Posts Tagged ‘health’

It’s not always bad news…

Reason #48- Fishing

My dad never had time to take me fishing, but I managed to find friends to fish with.  In fact, one of my best fishing buds was so into it that he opened a tackle shop and guide service.  The last time he and I fished together, we had driven up the California coast and hopped on a full-day party boat in Monterey.  We each caught so many we had to stop with a couple of hours to go because our arms were too sore to hold the deep-sea rods.  After processing, Jack (yes, we were a pair of Jacks) had 52 pounds of luscious filleted meat and I had 37 pounds, both the tops on the boat that day. 

I had a few significant fishing days with other friends, too.  Scott introduced me to barracuda fishing, or “backaruda,” as we used to purposely mispronounce it.  Barracuda feed in groups by swimming beneath large schools of anchovies and eating the small fish from the bottom, forcing the whole school up out of the water with nowhere else to go.  This causes a 20- or 30-yard-wide ocean “boil” as the anchovies continually try to escape from being eaten.  A fishing boat, having noticed the boil, would pull up close enough to cast across it with 12-inch-long jigs or lures.  We would cast and retrieve as fast as we could, reeling in catches of the 3-4-foot-long barracuda, unhooking them in the boat and casting back out.  Speed was of the essence, because the feeding frenzy could end as quickly as it erupted.

I have fished for both salt-water and fresh-water species, from shore or from a boat, guided or not, in a dozen or so states, including Alaska, Florida, California, Washington, Kansas and others.  I’m looking forward to getting a Texas license as soon as we settle in at our winter space.  [Note: Texas does not have annual or monthly non-resident fishing passes, so this didn’t happen. However, a temp fishing license is included in all state park pass fees.] One problem with fishing as we move around the country is that I have to purchase a non-resident license wherever I go.  Florida conveniently sells annual licenses to out-of-staters, but they seem to be the exception.  All-in-all, non-resident license cost keeps fishing from being a desirable activity everywhere we visit.

There are many things about angling that can make you happy, starting with the adage that a bad day of fishing is still better than a good day of working.  Experiencing nature and wildlife is always something I appreciate, and the entire pace of the sport is calming.  It’s difficult to feel stressed when you are watching your pole for a bite.  Like many outdoor activities, sharing them with friends and family can help strengthen those relationships.  Like camping, you can improve your self-esteem by learning to master several outdoor skills at once.

Many a great fishing spot requires a long or strenuous hike (or it probably wouldn’t be so great), another physical activity to improve your health.  Then there’s the thrill of the catch and the taste of the freshly grilled feast.

Fishing is a lifetime skill and can be enjoyed at any age.  I’ve been fishing for over 50 years and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.


There is a great quote from President Herbert Hoover that would be appropriate to share here: “Fishing is much more than fish. It is the great occasion when we may return to the fine simplicity of our forefathers.

Read Full Post »

It’s not always bad news…

Obviously, I wrote this before Nadyne succumbed to cancer and the COVID pandemic reared its ugly head.

Reason #46- Good Health

When you have your health, you have everything.  In my opinion, truer words were never spoken.  Quality of life is almost as important as life itself.  Fortunately for the Baby Boomer and subsequent generations, longer lifespans also include better medicine, better fitness, no smoking and less age-related maladies.  Once cancer is licked, the human lifespan will take another large step. 

When I was 10 and my grandparents were in their 60s, they looked like 85-year-olds today.  I have seen family photos of them, so I can assure you that it wasn’t just my view of them as a youngster.  They looked old.  Now in my 60s myself, I can appreciate how lucky I am.  When they say that 65 is the new 45, there is some truth to the statement. 

When you think of all the health risks someone born at the turn of the 20th century had to endure, you have to wonder how they survived to have a family at all.  Penicillin wasn’t discovered until 1928.  The existence of vitamins was only suggested in 1906.  Insulin wasn’t used to treat diabetes until 1922, just before the first vaccines were developed for diphtheria, whooping cough, tuberculosis, and tetanus.  The first flu vaccine wasn’t given until 1945.  Pacemakers were invented in 1952 and the polio vaccine was developed in 1955.  You can see that medicine has been a great boon to the human race over the decades.  Just think of life without all of these wonder drugs and miracle treatments.

Good health has been hampered by smoking more than any other human activity, and death from tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S., still causing about one in five deaths each year, according to the CDC.  But death isn’t the only detrimental outcome from smoking.  My mom contracted emphysema from smoking all her life and was on oxygen for her last 10 years.  She spent the last half-dozen years in and out of hospitals.

But, let’s focus on the positive.  Each year, about 1.3 million smokers quit, and, since 1965, more than 40 percent of all adults who have ever smoked have quit.  Recent miracle cures and treatments for cancer, heart disease and other ailments abound, and science has provided stem cell treatments, DNA analysis, gene therapy, artificial organs and this past year proved the value of lightning speed vaccine development.  There are even more miracles on the horizon, like 3D printing of organs and other body parts, diagnoses by crowd-sourcing or via mobile intelligence, the use of bio-hackers, which will be ultra-sensors in your body or clothing, antibiotic “smart bombs” for directly destroying bugs in your system, and much more. 

It is a good time to be a human being, and the younger generations are even more fortunate.  Good health provides a happier life, with less stress and fear of contracting a serious disease and allowing you to better enjoy your hobbies and other favorite activities.  A healthy person gets to spend more and better quality time with their life partners and other loved ones, and will experience less pain in their lifetime.  Good health will save a lot of time and money than the alternative, with fewer medical procedures and doctor visits, and with preventive medicine being a lot less costly and stressful.  You’ll live longer, too, and will want to.

COVID-19 highlighted just how much we enjoy life when not faced with sickness or death in the family.  There is no doubt that our quality of life is directly affected by our health and the continuous improvements in medical care.


To highlight just how long health has been known to be important to one’s life, here’s a quote from 18th-century German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer: “The greatest of follies is to sacrifice health for any other kind of happiness.

Read Full Post »

It’s not always bad news…

Reason #42- Camping and Glamping

My parents never took me camping, not that Los Angeles has ever been a camper’s nirvana.  They did, though, support my joining the local Boy Scouts troop, the leaders of which took the members camping a few times a year.  We visited the Angeles and San Bernardino National Forests, the Mojave Desert and other areas around Southern California.  I vividly remember hiking to one of the peaks in the San Gabriel Mountains and shivering in the cold because I had failed to anticipate and pack for 30-degree temps at nearly 8,000 feet.

Even so, I loved camping and enjoyed it as often as I could over the years.  When my oldest daughter was less than a year old, we camped in the Yosemite National Forest, and she was no worse for wear from the experience.  I think all of my kids enjoyed the experiences we had after moving to Washington State.  Camping and fishing were two of our primary activities every summer.

The kids grew up and I moved to Western New York, and camping was less available, so for years it was a forgotten habit.  It wasn’t until my wife and I moved to Las Vegas and realized we both had the itch to travel and see America that my vagabond nature returned.  However, this time it would be glamping, not just camping.  “Glamping,” or “glamor camping,” is the term some people give to camping in RVs rather than tents.  As you get older, tent-camping becomes much less desirable.

Campouts are not just for families any more — we actually camp full-time.  One of the popular aspects of camping is the huge variety of types and styles available to the average person.  Even tents have improved to the point where they may not even be recognizable as such.  Canvas cabins are as spacious as wooden ones.  Hard-side pull-trailers and traditional tent trailers have been combined into “hybrid” camping trailers.  Fifth wheel trailers can range from small 20-foot rigs to huge 45-foot toy haulers and you can utilize from one to five or more slide-outs for even more space.  Several have side and/or rear raised decks.  

Then there are the myriad of types of motorhomes, from a regular van conversion, rated a class B, to a larger and more sophisticated class B+, to the traditional class C motorhome on a larger chassis and truck cab with the usual overhang for a bed or storage, to a bus style class A.  The lines between the styles and classes are being blurred more each season.  Glamping just doesn’t get any better, or more expensive.

No discussion about styles of camping would be complete without defining the types of camping.  It is estimated that there are over 15,000 RV resorts, parks and campgrounds in the U.S., and they range from rustic forest or state campgrounds without or with limited hookups, to more traditional parks with or without full hookups, to neighborhoods of park model or manufactured homes that allow RVs, full-service RV resorts with amenities that never end.  If you want to rough it, you can boondock or dry camp, which is basically picking a spot in a forest or meadow, on the plains or in the desert, and making camp without any services or amenities except what you brought for yourself.  Fortunately, most RVs are completely self-contained, sporting water and waste tanks and a generator or solar system for power, so a week or less is totally possible to enjoy in this manner.

Communing with nature is never better than when you experience it while camping.  Usually, the location you choose will provide plenty of fresh air, and often hiking or biking is readily available relatively close by.  So, the health benefits are all around you, including a reduction of stress and a happier mood.  That feeling of glee you get when you take your first breath of air in a campground isn’t all in your mind — it’s due to a release of serotonin from breathing in the extra oxygen produced by trees and in the forest.  When you are out in direct sunlight, you’re receiving an abundance of vitamin D, which allows your body to better absorb calcium and phosphorous.  Even mild activity usually equates to a good night’s sleep, and the natural surroundings may allow or even suggest some soothing meditation.

RVers and other campers are ordinarily a social bunch, so it is easy to make new and long-lasting friendships.  This is true whether you camp over a weekend, over a season or full-time.  Not only did we make lifelong friends while camping in Colorado, but developed a surprising number of friends and acquaintances we met after hitting the road a few short years ago.

There are many ways that camping or glamping can provide happiness in your life.  It did that for us in such abundance that it is now our daily way of life.


I’ll close the subject with a quote from a British politician, Margaret Beckett, who experienced glamping:  “Some people think that going on a caravan holiday is a slightly more upscale version of camping. Let me assure you, it is much better than that. You know that you will have your creature comforts wherever you are. I never have to pack light, and I can put the kettle on in any location.

Read Full Post »

It’s not always bad news…

Reason #41- Wine

It’s only fair, after touting the benefits of craft beer, that I include wine as a reason for happiness.  After all, I’ve been drinking wine for over 30 years and still enjoy stopping at wineries for tasting.

Wine has been produced for thousands of years. According to Wikipedia, the earliest evidence of wine is from ancient Georgia (6000 BC), Persia (5000 BC), and Italy (4000 BC).  New World wine has some connection to alcoholic beverages made by the indigenous peoples of the Americas, but is mainly connected to the later Viking area of Vinland and Spanish traditions in New Spain.  We can thank Europeans for developing wine and the industry to what it is today, but it is produced in most countries in the world.

Like the world, the United States has also had a bit of a wine producing explosion, with states that don’t grow grapes well simply importing from those that do.  I was fortunate to live in the midst of the Washington State wine country when I first started to imbibe.  Back in the ‘80s there were almost 100 wineries in the Yakima Valley Wine Country, and let’s just say my home was Wine-Country-adjacent. I found most winery owners more than pleased to talk to visitors and many insisted on giving personal tours of their facilities.

Similar to most wine novices, I started drinking sweet wines, such as Rieslings, Gewürztraminers and blushes.  Over time, my taste changed and these began to taste as sweet as Kool-Aid.  I was ready to go dry.  Two years later, I was heavily into Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio for whites and started delving into some red wines.  Soon I was drinking Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel. I can no longer drink anything remotely sweet. And blends!  Those glorious red blends from Spain and Italy are wine nirvana.

What makes wine different from hard alcohol is the process and alcohol content.  Both use fermentation to convert sugar or starch to alcohol, but hard spirits like vodka, whiskey and rum add a distillery process.  Wine typically has a 9-16 percent alcohol content, while hard spirits are normally 28-60 percent, depending on the product.  Compare that to beer at 3-9 percent ABV (alcohol by volume), and it is easy to see that beer and wine allow more beverage to be enjoyed before inebriation (if you can say “inebriation” aloud without stumbling over it, you probably aren’t experiencing it).

The medical and health benefits of drinking wine are numerous.  Studies have shown that compounds found in red wine tannins help promote cardiovascular health, and occupants of those regions of the world in which wine is part of the normal diet tend to live longer. Researchers in Spain found that adults who drank two to seven glasses of wine per week were less likely to be diagnosed with depression. 

Modest wine consumption, meaning one glass a day, may decrease the prevalence of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease.  Wine’s antimicrobial effects on the skin also helps reduce bacteria on our teeth.  There are many studies suggesting that the risks of various cancers are reduced by consuming red wine.

Aside from wine’s health benefits, it also provides you with various social benefits.  It can boost one’s confidence and help overcome shyness.  Being drunk is an anti-social behavior, so I am discussing wine in moderation.  Similarly, drinking wine in social settings can help you connect with others and expose you to different people and places than you are used to.  Wine itself can be a conversation starter and many friendships have developed over the love of wine.

What candlelit dinner is complete without wine or a celebration without champaign?  Wine has been used in romance and ceremony for as long as wine has been produced.  Wine and nature go hand-in-hand, just as wine and travel enhance each other.

Another great thing about wine is its effect on the taste of food.  There is a reason there are suggested wine pairings for most of the meals you enjoy.  Red wine tends to cleanse the palate between bites of beef or pasta, while tones of white wines can enhance the flavor of poultry and pork dishes.  For every food offering, a perfect wine variety can be found to maximize the enjoyment of its consumption.

The advent of craft beer has crept into what was once wine’s sole environment, but it is not a total social replacement.  There are times I want beer, for example, in long nights of sports viewing or playing, since the alcohol content can dictate the duration of the entertainment.  But wine is still my go-to drink for feast and cheer.  I rarely drink hard alcohol, which usually makes for short nights, and sipping my wine is much more pleasurable than downing shots.

All told, wine is a luxury in which everyone can indulge, and with the wide range of flavors and sweetness, there is a wine for almost everybody and every occasion.


To complete the discussion, I’ll include the shortest quote I’ve used thus far.  Nineteenth-century Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson once said, “Wine is bottled poetry.”  I just can’t argue the point.

Read Full Post »

It’s not always bad news…

Note: I wrote this before the Dodgers won the World Series in 2020…

Reason #35- Baseball

“In a year that has been so improbable … the impossible has happened!”

​That was Vin Scully announcing Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, immediately following a famous bottom-of-the-ninth home run by a hobbling Kirk Gibson, batting against closer-extraordinaire Dennis Eckersley.  The walk-off homer, as they now call them, won the game for the Los Angeles Dodgers and gave them the momentum needed to beat the Oakland A’s for their last World Series title.  I was 32 in October that year and remember that home run like it was yesterday.   I was camping with my brother in a remote stretch of the Columbia River in Washington State and felt very fortunate to be able to receive the broadcast where we were.  We were about 20 miles from the nearest town, but they may have heard us whoop and holler that night.

I grew up in the L.A. area and was a huge Dodger fan, but I would not have been as big a fan if I hadn’t spent a lot of time in the playground playing baseball.  There are several reasons why I think baseball is better for kids than other sports, but I had very good hand-eye coordination, could easily run, catch and hit, but, most importantly, it was one of the few sports in which my diminutive height as a kid didn’t affect my skill and success.  I did have asthma, so organized ball was out, but that didn’t keep me from helping my best friend train in high school, and it didn’t keep me from enjoying baseball on the school grounds.  And I was pretty good.

Like golf, bowling, tennis, wrestling, volleyball, football, soccer and swimming, people who have played the sport are much more likely to watch them when they can’t play.  Baseball is also considered “America’s National Pastime,” which is a nod to its even wider appeal, similar to soccer and football, but it was the first truly national sport in the U.S.

Baseball is different from most other sports in that it doesn’t have a time limit.  A game can theoretically go on forever.  When the pitcher has the baseball and there are runners on base or a tied score, intensity rises as he holds the ball.  The longer he holds it, the more intensity that builds.  I remember many times when the pitcher just didn’t want to throw the ball, afraid of the outcome.  Occasionally the umpire would even have to step out to tell the pitcher to continue the game.  Eventually, the pitcher does throw it, with or without the umpire’s warning, once convinced that he must.

Baseball mimics life in a way.  It runs on a serial timeline in which the life of the game literally follows the ball.  It is more fair than real life in that both teams will always have the same number of opportunities for offense.  A home run in the top of the 13th inning, for instance, doesn’t automatically win the game, since the other team gets to have its at-bats in the bottom of the inning.  If they tie the game, on to the 14th inning they go.

There have been so many exciting moments in this sport that’s been played since the middle of the 19th century that you can write an encyclopedia-sized collection of them.  (For younger readers, an encyclopedia used to be a set of dozens of books containing articles, history and a collection of all shared knowledge at the time of its printing.)  Society’s problems have been baseball’s problems, too, and its social remedies have not always kept pace.  Now it’s a worldwide sport, with hundreds of foreign-born professional players in the major and minor leagues.  But none of that would matter as much if I had never played it myself.


My final quote is from Herbert Hoover, the 31st President of the U.S.:  “Next to religion, baseball has had a greater impact on our American way of life than any other American institution.

Read Full Post »

It’s not always bad news…

As with a few of my chapters, this one was difficult to read and post. Losing Nadyne did not change my opinion, however. It strengthened it.

Reason #34- Picnic Lunches

Some of my earliest memories are picnic lunches at the neighborhood park with my mom and dad, along with my younger brothers and sisters.  Dad always brought a kite and we would spend hours keeping it flying.  Mom’s lunches were always great.

One of the great things about picnics is that there is no particular location necessary for them.  You can enjoy a meal at the park, on a hike, during a drive or even on a rooftop.  We almost always brought lunch from home when we went fishing and I’m certain hunters do the same, as do many cyclists, hikers, boaters and other outdoors enthusiasts.  Popular locations besides the park include the mountains, the beach, in canyons, a forest, a lake, a fun place in your city, in a nearby city or town, your backyard, at summer concerts, at festivals or fairs, at sporting events and even the library.  One of my favorite concert venues is in Washington State, the Gorge Amphitheater in George, in which half of the seating is on tiered grassy areas perfect for picnic lunches.

Being outdoors is itself a beneficial thing to do for your health, with sunshine, outside air, and beautiful vistas all contributing to your well-being.  A jaunt into the wilderness can inspire, and a packed lunch will help you get even further away from civilization.  Many health benefits do not require strenuous exercise, so a drive to a roadside picnic table on an overlook or in a national forest will still do some good.

The right setting and ambiance can facilitate romance, with many a first date made accordingly.   Lots of games and sports are available to kids and adults alike during a day at the park, and an entire industry was built from what started out as weekend barbecues.  Lifelong memories can be made and lifetime events such as birthdays, engagements and anniversaries can happen at picnics.

The tools of picnicking are those that nearly everyone uses, like picnic baskets, tablecloths, plasticware, drink jugs, paper or plastic cups and napkins or paper towels.  That makes this activity one of the few widely shared activities around the world.  A picnic lunch in the English countryside looks very similar to one in Central Park or near a French vineyard or on a Greek island.  A Rocky Mountain lunch is comparable to one in the Italian Alps or Bavarian Black Forest or in the Andes, and a packed lunch in a Kansas wheat field is much the same as the meadows in England, though I might suggest you avoid picnicking on the Serengeti or in the Brazilian rainforest. 

Last, a picnic will cost much less than a restaurant, and is far more secluded, so they continue to be as popular as ever.


I’ll end this discussion with an appropriate quote from English actress Kate Winslet, who said: “The things that make me happiest in the whole world are going on the occasional picnic, either with my children or with my partner; big family gatherings; and being able to go to the grocery store – if I can get those things in, I’m doing good.

Read Full Post »

It’s not always bad news…

As with a few of my chapters, this one was difficult to read and post. Losing Nadyne did not change my opinion, however. It strengthened it.

Reason #33- Life Companions

Scientifically, men and women who commit to life-long relationships, regardless of the gender mix, not only live longer but have much happier and healthier lives than their single counterparts.  This is especially true when times are dark, such as in a significant economic downturn or a public health crisis.  It seems we all crave the support of a loved one to share pain, sorrow, elation, happiness and life experiences, good and bad.

Unfortunately, there are as many hits as misses when it comes to partnering with a soul mate.  In a world of 8 billion people, there is no shortage of those who aren’t “the one.”  A pessimist would see this as an impossible situation, especially if they believe there is only one perfect mate for someone.  I don’t believe that, but rather, as an optimist, that life is what you make of it.  People who are somewhat compatible can make an even better couple than those who seem to be 100 percent compatible.  Once a connection is made, the success of a couple can be a mixture of morals, temperament, respect, past experiences and openness to love.  In my opinion, a majority of couples has what it takes.

We all know those lovebirds who met as kids, married out of high school and were together their entire adult lives.  For most of us, that is an impossible bar to reach, meaning that very few people meet their soulmate that early in life.  Normally it takes time, effort, knowing oneself and being open to possibilities.  I started out thinking I would be with my wife forever, then found out in just a few years that it was not going to be the case.  After 26 years I divorced, then married my actual soulmate, and I was her third husband.  That was over 20 years ago.  We were across the country from each other but still managed to meet, fall in love and move in together.  There is no rule of thumb when it comes to coupling.

Researchers have found that couples who are hostile to each other have more stress hormones in their systems and have generally less healthy lives.  Fortunately, the opposite is also true, which means that it is well worth any effort to be with a partner with whom you can enjoy life.

Happiness can be fleeting and you can’t force it upon yourself.  However, you can recognize when you experience it and rejoice in a life worth living.  A spouse, significant other, a life partner, a POSSLQ, or however you want to define your committed partner, are one of the keys to a happy life.  The tenet, “Happy wife, happy life,” could really be used to describe any partner in a relationship.  Most of the happy couples we know don’t argue, they discuss respectively, the difference being that, in the latter, the need to win is missing.  They, like us, want the best for their spouse or partner, and that is the priority. 

According to Psychology Today, “Good relationships make people happy because a dependable companionship is a basic human need. Improving social relationships will bring our happiness score up. There is strong consensus in the field of positive psychology that the number and depth of personal relationships has the greatest effect of all on happiness. And the relationship where vast numbers of people derive that greatest boost to their well-being is in their marriage.”

These benefits are valid in mixed race, gay, transgender and bisexual relationships, especially when the couples have strong support from their friends, families and co-workers.  The LGBTQ community can provide a great social network for those couples needing additional support.

Watch any long-time couple and you may see a symphony of synchronicity.  Each knows how to make the other feel good and they do so in little ways all the time, anticipating needs and accommodating as they can.

Another excerpt from the same Psychology Today column is, “Dependable companionship is a basic human need.”  There it is.  When looking for things that make us happy, a companion is one of the most basic.  Don’t take it for granted and do the little things to nurture your relationship.  Together, a couple can weather storms and enjoy life together so much better than individuals alone.  Revel in it.


I’ll close with a quote from late English actor and entertainer Bruce Forsyth, who once said, “The secret to a happy marriage is if you can be at peace with someone within four walls, if you are content because the one you love is near to you, either upstairs or downstairs, or in the same room, and you feel that warmth that you don’t find very often, then that is what love is all about.

Read Full Post »

It’s not always bad news…

Note- just a reminder that this was written and published before my wife, Nadyne, passed away. I will be continuing to hit the road and visit family around the country, as I described.

Reason #31- Hiking Trails

My first hike occurred when I was in the Boy Scouts at age 14 in the Los Angeles area.  My troop’s leaders drove us up into the San Gabriel Mountains to a trail head and we proceeded to hike 6 miles up into the forest.  I hated every minute of it.

We set up camp for the weekend and, on Sunday, we broke camp and hiked back down the trail — a bit easier walk, but I was still not a fan.  I had overpacked, which wasn’t ever going to happen again.  A few months later, we hiked one of the Seven Peaks trails in the San Bernardino Mountains.  That was the first time I had climbed to a mountain peak.  Looking down over the valley below was exhilarating, despite poor visibility through the smog.

Health-wise, hiking is one of the best all-round activities you can do.  Here are the Top 10 from Health Fitness Revolution and author of the book, “ReSYNC Your Life,” Samir Becic:  hiking increases fitness, allows you to take control of your workouts, tones the whole body, helps prevent and control diabetes, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, and may improve the antioxidative capacity in the blood of oncological patients, helping to fight off the disease.  It’s a social activity that increases creativity, increases happiness levels, curbs depression and allows you to commune with nature.

My own preference for hiking really stems from my vagabond spirit — there is only so much of nature to see from the highway.  On one of my hikes in the mountains when I was in my 20s, about 5 miles from the road, we came across a car, probably circa 1920s, terribly rusted and nearly completely imbedded into the mound of dirt in which it was sitting. 

On another walk at Lake Mead, outside of Las Vegas, I found a dilapidated pleasure boat from the ‘50s or ‘60s sitting on the desert floor, in an area exposed from the lake’s recent retreat due to drought. You just never know what you’re going to see.  Also, the farther you are from civilization, the more apt you are to witness wildlife — in the wild.

In America, we are so fortunate to have city, county, state and federal departments that create and maintain hiking trails in all 50 states.  You can hike in so many terrains, too, including sandy desert, rocky mountains, thick forests, alpine elevations, spongy tundra, dripping wetlands, lake or ocean beaches, and so much more.  Although public abuse of those trails has begun to force some trail closures or additional fees, there still seems to be a commitment by the appropriate agencies to keep lands available to use.  Also, there are many volunteer groups that periodically tend to trails and trail heads.


I’ll end with a quote from American journalist Nicholas Kristof, who said, “Wilderness trails constitute a rare space in America marked by economic diversity. Lawyers and construction workers get bitten by the same mosquitoes and sip from the same streams; there are none of the usual signals about socioeconomic status, for most hikers are in shorts and a T-shirt and enveloped by an aroma that would make a skunk queasy.

Read Full Post »