February Wrap Up

February was just a few local walks that we have done before. Nothing to report really. The weather was not helpful. Barely 18 miles, although I did have some miles on job sites, which always include stairs. But I never remember to record those.

I am going to TN this month, and hope to get a couple of good days in there. And then the weather here will improve and I can get back on the Knobstone.

See this months total at the bottom.

Thank you.

First published September 5th, 2018:

My dear friend is battling Parkinson’s Disease. He has been for awhile. My Grandfather  ( not the one you already know, but my paternal Grandfather) also had this disease. Please take a few minutes to read and understand a little about Parkinson’s.

Ok, Brad, that’s a sad story, but what can I do about it? Well, I am glad you asked, because here is what we are going to do about it.

For every mile I log, through 2019, starting on September 1st 2018, I am going to make a donation to Parkinson’s research. And I am asking that you do the same thing too. I am pledging $1.00 for every mile that I log, but you could do whatever is comfortable for you.

I have logged about 120 miles this year so far, but I am going to be more diligent about logging all of my miles, so that number will go up. I will post my total miles here at the end of each month, and we can all go directly to http://www.michaeljfox.org to make our donation. Just click on the green tab in the upper corner. While you are there, read a little about their research.

I will also, for the same period of time, donate 30% of the proceeds from the sale of any of my paintings to this organization.

Thank you for your support!

 

 

Screenshot_20190302-172857_Samsung Health

Pixley Knob Road

This is also from last year. I did not reach Mile 25 in 2018, and I still have not. But I will on my next leg, which is coming soon.

On May 20th I returned to the Knobstone Trail.  I started at the Pixely Road Trailhead, which is a two space dirt parking area. My goal today was Mile 13. As usual, I climbed straight up a hill as soon as I stepped off of the road. It had rained overnight, and it was a little muddy, which means slick. After the initial climb, the trail got pretty easy, and there are great views in this section. It was a very enjoyable 2 miles. Then at about 11.75 it happened.

I could hear a road, and some people talking. At this point the trail drops out from under you. There are some steps cut in with timbers anchored to the ground with rebar. A lot of the steps are damaged or missing, and there is rebar sticking up out of the wet, slippery hillside everywhere. At several points going down this hill I stopped and looked back. I was seriously thinking about turning back. I also looked at  the map to see if I could road hike back to the truck, were I to survive the descent. I eventually reached the bottom, and took a break by a stream. The voices were from a group I assume was waiting to be picked up just down the road.

 

Pixley Hill

That is about one tenth of the hill, and it looks a lot easier than it is, FYI. Be sure to look at the elevation chart at the end of this post.

Eventually I started again, of course up a hill. Once on top of that ridge the trail again was very smooth and pretty easy. I reached 13 in no time, and considered going on for at least another half mile. But climbing back up that hill behind me was really concerning me. Again I consulted the map. It was just to far by road. So back I went. When I reached the Mt. Everest want to be, I took my time, and was extremely careful. Once I scaled that, it was off to the races. When I reached Pixley Knob Road I was feeling pretty proud of my tired self. As I popped out onto the road and looked toward the truck, I got my last godsmack of the day. It was actually uphill the last 500 feet to the truck.

Again, I stress, this trail is serious. It is not well maintained, which is good. But it could hurt you. Younger and thinner will help. Take enough water, a life straw, and emergency items. My phone and GPS have worked almost all of the first 13 miles, so there is comfort in that. I am not trying to scare anyone from hiking here. It’s a great trail. Just know what you are getting into. And remember, I only saw 4 people on the trail in 4 sections, plus the small group leaving on this day.

I will return to The KT later this year when it is cooler and the bugs start to clear out. My hope is to reach Mile 25 this year. Until then, thank you for reading me. I will continue to post my other adventures.

Pixley elPixley Map

Jackson Road II

Yes, another re-run. This was a really good day in April of last year. I can’t wait to get back on this trail again.

On April 27th, 1 week after the Pit of Misery fiasco, I was back at the Jackson Road Trailhead. My goal today was Pixley Knob Road. Mile 9.5 or thereabout.

By studying the topo map, I felt that I could walk along the ridge from the parking lot and catch the trail at Mile 7, thereby avoiding the Pit of Misery. Brilliant! Off I went down an old logging road. A really pretty day with a lot of great views. I kept looking over the edge for the trail, but I didn’t see it. Then I came to a road, which I followed a little way to what looked like trail access. It kind of seemed like a driveway, but no one shot at me, and there were some signs as if it was a horse trail ahead. Presently I started to descend a limestone outcropping/trail. This went on for a while, then leveled out, and viola! The trail. I made a left and headed for Pixely Knob Road. I did meet a turkey hunter on this section. This was a pretty easy section and I made fast time to the goal, then headed back.

I crossed my earlier trail and followed the KT toward Mile 8, which was in the bottom of yet another of the Seven Pits of Hell. There was water in the bottom of this one too. The trail actually went in the water for a little way. I encountered two hikers there, and we also saw a tent camp that appeared to belong to several people, who were not around at the time. Right there the trail started to go straight up a cliff. Well, OK, a really steep hill. This is a really interesting section because you can look over into the 2012 tornado damage area. There is still metal debris wrapped up in the trees 100 feet in the air. Here I started to see a lot of little lizards, and one really long snake.

Once the trail leveled off a little bit, I started moving along pretty well, and watching for the logging road I had been on earlier. Finally, when the trail started to head down again I veered off to the right. Boom. The logging road was there, 10 yards away. The sun must have been in my eyes earlier.

I was feeling kind of disgusted with myself for avoiding the 1st Pit, again, but who would know? While I was mulling that over, a small animal noise caught my attention. I stopped, and there on the edge of the trail, 20 feet away, was a little critter. I thought first it was a newborn bear cub, and started to think about running, which is not something I can probably do very well.

Bobcat

I then realized it was in fact a baby Bobcat. A kitten? I took a couple of pictures and passed by a few dozen yards. Looking back, I saw there was a pile of logging debris right there which I assumed contained a den. Wildlife sightings don’t get any better than that, right? Once I reached the truck, I texted my DNR acquaintance and reported the location. I also did a little research on the magic phone and determined the kitten would likely be ok, a summation my acquaintance soon validated.

This is a great section of this trail, and no I actually have not walked from Mile 6 to 7 on the trail itself, but I saw a Bobcat. So it’s good.

Jackson eljackson map

Driving Miss Norma

I recently (today) read a book called Driving Miss Norma. You may have already heard of it, or even seen her on television. I don’t do television news, Twitter, or Face Book. So things like this that everyone else thinks they know about sometimes escape me. (Note the self righteous tone I took there, whilst floundering in my little WordPress world)

I, of course, was instantly drawn in by the Michigan connection, Grand Rapids, and the Gerald Ford story. I am fond of my Michigan heritage.

This book I recommend as a manual for possible consideration at End of Life. Especially the part about treatment decisions.  I personally could have skipped some of the notoriety portion of Miss Norma’s experience, if it were me. But she seems to have thrived on it. I think Tim and Ramie felt the same way. I would rather have done the Baja part than the Atlanta Hawks thing. But it isn’t my story, it’s theirs.

Norma was fortunate to have someone who had the means and the lifestyle to spend this time with her. Not everyone could do this. But my biggest take away was the eschewing of corporate medicine for simple alternatives, trading in possibly some extended, low quality time for even a day or two of quality. In this case a whole year.

Had Norma opted for the program the first doctor proposed, she would have missed all of this, and likely been pretty miserable most days. Likely also fewer days. Who knows?

As we age, End of Life becomes an ever increasing part of our life, for obvious reason. But it also starts to weigh on us as the inevitable is made ever more apparent by the ones who volunteer to go first. I am grateful for their guidance.

Miss Norma’s guidance I am especially thankful for.

 

 

Readers

I really appreciate the people that read me here. It is kind of a humbling experience to know that people take their valuable time to read about my common little life experiences.

Please, if you enjoy my writing, tell others about it. There are different  ways you can follow my blog. You can get an request an e-mail every time I write. You can follow me on WordPress.

But the best way is to put https://walkingdudestories.net into your browser favorites and just come here on purpose from time to time. Then you can scroll back and read whatever you want.

I do not use ad support, so you are not exposing yourself to unwanted e-mail sharing or spam by visiting my site.

Also, if you are a Kindle e-reader, I have published a collection of stories on Amazon called Stories from a Boy in Iowa: Short Stories by Walking Dude. It is only $1.09, which is a bargain by any standard. Right?

Please read it, if you would. Thank you again for taking the time.

Jackson Road Trailhead

This is a re-post from April of 2018. Reality is the weather around here just isn’t that good for hiking, for me anyway. I have been getting my miles around town, and at some local parks. Nothing really new to talk about, so I am opting for re-runs instead. I did get one leg on The Knobstone back in January, and I expect to be back at it next month.

This was my second leg on the Knobstone Trail. My plan was to walk out to Mile 6, then back to Mile 4, then back to the Jackson Road Trail head. On April 21st I set off  to do just that. From the parking area I walked down a steep hill to reach the actual trail. Going straight down right off the bat is never a good sign. When I reached the bottom, I decided to skip going out to Mile 6 or beyond, and headed for Mile 4. This meant now turning and starting up the other side of the original Pit of Misery. Really steep, and poorly constructed. I eventually reached the top. 1.25 miles, 1 hour, and I can still see my truck.

Jackson Truck

 

But hey, I’m on my way now. Down a little hill, across a road, and and there it is. The Second Pit of Hell. Down I went. At the bottom was one of the few places where I have ever seen water on this trail so far. Then up I went again. From Mile 5 to 4 was easy and really a nice view. Along the trail there was what appeared to be a Sasquatch shelter. I know you are laughing right now, but remember, I seldom see other people on this trail, and I was already near exhaustion. I started getting that creepy someone is watching me feeling. After I reached my goal at Mile 4, I headed back.

Just past Mile 5 the trail used to go out to a road. I was able to find that relatively easily, and I took the old route back to the truck. When I got to the truck I started to have the brilliant idea of dropping back into the Pit of Misery and getting another two miles in. Then I got in my truck and went home. Not my best day on the trail.

Again, this is not an easy trail. I have hiked in the mountains at elevation, so I have some idea of level of difficulty. Of course the age and IQ factor come into play as well. Save this section for a day you are feeling really strong.

Jackson ElJackson Map

Knobstone Trail Beginning

This is my post from last year when I first set out to hike The Knobstone Escarpment Trail. Through this  January I have covered the trail from Mile 0 out to Mile 20.5, both ways. This first section turns out to be the easiest section I have done so far, by far. If you are interested, scroll back and you can read about other sections too.  Here is what I posted after my first leg this past April:

During the past winter I determined that I should walk the Knobstone Escarpment Trail in southern Indiana. This trail is pretty serious business, so in the early spring I started training, extending my usual walks out to from 5 to 8 miles, or even 10.

Since I did not want to rely on others, or have to keep someone else’s pace, I decided to do this by myself which means out and back on every leg. Which also means making it halfway to the next trail head every time.

On April 7th I drove the two hours south to the Deam Lake Trailhead. It snowed a little overnight in southern Indiana, which was kind of rare for the time of year. When I got to the trail head, there was about an inch of snow on the ground. My goal that day was mile marker 4, so about an 8 mile day. I have been told that a lot of people only make 1 mile per hour on this trail, so I was planning on up to an 8 hour day. I carried a full pack with water, overnight survival needs, and a firearm.

Deam lake Pic

I parked at the Deam Lake Trailhead, and off I went. The woods were still in winter condition. Lots of leaves on the ground, and the snow made it a little slick. I am not young, and I am not thin, but I am not stupid. So I set out a reasonable pace on a beautiful day.

Mile 4  I saw 2 deer right away, and later a pair of Rufous Sided Towhee. That was about it for any remarkable wildlife.  I made way better time than I had planned on, and reached my goal in  a couple of hours. I only saw two people, both on my way back and near the end of my hike. The day went well, and was very enjoyable. I did slip and fall once near the end in some mud.

This trail is rugged and not real well maintained. It’s dirt and rocks and it’s uphill both ways, no matter where you are. The trailhead has been moved, so out and back to mile 4 proved to be 9 miles, and the last 1/4 mile up the hill to my truck was the last 1/4 mile I had in me that day. Cold beer in the truck!

Check out the elevation chart. That is nothing compared to what I would see on subsequent legs.

Deam Screen1Deam Screen 2