[A sermon delivered on Christmas Eve, 2022.]
Saturday, December 24, 2022
Friday, December 2, 2022
[Originally published in the Monroe News on December 2, 2022]
Sunday, November 13, 2022
Sermon Preached on November 13, 2022, Proper 28C. Sermon Text Galatians 5:13-15 Brothers and sisters in Christ, grace and peace to you, Amen. Journey with me back to the Old Testament era. I want you to picture in your minds the early parts of the story of Joseph. Joseph was one of the 12 sons of Jacob. Joseph, the young boy who was despised by all of his older brothers. Joseph, who was given the beautiful coat of many colors by his father. Joseph, who was beaten and then sold by his brothers to slave traders. Joseph, who came to live in the house of Potiphar in Egypt. That is where our attention begins this morning. Joseph in Potiphar’s house. When you picture Joseph in this situation, would you describe him as a free man? Does Joseph have freedom in his predicament in Egypt? Practically speaking, he was for all intents and purposes a slave. He had a master who demanded his complete obedience and service. This master had literally purchased Joseph from the traders. It certainly doesn’t look like much freedom.
Sunday, October 30, 2022
Sermon for Reformation Sunday -- Oct 30, 2022 -- Romans 3:19-28
Brothers and sisters in Christ, grace and peace to you, Amen.
Do you remember Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego? They are well known for what happened to them during the time of Israel’s exile in Babylon. They squared off with King Nebuchadnezzar in an unforgettable event. These three men, faithful to God, had risen in the ranks of the wise leaders of the king of Babylon. Things were going well for them until this one day. King Nebuchadnezzar had constructed a 90-foot golden image on the plains of Babylon. This golden image was to be worshipped by everyone. When the special instruments would play, all were to bow down to it. And pretty much all did, that is, except for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. The three refused. The king was furious. He gives them an ultimatum. When you hear the special music, bow down, or else you will be thrown into the fiery furnace. The king boldly asks them “who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?”
Friday, October 28, 2022
[Originally published in the Monroe News on October 28, 2022]
Wednesday, October 12, 2022
Full loop of the Jordan Valley Pathway including a portion of the North Country Trail
Trailhead Elevation: 1,286 ft.
High Elevation: 1,318 ft.
Low Elevation: 721 ft.
Distance: 18.81 mi.
Elevation Gain: 2228 ft.
Start Time: 8:12am
End Time: 12:05pm
I finally made the big loop at Jordan Valley. I first discovered this loop in 2016 and that year I did an out and back of 12 miles on the NCT portion of the trail. I was somewhat time limited and I didn't make it all the way to Pinney Bridge as hoped. In the years since I've explored short sections venturing out from Deadman's Hill but never did things work out to go for the whole loop.
Monday, September 26, 2022
Trailhead Elevation: 11,652 ft.
Distance: 7.00 mi.
Elevation Gain: 2,578 ft.
Start Time: 8:00am
End Time: 11:26am
When you're looking for an easy summit on your way out to Denver International Airport Square Top Mountain comes up as a great choice. My brother and I were heading from Buena Vista into Denver and our flights weren't until after 5pm. We didn't want to waste the day sitting around and so we decided we should find a morning summit. We wanted something fairly accessible, fairly easy, and predictable timewise. I had first brought up Bierstadt as we had already summited it a few times and knew we could get up and down in a predictable time. My brother wanted something new so we looked on the other side of Guanella Pass for our answer.
Sunday, September 25, 2022
|My brother David atop Drift Peak|
Northwest Ridge from Mayflower Gulch
Trailhead Elevation: 11,512 ft.
Distance: 4.30 mi.
Elevation Gain: 2430 ft.
Start Time: 10:27am
End Time: 2:22pm
Drift Peak is a little spoken of 13er at the southern end of the Tenmile Range. We looked at it when we were pursing a goal of summiting all the 13ers in the Tenmile Range. We had been close to it several years prior when we were on Fletcher Mountain and recall thinking how close it looked. Little did we know the connecting ridge between the two is quite difficult. Several days prior to our attempt in 2022 on Drift we were again nearby on Wheeler Mountain. It also has a nasty connecting Ridge with Drift. One would think Drift almost unreachable if not for its northwest ridge. This route turns out to be a modest class 2 route that most hikers will find within their reach.
Saturday, September 24, 2022
[Originally published in the Monroe News on September 23, 2022]
Ellingwood Ridge route to East La Plata and then La Plata's summit and then descent on the northwest ridge (standard) route.
Trailhead Elevation: 10,161 ft.
Ellingwood Ridge Summit: 13,220 ft.
East La Plata Summit: 14,186 ft.
La Plata Summit: 14,344 ft.
Distance: 12.30 mi.
Elevation Gain: 6111 ft.
Start Time: 7:18am
End Time: 8:13pm
Both the blessing and the curse of this ridge is that you have to make it. There's no turning back. It is quite possibly the most committing route in all the state of Colorado. There is no escape.
Friday, September 23, 2022
Trailhead Elevation: 10,373 ft.
Mt. Helen: 13,164 ft.
Distance: 12.92 mi.
Elevation Gain: 7392 ft.
Start Time: 6:16am
End Time: 5:12pm
In 2018 my brother and I did the classic Tenmile Traverse. This was starting in Frisco with Mt. Royal and hitting all 10 of the peaks above Breckenridge stopping at Peak 10. We've fallen in love with the area of the tenmile range and the beauty of the peaks and the surrounding valleys. Since 2012, we had also climbed North Star and Fletcher giving us a nice head start on climbing all the high peaks in the range.
Thursday, September 22, 2022
Trailhead Elevation: 10,961 ft.
Distance: 10.34 mi.
Elevation Gain: 3442 ft.
Start Time: 11:41am
End Time: 6:34pm
Weather led us to Wheeler. My brother and I had a series of hikes planned out for our trip and a very rainy Thursday September 22 foiled our immediate plans. So we weighed our options. The forecasts did suggest a possible improvement, even clearing, of things by mid afternoon so we explored options with a late start. What we were looking for was a peak where we could stay somewhat low and uncommitted until close to the ending. In part this meant no ridge hikes. We eventually settled on Wheeler as it fit the description of what we were looking for. We've also been eyeing the possibility of finishing all the peaks in the Tenmile Range. In fact our plan for the next days was the quintuple of peaks from Helen to Atlantic. It also appeared the weather forecast up in the Tenmile was somewhat better than down in the Sawatch where our main base was located.
Wednesday, September 21, 2022
Boulder Green Mountain Loop
Amphitheater Trail to Saddle Rock Trail to E.M. Greenman Trail to Summit. E.M. Greenman Trail to Ranger Trail to Gregory Canyon Trail to Finish.
Trailhead Elevation: 5,906 ft.
Summit Elevation: 8,245 ft.
Distance: 5.58 mi.
Elevation Gain: 2,396 ft.
Start Time: 2:38pm
End Time: 5:34pm
If you had 4 hours to do any hike in the Boulder area what would you choose? Or expand the question: if you had 4 hours to do any hike in the greater Denver area what do you do? This was my happy dilemna. I had quite a window of time to work with upon flying into Denver about 8 hours before my brother. I even entertained the possibility of driving out to Guanella Pass to do Bierstadt I realized Boulder was a very reasonable drive from DIA so that became top choice. In Boulder, I decided a summit of Green Mountain would really suit my tastes best. I originally decided on doing the west side trail up Green. It was certainly easier and much less steep and I didn't want to risk much with my legs on this first day.
Saturday, August 20, 2022
Finishing an ultra always comes with an immense sense of satisfaction. Hitting a finish line after many miles and hours out in God’s good creation on beautiful trails is an emotional experience. The sense of accomplishment is real and it just feels good. That sense is even greater when you return to a race that beat you up and dealt you failure in your previous attempt. My 2021 attempt at the Marquette Trail 50 was my first DNF and I’ve wrestled with it ever since. It wasn’t that this was a crushing blow to my ego or a defeat that tasted so bitter. I’m not really that kind of runner or person. I’m in this for the enjoyment, for the growth, for the learning and that DNF left me with so many questions. And yes, it did leave me with a desire to go back and finish what I started. That’s what brought me back, unfinished business.
In the end, I’ve reached a sense of contentment in saying my 2021 DNF at Marquette was due to a combination of three factors: (1) the hot weather of the day, (2) my quads being in an unusual pain due to the training effects of a medicine I was on, and (3) factors 1 & 2 exacerbating my concern of completely wrecking my legs before a trip with my brother to Isle Royale in the days following the race. I can live with my choices from that day and I accept what happened.
Friday, August 19, 2022
[Originally published in the Monroe News on August 19, 2022]
Sunday, July 24, 2022
Newfound Gap Elevation: 5,049 ft.
Distance: 8.96 mi.
Elevation Gain: 2,796 ft.
Start Time: 2:38pm
End Time: 7:45pm
All throughout our week at Pigeon Forge and Great Smoky Mountains National Park I had contemplated a fun way to do a family activity with Clingmans Dome. I also wanted to make sure we had the chance to hike it. The obvious solution kept pointing out a group hiking it from Newfound Gap with the remainder driving the road to the top. The main question was merely who would join the hike and when to go. The plans ended up getting pushed to our last day. Our group of 8 for the hike made it to Newfound Gap just after 2:30pm and we parked and made ready to go. We carried the basics of food and water but not much else. The weather was looking pretty good for our afternoon. Though temps were around 90 down in Gatlinburg, it was just over 70 up at 5,000 feet. We made our way on to the Appalachian Trail crossing the highway at the gap.
Saturday, July 23, 2022
Little Greenbriar Trail Run
Little Greenbriar Trail to Little Brier Gap
Trailhead Elevation: 1,843 ft.
Distance: 3.70 mi.
Elevation Gain: 609 ft.
Start Time: 7:18am
End Time: 8:04am
The Little Greenbriar trailhead is a small parking area off Line Springs Rd which is just south of Wear Valley. This trail essentially marks part of the northern boundary of Smoky Mountains National Park. The parking has room for only 4-5 cars. I arrived about 7:15am on a Friday and I met one other hiker when I started. At finish a third car had shown up.
The trail starts off with a climb and then rolls for awhile mostly climbing but occasional flat stretches mixed in. At 1.3mi I topped out and then dropped about a 100 feet before reaching Little Brier Gap. This trail junction was my turnaround for the day. From here you can go due south on the Little Brier Gap trail or you can go east towards either Cove Mountain or Laurel Falls. Either of those trails can actually connect a hiker to close to the Visitor Center for GSMNP.
Wednesday, July 20, 2022
Alum Cave Trail
Trailhead Elevation: 3,872 ft.
Distance: 11.32 mi.
Elevation Gain: 2,935 ft.
Start Time: 7:25am
End Time: 1:36pm
Tuesday, July 19, 2022
Fighting Creek Nature Trail to Cove Mountain Trail in Great Smoky Mountains NP
Trailhead Elevation: 1,473 ft.
Distance: 1.30 mi.
Elevation Gain: 138 ft.
Start Time: 1:58pm
End Time: 2:43pm
Looking for a good family-friendly hike near the Sugarlands Visitor Center, we talked to a nice ranger for good advice. He made two very close suggestions: Laurel Falls and Cataract Falls. Laurel Falls would be a drive down the road and something like a 1.3mi hike. Cataract Falls could be hit from the VC with perhaps just over a half mile hike. We settled on the latter.
Friday, July 8, 2022
[Originally published in the Monroe News on July 8, 2022]Travel back with me to the 1990s and reminisce about arguably one of the funniest and most enjoyable movies of the decade. For me it was an instant classic. The movie I have in mind is City Slickers starring Billy Crystal. Its a lovely story of 3 New York men going through mid-life crises who decide to join a guided cattle drive on a ranch out west. Oh what fun they had!
Friday, June 10, 2022
My family has been in the thick of running season for many months now. My oldest son Luke has been running high school track and he runs various hurdle events and relays. My third-son Seth has been running training on his own for the fun and the exercise of it. I myself have been training for an ultra race in the beautiful town of Marquette in the U.P. We’ve all been keeping busy tallying up the miles.
Saturday, April 23, 2022
A few weeks back on March 21 our family was returning home from visiting family in Virginia. On our drive through the gorgeous landscape of Pennsylvania we made the decision to stop at the Flight 93 National Memorial. What an amazing place. It is a museum, a memorial, and a beautiful park dedicated to the remembrance of the 9/11 tragedy and those passengers on Flight 93 who caused the plane to crash in Shanksville, PA.
Monday, March 21, 2022
|At the lower memorial wall looking up|
to the upper visitor center
Trailhead Elevation: 2,468 ft.
Distance: 0.96 mi.
Elevation Gain: 41 ft.
Start Time: 2:00pm
End Time: 2:25pm
"Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)"
Friday, March 11, 2022
When you travel through the wilderness of the mountains in Europe, particularly in the French and Italian Alps, they have various refuges located in amazing places. These are essentially mountain huts that provide places of help and rescue for hikers. For someone in distress a refuge can be lifesaving. It is a place of safety. It is a place of protection from the elements or the wild. Under the shelter of a refuge one is in good hands and can find rest.
In February 2014 my father, my good friend Matt and myself stayed in a refuge for two nights. This refuge wasn’t in the alps of Europe. It was actually here stateside on the slopes of one of the most well known mountains in our nation. On the eastern slopes of Pikes Peak in Colorado is a refuge known as Barr Camp. It is only accessible to the public via a long hike. We stayed there in the dead of winter. It wasn’t an emergency stop or anything like that. Rather it was a warm bed, a hot meal, and a refuge for our weary legs during our adventures on the mountain. We summited the mountain after a grueling 13 mile climb in deep snow and steep mountain slopes. Weariness was before us and the refuge of the camp was just what the doctor ordered when night drew near.
Monday, January 31, 2022
[Originally published in the Monroe News on May 26, 2023]
So he’s a bit of a fixer upperBut this we’re certain ofYou can fix this fixer upper upWith a little bit of love!
Ash Hollow State Historic Park / Oregon National Historic Trail Windlass Hill Trail Trailhead Elevation: 3,500 ft. Distance: 0.63 mi. (ro...
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Mt. Washington to Lakes of the Clouds Crawford Path and Appalachian Trail Summit Elevation: 6,228 ft. Lakes Elevation: 5,051 ft. Dista...
[Originally published in the Monroe News on October 2, 2020] My brother and I just recently returned from an extended weekend trip to Gra...
Elevation: 8,947 ft. Distance: 1.80 mi. Start Time: 3:49pm End Time: 5:09pm Trip Report: We weren't sure what to expect for our fi...
Route Name: Northeast Ridge from Silver Creek Start Elevation: 10,400 ft. (Silver Creek Trailhead) Redcloud Summit Elevation: 14,034 ft. ...