Today I hiked from Old Orchard Shelter to Trimpi Shelter, a distance of 13.4 miles. I thought of today as a “working day” for a hiker. There weren’t any particularly spectacular views, no significant mountain tops, and no big iconic sights. Just a lot of miles that needed covered. The weather was again pretty spectacular, it was slightly chilly in the morning, but that made it quite comfortable once I started hiking. The terrain wasn’t too bad, but there were some rather rocky places here and there.
I’ve determined that I definitely have a leak in my Camelbak water bladder. My pack has been soaked on the inside the last two days, and it’s also leaked down to soak my pants and even underwear. (which has been incredibly uncomfortable after a while) I’ve continued to use the bladder since the leak seems slow enough that I’m still able to get water out of it, and I honestly need the carrying capacity. I will, however, very much need to buy a new one when I get to town.
I think I stopped just in time tonight. I was stumbling a lot more than usual for the last mile, and could tell I was feeling especially tired. Even after being out here for more than three months, I’m still trying to get a good idea of exactly how long and how far I can consistently go without unduely risking my injury.
I got back into the habit of listening to audio books while hiking today. I’d stopped because I was having problems with a short in the headphones, but I figured out a way of positioning them to avoid it. This has been helpful for my mood as I’ve really enjoyed having the mental stimulation, especially in the afternoons.
I’ve gone through three books this week, the first is “Stuff Matters” written by Mark Miodownik, a material scientist. He examines the history, science, and impact of various materials in our lives, such as chocolate, water, and stainless steel. He points out the complexity and explains the significance of the various aspects of these materials, how they were discovered, and the different structures at the atomic and molecular levels that are behind these features. I took two different lessons from the book. First, the importance of stopping to notice and appreciate the things around me. Appreciating for instance, how the chemical properties of stainless steel make it so incredibly useful in my daily life, or how remarkable a material glass really is, or the beauty of well made porcelain. The other lesson was the impact of people in life. Along the way in discussing these materials, Miodownik also tells personal stories about how he first came to notice or appreciate the given material. He also in a way, shows how these interactions have shaped his life. An art teacher who had started class talking about the importance of atoms, or his brothers believing he could be made into the Six Million Dollar Man after breaking his leg. Each of these stories helps give you a shape of the man he grew up to be, the curiosity that drove him to a lifetime of studying the raw materials of our world. Appreciating then, what kind of people that have shaped me. How I might be impacting others in ways I can’t predict.
The next book is “The History of the World in Six Glasses” by Tom Standage. This book examines the history of civilization by progressing through six different beverages: beer, wine, liquor/whiskey, coffee, tea, and cola. He examines the part these beverages played in shaping human civilization (writing may have been invented partly to track the trading of beer in early agricultural societies, the English navy’s reliance on drinking lemon/lime infused whiskey grog helped prevent scurvy and played a part in English dominance of the high seas) Along the way, he gives the history of how the beverage was likely discovered and proliferated. Again, I find myself considering the importance of noticing the “little things”around me, recognizing that my world is far more complex that I might even realize.
Finally, I finished the book “Simple Church” by Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger. This book reviews the findings of the authors’ research into the effects of creating a simple process for the inclusion and development of new members in your church. The authors state that having a simple process for this leads to a stronger and more vibrant church. There is an effort made to keep this as a generic lesson so that it can be applied across a variety of church types, denominations, and backgrounds, but because of this the book comes across as sterile and clinical at times. With that said, it still makes a number of important points. As I continue to contemplate what my next life steps will be, it seems likely that I’ll have to consider these questions in some form. Even outside the church, in my professional life I’ve spent most of the last ten years working with training new employees in some way, shape, or form. How can I work to ensure these processes are simple and clear for all concerned? More importantly, how can I ensure that these processes are continuous, making sure that employees see their ongoing development is a long term priority, not just when they’re a new hire?