Posts Tagged With: Hiking

Hike 2021 Forward: Week 29

The goal: 2,021 miles during the year 2021. The weekly pace needed: 39 miles.

Week 29 of my personal walking challenge (July 16 – July 22) began with a zero-day due to professional responsibilities from 8:00 am to 3:30 pm, followed by a rainstorm that washed out the rest of the day. I was a little nervous for the week (zero is not a good way to start the week), but I was able to put a few strong days together and ended up with 56.7 miles for the week.  I had a 14.8-mile Monday and a 10.5-mile Tuesday (the other four days hovered between 7 and 8.4 miles). Overall, it was a good week.

My number of accumulated miles is up to 1,385.9 as I continue to chip away at the journey. At the end of week 29, I have 635.1 miles left to complete the challenge.  I hope to break through the 1,400 mile marker next week and maybe be under 600 miles from the finish line.

This week, I had a few miles in the woods and along the river, a few miles visiting a new hiking buddy (he carries a snack with him wherever he walks), and a few miles catching the signs of summer around my neighborhood.

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Photo of the Week

Each week I will share one of my favorite hiking photos.

Hocking Hills, OHIO
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Amerithon: Weeks 45 – 50

I have been so busy walking and enjoying the incredible summer weather, that I have ignored my blog. It has been six weeks since my last update on my Amerithon. In case you are just tuning in, I started an Amerithon on August 1, 2019, with the hope of hiking or walking the distance from California to Washing DC (3,521 miles). I am walking wherever I am (mostly in Ohio) and tracking my miles with the goal of accumulating 3,521 miles.

Hiking with Rocky at Sugarcreek

At my last blog post, I had just completed Week 44 ending on May 13. I had walked 2,713.57 miles leaving me 807.34 miles to complete the challenge. I have been chipping away during my period of silence and have broken through some significant barriers during the past six weeks. I am drawing near to week 52 and my anniversary date of August 1. I will not be at the finish line by then, but I will be ahead of my schedule to complete the challenge before December 2020.

Let me give you the quick run down on my progress:

Week 45: Total miles for the week – 57.48

Total accumulated miles – 2771.05

Miles left in the Challenge – 749.95

Week 46: Total miles for the week – 67.17

Total accumulated miles – 2838.22

Miles left in the Challenge – 682.78

Week 47: Total miles for the week – 69.67

Total accumulated miles – 2907.89

Miles left in the Challenge – 613.11

Week 48: Total miles for the week – 72.7

Total accumulated miles – 2980.59

Miles left in the Challenge – 540.41

Week 49: Total miles for the week – 54.4

Total accumulated miles – 3034.99

Miles left in the Challenge – 486.01

Week 50: Total miles for the week – 72.1

Total accumulated miles – 3107.09

Miles left in the Challenge – 413.91

It was great to break through the 3,000 mile marker during Week 49, and I am looking forward to getting under the 400-mile marker left to go this coming week – just 14 miles to go.

I am a little over 88% of the way! I have enjoyed watching the summer weather bring color to the neighborhood and the woods. I have thrived in the warm temperatures and have been able to stay in good physical shape. God is so faithful.

I have shared some photos on this post taken during the past six weeks, but there is not a chronological order to them – just some good memories of the summer so far.

Categories: Amerithon, Hiking, Local Hikes, Ohio, Uncategorized, West Virginia | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

Audiobooks – Part 4

If you like to listen to music or enjoy reading an audiobook while you walk, I would offer a few of my recent favorite audiobooks for your consideration. I try to mix things up a bit in my selections while I walk, so some genres might interest you more than others.

Sci Fi

Eve and Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate

This sci-fi, love story is filled with adventure and intrigue. Genetic engineering on steroids creates the setting for this well-written young adult novel. One female character is boy crazy and throws sexual innuendos with just about every sentence she speaks. This is really the only negative aspect of the book, which I did find rather annoying. I would give it a PG-13 rating with a major emphasis on “Guidance.”

Profanity/foul language was minimal. A dysfunctional mother/daughter relationship was just off to the side of center within the plot. Good character development and strong dialog made this an enjoyable story to hear (audiobook).


The Defense by Steve Cavanagh

The Russian mob, a con artist turned lawyer, a kidnapped little girl, and powerful courtroom drama combine to make a pretty good thriller. Although somewhat unbelievable, this novel is logical and well designed. I was more impressed with the trial gymnastics (I like the dynamics and strategy of courtroom law) than I was at the complex web of crime. I found the novel filled with good suspense and my interest level was high from cover to cover. I look forward to reading more from this author.

Children’s/ Young Adult Literature

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

This incredible children’s novel is a real gem. I am not sure how the Newbery Award was not bestowed upon this offering in 1961, but I give it 5 stars.

Old Dan and Little Ann (two red-bone hounds) and a great young boy, Billy, star in this classic story of raccoon hunting and the love between dogs and master. There are some incidents of animal violence and some sensitive material within the text that might cause some angst among younger children, but a quick review by parents should provide the discernment needed.

I so appreciated the role of parents and grandfather in the life of the young lad. Billy also had great respect and sensitivity to his family, including his two sisters. The strong Christian ethic and emphasis upon prayer were tastefully included to add a thread of spirituality to the story. If you haven’t read this book, or if it has been several years since you enjoy this story, I would encourage you to pick it up and enjoy the adventure.

Cover Photos found at

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Audiobooks for the Trail #3

I have grown to appreciate Roald Dahl over the past few months. The author of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” Roald wrote a number of fantastic stories that cause the reader to use his/her imagination. The first two recommended audiobooks are autobiographical volumes from the pen of Roald Dahl.

Boy: Tales of Childhood

The first, Boy: Tales of Childhood, was written in 1984, and relates the setting of Dahl’s childhood. This master story-teller was born on September 13, 1916, in Wales to Norwegian immigrant parents. This book highlights his school years, focusing on the 1920s. I enjoyed the frankness of the book and the insights it brings into the heart and mind of this creative man It is not a children’s book filled with fantasy and imagination, but it is an insightful work into the author’s life. This short but interesting book shows a side of Roald Dahl subtly hidden in his amazing stories and humorous writings. I found this reflection on the true story of Roald’s childhood to be filled with sad situations and lots of punishment at the hand of “educators.” His prankish early years accompanied with boyish ideas and cravings soon gave way to the fears of boarding school and medical practices of the day.

Going Solo

Going Solo is a separate book but a companion text to Boy. This second autobiographical story introduces Roald Dahl as a young man, first as a journalist in Africa and then as a British fighter pilot during World War 2. He recounts his memories with the same enthusiasm that often spills over into his children’s books that I have come to love. But this is not a children’s book – it is a memoir that reveals the glories of Africa and the thrilling experiences of flying above the clouds. It is also a book that uncovers the threats of war and the stark realities of a global conflict. The touching conclusion adds to the terrible contrasts of the days of wartime. 

James and the Giant Peach

A third audiobook recommendation also comes from the pen of Roald Dahl in the form of a 1961 classic, James and the Giant Peach. This first children’s book by Dahl is filled with fantasy and the fantastic. I could not help but laugh out loud several times while listening to this short tale of the Giant Peach. Jack’s companions are not only amazing but comical as well. I think my favorite characters were the cloudmen. It is lots of fun and the chocolate factory even makes an appearance.

There is a child buried within my aging self, and I love it when an author’s imagination tickles my sense of adventure. The narrator, Julian Rhind-Tutt, was fabulous. If you have never read this story, take just a few moments and enjoy a treat and a retreat back into your childhood.

A Minute to Midnight

The fourth recommendation is the second thriller in the Atlee Pine series by David Baldacci – A Minute to Midnight. As the protagonist, FBI agent Atlee Pine continues to search for her twin sister who was kidnapped thirty years ago. However, the agent is faced with a series of killings in a small Georgia town – her hometown. I would suggest you listen to the first Atlee Pine book, Long Road to Mercy, for context and background, although this book can be read as a stand-alone. This novel is filled with action and is driven by powerful dialog between a strong cast of characters. As typical with murder mysteries, there are numerous twists and turns as Atlee discovers clues to the killings and surprises about her childhood family dynamics.

Book covers found at

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Amerithon – Week 32

Just a quick update on my personal walking challenge. Beginning in August 2019, I started an Amerithon – hiking the distance across America from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. (3,521 miles).

I just completed Week 32 (March 5-11) of the journey. Because of the mild weather, I was able to log 55.17 miles this week. That puts my total at 1,882.45. I have 1,638.45 miles to go, but I am still on pace to complete the walk before the end of 2020.

This past week, I found myself with the far-way perspective of the trip. I have truly come a long way (just 120 miles to the 2,000-mile marker) but I truly have a long way to go. I was having a difficult time putting things into clarity until a took a glance at the photo I took this past week. First I saw a blue sky and rather nice-looking trees (I really love the variety and powerful appearance of trees).

The trees of Springboro, OH

But as I looked closer, I remembered why I took the picture. Zooming in, I saw the bird out of focus, but soaring high above the trees. I can find myself lost in the sky of the miles yet to walk and miss my God-blessed ability to soar. How thankful I am that I can walk and enjoy the outdoors and breathe the fresh air of almost-spring. The bird was not an eagle, but it reminded me of Isaiah 40:31, “…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles….they will walk and not be faint.”

The soaring bird

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Is Hiking in the Bible? Part Two

The Bible shares a great deal about hiking. The word “hike” is probably not part of any Bible translation, but the concept is a thread that goes from Genesis to Revelation. One of the key “hiking” terms in the New Testament is the verb, περιπατέω (peripateo), which is often translated “walk.” This is not an obscure term used rarely in the New Testament. In fact, this verb is used 105 times in 21 of the 27 books of the New Testament.  It is often used literally of putting one foot in front of the other and moving around, but it is also used figuratively referring to our “walk” with God. By definition περιπατέω means to tread all around, to make one’s way, to progress forward – all of that sounds like hiking to me.

Rocky on the trail

Part One of this series (posted on March 3) quickly glanced at the Gospels and the “hiking” involved in the teaching and ministry of Jesus. All four of the Gospel writers utilize this verb in sharing the good news. This post will highlight a few of the references (New International Version) in Paul’s letters to the early church.

To the church at Rome: We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live (HIKE) a new life – Romans 6:4 This look at the symbolism in baptism shows the burial (going under the water) and the resurrection from the dead (coming out of the water) as well as the newness of the walk (the HIKE) to be experienced.


To the church at Corinth: Nevertheless, each person should live (HIKE) as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them – 1 Cor 7:17. I love this verse as it shows the responsibility of the Christ-follower to hike as a believer in the transforming power of Jesus in every situation that life presents.  

To the church at Ephesus: (this epistle has hiking as a major thread through its message): As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life (HIKE a HIKE) worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love – Eph 4:1-2. The first three chapters of Ephesians declare the call of God on our lives. The last three explain the hike that is worthy of that call. Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk (HIKE) in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God -Eph 5:1-2. The hike of love and sacrifice. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live (HIKE) as children of light – Eph 5:8. The hike of light. Be very careful, then, how you live (HIKE) —not as unwise but as wise, Eph 5:15. The careful hike of wisdom.

Symbolic Hike with Jesus

To the church at Colosse: So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live (HIKE) your lives in him.. – Col 2:6 Our hike begins when we receive Jesus as Lord, but it continues as a thru-hike all our days.

To the church at Thessalonica: …make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life (HIKE) may win the respect of outsiders… -1 Thess 4:11-12. The hike involves a quiet life in which we mind our own business, work hard, and earn the respect of others.

Earn Respect

There are many other passages from the Bible that highlight this idea of hiking, but that is for another day and Part Three.

Baptism Photo

Walk with Jesus Picture

Respect Picture

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More Good Audiobooks to Consider

Looking for a good book to listen to while you walk? Here are four more of my recent favorites.

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

A dual plot: one takes place in Paris in 1942, the other in Paris in 2002. Ten-year-old Sarah Starzynski is arrested in 1942 with her family in the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup. Sixty years later, Julia Jarmond, an American/French journalist, is assigned to write about the roundup. The two plots weaved together in a well-written novel that rings with the realities of WW2.

I enjoyed this novel (first published in 2006) a great deal as both storylines were interesting and filled with solid characters. I find an interest in books set in the WW2 era and this one was different from many that I have read. This novel was the first that I have read about the French police reaction against the Jewish people. I have not seen the film, but the book was made into a movie and released in 2010. The film received good reviews. The ending of the novel seemed to drag out a bit for me, although it was an interesting conclusion to the story.

The Pearl by John Steinbeck

This is a powerful, short novel of a poor Mexican diver, Kino, who finds a magnificent pearl of incredible value. The power of greed and an overwhelming paranoia grip the heart of fear within Kino driving him to save his impoverished family at all costs and to set them free from the burdens of poverty.

Originally published in 1947, Steinbeck captures the trap of fortune and the chains it offers in the name of liberation. This well-written 20th-century parable will cause an individual of reflection to spend some time contemplating the balance of love and wealth, of relationships and bank accounts, of greed and contentment.

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

I enjoyed this 2019 book from the unique beginning to the suspenseful conclusion. The reader of this audiobook, Imogen Church, did a super job making the book come alive. I liked the vocabulary and the writing style of the author except for the profanity of the protagonist. Rowan Caine, a new high paying nanny, narrates her story and she weaves an intriguing plot with skill and articulation until she becomes frustrated and then she bubbles over with profanity – such a waste and an unneeded spoiler for me. Her lack of creative vocabulary during these times was disappointing.

The writing is meant to be creepy as it mixes the height of technological advances with the ghostly superstitions of antiquity. If you like a scary, mysterious, “nightmare” ish tale, this book is a 4-5 star book. If your ears and heart can handle the adult language, this is a must-read. But for me, I will share a review of 4 stars. The fascinating plot balanced out the profanity for a high rating.

Atomic Habits by James Clear

This 2018 book shares James Clear’s systematic approach to the development of good habits and the extinction of bad ones. He does a nice job of communicating practical steps to bringing organization and structure to our habitual lifestyles. Tiny changes can bring large results and so the author begins with the simple, the small, the easy. The text is inspiring, funny, and challenging. It weak in the spiritual dimensions of life, but I have found myself being able to apply many of his principles to 2020. I have struggled with mastering good habits in the busyness of a career, but in retirement, I have been able to focus on a personal structure that has brought a better focus on priorities. If you get a chance, pick up this book, plug-in, and see if it is adaptable to your situation.

Cover Photos found at

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Hike with an Audiobook

When I hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2014, I decided not to listen to music or audiobooks while walking on the path. I wanted to enjoy the sights and sounds of God’s creation without being distracted by the words of man. I am glad I abstained from listening through earphones and focused on listening to the sounds around me.

But during the Amerithon (my personal challenge to walk the distance across America) and my hikes around the neighborhood, I have plugged-in and have listened to a number of audiobooks. So far in 2020, I have been able to listen to about 40 books – some have been quite good and others have not. I have had the opportunity to write a few children’s books, so some of my selections have come from the kiddie lit genre. I also enjoy young adult literature, adult fiction, inspirational books, and an occasional biography.

Since my book listening is such a part of my hiking, I though I would share some of my favorites on this blog. These are not necessarily new books but there are new to me in 2020. Here are three of the best that I “read” in January.

Young Adult Read – Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan (2015)

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Designed for young readers, I found myself so engaged with the lovely story, or should I say stories – four stories really – each one with a powerful message of courage and brave decision making. Music is the thread that laces the stories together in a masterful way. I’d recommend the audiobook format which includes some good music that tastefully and beautifully adds to the reading of the text. It made me want to dust off my old harmonica. I have not given a 5-star rating for a while, but this book earns it as it caught and kept my imagination from beginning to end.

Inspirational – All In: You Are One Decision Away From a Totally Different Life by Mark Batterson (2013)

Author Mark Batterson serves as lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, DC. This inspirational book is just that – inspiring. Batterson is an excellent story-teller and fills this offering with personal and memorable experiences. He uses biblical characters like Shamgar, Jonathan, and Judas to challenge his readers to go “all in” in following after Christ. He shares his experience of hiking in the Grand Canyon that is worth the read in and of itself. Warning: Don’t read this book unless you want to be challenged in every area of your life.

Sci-Fi – Doctor Who: Scratchman by Tom Baker (2019)

I have been a fan of Doctor Who for many years and the original classic series has some great characters. I was introduced to the Doctor when Tom Baker had the starring role, as the fourth doctor. His incredible smile, quirky persona, and animated approach to the Time Lord was quite special. So, I had to read Tom Baker’s first-ever Doctor Who novel. His eccentric personality poured out on every page. The wit of the Fourth Doctor made me laugh out loud and the British humor was marvelous. Listening to this novel was a special treat as the book was read by Tom Baker, himself. The Time Lord came alive with that familiar voice and contagious laugh of the actor that made the fourth Doctor my favorite.
Now, if you don’t have any knowledge of the Time Lords or the adventures of Doctor Who, this novel might seem strange and rather bizarre. But if you remember Tom Baker’s doctor and his companions: the strong character of journalist, Sarah Jane Smith, and the competent surgeon-lieutenant Harry Sullivan, I think you will enjoy this story a great deal.

Covers found at

Categories: Amerithon, Appalachian Trail, Audiobooks, Hiking, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Amerithon – Weeks Seven and Eight

The Amerithon is a program for tracking one’s personal, local hiking along a parallel path across America. I am trying to “walk across America” in 518 days without leaving Ohio. I am logging my walking miles each day and accumulating the total distance from San Francisco to Washington DC. – 3,521 miles. I began the journey on August 1, 2019 hope to complete the trip by December 31, 2020. To finish on time, I need to log 47.6 miles per week.

Week Seven (September 12-18) started rather slow. The first four days yielded only 25 ½  miles, but the final three days provided the opportunities for me to log 38 additional miles for the week’s accumulative total of 63.62 miles. The weather was quite hot this week with most days reaching 90+ degree temperatures.

My right foot has started to cause me some discomfort. I am not sure why. There was no twist or near fall or sudden pain. The soreness is on the top right of the foot. It slowed me down for a few days at the beginning of Week Seven, but it seems to be getting better every day.

Hike at Grant Park during Week 7

Week Eight (September 19-25) ended up being my most productive week to date – I logged 69.28 miles allowing me to pass the 500 miles mark. At the end of the week, my old feet have taken me 512.72 miles with only 3,008 miles to go.

Hike at Rice Field on Week 8

I earned another Amerithon Badge this week (The Inferno Badge). As the path took me from Keough Hot Springs southwest to Furnace Creek, I “hiked” through Death Valley. I am relieved that this section of the hike was virtual. Death Valley has many superlatives, most of which I am happy to have missed. It is the hottest place in the United States with a record temperature of 134 degrees F. (recorded on July 10, 1913); it is the largest national park in the contiguous United States (3,000 square miles); it contains the lowest point in North America at Badwater Basin (282 feet below sea level); and it is the driest place in the United States (according to the Nation Pak Service, Death Valley’s “average rainfall is less than 2 inches (5 cm), a fraction of what most deserts receive. Occasional thunderstorms, especially in late summer, can cause flash floods.”). My real hike around Ohio looked more like this:

Nice Wood Carving at Grant Park
Lions protecting the town of Franklin, Ohio
Great Miami River near Rice Field – the heron is watching us
Some chalk evangelism at North Park
A Lovely tree line at Patricia Allyn Park

To read a little more about Death Valley check out this website

Categories: Amerithon, Death Valley, Local Hikes, North Park, Ohio, Patricia Allyn Park, Rice Field, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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