with 2 Comments

I’m another year older and it’s a bit more difficult to step along with my wife and friend.

She’s younger by 18 years and he by 30.

So I just lag along behind while they amble on ahead, chatting it up.

Stanzi loves to perch atop large boulders, giving Joy and Brandon a good excuse to stop for a breather.


From time to time they stop to let me catch up.

It wasn’t easy giving up leading a hike, for I was always the guy out front.

But hey, I’m still hiking.

And I learned to not mind just moseying along alone at the tail end.

I’m accepting my age, just five days short of my 89th birthday.

How lucky too, to live in this part of the world!


Contending with Fickle Weather

Just twenty-four hours ago we had two inches of snow.

David Barger snapped this shot on the rim of he gorge just after two inches of new snowfall yesterday morning.


But this morning, not a trace!

Our dry desert air even dried the mud on our trail.

That’s what deserts do — dry things up so quickly we can enjoy our walk in the gorge!

The snow melted and the mud dried up on our trail twenty-four hours after the snow storm! That’s a desert climate for you!


Year-round Hiking

We climb mountains in summer.

Hike the lowlands in spring and fall.

And the gorge in winter.

I know — global warming!

Not good for the globe.

But not bad for hiking.

I’ll take all the good I can.

At my age I don’t know what the next fifteen minutes will bring.


Concern for the Environment

Back in the 1970s and 1980s I was one of the leaders in the environmental movement.

I started Backpacker magazine to promote more trail-sensitive hiking habits among new-comers to the trails, as well as clean, conservation of America’s last roadless areas.

I went on from that to build a company that converted hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses to more conservative use of energy.

But in time I became weary of finding fault with the world.

I adopted a more comfortable outlook on life.

I decided I’d rather take pleasure of what I’ve got, than to mope about what I didn’t.

I’m basically a glass-half-full geezer. A glass-half-empty just isn’t a very pleasant outlook.

So why should I spoil the few days I have left to live?


The Tiny Space I Occupy on Earth
We have a twelve-hundred-foot cabin in the woods, half heated by passive solar energy.


In truth, I can only do my little bit by the way I live.

I drive a twenty-year old Toyota Tacoma pick-up that uses only a gallon of gas for every twenty-two miles.

I recycle our used cans and bottles — both glass and plastic.

I travel on less than two air flights a year.

I live in a tiny cabin, half of which is heated by passive solar power.

And I enjoy my hiking, which consumes less energy than any other active recreational pastime.


I’m Trying to Enjoy Every Minute

I have a prayer I say every morning:

God grant me the serenity

to accept the things I cannot change,

courage to change the things I can,

and wisdom to know the difference.

And I give special notice to the “wisdom,” for it isn’t always clear how little I actually can do about things that used to bother me.

As long as I can, I will cherish the scent of fresh spring sagebrush, glimpses of bighorn sheep, the twitter of canyon wrens, an occasional eagle soaring in the gorge and our dog, Stanzi, romping among the sage.

I’m grateful for the gift I’ve been given of my wonderful wife, which I certainly do not deserve.

I delight in the blessings of the companionship of my friends.

Stanzi is learning trail manners very rapidly.


And I’ll leave the rest to God.

Heck, I just love the life I’ve been given!

Thank you, Heavenly Father!  Thank you.  Thank you. Thank you.

2 Responses

  1. Mark Lenz
    | Reply

    Nice article Bill. Speaking of geezers, Jack Connell and I will be coming up to New Mexico from Texas next month to go hiking in the Penasco/Taos areas. We would love to catch up with you and have some or all of a hike, lunch, dinner or drinks. Jack sent you an email last week. Let us know.

    Mark Lenz

    • BackpackerBill
      | Reply

      By all means, Mark. I’m on for the whole enchalada. May 22-23

Leave a Reply