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Sunday, March 25, 2018

The Beauty of Overcoming Parkinson's disease Apathy to Find Beauty in Nature and Ourselves

My video thoughts on pushing ourselves through our hurdles.

Yesterday, I spent the morning with the Standing Stone Trail Club (in Central Pennsylvania). These are some of the toughest "Old Timers" (their name for themselves), who routinely clear paths on trails, that I have ever seen. They do this...

1) Because people need 18 inches of space to hike the trails.

2) Because they have the skill, alone or in groups, to do this.

3) Because they have the time to do it.

4) Because they find it to be fun.

As a person who lives 2-3 hours away, I can't get up there often, nor can I find time to get up there now to help them (especially now that I have Parkinson's), but they are among a group of great people in every area who do this for the benefit of all outdoor type people.

Trails don't clear themselves. Someone has to do it.

The top group is a typical work crew. By the way, the lady in the middle and the gent to her right were celebrating their wedding anniversary that day. The next picture is a typical path clear. Maintainers haul equipment uphill, over rocks, back trails, and make their days count. On many sections of the trail, a hike could take 30-60 minutes a mile depending on ability (and that's not carrying power tools and fuel for them). These people do all of this routinely, and they do it after using rock pry-bars to set stepping stones / stair stones in place. This is just one reason why they won Trail of the Year in 2016. 

Many of them are humble, so I won't say who's who, but in that last picture, you will see men who represent those who created the trail, led the trail group, created maps, maintained land, promoted its use, protected it for preservation, raised + maintained funds for it, and made the signs that take you through it.

A youngen' like me is in awe of how they spend their spare time!

Oh, and there's one guy in that picture who did the 1,000 Steps 7 times for his 70th birthday. At his best, he was doing 10 minutes to the top on the monster half mile (850 feet, .52 miles - my best in 2014 was just under 26 minutes). Why not? If you can, make it happen! Even as life and its calamities happened and he got older, he kept doing it. Why not? At some point, we all go on our last ascent. We just don't know when. Until then, we still do our things in full or in degrees or make it possible for others to do it (and then we live vicariously through them).

That's what it's about.

For me, after a winter of pneumonia and hypoxia wrecked up my breathing, I've been itching to get out in the fresh air. Unfortunately, to get myself in motion Saturday, I really had to motivate myself through Parkinson's apathy (hidden symptoms) to start the hike on the 1,000 steps as opposed to somewhere flatter and less scenic (and to think I'm only in stage 2 of 5, so this will get more prevalent as my UPDS numbers go up), but when I pulled over into the parking area and put the Sorel boots on, I was off like a herd of turtles! However, I was off!

After about an hour of ascent / talking to hikers / taking photos, I made it through the snow and ice. I'm glad I did. The view was beautiful, but the feeling was even better as I let out my Ric Flair style WOO! to the world. As I stood there staring at the mountains of Mapleton, Pennsylvania, I talked to another guy who was up there despite being on chemo. His positive nature was humbling, and his strength and drive was contagious.

There's a lot of those people out in the world, but not enough. 

Here's to all of us being one of those people, whether in the mountains or valleys, for someone else!

And here's to all of us, as well, who conscientiously do our best to place one foot in front of another to get down safely after enjoying the trip out..

Thanks for reading.

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