Humbling Heart Rate ?

I’m concerned that I’m pushing my heart rate too high on the bike. I’m 68 years old. Two weeks ago I rode my typical Sunday ride up and around Ragged Mountain, where I averaged 155 beats per minute for over two hours with a maximum reading of 173.  For a full 30 minutes of the ride my heart pushed  out 161-171  beats per minute.  My normal resting pulse ranges from 47-55 bpm .   I record data wearing  a Garmin chest strap that is linked to my Garmin eTrex 30 GPS unit.  From there I send it to Strava for saving o my profile.

Here’s a Veloviewer 3D elevation rendering of the ups, downs and all-arounds of the same 8 miles ride that I took this past Sunday:

Here’s the traditional view of the ride.  It ain’t easy! These  two images are not aligned correctly, but I bet you can rotate them  in your mind’s eye.

I talked to my doctor about it last week while he was trimming away at a plugged sweat gland that was causing me pain on the side of my foot.  He thought my heart/arteries were OK, but also said that he had at least a handful of apparently healthy patients who were athletes in their early 70’s that dropped dead from unexpected heart attacks.

So he’s getting me a referral for a consultation with an electro-cardiologist who has a exercise specialty.  That’s all I want, a chance to talk to someone who has knowledge and background to address concerns.  My own father died at 72 of heart disease, and my paternal grandfather died from what might have been heart disease when my father was a baby.

In the meantime, I’ll keep pushing it on the bike, rest up adequately between my two-wheeled adventures, keep up the meditation, and start ramping up the relatively short summer/fall veggie consumption season.

Here was my lunch today:

Spring onions, fiddlehead ferns, my own kimchi, tempeh, rice noodle oup.




Why I am going back to hike the East Coast Trail

First read this overview, released today ( May 9, 2018) –>>via Newfoundland, Canada: The travel spot that the natives love | CNN Travel

Not only are there no ticks in Newfoundland, the hiking is world class on the East Coast trail (ECT).


I flew from Boston to St. John’s there last year to hike the 170 mile East Coast Trail, dubbed one of the Top Ten Backpacking Trails by National Geographic in 2011.

This coastal trail definitely lives up to its description as a “genuine wilderness walking and hiking experience”.  Printed materials from the East Coast Trail Association describes the trail as passing directly over the most easterly point in North America at Cape Spear as it connects over 30 communities (some were abandoned) along the route.

FullSizeRender 20
Hiking to Cape Spear lighthouse

I enjoyed visiting the communities along the way where people were welcoming and were interested in speaking with us.

I have written a daily blog report, complete with daily pics spanning my two weeks there that can be viewed here.

Here’s three minutes of drone footage from last August that was shot and produced by Mark Shaw of HMS Images, my hiking partner on this adventure.  Recently I have been giving presentations on this thru-hike.  Please contact me if your organization would like to have me present this summer.

Day Hiking in Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument

I spent Saturday on a longer hike than I expected in the northern half of the Monument. I was in the area presenting “The Allure of the Long Distance Hike” at  the Annual Meeting of the International Appalachian Trail – Maine Chapter on Friday.

A particularly strong thunderstorm on Friday night blew out the power to Shin Pond from 6 AM until approximately 6 PM. I moved one tree and drove around three others that had blown over the road last night between Mount Chase Village ( on Shin Pond).

I was concerned that the gravel driveway headed into the Monument would be too muddy but it was dry, solid and well-graded down to the lot adjacent to the gate. Copies of the trail map that were encased in a plastic bag at the kiosk by the gate.  I had the only car in the parking lot.  I didn’t see anybody else all day.

My plan was to hike out and back to Haskell Rock to view the swollen and majestic East Branch of the Penobscot River. The leaves were still off the trees, there were no blackflies, the footpath was (mostly) navigable, with immediate views to Baxter State Park’s Horse Mtn.  The backside of  The Traveler was still graced with abundant snow up high.

But make no mistake.  In this section of the Monument on this weekend the featured attraction is the Penobscot’s East Branch. I heard it roaring most of the day.  Copious streams of clear water and snow melt cascaded through the forest and fed the countless low lying areas that I walked through today.

I saw a variety of wildlife: a frog ( swimming in a pool in the main trail), a toad, a beaver, a mature Whitetail deer with a very dark coat, a garter snake, numerous birds and even one duck !

What I had planned to be a 10 mile day hike turned out to be a 15 mile trek, and I never reached Haskell Rock.

Why?  Water, in the form of river overflow.  I was here last year in March on a most succsessful overnight fat biking trip that I wrote up on my blog,  Back then, I stuck to the main route,  foregoing the side trails.  When the water in frozen solid in winter, you can go most anywhere you like, but not this weekend.  This time I wanted to take in all of the optional side trips along the East Branch.  That didn’t happen.

My first departure from the main trunk trail was the Old River Road.

I was happily trekking along, listening to the roar of the river when the trail came to this:

Old River Road Outflow

I should have brought shorts and crocks, but still, it would have been very painful to walk through such cold water for so long.  With no idea of how far the trail ahead was underwater, and no success in me trying to bushwhack around the massive flood to the right side, I backtracked to the main trunk trail (IAT).

The walking was high and dry, for the most part,  except for an area where beavers had been and still were prominent:

Old beaver lodge in center

After 3.5 miles on the Orrin Falls Rd. ( IAT) and reaching the Haskell Gate I decided to check out the side trail to Stair Falls.

Several blowdowns blocked the side trail to the Falls.

Haskell Hut

Eventually I dodged some large trees beside the trail that had been recently felled by more eager beavers.

Freshly cut


Being so close to so much thunderous, rapidly moving water was a powerful experience.

After bushwhacking through the overflow and then walking a half mile or so on the main trunk trail,  I took the left into Haskell Hut where I was blocked again. It was flooded too.  It took a while to bushwhack left.  I needed to get into the hut, take a break, eat lunch,  and then try and reach Haskell Rock Pitch.

Haskell Hut side trail
Haskell Hut

That didn’t happen, due to another river over flow half way between the Hut and the Pitch that reached into the path ahead as far as I could see. 

It was past 1 pm now, I was tired and I still had to get back to the car, so I decided to call it quits and head back.  I was dragging at this point and decided to listen to some of my music and give myself a lift in spirits and a lively soundtrack to pace myself.

In this last photo, looking west approaching the Haskell Gate you can see the snow up high on The Traveler, and some of the melt from that snow flowing right across the trail.  Last

Nature is powerful, unpredictable, and hugely refreshing.  I’m changed each time I spend a few days in this magical area, and treasure the new opportunities that will come with the development of this National Monument.   Thank you,  Roxanne and Lucas.

Camping at Shin Pond Village? Not Tonight !

I am here alone at Shin Pond in a 5 person cabin at  Shin Pond Village (It’s a 100 acre estabishment) for my gig this weekend at the Maine Chapter of the International Appalachian Trail‘s annual weekend of meetings.  Shin Pond is the real deal.  It is the absolute last settlement as you approach the northern entrances of both Baxter State Park and the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.

I’ve worked up a new presentation entitled  “The Allure of the Long Distance Hike”  to share with the whole group after dinner on Saturday night,  at Mt. Chase Lodge. I enjoyed my stay at the Lodge last March the night the night before I packed up my fat tire bike, load it with overnight gear and explored the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument for a couple days.

Biking The Monument

Here is the link to that blog post, complete with pics of the Monument and Mt. Chase Lodge.

The Maine section of the IAT/SIA is 130 miles long. Heading north from the Katahdin Lake East (KLE) Access trailhead of Baxter State Park, the route passes through boreal forests and follows trails, old logging roads, an abandoned railroad bed, and rural public roads to the potato fields of Aroostook County. Beyond Fort Fairfield, the trail enters New Brunswick.

After I read the following yesterday I planned to hang at a campsite tonight and sleep in my Honda Element.  With the rear seats folded to the sides, I have 6’6″ to lay my sleeping mat and bag down and either look out the window above my head or if the night is right, have that window open to the stars.

But 44 degrees, mud, clumps of ice and snow on the ground and hard rain convinced me to trade up to a warm cozy room for $36 .

So, I’ll watch The Untouchables on the DVD player, while eating a piece of coconut creme pie from Dysart’s .  Shaping up to be a good weekend.


My reaction to “The Year I Learned to Quit”

Rather than resolving to do more, consider less. I’m heading into that phase of my yearly cycle- when I fret when I think that I haven’t done anything useful and then am propelled into activity.  My self-imposed spring frenzy is rooted in growing up on a daily farm in southeastern Massachusetts in the middle of an agricultural belt where I was surrounded by friends and neighbors that got things done in a visible manner. There was a fruit and vegetable farm on one side of our farm and a giant multistory chicken house next door. This is time of year when I pruned trees, dug  outdoors, worked in greenhouses transplanting thousands of seedlings, burned brush and weeds around the edges of fields, planted seeds in the tremendous whoosh of activity that propels farm families back into their 100 hour a week work schedule.

I’ve learned to handling this type of imprinted mental program. One of the best techniques is to let the feelings of responsibility well up and play out, and not necessarily responded to in a knee jerk manner. I am so far behind with outdoor work, carpentry projects here and at our camp 10 miles away that it could be a 100 hour a week deal for me to ever clean up the list over the summer.

And take a plunge into list making?  I learned this in college- make up a detailed list in my little notebook of all the unfinished things that I had that were popping up throughout the day and even disrupting sleep at night. I got good at to do lists, but now I do better with another sort of list.

The Done List

The done list is simply taking  look back on my day ( or my morning)  and jotting down what really did happen,


which often stuns me, as I am able to easily full a notebook page on some of the days where I felt that I was moping and slugging along.  I sometime am able to trace a pattern of progress or setbacks that I can reflect on and consider in a different manner.

This NY Times column inspired me to write this post- maybe you will be inspired to reframe the incessant doing and live in a manner where Being is good enough.

>>The Year I Learned to Quit – The New York Times


Surviving the Fundy Footpath

Yesterday, I put a rehike of New Brunswick’s Fundy Footpath (FF)  up on my summer hiking list. I was exploring recent hikes reports of the  Fundy Footpath when I found this most interesting documentary of a thru hike of this most unique trail. The “star” has zero backpacking experience. Must see!

via (1) Surviving the Fundy Footpath (OFFICIAL TRAILER) – YouTube

This 45 minute collective YouTube is brought to us,in part by Parks Canada. It bears an uncanny resemblance to the Halifax, Nova Scotia cult-like pseudo mockumentary Trailer Park Boys, now in its 12th (brand new) season. Warning: lots of swear words!

Surviving the Fundy Footpath is an adventure doc that follows mega-novice Bruce Persaud, a city slicker from Toronto, with zero camping experience, as he attempts to complete one of Canada’s toughest multi-day hikes, the treacherous Fundy Footpath. Follow along as Bruce and his team of guides climb in and out of nineteen steep ravines, traverse stunning Bay of Fundy mega tidal zones, and navigate their way through 65 kilometres of dense old growth Acadian fog forest.

Back to Backpacking Up to Canada this Summer

I’ve decided to escape the impending army of ticks and hike in Atlantic Canada this summer.

I plan to redo the Fundy Footpath on the New Brunswick coast near St. John.

Its a 4 hour drive from my house on the Maine coast.  I completed this shorter thru-hike in 2008 in 4 days , with a group led by Xenon that featured my Appalachian Trail pals Bad Influence and Rangoon.  Here’e the link  to my trip report of that most excellent adventure.  I plan a full week, including the drive there and back.

I also want to hike for at least a week on the East Coast Trail in Newfoundland again, flying into St. John’s on the Avalon Peninsula and cherry picking sections of the trail  to redo.   I’ll likely be meandering around the northern half of the trail, camping where I feel and also visiting the oldest city in North America again.  The ECT is hard to get to, but worth the visit.  Check out my trip report here.

I’m open to company, if any of my backpacking pals would like to come along.  Let me know.


Maine International Appalachian Trail Chapter holds Annual Meeting

I’m the after dinner entertainment up to Shin Pond in couple of weeks.  I’ll be presenting after the full belly dinner at Mt. Chase Lodge on Friday night –  a  brand new hiking presentation entitled,  “The Allure of the Long Distance Hike”  Reservations are  being accepted until April 20 !  I bet there will still be snow on the ground in the campground, but rooms and cabins are available in the village.


Hiking/Maine: Fascinating books about some treasured trails

Five-great-books-on-four-of-Americas-national-scenic-trailsHiking in Maine: Fascinating books about some treasured trails

Read Carey’s whole article here–> Hiking in Maine: Fascinating books about some treasured trails – mainetoday

“In the Path of Young Bulls: An Odyssey on America’s Continental Divide Trail.” By Thomas Jamrog, Maine Authors Publishing, 2017, 263 pages.

At a time in life when most men are happily easing into retirement, Tom Jamrog of Lincolnville took up long-distance hiking, tackling the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. Satisfied but by no means sated, the then 63-year-old Jamrog sought the ultimate prize, the Continental Divide Trail. Jamrog’s story describes the desolate, brutal, expansive, majestic 3,000-mile journey, a monumental effort achieved in the company of hiking partners half his age. With palpable determination and commitment, Jamrog colorfully and honestly captures the highs and lows of thru-hiking through the Rocky Mountains from Mexico to Canada.