Dan and Hannah’s Connection to the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks

A young man has died.  We never knew him, but we know of him because we know our friend, Kim.  Way too young, the young man will be laid to rest today in Santa Barbara this third Sunday in November.

mark map of carp

Let me back up.  Last winter, Hannah and I spent the month of February in Carpinteria, California (south of Santa Barbara) because we are soft and the winters in Maine are hard.

mark map of TO

Carpinteria is 18 miles north of Ventura

Renting a VRBO condo for a month, we had the good fortune to be neighbors with Kim.  Over the month, we got to know her – we had dinner together, an evening of wine and hors d’oeuvres, she brought us the local paper each Thursday, and we even went to see Wonder on a Sunday afternoon at the local Alcazar Theater in downtown Carpinteria together.

We’ve been in touch throughout the year as we will return to Carpinteria again this winter.  Yup, we are still soft.

mark ventura county sheriff

Then a week ago, all hell broke loose at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California, some 40 miles south of Carpinteria.  Thirteen people were murdered by a domestic terrorist.  Stunned and horrified, residents got an up close and personal view of the tragedy of mass shootings that plagues the United States.

The young man was gunned down that Wednesday night, just having started working at the popular local country bar.  It turns out the young man was the best friend of Kim’s son.  He would have turned 21 tomorrow.

We ache for Kim who we know and love, we ache for her son who we know must be a good guy as he is Kim’s son, and we ache for the young man’s family who we have never met.

mark kim

Hannah and Kim

This is not a blog about the insanity of gazillion guns in America killing our fellow citizens.  It’s about our friend Kim, her family, and her community dealing with an outrage that breaks her heart and breaks ours.  It will be nearly two months before we can hug her and have her feel our love in person.

So, we sit 3000 miles away on the coast of Maine and wonder what we can do to support Kim and her son.  We do know that Kim has a tradition with her son and his girlfriend where the three of them go out for breakfast from time to time.

What Hannah and I can do is pick up the tab for breakfast for them in Carpinteria.  They’ll have each other for support, and they’ll know friends in Maine are thinking of them and they are not alone.

Click here for the young man’s story in the Carpinteria’s Coastal View News.

Click here for the Santa Barbara’s Nooshawk story on the young man’s memorial service.

PS  Earlier this morning before I posted this blog, we heard from Kim that she is going to use the breakfast money to “pay it forward” by donating it to the family of the young man.


Dan and Hannah Hike the Tallulah Falls Gorge in Georgia

Talu map of Talu in GA

Who’d have thought Hannah and I would find a home away from home in north Georgia!  Two Yankees – a New York Girl and a Jersey Boy!  First drawn to the Peach State to hike our 14th of 14 Appalachian Trail states, we stumbled on the good folks of the Yonah Mountain Pickleball Club, 80 miles northeast of Atlanta.

Talu 3 warning sign


From our association with them we learned of stem cell treatments that have been a godsend for our once balky knees.  Friendships grew with Clarissa, Pat, Laurie, and Linda and here we are returning to the Peach Tree State one more time this mid-October.

After overnights with our sister-in-law Becky and her guy Derek in North Carolina, we travel southwest towards Yonah Mountain by way of Tallulah Gorge State Park with its daunting 1000 steps into the gorge.

Talu 2 falls themselves

The descent brings to mind the the 729’ of elevation gain overly similar metal stairs at the nearby Amicalola Falls State Park, which just happens to be the starting point for the Appalachian Trail.  Click here for that blog.

Talu 1A rubber pavement

For a simple $5 American we enter the Tallulah Falls and soon have the park ranger explain the trails into the gorge as well as on the North and South Rims.

Talu 1 H by rubber sign

The trail actually begins here in the Interpretative Center building as we head down towards the 80’ suspension bridge spanning the gorge.  Immediately, our feet are caressed by the rubberized trail made from old tires.  Bouncing for joy just comes naturally.

Talu 3A stairway down

After viewing the falls themselves from the North Rim, we turn towards the first 260 steps that will take us down to the suspension bridge.  With fall colors still four weeks away on this mid-October Tuesday, we hike among retired couples of all shapes and sizes and moms and dads with their preschoolers.

Talu 5A more gorge valley

Descending the stairs to the suspension bridge across the gorge is like skipping in the park, an easy peezy descent with a miniscule cardio-vascular workout.  The afternoon rain has yet to arrive, so the footing is reliable and solid on the metal see-through steps.  With ten overlooks into the Tallulah Falls Gorge, we feast on north Georgia at its finest.

Talu 3E H at bridge suspension

Crossing the swaying suspension bridge, we take the lower trail of the South Rim further into the gorge.  The walk in the park ends at the turnaround and we have 261 steps and more to head back up to the South Rim.

Talu 4A D and H on South Rim of Talu

Our assault is relentless but manageable.  Sure, Dan, the Older, is  breathing heavily; fact is, he is in his eighth decade.  Returning to the Interpretative Center by way of the North Rim, we take to the trail which eventually leads to our final 220 steps to Inspiration Point.  And that completes three miles of hiking and high stepping in under two hours.

I return to Outlook #2 to record this video of Tallulah Falls for your enjoyment.


Additional images from Tallulah Falls

Talu map of park


Talu 3C H on stairs


Talu 4 more gorge falls


Talu 4B WArning and steps on south rim



Dan and Hannah Hike the Palmetto Trail in South Carolina

Palmetto Becky and Derek

Becky and her guy Derek; sadly he was on the short end of the 2018 World Series.  Go Sox!

Do you know what a halfback is, and I don’t mean a kind of football player?

It seems many retirees from the Northeast who have been worn down by winter’s ice and snow move to a Florida retirement community.   After a few years, Florida gets to them; perhaps it’s the traffic, congestion, being so faraway, the flatness, or mind-numbing sameness and they want to move back.  But they don’t want the winters in the Northeast either.  So, they move halfway back to North or South Carolina, hence they are halfbacks.

Palmetto trail map

The Palmetto Trail begins just south of Becky’s hometown of choice, Tryon.

Our sister-in-law and hiking guide Becky now living in Tryon, NC has come up with another hike for Hannah and me.  Today we drive five miles to the man-made Lake Lanier just over the North Carolina border into South Carolina for the start of the Palmetto Trail.

Though the state of South Carolina is not a part of the Georgia-to-Maine Appalachian Trail (pronounced locally as App-a-latch-in), South Carolinians do have the 425-mile, multi-use Palmetto Trail from Lake Lanier to the South Carolina coastline.

Palmetto 1A B and H at the start

Becky and Hannah begin hiking in the Palmetto State

This mid-October Monday morning with the temperatures going to 80F (40s in Maine!), we are one of two vehicles at the trailhead parking.  Setting off on a well-marked trail towards the distant Vaughan’s Gap, we three walk side-by-side on a tree-covered, red dirt fire road.




Palmetto 2A trail sign

Squint and you can see Hannah and Becky

Hiking with Becky is a delight as she is a friend of nearly 40 years; she like me is an out-law (i.e. we married into the Kraai Family [my entre was Hannah Kraai and Becky married Hannah’s brother Doug Kraai]).  Though Doug died of brain cancer nearly 17 years ago, we have maintained our friendship with Becky over the years.  Hiking with Becky is a joy for she is a positive life force, sees the glass ¾ full as we all participate equally in the trail conversation.

Palmetto 1B first lake on trail

A trailside pond

Though fall foliage color has come and nearly gone in our native Maine, here in South Carolina the brilliant reds, yellows, and oranges are waiting to burst forth in three to four weeks.


Palmetto 2 falls

The trail gently rises until Becky veers right, through some brush towards the Palmetto Trail Falls, which she has learned about as a member of the local hiking group.  Flopping grass gives way to a narrow trail to the falls.  In short order we come upon a soul-enriching, life affirming, got-to-believe-in-miracles falls coming down the mountain ahead.  See the video below for yourself.

Palmetto 1CC D and H on trail

This side trail to the falls eventually weaves back to the Palmetto Trail which we take in the direction of Vaughan’s Gap.  After 70 minutes out in the Blue Ridge Mountains, we about face and return to the trailhead with the back and forth conversation of old friends.

That night, our short and sweet evening blessing is Thank you for the food before us, the family beside us, and the love between us.  (Thank you Tara and Anthony for these words.)






Palmetto D and H in Rocker

Chilling in Tryon, North Carolina



Dan and Hannah Hike to the Raven Cliff Falls in Georgia

It is was all because of an email.  Let me explain.

Hannah and I had come to Georgia in the fall of 2016 to hike our 14th and final Appalachian Trail state.  As newly minted pickleball players, we also checked out the pickleball sites in the area and contacted local ambassadors about play.  Only one responded, and she with details and a heart-felt welcome to come play with her Yonah Mountain Pickleball Club.

Raven pickleball group

Yonah Mountain Pickleball

We did.  Taken in like family, we played, we breakfasted together at the local Huddle House (similar to a Waffle House) and we have returned time and again staying overnight with our new compadres.  Hannah and I have Laurie Lee to thank for starting our enduring connection to north Georgia.

Raven 1B wooden walkway across stream

Today prior to outdoor afternoon pickleball at Yonah Mountain, we have the hope that the waterfalls at Raven Cliff Falls State Park will be thundering.  You see, we’ve been here before during the drought of 2016 and saw but a trickle come down from within the mountain.  With hurricanes and heavy rains of late, we have our fingers crossed for a deluge.

Raven 6A H by steam

The five-mile round-trip hike is one of my favorites as the trail is always in sight of the mountain stream tumbling over boulders, into pools, and rushing with nature’s sweet melody.

Raven 4 H at lower falls

Hannah beside a trail-side mini-falls

With overnight rain, our trail is moist, but not muddy.  But that will be of little concern over the 2.5 miles to the falls as the trail, though rocky and rooted, is very level with a hardly noticeable 700’ rise in elevation from trailhead to falls.

Raven 5C climbing down rocky steps

Rocky climb to the falls (top center)

Often wide enough for the two of us to talk, the tree-covered trail beside the watery turbulence has us heading deep into the Chattahoochee National Forest.  Cascades and mini-falls prime us for the upcoming tumbling water from the heights of Raven Cliff.

The final climb to the opening in the cliff is steep but not so wet as to be hazardous.  The falls deliver watery wonder just over an hour after we began our morning hike.

Raven 5A closer view of interior falls

The tucked in the mountain Raven Cliff Falls

Returning to the trailhead after just over two hours of hiking has warmed us up for afternoon pickleball on the outdoor courts at the White County Community Center with our Georgia kin.


More pictures from the trail

Raven map 2

Raven 1 Han at sign

Raven 1A trail begins

Raven 2A more cascades

Raven 2B quiet stream

Raven 3 H on trail

Raven 3A D on trail

Raven 4A D at lower falls

Raven 6 H on trail back

Raven 6B flowing stream