February 9th, 2018


Peak experience

Here I am at the summit of Wheeler Peak, NM. My round trip from the trailhead to the summit and back must surely count as the roughest single day of hiking I have ever done in my life. The altitude really got me. I was washed out for months afterward.

A couple years later, when one doctor informed me that an old heart attack showed up on my EKG, I immediately thought of that day on Wheeler. The cardiologist I consulted did scads of tests and told me that no, I had not had a heart attack. I told him about my day on Wheeler Peak and asked him what that experience might have been, then. He said I probably ran my body out of calcium.

This is why you're supposed to spend some time acclimating to the higher elevations before putting your body to such a test. I flew out to Colorado Springs, and two days later I was hiking up to Bull of the Woods Meadow. Not smart.

Me at the top

Me on top of the world
Wheeler Peak, NM 13,167'
compass rose

Oh, them Lions, they can eat my body

but they can't swallow my soul.

Another great pic and memory from the past. Our second Scouting mission trip to Tanzania in 2006 was the occasion for this closeup of a small pride of lions. That trip was the last hurrah for Crew 699; Amber was already 21 and Nikki had graduated from high school, and I had been reassigned to a different congregation. (As happens sometimes, everybody ages out at the same time.) Deanne went along -- her first overseas trip -- just to keep the promise to the Venturers. Ten days after our return, I left Tanner Valley UMC and started as the pastor at Ellettsville First UMC.

Yeah, we were that close to those lions. In the wild. No fences, just a Land Rover and an experienced Park guide.

Lions, Mikumi NP

Mikumi National Park, Tanzania