Trees & thee

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We spent a long weekend traveling through Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks.   On the way we listened to Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls.

Oddly, I have not read much Hemingway before.  I like.  The story is set in Sierra de Guadarrama Mountains in a plot to destroy a bridge to Segovia, Spain, during the Spanish Civil War.

The experience of listening to the audiobook is particularly enhanced by the landscape of the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains east of Fresno.

Then to see the trees…certain things words and pictures cannot do justice, not even Hemingway.

Enjoy the images.


The mud & the blood & the beer

mythical creatures, treks through forests and streams, good and evil

It all started with a story…

Johnny Cash’s A Boy Named Sue served as inspiration for the “Sue” in Tobey Sue.  The lyrics describe a rough and tumble, and unlikely, story of a son confronting his father for giving him the name Sue and being a deadbeat dad.  The song includes a brawl between father and son:

“…kicking and a’ gouging in the mud and the blood and the beer.”

Johnny Cash, one of my favorite singer/story-tellers, and his hit song inspired half of the name of a boy named Tobey Sue – Photo credit

It’s a fun song, but rather unsettling if taken too literally.  When I listen to it, I think of the need to make the best with what we are given.  I think we have all had our own internal brawl.

Not to be confused with the cliches of a midlife crisis, my brawl was more tasteful than the boy named Sue, complete with mythical creatures, treks through forests and streams, and epic struggles between good and evil.

the mud & banishing my Golem

It’s easy to let your guard down and settle.  It starts with the little day-to-day things, then develops into habits.  A quick assessment a while ago found that I was starting to serve a greedy and uninspiring master, like a Golem shaped out of soil.  I took note and made adjustments and have exorcised my Golem.  I work to stay in the moment, keep inspired with one foot firmly grounded and one just outside my comfort zone.


Golem – dull and uninspired, this magical, mythical, metaphorical creature is singularly focused on doing its master’s bidding – Photo credit


Rediscover your inspiration, I have been reminding myself why California is amazing and why I enjoy change

As promised, below are my travels through forest and stream.  In September 2015, Kent and I took a nearly 10 mile hike along the Panorama Trail in Yosemite.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

To stay inspired and just outside my comfort zone, last week I started training for a half marathon.

the blood & living guilt free

I have sought to have a blood-less existence by not eating red meat.  My motives are mostly based on ethical grounds, but there are many health benefits too.

I have a choice – if it causes pain and I don’t need to do it, I don’t

And I have been working to apply this simple choice to the other areas of my life – there are always alternatives so I’m trying to keep it simple.

It’s great to stop, drop, and roll every so often and take a self inventory and make sure you can answer this question – Photo credit

and the beer?

Step back and think how pervasive booze is in our society.  How many Facebook memes and Hallmark moments include a reference to a bottle of wine as part of the humor?  How many movies and TV scenes include overindulgence?  And look at all the many problems it causes…

Consider the fact that we amended the constitution twice over it.  Wow.  It ranks right up there with the right to vote, bear arms, trial by jury, due process and the abolition of slavery – indeed many of the foundations on how we as Americans define ourselves.

And then there’s a CONSTITUTIONAL prohibition on booze.  Anyway,… ’nuff said!  I challenged myself to really notice its presence around me and in my life.  Then I decided to give it up as an experiment.  I have been truly amazed with the results, but that’s for another time.

Right now it’s time for me to run 4 guilt-free miles.

Footloose and free near Foresthill

Spontaneity has its price

Foresthill Divide Loop Trail [Near Auburn, Placer County, CA]

We started out around 11:00 today and ended at 3:00, hiking just over 12 miles.  Okay, full disclosure – we got lost and ended up trying to walk along Foresthill Road to get back to the car and in the process I considered hitchhiking or calling Uber.   But I didn’t.

So the first problem was that we did not start from either of the main trailheads indicated in the materials.  So lesson learned – next time we will get the exact location (like latitude and longitude of the trailheads) and study the map so we understand where we are going.

Nonetheless, there was no harm done and we did have a good time – although 12 miles was more than we bargained for.

So this is what happened: in true Chad and Kent style, we picked out this hike and started out on the trail with great reverie and little concern of where the trail went or where we were.  We figured that trails are usually well marked, right?  Wrong.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

After nearly 5 miles, we were ready to be done.  Alas, when we pulled up the brochure and map on Evernote, it said we were only about half way done!  At this point the trail crossed Foresthill Road – Kent thought his feet were bleeding and I thought I had pulled my groin.

We figured that if we walked back along the road, it would be quicker.  That may have been true if we were walking in the right direction.  Wrong again.  After a mile or so, we figured that out and corrected our course.  The damage was done.

Fast forward through a hefty bitch session and a cool air conditioned drive back to Sacramento, today I learned that spontaneity has its price.  This is not the first hike that we have been lost and found our way together.  Cheers!