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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There have been signs of actual improvement in Cindy. Her pace as we hiked in the desert was at times brisk and less distracted. We took a break from desert hiking to bring Jerry back to the airport, staying with … Continue reading

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Staying Warm

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One particularly cold morning in the San Gabriel Mountains had everybody wanting to go home. Since then we’ve paid close attention to the forecasted weather and have avoided the colder temperatures, heading down to the desert when necessary. More recently … Continue reading

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Trail Therapy

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When Mike joined us for two months of hiking he used the time to figure out what he wanted to do with his life moving ahead. He was not just contributing to Cindy’s therapy, he was involved in some of … Continue reading

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Husky Monument

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During our tour through the Mojave I stumbled upon an interesting story in Randsburg. This place is billed as the living ghost mining town with the old style soda fountain. A walk along Main Street passes antique stores more than … Continue reading

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Friendly Faces

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During our tour of desert country we met a few friendly people that assisted us with our camping options.  

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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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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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