Getting Ready for the Grasslands

I’d been looking forward to the Grasslands Trail Run for more than a year.  Late March weather in Texas would be a break from New York’s lingering winter, and the course follows gorgeous sandy trails – for a barefoot runner like me, this would be a real treat.

The race was three months off, but here I was stuck in New York for the winter, and heavy snow was falling — conditions not conducive to barefoot running.  This raised an interesting question — how would I prepare for the race? Continue reading “Getting Ready for the Grasslands”

Getting Ready for the Grasslands

I Sing the Body Electronic

The pivotal scene in the 2019 science-fiction film, Alita: Battle Angel, occurs when the heroine emerges from the lake, cradling a headless metallic body.  This is the shell of a Berserker cyborg warrior.  It will give Alita the strength to go into battle against her foes.  You see, Alita is herself a cyborg — the only part of her body that’s human is her brain.

The movie presents a future in which people swap out flesh and blood for technology.  For the current generation, this is fantasy, but for the next generation (or their children), maybe not.  So let’s ask the question — what’s the downside to this trade?

alita-3.png

Continue reading “I Sing the Body Electronic”

I Sing the Body Electronic

The Catskills All Trails Challenge

Over the last few years, I’ve spent a lot of time climbing the Catskill High Peaks, traditionally defined as summits of 3,500 feet in elevation or higher. Not only have I climbed each of these, I’ve done each in every month of the year, which is called the Grid.

The Catskills All Trails Challenge is a different kind of exercise. It requires you to complete every hiking trail in the region, which total 347 miles in length. I embarked on this challenge with curiosity, for it would take me out to places I’d never seen before.

Since I’d been hiking and running in the Catskills for many years, I already had close to half the trails complete. Over the last year, I’ve made several trips in pursuit of this new goal, which has pushed my completion level to 66%. It’s been slow progress. Many of the trails are remote. Sometimes the trails I need are quite short, but require a long walk to reach a junction I’d never taken before. While there are some loops, most often I have to go out-and-back, which means it takes twice the required distance to complete the trail.

Like any challenge, this exercise provides structure, a specific goal, camaraderie, and a sense of meaning. I’m looking forward to earning the certificate of completion, which I’ll add to my collection of finisher medals and other trinkets. But the real question is what I’ll experience by going out to new places. What I’m finding so far is that the All Trails Challenge is a different experience from peak-bagging. Instead of rocky summits with distant views, I’m discovering lovely forests and meadows and so much water — ponds, lakes, streams, bogs, and falls.

What follows are a handful of images and some observations from trips taken over the last year.

Continue reading “The Catskills All Trails Challenge”

The Catskills All Trails Challenge