“Washington and Lafayette at Valley Forge,” during the winter of 1777-78, and as noted last June 23…
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Last year at this time I was training for a four-day “hike” on the Chilkoot Trail.* (Well- and deservedly known as the “meanest 33 miles in history,” and as ilustrated at right.)
I was also getting ready – last year at this time – to canoe 440 miles down the Yukon River, in Canada.* That canoe-trip started three or four days after the hike, and took 13 days.
This year at this time I’m in training to hike 450 miles in 30 days on the Camino de Santiago, in Spain, in September.
Between last June and this June we’ve had a contentious presidential election, and an even more contentious beginning-of-the-Trump Administration. So I’ve decided to focus on some things I can actually have an impact on. (And that won’t drive me crazy trying to keep up with all the lies and counter-lies.) Things like my upcoming pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago.
Which means that in the near future I’ll be starting a series of posts, detailing what I expect the hiking trip to be like. I’ll refer to those posts during the hike itself. Then, once the hiking trip is over, I’ll do a post-mortem, to see how close my fantasy matched with reality.
But first, here’s a look back at last year at this time. (Vis-à-vis “fantasy matching reality.”)
In “The Sweetest Place on Earth” – posted last June 23 – I noted “the difference in those who can work with others to come up with viable solutions to our problems, as opposed to those who just ‘curse the darkness.'” Which seems strangely prescient, as was this cartoon:
In that post I also noted the now-apparently-obsolete idea that “great politicians sell hope.” (An idea which now seems far more honored in the breach.) But a reminder: In this post I am trying to “focus on things I can actually have an impact on.” Which brought up the idea of “65 being the new 30,” and on my then-just-turning 65, and so being eligible for Medicare:
There’s a lot of living left to do after age 60…
Or age 65 for that matter. And a BTW: The post included a photo of Christie Brinkley, with the comment, “Now that’s turning 60!”
And speaking of reasons why it’s great to live in this country: I followed-up that June 23 post with On the Independent Voter. (Posted July 5, 2016.) Which made that a great time to bring up Independence Day:
Independence Day is a day of family celebrations [of] the American tradition of political freedom… Independence Day is a patriotic holiday for celebrating the positive aspectsof the United States… Above all, people in the United States express and give thanks for the freedom and liberties fought [for] by the first generation of many of today’s Americans. (E.A.)
Those Independent Voters – “who don’t align with either major political party” – could well have taken their cue from Ralph Waldo Emerson, who said: “Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist.” Which presents the biggest problem facing such “Independents:”
“One must always choose the lesser of two weevils!”
Of course it remains to be seen whether Americans chose the “lesser of two weevils” in last November’s election. But who knows? It may turn out that – like America under the Articles of Confederation – things had to get much worse before they could get much better…
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The upper image is courtesy of Valley Forge – Wikipedia.
“Note” also that an asterisk in the main text indicates a statement supported by a reference detailed further in this “notes” section. Thus as to the “hike’ on the Chilkoot Trail,” and “canoeing 440 miles ‘down’ the Yukon River, in Canada:” The image of the Chilkoot Trail is courtesy of Explore the Chilkoot Trail, and/or the National Park Service. The caption: “Looking South From False Summit, Chilkoot Trail.” As to my experience, see On the Chilkoot &^%$# Trail! – Part 1, and On the Chilkoot &^%$# Trail! – Part 2, both of which have photo-image mishaps which need to be addressed. As to the 13-day Yukon River trip, see “Naked lady on the Yukon…“
Another note: The Yukon canoe trip went from Whitehorse to Dawson City. As to the emphasized “up:” The Yukon is like the Nile in that it flows north, unlike many other rivers. Thus when paddling down the river – with the current – one is actually paddling north, and thus “up.”
The quote “things had to get worse before they could get better” is one I remembered from reading The Quartet: Orchestrating the Second American Revolution, 1783-1789, by Joseph Eilis. (Or “Words to that Effect.”) Ellis wrote about the four men who “shaped the contours of American history by diagnosing the systemic dysfunctions created by the Articles of Confederation.” (Note the emphasized phrase “systemic dysfunction.”) Another note: Ellis’ book is not to be confused with The Second American Revolution, by John W. Whitehead. That book ostensibly seeks to be a Christian “fundamentalist manifesto,” and/or to lay “the foundation and framework for fighting the tyrannical, secularist, humanistic power, which has separated our country from its Judeo-Christian base and now dominates this nation and its courts.”
The lower image is courtesy of pinterest.com. See also Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World – YouTube, Lesser of Two Evils – TV Tropes, Reader Opinion: Clinton v Trump and “the lesser of two weevils, Master and Commander: A Movie Review – Maccabee Society, and/or Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World – Wikipedia.