Blog 46–Back to the wilderness

Life keeps getting better and better.

  • Back with Tina.
  • Back to traveling.
  • Back to living in the van.
  • Back to happiness.

May 22–Today was an excellent day. Tina and I traveled to Bake Oven Knob, which is part of the Appalachian Trial. We walked for about a kilometer up to the Knob. As the trail started it was a dirt trail, and then got rockier and rockier with small and large rocks and boulders. Because of my balance issues and vision troubles, this was difficult for me to maneuver, I fell a couple times. Back in the old days I would dance along these rocks with no problem.

http://www.wanderoutdoors.com/pages/Bake_Oven_Knob.html

A couple people we talked to who were also walking the trail were traveling on the Appalachian Trail for many many kilometers, through a number of states. I gave them my card and they told me they will send me an email, and that they write a blog and I can get on their list, too.

 

What was absolutely terrible for me was, about every couple of meters, there was a cigarette butt or human trash. These idiots who smoke (hope you are not one) think they have a right to discard their butt wherever and whenever they want, this is just wrong.

 

After we did our walk in the woods, we had acquired a list of about ten local wineries to visit for wine and cheese tasting. We did try some good wine and purchased some bottles. By the end of our wine tour we were feeling quite nice (tipsy?) from our wine sipping, alright to drive, though.

 

We drove to a local Walmart, and next to this place to sleep was an Italian restaurant that lets you bring in your own wine, which we did. We shared a meal and enjoyed our wine. After that we found a parking place to sleep toward the back of the Walmart which was quiet and dark.

 

As I am typing this on the following morning, Tina is asleep out in the van and I am seated in a back room at the Walmart where I could plug in. Currently there is a “team meeting” going on, where the upper people are telling the under employees how to do better. They are doing cheers and such to get people going–just seems so ridiculous. I have never really worked for a company, so just seems so silly to me.

 

May 24–We decided to hit the road! Tina has to be back for a medical appointment on June 2, so we have until then to travel–just like the old days. We looked at a map of Virginia, liked what we saw with all the National Parks, so off we went. We had each already, separately, been through Skyline Drive, which goes through Shenandoah Park, so we took a different route.

 

After driving about 100 miles, half way down, we looked for another Wegmans (we had stayed at one recently, open 24 hours) for the night (much classier than Walmart), none around, we had to settle on parking in a Walmart parking lot. Much less class here, but with the windows covered and all light blocked out, we have no idea where we are, and so, this will do.

 

On our drive out we had to go through Allentown, Pennsylvania, a fairly large city. Anymore, I do not like cities–wilderness for me, for us, always. I’ve traveled much of the world; I have found that, worldwide, cities do not differ much. But, with different rock formations, various forest settings, different water architecture–the wilderness has a diversity that adds to my life, fulfills me. I hope you get out in the woods now and then, it heals.

 

May 27–The night before last we stayed at Wolf Gap Campground–so nice to be out-of-doors once again. We went for a hike up a hill, Tina is always being wary of bears, since she came upon one that one time.

 

Now it is morning and I awoke before the sun was up. No one else around, I like it this way, but, I miss you. This is a free camp place, and there is no drinking water available right now because of plumbing issues, but that is alright. We always carry five one gallon jugs full of water. Tina is getting some more shut eye in the van.

 

Last night we walked down to a little creek and washed up, felt good to be clean. Today I will be washing all of me including my hair at this little creek, and I mean little, it is only about eight centimeters in depth.

 

You may remember I wrote about the metric system previously a few posts ago. This is a superior way to figure. Every other part of the world changed to using the metric system, a good thing, why hasn’t the US?

 

Back in the seventies, under President Jimmy Carter, we were trying to convert to this system, so many lazy citizens here; the American people would not go for it. It is like learning a new language, something people here to not want to achieve, so sorry for that.

 

I will be learning and converting to this new system, will you join me?

 

As you might remember, with my old computer the battery did not work, I had to be plugged in. So, we would often have to pull over to find a McDonalds, with free wifi and electric. Right now I am typing with the computer sitting on the picnic table and me in a nice chair; very comfortable. I will be writing more and more while out-of-doors, very nice. Thank you again, Albert, for getting this computer for me.

 

On our way we stopped by The National Bridge of Virginia. Cost is $18 to go and see it; I thought the cost was too high, Tina still wanted to go; I stayed with the van doing some improvements.  She took this photo:

 

Here is more about the natural bridge:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vD613A_66ww

 

May 27–Now at North Creek Campground in Jefferson National Forest:

http://www.virginia.org/listings/outdoorsandsports/northcreekcampgroundgwjeffersonnationalforest/

The coming weekend is Memorial Day, so I made sure we secured somewhere to stay.

Talk about a wonderful place to be:

  • Very quiet.
  • Spaced nicely between sites.
  • Butterflies were abundant.
  • Many birds everywhere.
  • Saw two deer on the way up.
  • The toilets were quite clean,
  • No insects bugging us. 
  • Only nine campsites. 
  • Towering trees reach for the sky everywhere.
  • Out our back door is a strong running creek.
  • In the creek is a pool where we can bathe.
  • Fish were swimming around.
  • Birds are making their bird noises.
  • The temperature is quite comfortable.
  • I am able to write to you this morning while Tina is continuing to sleep.

Could not ask for more. 

Last night, as we were preparing to make dinner (yummy tacos again) the rain started. So, we shifted everything into the van and enjoyed our meal much. Also, with the rains, I put the plants outside to soak in the drops. As you might know, we grow lettuce, spinach and cilantro in the van, serves us well.

 

What a pleasure to be able to sit in the forest and write you. As winter ends and spring begins, my mind turns to the wilderness once again.

 

In the technical age, our culture has almost forgotten the need for humans to experience the natural environment. We’re so busy, so connected, so wound up in our own unnatural worlds; we are losing our natural ways.

 

If you can, make time to get in the outdoors in a natural environment for at least twenty minutes daily–a local park can work. This will revitalize you and get your mind thinking clearly. Twenty minutes in nature and you are better able to face challenges and you will feel perkier about life in general.

 

Regular exposure to nature affects the body, as well. Your immune system improves; your body has lower concentrations of cortisol (a stress hormone) lower pulse rate and lower blood pressure. With the sun, your body and mind will produce more vitamin D, which will help prevent osteoporosis and cancer and lower your chance of having a heart attack.

 

If you work in an office setting, it is much better if you can have your window facing the outdoors and nature. Bring in flower plants and eatable plants to place on your desk. Even posters of nature can help your mind. And, sunlight is so important.

So, take time to get away from:

>>the television

>>the computer

>>your smart device

Get back to nature–it will heal you and comfort you.

It’s easy to get holed up in our dens of technology, but stepping outside, nature or not, is the best thing for you–in oh so many ways. Whether you’re suffering from frequent coughs or colds or you are simply in a creativity rut, the outdoors may be just the fix you’re looking for.

Time spent outside, specifically, time spent immersed in nature, can bathe your mind in meditative relaxation. In Japan, this is known as “forest bathing”, but you don’t need to get deep into the forest to reap the benefits, although, I am loving being in the forest. Just stepping into a park or outdoor “green” area can confer immediate effects.

Reboot your brain with nature!

After some time spent outside, you will feel more productive, more focused and may even experience an improvement in your memory; being outside can especially rekindle that spark of creativity that may have dissipated from your daily routine. Your mind will be rejuvenated to aim toward betterment.

Above all else, those who spend more time outdoors also experience lower incidences of depression. Think of the outdoors as a soothing balm for your brain. Get as much of it as you can.

In 1977 I graduated from Point Loma High in San Diego, and, graduating with me was my friend, Daniel Powell. Because of some real estate investments early in his life, he has had the resources to travel and to live the life that he wants. He has been to many parts of the world exploring, although, not necessarily to visit cities, his latest escapade was a trip to New Zealand backcountry.

Jealous, perhaps, I just know that we can all live a better life, like Daniel. And, it will not take gobs of money to do it.

In the place where you reside, plant many edible plants, as well as many flower plants. Buy “fun”iture that you love, buying used works for me. Bring the wilderness to you, your home, and your yard. Don’t just “live” your life, design the life that “you” want, as Tina and I have done by buying the van and traveling.

May 28–Awoke before the sun was up at all, as usual. Laid in bed until light was into the area. Then, off to the races with me. This campsite is excellent. Always projects for improvement to the van, enjoyable for me, yes. We spent two nights at this luxurious campsite, we did not want to, but time to move on.

 

May 29–Off we went to Trout Pond Campsite in Washington National Forest. Many people here, after all, it is Memorial Weekend here in the US. We found a vacant campsite, not as nice as our last one, but there are a lot of trees and birds. And, a shower available here–yes, time for both of us to clean up. Tina is in there now, it has been some time.

A healthy life is a simple equation, really. You can either spend your life indoors and sad, or you can be gallivanting outdoors and loving it. You can either take years off of your life, or add quality to your life.

Get outside, you’ll use your muscles more, you may even smile more. You’ll also push yourself harder when you get outside. Addicted to your gym membership? Consider the outdoors as a free gym membership that you shouldn’t squander, it’s always available.

And, reset your eyes on your future. If your job entails you stare at a screen under flickering florescent lights for eight hours a day, you need to get outside more. The natural light of the outdoors relieves the eyes from the strain of artificial lighting and screens.

For children, especially, spending more time outdoors may help decrease the risk of a development of nearsightedness, too. Keep your eyes healthy by taking a gander outside on the regular basis.

The people who spend more time outside have a significantly higher immune function, including an increase in natural killer cells, than those who spend much of their time indoors.

Natural killer cells are powerful agents in the prevention of tumors and cancer forming in the body, so the importance of getting out into nature cannot be overstated. Even if you’ve found yourself simply succumbing to colds more frequently, maybe more outdoors time is just what the doctor ordered.

Load up on sunshine. Going outside into the sunshine allows your body to produce vitamin D. This vitamin, if you haven’t heard it enough, is very important for your health. It helps to stave off depression, strengthen bones and can decrease your risk of heart disease.

Reconnect with your roots.

If you’re looking to get more in touch with yourself and with your natural surroundings, just get outside. If you spend enough time in nature, you will begin to sense subtle shifts in your environment.

  • You’ll notice fluctuations in your energy. 
  • You’ll become more open and calm when you feel how incredibly vast the outside world is. 
  • You will bring happiness to yourself. 

In a way, spending more time outside puts you more in tune with our surrounding world.

Nothing is wrong with a little outdoor perspective now and then, it is a good thing.

May 31–After a night at that large campground with many people, we had to get back to something more remote. We found Hawk Mountain Campground. Difficult to get to, but being here is well worth it. Only nine sites in this free campground and only one other couple here–this is how I like it. There are no wifi or electric connections anywhere, so I am typing offline on battery power.

Also, at this campground were groups of butterflies that would all land together and meander around on the ground for awhile. They we not there for sex, but seemed to be eating parts of the ground, very strange.

Right now it is morning, I developed a large fire, and I am typing while listening to the fire crackle, a stream flow and birds making their bird sounds–talk about back to nature! On the way I had stopped at a Lowes, who sells wood and building materials. They had a bunch of scrap wood that I picked up for the fire.

Don’t just live life–experience life!

May 31–On we drove, with no direction or destination, and then we found Elizabeth Furnace Campground. Not many people here, but not near a lake or stream, as we like. We had our choice of any of the campsites, so we chose the best, of course.

At the last campground someone told us of a place to get water to drink, which was on the way. Water was diverted from a small stream by two pipes, always flowing. When we arrived, there was a guy there who was filling many gallon and five gallon containers. When he was done we took over. Yes, this was the best water I have tasted, and I have tasted much. The minerals were evident, and I am sure this liquid was packed with vitamins.

You may know from past writings that one of my joys in life is to drink water from a clean stream in the mountains. As you drink, it seems so healthy, naturally. Bottled water from the store is no match, whatsoever.

June 1–Back to city life, yug. But, we were on our way to Baltimore to see my friend, Lisa Polinari, perform at the inner harbor.

unicyclelady.com

It was a Wednesday evening and the crowd was small. As usual, she did a good show, the crowd loved it.

June 2–Now back in the Allentown area of Pennsylvania:

  • Back to all the cars
  • Back to all the heat . . .
  • Back to so many people.
  • Back to sales of everything.
  • Back to unhappy people.

Can’t wait to get back to the wilderness and back to nature.

And, can’t wait to write you again.

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