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Archive for the ‘Appalachian Trail’ Category

Busy is good, yes?

In Appalachian Trail, Coaching, Epiphanies, Leave Your Comfort Zone, Uncategorized on May 7, 2017 at 9:52 pm

I’ve been busy — hiking, studying Civil War history, plotting grand strategy, serving as a judge for tomorrow’s entrepreneurs, envisioning my next quest, and planning for a nostalgic reunion with a few old Army buddies.

And along the way …

  • I’ve picked up a number of new executive coaching clients,
  • entered into a new partnership to train another cohort of future leaders,
  • celebrated a key birthday, qualifying to draw upon my military retirement pay, and
  • have worked on a remodeling project for my Mom in the old house I once lived in as a very young lad.

When you find yourself too busy to figure out which end is up or what direction is north, pause to take a breathe and pull out your values-based compass. Orient yourself by determining true north. Set a new azimuth and calculate how far you’ll travel on this path.

Then take that next step.

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Random facts re: two Presidential retreats

In Appalachian Trail on August 17, 2015 at 6:36 pm
Camp Hoover was built at the headway of the Rapidan River.

Camp Hoover was built at the headway of the Rapidan River.

There are just a few buildings that remain standing at Rapidan Camp.

There are just a few buildings that remain standing at Rapidan Camp.

Before there was “Shangri-La,” there was Rapidan Camp.

Shangri-La  (a.k.a. Camp David) is not open to the public. The Catoctin Mountain Park service does not indicate the location of Camp David on park maps due to privacy and security concerns. Don’t be spoofed by A parody site of WhiteHouse.Gov

The Rapidan Camp, on the other hand, is open to all who may hike down Mill Prong Trail or the Rapidan Road in the Shenandoah National Park.

Shangri-La was constructed as a WPA project during the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration in Catoctin Mountain Park near Thurmont, Maryland. Shangri-La employed dozens if not hundreds of construction workers, staff, and security paid for with federal funds. The number of staff currently assigned to Camp David is unknown.

A detail of Marines erected five tents on a concrete and wooden platform as the rest of Camp Hoover was being built.

A detail of Marines erected five tents on a concrete and wooden platform as the rest of Camp Hoover was being built.

Mr. Hare is a 73 year old park volunteer (left) with yours truly as we pose for a selfie on the back porch of the Brown House.

Mr. Hare is a 73 year old park volunteer (left) with yours truly as we pose for a selfie on the back porch of the Brown House.

Barbara is the wife of Mr. Hare. Both are volunteers who take care of the Brown House at Rapidan Camp.

Barbara is the wife of Mr. Hare. Both are volunteers who take care of the Brown House at Rapidan Camp.

Hikers can cross a foot bridge which spans a lovely trout stream. President Hoover and his wife seem a bit over dressed by today's standards.

Hikers can cross a foot bridge which spans a lovely trout stream. President Hoover and his wife seem a bit over dressed by today’s standards.

The Rapidan Camp was constructed on land purchased by Herbert Hoover. Materials used to build Camp Hoover came from his private funds. US Marines were given a ‘mission’ to build the camp. The first structures at the Rapidan Camp consisted of no more than Five Tents erected on a concrete and wooden floor. Today, volunteers care for the camp and give tours of the facilities.

And for those who’ve read this blog post to this point … Consider and please comment on the following questions:

  1.  How important is it for leaders to take a vacation and get away from their normal place or work or residence?
  2.  How often do you take a vacation or go on an ‘executive retreat’?
  3.  Where is your favorite get away?
  4.  Are you a beach person or do you like to escape to the mountains?
  5.  Do you seek out places where others vacation or do you enjoy solitude when vacationing?

Think Outside, Redux

In Appalachian Trail, Epiphanies, Leave Your Comfort Zone on June 7, 2015 at 5:38 pm
Q: Why did the black bear cross the road? A: Obviously, to avoid the hikers who were out celebrating National Trails Day.

Q: Why did the black bear cross the road?
A: Obviously, to avoid the hikers who were out celebrating National Trails Day.

 

Yesterday, I saw a bear! And last week, I saw a six foot long, black rat snake sunning itself after a mid-day shower. Several days before that my wife, son, his girlfriend, and I; drove along Skyline Drive and spotted deer. Which wasn’t too difficult as one young whitetail was grazing nonchalantly behind the Big Meadows Lodge as we were enjoying a few Margarita Blues & a Speakeasy Sour.

There’s something special about getting outdoors and reconnecting with nature. Some folks enjoy the solitude. Others may wish to go ‘glamping‘ (a trend with roots planted by the rich and famous from the West Coast). Regardless your persuasion, I encourage you to ‘think outside.’ I didn’t say ‘think outside the box’ — unless you view your house, apartment, or cubicle as a ‘box’ — but rather simply think outside, no box required.

So to encourage those who may have returned from their outdoor sojourn or to hear from our glampers who take their smart devices into the woods with them, please share your comments and observations. Or add your name to this contact form so that I may more purposefully share future stories which may appeal to those who go ‘Into the Woods’ or claim to be members of ‘We Are The Wild.’

Here are a few images captured on my hike #6 on National Trails Day.

The Appalachian Trail just north of Elkswallow Wayside & Picnic area.

The Appalachian Trail just north of Elkswallow Wayside & Picnic area.

After working to 'make your mark' at the office all week, to 'leave no trace' is good advice when going into the woods.

After working to ‘make your mark’ at the office all week, to ‘leave no trace’ is good advice when going into the woods.

Look closely. Is this a spider or some other insect?

Look closely. Is this a spider or some other insect?

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The Appalachian Trail parallels Skyline Drive thru most of the Shenandoah National Park. Here's one place where it crosses near an overlook.

The Appalachian Trail parallels Skyline Drive thru most of the Shenandoah National Park. Here’s one place where it crosses near an overlook.

Panoramic view from Rattlesnake Point Overlook

Panoramic view from Rattlesnake Point Overlook

Sometimes you get lucky during a rain storm and the forest supplies a natural 'umbrella' with its canopy.

Sometimes you get lucky during a rain storm and the forest supplies a natural ‘umbrella’ with its canopy.

Here's a selfie taken as  proof that hikers don't melt if caught in the rain.

Here’s a selfie taken as proof that hikers don’t melt if caught in the rain.

Note: The first Saturday in June has been designated as National Trails Day by the American Hiking Society. The Wilderness Society and Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine sponsor the Dirty Dozen Wilderness Hike Challenge.

Think outside, no box required.

In Aha!, Appalachian Trail, Epiphanies on June 2, 2015 at 5:19 pm

“The mountains are calling and I must go.” — John Muir

#WeAreTheWild
#DirtyDozenHikeChallenge
#IntoTheWoods

… These are just a few of the hashtags used by those who are participating in the “Dirty Dozen Hike Challenge” co-sponsored by The Wilderness Society and Blue Ridge Outdoor Magazine. There’s little I need to say about this event. You can Google it and/or friend their Facebook page. But the best thing to do is to answer the call.

… Here are a few photos from my first five hikes. Enjoy.

Appalachian Trail marker at the north end of the Shenandoah National Park

Appalachian Trail marker at the north end of the Shenandoah National Park

Hiking into the woods along a blazed trail.

Hiking into the woods along a blazed trail.

Stream crossing along the AT.

Stream crossing along the AT.

Waysides and campsites are great places to stop.

Waysides and campsites are great places to stop.

If I were a bear, this might be a good place to rest.

If I were a bear, this might be a good place to rest.

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Some kind and generous soul left some mushrooms in a yellow bag.

Some kind and generous soul left some mushrooms in a yellow bag.

Occasionally you'll find a boardwalk that protects sensitive wetlands.

Occasionally you’ll find a boardwalk that protects sensitive wetlands.

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Jake the snake might have been stepped on by another hiker.

Jake the snake might have been stepped on by another hiker.

Inside view of a hut on the Appalachian Trail.

Inside view of a hut on the Appalachian Trail.

Just checking the map before heading south along the AT.

Just checking the map before heading south along the AT.

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Spectacular vista atop the Skyline Drive.

Spectacular vista atop the Skyline Drive.

Yep, I had to climb those rocks.

Yep, I had to climb those rocks.

I nice place for a quick, cold shower.

I nice place for a quick, cold shower.

My son and his girlfriend came along on a recent hike.

My son and his girlfriend came along on a recent hike.

My lovely wife joined us too.

My lovely wife joined us too.

I don't think you're supposed to eat these but they sure are colorful.

I don’t think you’re supposed to eat these but they sure are colorful.

Well maintained trails are everywhere.

Well maintained trails are everywhere.

The honeysuckle made for a sweet smelling hike.

The honeysuckle made for a sweet smelling hike.

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Stream crossing

Stream crossing

A view of the falls

A view of the falls

Stream crossing

Stream crossing

A great hike parallels the ridge line and climbs at a 'gentle' rate or slope.

A great hike parallels the ridge line and climbs at a ‘gentle’ rate or slope.

Interesting growth (fungi?) looks like cabbage

Interesting growth (fungi?) looks like cabbage

The Appalachian Trail can be quite peaceful when hiked during a weekday.

The Appalachian Trail can be quite peaceful when hiked during a weekday.

Deadwood serves at 'food' source for shell-like growth.

Deadwood serves at ‘food’ source for shell-like growth.

These flower-shaped growths are quite delicate and look like a bouquet of flowers actually.

These flower-shaped growths are quite delicate and look like a bouquet of flowers actually.

Toadstool sans toad.

Toadstool sans toad.

I wonder is this is a black truffle. Probably not.

I wonder is this is a black truffle. Probably not.

Slug on orange-red 'mushroom.'

Slug on orange-red ‘mushroom.’

This 'mushroom' reminded me of the dancing shrooms from Fantasia.

This ‘mushroom’ reminded me of the dancing shrooms from Fantasia.

There were large fields of ferns under the trees which looked like good places to camp along the AT.

There were large fields of ferns under the trees which looked like good places to camp along the AT.

You've got to love a well marked trail. These signposts are at nearly every crossroad.

You’ve got to love a well marked trail. These signposts are at nearly every crossroad.

Three perfectly shaped wild mushrooms. I wonder if this variety is edible. Perhaps I should do more homework before my next hike.

Three perfectly shaped wild mushrooms. I wonder if this variety is edible. Perhaps I should do more homework before my next hike.

This sign was near my turn around point for hike #7 and located where the AT crosses Skyline Drive.

This sign was near my turn around point for hike #7 and located where the AT crosses Skyline Drive.

Armed with a map and aided by these mile markers, one can easily estimate how much of your hike remains ahead of you and how much ground you've covered so far.

Armed with a map and aided by these mile markers, one can easily estimate how much of your hike remains ahead of you and how much ground you’ve covered so far.

By the end of the day, I figured that I'd live my walking stick behind for a future trekker.

By the end of the day, I figured that I’d live my walking stick behind for a future trekker.