Archive for the 'Personal' Category

Wirecutter’s Loss

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 8 months ago

Kenny lost his beloved dog.  I know this loss.  The hole in my heart from losing my Heidi-girl is still there.  We were best friends.

Drop him a note and give him your condolences.

Light Posting For The Next Few Days

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 9 months ago

It’s been a season of loss for me.  First, my job at the end of 2018.  Then my beloved dog of ten years, on New Year’s eve.

Today I lost my precious father, who passed away at 5:15 pm.  But the great thing is that he knew the Lord, so I will see him in heaven.  I will be posting, but it will be light.  I must focus on other things.  As always, talk to each other in the comments.

Encouraging Home Schooling

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 1 month ago

John Lovell and his wife are home schoolers.  For a period of time all four of my children went to private Christian schools, but of course that becomes expensive, as much at the time as sending a child to college locally.  It becomes cost-prohibitive.

Home schooling is a great option, especially since public schools are centers for communist indoctrination now.  When time permits (it’s tight right now), I’ll give you a complete run-down of an experience I had in our brief time in public school with one of my children, and the utter stupidity and ignorance of one of the science teachers.

It wasn’t long after that we decided to home school for the final years.  Not only are public schools centers of communist indoctrination, they’re homes for idiots.

Oh, John, take a brush to that hair at least once a day like I do. You have a lot, I have little left. Care for it while you can.

He Is Risen!

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 3 months ago

He is risen indeed!

Personal Tags:

Followup To “Dealing With Loss”

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 4 months ago

I sincerely appreciate all of the comments and notes I’ve gotten in response to that post.  It means more to me than you know, and it has convinced me that although some of you don’t comment on the blog (arghh …), it’s worth it to spend the effort writing.

I think I’ve responded to all of the email sent, if not, please forward your email again because I’ve just overlooked it.  I should have stipulated one thing.  It’s one thing to find work anywhere (unlimited relocation or travel).  It’s another thing entirely to look for work locally.

Most of our family is in the area, and all of our grandchildren are.  I do still have one job possibility out of state (and I mean, way out of state) that is open.  I need to let that run to completion.  There are two other possibilities within the area that need to run to completion as well, one of which is contracting.  The other one would be a true Godsend if it works out (contracting, for a longer period of time, assuming that the company wins the bid).

I’m sure God will take care of us, but we’re going through a time of testing.

Dealing With Loss

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 4 months ago

I’ve avoided writing this post.  I knew it would be painful, but I’ve just now been able to formulate what I wanted to say.  At least, sort of.  I need to say just enough, but I can’t say too much.

I’ve had a hard four months.  At the end of November, 2018, I was hit with a reduction in force (RIF) where I worked, which of course, means I was laid off.  I’ve always hidden my employer from my writing, never even once mentioning my company.

This is what I did with Duke Energy.  I’m a nuclear engineer, at least I was, and a very specialized one at that.  My major was in mechanical engineering, but I haven’t done that since my days at a plant early in my career.  I have a number of observations to make that hopefully will help you as you ponder these things, and then some prayer requests to make for myself.

Dealing With Loss of Work

I recommend that you do this – today.  Write down a list of, say, 25 people in your life, mostly professional, upon whom you can rely for recommendations for work, offers for work, assistance, general counsel, and continued support by simple things like phone calls, text messages and emails to see how you’re doing and tell you they’re praying for you and thinking about you, perhaps that they even miss you.

Now, sit and think about that list for a while, QA the list, remove names if you must, add more as replacements.  Here’s the thing.  Of that list of 25 names, probably 24 shouldn’t even be on the list.  You don’t know that when this happens, and it’s surprising and even embarrassing that your list was so badly built.  But a few other names appear on the list that you never would have considered had this not happened.  You learn a lot about your trusted and valued colleagues.  Some of them don’t turn out to be so valued after all.

I’m a poster child for getting so specialized that you can’t do anything else.  Don’t let this happen to you.  I recommend that you think hard about your work, and decide where you want to be in five years.  Do what it takes to make it happen.  Burnish your CV, expand your capabilities, prepare for the worst, and be ready to make a change.  I’m living proof for those who don’t that there will be pain and suffering for the lack of vision and planning.

I’ll deal with trying to find new work in a moment, but first I wanted to mention a few other things.  I have been thrown into a situation where I don’t know where my next paycheck is going to come from.  I was given a severance package, but that will eventually run out.  It may all work out for the better nonetheless.

I cannot say too much, but my director and I had begun to clash on a number of different issues that I consider to be of ethical import.  I was ripe for layoff anyway, given that I’m 59 years old, white and male.  Those same things would appear to prevent me from being hired today by virtually everywhere I apply.

This was all made worse by the fact that I simply will not be unethical in my work.  I will not tell unjustified lies (Rahab’s lie was just, most are not), I will not violate my ethical obligations as a registered professional engineer, and I certainly will not communicate material false information to the federal regulator.  My clashes with my upper management chain were becoming burdensome.

The first couple of seasons of the TV series “Alone” saw some of the contestants “fighting their demons,” as they all said.  Aloneness does that to you, they said.  I never really understood that before, but I do now.  I’ve had my demons to fight.  I’ve had to deal with the fact that I allowed myself to become so specialized in what I do.  I’ve had to deal with the fact that I didn’t burnish my CV with advanced degrees.  While it’s good for me that I have a PE license, there was a time when I had begun to study for other certifications that would have been helpful to me.  For instance, I had begun a serious course of study to become a CHP (Certified Health Physicist), and had begun to think about studying to become a CIH (Certified Industrial Hygienist).

I stopped.  I simply gave up.  You can call it laziness, and maybe it was, but life does happen.  You get busy with work, with all the overtime that entails in a professional job, you have duties at church, your children require your attention, and you deploy a son to war.  When you deploy a son to war, you stand at the doorway of your home at 0300 hours because you can’t sleep, waiting and watching for that Marine Corps officer and Navy Chaplain to show up.

I’ve had to deal with the fact that I put my wife in this position, and I swore in front of God and man that I would provide for her.  Those demons run through your mind and do serious mental damage.  But if that all wasn’t enough, there was other loss to deal with.

Dealing with Loss of my Heidi-Girl

On New Year’s Eve of 2018, when we were cleaning to get ready for visitors, I noticed an unusual amount of blood in the walls of one particular room downstairs.  Heidi was dripping with blood.  In fact, she was spewing blood when she would sneeze, only to begin the hemorrhaging over again.  Heidi, for those who may remember, was my 90-pound Doberman “lap dog.”  I had noticed that she had begun to withdraw from me over the past couple of months, was tired, and eventually the last several days she had stopped eating.

I immediately put her in the truck to take to the Vet.  I covered the back seat with a sheet, including the bench cover I had for her in the truck.  By the time I got to the Vet, the entire sheet was covered in blood.  I’ve never seen so much blood in all of my life.  She had grown a very large tumor in her mouth that had forced its way into her sinus cavity, and when it finally broke through, the bleeding was intense and unending.

When I put her into the truck I somehow knew she wouldn’t be coming home, and that’s one of the hardest drives I’ve ever made.  The Vet told me that she had lived a long life for a Doberman (10+ years), and that he’s seen dogs with this come back with half of their snout removed.  If I chose chemotherapy or radiation for her, she would have to be sedated every time, and she wouldn’t understand why.  He wouldn’t do that to his dogs.

On that awful day, we put her down.  I lost one of the best friends I’ve ever had.  I’ve hiked with her, camped with her, she’s protected me, we’ve played thousands of hours together, loved on each other, and walked enough miles to have travelled America coast to coast.  When camping we slept together, as we did when she got bitten by a Copperhead.  And in an instant, I lost her.

I didn’t love the company I worked for.  But I truly loved my Heidi-girl, more than you can imagine.  When I love a dog, she’s part of my family.  As I type this, there are tears in my eyes.  I miss her so much, and never so much as when I walk my wife’s dog, or go hiking and see other people with their companion dogs.  Oh, I miss her so much.  So very much.

Looking for New Work

It’s an awful experience to look for new work.  The job boards are ridiculous.  LinkedIn is only mildly useful.  When HR or recruiters call themselves “talent search” professionals, they’re lying, and they know it.  It only takes you a few weeks to figure that out too.

First of all, no one is interested in hiring a 59 year old, white male.  No one.  I’m either over-qualified for jobs, or under-qualified for jobs, or exactly-qualified.  In the first and third cases they have an excuse.  In the second case, there’s always someone more attractive than a 59 year old, white male.  My brother, who is a lawyer, tells me that many of the postings over the job boards are fake, intended only to enable meeting EEOC requirements.  To HR, you’re just a bean-count.

They hide the contact information for the hiring managers, and it takes moving heaven and earth to find it if you ever do.  HR has set up a fire wall around the hiring managers.  At some point in the past, HR told companies  that “You’re too stupid for this, you need us to do this for you.  You don’t know how, and we’re ‘talent search’ folks who can move mountains and walk on water.”  And then everyone simply accepted what they said.  Presto.  That’s job security for “talent search” people.

They aren’t looking for talent, no matter what they say.  They’re looking for process knowledge.  Being smart, or a hard worker, isn’t enough.  You need to have “Fifteen years of experience with AutoCAD, the same with design of variable air volume systems in commercial buildings, in-depth knowledge of the codes and standards of such-and-such state and county, and 10+ years experience with the specialized computer software so-and-so.”  In other words, no one wants to invest any resources in startup or training.  They all want plug-and-play workers, as if you’re a circuit board that will work; the previous one failed.  Is it any wonder millennial workers have no sense of commitment or loyalty to companies any more?

I’ve completed some 66 applications, a couple of which may actually amount to something, Lord willing.  I don’t know.  I just don’t know where I stand with any of this any more.  I do know that stasis if a killer.  Staying mired in the demon-fighting mode is death.  It destroys the joy of life, and I cannot do that any more.

The Future

I don’t know what the future holds.  If something comes of the couple of irons I have in the fire, then so be it.  I’d like that to happen.  If it doesn’t, eventually I’ll have to find an hourly job doing something (selling guns at the counter, working in hardware, doing lawn service).  I cannot continue to be a drain on our bank account while my wife is the only one putting money into it.

One bright thing that has made me happy over the last several days is that I placed a call to a very nice lady about my qualifications to sit for the CIH (Certified Industrial Hygienist) examination, and they will allow me to take it.  I’ve started studying for it, reading through a 1000-page book, with another one like it just behind this one.  It will be a long haul, and I figure that my preparation time will amount to somewhere around 600 -800 hours.  I won’t take it until next year.

I am not asking for sympathy.  I’m not asking for anything, really, except that you learn from my mistakes and ensure that you don’t make them.  But I do covet your prayers for my examination preparation, and if you think about it, that God would bless my efforts at finding meaningful and fruitful labor.

I’d also ask that you be patient with my blogging.  There will come a time in my preparation that my writing will be less essay and more quick-links, with me relying on commenters to fill in the gaps.

I appreciate your being understanding about this.


Happy Thanksgiving 2018!

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 8 months ago

A truly Christian holiday, it is.

I am thankful for so many things I will forget some of them.  I am thankful for my family, for my work, for my well-being, for my friends, and for the kind providence the Lord has bestowed upon me this last year.  It is undeserved, which of course means that it is grace (unmerited favor).

But most of all I am thankful for the vicarious atonement of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, and for His gracious love for me and mine.

May you have a blessed Thanksgiving.

TCJ Out Of Service

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 10 months ago

Sorry for the out-of-service period for TCJ.  I appreciate the reader emails.  It’s been explained to me, but I’m not sure I can communicate it adequately.

Basically, I have a large amount of content and a large number of readers.  I needed more memory, or band width, or something.  The system crashed because it couldn’t handle it any more.  Changes have been made that hopefully will handle it.

At some point I’m going to have to monetize this web site by placing badges for companies like Lucky Gunner so you can order ammunition and I get just a tiny kickback for it if you are directed there from this web site.

Preparations For Hurricane Florence

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 11 months ago

It’s been light posting lately and will likely continue to be into the following days.

It’s been a long haul to prepare for the hurricane.  The power company estimates that between two and three million people will go without power for some unspecified period of time.

The generator has oil and gas, I’ve had to think about a tarp for the machine (they don’t like to run in the rain), we’ve got batteries and flashlights, battery powered fans, protein drinks and bars, extra gas, the truck is topped off with fuel, I’ve bought isobutane canisters for my camping stove for morning coffee without power, and on and on the preparations go.

In addition to that, my company expects me to come into work for a twelve hour shift for “emergency operations” over the weekend, so my wonderful neighbors will handle running the generator for my wife.

I might make a few short posts, but I’ll try to return to normal posting on Monday if we don’t lose power.  If we do, then talk amongst yourselves.

Walkabout In The Weminuche Wilderness

BY Herschel Smith
4 years ago

There are no socialists in the bush” – HPS

All of my physical training only barely prepared me for the difficulty of the Weminuche Wilderness (pronounced with the “e” silent).  It’s National Forest land, not National Park.  The Department of Agriculture no longer prints maps of the area, so we relied on NatGeo for the map, and it’s good, but not perfect.

We have a lot of ground to cover, including traveling with firearms, the modification I made to one of my guns for the trip, the actors in the event, the plan, and how and why the plan got modified on the second day.  I have many observations of things I knew but forgot, knew but was reminded are important, and things that I didn’t suspect would be as important as they are.  So let’s get started.

The Actors In The Event


As you can readily determine, it makes no sense to include many photos of me on this blog.

Joseph, my dear second son:

Joseph is the “Eveready Energizer Hiking Machine.”  He has two speeds – flat out go and stop.  He was my motivation during the trip, as he is in so much of life for everything else when I ponder just giving up.

Abraham Gonzalez:

Abe is cool and easy to get along with.  He makes heads explode in Austin, where he and Joseph are from, by telling people that he’s Hispanic, legal, grew up in America, is a Christian, believes abortion is sinful, voted for Trump, and wants illegals to be returned home without delay.  He’s also a good hiker.  We get along well.

The Plan And It’s Modification

We left from the Thirtymile Campground trailhead, but unfortunately didn’t leave until around noon.  That proved to be important in the plan, which was a four day, three night backpacking trip through the wilderness.  We were limited by my schedule and the schedules of my two partners.

This area is rough.  You must travel through Creede, Colorado, from Denver to get there, and some of the travel is gravel road.  The trip takes almost five hours.  There is no cell phone coverage anywhere near this area.  This is untamed wilderness, and the only other things you’ll see are a few backpackers who have braved the area like you.

The hike in is sustained uphill beginning at around 9000 feet elevation.  We ended the first day when we knew we were soon going to lose light and where we had a source of water.  I’ll speak more about water later.

After our first night, there was a long, moderate but sustained uphill trek to begin our slog up the Continental Divide Trail (CDT).

The beauty of the area is difficult to describe in words.  Perhaps impossible.

A hard right after this long, sustained uphill takes you up the CDT, towards “The Window.”

The difficulty of the uphill on the CDT is difficult to describe.  It’s the longest, sustained uphill at high elevation (10,000 feet – 12,000 feet) I’ve ever done.  It includes rocks, boulders, scree, downed trees, a little bushwhacking, natural gravel, undulations, loss of the elevation you just gained, only to have to regain it, river fordings, creek crossings, and on and on.

Eventually the hardest uphill begins towards Ute Lake.  This is where we’d been at one point.

This is where we were going.

And there was much more after that as we’d find around the next turn.  This hike covered more than five miles of the most intense backpacking I’ve ever done, climbing from 10,000 feet to around 12,000 feet.  During the hike I was burning through 1 Liter of water every 30-45 minutes.

It’s funny how water controls your thoughts and forces your decisions.  Every decision is based on sources of water.  Every one.  The temptation is to face-plant in the nearest stream you come across, but we resisted that temptation and filtered every time.

We passed some other backpackers who told us that the climb from the trailhead to Ute Lake was two full days.  We had tried to turn two days of climbing into 1.5 days, and it wasn’t working.  I was the holdup, as I’m convinced Joseph and Abe could have made it to Ute Lake, but I couldn’t.  We had crossed as much water as we were going to find before the lake, and had to make it there for our final water for the day and night.

Joseph made the decision to turn around and lose elevation to the nearest stream, and it turned out to be a wise move.  Over the course of the day, between uphill and downhill, we moved around eight miles, gained around 2000 feet, and lost around another 1000 feet over the same scree, boulders, and downed trees we had just crossed.  It might be the roughest day I’ve ever had on the trail.  All of this was done carrying 45-55 pound backpacks on our backs, depending on the amount of water we had at the time.  Water is heavy.

Part of what makes this area rough is the thin air, and the heavy breathing only accelerates the water loss.  We consumed an incredible amount of water, but only pissed once per day right before climbing into our sleeping bags.  Orange.  It was literally impossible to stay hydrated no matter how hard we tried.

The third day we made the decision to make our way out to the trailhead, another eight miles, once again never having to stop to piss.  The drove back into Denver for the night, and on Friday we made a day-hike in the Rocky Mountain National Park to Lake Haiyaha.

Once again, it’s beauty is difficult to put into words.

Lake Haiyaha in the rain.

Dad and Son

Joseph, the hiking machine.

Let’s discuss lessons learned from this adventure, as well as recommendations for equipment and training.

The Gun

I wanted to carry one of my 1911s, but decided that I wanted something more powerful than .45 ACP.  We’ve discussed 450 SMC before (Short Magnum Cartridge), which is the .45 ACP with a rifle primer, leaving more room for powder.  Most guys who shoot the 450 SMC out of 1911s seem to be using a 22# spring rather than the 18# spring that is typical for the 1911, so I ordered a 22# and 24# spring from Wolff Gunsprings.  I also ordered some 450 SMC ammunition, as no gun store anywhere near me carried it.

I wanted to go by Hyatt Gun Shop and talk with Woody before doing this.  Woody knew exactly what I was doing, recommended the 22# spring, and told me I’d be just fine with the ammo in that particular 1911.  “It’s a good gun, it’s all stainless steel, and the rounds are similar in ballistics to the 460 Rowland.  Just hit what you’re aiming at,” he said.  I replied that I’d field stripped it and wasn’t so sure it didn’t already have a 22# spring in it.  He cycled the slide once, and said, “It has the 18# spring in it.  It’s difficult to tell by looking at it.”  Sure enough, it did.

I field stripped my gun, installed the 22# spring, and inserted a 10-round Wilson Combat magazine for ten rounds of 450 SMC.  The 22# spring makes it slightly stiffer to cycle the slide.  We saw plenty of deer, Chipmunks, and other assorted wildlife, but no bear and no moose.  There were times when my partners went on ahead of me and I solo-hiked, but I would have been fine with that setup when in any danger.

Travelling With Firearms, And The Stupidity Of The TSA

We don’t have any complaints against the TSA in Austin, TX.  They seemed relaxed and not too puckered about guns, and used to seeing them.

Charlotte, no so much.  The airline employees who used to check firearms now “feel uncomfortable” doing it, so call a TSA representative.  The TSA employee who checked my gun actually seemed to know something about guns (he remarked that I had a chamber flag in the gun), but he was a bit puckered for my tastes.

He tried to pry open the box, got it a centimeter or two open on one end, and told me it didn’t meet TSA standards because the gun could be taken out of its box.  I doubt it.  I think he was exaggerating.  Fortunately, I had a cable and another lock, so I wrapped the cable around the handle and locked it where he couldn’t pry it open at all.  If I had not had the extra cable and lock I would have missed my flight.

Denver is just downright stupid.  Checking a gun means having a airline employee take your luggage at a glacial pace to another room where it gets put through an X-Ray machine.  She then asked if the gun was unloaded and locked, to which we said “yes,” and then she lets the same airline employee take your luggage back to a conveyor.  At this point he slams it down on the conveyor and walks away leaving the luggage there unattended.  Joseph and I decided to stay with our luggage until the belt started a little later moving our luggage behind the wall.  We weren’t going to walk away until we saw that our luggage had disappeared.

I would have loved to ask the TSA lady what she thought she was looking for.  If this is like every other airport, every piece of luggage is X-Rayed.  But what she accomplished besides the typical X-Ray every piece of luggage gets is beyond me.  All she did was ask us questions the airline employee could have asked.  Our luggage was never opened, the gun was never inspected.  Not, by the way, that I think the TSA regulations make any sense or it’s necessary for the gun to be in any certain configuration or inspected at all.

Let’s face it, folks.  Since we are dropping off the luggage and we are picking it up, the only necessity for the luggage to be locked up is what happens behind the wall.  The only good of locking up the gun is theft by airport employees.  We know it, the TSA knows it, and the airlines know it.  It’s the truth.  None of this has anything to do with security.  It’s all about airport theft by airline or airport employees.

From there we went to the Denver security checkpoint.  One TSA employee was running up and down the line, up and down the line, up and down the line, back and forth, to and fro, with a dog (presumably a bomb-sniffing dog) stopping whenever the dog wanted to stop.  One lady turned to me and said, “It makes me so scared to go anywhere these days.”

I responded, “I’m not scared.  This is all theater, designed and built to make you think certain things.”  She gave me a puzzled look and moved on.  When asked for my driver’s license, I showed it to the TSA employee, who then said “take it out of your wallet” (it had a window).  I rolled my eyes, which apparently he didn’t like.

He said, “Always take it out.  How we ‘posed to know if it’s paper or not?  Rememba ‘dat.”  My immediate thought was “How are you ‘posed to know whether any information I’m presenting to you is real rather than a complete fabrication, you imperious imbecile?”  I didn’t say that as it would have caused me to miss my flight.  I pick my fights.

Lessons Learned (And Relearned)

The temperature varied between 40 and 70 degrees F, and we ran into some rain.  I cannot say enough about the best parka I have been able to find, which is made by a fishing company.  My particular parka is no longer made, but one similar to it is.  It’s expensive, but it was worth every penny.  I like to buy mine “blousy” to fit fleece or other clothing underneath it.

Put my water filter in an attachment bag on the outside of my backpack.  It drips water just a little and I don’t like the contents of my backpack getting wet.

From the picture above you can see that I carried my gun in a Hill People bag on my chest.  This works for a while but after three days it began to bother me.  In the future I’ll rig up a holster to my backpack belt with zip ties or some other method for carry.

I carried a tactical light.  In the future I won’t.  When ounces matter, aluminum light housing and batteries are at a premium for weight.  It’s a big commitment to carry that weight, even if the light is fairly small.  There is no point in using a tactical light in camp.  It’s so bright that it’s blinding.  Headlamps and small lights are fine for camp, and the only need for a tactical light is on your gun rail with a single 123 battery (like my Streamlight).

Don’t go cheap on important equipment like a hydration pack.  Joseph and Abe had good ones.  I didn’t, and I suffered for it.  Water (and the ability to get to it) is everything.

The importance of trekking poles.  Joseph and Abe didn’t use trekking poles, but I did.  I couldn’t have made the hike without them.  My triceps doubled for another set of thighs.

Equipment.  We are all experienced backpackers and hikers.  We all have either Keen or Oboz boots.  There may be other good ones out there, but I advise against experimentation.  Get the best.  Many of my readers like tactical equipment.  But mostly, tactical equipment sucks.  The civilian backpacking community has more money to spend, has done more research, and has invested more time and energy into making better equipment than the military community.  Dump your combat boots and get Keen or Oboz.  Keen for a slightly wider foot, Oboz for a more narrow or normal foot like mine.

All three of us were running Osprey 50L backpacks.  Dump your tactical packs, folks.  They’re no good.  No one who does this carries tactical packs.  No one.  No one on the trail has something like that.  If you’re running combat boots, you’re destroying your feet for no good reason.  If you’re running tactical packs, you’re destroying your spine for no good reason except that you’re unable to break with the community that trained you.  The community that trained you gave you equipment that sucks.  Accept that, and change.

Teamwork.  The slowest man holds everyone up.  I know that.  I was the slowest man.  In camp, everyone has to pull his own weight.  There are no slouches on the trail.  There’s too much to do.  Making camp means processing wood for a fire, filtering water, setting up tents and/or tarps, preparing food and a host of other things.  We divided responsibilities and got busy when we dropped our packs.  There are no socialists in the bush.

Because it means hard work, responsibility and productivity, meeting obligations and learning to survive, every man who is capable should do this with their sons.  What?  You didn’t think that Marines are made by the US Marine Corps, did you?  That’s completely false.  Marines are made by fathers.  The Corps just sharpens the blade.

Carry multiple means of fire starter on different parts of your body or kit.  If one gets wet, you have another.  That happened to me on this trip.

Physical conditioning is everything.  To prepare for this trip I hiked, biked, worked out in the gym three or four days a week, and swam.  My preparations seemed endless.  For a 58 year old man with rheumatoid arthritis, I did okay.  But I was equivalent to other hikers on the trail.  In other words, I couldn’t turn what most of the hikers know to be a two day climb into a one and a half day climb.  The rocks, boulders, scree, streams, rivers, downed trees and thin air worked too hard against me.

A moment of honesty is in order.  Some folks in the patriot community talk about wearing body armor, whether soft or plate.  Don’t even discuss that, don’t even consider that, if you can’t strap on a 50 pound pack and make a climb, perhaps not this difficult, but one like it.

You might be able to shoot 1 MOA, but if you’re injured or dead, you’re no good to anybody.  Every part of my body hurt – triceps, hips, thighs, back, everything.  When you’re exhausted, you make moves that aren’t supported by the muscles, and twisting moves especially can cause real problems for your frame.  Get in shape, or drop the notions of suiting up in armor.  It won’t help you if you can’t carry it. Muscle strength is good, and while I used to be on the powerlifting team in college, I’ve lost some of that muscle mass.  Fitness can partially make up for loss of muscle mass over the years, but nothing can make up for lack of fitness.

Gloves.  I wore Mechanix Impact gloves, and as I had to pound and hit the boulders more than once to keep my balance, it saved my hands.

Finally and again, the TSA is an irredeemable clown show.


For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills … And everything that moves in the field is mine … For the world is mine, and all it contains.”

God is the maker of all I saw, of everything I admired and everything that astonished me.  He has made it for His glory, and for my edification.  He had made the world to give it over to mankind for his own dominion according to His holy law.

What men may think about where this all came from is of no consequence to God, who scoffs at His detractors.  Our opinions only have consequences for us and will be our judgment.  I am thankful to the Almighty for giving me this opportunity to honor and worship Him in this way.  He is the God of the universe, and my personal Lord.  Even if he slays me, yet will I serve Him.

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