Thursday, April 15, 2021

That Light At The End Of The Tunnel Just Got Bigger And Brighter

Last Sunday the Wife reached the 'two weeks after the second shot' and I reached that point today.  I can not tell you how relieved and happy we feel.  While COVID is still scary, we feel like the end is in sight.

The bright light at the end of the tunnel.

We both plan to continue wearing masks until the CDC says it's ok to go without.  I'm starting to see older people walking around without masks and I'm surprised how irritated I get.  Some people just can't act responsibly.  The pandemic has changed all of us, I think, and we will always be a little more wary in crowds.

Despite this new wariness, I'm looking forward to going out to lunch with my vaccinated Mom.  I'm looking forward to going to a movie or two this summer.  We're considering going on the driving vacation we were planning last summer.  I guess I'm just looking forward to getting back to something close to normal.


Saturday, April 03, 2021

The Call Of Little Hill

A year ago, on the first anniversary of the beginning of my Appalachian Trail (AT) thru-hike attempt, I posted that I would not be going back to finish the trail.  In the year since I have not been able to get the AT out of my thoughts, especially when I was doing my weekly walks.  It was like my hiking alter-ego Little Hill was calling me.  He left a hole in me that I haven't been able to fill.

The last month or so of my last attempt were incredibly tough.  I always thought the memories of those hard, rocky trails would keep me away for good.  I never considered myself a masochist but neither a quitter and I often wondered how long it takes for bad memories to fade.  Apparently it takes about a year and a half.

I have decided that I will heed the call of Little Hill and return to New Hampshire where I left off, complete the almost three hundred miles to the AT's northern terminus at Mt. Katahdin, and finish what I started.

I'm planning to do this in July/August 2022.  I'm not getting any younger but I want to give time for the Pandemic to work its way through, time to get myself back into backpacking shape, and time for the Wife to retire.

I think it will be a good transition for me from the life before and the post-retirement adventures the Wife and I have planned.  It will also allow me to bring Little Hill home so that hole can be filled once and for all.


Saturday, March 20, 2021

Hey Vern!!!

Nothing says Vernal Equinox than flocks of blackbird tourists eating me out of house and home.  I'm sure the local birds are a bit miffed.


Happy Vernal Equinox everyone!!!

Happy First Day of Spring 2021!!!


Thursday, March 11, 2021

A Step Toward Normalcy

I got my first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine today.  I'm a step closer to normal.  The Wife got her first on Saturday.

It's amazing how one little stick in the arm can make you feel so good.  It's been just over two hours and I don't feel any side effects yet. The Wife only had a brief mild headache.

My second dose is on April first - no joke.  When I get it I will finally feel free.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Shame

This graffiti has been on display for months.  This is a disgrace.  For those who are not aware, "Save Our Children" is a slogan of QAnon, the FBI designated domestic terrorist organization.

QAnon graffiti on a very prominent place along I-80.
It's time for this filth be removed by the city.


Thursday, February 18, 2021

Perseverance Gets You To Mars

If you don't know it, the Perseverance Rover (carrying the Ingenuity Drone) will be arriving to Mars at 2:55 pm CST.  You can find information about it HERE.  I never can get enough of this kind of stuff.

My understanding is that there is a microphone on the rover so we can hear the sound of it landing and the sound of Mars itself which will be a first.

The most exciting is the chance to get a aerial views from the drone.  This is also a first and I can't wait to see aerial footage of the Martian surface ... though that won't be for a while (2-3 months from landing I think).

Can't wait to see what the rover finds.

Good luck on the landing NASA!


Monday, February 15, 2021

BRRRRR ...

We've been having some really cold days this past week.  Today the high will be below 0℉ (-17.8℃).  The forecast for tomorrow morning is -20℉ (-28.9℃).  Wind chills ... well they are dangerously low.  Since this cold is coming from the north I blame the Canadians.  They share way too much.

Light buried in snow.
Fortunately for me there is no snow along with this cold so I don't have to go out in it.  Unfortunately the cold keeps me from walking towards the thousand miles challenge.

Yeah it sucks but at least we have electricity and heat unlike many in Texas who are suffering from cold and rolling blackouts.  


Tuesday, February 09, 2021

A Visitor To Our New Feeder

I recently replaced my old Finch feeder that was slowly falling apart.  The first bird to visit was a Dark-eyed Junco.

A Dark-eyed Junco visiting my new feeder.

Today it is very cold and I'm sure this Junco is huddling with all the other small birds that live in our fir tree.


Wednesday, February 03, 2021

A Little Frost Can Work Wonders

I went for a walk yesterday crossing the Bob Kerrey pedestrian bridge into Council Bluffs, IA.  It was a foggy day and it was cold.  Below freezing actually.  The combination was stunning:

Frost on the Bob Kerrey pedestrian bridge cables.

Frost of the bridge railing.

A frosted branch.

Why only one branch when you can Frost them all.

Frosted trees along the Riverfront trail.

Most of the five hours that I walked were sunless due to the fog but later on the sun tried to peek through.

The sun peeking through the trees.

One last picture of the Frost on our whirligig on our deck.

Frosty blades.
I know cold is not many people's favorite temperature but the frost that cold can bring just adds wonder to our world.


Saturday, January 23, 2021

What Is That Feeling?

Been a while so here is a Haiku:

Strange third day feeling.
Lack of anxiety, lack of daily controversy?
Could that be hope?

 Whatever it is I'm liking it and I hope it continues.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Another Chance To Get It Right.

 I started President Obama's first term with cautious hope.  Over the next eight years I was disappointed.  The President was too nice and the Congress was too obstructionist.  I still was hopeful through most of his two terms but unbeknownst to me Obama's presidency had started something malicious and idiotic.

Four years ago the hope of the New Presidency was gone.  I saw only disaster coming and, for once, my prediction came true.  The last four years of this narcissistic grifter has left our democracy in shambles with over four hundred people dead.  Conspiracies like QAnon have infiltrated the White House and the legislature.  I'm not sure where our nation is heading and it scares me.

Today we have a new President.  President Biden and Vice-President Harris enter office under the cloud of militant threats and a nation split along ideological and, frankly, idiotic lines.

Will they be able to correct our course?  Will America once again gain its proper place in this world?  My first instincts say that this will take one or two generations to right itself.  I want to have hope but I do not think there is much to inspire hope.  As always, Time will tell.

Dark Chocolate Oreos covered in fudge.

On a side note, I am continuing the tradition I started four years ago. I am eating a bag of Oreos during the inauguration.  in 2017 it was a family size bag of chocolate Oreos.  For this one it is a smaller box of fudge covered dark chocolate Oreos.

May the cookies and the next four years be full of healing.


Monday, January 11, 2021

Marching On To Another One Thousand Miles.

 

An online friend of mine suggested I do the 1,000 Mile charity challenge (1,609 km).  At first I wasn't sure if I wanted to do it but then I realized that it would only be 19.25 miles (30.98 km) a week.  Since I was already walking over thirteen miles twice a week I was already meeting the weekly goal and then some.

I signed up as soon as I could and last week I already walked twice for a total of 26.73 miles (43 km).  A good start I would say.


Saturday, January 09, 2021

Some Blue In The Backyard

I have been trying to attract Blue Jays to my backyard for a while now.   My latest attempt has been to add peanuts to the seed mix in my feeder.  Over the last six months or so I have begun to see them in the backyard.  They are still rare and are a bit skittish but I finally managed to get a picture of one.

A Blue Jay sitting on our neighbor's tree.

 I hope this is one of many to visit our neck of the woods.


P.S.  Happy forty-fifth birthday to my friend Gv.


Monday, January 04, 2021

Frosted Limbs On Blue

It's been a bit foggy these past few days.  Combine fog with temperatures in the teens result in beauty like this:

"Frosted Limbs on Blue"
by Bruce H.


Friday, January 01, 2021

Best Photos Of 2020

Time to continue the tradition of posting my best photograph of the year.  Like last year I will be stretching the window slightly to include photos taken during our Chilean Patagonia trip at the end of 2019.  If I didn't do this I'm not sure if I would have a picture to post this year.

2020 was not a good year for me or for many of us frankly.  Despite always having my camera with me when I went on my walks last year, most of the pictures I took were either mediocre or were pictures of other people's art.  In fact, I was surprised that, despite walking over six hundred miles around Omaha, I took so few pictures worth sharing.  Add on to that the fact we didn't go on vacation in 2020 and I ended with fewer pictures than normal.

I did find one picture that I really liked.  It was taken on our last day in Santiago, Chile.  We were visiting a market that had some animals and birds on display.  This is where I captured this image:

"Showoff"
by Bruce H.
(Taken on the 3rd of January, 2020)

It figures that the only good pictures I would take in 2020 were taken before the pandemic hit.  Here is an honorable mention that would have been my favorite except for the photobomber standing in the way:

"Reward at the End of the Water Path"
by Bruce H.
(Taken on the 30th of December, 2019)

I hope you all had a safe and fun socially distant New Year's Eve.  Onward into the new year, 2021.  Let's hope the light at the end of the tunnel isn't an oncoming train.