Announcement: HOPE FOR ALZHEIMER’S

Our daughter Charissa, Cindy and I will hike the 2666 mile Pacific Crest Trail, starting this June 15.  This will complete the Triple Crown of long distance hiking for Cindy, the top item on her bucket list as she deals with her early onset Alzheimer’s.  In the coming months the blog posts will focus on both Alzheimer issues and the PCT adventure.

We will use the hike for a mission to spread Hope for Alzheimer’s.  The first avenue of hope is with Cindy’s journey, demonstrating that people with Alzheimer’s still can pursue their dreams.  The second avenue of hope is through raising awareness for how lifestyle choices can improve Alzheimer’s patients and caregivers.  The most important of these lifestyle choices is physical exercise, the only “treatment” show to halt and even reverse brain decay.  The third avenue of hope is through Exercise for Brain Health Research, for which we are raising funds.  To see how you can help us spread Hope for Alzheimer’s please visit that page.

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The Mojave Desert

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Our recent excursion to destinations off the PCT focused on the Mojave desert. Charissa found a variety of cool stuff to do on the Internet. We visited Amboy Crater; a lava tube in the Mojave National Preserve; the living mining … Continue reading

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Joshua Tree National Park

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With Charissa as tour guide we are doing some hikes off the PCT, starting with Joshua Tree National Park. Named after the distinctive plant that grows like an orchard tree out here, the park is also noted for being a … Continue reading

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Wrightwood

We did some PCT highlights between Acton and Wrightwood recently, which brought back memories of 1977. Before Acton I lost my eating utensil and had been borrowing from others. Ken was getting fed up with this and insisted I get a new utensil in Acton. At the time Acton had a small general store and the only thing I could find was a spatula. This would pay dividends in Wrightwood.

In between we hiked up into the San Gabriels, often paralleling the Angeles Crest Highway. Water is scarce in Southern California in the fall, which dictated where our camp spots would be. We targeted a campground to end a 22 mile day precisely because the guidebook revealed that to be the next water.

When we arrived we found a piped spring … with about one drip per minute. The guidebook revealed the next water after that to be 33 miles away. Time for a Plan B! Our maps indicated that Wrightwood was down the mountain from us. We bushwhacked through the pine forest on a straight line down to town.

Wrightwood has the distinction of being on an earthquake fault line, in both a flood zone and an area of high fire danger. Not a place for nervous Nellies. All that mattered to us was that the town had water and ice cream. We bought a half gallon of ice cream to share (back then they WERE half gallons). The others whipped out their spoons and I whipped out my spatula (snicker). We did not share ice cream again after that.

Things have changed since then. This time we stopped at a chain hardware store in Acton for duct tape, using the wifi at the local McDonald’s before leaving town. We merely drove through Wrightwood, with a quick stop for liquid refreshments on the same street where four backpackers from Connecticut once (unevenly) split a real half gallon of ice cream.

Also in Wrightwood I suggested to Charissa that our focus now become a mother/daughter bonding experience, with her making the decisions for how that can best be done. The PCT should remain an element, because that’s what makes sense to Cindy for being out here. Yet it no longer needs to be the focus in my opinion. We could even go home at this point, Except ….

When this journey is over Charissa will no longer be with her Mom much. During this trip I learned how much she treasures memories such as the Girl Scout trips, the holiday decorations, tending the garden and learning how to bake delicious cinnamon bread from her Mom. I’ve been mistaken. The more valuable opportunity for closure out here is not that for a long distance hiking partner, but for manifesting the love of a special daughter for a special Mom.

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Levels of Consciousness

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I received some thoughtful responses to the important question: “To tell or not to tell?” There were opinions on both sides, as well as corroborating experiences. I’ve come away with the overall answer: “It depends:” depends on the person, depends … Continue reading

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An Important Question Revisited

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Awhile ago I posited an important question on here. To recap, my original instincts and plan with Cindy was to hide from her that she had Alzheimer’s, to foster the hope with which we might deal with her affliction. Our … Continue reading

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Point Reyes

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Our first destination along the coast was Point Reyes, the beginning for us of our American Discovery Trail journey. We never really saw Point Reyes The first time around, given that we started in driving rain with the temperature in … Continue reading

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Fall Adjustments

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For the weekend hiker fall is the best time of year. The colors are vibrant, the bugs are gone, the days are fresh and the nights are crisp. Yet for the long distance hiker fall requires an adjustment, as I … Continue reading

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Time Out

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After hiking with and supporting us for two whole months, Mike went back to his home in Boulder yesterday to address a variety of errands and issues. He accomplished his objectives while out here. He brought good cheer and support … Continue reading

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Retirement Options

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Retirement has been on my mind lately. Our last two hosts are retired, one with a ranch, the most recent with a pastoral, Mediterranean style spread where they can eat some type of fruit they have grown all year. I … Continue reading

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