Monday, July 17, 2006

Never Enough Time.....

There is never enough time to do all the things that I would like to do. I seems like as soon as you get camp set up you have to turn around and break it all down again and head for home. The last camping trip was a two day affair that offered a little more time for relaxing and planning the next move for the day. Two days is certainly better than one but not quite as good as three, or four, or five. But is was still well worth the effort.

You never know what to expect when you are out in nature. Once we got the camp site all set up, we decided to head out and get a few supplies. We left everything all set up and in place and worked our way back to Pisgah Forest and of course Wal-Mart (a.k.a Wal-Mart Outfitters) to get the stuff we needed. Nothing major, just some of the basic stuff to keep you going for a few days. After being out for an hour or so loading up on camp goodies, we head back to camp to get rearranged and settle in for the night and maybe have some eats before calling it a night. The surprise came once we got back to camp and started to unload the Explorer only to find that a Squirrel had been in camp and helped himself to the loaf of bead we left out on the table. Apparently it was the kind he was looking for because he only had a few nibbles. So having a sandwhich was now out of the question since Mr. Squirrel had made himself at home. This is an excellent time to try out the new dutch oven. Potato soup will do just fine in a situation like this.

The Highland Games at GFM was the highlight of the trip. We spent most of Saturday there listening to music. The bands last year were much better than this year but that is all a matter of opinion of course. I got a t-shirt and a cold out of the trip, I preffer the t-shirt.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Mountain Biking in Dupont State Forest

Again, on the subject of mountain biking, it's easy to just get on a trail and twist and turn your way through the woods until you get to a point that a decision has to be made. Usually the decision I have to make is "how do I get back to the car from here?" Maps are a great way to keep track of where you are and where you are going when riding flat out through the mountains. The problem is, I can't keep track of where I am. It seems like every time I reach an intersection I need to get the map out and determine the direction I need to go to get the best view, to see the next water fall or to climb the highest peak in the range. This all takes time and effort to stop and get the map out of the bag and get oriented again and make the right choice of trails to take.

Enter the world of Dupont State Forest. Trails are everywhere and they all lead to somewhere. Remembering the turns and trail names is more than I want to attempt and still stay focused on enjoying my surroundings. Technology is the key to this problem. Kim gave me a GPS for Christmas last year and it has been sitting there looking at me since December 25th of 2005. Nothing more than en electronic map in a small hand held package it has the potential to be a little more handy than keeping up with a map. reading while on the trail isn't cool. The 3D view above shows actual gps data of the ride that day, it also shows gps data from the most recent ride in the same area this past weekend. The red lines indicate my line of travel for July 2nd and the white lines indicate the ride that Kim and I did on July 7th.

So armed with my new gps and a handy dandy little mount to attach it to my handle bars, I set out to see just exactly how this thing works. Not one to read instructions and spend time trying to understand all the do's and dont's of gps navigation, I put my trust in the fact that I am fairly well versed in woodsmanship and navigation.

I get to the Fawn Lake access are and get geared up for a day of riding, get the gps fired up and away I go. After riding for a few miles and making random choices at all the trail intersections, I decide to stop and take a look at the gps and compare it to the map. The problem is......I forgot the map and my knowledge of gps navigation to this point consisted of putting batteries in the gps unit. This could be a desperate situation in some cases and my fear was that I would be one of those cases. So after taking the time to teach myself about basics of the gps, I felt pretty confident that I knew enough to get my way back to the parking area. I can swallow my pride later back at home and get down to the details of the instruction manual, right now I just need to know I can get back to point "A". (photo of Kim at the base of High Falls 7/7/06)

By pure dumb luck I ended up on the Reasonover Creek Trail going in the right direction for a mostly downhill ride for several miles. The trail had a couple of creek crossings that provided a chance to get cooled down a little before heading on down the mountain. Creek crossings are usually not biker friendly but these were all shallow and just right for splashing on through. (photo left of me on the Reasonover Creek Trail 7/2/06)

Back in the saddle again....

The true purpose of a blog is for sharing. Of course that is only my opinion and there are plenty of those to go around. This blog was started for the soul purpose of having a place to save and to some extent preserve all (or at least some ) of the happy moments that life brings along and be able to share them with the world and maybe even influence others who might have a dream of living their life to the fullest. Therein enters my first mistake.....I assumed that the happy moments would come fast and furious. Not always true. Sometimes happy moments can be elusive with many long hours, days, weeks, months or even years in between. Remember....this blog was intended to be for the happy moments. Fact of the matter is.....Since late last year, Kim has been on the injured reserve list or to be more accurate, the sick reserved list and the happy moments seemed to come to a complete halt with her being out of the game for several months, therefore not many blog entries were made during this time. My excuse for this is that there were no happy times to blog about. First of all she started getting sick at night, then a loss of appetite, then rapid weight loss soon followed. After several doctor visits it was decided that it was time for the gal bladder to come out. Not a big deal by most of todays medical standards. One week later the gal bladder was out and she was on the road to recovery, right? Wrong! After being out of work for three weeks, the doctor released her to go back saying that she was on the mend and good to go. Well......not the case. The very first week back to work she started having swelling in her legs and feet. Ok.....first week back at work, being on her feet all day, recent surgery blah blah big deal, it's normal for the body to freak out after surgery and having body parts removed. So she pushes through it and keeps thinking that this will go away in time. Not!

I actually lost count of the doctor visits, tests, x-rays, ct scans, ultra sounds, blood work, biopsy, emergency room visits and so forth that she has had. In the end, all tests show nothing wrong. A true medical oddity is she. Every single test that sent fear running through my very soul came back clean and clear. This has gone on all this year and part of last year and nothing and nobody could determine what was going on with her. It was so bad that it was becoming debilitating. She couldn't even walk on some days. Something so obvious yet so elusive was causing her great pain, suffering and worry and every doctor was dumbfounded. And then it happened.......about four weeks ago, I get up and go to church and do my usual Sunday morning routine, she comes in a couple of hours later, legs and feet swollen as usual. The day wears on and night comes, we do the usual nighttime routine when she comes out of the shower and in a somewhat happy tone she announces that the swelling is gone!

As I said before, that was about four weeks ago and still no swelling! Just as normal as can be, like nothing ever happened. I spent many long days and nights praying that this problem would go away, that God would take this and do whatever it takes to make Kim complete again and I know that she was praying for the same thing as I was. Can I be so bold as to say this is an
answer to prayer? You betcha! It is an answer to my prayer and the
prayers of our friends. Kim said it best in the first week after the
swelling went away when she said “God proved the doctors wrong”.

What did I learn from all this? I learned to define “happy” in a way that is more meaningful and real. Happy is not defined in camping trips, biking trips and being on the mountain tops. Happy is better defined in everyday life by being alive and sharing the bad times and being “Happy” that I was there to do it.

We are getting back into the swing of things a little at a time. This weekend we went camping and biked eleven miles through Dupont State Forest and made our way to GFM on Saturday for the Highland Games. Those trail notes will find their way onto the blog soon.

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