Preventive Medicine

In a few days, my wife and I will leave Wisconsin for the drive to Georgia and the start of my AT thru-hike.  This has been a long time in the planning.  I was so serious about this being high on my “list” (I despise the term “bucket list” so I refuse to call my bucket list anything other than a list) that it was a major factor in retiring when I did.  I shocked the office I managed when I announced my retirement but really floored them when I explained why – i.e., I wanted to have time to hike the Appalachian Trail as well as other long distance trails.  For many, the reaction initially was, “well, I wonder what the real reason is for him leaving?”  Eventually, they were convinced that, no, he really means this, there aren’t juicy office politics at play.  They were probably disappointed to realize this. Continue reading “Preventive Medicine”

Adventures in Cuy Farming

As parents, we strive to keep our kids safe and prevent them from doing stupid things that might cause them harm.  In part, this is accomplished, we naively think, by serving as positive role models as we sagely impart various important parenting rules.  We also, and this is part of what I call the “parenting paradox”, strive to prevent them from ever finding out about all the stupid things we did when we were their age. Continue reading “Adventures in Cuy Farming”

Onto Thin Ice: A personal account of my trip onto Green Bay

DISCLAIMER:  This entry has precious little to do with hiking, trekking or mountaineering

By most standards used to judge the average American, I think I could reasonably be categorized as someone willing to take on a certain level of risk when in the outdoors.  I have done multi-pitch rock climbs.  I’ve walked over snow bridges spanning man eating crevasses while climbing Mt. Rainier.  I’ve practiced ice climbing in the Himalayas.  More to the point, I’ve been on several expedition style climbing trips where I haven’t changed my underwear for 2 weeks at a stretch (kids, please don’t try this at home). Continue reading “Onto Thin Ice: A personal account of my trip onto Green Bay”

Romancing the Avenue of the Volcanoes


How I learned to stop worrying and love diacritics


“Kevin, it is NOT pronounced “anos” it is “años!”  Our Spanish tutor, let’s call him Freddy, barked this at me during one of our lessons.  He seemed, well, a bit panicky.  My wife, however, was simply amused.  We were in the midst of spending a month in Ecuador and were trying to improve our Spanish.  In an effort to keep things simple, I decided on my own to ignore those little squiggly things that other languages like to throw on top of their words.  Officially, these squiggles are referred to as “diacritics”.  Freddy did not like my approach.  Continue reading “Romancing the Avenue of the Volcanoes”

Lost in Translation


Both of my daughters recently told me that they plan on hiking a segment of the Appalachian Trail with me when I attempt my thru hike later this year.  One will catch up with me for a section in Virginia and the other will join me at some point in New England.  Now in their early 20s, both of them have a deep and abiding love of the outdoors and of hiking and camping.  Most people would consider this a very positive character trait.  Not discounting the fact that they participated in Girl Scouts for 10+ years, I’ve decided to take some credit for it myself. Continue reading “Lost in Translation”

Hunger Game


While the internet is certainly not an authoritative source of information, I recently averaged estimates from multiple sites for what a hiker on an Appalachian Trail thru hike should expect to burn in calories.  This turned out to be about 500 calories per hour of hiking.  Now for the higher math – for my thru hike I figure on being out on the actual trail for 135 days doing about 10 hours per day of hiking.  I will also be burning some calories for the remaining 14 hours in each day (figure another 1150 calories).  That ends up being roughly 830,000 calories to get me from Springer to Katahdin.  I don’t know about you, but to me, that seems like a lot of frickin’ calories to put down your pie hole. Continue reading “Hunger Game”

Fire in the attic

When you’ve been in a relationship with someone for a long enough period of time you get to know the buttons which, if pushed, generate a certain reaction in your partner.  For example, my wife often plans projects to work on around the house while I am gone on hiking trips.  She does this to “surprise” me upon my return.  So, when she asks “Honey, where is the sledge hammer?” as I am getting ready to leave, she knows that this generates a certain level of concern on my part.  But, as in any relationship, this cuts both ways.  Continue reading “Fire in the attic”