Part two-‘You’ll never know your limits unless you push yourself to them’ – and The Pacific Crest Trail

“Sometimes in life we choose opportunities to test our limits; sometimes we must simply deal with what is.”
– Kirk Sinclair

It was August 7th, south of Crater Lake (Southern Oregon), at the end of a Humanity Hikers post I see the above words. (http://www.humanityhiker.com ) A statement that really came home for me and so I am sharing it with you on the opening of this post. It seems like a good Be Here NOW statement! Our opportunities, our limits, our possibilities — sometimes we get to choose —sometimes we don’t!

The heading for that particular post of Kirk’s was Limits. In the second paragraph of his post he says, “Occasionally at a road crossing we see an inspirational note for thru-hikers pinned up. One such note near Little Hyatt Reservoir read: “You’ll never know your limits unless you push yourself to them.”  It got Kirk to do some reflection on his past PCT hike, and now his present one with his current challenges. I will let you read his words on your own — http://www.humanityhiker.com/limits/. As for me, I can’t read that and not drift into my own thoughts — what are my limits and boundaries that I am personally and professionally pushing? What are the things I simply must accept and “deal” with? Always good to think and about. Always good to be mindful of. Always good to have some clear thoughts on. I hope you give some thoughts to your own journeys, spend a little time and labor over the thoughts, I can almost guarantee it will be time well spent. I am all for following the path and the flow, but that must be accompanied by, and with, mindfulness. The river and current do indeed glide where they want, but you direct your own boat!

In early August, two friends joined in the PCT hike (Mike and his girlfriend Jill) and they are now hiking what Kirk calls “high country.”  Skirting around “Three Fingered Jack and a long approach to the ever looming Mt. Jefferson. At one point we joked that we must be in the Twilight Zone, as we would hike around a similar looking knoll to an open view of the towering strato volcano, without it looking much closer. Only once we got to Jefferson Park did we see the mountain in its full majesty, though obscured somewhat by the haze of recent fires…My knees were aching that night from over 16,000 feet of elevation change in two days, but all together they were full days worth the cost.” The next post he mentions there was a 10,000+ feet elevation change over 22.6 miles. O.K. – let’s be real -the mileage alone is impressive! Add the elevations changes, backpacks , etc., and it is actually a bit intimidating as well as awesome! By the way, he does also say-“I foresaw lots of ibuprofen in my future.” That made me feel a teeny tiny little less sluggish and unfit! …Then again — a rain deluge falls on them. …”After about 20 minutes, the rain abated and we continued on. We first saw the beautiful results of a cloudburst. Flowers sparkled with raindrops, and mists rose like smoke from the distant valleys. Yet we were traversing the spurs of an imposing mountain. In between those spurs were creeks to be crossed, creeks now swollen from the funneled waters of a cloudburst streaming down between those spurs.” I can only imagine how beautiful that must have been!

Montage

It is now mid August (8/16) and the gang is actually on a rest day! They are at Kirk’s sister-in-laws house and getting ready to hike what is apparently the “the most remote, rugged section of trail a section in Washington State. I figure if we complete this section we’re golden.” The post is in actuality about the strange and mysterious ways the brain can work. It is called A Conundrum, and it is an interesting view into what/how actions, reactions, sights, senses, and exercise can work with our brain synopsis. (http://www.humanityhiker.com/a-conundrum/) – Very interesting and worth a read!

August 19 and they are driving up to Rainy Pass (a mountain pass on State Route 20 in the North Cascades Mountains of Washington State.) Here they are to begin the potentially most difficult section of trail. As they arrive they were greeted with an “increasing parting of the clouds. When we crested at Cutthroat Pass we witnessed what John Muir once phrased as “a new heaven and new earth” with a new panorama of steep, snowfield blotted mountains before us. So this is what the North Cascades looked like! Wow! Right up there with John Muir’s Sierra.

The North Cascades
The North Cascades

They had a forced rest day – “The trailhead bulletin board at Rainy Pass announced that three sections ahead were obstructed by blowdowns and washouts. There was a reroute around the section north of Harts Pass, but that was marked by blowdowns as well. Anticipating the worst, as is wise to do for Cindy’s affliction, we had to conclude that reaching the Canadian border might be impossible for us. We arranged for Charissa to meet us at Harts Pass for that contingency. I started thinking in terms of an incomplete thru-hike, not uncommon, as we met several thru-hikers that skipped sections that were rerouted on roads because of forest fire.” Now, you may, or may not, have been paying close attention, but this seems like a very big statement to me. Kirk goes on to say in a few days later posting, that they will indeed keep going until Thanksgiving, doing their “long hike” now (which by the ways means 2,000+ miles!!!!!), and that hopefully, next year they will return to finish up the last parts/bits they cannot complete this time around. Charissa has a cold and so is doing the support role and to boot gets a flat tire… a very scary realization that indeed rocks FALL on the road and a beach ball size rock had rolled into the road a little further down from the flat tire happening… Mike is indeed with them so I imagine that is a plus… but Cindy is in tears, “while up on that beautiful ridge, a tearful “hiking is not fun anymore.” I (Kirk) knew changes needed to be made; I (Kirk) put my arm around her and discussed what those changes would be.”  Clearly a bit of a rough ride, but there is more to come. Posted on August 24, Kirk says “All along the Stevens to Rainy Pass stretch worried me the most. This was the longest stretch with the longest climbs on our journey.” It was clearly a tough 3 or 4 days. It is much than I can do justice to with a recap- so again I provide you with the link, enabling you to read it first hand. http://www.humanityhiker.com/when-a-cold-is-good-news/ I will tell you the result was a few changes, shorter mileage days, and a rest day every 5-7 days.

This seems like a good “golden rule” to end up on at this point.

‘Our original goals have changed, but not our resolve.

And so that takes us to today — next weekend happens to be Kirks birthday. If you hike over to his site-send him your good wishes for another year of goodness and hiking.

My next post about The PCT journey willbe an interview from Diggerfoot to Kirlk.
Stay tuned!

Babies, Hospitals, Cars, Dr’s, storms, and a Family story

It’s been a huge month in our family. There are TWO wiggling additions (one baby girl and one baby boy, a very big congratulations to all!!!), one snow storm (which when in DC/Baltimore/Annapolis area is a complete show stopper,) one major surgery (went very well-allowing me to breath again,) one emergency room visit (all is fine, thanks goodness,) lots of driving, one special family celebration, and lots of readjusting to all these new paths/stories/of our family…. I count in this story our dear friends, those connections/their stories, some less easy and “good” than others….I wish ALL the above only good news.  For the health side, I wish them recoveries and for the babies, clearly it’s health and happiness.  Everyone, even the four-legged family members are pretty darn tired. That too shall hopefully pass, as we all get use to all these new paths and find our ways on these roads. Constant realignment… letting go the past, our yesterday, and welcoming our tomorrow with all the turns, the curves, the uphills, and the easy downhills, that tomorrow will bring.

A BIG Huge THANK YOU to our friends and family members
…for all working together!
A BIG Huge Hurrah for us all!
Yes, at times, it does indeed take a small village, A.KA. a family and close friends.

and as the stories continue…

I hope and wish for all good outcomes.
That the fairies wands are all waving and working.
That the ill get well.
That the bones all heal and quickly.
That the babies all grow strong and well.
…and that our friends stay close!

Wellness, Car, Babies, Friends

 

Happy Birthday Julia Child!

100 years – Happy Birthday to a remarkable woman!

OH, and by the way…don’t forget
We are at THE WHOLE FOODS (BELLINGHAM MA) FARMERS MARKET   Monday AFTERNOONS
4:00 ON TO DUSK (7ish  or there about)

Happy Birthday Julia Child


New Beginnings, the seasons and the flowers.

It is warm again up here. Many spring flowers are glorious in their blooming, showing off all the colors and shapes they can. Each Season seems like a new beginning – a chance to reinvent a part of yourself. You may do it with Fashion and the Public Persona you wear. Maybe your “hobby” changed? Your sports? Your arts? Your attitude? Your life can be what you choose (not easy but true.) Each season, and each birthday, feels like a new chance.

Seasons of 2012:
SPRING EQUINOX March 20, 1:14 A.M. EDT
SUMMER SOLSTICE June 20, 7:09 P.M. EDT
FALL EQUINOX September 22, 10:49 A.M. EDT
WINTER SOLSTICE December 21, 6:12 A.M. EST

The obvious new beginnings are babies! We know that many new “wee ones” appear in the spring. Nature has naturally made it a good time for the young. The temps are better, food is more plentiful, and Moms and Dads come out of hibernation. The Botanical Beauties and Beasties are no exception. Meet our new baby! Speaking of family resemblance…. who do think her family is?

Bambina

When you were born….

Happy Birthday
Yum brings out a Birthday Cake from Julia’s Bakery (Joyful Sparkles)

I knew I wanted to write about Birthdays today. To wish a few folks near and very dear to me a VERY Happy Birthday!!! If your birthday was Sunday August 7 or today, Monday August 8, and … this is the really important part, IF you are a wonderful person, then this blog post can be for you too.

Wondering what to say – or draw, and I sat down at my desk, and began to read my emails. It became clearer as I read a blog I follow called THE INDIGO BUNTING. (http://theindigobunting.blogspot.com) – her post for Aug 6th was actually about a baby shower. Her sister “created the most special baby shower for me the other week. The inspiration for it came from this beautiful, little-known Portuguese children’s book about a boy’s first experiences discovering the world through the senses — his first time visiting the sea, his first time seeing colors and birds, his first time hearing the wind in the trees, smelling his grandmother, and tasting fruit.”

I would like to think that adults can still hear, taste, enjoy and appreciate these things too.   I was intrigued so I read on…

“But the most meaningful gift of all was this framed art my sister made. The tree and leaves were inspired by the end pages of the book. She asked our friends and family to write one thing they could not wait for our little boy to experience in life — his first ride on the D train, his first Mariners game, his first hiking trip, his first McDonald’s french fry. My husband and I pored over this gift, reading and rereading all the things our friends and family wished for our little boy, realizing how much he is loved already.” ( Erin Jang use to live in Seattle and is now living in NYC.)

I love the idea of the tree and the leaves. How about, as adults, we take the same idea and now those leaves had words about how much the person means to you and shared life experiences.  What would my leaves say to express these feelings? How would I sum up the emotions, experiences, memories, gratitudes, and love? What words would have the gusto I want to express on those tree leaves? One of these birthdays is my Dads, and it is more like paragraphs, not sentences, that come to mind,  In honesty I don’t know the answer, but I think it is a very lovely idea that I just may try to follow-up on! Below are 3 images from The Baby Shower post. One is of the actual end papers of the book, one is of the framed print the lucky mom to be received, and the third is a close up of a few leaves, that The Indigo Bunting shared as well. All 3 images are from her post – which truly touched a chord in me. Thanks to E R I N J A N G  in NYC.  blog http://theindigobunting.blogspot.com/2011/08/baby-shower.html

Naturally, Big Hugs and Birthday Wishes to those special people of Aug 7 and 8! (Especially the 8th!)  Tons of love – wish I could be there and have a birthday coffee, and share a little Birthday sweet with you! ♥♥♥♥♥♥
Happy Birthday Dad!
Happy Birthday Susan!

The endpapers of the book, the inspiration for the framed printThe End Papers of the book.

The framed print from her sister
The framed print from her sister
Close up the words/leaves
Close up the words/leaves.

Celebrate Independence Day

Here’s to Independence!

Liberty
Liberty

The History and Origin of Independence Day

By the middle of the 1700s, the 13 colonies that made up part of England’s empire in the New World were finding it difficult to be ruled by a king 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean. They were tired of the taxes imposed upon them. But independence was a gradual and painful process. The colonists could not forget that they were British citizens and that they owed allegiance to King George III.

A “tea party” and a “Massacre” were two events that hurried destiny. Along with general unrest these events united the colonists. In 1767 a tea company in India, owned by England, was losing money. To save the company, England levied a tax on tea sold in the colonies in 1773. Partly as a joke, Samuel Adams and other Bostonians dressed up as Indians and dumped a cargo of the India Company Tea into the Massachusetts Bay. King George III did not think it was funny, nor did he lift the tax on tea. In the Boston harbor, British soldiers were jeered and stoned by colonists who thought the soldiers had been sent to watch them. The soldiers fired into the crowd and killed a few citizens. The colonists exaggerated the number killed and called it a massacre.

Virginia took the first step toward independence by voting to set up a committee to represent the colonies. This First Continental Congress met in September of 1774. They drew up a list of grievances against the crown which became the first draft of a document that would formally separate the colonies from England. George Washington took command of the Continental Army and began fighting the British in Massachusetts. For the next eight years, colonists fought fervently in the Revolutionary War.

In the meantime, a war of words was being waged in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress presented & debated a second draft of the list of grievances, and John Hancock, the president of the Second Continental Congress, was the first to sign. The document, called the Declaration of Independence, was treasonous against the crown and the fifty-six men who signed it were in danger of being executed.

Independence Day is celebrated on July 4 because that is the day when the Continental Congress adopted the final draft of the Declaration of Independence. From July 8, 1776, until the next month, the document was read publicly and people celebrated whenever they heard it. The next year, in Philadelphia, bells rang and ships fired guns, candles and firecrackers were lighted. But the War of Independence dragged on until 1783, and in that year, Independence Day was made an official holiday. 1941 Congress declared 4th of July a federal holiday. ”

http://homeschooling.about.com/cs/unitssubjhol/a/4thofjuly.htm

When this sun stands still!

The Summer Solstice: As Good as It Get

“The summer solstice is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. The sun has been inching its way back into our lives ever since the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. Rising slightly earlier each morning and setting a minute or two later every night, it graces us with light gradually gained. The change, the shift, is at first imperceptibly slow. But it is steady, and soon the minute-by-minute accumulation of daylight asserts itself in measures of hours. More and more hours of sun warmed shine.

By the spring equinox, the halfway point in the annual solar swing, the length of day and night is equal everywhere on Earth. The constant accretion of light continues for three more months until the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. That’s about 15 hours of sunlight in New York City and 21 hours in Fairbanks, Alaska. In Sweden, it is indeed the land of the midnight sun. And at the North Pole, the sun doesn’t set at all.

The seasonal ascendance of light and temperature is not — despite popular belief — due to our distance from the sun, but to the degree of directness of its rays. It would be logical on the face of it to assume that in the smarmy summer the earth approaches closest to the sun, and that we are furthest away from it in the cold, dark of winter. Not so. The earth reaches its perihelion, the point on our orbit which brings us closest to the sun, in winter (this year it was on January 1); and conversely, during summer (July 6, 2011) we attain our aphelion, the furthest reach of our range from the sun.

Though the distance from the sun is greatest in the summer, it is around the summer solstice that the sun sits highest in the sky. The steep path of its rays is angled directly overhead. Vertical. Its energy aimed arrow-like straight down on us. The summer solstice is the lightest, brightest, most brilliant summit of solar power. The peak, the potent pinnacle. The absolute apex of radiant energy extended toward us from our own shining star.

The summer solstice is the height of the glory of the season of the sun. And it is all downhill from there. For once it is as light, as bright, as ripe as it can possibly get, it just can’t get any better. It is then that the dark must begin to creep back. Back and back in tiny daily increments, bringing cold and death in its wake. The eventual return of the dark completes the annual solar circuit, the swing shift of sunlight.

On the solstice and for several days surrounding it, the sun stands sentinel at dawn, hovering, as it were, before beginning its descent into dark. It seems to stand stark still in the sky, which is exactly what the word solstice means — “sun stands still.” It stands proud and tall for our total admiration and enthusiastic tribute. And like the sun, we stand still and tall, as well, basking in its full attention.

If we celebrate the birth of the brand new sun and the return of the light at the winter solstice, we salute its vibrant expansive maturity at the solstice in the summer. We exalt in the season’s vital strength — and our own — even as we acknowledge its impending and inevitable loss of virility, fertility and ultimate demise. With bittersweet recognition of the impermanence of the season, we glory in that golden gift of heat and bright light. While we can.”

Written by Urban shaman, eco-ceremonialist, ritual expert and consultant

and Happy Birthday to Emily!