Walking it off

Solvitur ambulando.

It is solved by walking.

Walking into the woods near the Piedra River in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado

Longtime readers of this blog know that my online and trail presence have declined since the glory days of a decade ago, when I was out hiking almost every weekend, posting photos from my outings. My pace slackened once the novel trails within easy driving range were exhausted. In recent years I have only gone on a true day hike once every couple of months, and now the coronavirus pandemic has temporarily extinguished my hobby.

Year Hiking Days Mileage Blog Posts
2009 25 151 79
2010 47 301 86
2011 50 326 90
2012 44 266 85
2013 30 111 58
2014 29 89 60
2015 28 78 36
2016 14 42 29
2017 11 25 29
2018 5 15 15
2019 7 18 12
2020 through August 1 3 3
My day hikes and accompanying blog posts peaked almost a decade ago

I’ve loved day hikes since childhood, when my parents introduced me to the trails at Roaring River State Park in southwestern Missouri. Walking is good for both mind and body, helping me get away from work to enjoy and admire the natural world…and to often indulge in audio. Some of my clearest walking memories are imbued with sound.

I was listening to Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth on my first hike on the San Bois Mountains trail at Oklahoma’s Robbers Cave State Park in 2010.

Mmmbop was playing on my first iPod as I skipped along in short sleeves up and down a snow-covered trail at Mt. Rainier in June 2005.

As a critical technology/communications/health protocols cog in the great learning machine that is our school district, I have heavily circumscribed my life for the past six months. It has been a grind with long hours of carting around and preparing thousands of devices, virtual meetings, no spring break nor summer vacation, almost no out-of-town travel, and only one in-restaurant meal, the last being a risk Wendy and I were only willing to take on our wedding anniversary.

At home I have escaped into 18 books, about three per month, both in text and audio form. YouTube is a steady distraction. I still enjoy workday morning aerobics using videotapes I recorded over a quarter-century ago. Wendy laughed when I mentioned how I had inadvertently watched a Hot Pockets commercial from 1993 countless times yet never had one. So she bought me some to satisfy decades of rather mild curiosity.

Wendy has buoyed my spirits countless times, but the most sustaining thing for me amidst the pandemic, with its accompanying cacophony of racial strife and poisonous politics, has been a feature of the city which helped me embrace moving to Bartlesville back in 1989 and has long been part of why I have stayed: the Pathfinder Parkway. For my stress, solvitur ambulando.

The Pathfinder Parkway

Here is an album of shots from three early morning walks this summer along parts of that marvelous trail system and connected attractions:

Album of Pathfinder Parkway shots during the COVID-19 summer of 2020

And what was I listening to along those beautiful walks? Great history books by Sarah Vowell, particularly Lafeyette in the Somewhat United States, Unfamiliar Fishes, and The Wordy Shipmates. Ronan Farrow’s Catch and Kill. And the silly The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown, whose Robert Langdon must be a relative of Frank & Joe Hardy.

The city will have an election on August 25 for another round of bond projects and a sales tax extension. It’s not a tax increase, just renewing funding that has made Bartlesville a great place to live. Wendy and I already sent in our absentee ballots long ago. Among many other projects, the bond election will fund improvements to the ring road at Johnstone Park, while the sales tax will fund maintenance and repair of the Pathfinder Parkway. I urge everyone to VOTE YES for Building a Better Bartlesville.

And if you are stressed…walk it off. Solvitur ambulando.


About Granger Meador

I enjoy day hikes, photography, podcasts, reading, web design, and technology. My wife Wendy and I work in the Bartlesville Public Schools in northeast Oklahoma, but this blog is outside the scope of our employment.
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1 Response to Walking it off

  1. Letty Watt says:

    I applaud you for being in public education. I spent my career in elementary and library work, and miss it still.
    How curious that our paths have crossed but not necessarily the same decade. I grew up in Miami, Ok where my father was the golf pro at Miami Golf and Country Club. We often spent Mondays in the summers of the ‘50’s and ‘60’s fishing and playing at Roaring River St Park, Noel, Mo and then at Grand Lake once they bought a boat. I cherish those memories, so greatly appreciate your historical look back at the land.

    I believe I began following you when my daughter, who lives on NW Ann Arbor and 36th found your site about the old golf course that once existed on the land where they now live. Thanks for the stories.

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