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Saturday, August 5, 2017

August update...

Ok, so I haven't posted anything recently.  Family obligations - helping dad get in to assisted living, cleaning out 30 years of life, painting, tearing down wallpaper, painting, scrubbing, painting, sorting, painting, packing... oh yeah, did I mention painting? - have taken up most of my summer.

Seriously - this is a huge task, and I took a month of unpaid leave from work to get this done.  Texi and I drove from Colorado Springs to Fort Lauderdale - 2-1/2 days, and it was not the most fun I've ever had.  Especially Nashville and Atlanta, the traffic!  The way home will be the southern route, and I'll see friends while in Texas.

Here we are, ready to roll!  Texi is such a good traveler, very mellow and so well-behaved.

I had very good experiences staying in Red Roof Inn motels along the way.  Clean, quiet, and not at all expensive!  And pet friendly!

Tomorrow my step-bro and his wife will be here for a week.  He remodels homes for a living, and can really get this place in shape.  I've already fully refinished a bathroom.  There's another bathroom and the kitchen to work on, including countertop refinishing.  New carpet all around next week, a contemporary berber.  And we've cleaned out the kitchen, and hall closet.  But... that's only a fraction of what needs to be done!

I'm coming home with stuff - mostly crystal and fine china - but the two big scores are a 2-burner Coleman camp stove and a blue enamel coffee percolator!  Dad used them whenever there was extended power outages due to hurricanes or other severe storms.  Where he's going, there's no need.  In case of a 'cane, he'll be safe at my niece's home, only 5 miles away.

And where he's going is absolutely gorgeous!  This senior community is just lovely - spreading oak trees with Spanish moss hanging down, paved trails through the 100 acres, private lake, all on the banks of the St. Johns river.  Truly the embodiment of Old Florida.  It's also faith-based, something that is very important to both of us.  Oh, and the food is delicious!

See the river in the background?  Dad has a scooter - I could imagine he would enjoy these trails.

I could spend all afternoon out here!  And this new camera?  Check out below.

See the white house across the river, just to the right of the photo's center?  Love this little camera - nothing like telephoto power!  Large, gracious homes (both traditional and modern) line the banks of the river.

They've had to pull the occasional gator out of Turtle Pond.

And something funny - while dad, my niece, and I were having lunch, THREE different women came up to him - "Are you new here?"  Guess he's a hot commodity!  I think he should give Downton Abbey viewing parties, as he has the full series on DVD.  You know, serve tea and dainty snacks... the ladies would be delighted!

That's all for now.  God bless all y'all!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Slowly getting back to hiking...

Recovery is going very well.  This past Sunday, I went hiking with a friend at Painted Mines.  Just outside of Calhan, Colorado, a short drive east of Colorado Springs, it's a nice afternoon get-away.  The whole park has about 4 miles of trail - I was able to do almost 2 miles.  Not bad for less than a month out!

The countryside is rolling hills - you wouldn't know the Mine was there unless you were looking for it.  Everything is so green, with wildflowers everywhere!

As you start down the trail from the south entrance, there is a large placard that describes what you will see. 

And the trail begins with gently rolling hills.

There was a gal from Philly running the trail, and she caught this photo of myself and my friend.  Very nice of her!  This is the only fairly level part of the trail.  And if you look carefully, you can see one crutch hanging off my pack.

Almost there!   

And after traversing the up and down of the trail, this is the reward!

The columns of rock are called hoodoos.  Sometimes they're called fairy chimneys.  Whatever their name, they are fascinating and beautiful.  

Different types of rock and clay form the colored layers.  

My favorite formation was this tabletop.  I think it's granite.  It sparkled in the sunshine!

This photo is a mystery.  There are no trees anywhere, no structures, nothing.  Were these posts left over from an earlier building?  And what kind of critter lives in that hole?

Let's not forget the wildflowers!

I did have to use my stick on the way back, but that's ok.  I'm pleased with my effort.

More hiking to come!  I've made plans to camp sometime in July, and there are more YouTube videos in production!

Until next time, take care, God bless, and see you on the trail!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Hey, guess what?

I now have a youtube channel!  

It's so much fun making videos, editing, and then finally posting them.  I can spend hours playing with the editing software (Adobe Premier Pro), looking for music to add, editing the photo stills... it's great!

So head on over to FromFlabToFourteener and check it out!  Be sure to subscribe.  The plan is to have weekly or more uploads.  I'll feature hikes around the Springs, then further up in the mountains as the recovery allows.  I'll also have some gear reviews, how to do it all on a (tiny!) budget, and DIY videos as well.  I'd like to have some trail angel days along the CDT, and possibly feature some interviews of thru-hikers.

It's a short post this week - closing the year at work, so things are cray-cray!

Take care, be blessed, and see you on the trail!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Don't let anyone fool you....

Joint replacement surgery is brutal.  

From what I can remember of surgery day (Tuesday morning), it started out great - the hospital staff was wonderful (in every interaction), they loaded me with bracelets, started the IV, wheeled me in to the OR where I caught sight of a table loaded with somewhat medieval-looking surgical tools, and then it was off to dreamland!  Luckily, I always have sweet dreams while anesthetized!  

Aaaand... then you wake up.  There's still quite a bit of strong pain medicine and anesthesia in your body, so you think, hey, maybe this isn't so bad after all!  It wasn't long before I was chatting with the recovery nurse about some local trails and camping sites.  And where's lunch?

Next thing, I'm in my room, enjoying some chicken soup and a lovely view of Austin Bluffs. 

But the good feelings don't last for long.

There is pain, and plenty of it.  The first few days can be very difficult.  I had issues with the pain meds causing my BP to crash, and so I stayed an extra day in the hospital.  A dear friend drove me home, and I began my week of recovery.

It's the little victories... like, making it to the bathroom before you wet yourself!  Or being able to swing both legs into bed without using any aid or gadget.  Sleeping through the night... and sleeping on my side - heavenly!

There can be setbacks.  Once I slid a little going downstairs, and it woke up all those muscles and ligaments and nerves to the point where I was crying!  I think I was more scared than anything else.  Two days later, however, I was back on track, feeling pretty good.  

Three days ago I started back to work.  No big deal, I sit all day.  Uhhhh... no.  Going to get coffee, going to meetings, going to another person's office for Q&A stuff... there's a lot more moving around than I thought.  Afternoon ice packs make all the difference.

But I had plenty of time to research - where to hike, what I'll need, where to camp.  And Amazon Prime Video got a workout as well, with binge-watching Downton Abbey...

Through this, there was bad news.  My dad was involved in a serious car crash, and has been hospitalized with some broken bones.  He's in a rehab facility now, and doing better, but it was touch-and-go for a little while.  He's my rock, and the thought of losing him...

Still, each day is a little better.  This morning I walked Texi and didn't even realize I forgot sticks until halfway through the walk.  I'm almost back to normal with household chores, and will attempt pushing a vacuum tomorrow.  The plan for this Saturday is Painted Mines!  
May your trails be blessed!


Saturday, May 27, 2017

Four more days...

...and I get a new hip!  I guess it's pretty sad when you start looking forward to joint replacement, huh?  

Until then, it's a rough road.  Bone pain is awful... and I keep getting nerve zingers.  At night, a mild narcotic helps me sleep, but during the day - distraction techniques!  Plug in the earbuds and turn the music up loud!  Right now my choice is a station out of SoCal, KUSC.  Classical music rocks!

And I'm doing lots of research.  On what?  Not hip replacements, nooooo.  I'm researching what I'm going to do after the replacement!  While a fourteener is most likely off the menu for this year, there are plenty of other big rocks to scale.  Trails like segments of the Colorado Trail, or the Continental Divide Trail are just begging to be hiked.  I know, one step at a time, take it easy.  

It's all about goals, right?  Little ones, big ones, a happy "whoo hoo" upon completion, a split of good champagne at the summit.  Right now it's 2 weeks off work, and local trails, mostly paved and gravel.  Plenty of those all around the Springs.  There's a pretty nifty app called "All Trails" - and it's providing all kinds of info.  Definitely worth downloading!

And I'm on Instagram!  Check out #flabtofourteener - just barely getting it started, but it should be full blown by mid-summer.

Until next time - Colorado weather has been insane, with super cells to the east, snowstorms to the west... never a dull moment!

All y'all be blessed!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Quick update!

So in my last post, I talked about what was going on with me, health wise.  Saw the rockstar surgeon, and guess what - I've been hobbling around on a broken hip the past two months!  So - now I'm making arrangements for hip replacement surgery.  Until then, I'm on crutches, with minimal weight bearing on the left side.  And those motorized carts at the grocery store?  Don't get me started...

However - my dream of climbing a 14'er is stronger than ever!  Doc said there would be no problem doing that... but maybe not THIS year.  Best to shoot for next summer.  But I can definitely hike, bike, camp - and continue training for that big mountain.  

Best of all - after the surgery heals - NO PAIN!!  Whoo hooo!!!!!

So - the blog will keep going, hang in there with me.  There will be lots of good stuff about the trails, campsites, bike paths - all that Colorado has to offer. 

In the meantime, it's April 29, and the snow is still falling.  Not planting any flowers this weekend.  Wondering if we'll get apples this year?  The lilacs aren't happy....

Even Texi is wearing a sweater today!  Does she have enough toys?

So until my next post... hobbling around the Springs... be blessed, and stay warm!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Springtime in Colorado!

Mercurial at best, downright confusing all other times!  Weather fluctuates from 70 and sunny, to 30 and whiteout in 24 hours.  The good thing about spring snowstorms is that they don't last.  So if you wake up to this - 

...have no worries, it'll be mostly gone by nightfall.  And if you're really lucky, a shot like this happens:

Not quite time to pack away the winter wardrobe.  I've been told to keep a sweater and a hoodie or two out all year, might get chilly on 4th of July!

Now for the update - I'm still really sore.  Walking more than a hundred yards hurts, big time.  But there's hope!  I was able to score an appointment with a top-notch rockstar orthopedic surgeon, for the 28th.  Lemme tell ya - when I hung up the phone after making that appointment, it felt like a huge weight was lifted off me, like there is hope, and that there is relief in sight.  I'm not afraid of needles or surgery - so whatever will make me feel better - let's do it!

Will I still make it to the top of a 14'er by the end of summer?  Don't know!  I may have to settle for a 13'er this year.  I'm ok with that.  There's still plenty of hiking, biking, and camping to be done.  And I can take long drives and lots of photos, like I did this past weekend.  

Isn't this glorious?

So now it's just a waiting game, see what the doc says.  Hopefully I can get away with just a needle full of cortisone, but if more is required, then let's get it done!

I think my next post will be a list of sites that are about hiking, camping, and mountain stuff in general.  Stay tuned!