Posts Tagged With: Ohio

2019 in 2019 Challenge – Week 28

February 6-12 was week 28 in my year-long, personal, challenge of walking 2,019 miles in 2019. I started my walk on August1, 2018 with the goal of completing the mileage by July 31, 2019. To reach the finish line I need to walk 38.83 miles per week 5.55 miles per day.

Rocky and I traveled to West Virginia and back this week to visit family, so two days involved car rides making walking a little more difficult than normal. However, I was still able to log 41.85 miles during the week, including two 8-miles days and three days mapping over 7 miles .  It rained three days this week but I own some good rain gear, so I slogged right along. It was also cold enough to drive the thermometers below freezing, but the snow was minimal and did not impact the goal with slippery paths.

It was enjoyable to be able to walk in two different states this week. The familiar loops of Springboro, Ohio, allow me to walk without concern of the route, but the circuits in Morgantown, WV, provide new places to see and old stomping grounds to revisit. Life is good and I try not to take the opportunity to breathe in the fresh air and exercise my legs for granted.

Listening to books has become part of the walking routine and this week I completed five audiobooks. The Camel Club, by David Baldacci, Front Desk, by Kelly Yang, The Broken Girls, by Simone St. James, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, by Steven King and Maisie Dobbs, by Jacqueline Winspear. All five of the books were quite good representing a variety of genres. The Camel Club was a political thriller; Front Desk came from the shelves of young adult literature; The Broken Girls, involved a ghost story mixed with mystery; The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, takes it reader to the Appalachian Trail and a lost girl; and Maisie Dobbs takes place during WW1 and investigates the physical/emotional brokenness of war. It was a good week getting to know some interesting characters through the words of others.

My total mileage toward my goal of 2,019 miles is 1,274.73, leaving me 745 miles to go. If the weather permits and my legs are willing and God lesses, I hope to reach the 1,300-mile barrier this coming week.  I am also hoping that February continues to cooperate with walkable weather as I look forward to the warm breezes of spring and the glorious sun of summer.

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2019 in 2019 Challenge Week 27

Week 27, January 30 through February 5, started out with temperatures below zero with wind-chills so cold that made me couch just trying to breathe, and had news-casters warning of frostbite. I watched the sidewalks from my toasty living room while nursing a cup of hot tea. I typically take a zero-day on Sunday as a day of rest, but I quickly decided to move it Wednesday this week to avoid the frigid winds – my bald head was pleased.

Thursday got up to 13 degrees above zero; Friday reached 28 degrees; Saturday climbed to 44 degrees; Sunday was close to 6o degrees; Monday and Tuesday were in the mid-40’s. Wind-chills down to -35 degrees below zero to a 60-degree sunny day provided for a 95-degree temperature change during the week – from long underwear just a light-weight coat. Quite an amazing week.

I need 38.83 miles each week to stay on track to conquer of personal challenge of walking 2,019 miles between August 1, 2018, and July 31, 2019. I was able to log 43.62 miles this week thanks to longer hikes of 7.86, 8.72, and 11.49 miles. That brings my accumulative total to 1,232.88 miles.

Twins on Top

I enjoy walking (most days) and I am so very thankful that my legs still work and carry me where I want to go. I have good company as I walk – sometimes my wife, Cathy (aka Rocky) comes with me, especially if there is a metro park or trail involved; other times a few of my grandchildren join me, like this week as we strolled around a local arboretum; there are days when God and I commune alone in sweet fellowship; and on most walks I have my earbuds plugged into the company of an audiobook.

View from atop the Tower

A short hike around Cox Arboretum on Sunday with Rocky and four of our grandkids took us to the Tree Tower. It leads up 81 steps to a panoramic view of the park. The tower rises 65 feet above the ground and not a place for those who don’t like heights. The two faces at the top are my twin granddaughters (acrophobia does not run in their veins). Rocky is up there with them! The view from the top is beautiful and reminded me of the incredible fire-towers on the Appalachian Trail.

This week I listened to a short adventure book, Adrift, by Paul Griffin. Adrift takes the reader along with five teenagers on a survival disaster on a boat lost at sea. But, my favorite read this week was a longer novel, Before We Were Yours, by Lisa Wingate. I was deeply moved by two parallel stories – one in 1939 in Tennessee and the other present-day setting in South Carolina. The orphanage of 1939 and the high-profile political family of the present blended together as the stories were drawn together. This is a good book that carries my recommendation if you’re looking for a new story to read.

Categories: 2019 in 2019, Book, Cox Arboretum, Fire-tower, Local Hikes, Ohio, Rocky | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

2019 in 2019 Challenge – Week 26

The Creek at Sugarcreek

What a great week! Each week in the “2019 in 2109 Challenge” runs from Wednesday through Tuesday since August 1st (the start date of the challenge) landed on a Wednesday in 2018. Week 26, the halfway mark, ran (or should I say walked) from January 23 through January 29. For those just checking in on my blog for the first time, “The 2019 in 2019 Challenge” is my personal goal of walking 2,019 miles in one year ending on July 31, 2019. So far I have been able to walk ahead of schedule and this week was another good one. I need 38.83 miles per week to reach the goal and week 26 produced 46.22 miles.

My accumulated distance is 1,189.26 miles. I am really happy with the pace so far. If I can just maintain a few more average weeks, I should be through the coldest weather and the warm breezes of spring will hopefully bring a new “spring” to my step.


Rocky on the move

Sugarcreek Trail

Rocky and I took some hikes in the woods this week as we visited Sugar Creek Metropark and Cox Arboretum. Because of the snowing trails were tried out our new Yaktrax Walkers, a traction devise that fits over your walking shoes. These lightweight hand-wound steel coils (these don’t have any spikes) pressed into the ice and snow with every step giving us great traction and stability on the slippery path. They were so easy to get on and off and they provided Rocky and I lots of confidence that we would not fall as we enjoyed the crisp winter air along the trail.

We saw lots of animal tracks in the snow, took a few pictures, and researched the pawprints when we got back home. We identified chipmunk, rabbit, deer, bobcat, and a small water bird in the heron family (Just kidding about the bobcat!). A book (Animal Tracks of Ohio) that my son, Matthew, gave me came in handy for identification.

Frozen Pond at Cox

Neighborhood walking provides time for book listening. I managed to “read” four audiobooks this week: a rather strange novel about a frustrated author, The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards by Kristopher Jansma; a non-fiction account of  hunting down German war criminals after WW2, The Killing of the SS by Bill O’Reilly; a sad memoir of a young woman raised in a ultra-conservative cult, In the Days of Rain by Rebecca Stott; and a light-weight murder mystery, I’ve Got You Under My Skin by Mary Higgins Clark. None of them would make my top ten list, but I my favorite of the week was The Killing of the SS. It was hard to read the atrocities of the Nazis, but it was interesting to learn of the efforts to bring justice to the war crimes.

Rocky and Rowdy

As I sit here writing this post the weather outside is frightful. It is -3 degrees with a windchill of  -25 degrees. That is why I am sitting in my warm living room and not outside logging miles. Today will definitely be a zero-day. Hopefully, the temperatures will improve in the next couple of day and provide some more comfortable opportunities to walk. Good courage to you all and stay warm.

Categories: 2019 in 2019, Cox Arboretum, Local Hikes, MetroPark, Ohio | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2019 in 2019 Challenge: Week 25

Week 25

Week 25 of my 52-week challenge to walk 2,190 miles before July 31, 2019, was a productive one. It was a white week filled with Ohio snow and January temperatures, but I was still able to get out most days and roam the neighborhood. Fortunately, I surpassed the weekly minimum (38.83 miles) and logged 51.13 miles. I really like the free HikeMyWalk app by UnderArmor. It seems to accurately map my walks and provides me with distance to the hundredth of a mile. I was able to reach the 1100-mile marker early in the week and ended week 25 with a grand total of 1143 miles toward the final goal – leaving 876 miles to complete.

I listened to four books again this week during my walks. My favorite read of Week 25 was The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King, a mystery about Miss Mary Russell, a young woman who becomes an apprentice to Sherlock Homes. A quick read, The Pecan Man, by Cassie Dandridge Selleck, was an interesting novel placed in the south in 1976 which takes the reader into a complex series of events involving murder, racial tensions, and sacrificial commitment. The other two books that filled my week were not as good and would not receive a high recommendation: The Spook Lights Affair, by Marcia Muller, and The Feather Thief by Kirk Wallace Johnson. I try to give a rating and quick review of each book I read on goodreads, a website in which you can log your reading and share with others. I would invite you to become friends with me on if you are interested in exchanging ideas about books together.

The weather was beautiful as the snow transformed the neighborhood into a winter wonderland. Although most of the sidewalks were slippery or covered with several inches of snow, the streets were plowed and provided a stable path for an old man’s feet. I loved meeting some snow people along the way. I failed to get a photograph of most of them, but I did capture a few. I shared a little bit of my hiking challenge with the snow couple but they seemed more concerned about the warming temperature approaching in a  few days.

Week 26, January 23-29, looks like another wintery week in Ohio – some snow, some single digit temperatures, and some moderate winds. I love to walk in the winter. I love to walk in the winter. I love to walk in the winter. Sorry, I still have not convinced myself. I am going to learn to enjoy my winter walks.

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Hiking Challenge: 2019 in 2019: Week 23

Uprooted Tree

I am only two weeks away from the half-way-point of my personal walking challenge. My goal is to walk 2,019 miles before July 30, 2019. I started on August 1, 2018, and January 8, 2019, ended week 23 of the challenge. So far, the weather has cooperated with warm temperatures, minimal rain, and mild winds.

Week 23 (January 2-8) was another calm week. I walked in rain gear once and enjoyed singing in the rain like Gene Kelly. If you’re under 40, you may have to google that or check it out on Youtube: I was able to log in 45.62 miles this week, a little over 6.5 miles more than what I need to average per week. I hit the thousand-mile marker on Wednesday of this week, as well as the halfway point (1,009.5 miles) on Thursday. My total accumulative mileage at the end of the week was 1,034.58.

My only photo for the week was a neighbor shot of a tree along the street that seems to have toppled over after a night of rain including some wind. I have seen many broken branches around the streets of Springboro, but this is one of the few trees that I have seen that has fallen over with the roots

During my walks this week I have been able to listen to four books on tape, three novels and one non-fiction memoir. Caught by Harlan Coben; If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch; Sadie by Courtney Summers; The Princess Diarist by Carry Fisher. My favorite read of the week was If You Find Me, a story of two young sisters discovered by the authorities after living in a trailer with their dysfunctional mother for ten years. The story projects a plot of redemption although deals with some dark times in the woods. I love Star Wars and the adventures portrayed on the big screen, but The Princess Diarist, which promised some behind the scenes stories of the movies, was a bitter disappointment. The book was all about Carry, her affairs with Harrison, and her disappointments with life after the incredible space movies. Although there were some funny moments, most of it did not meet my expectations.

Rocky (my wife) and I made a road trip on Tuesday to West Virginia to visit her mother and family. We had a nice 5-hour drive across I-75 to I-79 and arrived in our mountain home in time for a good visit followed by a four-mile walk to end the week.

Looking forward to some good hiking during Week 24.

Cover Photo from
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2019 in 2019 Week 22

Germantown in December

Week 22 of my personal challenge involved Wednesday, December 26 through Tuesday, January 1. My goal is to walk 2,019 miles before the end of July 2019. After hiking for five months, I am finally in the right year. During the first five months, I am just shy of 1,000 miles (988.96 to be exact). I was secretly hoping to reach the 1K mark before the new year, but I didn’t quite make it.

Week 22 was a good week – it was not my best week, but I managed to log in 50.17 miles. Any time I surpass the minimum mileage needed each week (38.83) I feel good about the results. So this week I was able to hike the minimum plus 11.34 miles. The weather was conducive to walking with only one hike requiring rain gear. No snow yet but I know it’s coming.

My hiking buddy, Rocky

Rocky and I got one nice hike in the woods. The day after Christmas we hop in the car, traveled to the Germantown MetroPark, and enjoyed a 7.55-mile experience on the paths of one of our favorite parks in the Dayton area. It was more than a little muddy, but still, the fresh air and the marvelous woods made our time together extra special.

During the week I took the opportunity to listen to four books while hiking the pavement of the neighborhood: There, There by Tommy Orange; The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz; The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley; and Lincoln’s Last Trial by Dan Abrams. The first three are novels and the last one is a work of non-fiction. The language and some of the content of There, There eliminated it from my recommendations. Both Spellman and  Sweetness were quirky mysteries with pre-teenage girls as the protagonists. I thought Sweetness was the better of the two stories. Lincoln’s Last Trial was an interesting read of Abraham Lincoln’s experience as a trial lawyer prior to his run for the Presidency. Within the pages recording the details of this true murder trial, I learn a very interesting piece of sports trivia involving intercollegiate athletics. This sport’s first intercollegiate game was Amherst College and Williams College in 1859. Amherst won 73-32. What I found amazing – it was a baseball game. Now that’s what I call a pitcher’s duel.

Our Advent Wreath

Rocky and I  enjoyed the Christmas season, spending time with the family and relaxing together around the house.  Christmas is over and evidence of the end of the holidays appeared around the neighbor. The new year has arrived with all the possibilities of opportunities and the potentials of open doors. During my walk on New Year’s Eve, I experienced some rain. It was constant enough to cause the water to run down the sidewalks and down the streets. The rushing water cleaned the pavement, rolled down the street gutters and disappeared into the drainage system. As I walked and watched an end of the year analogy came to mind. Just as the water was cleaning the streets and carrying away the dirt down the drains, so the day was wrapping up the year – all the good and bad of the year was ending. We cannot go back and relive, change, or alter the events of 2018. We can remember and rejoice; or we can remember and make changes; or we can remember and strive to make restitution; or we can remember and celebrate.

A new year has arrived, and the street is clean. The calendar is new. The journal is empty. My hikes this week provided me with a reminder that I can begin to write anew, to record changes in my behavior, to love like never before, to reach out to those who need me, to embrace those I value, to paint a new portrait on a 2019 canvas.

Happy New Year – May 2019 bring countless opportunities to write your story in the lives of those around you. As one of my mentors says, “See a need, meet a need!”

Categories: 2019 in 2019, Christmas, Germantown MetroPark, Local Hikes, Rocky | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

2019 in 2019 – Week 21

Merry Christmas! Week 21 of my walking challenge ended on Christmas Day. The last week of Advent was a peaceful one and one filled with reflections on the miracle of Christmas – the Incarnation – God becoming man and living among us – God with us – Emmanuel.

The walking this week was enjoyable as well. Since August 1, I have adopted a goal of hiking 2,019 miles before the end of July 2019. December 25th ended week 21 of the challenge. I need to average 38.83 miles each week and I was able to accumulate 47.31 miles this week, almost 8.5 miles more than what I needed. So far I have hiked 938.79 miles.

I like to listen to Audiobooks while I walk. During Week 21, I listened to True Blue by David Baldacci and Force of Nature by Jane Harper. Both novels were well written but neither book would make my top ten list of 2018.

I enjoyed some good walks around the neighborhood this week. The temperatures were above freezing for the most part and the sun brightened a blue sky on three of the hikes. Thursday and Friday were rainy days, but I managed to fit in long walks in between times of showers.  I’ve got an excellent rain jacket and waterproof pants, but they hardly got wet this week.

One day this past week I was taking my walk when I looked up and the song came bursting into my head. “Sunny Day, Sweepin’ the clouds away, On my way to where the air is sweet, Can you tell me how to get, How to get to Sesame Street?”* Finally, after all these years, I can say, yes! Yes, I know how to get there! I found my way. I looked for my favorites, but no one could be found – they all must be making a movie or on vacation. Not to worry, I will be back

Many of the homes in the Springboro area were decorated with holiday bling. However, all those giant blow-up decorations look blah and sad during the day when the air is let out, leaving the lifeless snowmen, Santas, and polar bears flat on their faces. It reminded me, as I walked my streets, that the commercial façade of Christmas is so empty and superficial. I really resonate with two common expressions I hear in Christian circles: “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” and “Wise Men Still Seek Him.” I like Frosty and Rudolf. Elf, Miracle of 34th Street, It’s a Wonderful Life, and A Christmas Carol are part of my traditional viewings during the holidays, but I try my best to fill my house with the sights and sounds of Emmanuel and the realities of the birth of Jesus – the Messiah, the Savior, the Redeemer, the Forgiver, The King of Kings.


* Sesame Street Theme Song: Written by: BRUCE HART, JON STONE, JOSEPH G. RAPOSO Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group



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2019 in 2019 Week 20

Week 20 in my personal challenge of walking 2, 019 miles by July 31, 2019, ran from December 12 to December 18. It was a beautiful weather week with only one rainy day and I was able to accumulate 56.48 miles. I must walk 38.83 miles each week to reach my goal, so I was able to surpass the minimum by 17.65 miles. It was a good week, indeed.

I took Sunday as my rest day this week but managed to break the ten-mile barrier on three different outings. I try to vary my neighborhood routes each day although there are only some many ways to go around in circles. One of my favorite variations is to cut up through a lovely wooded area to nearby park. The park has a mile-long paved walking trail, but I enjoy the dirt path leading to the park more than the walking the track around the park.

Another familiar walk takes me beside a four-lane road connecting a shopping area with the small downtown of Springboro proper. There is a wide sidewalk beside the road making this pedestrian feel safe on my journey. While walking along this highway this week I came upon a recently mowed cornfield populated by a couple dozen vultures. Did you know that vultures are called different things depending on what they are doing? When seen roosting in the trees, a group of vultures is called a committee, a venue or a volt (I’ve been on a committee or two that would fit this picture). However, when those same birds are in flight, a flock of vultures is a referred to as a kettle. As the flock catches the thermal updrafts and soar in circles, they take on the appearance of water boiling in a pot – hence the name kettle.  And when the birds are feeding together at a carcass, the group is called a wake. What I saw, as I approached the cornfield, was a wake of vultures have a committee meeting over a venison brunch.

I listened to a few good books this week as I walked my miles. I completed a murder mystery called Unleashed. It is one of a long series of books by David Rosenfelt about his protagonist, Andy Carpenter, a defense lawyer extraordinaire. I also completed a book by a Cincinnati author, Sharon Draper, called Double Dutch, a young-adult novel, about a jump-rope team of junior highers competing for a national title. A third book this week was a non-fiction volume on natural disasters called The Big Ones: How Natural Disaster Have Shaped Us. Part scientific and part socio/political, it was an interesting audiobook to consider as I walked. Fortunately, I did not encounter any tsunamis or volcanic eruptions during my hike. However, the best book of the week ranked among my top five books of the year. The Sun Does Shine, is the true story of Anthony Ray Hinton, a man from Alabama, who spent 30 years on death row for a crime he did not commit. I was dumbfounded by the judicial injustices against this man, but I was overwhelmed by the response of forgiveness, joy, and hope that permeated his life. I highly recommend this book if you are looking for a good read. It has a little adult language, but the story is simply amazing.

At the end of week 20, I am 114.9 miles ahead of pace to complete my challenge, but the cold days of January and February await. My plan is pretty simple – bundle up, take it slow and Hike It Forward.


Book cover from

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2019 in 2019: Week 19

Week 19 was a great week for dancing and driving but a lousy week for logging walking miles Rocky and I drove to Atlanta, Georgia this past week and spent some time with our eldest son, his beautiful wife and marvelous trio of children (two daughters and one son). Our early December trip was fueled by the girl’s ballet performance of the Nutcracker. The ballet was filled with colorful costumes and graceful choreography, and of course, the girls were utterly fantastic. We so enjoyed our time with the family and it is always encouraging to talk to my son. He is such a godly young man and an outstanding leader with Compassion International.

Ducks in December

Springboro was dusted with snow on Wednesday (December 5) and Thursday (the 6th), but I was able to take two average hikes before we left for Georgia on Friday morning. So, my total this week was 12.41 miles a full 26.4 miles shy of the minimum 38.83 miles needed each week to complete my challenge of hiking 2,019 miles before July 31, 2019. I anticipated that I would have weeks of vacation and times when walking would be minimalized so I had planned for such low mileage. Fortunately, I have been walking more than average for the past several weeks and have been able to bank 123 extra miles over the minimum. This lean week of only 12.41 miles cut my excess down to 97.25 miles, but the dozen miles of Week 19 brought my total miles to 835. I hope to replace some of my lost miles this week – the weather looks fairly mild and my schedule might permit several hours each day to exercise.

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2019 in 2019: Week 18

Fall in Springboro

The last three days of November and the first four of December comprised the eighteenth week of my personal challenge to hike (walk), 2,019 miles in one calendar year ending on July 31, 2019. I will be traveling during week nineteen, as Rocky (my beautiful wife) and I make our way to Georgia to see two of our granddaughters dance in the Nutcracker. Because of the adventure to the Peach State, I know my mileage next week will be below my weekly pace. With that in the back of my mind, I was hoping to log in significant miles this week.

The weather cooperated nicely this week and I was able to exercise my legs all seven days. Despite a little rain, I was able to walk just over 60 miles. By the end of the week, the total mileage walked since August 1 was 822.6. I am excited to be 123 miles ahead of the needed pace to accomplish my goal.

I was able to end the week (Tuesday, December 4) with my biggest day so far – 14.28 miles. One of my best friends and spiritual mentors teaches English at Dayton Christian School. He agreed to meet with me during one of his free periods and suggested that we walk around the campus while we caught up on life. The school is about 4.5 miles from my home, so I decided to walk to the school, walk with my friend during his planning period, and then trek back home. The walk to the school involves a section of berm walking along a four-lane road. I didn’t enjoy that section very much, but the traffic was not very heavy.

Some of my miles this week cut through a wooded area headed toward a lovely park. Crossing over a wooden bridge I noticed that the rains had caused the stream to swell a little, creating that wonderful sound of running water. A babbling brook is calming to my heart. I don’t really like the word babbling – it sounds like the water is gossiping or speaking nonsense. I have not found the best word to describe the joyful sound, but I prefer to think of it as the clapping applause of the stream. If I close my eyes and imagine that the water is greeting me with a sweet welcome of friendship, I can hear it offering me an applause of recognition.

On another day, I was circling a pond that lies on one of my common walking routes around the neighborhood, when I surprised some sort of water bird (maybe a heron) on the water. She saw me walking toward the water and made a graceful and magnificent exit from the surface of the pond. Her long wings made me reach quickly from my camera/cell phone.


Needless to say, I was way too slow to capture the flight, but the bird landed in a marshy area not too far from the pond. I was determined not to ruin its day with another intrusion into it privacy, so I got as close as the little lady would allow, took a long-distance shot, and continued my adventure.

O -H… I – O

The seasons are changing, and the houses are beginning to display decorations that reflect the excitement of December. I snapped two photos this week that caught my eye. The first reflects the close of the regular season of college football. One of my favorite teams is Ohio State. In honor of their Big 10 Championship season, many flew banners around the Springboro area. Although they missed the BCS final four, they will be playing in this year’s Rose Bowl – Go Buckeyes.

The other accent I noticed this week was a mailbox. I actually noticed it in October when it housed a panel of stained-glass pumpkins and fall leaves. I thought it was very attractive but did not realize that it was only temporary. This week, I noticed the pumpkins were replaced with a winter panel and how appropriate it looked for the Christmas season. I am excited to see how many different panels this family has for it mailbox.

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