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Newsletter for February 2014

 

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Stray thoughts of a 75 years young man !
Age is a matter of mind !
Bob (Dr. Robert) Crane

 ...Yesterday it rained all day down in the valleys in Rappahannock  County with a high temperature in the 30's.  This morning looking up at the Blue Ridge from my sister's house I saw that the upper half of the mountains was blanketed in snow, which is somewhat of a miracle in October in Virginia.  I drove up to the Skyline Drive to climb Stony Man, but the parkway was closed both south and north from Thornton Gap. 

Since the mountains further west had reportedly received a foot and more of snow, I decided to drive out to Dolly Sods.  Part way west on route 55, however, I turned around when I saw highway workers scattering salt on otherwise dry bridges, which I figured must mean more snow. 

Since I have to leave at 6:10 Friday morning for Chicago, I decided that I cannot afford to get stuck in a snowstorm part way up or down the 12-mile-long wilderness road to the top of Dolly Sods.  So I drove to Front Royal and parked as one of only two cars at the trailhead of  the Appalachian Trail where it crosses on Route 522 south to where my sister lives.  The trail must have changed because I found myself on a white-blazed trail instead of the blue-blazed AT.  After an afternoon of hiking, when I returned to my car I saw a man loading a pack into the back of the vehicle that was there when I arrived.  I went over to ask whether he had hiked up to the snow line, which had pretty much exhausted me, because I wanted to know if a young person had had the same difficulty.

 When this man turned around to say that indeed he had, I was shocked to see a 90-year-old man, who had probably shrunk from 6'6" and 250 pounds in his youth but was still in better shape than I am even though I am fifteen years his junior.  He probably was also shocked to see someone as old as I am climbing mountains in the face of icy blasts from the north and the threat of more snow.

I've noticed that wherever I go now in my upper 70s I seem to be the oldest person anywhere to be seen, so it was refreshing to find a fellow hiker in wintry weather who was already middle-aged when I was still a teenager.  Let's hope that when we are in our 90s we can give encouragement to young old timers in their late 70s.  It helps to have just about the best genes on earth, but attitude is equally important.

The weather experts say that yesterday's freak blizzard in October in Virginia has nothing to do with the extremes that come with global warming.  But I wonder, because this October already is the wettest October on record here, and last month was the driest September on record (with no rain at all).  It would seem that we cannot keep setting all-time records (like number of hurricanes) one after another unless some fundamental changes are occurring.

How is your prepping come along to be the guide on the Antarctic expedition now only about ten weeks away.  Were you able to get a copy of the Scott South Polar Expedition documentary that just appeared from National Geographic, which gives an entirely different take on the causes of the tragedy than what we have always accepted?  Perhaps someday modern science will confirm whether or not Pearly was the first person to reach the North Pole.  And I still hope that someday you will be able to climb the Antarctic mountain officially named after you.

I am definitely planning to go x-c skiing with you after you return from the Antarctic in February, because I have never had an opportunity yet to use my expensive mountain skis.

 

 

 

 

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