Author Archives: ghsmith76
Historical Posts representing Adventure Continues: Second Quarter
The move to California started off with a bang that I highlighted in my previous post AM San Francisco, but this segment of my life nearing the end of my Second Quarter was all about blending my Passion with my Professional journey in Science and Technology. Yes, I had entered the corporate world of Hewlett-Packard, and I was living the dream presented by the Silicon Valley. We rented a small ranch style house in Fremont, CA and I had 2 children not yet in school. California was moving fast and it was exciting to be onboard for the ride.
It felt like I adapted quickly to the HP environment where I was a Systems Engineer handling the computer side of the Scientific Instruments Division of Hewlett-Packard based in Palo Alto, CA. My initial responsibilities focused around support for the HP1000 computer controlling GC/MS, Laboratory Automation Systems (LAS), and Laboratory Information Management Systems(LABSAM). I was travelling throughout the West taking care of laboratory automation for major companies. I had found my professional passion and I fortunate to have had the opportunity to take advantage of all that California had to offer.
The late 80’s business scene in the SF Bay Area was about the transition to the micro-computer and living in Silicon Valley was like strolling through Byte Magazine. California was beautiful but a bit crowded for my taste. My oldest child, Dylan, would be going to elementary school in another year and California was in the midst of a public education overhaul that started with Prop 13. Home prices were climbing $3000 per week but the area was beautiful. Dylan was also falling in love with baseball during the incredible run of the Oakland A’s with Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco, Ricky Henderson and many others led by Tony La Russa. We took the BART up to Oakland to watch a number of games. But the highlight was taking Dylan to Fan Appreciation Day which allowed Dylan to experience his dreams
Dylan started playing Tee-Ball where he loved to emulate all of the batting stances of his favorite A’s players, and I was learning how to be a dad helping out with coaching duties.
California also launched our return to church which took us to First Presbyterian Church of Newark, FPCN. My background with a strong Youth Group growing up and involvement with various Christian organizations set the stage for getting involved with the Jr High youth ministry program at FPCN. That is also where we met lifelong friends Pastors Gary and Rosa Ziccardi. The photo slideshow below shows our participation in the Bay Area Bash attended by many churches. But we pulled off various parties and even survived sleepovers at the church.
Working for Hewlett-Packard was awesome, a great company, good benefits, and really cool projects giving me access to leading edge technology. HP used me as a Systems Engineer Consultant supporting sales efforts or technology support for customers. I got heavily involved with the boom of environmental chemical testing for soil and water. This was also the beginning of drug testing for athletes which became the main story of the 1988 Olympics in Seoul South Korea. My most extensive HP commitment, during my time in California, was the automation and data management for the laboratories at 4 naval shipyards in the west. I partnered with a HP Systems Engineer on the east coast to coordinate this laboratory upgrade for 8 of our US Naval Shipyards. My shipyards were Mare Island, Long Beach, Puget Sound, and Pearl Harbor. Needless to say: Pearl Harbor required the most onsite support.
Living in the Bay Area was pretty nice, but it did have issues. As I remember, the weather would lag behind 6 months so you would freeze during evening baseball games and the mornings seemed to be dominated by overcast which made it tough on my kids to take swimming lessons. However, the biggest issue was living in the middle of so many people. The Bay Area was beautiful but it was also a cement jungle that required a couple hours drive to get out of the city. Our favorite escape was Half Moon Bay, where we could get away from the people.
One of the largest challenges living in the Bay area was housing, or cracking into the housing market. Real Estate speculation was out of control, but you had to get in so that you could realize some of the market appreciation. Luckily, we were able to put together a down payment that allowed us to buy a small 3 bedroom condo in Fremont for $110K. One year later, when we moved that condo sold for $144K.
We probably could have been happy in California for many more years, but on October 17 at 5:04 p.m. that all changed. The Loma Prieta Earthquake was a life changing event which definitely influenced our need to leave California. On that day I was working at a pharmaceutical company in Berkley but left early to get home in time for the Bay Area World Series between our Oakland A’s and the SF Giants. So we were all setup on our back patio ready to watch the game when the ground below us moved like water. I really did not know what to do other then surf it out, but Dylan knew exactly what to do thanks to earthquake drills at his school. He grabbed Sidney and pulled her under the dining room table. And then the first tremor was over, and I kept expecting the world series game to be played even though the TV feed went to static. Then we lost power and came to the realization that this was much more serious then we could understand at that time. For the next 3 days, we relied on a transistor radio for the only information we would receive. We had no communication with the outside world who were all watching our eathquake play out on TV. It seemed like we had phone service but we were not able to connect to anyone to let them know we were OK. Our condo did not sustain much damage because everything moved harmoniously. So we spent those days worrying about the aftershocks during which all of the people in our community moved to the center playground area so that nothing would fall on us. On the third day, the phone rang and it was our friends from Colorado. It was just luck that their call got through, but thankfully they were then able to communicate to our families that we were OK.
I drove home using the I-880 or the Nimitz freeway a couple of hours before it collapsed as seen in the photo above.
In the weeks that followed, aftershocks caused our hearts to pause thinking that it might be another big one. That was it, and I began thinking about how to get out of California. I was talking to some employers, but it finally came down to telling HP to move me or lose me. Overall HP understood my concerns about cost of living, public education, and the fear of earthquakes. They moved us to Cincinnati, OH, where I continued my Systems Engineering support for the Scientific Instruments Division of the midwest.
This post is for following the construction of our home in Grand Junction, CO
It all started with finding and buying one of the few lots at Spyglass Ridge that has the view I would have wanted. Our backyard will overlook the Grand Valley with Mt Garfield to the NE.
My goal for finding a house in Grand Junction was always to have a glimpse of Mt Garfield. Ever since I lived in Palisade during my stint with Union Oil during the Oil Shale Boom and Bust of the early eighties I have had a connection with this mountain and the Grand Valley. This opportunity for Pam & I to live out the rest of our lives overlooking and being a part of this valley seems like the icing on the cake for a wonderful life. I believe this move to Grand Junction will be my 29th move.
Views from our Lot
The focus of the house is on the back side with the view of the valley. Our builder was great working with us to utilize large windows and create a large covered patio along with a nice open deck off of the upstairs bedroom.
Promise Keepers PKIndy
It was the spring of 94, and I was living in Cincinnati working for Hewlett-Packard but was in the process of moving to Indianapolis to switch to the PSO Division of HP. Friends of my wife were talking about how their husbands were going to the Indianapolis Promise Keepers Conference later that summer. They gave me a application for that event that I sat on for many weeks procrastinating as to whether I wanted to go. However, I did have tension in my life that God could help with. I was taking care of some computer issues for the Michigan Department of Education in Lansing, MI when one evening at the hotel I felt that I should give this PK event a try. So I filled out the application and had the front desk fax it to PK for me. I got a ticket and later found out that I was probably one of the last men to get a ticket.
Now living in Indianapolis, time came for the PK Conference and I was reluctant but forced myself to give it a try, at least for the first Friday night session. Well, I was impressed, you could feel God’s presence with great speakers and 60,000 men singing praise songs. I was in agreement that men needed to step up as spiritual leaders of their families but it was speaker. Rev. Jeffrey Johnson, pastor of Eastern Star Missionary Baptist Church, who helped me to connect with another theme that resonated within my soul, and that was the issue of Racism in America. Promise Keepers had taken a stand for racial reconciliation and called men to unite as brothers. Rev. Johnson captured that for me with his statement; “If God is your father, then I am your brother”.
Promise Keepers traces its origins to a conversation in 1990 between then Colorado head football coach Bill McCartney and friend Dave Wardell while the two were driving to a meeting of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in Pueblo, Colorado. During the conversation McCartney stated his desire to see large gatherings of men come together “in the name of Jesus, worshipping and celebrating their faith together”. Bill McCartney, University of Colorado Football Coach, had just come off a very successful season. He was at the top of his coaching career when he announced he was retiring in order to focus exclusively on building the Promise Keepers movement. I suppose this got my attention as much as anything causing me to give PK a chance.
The Indy Conference had created all kinds of discussions in my mind about my relationship with Jesus Christ. During the following weeks I had a lot of time to think about all of this on my drives to and from Lansing, MI. It was during a drive north while listening to praise music CD from the conference that the song Purify My Heart finally hit home. With tears in my eyes, I pulled my car off to the side of I69 near Ft Wayne when I rededicated my life to Christ.
One of the first things I did was to follow up on my concern for racial reconciliation. I saw that Eastern Star Missionary Baptist Church was holding a men’s conference of their own, which I decided to attend. That was an interesting evening spent with a full church of black men praising God. I think there may have been a couple other white men there, but it must have been obvious that I was there with an open mind and heart. At the intermission, some of the leaders came up to me and asked if I would come up front to say why I was there. I guess God was starting to use me. In my own church, I got involved with an accountability group where the foundational book, “Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper” laid the groundwork for how to be a Promise Keeper.
Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper Book
When I am inspired, I want to get involved and that is what began to happen for me with our Men’s Ministry program at my church. I also visited the Promise Keepers offices and struck up some strong relationships with Ray Hilbert and the PK leadership team. This also included meeting Bob Buckner who was starting LoveINC, Love In the Name of Christ. I basically asked what could I do to help. Through the next year these connections and commitments grew, but I also used some of my computer skills to create the website PKIndy.
This was 1994 and websites were a relatively new form of communication, but luckily the Internet provider SurfICI donated the hosting of the site. I used PKIndy to be a focal point for PK and Men’s Ministry activity in the midwest around Indianapolis. I became a PK Ambassador and was also asked to be the Housing Coordinator for the 1995 PK Conference.
Promise Keepers was in serious growth mode in 1995. Many new conference sites were added and I believe all were selling out. Serving as the Housing Coordinator was a fun job allowing me to communicate with many men who were not just looking for a place to stay, but who wanted to create the ultimate experiences for the men’s ministry groups. I was relying heavily on the housing option provided by local high school athletic programs that would open up their school on Friday night providing a floor to sleep on and the athletic bathroom and shower facilities for bathing. One great story that I remember occurred at Crispus Attucks High School. This option for high schools was a great fundraising opportunity based typically on the men making a donation to the athletic program. However, at Attucks there was renovation work taking place that was not completed when expected and caused the high school to not have shower facilities available. I’m not sure how it happened but the school offered the men the option to shower using the sprinklers on the football field. Well you can imagine how much fun 100 men can have playing in the sprinklers on a football field.
Moving into 1996, I had gotten more involved with PK and they asked me to be the Assistant Volunteer Coordinator for the upcoming Indy Conference. This was a little daunting in that we had to help find over 3000 volunteers for the many conference assignments dominated by ushers, store workers, and food distribution. PK was implementing a new computer database program to manage the volunteers and I remember that my IT experience was needed as we debugged the program. Finding the volunteers was not difficult but slotting them into the roles they desired became the real challenge. By 96 I had involved a number of men from my IT staff at IUPUI. Marc Wilson and his wife became valuable store managers and Emil Luca helped me a lot with the database. I was also heavily involved with my own Church Men’s Ministry which birthed a number of PK related events and a weekly Wednesday morning gathering at Perkins. One of the Men’s events that meant a lot to me was getting the hero of the 1987 Indiana Hoosiers NCAA Basketball Championship, Keith Smart, to be our guest speaker for a church full of Indianapolis men.
My original passion for racial reconciliation was continuing to be emphasized with various interactions of Indy black churches. I remember many accountability meetings with Chris Reeder where we found ways to serve the Indy community through LoveINC. But my most cherished involvement came from getting a group of white brothers from my church to venture down to the inner city every Saturday morning to seek out pickup basketball games. We would find a court in some of the roughest neighborhoods where we would just start pickup basketball games. A group of white guys playing basketball here was obviously out of place, which generated interest from local guys to come by to question what we were doing there. These introductions allowed us to invite the local men to play and learn about Promise Keepers. It was during one of these basketball mornings when I had my vision of Jesus. It was a misty wet court where black and white guys had a great game going on. It was spirited basketball and I was out front on the point when I saw a vision of Jesus in sandals elbowing for position under the basket. I remember I kind of went into a trance for a few seconds, it was very real. That vision epitomizes my relationship with Jesus Christ.
Promise Keepers was really starting to get noticed by 96. Conferences were selling out and donations were pouring in to make PK a powerful voice for Men’s Ministry in America. The anticipation for the 97 conferences had exploded. Tickets were grabbed up quickly by church men’s groups. Local PK activities were also growing with the PK designations of Point Men and Ambassadors trying to help church men’s group grow and be more effective. As I remember, serving as the Volunteer Coordinator for the 97 Indy Promise Keepers Conference was not about finding volunteers, but more about trying to appease everyone’s desire for certain assignments. However, there was a memorable crisis at the 1998 conference that I had to navigate. On the Saturday of the conference we needed to feed 60,000 men within a small window of time for lunch. We facilitated this by contracting with a food service contractor that provided box lunches delivered in refrigerated semi truck trailers. All I had to do was find 50-75 volunteers who would be willing to unload the box lunches to make them available for the thousands of men to walk by tables and grab a box lunch. These volunteers were typically women from a few large churches who were free to com down in the morning to prepare this distribution.
It was about 10 am when I got confirmation that the primary provider for these volunteers was not showing up. So here I am, the guy responsible for volunteers who had no volunteers to unload 60,000 box lunches in the next 2 hours. I think I contemplated my option for a few minutes before I settled on going out into the arena to find men willing to volunteer. However, I distinctly remember telling my team that we did not have time to randomly ask men to volunteer due to the lack of time and lack of organization that we had available to us. So I looked up at the men around the stadium and noticed groups of men with the same T-Shirts on or same hats. That is when I decided that I needed to go to one of these groups, find out who their leader was so that I could ask them if they would be willing to rally their men to save the conference. Well you can imagine that the response was exactly what I was in need of. One large group of men that essentially represented a large Church Men’s Group said,” heck yes, how can we help?” I just said to him to follow me and the day was saved.
The culmination for Promise Keepers in 1997 was the Stand In The Gap, A Sacred Assembly of Men.
This gathering of more than a million men on the National Mall in Washington DC on October 4th, 1997 was the pinnacle of the Promise Keepers Revival. This event was significant, but I got the impression at the time that news coverage was tempered because it was a Christian based movement. I heard that most every charter bus in the eastern part of the US was taking men to Washington DC. No, I did not go but I assumed I would until I realized that my wife was to be ordained as a new minister during that weekend. So yes, this was the pinnacle and PK began to fade away over the next few years. I feel that one of the major reasons for the fall was the decision by PK to make all conferences free from then on. A wonderful thing to do to make sure that anyone could attend, but that is not how men operate. Men want to provide a benefit, not receive one. The stage was set for the largest conference schedule yet for 1998.
In 1996 Promise Keepers held a special conference in Atlanta exclusively for 40,000 Pastors from around the world. This set the stage for PK to present regional Pastors Conferences in 1998, and Indy was scheduled for February 19th. Well by then we had a very competent local team able to facilitate a Pastor’s Conference that was held at the old Pacers’ Basketball Arena. I remember it was a high energy event with great speakers, but what I remember most was the healing that was needed for our Pastors. I remember it was time to get Coach Bill McCartney to address the conference but he was serving the needs of broken pastors in the prayer room. When I found Coach, he was on his knees hugging a pastor who had completely broken down. It was obvious that the conference was going to wait so that coach could help heal this man. That is when I truly saw God working through Coach Mac.
A Friend of Jesus
I want to tell you about a friend of Jesus, whom I got to know through volunteering for the 1998 Indianapolis Promise Keepers Conference. Early in the week of the conference, we were starting to put together the infrastructure that would help manage the many volunteers that would make the conference a reality, Becky Minglin, the most wonderful Volunteer Checkin Supervisor that a conference could have, introduced me to Art Remington. As you shook his hand and made eye contact, you knew you were in special company. His prominent nametag among his conference security credentials simply stated “Art Remington, Friend of Jesus“.
Through the rest of the week, I was blessed by getting to know Art better. Art had been serving our Lord as a minister in California when his life took a turn. His wife went to be with God and then our Lord instructed Art to get involved in some sort of traveling ministry. This traveling ministry turned out to be volunteering for every Promise Keeper Conference since her passing. The Indianapolis PK Conference was like the 50th conference he had worked. This really had an impact on me regarding his commitment, when I saw the old red pickup truck with a camper shell that had over 200,000 miles on it! He called this his home.
It quickly became apparent that all of the PK staff regulars not only knew Art, but felt a sense of ease knowing that Art was there. I’m sure there was not a job that Art had not performed at a PK Conference. I was blessed because he was actually focusing his time to support my group, the Volunteers. Art was to be the Volunteer Staff Representative, VSR, for the upcoming Omaha PK Conference, so he was working with us in final preparation. Yes, Art was invaluable to us, if there was a problem you called Art. You may have seen him driving around a yellow flatbed cart that became known as the Art Mobile. I’ll never forget the time Friday evening after things started to calm down a little. Art had been out on Capital Street with a bullhorn redirecting men with registration problems, as well as recruiting more volunteers. I called him on the radio just to ask how and where he was. The reply came back, “I’m writing another chapter of my book out here on Capitol Street”. Art was ministering to a group of brothers, amazingly, he always had time for that.
I’m sure Art could write many books with all of his PK experiences. But I want to convey more about Art then just the service that he provided. Art is not only a friend of Jesus, but more like one of Jesus’ Disciples. Whether it was working side-by-side with him, talking about basketball, or just looking into his eyes, he affected you for the good of God. I know the prayer he gave to our Volunteer Check In team after we closed down Saturday was straight from our Father. I stayed late into the night on that Saturday, working with Art, just so I could have more time with him. Archived Web Page referencing the 1998 Indianapolis PK Conference.
We had another PK Conference in Indianapolis July 9-10, 1999, which took a scary turn for my involvement. A few days before the conference began, I woke up to find that someone had thrown major rocks through the back window of my Ford Taurus. It was also obvious that the vandals had urinated on the back of the car which was parked in my driveway. My Taurus was easily identified as a supporter of Promise Keepers as well as for the upcoming Billy Graham Crusade to be held in Indy later that year. This brought everything into perspective. Satan was not happy with the progress being made by these movements. This act of violence did not influence my involvement, however, I was not going to let my family stay at home without me. This actually turned out to be a blessing for my family, who came down to the conference, and helped serve throughout the weekend. I do believe the experience was quite meaningful for them. I then understood how important it was that hundreds of women prayed over every stadium seat in the arena before every conference.
Promise Keepers had given me my Born Again Christian start which steered me into various faith based ministries. I helped start a chapter of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship at IUPUI. I was also actively involved with Tres Dias Weekends which spawned the creation of New Hope Great Banquet with an emphasis on serving men from the inner city. As I was finishing up my Masters Degree from Indiana University I started looking for a new university where I could serve as the CIO. Nothing was really clicking until I told God that what I really wanted was to serve at a Faith based university preferably in the West. The next day I responded to CIO opening at Carroll College in Montana and George Fox University in Oregon. I ended up at George Fox where I thoroughly enjoyed working for a true Christian University. Plus I helped start a new chapter of LoveINC in Newberg, OR.
I had gotten involved with blogging to document my various backpacking trips which are relied on by other backpackers in this unique community. I have also created an occasional blog post about other activities in my life which eventually grew to a point where my blog is really my life’s diary. It has become my written legacy for future descendants. This post on Promise Keepers has been in development for many years and became even more important as I realized how little was documented about this Promise Keepers Revival of the 90s. Well this post has found its way to various brothers in Christ who have enjoyed the reminder of Promise Keepers. However, I was especially encouraged by reconnecting with Art Remington, “Friend of Jesus” who I mentioned in this post. Art is alive and well living in Pennsylvania, still serving our Lord. We had a great conversation by phone where I discovered that Art has been involved with Promise Keepers all this time. He mentioned the release of the Documentary “Stand In The Gap 25th Anniversary Celebration“. This documentary reminded me of how PK really got it right. There cannot be any political or denominational agenda associated with a true revival that is ordained by God. That is what made PK so powerful and is why it would be so difficult to replicate in today’s landscape. But that does not mean that we should not try.
Promise Keepers Today
The Promise Keepers organization does still exist after a few restarts. It is just a shell of its glorious past, but the message is still on target and as important as ever. They have excellent resources for men’s ministry which includes a powerful PK Mobile App that adapts their message to our current digital world. They have various Bible course study options that can be facilitated by this app or in your men’s ministry group. And they have held a few large gatherings of men that can be reviewed via their website.
This incredibly difficult year is almost over. I have gone through a divorce, started to build a new life, and see great hope for the future. However, the greatest pain that I have dealt with is losing my fight to tame my Australian Shepard, Brook. After seven years, I had to put Brook down in March of this year.
In moving back to Indiana and reconnecting with so many old friends, I came to understand the connection everyone had with Brook. Typically, the first question from an old friend was about Brook, who they had come to know and love through our many Adventures documented in this Blog, Instagram (@AussieBrook), and on Facebook. If you followed my blog closely, you got a glimpse of the conflict I had with Brook, highlighted in the post “My Dog is Complicated”. I have had many dogs as documented in my 2017 post “Always a Dog”. As a child, my first dog, Cindy, died in my arms after being hit by a car. Cindy II finished raising me and so many other great dogs accompanied my Adventures in Life.
Brook was perfect, beautiful, smart, athletic, but she was also an Australian Shepard with entrenched herding behavioral instincts. As a puppy and young dog she was awesome. I was the Alpha and she was OK with wanting to please me. In her teenage years we were inseparable living in Bellingham, WA, hanging out at Brewpubs, and beginning her backpacking experience in the North Cascades of Washington.
Back in Oregon and through her twenties, we conquered incredible adventures together, but stress was building in our relationship. Everything we did had to be negotiated. In 2019 our backpacking adventures typically included issues with Brook’s behavior.
Brook’s last backpacking adventure was the Strawberry Mountain Trek in early 2020 where she let it be known that she was done with backpacking. What had become obvious was that Brook considered herself the Alpha of our pack and that was not going to work.
The last 2 years I expended incredible energy to manage Brook’s behavior. My grandson was around a lot and Brook could not be trusted around him. We were always on walks where I had to avoid other people, especially with dogs involved.
But she continued to change, you could see it in her eyes. She was struggling with her need to be in control. I kept trying to figure it out by investigating if there were medical issues. Nothing worked, and she had deep behavioral issues probably connected to her herding instincts. It all came to a head one evening when she would not let me put on my crocs to go out to the hot tub. I reached down to put on my other sandals and she furiously attacked me. This was such a decisive event, and I knew that it was over. She had to be put down.
I am ready to move forward to start my new life, but I had to first write Brook’s final chapter. I’m hoping that the pain of failing Brook will end so that I can cherish the good life that we had. There will be another dog in my life, I’m thinking a really calm Golden Retriever who will accompany me through my Fourth Quarter.
Town Run Trail Talking Tree Loop
I found a new trail to hike today on the Northeast side of Indianapolis. The Town Run Trail is an excellent bike trail but it served me well for hiking on this beautiful Autumn day. Located between 96th and I465 along the White River, this trail has been optimized for off road bikers (so no headphones while hiking). The full trail is 6.6 miles but I cut it down to 4.4 miles by turning back at the Talking Tree. Remember this is a primarily a bike trail which is a one way trail out and back, which also means don’t jump the trail because you really don’t know which way it might be going. I captured my hike with my latest Beta Test version of the Natural Atlas App. My hike is named the Talking Tree Loop.
The Trailhead is just south of 96th on the westside of the White River. There is a nice parking lot at the trailhead.
The trail is a very typical Indiana river corridor meandering along the White River near housing and industrial activity. I liked doing it after the leaves have fallen partly for awareness of bikers and partly to have a sense of where I was at.
The trail is designed for bikers so there are many alert signs announcing upcoming trail conditions for the bikers. There are also a few built up trail enhancements.
I do love the trees in Autumn.
Since I am planning on moving to Grand Junction next year I appreciated this sign alerting me to how far it is to the finest bike trails in America,
I did see many squirrels and had a cool eye to eye contact with a large mule deer about 20 feet away from me. And of course the Talking Tree.
Turkey Run State Park
It is late April on a perfect weather day that I decided to visit Turkey Run, my favorite Indiana State Park when I was growing up. I was always impressed with the canyons cut through the limestone but I was worried that those canyons might seem smaller and less significant now that I am returning as an old man. But no, the park was all that I remembered it to be and even better hiking it on a perfect spring day. I will reference the trail map for perspective about my hiking path. I started at the Turkey Run Lodge which I have stayed at with my family back in the 90’s.
First I hiked down to Sunset Point past the Lieber Cabin, the best overlook of Sugar Creek
But the best trails are accessed via the suspension bridge over Sugar Creek.
The first trail leading from the suspension bridge is #10 that takes you up through one of the deeper canyons but ends up with a narrow trail up a creek bed. I actually decided that this portion of the trail was too dangerous for an old guy and I turned around to take on the next trail option.
I next took on trail #3 that skirted the rocks near Sugar Creek heading over to the Ice Box. This is also where I started to experience the hundreds of steps that contributed to the overall day’s exercise.
I kept to the Creek by continuing on trail #5 and may more steps.
I decided to continue on to trail #9 to go up Falls Canyon and then over to Boulder Canyon.
Boulder Canyon reminded me of boulder jumping that you need to do on Pacific coastal hikes.
I hiked back down trail #5 to then go up to the Ladders portion of the park.
At the top of the ladders I proceeded on trail #3 crossing the upper trail #10 that I backed off from earlier.
At this point in the day I was feeling the miles and the vertical that I had hiked and I was ready to work my way back to the suspension bridge.
It was a great return to Turkey Run, probably the park that first helped me appreciate the wonders of hiking in the wilderness.
Eagle Creek Park Red Trail
I have relocated to Indianapolis for a while and to satisfy my need for nature and hiking I took on the Red Trail at Eagle Creek Park, one of the largest municipal parks in the United States. This Spring hike showed hints of foliage and flowers as well as some impassable muddy sections. The Red Trail Loop is approximately 7 miles with a 270′ vertical change that takes you around a portion of the lake and past all of the parks amenities. I parked near the 71st entrance and hiked in a counterclockwise direction easily finding the conveniently marked Red Trail Markers. The trail is very well maintained. You quickly get a good view of the lake as you proceed around and across it on a land path bridge. I was also impressed with the conveniently placed benches for rest and observation of the wildlife.
Once across the lake you get a nice winding trail through the trees until you end up at the recreational equipment rental facility which also has a nice little snack concession stand.
The trail then comes to the Earth Discovery Center. Turtle Turtle
Next you come across the Go Ape Treetop Adventure area. This appeared to be quite popular even on this rather chilly Spring day.
The trail again leads out to a lake view and then you start heading back to the beginning. Lots of nice little Gullies, which I’m sure are very lush later in the summer.
You then approach Lilly Lake but this is also the area near the ice skating pond where the trail gets really muddy.
I then came across something familiar but foreign to Indiana. From a distance I see this huge tree trunk that I knew could not be from here. And low and behold it was a Douglas Fir Tree Trunk from Oregon.
I end the loop with more views of the lake.
I will be living right next to Eagle Creek Park for a while. I have a feeling it will offer the trail exercise that I will need. The Adventure Continues
LCT with Coosksie Spur Loop
My recent solo return to the Lost Coast Trail carried with it many memories of my failed solo attempt back in December of 2015. My backpacking buddies were not able to accompany me so I was free to relive that 2015 experience on this year’s LCT. Plus the weather was perfect for my 4th adventure on the Lost Coast Trail. My goal for the first night was to get past the first small low tide point which has never been a problem but I wanted to set myself up for the following day to make it past the next larger low tide zone.
I decided to camp at Fourmile Creek to be far enough away from the elephant seals and occasional cow traffic to have a peaceful night’s sleep.
I had set myself up for a leisurely day that would end with getting past the first larger low tide zone toward late afternoon.
I hung out with the Elephant Seals at Punta Gorda Lighthouse for a few hours. BTW – the lighthouse does look better since it has been cleaned up in recent years. The seals were totally lethargic enjoying the sunny beach. Plus I had LCT all to myself, I never saw anyone until my third day. I was Chillaxing.
Low tide was around 6 pm so I knew I could eventually get past the first large low tide section.
That cute old Elephant Seal Girl laying on the trail was definitely making eyes at me.
This coastal area is strikingly beautiful with the crashing waves.
I guess my brain was totally absorbed by the fabulous weather and memories of how I attacked this trail in 2015 because I totally forgot about the impassable zone at Sea Lion Gulch which could have been avoided if I had remembered to take the high trail. This is my fourth LCT trek so I was not checking the map as I diligently as I should have.
So there I was was waiting at the Sea Lion Gulch point waiting for the tide to go out, but I was getting impatient. You cannot walk around this point when it is wet. Those loose pebble rocks are really difficult to walk on.
After slipping a few times on the algae covered rocks I realized that I would have to climb up and over the rocks that define this point. This is doable but I would not advise it for an old guy, however, I did it complete with some nice cuts and bruises.
Then came the long beach hike past Coosksie Creek and onto the safety of Randall Creek. But this was good because this is exactly what I had to do in 2015 when I had to jump into the ocean to get around this point.
I have always been intrigued by these unique striated rock formations.
By now I am starting to realize that my short February day is running low on sunlight and I am more tired than I expected to be so the approach of Randall Creek is highly anticipated.
I was able to set up camp at Randall Creek as darkness fell. The moonlight was still hidden behind the mountains but once the moon appeared it was as if a light was turned on.
I had thought about hiking down to Big Flat before returning to take on the Spanish Ridge – Coosksie Creek Trail but I determined that I needed a Nero Day at Spanish Flat to allow my tired body to recover. Plus this is what I had to do for a rainy day in 2015 so why not spend this glorious day chillaxing.
As you can see the weather was perfect, however, on the evening of Friday 2/18 the humidity spiked and everything got dewy wet. But the weather report called for sun by 9:00 am and that is exactly what happened allowing me to pack up for my reenactment of my 2015 overland escape up Spanish Ridge. I thought about trying to climb straight up as I did in 2015, however, that was aided by the typhoon rated winds. So I opted to take the actual Spanish Ridge Trail 7/10th of a mile back up trail.
My concern was about what condition this trail would be in. It was obvious that it is lightly used but I knew it could be done with or without an actual trail.
Being able to see all of this helped me understand why it had been so treacherous in 2015. The Spanish Creek Canyon forms a natural funnel that allowed the winds to reach extremely high velocity hitting me harder and harder the higher I climbed.
I was having an awesome remembrance while truly enjoying a really beautiful trail.
At 2381′ you reach the junction of the Coosksie Creek Trail which heads north on a ridgeline providing exceptional views of the coastline below.
This trail does give you some vertical and most of the time you know you are on the trail but you also need to interpret the terrain to figure out where the trail should be. Thankfully there are occasional trail markers which give you good confidence boosts. It did turn out to be a long day and I was in need of water as I approached the upper Coosksie Creek where I camped for the night. The next day I would take the Coosksie Spur Trail back to the LCT.
There are more times on the Spur Trail when you wonder where the actual trail is, this is partly due to extra trails created by free range cattle that use the land some of the year. However, you can see where you want to go and the official LCT Map shows you the drainage contours that you need to navigate. I also used a free GPS USGS PDF map on my Avenza App to validate where I was at.
Weather was still great but I knew change was coming. The wind was in my face but no complaints, I was finishing up an awesome adventure.
I got back to my car as rain drops started to fall.
This was my 4th trek on the Lost Coast Trail. My reference to 2015 was about my first attempt “I Lost to the Lost Coast” where everything went bad and I was thankful to have survived. This trek route was almost an exact duplicate of that perilous trek, however, this time the conditions were perfect.
AM San Francisco
Historical Posts representing Adventure Continues: Second Quarter
I was presented with an opportunity to work for Hewlett-Packard in the San Francisco Bay area in the Summer of 1987. This was sort of a dream come true, but I also had to weigh it against living in such a beautiful place as Steamboat Springs, CO. But as was the norm for me I let the Adventure Continue, so California here I come. This first post is only about the first few weeks in California culminating with an appearance on the TV Show “AM San Francisco”. But first I had to get orientated with HP and figure out how to bring my family out. I went to the Bay Area first to start work and find a place for us to live. I was hired as a Systems Engineer for the Analytical Division of HP headquartered in Palo Alto but my home office would be the Santa Clara HP Sales Office. This division of HP was responsible for all of the instrumentation and computer applications associated with running a scientific laboratory. My Initial focus would be on the HP1000 LABSAM and LAS applications that basically provided automation and management for a laboratory. Our customers were typically using our HP GCs, LCs and Mass Spectrometers to process a large volume of samples.
It just so happened that I had joined this division just a few days before the entire workforce was to gather at a resort in the San Juan Islands for a big corporate retreat. I mean I started work on Monday and was given a travel itinerary for that Thursday. I was so green, I had no idea where the San Juan Islands were, sounded to me like a place in Central America. But my flight took me to Seattle and the land transit arrangements which included a ferry took me to Orcas Island of the San Juan Islands of the state of Washington. This was fairly cool for a young computer guy who had just come out of the mountains of Colorado. And topping it off, HP issued each of us an HP 110 laptop with a printer and floppy disk drive. The retreat was then mostly focused on teaching us how we would utilize this equipment.
What I really think was happening was that HP had a warehouse full of these computers and peripherals that they needed to unload since nobody was buying them. But it was still a really cool surprise and this resort on Orcas Island was very nice.
The following week back in the Bay Area I went through the HP Orientation. I remember during the wine tasting training I felt my first earthquake which would prove to be a significant aspect for living in California. I found a house to rent in Fremont and I headed back to Steamboat to move my family to California. I guess our many moves had prepared us for the chaos that surrounds a move across the country. But this was our first where the company took care of all the expenses. We just had to drive to San Fran in our VW Vanagon.
Sometime during all of this Connie came across an opportunity to enter a contest for a Clairol Makeover that would take place on the AM San Francisco TV Show the week that we would arrive. I think our real motivation for entering was for the new clothing that we would get to keep. Well of course we were selected because of my graying hair which was exactly what was going to sell Clairol’s new hair color product for men. So the schedule called for us to go into San Francisco the day before the show to receive the clothing and the hair makeover.
We would then come back the next morning to be on the show. What we did not know until the evening before the show was that our daughter Sidney had been exposed to Hepatitis at his daycare just before we left Steamboat and we were not alerted because we had just left town. Well sure enough we were not feeling very good but we were kind of committed to pull off this TV appearance. So we sucked it up and participated even though we were coming down with Hepatitis. Keep that in mind as you watch the video of the Show.
In the 1970s and 1980s, KGO-TV produced weekday talk/variety shows in the 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. timeslot following Good Morning America. A.M. San Francisco ran from 1975 to 1987/1988
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