I awake to another day and it looks like it will be the same as the previous, an entire day devoted to battling cancer. A day of pills, treatments, logging activities, bandaging wounds, one monotonous activity melding into the next.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil” writes the Psalmist. God is not surprised or unprepared when our difficult situations arise. Never in my life has this verse been so appropriate, but we have hope. He walks freely between dimensions we cannot see and time is irrelevant to him. He is thoughtful to encode into a salmon’s DNA to swim the world’s oceans, yet at exactly the right time the fish returns to the very stream of it’s birth to spawn a new generation of salmon before it’s death. He knows the number of hairs on our heads and He knows when a sparrow falls.

So even though it appears that the day will hold nothing new, there is hope in the Great One that there will be change for the better. There is hope that today is the day He will remember where He left us and return to pick us up and put our “feet on the rock”.

I hope today is the day He touches her broken body with His healing hand. I hope once again today to make the time to get to the library to print my new writing packet from the Examiner for my CBS Local opportunity. I hope to be able to get out in the woods to stretch my legs and breath some fresh air. I hope today is the day He touches her broken body with His healing hand and I hope today is the day that cancer is a bad memory instead of today’s reality.

Late Winter 2015

Winter 2015 is winding down but you wouldn’t know it by going outside. Snow and subzero temperatures last night felt more like January but nevertheless, March is only a week away and with that a quick couple of weeks to the official start of spring. This week finds me busy on several fronts, including the wrapping up of my review of the Vasque Breeze 2.0 GTX Hiking boot. Feeling kind of sad about completing that project, it was a blast and testing the boots was giving me a good excuse to get out in the great outdoors and wander around. Now I will have to make up some new reasons to get out and about.

Speaking of the article writing endeavor, it looks like I am going to get a new opportunity. The Examiner has invited me to work on a program where top examiners will be covering local events for the CBS Local website. Unlike regular articles, these will pay a flat fee and must be reviewed through the editing process. I am confident about this though as I am already familiar with the interface and have had a number of articles about the local running scene pass through the editors. So stay tuned, and we will see if I can become a famous CBS reporter!

Also trying a new once an hour oxygenation treatment to see if we can beat back Tricia’s cancer. Time consuming but the initial results look promising and we are hoping to soon start dialing back the oxygen condenser.

Have been watching the “Living With Wolves” documentary about Jim and Jamie Dutcher’s experiment with forming the Sawtooth Wolf Pack. I am absolutely captivated by the complexity and depth of feeling displayed by the wolves. Americans would do well to learn from the Nez Perce native American tribe who revered the wolf and sought to emulate the family bond and other admiral qualities of the wolf. I wish the gun toting rednecks who seek to destroy the wolf population had the humanity of wolves, including joy, affection and grief that the entire pack experiences throughout their short lives. In one particular sad segment of the show one of the pack was killed by a mountain lion and the mournful howling of the group was quite touching. Hunters, trappers and ranchers need to understand that the murder of a wolf results in hardship for the whole pack of wolves making it more, not less likely that the pack will need to turn to the easy prey of livestock instead of more difficult prey that a more effective pack could pursue. I think if more people watched this video there would be a lot less hatred of the animals and perhaps they would be placed back on the endangered list everywhere.

There was a bit of progress the other day when the Department of Fish and Game did put the wolves back on the endangered list in several states. However my joy at seeing the news was tempered by the news that a republican senator has introduced legislation to reverse the decision by the federal judge and restart the mindless slaughter. I hope the grass roots effort that resulted in the federal decision in the first place will rise up again and dissuade the republican congress from once again thumbing their nose at the people they are supposed to be representing.

New Vasque Boots

Not many things make me happier than a new pair of hiking boots. It always seemed to me that a person’s shoes are an indication of who and what they are. A good looking pair of hiking boots are a symbol of freedom, outdoors and adventure, serious equipment befitting a mountain lone wolf.

Vasque Breeze

Vasque Breeze

So yesterday was a big day when my Vasque Breeze 2.0 GTX hiking boots arrived for me to give a test ride. More than just a pair of shoes, they are a cool excuse for me to lace up and head out onto the rocky trails of the high peaks where I will discover how they feel in the snow, on the sharp rocks, during a stream crossing, across a boulder field and on steep climbs. Considering the delight I have received from walking in my first pair of Vasque’s, I’m quite certain that my field report on the Breeze model for the Examiner will be filled with positive comments.

First things first though, the boots have been unpacked from the box and photographed before their christening in the mud, snow, rocks and ice of the Pike National Forest. Laced up and tried on, they have proven to be a perfect fit, comfortable as a glove right out of the box. I am looking forward to living in these boots for a couple of weeks, walking, hiking and climbing in them every time I get the chance. So stay tuned as we find out what the Vasque Breeze GTX is made of. Also, be sure to get your free subscription to my Examiner news feed and you will receive an email the minute my field report is available!

Close Call

Well I managed to cut that one close. Have to get an article out to the Examiner a minimum of every two weeks to maintain my hard earned “newsworthy” status. This turned out to be a rough two weeks another bout of pneumonia to deal with running myself ragged trying to get my patient to all the doctor appointments and pick up all the prescriptions. I tend to need a lot of peace and quiet for any ideas to come into my idea resistant brain, but much to my surprise on the very last day it occurred to me that I might know something about hiking boots.

Crystal Falls on the north slope of Pikes Peak

Crystal Falls on the north slope of Pikes Peak

So I went online and did a search of this year’s new models and as I paged through the results I realized that I was more of an expert than I thought. I perused the high end Lowa, Vasque and Rocky boot sites and then went on to look at the less lofty Merrel and Hi-Tech models. As I did so I realized that I have owned and literally walked the soles off of all except the Lowa brand. Well, actually my Vasque’s have proven impervious to wear at this point, but with any luck I will get the chance to wear those out as well.

So anyway I managed to put together the article and get it published by the deadline and in doing so was able to give myself another walk down memory lane. My first good boots were actually Coleman Dry’s and I wore them out snowshoeing and replaced them with some cheap non-waterproof boots from Walmart. Don’t remember what they were. It was my photo trip to the Rocky Mountain Balloon Festival that I decided I would have to get some good boots. The mass launch was very early in the morning and I determined that a climb to the top of the hill just east of the Chatfield beach would give me a bird’s eye view of the whole thing and by the time I had slogged through the wet grass to the top my feet were cold and soaked. Soon thereafter I purchased my first Gore-Tex lined Rocky’s. Those boots carried my feet to some of my best photo memories and snowshoe adventures in my memory. They took me to the top of Mount Evans and high into the Indian Creek Wilderness to Crater Lakes. I walked countless miles of tracks getting my collection of railway imagery. Finally just after moving into the shadow of Pikes Peak I was walking my dogs one day when I noticed my feet seemed unusually cold. Close inspection revealed that the soles had become separated from the boots. Then came a pair of waterproof Merrel’s which I wore out on the trails of the Pike National Forest near the north face of the big mountain. More of the same removed the soles from a pair of Hi-Tec’s and now I’m working on my most durable pair yet, the Vasque’s. God willing I will wear those out exploring the Lost Creek Wilderness and maybe even the Collegiate Peaks.

And by some stroke of good fortune, my hiking boots article may have landed another story in my lap. Much to my surprise, someone from Vasque must have liked my story and it looks like I am going to get the chance to field test a pair of Vasque’s new Breeze 2.0 model. Be sure to find out all the details on this fantastic looking boot by getting your free subscription to my Examiner news feed in time to receive the report!

The Last Shall Be First

Smokey, our new feline addition has been with us about a month now, just happy to have some food and to be in out of the cold. He has made himself at home, finding a place he likes to sleep and always at the front of the line when it comes to feeding time. Sometimes there is nothing like our furry little friends to lend understanding to some spiritual truth and Smokey has stepped up to give me some heart warming insight. The Bible says, “The last shall be first and the first shall be last.”. Smokey has only been with us a short time while his little friends here have been with us over ten years. Yet he thinks nothing of marching right to the front of the line at feeding time and making the same demands of attention from his master that his older friends enjoy. And his confidence is just fine with his master who has no problem with treating him the same as his buddies 🙂 In other words, the spiritual truth here is that there is no difference in God’s eyes between spiritual veterans and new arrivals.

TiggerTime is flying and we are grinding through this Rocky Mountain winter. January is almost over, the days are getting longer and the north face of the big peak is beginning to see some light. Soon it will be time to train my camera lens back on the temperamental old rock for some new new views of her many moods. For now though my writing continues to be of winter. The Pikes Peak Road Runners Winter Series is half over, but the competition is just beginning as foul weather spoiled the running of the first races in the series. Snow is continuing to fall regularly and is still my favorite photographic subject for this time of year. As I look out this morning there is a fresh blanket of white and it looks like I will be doing some shoveling if I want to get anywhere today. On the other hand, it looks cold and gray and like a good day to just stay home and watch movies while my closest friend in this world recovers from another painful and unfortunate bout of pneumonia. As we roll into February I am looking forward to more hours of light, slightly warmer temperatures and more winter activities to photograph and write of. Be sure to subscribe to my news feed on the Examiner so you don’t miss out on any of this Rocky Mountain winter!