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|
|2020 through August||1||3||3|
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.
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.
Here is an album of shots from three early morning walks this summer along parts of that marvelous trail system and connected attractions:
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.