Dan’s Wednesday Quote of the Week – #77

I get that this is much longer than my usual quote. Stick with it. It’s eye opening.

Service is not the same as helping. Helping is based on inequality, it’s not a relationship between equals. When you help, you use your own strength to help someone with less strength. It’s a one up, one down relationship, and people feel this inequality. When we help, we may inadvertently take away more than we give, diminishing the person’s sense of self-worth and self-esteem… Serving is also different to fixing. We fix broken pipes; we don’t fix people. When I set about fixing another person, it’s because I see them as broken. Fixing is a form of judgment that separates us from one another; it creates a distance. So fundamentally, helping, fixing and serving are ways of seeing life. When you help, you see life as weak; when you fix, you see life as broken; and when you serve, you see life as whole. When we serve in this way, we understand that this person’s suffering is also my suffering, that their joy is also my joy… We may help or fix many things in our lives, but when we serve, we are always in the service of wholeness.

Rachel Remen, b. 1938

Dan and Hannah Hike to the Tower Bridge in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah (April 2022)

Bryce Canyon National Park is in the lower right corner

Our latest VRBO is just as fabuloso as our first.  I can’t stress enough that when you are next visiting the national parks of Utah, run, don’t walk to the “cabin” in Lyman, Utah, just 25 minutes from Capitol Reef National Park.  Cabin hardly describes this five bedroom (4 queen beds and three twin beds in another room), country kitchen, and spacious living room where we chill with a fine Black Box merlot after a day on the trail.

The basement twin bedroom for Max and Owen

Picture taken out the front door of our VRBO at 7 AM. Rural America that many of us don’t know.

Off from our VRBO by 8:30 AM, we drive with little traffic on country roads to Bryce Canyon National Park by 10:15 AM.  The forecast for this mid-April 2022 Thursday is for sunny, windy, and 63F.  Quite a contrast to tomorrow’s forecast with a high of 42F and flurries! 

As we enter Bryce Canyon National Park, I get a little greedy and want a parking spot at Sunset Point parking lot where we will kick off our morning hike. Driving past the overflow visitor center parking lot with many spaces, we arrive at the Sunset Point trailhead where it is quite apparent that I am dreaming if I think I’ll get a parking spot this late in the morning. We crawl in a conga line of cars with not a spot to be had.  Tail between my legs, I return to the overflow lot.

Still in shorts and a long sleeve tee-shirt at 8000’, Hannah and I with our grandsons, Owen and Max, and their parents, our daughter Molly and her hubby Tip, walk through the campground to the rim trail.

The 3-mile Tower Bridge trail is our morning hike of choice

Hannah always looks good in red (and blue, yellow, peach, etc.) with the hoodoos behind her

Descending to the Tower Bridge “windows” are Hannah and Max

Very soon, we are descending the Tower Bridge trail to the sandstone windows 1.5 miles away.  The challenge with canyon hiking (and let’s be clear Bryce Canyon is not a canyon, it is an amphitheater of weather sandstone towers of rock spreading out on this high desert plateau)… But I digress, the challenge I find with canyon hiking, especially with kids, is that the first half of the trail is easy peezy downhill.  Climbing out is the challenge.

Far below the amphitheater rim, Max with his Omi and Poppa
Molly jumping for joy (Jump photos are staples for Molly’s family on the trails)

Despite the parking congestion mid-morning, we again don’t find the trail crowded just bubbling with people.

Max and Owen approaching Tower Bridge
The Tower Bridge

Traveling with Molly’s family gives us the best of both worlds.  We get to hike side by side with both Owen and then Max in one of America’s most beautiful outdoor setting.  But ultimately, their parents are responsible for their safety, their meals, and their bedtimes.

Ah, the life of grandparents!

Owen and Max know how to have a good time.

Dan’s Wednesday Quote of the Week – #76

Two weeks ago, Hannah and I met Mark Hurd, a hiker on the Appalachian Trail at a McDonald’s in Lee, Massachusetts. [“SlowBro” (his trail name) was the source of last week’s quote #75.]

Since we met him on June 8, 2022, SlowBro has hurt his left knee to the point where he must end his hike to Mount Katahdin in Maine. If you check out his blog (postholer.com/SlowBro), you will see the two entries I have made in his guest book supporting his decision.

While reading the entry just below mine, I found this quote from his grandfather Dr. Harry Hurd, in grandma Della Hurd’s book, “The Way of This General Practitioner.”

When asked about praying in and during a medical event Dr. Harry said;

Your prayer and work merge-you do not pray in words, you pray in action.” 

SlowBro and Hannah when his left knee was healthy.

Dan and “When I Look Out My Window…” – KGUA #89

For the June 27, 2022 KGUA Radio Writer’s Hour hosted by Peggy Berryhill and Mark Gross, we are asked to freewrite to the following prompt:

“When I look out my window…

When Hannah and I resided in Tempe, Arizona, we saw six foot fences bracketing our yard out our window.  You see, we lived in a development with four houses to the acre and fences were needed for some semblance of privacy.  Nor did we see people outside from May through October because daytime  temperatures often topped out in the 110s.  Air conditioning made us an isolated, sealed-in community.

Now that we live within two miles of the Atlantic Ocean in Maine, I see out our windows the results of No Mow May This tradition of not mowing one’s lawn during the month of May is based in the critical need for dandelions as a food source for bees.  Dandelions allow the queens to feed to their hearts’ content.

Now that it is June, out our window, I see daisies upon daisies in our side meadow.  The black-eyed Susans are ready to burst out to complement the pastoral landscape.  I see the rural past.  They’ll be no mowing of the meadow until August.

In our backyard, I see our tree-to-tree clothes line with shirts, pants, undies, socks, oh so many socks, shorts, towels, and pillow cases.  Ever since our days in Tempe, we have hung laundry outside.  Do you know that when we lived in Tempe, I could begin hanging our laundry on our umbrella clothes line and by the time I was done hanging, the first laundry I hung was dry?  No lie!  It was that hot and dry during much of the year in central Arizona.

Fortunately, we have no such heat out our window in Maine this morning.

Words – 268

Dan and Hannah Hike to the Cassidy Arch in Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

Capitol Reef National Park rests in south central Utah

Five years ago (2017), Hannah and I came to Capitol Reef and discovered the Cassidy Arch trail, named after, you guessed it, Paul Newman. Well, not exactly Paul but his character Butch Cassidy.  On that no clouds 80F afternoon (90F in the sun), we found it challenging to climb up to the plateau above the arch. With that heat seared in my memory, I wonder if today’s also full sun hike will be too much for Owen (9) and Max (7); it will be our second hike of the day. Click here for that morning hike to the Hickman Bridge.

A national park jewel in the middle of nowhere

Though the 3.4 mile round trip hike with 700’ of elevation gain was a challenge then, Hannah and I agree with Molly and Tip that the boys are up for it.

Taking a windy rocky dirt road for a couple of miles from the visitor center, we find the parking lot at the Cassidy Arch trailhead without space for one more vehicle on a mid-April 2022 Wednesday.  Molly lets us off with our fanny packs, camelbacks, and water bottles.  With a smiling universe ever present, by the time we unpack, a parking spot opens up.

Let the hiking begin (Owen, their Omi, and Max)

We hike three-tenths of a mile on the sandy bottom of the Grand Wash.  Along the way, Owen scampers up the mountainside and says he wants to hide in one of the crannies in the wall to surprise his parents, who are just behind us.  Hannah decides to stay with him as Max and I figure this is our opportunity to put some daylight between us and the others and get to the Cassidy Arch first.

The crucial sign 0.3 of a mile from the trailhead of the Grand Wash that it seems some hikers can miss

The trail to the plateau above is a series of sandstone switchbacks.  Thinking as long as Max is motivated to climb quickly above the others, I jump at the chance to keep moving and grooving before his energy flags.

Exaggerating (I think), Max says we must be a mile ahead of them.  If that motivates him to keep going, I am all in.  Clearly (I think), they are at most a few hundred yards behind us, if that.

Max leads the way up the sandstone cliffs

Energetic, Max takes the sandstone stairs on a day when the trail is happy with hikers here and there.

Since this hike is rated as strenuous, there are far fewer people on the trail than the Hickman Bridge trail that we hiked earlier in the morning.  Still seven-tenths of a mile away, Max and I spot the Cassidy Arch. 

Almost dead center (though there is no sky behind it), the Cassidy Arch whets our hiking appetite.

Looking back down the mountain, we just never see the other four.  Max and I are keeping a steady pace. to the slick rock at 6000’ elevation. 

Cassidy Arch with Max awaiting

Never seeing the others at any point, Max and I arrive at the Cassidy Arch.  We chill and we wait and we wait some more. Seems odd that such an athletic foursome as Hannah, Molly, Tip, and Owen would be so far behind us. 

Then twenty minutes after we arrive, Max says, I see them.  They are still ten minutes away across the slick rock.

The slick rock trail with stone cairns (piles of guiding stones) approaching the Cassidy Arch

When they arrive at the Cassidy Arch, they have an admission to make.  We got lost.

A view to the valley below, opposite the Cassidy Arch

It seems that all four of them missed the trail sign that was 0.3 of a mile down the sandy Grand Wash.  They walked an additional 0.6 of a mile before finally realizing this can’t be right.  So by the time, they began to climb up from the wash, they had done an additional 1.2 miles.  By the time, we return to the trailhead, Max and I will have hiked the 3.4 miles while the others 4.6 miles. At least they got more Fitbit steps than us.

In all our travels in Utah, this is the one arch that you can climb on. It’s wide and safe for those with a modicum of common sense. Molly’s family takes to the Cassidy Arch.
The Jumping Rawdings (Molly, Tip, Owen, and Max) above their shadows

And what do you know?  Max was right all along that we were a mile ahead of them on the trail!

With the Cassidy Arch in the distance, we descend triumphantly.
Owen, Max, Molly, and Tip find the nooks in crannies along the Grand Wash as we conclude our hike to Cassidy Arch.

Time with just Max on the trail made the Cassidy Arch hike a blast. It was just as enjoyable as the morning hike to Hickman Bridge with Owen.  These two hikes turned out to be my favorites of our six days in Utah, primarily thanks to Max this afternoon and Owen earlier this morning.

The Grand Wash is to the right. Marked in red is what Max and I hiked. The others hiked further up the wash beyond the upper righthand corner of this map.

Dan’s Wednesday Quote of the Week – #75

Have a good day, unless you have other plans

Repeated by Slow Bro (his trail name), a 72 year old Appalachian thru-hiker from Eugene, Oregon that Hannah and I met at the McDonald’s in Lee, Massachusetts on Wednesday, June 8, 2022. This expression was one his dad often used.

We were taking a coffee and muffin break in Lee on our way for an overnight with our daughter Robyn in Syracuse, New York. Slow Bro was a delightful man who refers to himself a LASH-er (Long Ass Section Hiker).

Slow Bro is one week into a three month first installment of hiking the entire Appalachian Trail. He began in New York and hopes to get to Mount Katahdin by September first. He’ll finish the rest of the trail next year. You would be correct to assume he is a stop-and-smell-the-roses thru-hiker by his trail name.

He writes a blog that you can check out at postholer.com/SlowBro. He posts daily and writes engagingly.

On the back of his business card that he gave us was this quote.

The Journey IS The Reward

Slow Bro’s 25-pound is quite a bit less than an average pack of 35-40 pounds. By the way he sleeps in a hammock.

Dan and an Update on his Jimmy Fund Walk in 2022

Dear Friends, Family, Donors, and Future Donors,

You know me. You can’t be surprised that I have been in training for three months now for my 10K Jimmy Fund Walk 2022.

Check out what I am doing for the team! – I work out at the Seacoast YMCA in Portsmouth, NH, play a nuanced game of pickleball, have hiked the national parks of Utah, and climbed the coastal mountains of Acadia National Park in Maine. I am not done! The mountains of New Hampshire await.

You can take it to the bank that I’ll be ready for my October 2, 2022 walk along the Boston Marathon course, don’t you worry!

To date on this beautiful second Monday of June, I am most appreciative of my donors. I have raised $3915 towards my goal of the $5000 for cancer research and the care of cancer patients throughout these United States and the world.

Thanks to these donors: Shirley, Amey and Bill, Amy, Ann and Jon, Diane and Targe, Patty and Glenn, Dick and Barb, Will and Laurel, Scott and Tree, Bill and Karen, Mitch and Paula, Linda and Roger, Karen, Eric, Genevieve, and Alex, Rose and Mike, Mandy and Lisa, Paul and Cam, Cindy and Anne, Ed, Tara and Anthony, Anna and Matt, Donna and George, Clarissa and Pat, Joanne and Neil, Melissia and John, Norm, Jeff and Rita, Fran and Angela, Chris and Jen, Dave, Doc and Robin, Rich and Mary, Laurie and Shawn, Andy and Sarah, Janie, Patty and Kent, Kim, Claudia and Bill, Richard and Barbara, Stacy and Fritz, Nancy and Duncan, Susan, Jenny, Nancy, Tammy and Mike, Penny, Charlie and Maggie, Liesje and John, and Mary Lynne and Wayne, Callie Field, Maxine and Don, Corrie and Karl.

If you are not on that list, I want to let you know that it’s not too late to join these really cool folks. If you are able during these challenging times to donate, please use the information below to help me reach my goal of five large.

To donate:

To send a contribution by US Mail, mail to:

Boston Marathon® Jimmy Fund Walk
P.O. Box 3595
Boston, MA 02241-3595

Make all checks payable to: Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk and put
Dan Rothermel #1004734 (my Jimmy Fund ID #) in the message space.  
Let me know if you send a check.

It’s been four years since I last walked to raise money for cancer research and for the care of cancer patients.   These fine medical folks are similar to the ones who successfully treated our daughter Robyn in the late 1980s for leukemia.  

Here’s a thought. Do you know someone in your life affected by cancer who is looking for a place to donate in the fight against cancer? If so, please send them my Jimmy Fund link. Thank you. Dan

Dan and Hannah Hike to the Hickman Bridge in Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

Our mission is to hike four of Utah’s five national parks during April 2022 spring vacation week with our daughter Molly’s family. Today we drive north from Moab on route 191 for Capitol Reef National Park.  Located in south central Utah, Capitol Reef used to be a hidden jewel of the national park system.  No more.  World travelers from Asia, Europe, and the Americas are flocking here.

The three-hour drive from Moab is through some of the most desolate country known to man or woman or beast of burden.  It’s flat, parched with dry stone everywhere.  Yet the brilliant reds, rusts, and oranges of the mountain sandstone highlight its beauty in the national parks in Utah.

Traveling grandparents!

Traveling into the park on route 24, we pull into a parking lot around noon for the Hickman Bridge without a space to be had.  So Tip drops us off with our fanny packs, camelback water systems, and water bottles, parks on the highway as we prep for the one-mile hike to what seems like an arch but is called a bridge.  You be the judge!

Our day, ideal for hiking, will be one of full sun, low 60s.  That contrasts with summers which can be brutal here – 100s for long stretches.

The one-mile trail to Hickman Bridge begins with Tip, Hannah, Max, Molly, and Owen

Owen and I get paired up at the back end of the six of us.  Our conversation turns to trekking sticks, which he is looking for.

My experience with trekking sticks has no happy ending. For me, I find they get in the way 95% of the time.  I am just lugging them around. Perhaps, in my dotage, I’ll appreciate them when I hobble down mountain trails.  But that day is not today. I gladly offer mine to Owen.

Watching for hikers with trekking sticks, we find two agreeable, it turns out, women from Michigan, who are most willing to sing the praises of their trekking sticks and let us try them out.

Owen beside the ladies from MIchigan with their trekking sticks.
Owen and I try out their trekking sticks at the Hickman Bridge
The Hickman Bridge in the background. Owen in the foreground.

Arriving at the Hickman Bridge we find an outdoor class of high school students from Washington, DC journaling.  They’ve been on the road for two months and have a month more to go.  We learn that they are preparing to write testimonials on their outdoor experiences.  Education beyond four walls!  A dream for students like me! And you?

We hike beneath the Hickman Bridge and loop back to the main trail

With Max ahead with his parents, Hannah and I have an hour that passes quickly with our grandson Owen hiking back to the trailhead.  Owen is an agreeable and up-for-adventures kid who is delightful company with thoughts on just about everything – especially when it comes to the kind of super power he would like to have.  As his confidence grows, he engages comfortably with other hikers on the trail. All much older than he is.

Owen finds many a nook and cranny to explore just off the trail

Of what will be twelve hikes that we’ll do in the national parks in Utah this April 2022, this hike to Hickman Bridge becomes my favorite.  Though the scenery is spectacular, the hiking in the outdoors invigorating, it’s being with our personable grandson Owen that makes it numero uno.

Funny, though, this afternoon, I learn that our hike to Cassidy Arch is just as enjoyable as this one to Hickman Bridge.  But the reasons why are for next week’s blog.

Route 24 is the white ribbon above

Dan’s Wednesday Quote of the Week – #74 – Epictetus (Roman Stoic)

You are not your body and hair-style, but your capacity for choosing well. If your choices are beautiful, so too will you be.

Epictetus (50-135 AD)

Stoics are not humorless, grumpy folks. They pursue self-mastery, perseverance, and wisdom towards a goal of doing what is good and right.

The above quote is the origin of “Do not miss what you once had, be grateful that it happened.”

Dan and How Did I Get Here? – KGUA #89 – Lynn Nelson

Hannah and I were selected to participate in the June 5, 2022 Public Reading in Gualala, California for KGUA Radio Writers hosted by Peggy Berryhill and Mark Gross.  As you might have guessed, we didn’t make an appearance but recorded our voice memos and sent them to Mark.  We were asked to freewrite to the following prompt:

How did I get here?

Long after our personal heroes pass on, they dwell within.  Lynn Nelson is one such hero and played his part to get me where I am today. 

It’s Phoenix, Arizona.  I am at loose ends wondering if this teaching career of mine, now six years old, is right for me.  I teach fourth graders at Nevitt Elementary School on the edge of the inner city.  As a self-contained classroom teacher, I am expected to teach all subjects (i.e. reading, math, spelling, science, social studies, and handwriting).

Even then, standardized testing was doing its best to screw up American education.  The focus of my teaching was reading and math, the subjects that were tested at that time.  Though I was pretty good at organizing masses of kids (class sizes were 30+), such teaching just wasn’t making it for me.  I was floundering.

To save myself, I took an unpaid leave of absence to return to Arizona State University to be certified in the teaching of high school English.  One of my classes was Teaching English in the Secondary School with Dr. Lynn Nelson.  On the first day of class, I couldn’t miss that this professor didn’t dress like a professor – jeans and a shirt with no tie.  Immediately that put me at ease.  He wasn’t Dr. Nelson, he was Lynn.

Lynn

We were going to keep a journal to experiment in writing.  We had a voice in his class, both in writing and speaking.  Lecturing was just not his style.

During this fall semester, I was also taking a poetry writing course.  Each week students would submit a piece of poetry and a few would be selected to read theirs in class, then the class would give feedback to the student poet. 

Mid-semester I wrote about dealing with troubling relationships.  Did the professor ever mock my efforts!  He called my piece “doggerel.”  One, though I got the sense this description wasn’t a compliment, I had to look up what doggerel meant (poetry that was badly written).  Two, he said it to the whole class.

His shaming crushed me. I just shut down.  I quit going to class which was so unlike the obedient student that I had been through high school and college.  I was going to fail my first class.  I didn’t care.

One afternoon in mid-November three weeks later, I saw Lynn in front the Language and Literature building as he was advising students.  Feeling safe enough to tell him of my experience with the poetry professor, I appreciated that he was offended that any professor would treat a student that way.  He then said, “I’ve seen your writing.  You’re good.  Keep at it.”  He threw me a life preserver right when I needed it.

I did eventually return to the poetry class, silenced and docile.  I ended up with a D in the class.

Lynn’s teaching showed me that the relationships in the classroom are what matters.  We teachers are to support our students and give them hope, not judge and rank them with grades.  Every kid has a story and needs to be seen as the individual they are. 

I got here to have the courage to freewrite for KGUA on the shoulders of Lynn Nelson.

Postscript: Fifteen years later, I published a book of poetry, Sweet Dreams, Robyn, a narrative series of 60 poems about our family dealing with our four-year-old daughter’s leukemia. 

We were asked to write a brief bio to accompany our piece.

Dan Rothermel of York, Maine is a decent sort.  He and his ilk like to get after it.  Working out at the Y, pickling on the court, walking the beach, and hiking the trails in Utah and California.  With his wife Hannah, when it gets cold, he gets away to Carpinteria, California, their winter time home away from home.

Carpinteria morning