Holidays, Alzheimers, Exercise for Brain Health Research, and the PCT

As we here in North America settle into Labor Day Weekend, I will use these “holiday days” to post a tribute to my friend, and his labors of love for his wife and their cause.

You may (hopefully) remember my post of the introduction of Diggerfoot and so my friend Kirk. Kirk, his daughter Charissa, and his wife Cindy, are hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) with, and for, Cindy’s bucket list. Cindy has Alzheimer’s. The couples core is as long distance hikers, or as they seemed to be called, thru-hikers. As a couple they have traversed the country (The Continental Divide Trail,) hiked the Appalachian Trial and this is Kirks second time on the PCT. Compleating the three is called the Triple Crown. It’s a desire of Cindy’s to have that accomplishment, matching her husbands. As Kirk so clearly stated on his website, and I want to remind you…”We will use the hike for a mission to spread Hope for Alzheimer’s.  The first avenue of hope is with Cindy’s journey, demonstrating that people with Alzheimer’s still can pursue their dreams.  The second avenue of hope is through raising awareness for how lifestyle choices can improve Alzheimer’s patients and caregivers.  The most important of these lifestyle choices is physical exercise, the only “treatment” show to halt and even reverse brain decay.  The third avenue of hope is through Exercise for Brain Health Research, for which we are raising funds.  To see how you can help us spread Hope for Alzheimer’s please visit that page.”

Cindy-and-Charissa

Flowers-Sierra2

I will take two consecutive posting here on The Botanical Beauties & Beasties site to try to recap some of what I found the enticing tidbits of info and fact from the first two months of their journey. These two postings may be a bit longer than usual, but I hope you will find them compelling and that they tempt you to connect to Kirks blog and find out more about their cause and journey. (http://www.humanityhiker.com/) ~

The hike began at Snoqualmie Pass. This pass is about 45 minutes from the Seattle Metro area and is part of Rocky Mountains. It was a little tougher than expected the hikers had a false start. From Kirk’s blog -“We spent our whole first day in the snow, also struggling to find the trail. The day never climbed above freezing…” So here in MA we were enjoying all the summer trimmings and they were in snow! For a few reasons, Kirk makes the call and they turn back. He decides “We would go further south to start our hike north to the Canadian border, precisely at Mackenzie Pass in Oregon. I also resolved that we really had two goals. One was to get Cindy the Triple Crown. The other, and more important, was to enable Cindy to enjoy life, even at the cost of the other goal.”

With this change of their plans they have created  “a “flip flop” thru-hike in order to stay away from snow and make the hiking easier for one not as sure of foot as she once was.….Our first day out from Mackenzie Pass, after first hiking through a lava field reminiscent of a moonscape, we encountered over a mile of hiking on snow, followed by burned forests littered with extensive blowdowns. This was not making hiking easy for Cindy but I made the call to go on this time because the snowfield was on gentle slopes, no steep traverses, and burned forests don’t go on forever.”

Sonora-Pass-View2
Panoramic views!

Now, they are on track, up at 10,500 feet, they have climbed out of Sonora Pass and have an amazing panoramic view. Sonora Pass northern boundary is Yosemite National Park, and it also where the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) crosses Hwy 108 for those of you who know roads! With an elevation of 9,620 feet, it is the second highest paved pass in the Sierra Nevada range. By early July the gang is in the S. Lake Tahoe area. Kirk is running support and a self-appointed Sherpa to make this journey possible. He says in his posting that “I think is one of the most beautiful stretches along the PCT, the Desolation Wilderness.” I read that the temps are in 80’s, I haven’t read bad words about snow for a few postings now, and the trip seems to be moving along. I am glad for them.

A July posting is called Collapsing Tent Poles. Cindy is struggling with daily tasks and  towards the end of his post Kirk says- “At times like this you wonder why you would continue with this. The answers come from Cindy. We are always meeting other hikers and tell them something about what we are doing. To one group I gave the report on how exercise is the only thing shown to actually regenerate brain tissue. Cindy chimed in cheerfully: “Yep! That’s why I’m out here! …. Well, and I love hiking.” The positivity that Cindy demonstrates, and the strength they all show, is proof of the wonders of the human spirit when we, as people, need to call it up, somehow it seems to rise to the occasion! If you are mindful of it, you can witness this all the time in our daily lives. The struggles are unique to our own paths, and each one is equally important to the individual facing the challenge.

A few days later and the group is about 10 miles N. of Sierra City, headed over to hike the Sierra Buttes section of the PCT. “As we descended into Sierra City we finally got down low enough to be out of the snow.” (Amazing out here on the East coast we were enjoying a very lovely summer! Sun and no snow thank goodness!)…By mid July I am seeing posting that mentioned Cindy and her gang are hiking 20 miles a day! Impressive!

SNOW!
SNOW!

This posting is from Kirks blog on July 26, and the three hikers are back close to where they actually tried to start their hike originally. Remember that a 10 mile snowfield turned them back around to begin elsewhere!  “We were just a few miles into the Three Sisters Wilderness…As we tackled this section south of Mackenzie Pass on July 22 there were no ten mile snowfields. Indeed, I failed to remember how spectacular the scenery was through here, a source of continual awe were it not for being focused on the footpath. The lava fields made for some tough footwork for Cindy, as did the snowfields. For though they did not last for ten miles the patches occurred frequently over such a length.” Day two of that section, and thunderstorms hit…rain, drizzle, and cold, created this sentence. “All rain gear not made of rubber, to my knowledge, have a saturation point. Ours had reached that in the continuing rain. Wet and cold, I knew Cindy faced hypothermia conditions. After only three miles I knew I had to find a campsite soon.” As expected, they weathered the storm … one of the most heart warming moments in my readings of Kirk’s post is what he wrote after setting up a campsite, cold, wet, and in that storm – “This was the essence of us as a couple: content in our sleeping bags after a day’s hike, weathering the storm. This was normal for us; the way things should be. I looked over at Cindy and absorbed the music, knowing just how fleeting such “normal” moments now are. I wanted to freeze and hold onto that moment forever.”  http://www.humanityhiker.com/weathering-the-storm/  As Kirk stated, the experience had created a new normal and they had gotten thru it all. An interesting question for us to think about. That concept of “normal” and how it is really a very wide dynamic range for most of us and pretty much most of the time! Do you have a new “normal”? Is yours ever evolving? I know mine is.

So I will end this post here – and in a day or two, I will ”recap” the best I can the August postings! Catching us all up-to-date, and hopefully a little more “aware.”

As I write those words, I can’t help but also be reminded of all the awareness that the Ice Bucket Challenge has brought to the ALS issue. There are so many important places, things, and issues that call for our attention and awareness these days!

 “Slowly, I witness the constants in my life fade around me. All things must pass. I just wish we could have more control in the manner of their passing.” – Kirk Sinclair

 

Meet Diggerfoot – A Pacific Northwest Guy!

This is the first installment about my friend Kirk, who with his wife Cindy, and their daughter Charissa, are hiking The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT.) That translates into that they are hoping to hike from the Canadian border to the Mexican Border! To me, this alone is amazing. But wait, there’s more….

…I met Kirk and we become friends thru our connections/websites/beliefs about kindness. On that note, when Kirk told me about his upcoming long distance hike and its purpose I knew I wanted to help out if I could. A unique and fun way for me to pitch in is to share some of Kirk’s words about their adventures, adding a twist in my own way. Naturally, this translates into getting The Botanical Beauties and Beasties involved and sharing it with you all, my readers. As to the purpose of the hike —these words are Kirks own words that were posted before they actually left the East Coast for the West…

 “Our daughter Charissa, Cindy and I will hike the 2666 mile Pacific Crest Trail, starting this June 15.  This will complete the Triple Crown of long distance hiking for Cindy, the top item on her bucket list as she deals with her early onset Alzheimer’s.  In the coming months the blog posts will focus on both Alzheimer issues and the PCT adventure.

We will use the hike for a mission to spread Hope for Alzheimer’s.  The first avenue of hope is with Cindy’s journey, demonstrating that people with Alzheimer’s still can pursue their dreams.  The second avenue of hope is through raising awareness for how lifestyle choices can improve Alzheimer’s patients and caregivers.  The most important of these lifestyle choices is physical exercise, the only “treatment” show to halt and even reverse brain decay.  The third avenue of hope is through Exercise for Brain Health Research, for which we are raising funds.  To see how you can help us spread Hope for Alzheimer’s please visit that page.”

To, that end-I have created a new Pacific Northwest Botanical Beautie. I am delighted to introduce Diggerfoot. Named after Kirk himself, created from true Western trail plants (Thanks to one of my other amazing friends, Susan Nolde!) In future installments we will hopefully learn how Kirk, and now this newfound Botanical, got the trail name of Diggerfoot!

DiggerFoot with ID Labels
Diggerfoot! This image is actually a rare occurrence where I am showing you the Plant ID of Diggrfoots “parts.” Special THANKS to Susan Nolde for these original plant images and the ID’s!

During the 5 months or so that the hikers will be out, Botanical Diggerfoot will be interviewing Human Kirk. He will be answering some of Diggerfoots (and mine) ever pressing, and hopefully interesting, questions. If you have a question for Kirk too, feel free to email it me, and it will get asked as well!  The questions will range from humorous, to plain logistics about this kind of hike, to the seriousness of the cause at times. We will get to see these post as time for the interview process goes, and connectivity to the NW Mountains goes too!  You can follow the trios adventures closely by following Kirks Blog at  http://www.humanityhiker.com/ to keep up on the hike, its trials, tribulations, success and beauty. I find the reading fascinating, as this kind of hiking is so far removed from my realities, and inspirational as well.  Its heart warming to again see what people do for their loved ones and as well watching people follow their dreams. I am pretty sure you will empathize and learn a bit about the unfair and unjust disease of Alzheimer. It’s shocking to learn that every 67 seconds someone in this country is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, with over five million total now being afflicted, likely including someone you know. This degrading, terminal disease with no known cure causes more deaths than breast and prostate cancer combined, while robbing a person’s memories and ability to function in the process.

And, BTW, yes, they are indeed off and hiking! After a few false starts they seem to be sorted out and being able to work on the process of making this journey an amazing one. Diggerfoot will share his first interview very soon!

 

Spring, consciousness and attitudes.

Attitude is everything
See below for more about Attitude.

Today is finally warm again…alas the sun seems to have gone, and its raining, but at least the temps are 1/2 decent. Just asking– is this continuing of winter claws getting under your skin? It is mine! I could use some sun and warmth together! Just saying…Therefore, today we will chat about ways to try to help yourself get out of your own way. I am having a wee bit of trouble with this of late, it’s a tough one for many, at various times I am sure it is tough for everyone. Remember that’s it’s all about attitude, and if we are lucky maybe we can ‘adjust’ our own as needed ~ There are lots of great sayings about this…

  • Show up…
  • Park in front….
  • Everyday starts with a blank canvas….
  • Don’t give up. Normally it’s the last key on the ring which opens the door.
  • You don’t need to change places, you just see where you are with new eyes.

…and on an on. I must take you back to my yoga class. As usual, I find inspiration from the words of my teacher, Suzie. On Tuesday night she was saying, put your consciences in the palm of your hands. Of course, since it was yoga class I thought, ok…good idea Suzie I will do that. As the week progressed I have thought about it. Just what indeed does that really mean-especially to me? I realized I really didn’t have clue, so I sat down and thought about. Since I like, to share my favorite things with you all, I will share my thoughts.

Remember the blog post(s) on open palm living? They are still some of my favorite thoughts. Well, if you are living your life open; i.e.,open to: new experiences, people, things, thoughts, and your heart is open to the world around you then you are living in an open palm way. That also means you are possibly less ‘protected’ and therefor probably more ‘venerable.’ This is where consciousness helps. This is also where ATTITUDE helps. It may mean you have a sort of “self directed” path, you have awareness, and although most of us don’t understand much what goes on in our daily paths we know it is OUR path, and hope with all our might, wishes, crossed fingers, and a birthday candle blows, that it is the path we are supposed to be on!  (Can’t resist, another few sayings – Life is a journey not a destination, Your life is what you create in it). Now, lets take that one step further… Lets assume we are all trying to live our lives as ‘open beings’ with the added bonus of open palm consciousness.  You are now alive, open, and aware. Pretty amazing in itself if we can do that. Now, imagine you can touch it with your hands, that you indeed have ‘the power’ of consciousness in your palms, you can touch it at will. What will that bring? Does it mean you can mold it/shape it as you desire?  Can you adjust it with grace and ease for you can now touch it? Is it a burden or a pleasure to have this power? I hope you think it is a good thing, a pleaseure. Yes, I know I did not directly answer the question of “What it means to put your consciences in the palm of your hands?”  Well, what do you think it means? I hope, at least, I got you to think about it over the course of the next few days. Would love to hear from you in comments!

 Want a little more info on attitude? Click below. http://www.frenchbydesignblog.com/2013/12/wednesday-quote.html  https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/267482-the-longer-i-live-the-more-i-realize-the-impact (I was a little surprised when I followed through and found out who the author was) https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5139.Charles_R_Swindoll

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Water, spring, March 31? “Liquid Courage” – What am I talking about?

https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/9446-it-s-time-for-liquid-courage
 Follow/Click this link http://thndr.it/1fCgxy4  for a GREAT piece of media!

The Nature  Conservancy screen shot

 

Direct from The Nature Conservancy page….

“It’s time to talk about water! That’s right, water.
That strange drinkable liquid that’s not coffee or alcohol. Because while 70% of the world is covered by water, only 0.03% is accessible and drinkable. It takes guts to take on the global challenge we face and create a social movement to demand change – So it’s time for a little Liquid Courage.
The Nature Conservancy has launched “Liquid Courage” – a new kind of campaign showcasing what can be done to protect and preserve the water that powers every element of our lives. But we know we can’t do this alone. We need your help in raising the profile of The Nature Conservancy’s work in the water space to expand our efforts in the right direction, and ultimately help ensure a more sustainable future for you, your legacy, and your planet.

Join us on March 31st when we release a digital tidal wave across social platforms and get the conversation (and the water) flowing.”  –https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/9446-it-s-time-for-liquid-courage

_

It takes ALL of us to help each other, ourselves and our planet!  The World needs us…please help.

Moe image- Minister of Clean water
Lets all work for World Clean Water

Moe want to remind you…These are from the Water Use it Wisely site –   100+ WAYS TO CONSERVE   (http://wateruseitwisely.com/100-ways-to-conserve/?view=list)

How about 3 new ones and act on them!
I picked #7 in the Kitchen, and #5 and #8 in the bathroom. Let me know in the comments section which ones you choose!

INDOOR TIPS

KITCHEN
  1. #1 There are a number of ways to save water, and they all start with you.
  2. #2 When washing dishes by hand, don’t let the water run. Fill one basin with wash water and the other with rinse water.
  3. #3 Dishwashers typically use less water than washing dishes by hand. Now, Energy Star dishwashers save even more water and energy.
  4. #4 If your dishwasher is new, cut back on rinsing. Newer models clean more thoroughly than older ones.
  5. #5 Designate one glass for your drinking water each day, or refill a water bottle. This will cut down on the number of glasses to wash.
  6. #6 Soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean.
  7. #7 Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Instead, compost vegetable food waste and save gallons every time.
  8. #8 Wash your fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of running water from the tap.
  9. #9 Don’t use running water to thaw food. For water efficiency and food safety, defrost food in the refrigerator.
  10. #10 Install an instant water heater near your kitchen sink so you don’t have to run the water while it heats up. This also reduces energy costs.
  11. #11 Keep a pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap. This way, every drop goes down you and not the drain.
  12. #12 Reuse leftover water from cooked or steamed foods to start a nutritious soup, it’s one more way to get eight glasses of water a day.
  13. #13 Cook food in as little water as possible. This also helps it retain more nutrients.
  14. #14 Select the proper pan size for cooking. Large pans may require more cooking water than necessary.
  15. #15 If you accidentally drop ice cubes, don’t throw them in the sink. Drop them in a house plant instead.
  16. #16 Collect the water you use while rinsing fruit and vegetables. Use it to water house plants.
  17. #17 When shopping for a new dishwasher, use the Consortium for Energy Efficiency website to compare water use between models.

LAUNDRY ROOM

  1. #18 When doing laundry, match the water level to the size of the load.
  2. #19 Washing dark clothes in cold water saves water and energy, and helps your clothes retain their color.
  3. #20 When shopping for a new washing machine, compare resource savings among Energy Star models. Some can save up to 20 gallons of water per load.
  4. #21 Have a plumber re-route your greywater to trees and plants rather than the sewer line. Check with your city and county for codes.
  5. #22 When buying a washer, check the Consortium for Energy Efficiency website to compare water use between models.

BATHROOM

  1. #23 If your shower fills a one-gallon bucket in less than 20 seconds, replace the showerhead with a WaterSense® labeled model.
  2. #24 Shorten your shower by a minute or two and you’ll save up to 150 gallons per month.
  3. #25 Time your shower to keep it under 5 minutes. You’ll save up to 1,000 gallons per month.
  4. #26 Toilet leaks can be silent! Be sure to test your toilet for leaks at least once a year.
  5. #27 Put food coloring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the bowl without flushing, there’s a leak. Fix it and start saving 
    gallons.
  6. #28 When running a bath, plug the bathtub before turning on the water. Adjust the temperature as the tub fills.
  7. #29 Upgrade older toilets with water-saving WaterSense® labeled models.
  8. #30 If your toilet flapper doesn’t close properly after flushing, replace it.
  9. #31 Use a WaterSense® labeled showerhead. They’re inexpensive, easy to install, and can save you up to 750 gallons a month.
  10. #32 Turn off the water while you brush your teeth and save up to 4 gallons a minute. That’s up to 200 gallons a week for a family of four.
  11. #33 If your toilet was installed before 1992, purchasing a WaterSense® labeled toilet can reduce the amount of water used for each flush.
  12. #34 Consider buying a dual-flush toilet. It has two flush options: a half-flush for liquid waste and a full-flush for solid waste.
  13. #35 Plug the sink instead of running the water to rinse your 
    razor and save up to 300 gallons a month.
  14. #36 Turn off the water while washing your hair and save up to 150 gallons a month.
  15. #37 When washing your hands, turn the water off while you lather.
  16. #38 Take 5-minute showers instead of baths. A full bathtub requires up to 70 gallons of water.
  17. #39 Install water-saving aerators on all of your faucets.
  18. #40 Drop tissues in the trash instead of flushing them and save water every time.
  19. #41 Look for WaterSense® labeled toilets, sink faucets, urinals and showerheads.
  20. #42 One drip every second adds up to five gallons per day! Check your faucets and shower-heads for leaks.
  21. #43 While you wait for hot water, collect the running water and use it to water plants.

GENERAL INDOOR

  1. #44 Teach children to turn off faucets tightly after each use.
  2. #45 Watch the Home Water Challenge video or use the Home Water Audit Calculator to see where you can save water.
  3. #46 When the kids want to cool off, use the sprinkler in an area where your lawn needs it most.
  4. #47 Encourage your school system and local government to develop and promote water conservation among children and adults.
  5. #48 Play fun games while learning how to save water!
  6. #49 Monitor your water bill for unusually high use. Your bill and water meter are tools that can help you discover leaks.
  7. #50 Learn how to use your water meter to check for leaks.
  8. #51 Reward kids for the water-saving tips they follow.
  9. #52 Avoid recreational water toys that require a constant flow of water.
  10. #53 Grab a wrench and fix that leaky faucet. It’s simple, inexpensive, and you can save 140 gallons a week.
  11. #54 Hire a GreenPlumber® to help reduce your water, energy, and chemical use.
  12. #55 Be a leak detective! Check all hoses, connectors, and faucets regularly for leaks.
  13. #56 We’re more likely to notice leaky faucets indoors, but don’t forget to check outdoor faucets, pipes, and hoses.
  14. #57 See a leak you can’t fix? Tell a parent, teacher, employer, or property manager, or call a handyman.
  15. #58 At home or while staying in a hotel, reuse your towels.
  16. #59 Make suggestions to your employer or school about ways to save water and money.
  17. #60 Run your washer and dishwasher only when they are full. You can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
  18. #61 See how your water use stacks up to others by calculating your daily water use.