After I stepped onto a trail in Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico, I looked back at the parking lot, then looked ahead at the trail, and then back, and then forward. Oh crap! The trail was snow-covered and no one else was there to offer advice. I went for it anyway, following footprints. Then I looked up at the sky, hoping that the looming storm would wait until after I was done hiking, rather than cover up the tracks I was following. At one point, I saw a yellow diamond placard on a tree. Oh, it’s marked for logging. No, you dodo bird. It’s one of several trail markers. Phew. So, no longer a need for adrenaline, I was exhausted with most of the trail to go and ice and mud to navigate as well as snow. At the top of the mountain, my feet, inappropriately covered in hiking boots, sank in foot-deep snow. I fell several times and laughed at my predicament. At one point, snow went into my boot. Hah hah hah. Cold!!! Being at the top was worth it, having the whole mountain range to myself . . . and deer. Looking back at the footprints in the snow, I realized that even free spirits occasionally have to walk in others’ footprints. I also visited Bradbury Science Museum in Los Alamos where I learned about The Manhattan Project and saw filming of the 2023 movie Oppenheimer. Pictured with me is a lucky bastard I pulled off another trail and onto a dance floor in Santa Fe.
I have a new mission: to get total strangers to sing to me. I think singing is like dancing in that everyone sings as children, but somewhere along the way many people become too self-conscious to do so. When I was in Petroglyph National Monument (Albuquerque, New Mexico), I met a family from Michigan, which is where my parents were from. The elderly lady described a folk song about being a Michigander. I didn’t know about it, so I asked her to sing it. And she sang it! She sang her heart out and was in such joy and pride with a big smile on her face. Meanwhile, her brother was embarrassed. Screw him. That’s his problem. Sing like nobody’s watching . . . you in the shower. Below are images carved in volcanic rock, Sandia Mountains, and Old Town Albuquerque. Look for the upside-down Frosty the Snowman.
Happy Anniversary to me! Thirty years ago today I started BeanFit Health and Fitness Services in Honolulu, Hawaii. Although I no longer offer health and fitness services, BeanFit is still my brand of books–BeanFit Publishing. I have evolved from health and fitness consulting to storytelling. My current services include writing, editing, and photography. My products include books (https://smile.amazon.com/s?k=jeanne%20murdock…) and photos (www.JeanneMurdock.com). One way or another I continue to dabble in performing comedy. I am hoping to publish two more of my own books this year and three next year. Also on the to-do list is to produce a song parody album–I have already written the songs–and create a humorous radio show.
Ass kicked. Volume 2. I have been in Colorado long enough that I can’t use altitude as an excuse for feeling out of shape. There has been plenty of time to make extra red blood cells. Hiking up to the top of the highest sand dune at Great Sand Dunes National Park—and the highest sand dune in North America—was rigorous. I told myself: You’re doing OK. Keep going. You’re OK. Just don’t let the Chinese tourists pass you (again). For my exercise physiology friends . . . During my hike I wondered: What if I throw three PVCs in a row? Will I know what that feels like? There is no crash cart up here, but I am carrying a CPR mask. The peak was like a (youth, e.g.) hostel, people were coming and going and meeting one another. Below is a photo of Louise (dog) and me; Rob, a nun, and a sand board that looks like a tombstone (we all thought we were dying on the way up); and Brian Pirrip and me. Brian and his friend Sam are driving cross-country and promoting Major League Baseball via baseball cards. They are using America’s favorite pastime to re-connect Americans. Follow Brian & Sam’s journey on Instagram & Tik Tok: @brianpirrip
Also pictured is the inside of a Snap-On Tools Truck—the highlight of my trip. Ever since I was in high school auto shop, I have wanted to see the inside of a Snap-On Tools truck. It was Nirvana, the Holy Grail. I died and went to tool heaven.
This adrenaline junky definitely had her fix. It was VERY windy at Royal Gorge Bridge—America’s highest suspension bridge. I was in suspense, alright. I wasn’t sure if it were scarier to peer through the wide gaps in between the planks to the Arkansas River or look ahead to the bridge that was waving at me. I was bobbin’ and weavin’ trying to walk across. In Serial Good Samaritan form, I managed to stop and rescue a small, dead bird that was in between planks. I picked it up and threw it over the side and said, “Fly. Be Free.” The river seemed like a better burial ground. Visiting the bridge was inspired by Carole Breton whose autobiography, My Guardian Angel Wears Antiperspirant, serves as an adventure guide for me.
“Holy shit!” I said aloud many times as I drove through the San Juan Mountains from Cortez to Telluride and on to Montrose. I needed to wash my mouth out with soap. Good thing I had pica as a child; I’m used to eating soap. Gorgeous views! Looking through the town of Telluride to the mountains, I was reminded of the horrible movie “Dante’s Peak.” Snow on a trail! I know. More like ice. Three times I almost fell backwards. Good thing I’m used to gliding on one foot. I like feeling as though I’m skating, but not at a cliff’s edge. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park was so beautiful and surreal that it looked like a movie set backdrop. I can’t say I’m excited about those photos. You had to be there . . .
Welcome to getting my ass kicked. Oh, hiking at 8,000 feet took getting used to, and I was on easy trails. I train at sea level! Where is a blood doping station when I need one? I should have asked Lance Armstrong when I passed him on a trail. Come on erythropoiesis. Below are images from Mesa Verde National Park. The cliff dwellings and pit houses were fascinating. It’s difficult to imagine that the homes were constructed only about 1,000 years ago.
F – – – the airlines. I’m on another road trip, this time to Colorado to see three more national parks. There are hundreds of parks in the National Park Service, and only 63 are actual national parks. Check out nps.gov to plan your next trip. I have 13 left to see, scattered throughout the country, even though I have been to all of the states, already. Since my goal of seeing all of the parks came after my goal of visiting all of the states, I didn’t make a point to go to all of the national parks in certain states. Below are photos I took in Arizona on my way to Colorado. One man’s fine art is another man’s graffiti.