mercury dime

WARNING:  As happens occasionally, this blog entry has nothing to do with hiking.  You have been forewarned.

Are you a one or a two cookie kind of person?  Many years ago a Stanford social psychologist, Walter Mischel, set out to answer this important question.  He recruited a bunch of 3 to 5 year olds from the Stanford Nursery School.  It was a pretty simple idea – the kids were presented with a cookie and told that they could eat the cookie right then but if they were willing to wait for 15 minutes, they could have two cookies instead.  Being a careful researcher he later replicated this experiment but this time the choice was one or two marshmallows.  What would you do?  Continue reading “Numismatics”

Flip Flopper

flip flopper

Notice: No politicians, past or present, were harmed in the creation of this post

 I first met Eddie Spaghetti in Vermont.  I was cruising along on my Appalachian Trail (AT) thru hike, excited to have finally entered this state.  I had almost 1,700 of the 2,189 trail miles under my belt.  Continue reading “Flip Flopper”


This Spring my wife and I hiked the Camino de Santiago – the medieval pilgrimage route across northern Spain featured in the movie “The Way”.  We took 40 days to get to the city of Santiago de Compostela then walked an additional 5 days to reach Finisterre (translation: “End of the Earth”). We had a great time and when we got back we started thinking about what we could do that would capture the spirit of that experience, just a little shorter (and a little closer to home)!  One thing led to another and after some research my wife proposed walking the length of Door County, where we live, from its border with Kewaunee County, to North Port, the ferry terminal at the very tip of the Door Peninsula. Continue reading “Doormino/Camino”

A Walk Across Wisconsin

IAT Blog

Where it begins (or ends):  Western Terminus of the Ice Age Trail

It was supposed to be the second National Scenic Trail that I thru hiked.  Instead, 17 months later I finished the Ice Age Trail (IAT) as a section hiker.  It was an eventful and, at times, frustrating period.  The IAT runs for over 1100 miles, totally contained within the state of Wisconsin from its eastern terminus just outside the city of Sturgeon Bay to the banks of the St. Croix River along the border with Minnesota.  Its “raison d’être” is to trace the terminal moraine of the last glacier to cover Wisconsin, roughly 10,000 years ago.  The trail itself is still very much a work in progress.  Over 500 of its miles are euphemistically referred to as “connecting routes”.  Translation?  For those miles you walk along the side of a road, sometimes dodging cars, the odd piece of farm equipment or the occasional semi.  Thankfully, the rest of the time is spent in fields and woods on “hiking segments”.  As I contemplate my next undertaking in the outdoors I have been reflecting on this experience. Continue reading “A Walk Across Wisconsin”

In the Footsteps of Phineas Gage

Phineas Gage

Phineas Gage – “After”

“Hey Kevin, that rock is a trip hazard.  Get a tamping iron and pop it out.”  Recently, I was in Central Wisconsin, part of a work crew helping to build new tread on the Ice Age Trail (IAT).  Trail building, as it turns out, is pretty hard work and I was rapidly gaining new respect for what it takes to create the trails on which I have been so happily hiking for the past few years.  But, when the crew leader of my tread team issued this order, it gave me reason to pause.  You see, this was a lone rock on a new stretch of trail I had been assigned to prep.  Being concerned with a trip hazard on a hiking trail seemed a little, well, overly zealous?  I wondered what he would think if we were suddenly transported to the Appalachian Trail (AT), in say, Maine.  Using his definition of a trip hazard, one could think of the entire 281 miles of the AT in Maine as one continuous trip hazard.  What might it do to his mental state if he was forced to contemplate clearing trip hazards from all 281 miles of the Maine AT?  Not a pretty thought. Continue reading “In the Footsteps of Phineas Gage”

Check Engine


Old Rag #3

The summit of Old Rag in the Shenandoahs

I love Old Rag Mountain.  I think of it as the queen of the northern Shenandoahs.  True, it stands only 3,268 ft tall.  However, it is basically a great big chunk of (mostly) exposed granite and, as you drive by it to the west on Skyline Drive in Virginia, it looks pretty darn impressive.  While I lived in Maryland, it became my favorite day hike destination, despite requiring a 4 hour round trip in the car just to get to and from the trailhead.  I have hiked to its summit at least a couple dozen times.  When my daughters got old enough, I started taking them along with me and soon they too developed a love for the mountain.  Despite my move to Wisconsin, it is still my favorite day hike.  It is also where I plan to be on a more permanent basis.  After, that is, I am dead. Continue reading “Check Engine”