching my diet very well.

I was just about ready to not sign up for the next challenge, when it really hit me. I was simply "whining." I certainly can't blame the 5% challenge or my wife's passing for not losing weight - there is only one person responsible for that. So I have signed up for the Summer 5% Team and I've started a 10K Walk/Jog Program starting today. I just finished 35 minutes of walking for 4 minutes, then running for 1. I followed it up with another 10 minutes of just walking to cool down. I went 3.1 miles at a 14:32 pace during the 45 minutes. Instead of concentrating on just fitness minutes this next time, I'm going to start concentrating on aerobic minutes and add other minutes (mowing lawn, disc golf, etc) as I can. I owe it to myself to get back in shape.

Thanks for all the encouragement - especially to that great Teddy Bear team!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EJOY-EVELYN 6/30/2014 12:20AM

    You've been through a lot and the grieving process is ongoing in many ways. I'm glad you're joining the new challenges . . . I've been getting a little complacent myself and am hoping to make some progress towards Onederland this challenge.

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JAZZEJR 6/27/2014 12:04PM

    Bill, I'm just seeing your introspection-kick-yourself-in-the-
behind blog :) Yes, you can do it, and you have begun a great program. Adding in those little jogs will really fire up the metabolism, and eating about 20% less will help too (I don't care what the charts say). I'll be right behind you, so don't slow down!

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IMIN2GENES 6/22/2014 4:23PM

    So glad you signed back up! You'd be sorely missed!!

Sounds like you've got a good plan going now!
Chris
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IMEMINE1 6/10/2014 9:46AM

    emoticon emoticon

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DNRAE1 6/8/2014 9:05AM

    Yup, me too! Need to really get off my duff, and start meeting some goals! Thanks for the reminder and inspiration! Have a great day!

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JOYFUL1977 6/5/2014 11:18AM

    emoticon

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LINDAF49 6/4/2014 12:02AM

    Hi Bill, just dropped in to check on some spark friends and you were one I had to know how was doing...So saddened to hear of the passing of your wife but delighted in reading of your vacation to VA and Pa and then Mardi Gras

I have had my life changed greatly - gradually got more tired and weak through the winter and finally got heart test on May 1 and then the 23rd had two heart stents put in...Just recuperating and adjusting to being pain free and the long gradual return of strength. Started with three minute walks, increased for 4 minute and the last two days did 3 walks of 5 minutes each on perfectly level ground or in house ... so will continue to increase one minute every two days if I continue to do well. Still not allowed to do stairs or lift more than 5# or drive car but hoping for Dr release on the 11th. Also learning HEART healthy diet which is too broad a term but fine tuning the concern against sodium and "bad fats" and taking a new handful of pills daily...thinking I will return to SPARKS as the computer seems to be agreeing with the changes that they have done. God bless you and looking forward to news from other Sparks friends too.

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QUEENIEBELLE 6/3/2014 11:27AM

    Awesome attitude Bill! It can be slow going but it's worth it to hang in there. Just think of all of the small changes you've made that are now good habits. Build on that and you'll get there- one good choice and a lot of sweat at a time! I'm ramping up my cardio too- really need the fat burning. emoticon


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LASARRE 6/2/2014 11:58PM

    So glad you didn't give up! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PICKIE98 6/1/2014 11:13AM

    you are really breaking up the time and doing different things.. grab a neighbor's dog and toss them a frisbee!!haha!!

Good for you for revving your engine!!!

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KALISWALKER 5/30/2014 2:49PM

    I am cheering for you Bill. Doing something new changes things up and you aim for new milestones.

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SNOWFLAKELILYM9 5/30/2014 4:42AM

    You can do it Bill. It's been a rough time for you but you are a fighter and a persever and you will succeed. You 've done it before and you will do it again. Keep pushing and hang in there.

Margaret

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HEALTHYGRAMMY49 5/29/2014 2:38AM

    emoticon I'm glad you signed up for the Summer Challenge. I think this is the first 5% Challenge where I have gained weight instead of lost. I was the Last Teddy Bear Standing in the Winter Challenge and will most likely have the distinction of having gained the most weight in the Spring Challenge. Life happens...but still we press on! In previous years I would get depressed and give up for months only to undo the good I had accomplished & gain even more weight. My objective now is to hang in there and move toward my goals, even when I get off the path for a bit. I'm so happy you are choosing Not to give up. Keep moving forward my friend. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon, cuz we are emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 5/29/2014 2:43:22 AM

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SVELTEWARRIOR 5/28/2014 11:09PM

    I am so glad you signed up!!!!!!!!!!!! You can do this........I am here if you need to be reminding of this fact.

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MUSIC2HISEARS 5/28/2014 8:40PM

    I am very glad you signed up for the 5% challenge! I know that I can definitely relate to the feeling of frustration when it doesn't seem to come off, but know that it isn't the program...it is just me.Thank you for blogging about this!

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LYNCHD05 5/28/2014 8:36PM

    You ar so right fill. And, we are all,happy that you are going to be part of our team again. I too work out quite a bit but I do lack the aerobic activity. Which I know I need to increase. We should talk!!!!! 8-))

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CATHYGETSFIT 5/28/2014 6:21PM

    I'm glad you signed up for the summer 5% challenge and to be a Teddy Bear again. It's understandable to gain weight after such a tragic loss.

Realizing that eating properly is a big key in this is half the battle. You seem like you are getting your head back in the game, so to speak. It sounds like you're getting back on the right track.

We'd miss you if you weren't a Teddy Bear again!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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NHES220 5/28/2014 4:17PM

    Good for you. I think it is always good to take a step back and look at the situation. I'm sure you've been going through a tough time. But I know you have the strength to do this and you will succeed!

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JUSTME29 5/28/2014 2:58PM

    I'm finding the same thing. It's time for me to really focus on me, and on doing the right things to get healthy and more fit.

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TERI-RIFIC 5/28/2014 1:46PM

    It's a wise decision to re-up for the 5%. Your plan sounds right on. Run/walk intervals are great for me. I run 30 sec. Walk 45 seconds. I like the shorter intervals even though it seems kind of goofy.
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ADRIENALINE 5/28/2014 1:15PM

    Thanks for joining the Teddy's again. Gaining weight after a tragic loss is practically expected. It has happened to me each time I lost one of my family folks, Mom, Sister and Dad.

DONT BEAT YOURSELF UP!.

When you are ready you'll be able to get back on the program and the pounds will fly off!

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GRACEOMALLEY 5/28/2014 12:16PM

    I, too, can understand where you are coming from. If I don't track my food, plan ahead for meals and snacks, all the exercise in the world isn't going to make this work. It is a combined effort that creates the results and I KNOW that - just don't always follow it.

Thanks for joining the Teddy's again. I'd miss you if you weren't in the den. You know you have the support of all the bears. Onward and forward!
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PCOH051610 5/28/2014 10:16AM

    I can really relate to what you wrote here. I need to kick up my cardio so the weight comes off and not just concentrate on getting the fitness minutes in.

Are you going to be a Teddy Bear again?



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A Great Vacation

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

I just got home from a great 2 week road trip vacation. I traveled almost 4,000 miles and visited friends in North Carolina, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. It was the perfect vacation to take my mind off the recent passing of my wife. I thought I would share a few pictures from the trip.

I first stopped in North Carolina to visit friends from my Air Force days in Texas. I had a great time visiting and seeing the local sights. The beach was also really nice there.



From there I went to Richmond to visit some very good friends of my wife and I. This visit coincided with what would have been our 15th wedding Anniversary. Although a sad day, my friends were great at lifting my spirits. We relived some great times we had with my wife.

Then I went further north in Virginia to visit a friend whom I worked with at Brooks AFB (also in San Antonio) for 15 years. She and her husband moved to Virginia after the base closed in 2011. We visited numerous local wineries and breweries one day and then watched my friend complete a half-marathon the next day. Here she is at the finish - I wish I could be in that kind of shape!



The next day my friend and I walked nearly 6 miles at Sky Meadows state park. Part of the hike was along the Appalachian Trail - here we had a great visit with a hiker who had been on the trail since March 2nd! Here is a picture of me along the trail.



The next day I did some hiking on my own while my friends worked. Here is a view along Skyline Drive on my way to the first hike.



On the first hike to "Mary's Rock," most of the hike was on the Appalachian Trail. I met many more people who had been hiking since early March, and they all had interesting stories. This particular hike was very demanding, with 2 miles of steep incline. The walking was also over rocky ground. You even had to duck under one fallen tree.



When I finally got to Mary's Rock, I was able to climb up top and get a full 360 degree view of scenery in Virginia and West Virginia. It was breathtaking. Here are a couple of pictures from Mary's Rock.





I did one more hike that day, for a total of 6.1 miles. It felt good hiking in the mountains!

From there, I went to Pennsylvania and had a great homemade lunch at the home of one our Teddy Bear members on the 5% Challenge. SVELTWARRIOR and I had a great visit, although it was way too short. I'll have to plan better on the next trip - I also need to take a picture!

From there, I went to Canton, Ohio to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It was interesting seeing all of the exhibits of the NFL players I grew up watching.



From there, I visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH. I spent 5 1/2 hours there, and could have easily spent another 2 hours looking around. They had some incredible footage of our musical heritage.



From there, I went to Indianapolis to get some craft beers that we can't get here in Texas. After that, I made the long trip home. It was a great trip that was made extra special by those I visited along the way.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FLYCHRISTI 8/13/2014 12:18PM

    What a nice trip!
I like very much traveling and I dream to do the Trans Canada road trip sometimes...
Stay positive and take care of yourself.
Thanks for the lovely pictures.
Christina

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EJOY-EVELYN 6/30/2014 12:21AM

    Such a great and beautiful trip. So enjoyed your sharing with us both in word and photo.

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IMEMINE1 6/10/2014 9:50AM

    That sounds so awesome. I love to see different places and things. We usually just do day trips.
Sounds like you had a great time.

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TWEETYKC00 6/5/2014 6:57AM

    I'm so glad you could get away and have a good trip with your friends.

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MAVERICKDR 6/5/2014 6:53AM

    You had a great trip. But you're never very far from those memories. It's a shared experience of an interstellar kind now. Be blessed!
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DNRAE1 5/31/2014 9:42AM

    Wow! Your pictures show what a wonderful time you had. Lots of good friends, exercise and great place to visit and explore! So glad you had such a wonderful time!
I'm going on a cross country road trip in a couple of weeks. I'm really looking forward to seeing friends and family and great sights along the way!

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DAWN14163 5/29/2014 7:55AM

    That sounds like a great trip, what a lot to pack in! Lovely photos too, interesting to see what the different parts of the US look like. You're doing great - keep enjoying life!

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BARBIE176 5/28/2014 11:36PM

    Sounds like an awesome trip, Bill. I m glad you had the chance to take it and that you felt refreshed from it. My Bill took a trip like that with a friend of his when he was going through a difficult time before I knew him, and he came back with the same feeling so I can only pray my trip has the same effect for me. Thank you for sharing.

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NHES220 5/28/2014 5:57PM

    Sounds like a fantastic trip - you sure packed a lot in! Glad you got to pick up some of your craft beer on the road to take home! My neighbor is a big craft beer guy and he goes to Three Floyds in Indiana. We're planning a trip to Greenbush in July and in Naperville, not far from where I live, they have an Ale Fest in the summer.

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QUEENIEBELLE 5/28/2014 10:26AM

    Wow you packed a lot into two weeks! Way to go. Really enjoyed the pictures- thanks so much for sharing. My son in Asheville, NC lives literally across the street from the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Appalachian Trail is somewhere nearby. We haven't been on it when back there visiting but will fit that in somewhere along the line. So glad you were able to spend what would have been your 15th Anniversary with good friends of both you and your wife. Wonderful to be able to reminisce together. We just had our 15th last month and I can't even imagine how you would have felt alone on that day; really happy you shared that particular day with them. So proud of you for doing all of those hikes. I had better get moving and get in better shape or get left eating you and Jim's dust LOL. I don't do the hilly hikes due to mild COPD but there's a lake we do you'd like. Try to stay cool in the heat of the summer and talk soon-HUGS. Sandi.

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PCOH051610 5/28/2014 10:14AM

    Thanks Bill for taking us along on your wonderful trip. That trail sounds demanding, yet, rewarding.

I'd love to eventually have a face to face meet up with anybody from my Spark circle......so it was great you got to meet up with SVELTEWARRIOR

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SVELTEWARRIOR 5/27/2014 11:18PM

    I love the pictures!!! You sure did do a lot of traveling. I totally enjoyed having lunch with you and would love to do it again......... I have to think about the picture though...LOL

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IMIN2GENES 5/27/2014 8:42PM

    What fun! Thanks for sharing your awesome pics! I wish I would have known you were coming so close... I'm in northern MD. Maybe next time...

Glad you had such a wonderful time on your travels!
Chris

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KALISWALKER 5/27/2014 8:26PM

    Bill I really enjoyed seeing your pictures. I smile whenever I think of you meeting Mo in person. Wow what fun to meet a Spark buddy!

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MUSIC2HISEARS 5/27/2014 7:55PM

    Oh, I wish I would have known you were going to be in Indy! Your trip sounds like so much fun!!! Glad to hear you had a great time!

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MARCIAC10 5/27/2014 4:31PM

    emoticon

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PICKIE98 5/27/2014 3:39PM

    Wow. What a fantastic trip!! Just think of all that southern fresh air you breathed in,, take some back to Texas!

Beautiful pictures, as usual. Nothing beats visiting vacations so you can mingle with locals and others who are vacationing!
Beautiful weather too, I assume.. I know your friends were thrilled to have you with them!!

Thank you for sharing our trip with us!!!

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TERI-RIFIC 5/27/2014 12:38PM

    Awesome trip and great pictures! Lots of different and fun activities. You may need a rest after that vacation. It's good that you are keeping busy and having fun even if there is some sadness in it all, still. I always keep in mind that the loved one who has passed wants you to be happy and have a full life. It's hard to recover after the loss of a spouse and it seems like you are doing very well. Stay strong and keep up the positive attitude.

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GRACEOMALLEY 5/27/2014 12:12PM

    Whoa! You obviously had a good time and got to so many interesting and diverse places. How cool that you got to walk on a bit of the Appalachian Trail! The beach looks gorgeous - you sure packed a lot in! You may need a vacation to recover from the vacation!

Glad you had fun and got home safe and sound after all your adventures!
Thanks so much for sharing your trip with us in words and pictures.

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LASARRE 5/27/2014 11:41AM

    Sounds like an awesome trip. Great pix!

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JUSTME29 5/27/2014 10:10AM

    It sounds like it was a great trip! I've always wanted to hike even a tiny part of the Appalachian Trail. I don't see it in the cards for me, but I'm glad that you had the chance.



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SLIMMERJESSE 5/27/2014 9:51AM

    What a fun trip! Thanks for sharing the great pics.

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World Walking Day

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Yesterday was World Walking Day and the American Volkssport Association (a national nonprofit organization of nation-wide hiking clubs) sponsored a walk in San Antonio, Texas. Since my wife used to be the Executive Director of this organization, I volunteered my time as the "official" photographer. I also got to do the 10K walk in a very historic part of San Antonio. I wanted to share of few of the pictures taken during this celebration.

Here is a picture of some walkers registering for the event.



Here are the current President and Executive Director of the organization. They stamped the walking books of the people who finished the walk.



Here are a few pictures of walkers along the route.





While the early morning sun played havoc with taking pictures of many of the scenic locations, there was still a lot of cultural and historic things to look at.



Here I am during a portion of the walk. Yes, I still need to lose some more weight...



All in all, it was a great day for walking and I got to meet some great people! I also got to see some new parts of San Antonio!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HAPPY-DESTINY 5/19/2014 6:04AM

    I love Texas!

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QUEENIEBELLE 5/15/2014 9:55PM

    Great pictures, Bill. I'm a little late in catching up with friends blogs. We've been really busy with household projects and it seems I'm only online to log in and spin and read a couple quick things. I'm taking more time for friends starting today! Very important.

You're on your road trip #1 already so hope that's going well. Be sure and send a note and let me know how it was when you get back. I'm looking forward to hearing all about it.

Again great pictures and blog. You look good- so happy you got out for this. Discovering new-to-you parts of town is pretty cool too. Take care. HUGS- Sandi

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FLORIDASUN 5/11/2014 8:33AM

    Sooo happy that you shared this wonderful event. Thanks for sharing it with us! I think you look terrific and I'm so happy that you are pushing yourself to get out there and continue to enjoy the events that you DW also loved. Believe me Bill...she was RIGHT there with you encouraging you and supporting you as you took all of these lovely shots.

I LOVE San Antonio...such a beautiful and scenic little town!

Hugs!

Bobbi Anne

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GRACEOMALLEY 5/10/2014 10:50PM

    Looks like fun on a lovely day. Thanks so much for sharing your pictures. I may have to see if I can get myself down there to do this walk next year.You look like you were enjoying yourself. GOOD !!

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IMIN2GENES 5/10/2014 7:26PM

    Thanks for sharing! Looks like it was a lovely day and what a nice way to honor your wife. I'm sure the folks there were happy to see you and grateful for your help!
Chris

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ADRIENALINE 5/8/2014 4:56PM

    Beautiful pix Bill. Thanks for sharing them.

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PICKIE98 5/8/2014 4:16PM

    Very nice pictures,,
IT looks like beautiful scenery too! Totally different day than your hike!!

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BROOKLYN_BORN 5/8/2014 9:25AM

    What a nice event! I remember the Alamo from a family cross country trip in the 70s and also Volksmarches when we lived in Ohio. A great organization.

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IMEMINE1 5/7/2014 5:24PM

    emoticon Beautiful pictures and at least you are out there. emoticon

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COLUMBINE2 5/6/2014 9:18PM

    Loved your blog & pics! My cousin used to participate in this group...many years ago. It sounds like a terrific hobby & something to get hooked on! I'm glad you have photography as a hobby, too. That can really be fun & help you through hard times.

You look great and sound like you're finding ways to be happiness. Good for you! I'm sure that's what she'd want you to do ...live your life and be happy!

Thanks so much for sharing your fun day! Have a good day tomorrow, too! emoticon

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JAZZEJR 5/6/2014 4:25PM

    What a beautiful place to walk. Been a long while since I visited San Antonio. I want to return soon!

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GOODGETNBETR 5/5/2014 10:46PM

    Looks like it was truly an emoticon day.
Thanks for sharing

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BDTHOM 5/5/2014 10:26AM

    Wonderful day for a walk around town Bill. Love AVA activities. They are a great way to get exercise and do some sightseeing in your own neighborhood.

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CATHYGETSFIT 5/5/2014 2:51AM

    Thanks for sharing the pictures. It looks like a great place to go for a walk. I'm sure the weight will come off soon. It looks to me like you really are working on it! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SVELTEWARRIOR 5/4/2014 10:05PM

    What a beautiful historic place to walk!!!!!!!! I loved the photos,thanks for sharing

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EJOY-EVELYN 5/4/2014 4:30PM

    Great feat in a beautiful city. No wonder you maxed out on Teddy Bear miles yesterday! Here I figured you were workin' the great outdoors at the ranch.

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PCOH051610 5/4/2014 1:42PM

    Loved seeing these pictures!

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TERI-RIFIC 5/4/2014 1:18PM

    Love your pictures!! What a great day. I've been in San Antonio. It's a very pretty city. Hot, though. Thanks for sharing. I wonder if there is a volkssport club near me? emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KALISWALKER 5/4/2014 12:17PM

    Bill I enjoyed seeing your pictures. With all the walking, disc golf, gardening and tracking you will have the weight off in no time. Have another great week!

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SLIMMERJESSE 5/4/2014 12:11PM

    What fun! Thx for sharing these nice photos. I was on the realtor.com site this week for San Antonio. There's this huge hotel-like condo complex with a 1 bedroom for $31K! Not sure what it's like to live on the 16th floor or what area of town it's in.

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FITWITHIN 5/4/2014 11:58AM

    Beautiful place to celebrate World Walking Day.

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LISBETHSALANDER 5/4/2014 11:50AM

    Thanks for sharing the photos. I have never been to this part of the country so this was all very new to me. The route looks wonderful. I like the picture of the mural very much. The light is not so bright as to obscure the detail. It was kind of you to volunteer and I'm sure your wife's friends were glad to see you.

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Hill Country Hiking Lessons

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A few weeks ago, I joined the San Antonio Adventure Club. It looks like a fun group with numerous activities almost every day. The latest hike a few days ago was definitely the "adventure." We planned to do a 5-mile hike in the Hill Country State Natural Area near Bandera, Texas.

We met the event leader in San Antonio and rode with him for about an hour to the location of the hike. There were only 4 of us on this particular hike. On the drive there, he hit a wild turkey and did damage to his bumper, hood, and roof. It's amazing the window wasn't shattered. This was an omen of things to come...

Here we are at the start of the hike. I'm the one in the back with the big hat.



The event leader wasn't that familiar with the area, so the park staff gave him a map with a 5-mile hike mapped out. The weather was hot (96 degrees by the end of the hike) and the terrain was challenging in places. It was a nice area, though. Here is one picture showing the terrain.



Here I am about a third of the way through the hike.



After 2 hours into the hike, we knew something wasn't right. We still showed a long ways to go on the map, and the woman in the group was starting to suffer from heat exhaustion. We rested her in the shade often, poured water on her head, and I gave her my hat for some extra sun protection. A little further on the hike, another hiker had his hiking boot come completely apart. We had to use tape to keep it in one piece!

After 5.5 miles, the woman was starting to get light-headed. We located a county road about a third of a mile away and sat her under a tree. We left the hiker with the bad shoe with her while the event leader and I walked another 2.6 miles to the car (making it a total of 8.4 miles). When we got back, the woman felt much better and we went into town for a very late lunch (about 3:00 PM).

So this was quite the "adventure," and hopefully everyone learned a lot. I actually felt pretty good in that I was the most fit of those in the group (and the most prepared). The first lesson learned is that you shouldn't "lead" a group unless you've been on the hike yourself. You should also bring twice as much water as you think you'll need. Luckily I had some to spare to help cool down the woman. While everyone had sunscreen, even 50 SPF wasn't enough protection that day. Hats and collared shirts help a lot. We all brought snacks, but luckily I brought a few extra things like tape, ace bandages, a first aid kit, and a few other items. I will probably even expand the things I bring next time.

The main thing is to know your trail and let people know what they should bring before going on the hike. Sunscreen, water, and snacks are not sufficient for a difficult day hike. The good thing about going through something challenging like this is that we got to know each other very well, and I think the hikers gained some valuable experience for their next hike. I know that I was only as prepared as I was because of past mistakes I made myself. All in all, it turned out to be quite the adventure, with lots of stories to look back on.

Happy trails!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GRACEOMALLEY 5/10/2014 10:44PM

    Sounds like quite an adventure. They should all be glad you've learned from past mistakes and therefore could help avoid bigger problems this trip out.Glad to know it all worked out and everyone was okay. I agree that sounds a little warm to be out hiking.
emoticon

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PICKIE98 5/8/2014 4:13PM

    WOW!!!!!!!!!!!

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IMEMINE1 5/7/2014 5:25PM

    Very nice photos. emoticon

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BDTHOM 5/5/2014 10:27AM

    High adventure. Remember your headlamp when you do that evening walk.

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TERI-RIFIC 5/2/2014 5:16PM

    Wow. Lucky you were there. My shoe came apart during a hike, once. Not fun! Love your pics.

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QUEENIEBELLE 5/2/2014 5:16PM

    Wow that turned out to be more than the adventure you bargained for! Good heavens. They were fortunate you were so well prepared. I can imagine that they will be well prepared next time. I really feel for the woman getting heat sick- that would be me. I just cannot take the heat. I'll bet she will REALLY be prepared next time. Good job on doing the entire hike. Working on the ranch has paid off in more ways than one- betcha that's helped keep you in shape. Thanks for sharing the pics and adventure.

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SVELTEWARRIOR 5/1/2014 10:33PM

    I bet they are glad you were so prepared!!!! You saved the day


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EJOY-EVELYN 5/1/2014 10:08PM

    Love the photos and landscape! What lessons learned, indeed! This could have ended much more tragically. Glad you home and safe again. It may be a while before you take on such an inexperienced trail blazer. I'm staying inside these days as the temps rise to the upper 80F and 90F. It's good to walk and stretch inside when the weather is this warm.

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HEALTHYGRAMMY49 4/30/2014 8:26PM

    Wow! So happy you were prepared & in shape. Glad the woman was alright. Sounds like the other guy needs to invest in a new pair of hiking shoes! lol. So thankful everyone made it home in one piece. You DID get in a lot of fitness minutes though. How many hours did the hike take?

Comment edited on: 4/30/2014 8:27:32 PM

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LYNCHD05 4/30/2014 4:41PM

    Sounds like quite a day and something for me to think about on my next hike. Shame on that leader for not being better prepared.

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SLIMMERJESSE 4/30/2014 10:42AM

    I've often thought about relocating to San Antonio. Seems like a lovely city. Thanks for sharing these great pics.

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BROOKLYN_BORN 4/30/2014 10:37AM

    If YOU hadn't been so prepared, things could have turned out much worse - like those news stories that pop up now and then. "Hikers lost in ____"
Sounds like that leader wasn't qualified to lead.
I remember a bike tour in Germany (easy pace designed for families) where a kid crashed and I had the only first aid supplies. Grandmas can be counted on for things like this, but I was annoyed that the leader didn't have them.
I'm glad you're back safe and sound.

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PCOH051610 4/30/2014 10:23AM

    Gracious Bill, that sounds like quite the adventure! I was going to say that you were the smart one wearing a wide-brim hat - baseball hats just don't cut it.

I once got "lost" in a small wooded area that was surrounded by busy streets. Looking back, I realize I had let my panic get the better of me. Believe it or not, our Pom found the trail while the Lab stayed close to me and whined.

I'm not sure I would ever survive a hike in your temperatures! Today, it is sunny but only 6 degrees (Celcius) and people are out wearing shorts! I'll be sticking to my jeans, t-shirt, fleece jacket, etc emoticon

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