Georges River Land Trust’s new SnowDog clears the way for groomed trails !

SnowDog Brent

–>> Georges River Land Trust’s new SnowDog clears the way for groomed trails | PenBay Pilot

Great news announced today for our local community recreation area.  Before now, it was down to snowshoeing in a large group of walkers doing this in order to ride bikes in the snow.  Or we’d line up to ride our fat tire bikes and pound the snow down with breaking trail and multiple passes of those wide 5″ tires.

This is the brightest thing that may come my way this snowed-in day!



I’m “In it for the long haul”

Check out today’s  Sports section of the Maine Sunday Telegram.

Retired psychologist from Midcoast amasses major hiking resume – via Portland Press Herald

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A big thanks to Deirdre Fleming, journalist/reporter, Gregory Rec for his photos, and anyone else who helped me keep walking!

Read on –>> Retired psychologist from Midcoast amasses major hiking resume – Portland Press Herald


Polish Alpinists Attempt First K2 Winter Ascent

From the NYTimes ( 12/27/17) :

Tommy Heinrich, National Geographic Creative

A team of Poland’s most elite climbers just launched an attempt to scale one of the deadliest mountains on Earth—a feat no one has accomplished. The Polish team has been preparing for almost two years, purchasing the best climbing equipment and hiring a supplemental team of weather forecasters, dietitians, sports trainers, and doctors.

They encompass the world’s best climbers and is overseen by renowned Polish climber Krzysztof Wielicki. The 67-year-old made headlines in 1980, when he became the first person to climb Mount Everest in winter. He has led three winter expeditions to different peaks on K2, but never to its tallest point.

read full NYTimes article here:  Climbers Set Off to Be First to Summit World’s Most Notorious Mountain in Winter


Check out the award winning book about Polish climbers specializing in winter Himalayan ascents :  Freedom Climbers by Bernadette McDonald. This book won the following awards:
2012 American Alpine Club Literary Prize (USA)
2011 Munday Award, Banff Mountain Festival (CANADA)
2011 Boardman Tasker Prize, Kendal Mountain Festival (UNITED KINGDOM)

Here are my two previous blog posts ( 2008) about Polish ascents of the winter giants:


Beet Kvass for Holiday Cheer !

It’s time I went back to my Slavik roots (literally) and embraced the positive aftermath of my gardening work this season.  While the ground is now freezing progressively deeper here in Maine,  I’m processing the last of my harvest:  carrots, leeks, and beets.

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Blessed with an overabundance of beets, still viable in a 5 gallon bucket on the porch, I’m excited to make my first batch of kvass, a drink that my grandmother, Philomena, used to make when I was a little boy on the family dairy farm in Somerset, MA.

Here’s a pic of what I accomplished this morning.  The crock will be covered and put beside the wood stove for the next 10 days or so.



What is Beet Kvass?

“Beet Kvass is comprised of simple ingredients and is simple to make through the process of wild fermentation.  Here in my kitchen, we call it blood of the earth. Indeed I do taste the earth when I sip this crimson liquid. Beet Kvass is an age-old tonic associated with many health benefits including efficient hydration. Fermented beverages are the original sports drinks. Like other lacto-fermented drinks, kvass is more hydrating than even water. In order to remain hydrated, our bodies require a balance of electrolytes. Cultured beverages like kvass help restore this balance without the sugar and preservatives of modern ‘sport drinks’. Beet Kvass is traditionally heralded as a blood and liver tonic. And indeed this ancestral knowledge is meted out in science. In fact, beets are high in betacyanin which can dramatically increase the oxygen-carrying ability of the blood.”

Easy ( no cooking) kvass recipe and  info here:

Beet Kvass Myth Busting (& Recipe) – Holistic Squid

In praise of Bernd Heinrich

I tuned into Maine Pubic Broadcasting’s Maine Calling show yesterday at 1 pm in order to listen to Bernd Henirich discuss his newest book (he’s published 20), The Naturalist’s Notebook: An Observation Guide and 5-Year Calendar-Journal for Tracking Changes in the Natural World Around You.

Listeners and/or readers should check out this 5 minute Vimeo that shows Bernd living in a tiny primitive camp, running and cimbing scary high trees in  Maine.  I have watched this brief video at least a dozen times over the past few years and continue to be ovewrhelmed with tears every time I revisit it.  It just happened again.

I’m headed outside to explore the woods.

Goodbye, Golf Clubs. Hello, Hiking Boots…..

William Widmer for The New York Times


Today, I ate my usual eggs and toast Sunday morning breakfast that precedes my regular “Bubba Church” mountain bike ride with my aging off-road posse. On early morning Sundays, I read the digital version of the NY Times and catch up on the news, fake or not. I didn’t find much of interest today, so instead I clicked on my Instagram feed where I download media to read later at my leisure. Instapaper is my own custom newspaper.

I don’t ever listen to podcasts when I eat breakfast, but today I am pleased that I did. I listened to Texas Parks and Wildlife Podcast’s Epidode 13: Hiking Across Texas.  It is short, only 12 minutes long, but it spoke deeply to me today.   It’s a refreshing interview with Dave Roberts, 72 years old. Dave is currently on a 3,000-mile “ramble” across Texas, weaving through at least 40 national parks.

I  remember reading about Dave a year and a half ago, and dug up the following article about Dave, an Appalachian Trail thru-hiker who has found his unique retirement groove- long distance walking, biking, and kayaking.  Dave’s on a $20-a-day budget for this Texas adventure, but more importantly appears to have exactly the right attitude to keep on doing what he enjoys best- being outdoors and having varied experiences.

As Dave puts it, ” If everything does according to plans, you are not having an adventure yet.”

Do listen via the podcast link above, and if you like what you hear, read the Jan. 2016 Times feature below, to learn more about Dave and other retirees who have stood up to leave the couch for later.

My own dream is to walk across the US, someday.

Longevity Hacks and ME

This long overdue blog post was inspired by the Parade Magazine supplement from my Sunday paper. It’s a weak piece of literature, but occasionally I pull a recipe. Here is an article that even sparked a response from my wife , Marcia, who warned me, ” You better not read this or I am going to end up with you trying to reach 100 years old.”

The article features a typical day in the life of Michael Roizen, M.D., who has dedicated 20 years to the study of longevity—specifically, the idea that certain daily choices can make your body and mind years younger than your calendar age. Roizen has an upcoming book,  “AgeProof: Living Longer Without Running Out of Money or Breaking a Hip“,  so this article is probably just one limb of a deep-pocketed marketing campaign,  with Dr. Mike showing up on National Public Radio,  in an interview with Terry Gross. I’ve seen the same thing with the mega-sucessful Wild,   a movie that came after the book went Top 10.  Yes, I will probably read his book, even if I just squeeze out a few extra weeks of existence and never even make it to be 100 years old.  Right now, I am not so sure that things are going to get better in the next 30 years.  Just to be clear, this book is not even out yet.

Since I have a huge interest in continuing my daily hikes, backpacking ventures, and riding through the woods on my bikes, I  check out practices and products that assist me moving. I decided to X-Ray the article and see how I measured up against Dr. Mike.

Here’s a snapshot of Mike’s typical work day. The italicized portions are quoted from Parade.  My own comments follow in standard print:

Morning smooches– 5:00 a.m. “The first thing I do is kiss my wife, Nancy.” Choosing your partner wisely and with passion is one of Roizen’s keys to longevity.
Nope!  I am an early riser, usually at or just before daybreak. I need to be careful to get up and out of bed without waking up Marcia.  Definitely not part of my daily practice, so far. Maybe I should leave a nice note by her bed stand instead? On the positive side, we continue to enjoy each other’s company over the past 43 years.

Marcia, showing me the the way, in Portugal
Marcia, showing me the way, this time hiking together in Portugal

Meditation– 5:05 a.m. A five-minute meditation in the shower sets his intentions for the day and helps manage stress.  Big yes. I was taught Transcendental Meditation when I attended UMass back in 1970. I even went to Canada and then Spain for several months to study with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the early 1070’s, when I became a TM teacher.  I continue to practice the technique for 30 minutes, every morning, accumulating 46 years of experiences, or non-experience if you prefer.

Heart Healthy Breakfast: 5:45 a.m. He eats heart-healthy oatmeal with walnuts. Six days a week I have one cup of organic wild blueberries, 1 cup of whole mile yogurt,  and 1/4 cup of granola, which is 75% nuts and seeds. In August,  I  fill half a freezer with  130 pounds of fresh Maine wild berries that are grown across town.  On Sundays I treat myself to eggs and a bagel.

My breakfast while backpacking this past summer
My breakfast while backpacking this past summer

His cup runneth over: 8-9 cups coffee, 32 oz. water.  Roizen drinks a lot of coffee. (It counts toward his daily fluid intake, he says.) He doesn’t use cream or sugar and also drinks plenty of H2O.  This would be way too much coffee for me. I generally have 2 to 3 cups of high quality coffee in the morning. Four months ago, I purchased a package from  Fitness Genes, including a DNA test kit, that analyzed my genetic information related to health and metabolism. One of those 42 genes reflects caffeine metabolism. I carry two copies of the “fast metabolizer” A allele. Caffeine works fast for me and is metabolized quickly, suggesting that I can use it to my advantage by downing a cup immediately before I ride or hike.  I have no problems with sleeping if I do have a shot of espresso after dinner. Bing!  This finding alone was worth the cost of the testing! 

Lunchtime veggie madness: In the employee cafeteria, Roizen assembles a low-calorie, nutrient-rich salad with an assortment of veggies such as lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and peas, dressed with balsamic vinegar. Or he’ll have a hot plate with steamed broccoli, sautéed green beans and another veggie. During farmers’ market season on the Cleveland Clinic campus, Roizen stocks up on healthy snacks for his staff.  My lunch is usually a large bowl of  fake pho or phauxpho, as I term it. I came up with this meal this past summer, when I was harvesting various vegetables from my garden.  It is composed of rich broth, steamed or sauteed veggies, a protein source, and a few rice noodles.  Here’s my blog post laying out my phauxpho recipe, which looked like this one day.


Walk and talk: 2:00 p.m. Roizen breaks up sitting time by walking up a flight of stairs or two with patients, while monitoring their pulse, or having one-on-one “walking meetings” with colleagues.  The closest I come to this is walking and talking with my friend Frank.  We try to walk in the Camden Hills State park on Friday afternoons. 

Afternoon meditation: Another 30 minute TM session every afternoon for me, generally in the late afternoon.

Connecting with friends: 5:30 p.m.  His evening commute is good for the soul: He likes to catch up with friends on the phone. And several times a week he uses FaceTime to video chat at home with his grown children, Jennifer and Jeffrey, and granddaughter, Julien.  I have this one down. For over 25 years. I meet every single Monday night at 5:30 PM with 6 other guys who part of my Men’s Group, or as I term it now my Personal Board of Advisers. We take turns cooking a completed dinner for each other on a rotating location, generally each person’s home. Thus has gone on  for over 25 years. Serious discussions are rare these days, even once a week.  I am also a member of The Bubbas, a group of local guys and a limited number of gals ( generally 1 or 2) who ride mountain bikes over challenging conditions in the woods at three different locations in Midcoast Maine on Tuesday and Thursday nights, and on Sunday mornings. We do catch up on things, but mostly make fun of each other in some unsavory manner. I love The Bubbaas. 

The Bubbas !
The Bubbas !

Plenty of fun: 8:00 p.m. You can find the sports-loving Roizens cheering on the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Indians. “If we don’t have tickets or they’re away, I’m usually watching the game on TV just before bed,” he says. “That’s my calm-down ritual.”   The only sports team that still matters to me is the New England Patriots, who have posted a winning season for some time now, and brought to the Patriots Nation yet another Super Bowl triumph this week!  Unfortunately I have to keep my allegiance silent outside of New England, due to the many millions of Patriots haters out there.

Sleep smart: 10:30 p.m.  “If I have a weakness, it’s that I don’t honor sleep as much as I should,” he admits. “I used to feel great on six hours—now seven is much better for me.” Most people need more as they age, he says, and everyone should get at least 6.5 hours for the best longevity benefits.  I picked up the new Fitbit Charge 2 after Christmas through my Maine Guide discount at LLBean.  One function is the automatic tracking of  how long and how well I sleep.  I am asleep at least an hour before Mr. Roizen.  I have no use for the Silent Alarm, and tend to wake up at daybreak, if not before.

Typical sleep week via Fitbit Charge 2
Typical sleep week via Fitbit Charge 2

Additional facts:
  The number of minutes Roizen aims to spend on his treadmill desk by walking during conference calls and radio interviews.  I average 75-90 minutes a day of brisk walking or biking.

  The number of steps Roizen tries to log daily on his fitness tracker. If he hasn’t hit his goal, he walks on the treadmill while he watches TV. “That’s about the only time I catch The Daily Show live,” he says.  My 2017 goal is 12,000 steps a day, supporting the 75-90 minute figures above. 2017 is also my goal for this year.  I plan to walk or bike that many miles this year.  Using the Strava program/ app allows me to track each and every ride, walk, hike that I experience. Monitoring my progress toward my yearly goal is made much easier with the metrics and the graphics of the Premium ( paid) version of the app.

The calories in a small piece of dark chocolate, a favorite Roizen pick-me-up (along with a handful of walnuts) if dinner will be late.  I consume 0.5 oz. of 70% or more dark chocolate a day.  It’s three times what Dr. Mike takes.  It’s for my health!

So, there you go, one researched path to centarianism.  One hundred years of life may not be everyone’s target, but can’t we all use professional guidance in holding our bodies and spirits together as we move along life’s trails and trials.

I invite any further “hacks” that you might share with us all.  Please consider commenting, and subscribing to this blog !


Massachusetts hiker, 26, found dead after Christmas Eve hike in White Mountains, from the The Boston Globe

Hypothermia grants no special deals for previous experience.  Very difficult for me to read, understand, and consider.  

“Jack Holden had been at home in the forest since he was a Cub Scout. On Saturday, he had a pack full of gear, including a locator he could activate if he got in trouble.”

Read full story here:  Boston Globe article