Monday, February 28, 2011

Over-prediction, I'm sure..but still...

Weekend highlights

Friday after work, Peyton and I went out a bike ride down Grove Avenue. Turned out to be a windy ride, but definitely enjoyed the waning rays of sunshine. Friday evening we took DeShawn and Larry, our friends from Barton Heights, out for pizza at Bottom's Up.
Saturday turned out to be a gorgeous day, of which I ended up spending most of the morning and early afternoon hours inside studying. The studying was broken up by some granola making and a quick trip to the gym. In the late afternoon, a few friends and I headed out to Tuckahoe some skeet shooting.

Sunday morning brought some studying and reading before heading off to the Priest for an afternoon hike.
When I reached the Priest shelter about 2.5 miles from the trailhead, I ate some lunch and decided I would keep trekking on the AT headed North. I wanted to see how far Crabtree Falls was from the Priest- I had heard that it was less than a mile. I ended up talking to some locals who were out rootin' on a road that crosses the AT. They told me to hike about another mile and I would reach a spur trail that would lead me to the top of the falls. I probably hiked/ran another mile and a half till the top of the falls. The trail was refreshing as the sun was beaming down on the series of trail-side cascades.
     As it was getting later in the day, I wasn't quite sure how far the base of Crabtree was from the Priest trailhead, so I did my best to get down to the parking lot as quick as I could. Once I hit Rt. 56, I turned right towards the Priest trailhead. At that point, my legs were telling me they needed a break. Hitchhiking started to seem like a good option as my legs were tiring out and the parking lot wasn't getting much closer. After about half an hour of walking/running, I started sticking my thumb out at every car that passed. Initially, I got some thumbs up back. I think most of the drivers thought I was just a happy hiker enjoying the beautiful day and was just giving them thumbs up because I was happy. I decided to change my approach. Apparently to them, I either looked too creepy, or too happy. I needed an in between. I tried to look nice, but exhausted, and I did what I could to head nod to them that I wanted a lift, down the road. After a few times using the new approach, I finally got picked up by a lady in a red sports car whom I had passed coming down Crabtree Falls. She didn't even really ask where I was going, or what I needed, she just said, "Hop in!". So, I did, and off we went down 56, another two miles. I was so thankful for her generosity, as another two miles on my not so in shape legs would have made for an even more sore morning than I'm already feeling. I wanted to give her something to thank her, but all I had was a smelly banana peel, and some trail mix.
When I got home I tried to map out the route I took, and the best I can figure is that I probably hiked close to 7 miles and ran another 3. Not that bad, really, but my legs are feeling it today. All, in all, it was a great hike and I am glad I now know how to get from the Priest to Crabtree. I took a few pictures along the hike, and enjoyed the run ins I had with some of the locals, and of course the hiker who picked me up and drove me the final two miles stretch.
Got back to Richmond in time for a worship night at the National and then some hang out time with some friends afterwards.
All in all, a good weekend.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

2011 Reading List

Just a quick post to highlight the books I've read thus far in 2011. The list is not lengthy as it's only the end of February but I thought I'd give some highs and lows of each book. A few of these books were carry overs from 2010, but wrapped up in the beginning of this year.

Midwives- Chris Bogjalian
Highs: Page Turner, Thriller. Portrayed public's skepticism of non-traditional birthing methods.
Lows: Story dragged on at times.

Eight Hours Before Richmond- V.C. Jones
Highs: Historical account of Civil War invasion of Richmond and detailed plot of the Union Army
Lows: As with other Civil War books, particulars are assumed in the author's narrative.

Reason for God- Tim Keller
Pros: I actually didn't get to finish this book, as a guard in the Haitian airport spotted it and thought it looked interesting and asked me how much it would costs for a book like it in the States. I handed it to him and told him he could have it. Perhaps I'll finish it one day, but overall, it highlighted some common arguments most skeptics have and gave fair arguments for skepticism on both sides of the God arguments. Tim Keller does not write in a tone to prove people wrong, but rather to highlight where truth exists clearly.

Off the Grid- Nick Rosen
Highs: Highlighted a multitude of different reasons people might be living off the grid. Went beyond the green movement and into other reasons that lead people to live a lifestyle independent of the grid.
Lows: Author showed opinion in a book I expected would be an unbiased approach to explaining why people live off the grid.

Life is So Good- George Dawson
Highs: Just started this book a couple days ago. So far, the author, who the story is about, does a tremendous job of bringing his story to life. Growing up in the deep South, the grandson of slaves, he tells the story of working for white families across the South and yet highlights the values instilled in him from a young age: to never complain, to always work hard, respect elders, and always to enjoy the small things in life. Mr. Dawson taught himself to read when he was 98 and tells his story in this uplifting biography.
Lows: None to mention yet, except I will probably wish the book was longer.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Lately, I've just been posting links, talks, concerts, and quotes, and animals to my blog. This is an attempt to get back to sharing a little bit about what's going on. I don't know how in depth this post will be, but I am hoping to share a little bit about life. The last couple weekends have brought some great weather our way. Peyton and I have done our best to get in the mountains and have been hiking 3 out of the last 5 weekends. This past weekend we hiked Hobie Mountain. The trailhead is located at the base of Humpback rocks, just outside of Afton Virginia, on the Blue Ridge Parkway. When we arrived, we were met by gusts of over 50 mph. It was windy to say the least! Once we hiked down the ridge into the hollow, the wind was blocked by the mountain. The hike was about 6.5 miles, mostly on the AT. We hiked down to the Paul C. Wolfe shelter where we stopped for lunch. This was probably one of the nicer AT shelters I have seen. I always love reading the trail journals at each shelter. It was cool to see how many people braved the winter weather to backpack to the shelter in December, January, and February.

   After completing the hike, we made our way to Charlottesville where we got some warm coffee and browsed some used book stores before going to the UVA lacrosse game. The game started at 5, and was much colder than we expected. We only lasted through a little past half time when over half of the crowd decided the same thing. the rest of the evening was spent by the fire reading Life is So Good by George Dawson.
  Sunday brought a good church service followed by an afternoon of biostats as I worked through my third test. We caught up with Peyton's folks and brother, Addison, on Sunday evening at Can Can for dinner.
  We had the day off on Monday and enjoyed making some granola in the morning along with doing some needed house chores. I also got the chance to get out to Pipeline for some fun squirting around on some sweet eddy lines. Can't wait for the sun to warm the water here in the next couple months. I was joined by several Blue Heron on flying around from rock to rock looking for fish.

  Excited for tonight- going to hear De Klerk at UR speak on Leading Change and Diverse Societies. De Klerk was President of South Africa before Nelson Mandella and was instrumental in freeing Mandella from prison. Together they share the Nobel Peace Prize for bringing an end to apartheid in S. Africa. Hopefully will be able to give an update on this tomorrow.


Until later..

Sam Bush- Mountain Stage

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Inspiring a life of immersion

Another great TED video. Author of Little Blue Sweater, Jacqueline Novogratz. Hope you can get a chance to watch this:

Jacqueline Novogratz: Inspiring a life of immersion | Video on

Quote of the week

It is a long baptism into the sea of humankind, my daughter. 
Better immersion than to live untouched.  -Tillie Olsen

Friday, February 11, 2011

Animal of the week- Turkey Vulcher


     The turkey vulcher, Cathartes aura, is found in most of North and South America, including many of the Carribean islands. These birds are huge, with wingspans between 4-6 feet and a body length of 2-3 feet. 
These birds are scavengers, feeding mostly on dead animals or carcasses. Next time you think about how tasty that turkey vulture would taste with the road kill deer you just threw in your truck, think again... In the U.S. the turkey vulcher receives legal protection under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, outlawing the killing or hunting of this bird. 
Below is the region most turkey vultures are found:

     The Turkey Vulture is gregarious and roosts in large community groups, breaking away to forage independently during the day. The Turkey Vulture has few natural predators. Adult, immature and fledging vultures may fall prey to golden eagles, bald eagles, or owls while eggs and nestlings may be preyed on by mammals such as raccoons, opossum, and foxes.Quite interestingly, its primary form of defense is regurgitating semi-digested meat, a foul-smelling substance which deters most creatures intent on raiding a vulture nest. Aside from eating recently killed animals, It may rarely feed on plant matter, shoreline vegetation, pumpkin and other crops, live insects, and other small invertebrates.
     The Turkey Vulture is sometimes accused of carrying anthrax or hog cholera, both livestock diseases, on its feet or bill by cattle ranchers and is therefore occasionally perceived as a threat.
Populations appear to remain stable, and it has not reached the threshold of inclusion as a threatened species, which requires a decline of more than 30 percent in ten years or three generations.

Monday, February 7, 2011

La Persona de la semana- Ela Bhatt

      This week's pick is a leader in micro-finance, women, and international labor movements. Ela was born on September 7, 1933 in the city of Ahmedabad, India. She is widely known as the “gentle revolutionary” as she has dedicated her life to improving the lives of India’s poorest and most oppressed women workers, with Gandhian thinking as her source of guidance. In 1972, she founded the Self-Employed Women's Association- a trade union with over 1,000,000 member now. She also founded the Sa-Dhan and the Indian School of Micro-finance for women. She was a member of Indian Parliment from 1986-1989. She also served as a trustee of Rockefeller Foundation for over a decade.
    Her grandparents worked with Mahatma Gandhi in the non-violent struggle for Indian Independence from the British. Deeply influenced by Gandhi, Ela has followed his ideals all her life. She has pioneered the idea that people themselves, no matter how poor or uneducated, are able to solve their own problems if they organize together to do so.
    To read more about Ela's story, here is a link to more information about the work she is doing in India:

Goshen Pass/Spy Rock

    Last week, Kyle and I drove over to paddle Goshen Pass on the Maury River.The level was just under 1,000cfs. Below are some pictures from a sunny, but cold afternoon on the pass. A quick two laps and we were back in time for an evening study session at the library.

       Sunday morning, Peyton and I drove to Lexington where I was involved in a pannel discussion about local college ministries in the area. I definitely felt honored to be a part of this discussion group at the church I attended while at VMI. It was great catching up with the pastor and other friends from Grace. I am always impressed with their continued hospitality and courtesy to the people of their church and community.
As we drove back over the mountain to Richmond, we stopped for a quick hike up to Spy Rock, in Montebello, Virginia. Below are some pictures of our hike. A short, but rewarding hike indeed. Always feel grateful for the beauty in Virginia and the chance to get out in between the work and studying that seems to keep me pretty busy these days.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Quote of the Week

"In the end what matters is not how good we are but how good God is. Not how much we love Him but how much He loves us. And God loves us whoever we are, whatever we’ve done or failed to do, whatever we believe or can’t."
Desmond Tutu

First song

      Last night, after a couple evenings playing around with one particular song on the flute, I decided I was going to write down the notes so I would remember them. I have been learning the Native American style flute over the last year. The flute I have is in the key of F. Besides for a few videos I've watched, I have taught myself most of the melodies I play. The song doesn't have a name yet, but as I sat in my bed late last night writing down the notes in my journal, I really pondered the creativity that flute playing allows. Each note is so simple, yet you can do so much between notes. Below is my journal entry.