Showing posts with label My Bionic Life - since 3/29/2016. Show all posts
Showing posts with label My Bionic Life - since 3/29/2016. Show all posts

Friday, March 31, 2023

House Mountain Hike #179, 3-29-2023: My Sabbatical is Over! (published 3-31-2023; article #400)


The mountains are calling, and I must go” -- John Muir, in 1873.

One of my T-shirts has the quote by John Muir (1838 - 1914) on it. The quote is from his letter to his sister, Sarah Muir Galloway, on September 3rd, 1873. (Source: “Get to Know the Story Behind Muir’s 'The Mountains Are Calling' Quote,” on Basin and Range Magazine, by Charles Watkins, published seven years ago.)

Greetings, dear reader, to my four hundredth article and to my forty-eighth article on hiking! I trust, in the Lord, that you are doing well. Mrs. Appalachian Irishman are doing well enough. As I've said many times, “A day in the woods adds a day to your life,” and “any day in the woods is better than not!

The seventh anniversary of my near-death experience was on Wednesday, March 29th, 2023. What else could I do, on a clear and sunny day? I hiked House Mountain for the 179th time (so far)! (The title of my 3/19/2006 article is “My Mountain!”)

This article begins with brief sections on my “bionic” anniversary, my hiking sabbatical, and my hiking records. The main section -- including ten photographs and one video -- brings you along with me, on hike 179. The conclusion anticipates the heavenly view.

Seventh “Bionic” Anniversary

It happened about 5:15 PM, on Tuesday, 3/29/2016. My 8/26/2016 article is the initial expression of the tragedy. That was eight years ago. My 3/29/2021 article describes the four stages of my recovery. I am still in stage four. I am still recovering.

This year, I started calling March the 29th my “bionic” anniversary! Happy anniversary to me! Yes, I feel the muscles and tendons -- in my left shoulder, left side, left hip, neck, right knee, and right foot -- as they still try to recover fully. Lately, the “crossover reaction” (as the medical folks call it) into my right, non-bionic shoulder has become a bit of a mystery. I'm still like a fine-tuned truck that has plenty of power and stamina. The frame, however, is a little warped, so the ride isn't as smooth as a man would prefer!

I'm still standing here. I ain't breathing hard! I still think that Mr. Antonov was correct, when he examined me, on 12/3/2017, on House Mountain (my hike #141, #5 “bionic”). My 3/29/2021 article mentions his examination and my recovery time estimate.

My Hiking Sabbatical

The last hike on “My Mountain” was on 4/18/2021. The 4/25/2021 article includes details about that hike #178 (#42 “bionic”). The hike was in memory of a high school friend, Hal Trent, who had passed to the next life, at age 61, on 4/17/2021.

Unknown to me at the time, my “hiking sabbatical” started the next day. It lasted one year, eleven months, and nine days. Why did I take a hiking sabbatical? I don't really know.

Apparently, my focus shifted to writing articles on other topics. The hiking sabbatical includes the publication of 190 articles (after the 4/25/2021 article to the 399th article). Twenty-five of the thirty articles on Corona Myopia were written during my sabbatical. (Thankfully, Corona Myopia Obsession lingers in only a few areas now.) My retirement started, after my final work day, on Friday, May 13th, 2022 (as the 5/15/2022 article mentions). I endured several “crossover reactions,” especially from my “bionic” left shoulder to my right shoulder, which would not have forestalled hiking.

“My Mountain” must not have been calling me. It has starting calling me again. I had to go!

Hiking Records: Grand Total of All Hikes, Since 4/23/2000

My record of all hikes started on 4/23/2000. I don't know why I started that log, but I'm glad that I did. Several hikes included Mrs. Appalachian Irishman, other family members, and friends.

The record shows, as of 3/29/2023, 230 total hikes, so far. House Mountain has, as stated, 179 entries. Forty-nine hikes on “My Mountain” included Mrs. Appalachian Irishman, other family members, friends, our ol' puppy, Molly, and two other dogs. I hiked alone 130 times. Of course, I've met and conversed with several hikers, when hiking alone.

The other 51 hikes were as follows: 21 in Norris Dam State Park, 12 in Hawkins County, Tennessee (including ten on Devil's Nose, with the summary in my 11/15/2020 article), Five locations in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and 13 other locations, which include Big Ridge State Park, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Panther Creek State Park, and, both in North Carolina, Grandfather Mountain State Park and Chimney Rock State Park.

The mountains were calling, so others and I went!

House Mountain Hike #179, on 3/29/2023

Please come along with me, as we hike House Mountain together! This main section includes ten of the eleven photographs that I took, with my comments, and one video. Are you ready? Let's hike! The mountain is calling.

Upon arriving at the parking lot, my '06 Nissan Frontier clocked 186,929.7 miles. Leaving the parking area, I touched the sign post, to mark the start of our hike, at 1:05 PM. After our hike, I touched that same post, at 4:24 PM – three hours and nineteen minutes in the woods! The sky was clear and blue, with only a little warm weather haze. The temperature rose from the lower 50's to the lower 60's Fahrenheit. It was a good day for a hike!

Let's start up the mountain, on the east trail this time. (The usual west trail is steeper and more cardiovascularly challenging.) We want to get to the upper middle bluff first, which is quicker on the east trail. Being “lame mountain goats,” very careful, and meeting five groups of hikers going down, we reach the middle bluff in 52 minutes (about 12 minutes slower than our “pre-bionic” average time). There were a few muddy areas, in the usual places.

The Treacherous Switchback

After hiking up the various switchbacks and seeing the views, we reached the final switchback, just below the ridgeline. I took the following three photographs, over four minutes, at that final, wet, muddy, and treacherous switchback. Do you remember? I do.

We had just reached the point, in the above photograph, which faces southeast. We were standing on a small, flat rock, at the center of the most treacherous spot. The next photograph, standing at the same spot, but looking northeast, shows where we had to go next.

Yes, I know. The photograph doesn't show the almost vertical and wet steepness that is to the lower right of where we were standing. That was the most treacherous spot. Our “lame mountain goating” was at its maximum!

The above photograph, looking south and down, is after we'd made it safely above that most treacherous spot! The image -- with the ridgeline behind us, while still on the south face of the mountain -- looks down to that almost vertical challenge.

Photos from the Upper Middle Bluff

We decided not to photograph the bench, on which we sat, once we reached the ridgeline. We touched the sign post, at the ridgeline, at 1:57 PM. That's 52 minutes from base to ridgeline. After a brief relaxation, we headed east, toward the upper middle bluff. It took us the usual about ten minutes. I took the next three photographs, while at that bluff.

The above photograph looks northwest, with the west bluff of the mountain visible. Do you see where I'd placed my cap, canteen, knife, and phone carrying case? That was a nice view. It had been a while!

In case you missed them, the above photograph is the close up. My cap has a stick figure of a hiker, getting struck by lightning. The caption is “Life is crap!” A sister-in-law gave me that cap as a Christmas present, many years ago. Occasionally, while wearing it, I meet folks, who laugh and inquire about the caption. That often opens the door to a spiritual conversation!

The above photograph shows the relaxing and beautiful view, looking northeast. About three hawks and a couple of turkey buzzards were circling around at times. I wish that I'd been able to photograph at least one hawk. I'm glad that no one else was on the bluff. It was just you and me – and God.

Podcast from the Upper Middle Bluff

Photographs, from the upper middle bluff, are in several hiking articles. Your patience was appreciated, while I filmed my first video there.

Please see Appalachian Irishman - Podcasts (on YouTube, since 5/26/2022), where I published that podcast. The podcast is titled, House Mountain Hike 179, 3-29-2023: My Sabbatical is Over! (published 3-31-2023; episode #6). It is a three-minute production. Please turn up your speaker volume, once I switch to the panoramic view. For some reason, the audio has less volume than my actual voice did. I may have had a finger over the audio input!

After a brief conversation with the Good Lord, we decided to hike across the ridgeline, west, toward the west bluff. Let's go!

Picnic Rock

As we hiked westward, on the ridgeline, we passed the “picnic rock,” as I call it. Thanks for allowing me time, to take the photograph below.

West Bluff – Three Young Ladies & Two Hammocks

Hiking along farther west, we passed several well-known locations, such as the cistern, to our right, just before where the old fire tower used to be. The old two-seater outhouse, still damaged by shotgun blasts, is still just below the fire tower footings. Of course, we saw the cell phone tower and the “dinosaur rock,” as I call it. Yes, we saw some well-known and very nice views!

Upon reaching the west bluff, I decided not to take a photograph. Three young ladies were relaxing, with two hammocks tied to trees. We conversed for a few minutes. I'm glad to know that they, as Christians, have the biblical worldview! Perhaps other young folks and they can help restore this once great nation, to its founding principals. They seemed glad to hear the brief snapshot stories of my life.

Parking Area

The hike back down on the west trail saw well-known and wonderful views. We passed the “defiance tree,” as I call it. I touched it, as usual. Thanks for waiting on me, while I moved carefully, at the steep and rocky slope area. I'm a “lame mountain goat,” as you know.

My “bionic” right foot and knee didn't “talk to me” much, as we hiked down the six main switchbacks, the lower switchbacks, crossed the small stream, and hiked out. Of course, my right foot “talked to me” that evening enough, but it got over it, as usual.

At 4:24 PM, I touched the same sign post that I'd touched, when starting our hike. Three hours and nineteen minutes in the woods is better than not having been there! We had another very good hike.

I wonder how long that the new information board, in the above photograph, has been there. The old one had my photograph of snow on the mountain, with my name under it. Unfortunately, hooligans had shot the old board with a paint gun, leaving yellow streaks, and shot it with a pistol or rifle. I'm glad to have seen the new information board.

There he is! My '06 Frontier, with 186,929.7 miles on the odometer, was waiting patiently, as usual. He likes to have his photograph taken! The photograph looks west. We met a few other folks, on the ridgeline and on our hike down – but not too many. Weekday hikes are better, since the parking lot wasn't full, and not many others were hiking.

Let's pack up and drive home, shall we? It's only a ten-mile drive, one way.

North Side of House Mountain

I may have taken the above photograph before. I may hunt for it, if I did. The good neighbor was mowing his yard. We stopped and asked to take the photograph. He replied, “Sure! People do it all the time!” As we were leaving, I honked the horn and waved, in appreciation. He waved back and smiled.

The photograph shows the entire north side of House Mountain. The west bluff is the western most part (or to the right in the image). The upper middle bluff is east (or left in the image) of the high middle. From the middle bluff, if we'd hike another five minutes or so, then we would have reached the east bluff (or to the left in the image). I've hiked all three bluffs many times. Maybe I'll take you with me, and we'll hike to the east bluff, next time!


In 1873, John Muir wrote, “The mountains are calling, and I must go.” On 3/29/2023, House Mountain was calling me. I had to go! Thanks for hiking along with me!

As my podcast of earlier today records me as having stated, while on the middle bluff, the hike up the east trail had some dangerous areas. Three photographs, above, are of the treacherous switchback. The view from the middle bluff, however, was worth the hike!

My hiking theology is that life has good points and treacherous points, behind and ahead of us. We see several good points. We endure several bad ones. We, however, continue onward and upward.

The heavenly mountain is calling, and I must go! The ridgeline is closer than it was. I see the good and bad spots behind me. I can't see what's ahead of me. By faith, I shall reach the heavenly bluff. The everlasting view there will be spectacular!

Dear reader, if you have not already started, please go to the mountain. It should be calling you. You must go.

Friday, October 07, 2022

“NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED” (published 10-7-2022; article #362)

Photo by Nathan Lemon on Unsplash.


No good deed goes unpunished.” You've probably heard or spoken the phrase many times – usually in sarcastic humor. (If you have a “no good deed goes unpunished” story, you are welcome to enter a comment!)

Decades ago, I learned the phrase from a good friend, whom I've known all my life. He likes to use the phrase, at a sarcastic moment, when someone else or he had suffered by doing a good deed.

Well, on 10/5/2022 (Wednesday), I did a good deed. I awakened the next morning, suffering from that good deed. I'll tell you about it. This article starts off funny but ends on a spiritual theme.

The Good Deed

On Wednesday, my wife's good first cousin had his van in the shop. His van was ready. My ol' truck and I took 'cuz Mike to get his van. Afterward, I followed him, as he drove to a nearby Food City, to gas up his van.

By the way, before we left his home for the shop, 'cuz Mike and I had talked briefly about the price of gas going up again. The cost of gas had been going up, but USSA President Biden released the nation's strategic oil reserves – to decrease the “pain at the pump.” Gas prices went down a little – still too high. Recently, however, the cost of gas started rising again – since the strategic oil reserve is half empty.

I will go into a little more detail on that point. My 11/28/2021 article includes the section “USSA First President: Oil Dependence,” in which I had stated some facts. If you're interested, the USSA Energy Department's Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) website has facts and figures. See also, among many articles on the topic, Marketplace, a division of Minnesota Public Radio, “U.S. oil reserve tumbles to lowest level in 4 decades,” by Samantha Fields, 9/22/2022. The article concludes by assuring the reader that, although the SPR is depleted, the “salt caverns are still more than half full.” Well, the SPR gas tank is half full or half empty – depending on how you want to spin the news. The USSA is running half empty, as I see it.

Well, let's get back to the good deed! The day was sunny and pleasant. (We need rain.) I enjoyed helping 'cuz Mike. It was my good deed for the day. I took the photograph, below, after he'd filled up and left for his home.

The Food City gas was lower than other gas stations in the area. Mike and I had noticed the prices, at various stations, on the way to the shop. The photograph is looking southeast. My ol' truck is behind me, not in the image. My timing was off. More vehicles were at the pumps or in line to the pumps a few minutes before I took the photograph.

I had to take the photograph! My sarcastic conversation with myself reminded me of the gas lines, during the Carter administration.

The Punishment

So, how was my good deed punished? I awakened the next morning, wondering why the left side of my back (below and behind my “bionic” left shoulder) was very sore! I'd not lifted anything heavy the day before. I'd just done my routine stretches and exercises. After I'd taken the photograph of the gas station, I'd gone inside the Food City, to buy a few items. My right foot had taken the pounding on the asphalt and tile well enough. (My right foot step may never feel the same as my left foot step – unless it takes a few more years to feel the same.)

Yesterday, Thursday, my chiropractor worked me in, at 12 PM. My ol' truck took me there and back. My chiropractor (Doc. Art) adjusted me and noted the tight and stiff muscles in the left side of my back.

Aside from the good deed that I'd done on Wednesday, I'd not done anything else to “kink up” my muscles! No good deed goes unpunished.

My “no good deed goes unpunished” moment generated some “cussin' and fussin'” yesterday. (My 2/15/2009 article, “Cursing & Praying on a Ridge,” is in my “Articles of Note - A Select Few” section for a reason.) Today, however, I endure – in the everlasting mindset. I'd rather not feel the pain. It will go away. It's my “thorn in the flesh.” I ain't “cussin' and fussin'” today. God forgave me, for my Irish mouth of yesterday.

The Song by Van Morrison, as a Side Note

Today (Friday), the muscle tightness continues. I'm doing my various stretches. I've wrapped the stretchy cloth stuff around my torso (as if I'd cracked a rib). I've used the green tube stuff (BioFreeze) and the blue bottle stuff (of whatever herbs and oils that Mrs. Appalachian Irishman had learned to concoct for me years ago). I took a long, hot shower. I use my “muscle thumper.”

It's another “setback to go forward.” I've had plenty of them. I'm tired of them. Our regular, once every four weeks, chiropractic appointment is next Wednesday (the 12th). Mrs. Appalachian Irishman will be on “fall break” next week, so we'll go together. I figure that I'll be back to my “bionic” normal, by or before next Wednesday. It takes time to unkink kinked muscles.

While “enjoying the pain” early this morning, I searched the “Interweb,” by Norton Safe Search, for “No good deed goes unpunished.” The second search result was the Van Morrison (YouTube channel) song Van Morrison - No Good Deed Goes Unpunished (Official Audio). I'd never heard that song. I listened to it. It's good enough to hear once.

By the way, I'm aware of Van Morrison. I've heard his song, “Brown Eyed Girl,” on the radio many times. Today, I learned that his song, “Wild Night,” was released in 1971. I didn't know that “Wild Night,” by John Mellencamp and Meshell Ndegeocello, in 1994, covered Morrison's original. I'd always thought that John Mellencamp wrote that song. Well, you live and learn, even if it is only music trivia.

Spiritual Conclusion

That “no good deed goes unpunished” is a truism – in a sarcastic and humorous sense. The phrase is a way to laugh off life's unfortunate realities. This article is one example. Others abound. Imagine -- as I'm sure that has happened somewhere – that a man stops to help another, whose car has a flat tire. After helping, the man's truck won't start. I'm sure that my readers can regale us by their examples as well! (If you have a “no good deed goes unpunished” story, you are welcome to enter a comment!)

That good is rewarded and bad is punished is truth – in the everlasting sense. The inspired apostle Paul has written:

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10, NIV)

Please read chapters four and five, for the complete context. In fact, read all of Second Corinthians! The following are a few more verses from that section, with my comments.

The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (2 Corinthians 4:4, NIV)

That truth, of about 2,000 years ago, remains the same today. Folks need to open their eyes and see the Light.

Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18, NIV)

From the moment of birth, we all start to die. Yes, we grow from birth to adult life. We either wear out or rust out, depending on how active we are. I'm wearing out. My “no good deed goes unpunished” story is an example. I call it “chump change.” By faith, I see what is unseen. I look forward to the eternal weight of glory!

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. (2 Corinthians 5:14-15, NIV)

Doing good deeds only – without salvation in Christ, by a faith response to God's grace – will not save. The saved, however, “work out” their salvation, by God working in them, for “his good purpose.” See the inspired apostle Paul's words in Philippians 2:12-13. Saving, active faith inspires good deeds, which is God's purpose for the saved. Christ's love, in his atoning sacrifice, compels us! We live for Christ – not for ourselves! It's not a chore. Good deeds flow from the saved, naturally, as spring water flows from the mountain. It's refreshing!

What is the conclusion? In Christ, all good deeds done in His service, as inspired by His love for us – are rewarded everlastingly!

Humorous Final Conclusion

What? Another conclusion? Forgive me. I have to write this. It's who I am!

To end on a funny note, after my long, hot shower this morning, I heard a dastardly fly, buzzing in my bathroom. I thought: “What else will aggravate me today?”

Using the trusty flyswatter, I sent that pesky fly to everlasting nothingness. I then thought: “When life swats me to death, I'll go to everlasting life – since I have a soul, made in God's image, unlike that fly, which I'd I just killed.”

Okay, I'm done! Writing this article helped loosen my left shoulder area. I'll keep swatting the pesky flies of life, until life swats me and sends me Home. I'm ready to go!