Walking Faithfully

Rob Hausam's blog about walking and other means of wilderness travel, the environment, faith, and the connections between them

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TGO Challenge Day -4

May 12th, 2012 · Uncategorized

Sunday morning I took the train to Reading where I met up with Graeme Powell and his family and went with them to the worship service at their church – Carey Baptist. I have photos that Graeme wants me to get to Pastor Steve. Meeting Graeme’s family was lovely – his wife, Caroline, and children Abby and Zach (not quite sure of all spellings). Then Graeme drove me to Stansted airport to fly to Germany.


Carey Baptist Church, Reading, UK


Carey Baptist Church, Reading, UK (vertical view)

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TGO Challenge Days -6 and -5

May 12th, 2012 · Uncategorized


Broadway, NYC


Letterman and "The Late Show"

These posts will by necessity be “succinct”. :) I spent most of Day -6 (Thursday) in NYC. I did get to see Aunt Mary, who is doing fairly well under the circumstances – in the nursing home. Her 92’nd birthday was two days ago – May 10th! I didn’t get to buy the camera I was hoping to get in NYC – long story. And I think I was flying (or wishing I could) before I got to JFK airport – another “miracle” boarding of the plane just in time!

Day -5 I arrived in London. Always nice. Did some work – hard to get away from it. And, Dennis, yes, I did get a new camera!


Walking about in London

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TGO Challenge Day -7: Louisville to New York City

May 4th, 2012 · Uncategorized

I’m counting yesterday as the first official day of my TGO Challenge trip.  I spent earlier this week in Louisville, having a very nice visit with my daughter, Ann, son-in-law, Luke, and grandsons Ian and Elliott.  Yesterday is “officially” the start of the Challenge trip, because Louisville to NYC is the first flight leg on the way to the UK – I will leave NYC tonight and will be in London tomorrow (Saturday) morning!   The SLC to Louisville and back legs are booked as a separate trip, very nicely bookending the two ends of the Challenge trip.


Louisville - Ian in the TrailStar


Last night the flight arrived a bit late into La Guardia.  I also had noticed even before I had left Louisville that somehow I had managed to leave the power supply to my MacBook Air at Ann and Luke’s house.  So, after getting my bearings at La Guardia, and leaving a message for my cousins Jim and Paul on my Aunt Mary’s phone, I boarded the M60 bus and then picked up the N train into Manhattan.  I got off the train at 5th Ave. and 59th St. and then walked about a block to the very impressive and very busy Apple store on 5th Ave. and bought myself a new power supply!

The next step was to get to my room for the night at the West Side YMCA.  I wasn’t quite sure where it was, so I used one of the Macs in the Apple store to look it up, and it turned out that it was within quite reasonable walking distance from the store, just on the other side of Central Park.  I had a nice walk there, and checked in.  The room was quite simple, but I was actually rather impressed by how nice and clean the facility is.  I would use it again and definitely would recommend it for a less expensive place to stay in Manhattan.  After getting settled and talking to Lisa on the phone, I went out again and had a Burrito Bowl at Chipotle.  When I got back to the room I did a little work, talked to Lisa again, and then pretty much crashed for the night.  I slept well.  Overall, a good day (other than having to buy the power supply)!

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Now It’s Really Time!

February 18th, 2012 · Uncategorized

The new Scottish Hill Tracks arrived yesterday, so now it really is time to get the planning done!  The folks at the Scottish Rights of Way & Access Society were very helpful in getting the book posted and on its way.  I now officially have 11 days left to turn in my route, but it would be best to turn it in at least a week ahead of the final deadline, so I should be getting it done over the next few days.  Stay tuned!

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Time to Plan a Route!

February 7th, 2012 · Uncategorized

On Sunday John Manning sent a reminder email (in case anyone had actually forgotten!) that the TGO Challenge routes are due to be turned in by Feb. 29 at the latest – less than 4 weeks away!  I waited until we were back from our travel to Missouri and my return from the HL7 meeting in San Antonio, plus getting my recent work contracts up and running – and now it’s February.  So, I need to get busy.

I also just discovered tonight that the new edition of Scottish Hill Tracks is now available!  I had been hoping to get a new copy, but it wasn’t available (out of print) when I checked in December and January.  Now my hope is that somehow the order that I just placed can arrive here from the UK in less than 2 weeks (considerably less, hopefully) – we’ll see.  Whether it comes in time or not, it’s an extremely useful book for planning walking routes in Scotland.  I used the earlier edition for planning in 2008 and 2009, and it was incredibly helpful – unfortunately, somehow I haven’t been able to locate that earlier copy since Lisa and I moved downstairs and the rest of the family moved in in 2010.  So it’s even more important that I get the new copy in time!

I’m thinking of beginning farther north than I have before, probably in Torridon or Strathcarron.  Chances are I’ll likely end in Stonehaven again, after making my way through the Fetterresso Forest.  That was a memorable part of the 2007 journey.  I won’t be doing that ending stretch with Bob Cartwright and Colin Ibbotson this time, as they are not on the Challenge this year – but who knows who else I may bump into and possibly hook up with along the way.  I should have more to post about the actual results of my planning efforts very soon.

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Happy New Year!

January 1st, 2012 · Uncategorized

This is just a quick note to wish everyone a happy New Year – hopefully including lot’s of walking and other outdoor activities!  I’m making a little progress on my walking plans, but I still have much more to do.

I need to finish planning and submitting my TGO Challenge route within the next 30 days or so.  That’s generally an enjoyable task, but a task nonetheless.  Unfortunately, I’m going to have to do my planning this time without the aid of my Scottish Hill Tracks book.  Since we rearranged everything when our kids moved in with us a year and a half ago I haven’t been able to locate my copy, and the latest edition is now out of print – waiting for a new edition to be published, I understand, but that’s not going to be soon enough to help me with my route planning.  As a compensation of sorts, though, I did receive for Christmas a copy of Chris Townsend’s book Scotland, which appears to have a wealth of wonderful information.  I had actually thought that I was getting it last year, but it didn’t quite happen – that’s another story, but I’m definitely pleased to have it now.  I’ll post more details of the route and the route planning process shortly.

So enjoy the year, and let’s all resolve to get out more!  Hopefully I’ll meet up with you on the trail somewhere!

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More TGO Challenge Info

November 20th, 2011 · Uncategorized

While I’m waiting to get some of my 2007 Challenge account written and posted, I thought I would add links to some interviews and podcasts with info on my 2007 trip which were done by Andy Howell and Bob Cartwright at backpackinglight.co.uk and The Outdoors Station and Ken Knight at backpackinglight.com.  The Outdoors Station TGO Challenge 2007 Part 11 has an interview that Andy did with me, where we talk about my somewhat unconventional choice of footwear, among many other things.  Part 13 has Bob’s account and interviews of the last days’s walk through the Feteresso Forest and the finish at Stonehaven (for most of our group).  The backpackinglight.com piece included interviews about my trip, along with photos and a gear list.  I hope you enjoy listening and looking, and maybe this will help inspire some of you to consider taking part in a future TGO Challenge yourself!

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Yes, I’m In!!!

November 19th, 2011 · Uncategorized

It’s official!  I’ve been successful in the draw and have secured a place on the 2012 TGO Challenge!  Actually, I’ve known that for a little over a week now, but today (18th) is the day that the folks in the UK have begun receiving their letters saying yea or nay and now it’s OK to go public with it.  Many of you may not know much, or maybe anything at all, about the Challenge, but there’s lots of good information out there (you can start with the link above).

In a nutshell, the TGO Challenge is is a close to 2 week, nearly 200 mile backpacking trip across Scotland from the west to the east coast.  It has been held every May since 1980, sponsored by TGO Magazine and also in recent years by Rab.  You plan your own route.  You may go alone or with others, but you are walking at the same time as about 300 others (who have also made it in the draw or from the standby list), and even if you are going alone and don’t know anyone when you start, that’s unlikely to be the case by the time you reach the finish point at Montrose.  You will walk in all kinds of weather (some years more so than others!), over varied and frequently amazingly beautiful terrain.  You will truly be challenged, and it may push your limits, but if you are reasonably prepared it is unlikely that it will exceed them.  And if that does happen anyway, there is a dedicated staff (now led by John Manning) at Challenge Control in Montrose who are checking on you and are prepared to assist if needed.  And that’s not to mention the help that you may receive from fellow Challengers along the way.  All in all, it’s a very remarkable, enjoyable, definitely challenging and unique event!

I have had the pleasure of entering and completing the Challenge once before, in 2007.  It’s hard to believe that in May it will actually have been 5 years since I did that.  After doing it I think I was pretty much hooked, and I have been hoping to get back and do another “full crossing” ever since.  I entered again in 2008, but family activities ended up taking precedence and I needed to drop out prior to the event.  In 2009 Lisa and I both entered, and we began the walk, but had to drop out after 4 days.  Lisa found it to be a bit too much for her to handle, although she enjoyed most aspects of the part that she was able to do, and we had a wonderful 2 week vacation in Scotland nonetheless.  In 2010 I entered and was accepted again, but this time work demands ended up preventing me from making the trip.

This year I didn’t even enter, as I felt that I needed to attend the HL7 meeting in Orlando, FL, which overlapped the main part of the Challenge.  It was a good thing that I didn’t enter, because my dad died rather suddenly on March 16th.  After that we spent a good deal of time in Missouri with my mom, and my job had changed as well, and if I had planned to do the trip it just wouldn’t have been able to happen.  For 2012, the HL7 meeting is unfortunately again overlapping, but this time I’ve decided to go with the Challenge!

It turns out that I’ve done surprisingly little significant walking (backpacking or otherwise) over the last 4 1/2 years since the Challenge.  I had actually thought that it was going to be the opposite, that after I completed the Challenge the first time I would continue to do other trips and expand on the experience that I gained then of longer distance walking.  It just hasn’t happened that way, but I am trusting that, God willing, in one way or another it still will.

As this post may indicate, I believe this is also going to get me back into blogging!  I have been wanting and planning to do that, but life has been rather chaotic lately in several ways, and I just haven’t found the time and motivation for it.  However, another TGO Challenge attempt is a good reason!  I intend to write about the planning and preparation, and then, of course, the trip itself.  There are lots of decisions to be made.  First and foremost is the route.  I had planned a route in 2008, and Lisa and I started a route in 2009.  I’ll probably look at those again, but for the most part I’ll likely come up with something new.  Then there’s also choices of footwear (I tend to have somewhat unconventional ideas there), shelter, maybe camera?, and many others to make, including food.  And that’s not to mention the travel plans themselves and anything that might be done that fits around them.  I’m working on some other possible “adventure” ideas of that nature, for both Lisa and me.  We’ll see how all of that goes.

This is about enough for the first post of this new blogging effort.  As sort of a 5-year commemoration, I am also hoping to complete the account of my 2007 Challenge and post it along as I get portions completed.  I’m looking forward to that, as the trip still seems rather fresh in my mind, even nearly 5 years out.  I’ll plan to finish up with Lisa’s and my 2009 trip, as well, plus my brief 2010 experience on a portion of the Arizona Trail with Colin Ibbotson.  There’s actually quite a bit to write about, but right now I need to get some sleep!

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Blogging Faithfully? – Not!

April 8th, 2010 · Uncategorized

I certainly haven’t been lately!  All I can say is that things have been pretty busy.  But I really want to do this and keep up with it on a regular basis.  So I will keep going, and I do have some other things that I want to say, which should be coming soon.  Thanks for reading!

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Time for a New Post – with Musings on the Weather, Global Warming and Geologic History

February 3rd, 2010 · Uncategorized

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted anything, and I need to do something about that.  After all, now that I have a blog I do have some responsibility to my readers :) (I do have at least two that I know of–thanks, John and Darren!).  A little over two weeks ago I traveled to Phoenix, Arizona, for an HL7 (health IT standards organization) meeting.  It was a good meeting, with lots of catching up with people, and quite a bit of work that got done.  But it rained nearly the entire time that we were in Phoenix (quite odd in itself)–at times it was torrential!  Plus, a tornado touched down briefly one night not too far from my hotel.  And also, not that far to the north, in Flagstaff, they had over 5 feet of snow within 5 days!  At least Phoenix didn’t get any snow–that would really have been strange!

Anyway, the point of that is that the weather seems to have been a bit odd lately, in many places.  My friends, as well as the news reports, from the UK indicate that they have been having an unusual amount of snow there, too.  Plus, it seems to be that way in other areas of the world, as well.  But NASA has just reported that the last decade was the warmest ever.  I find it interesting, and a little difficult to square the juxtaposition of those observations.  I can understand how global warming could conceivably increase rainfall in some areas (and cause drought in others), but I do find it a bit of a stretch to see how it could very likely account for increased snowfall in some of the more southern areas.  I’m not really a global warming skeptic–there certainly has been climate change, and it’s had some significant effects in some areas–but I’m also not necessarily a “true believer” that it’s necessarily all or mostly due to a human-caused increase in the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere.  I have no real doubt that some of it is caused by that, but exactly how much?  I’m not certain that the science is quite as settled as some think that it is.  Even with that said, though, I think there are plenty of other reasons, in addition to the threat of global warming, that we absolutely should significantly reduce our utilization of fossil fuels in this country, and in the world–and it’s great if that will help us at least to some degree with the global warming situation, while we are still working to better nail down the science.

One other good thing about the trip to Phoenix was that I did have a very nice flight there from Salt Lake City on Sunday (1/17), with beautiful clear weather at that time, resulting in the opportunity for a spectacular view of the Grand Canyon (and seemingly much of the rest of the southwest and the Four Corners area).  The geology, and the beauty, is simply stupendous.  And the view from up in the air at around 30,000 feet gives an additional unique perspective that I hadn’t really seen that much of before (I wish I could have gotten a good photo).  It’s not a focus on the details, as in the individual layers of the rock, but a sense of all of it as a whole.  There is the large, elevated, seemingly almost perfectly flat Colorado plateau, and then the massive gorge of the Grand Canyon deeply cutting right through it, with the quite visible, but rather small appearing Colorado River at the bottom.  Amazing!  I understand the general geologic explanations of how it was all formed, and many of them are rather plausible, but again I’m not quite sure if we really know exactly how long it took for either the rock layers or the canyon itself to be formed, or exactly when all of it occurred.  I’m sorry, but I often tend to approach things like this with a good bit of skepticism regarding the details, particularly when a lot of assumptions may be involved in arriving at the “accepted wisdom.”  I certainly can’t prove it from my brief observation from the air, or my prior visits to the canyon, or even from the reading that I’ve done, but it does appear very likely to me that catastrophic events, and not just uniformitarian processes, were significantly involved.  From what I do know, I doubt that most mainstream geologists and paleontologists would disagree with me very much on that, anyway.

Certainly as a Christian, it’s interesting to speculate on how the biblical flood would fit into all of this.  It would no doubt be a very significant factor, but exactly how, and exactly when, I’m not certain.  Many people feel that they have that pretty well worked out, with explanations that are radically different from those offered by “mainstream” science.  But I’m rather skeptical of many or maybe most of those claims, as well.  I’m just not sure that people on either side have all of the processes and the timelines right.  Some of the explanations seem plausible, but many don’t seem to me to quite fit with what is actually there.  I will admit, though, that I’m certainly no expert on this subject and I haven’t studied it anywhere near as thoroughly as maybe I wish I would have.  So, rather than risk engaging any further in what may be meaningless speculation or the passing on of actual misinformation, I think I will just stop here for now.  And maybe I will try to do some further study on this.  I think I probably should.

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