Hiking on purpose

Trixie has always been one to like a good hike and as many of you know Ol' Dutch has put in a good mile or two while fishing or hunting. A recent trip to Idaho, however, made me realize that there is where the similarities end.

We pulled the Conestoga to Idaho last week to help my daughter Cricket and her husband Cap with a remodel project on their house. To kind of give you a heads up on this endeavor, they had purchased this cozy cottage on a quaint shady street near Idaho State University.

I guess this is the “go to” neighborhood for people in this town as “everybody” wants to live near there. For Cap and Cricket it is extra handy as they are both professors at the college and can walk to work rain or shine.

But back to my story. They purchased this house last fall and for a Christmas party all of their friends came over and they tore out all the walls and kitchen and bath. Now when Ol' Dutch says all he means right down to the studs and rafters.

Some months later Dad got the call and so here I am trying to work a miracle in 30 days and get it wired, plumbed, insulated and sheet rocked. Please pray.

We had Saturday all planned out on what we could do with all of us working when suddenly Cap came down with the green apple nasties and he was confined to a small distance between his bed and the porcelain throne.

Seizing upon the chance to not work, Cricket, Trixie and I headed out to see some sights and took a drive up toward Lookout Mountain. Now when Ol' Dutch heard about that place I was envisioning a drive up to an overlook where I could sit and watch the world pass by.

Little did I expect that every mile along the road there would be an actual hiking trail to explore. They had nice cutesy names like Peach Orchard Loop, Cherry Creek Loop, Alpine Ski Loop, Miners Creek Loop.

I would suppose that having a trail that ended up back at the same spot you began would be a good thing in the end but somehow Ol' Dutch just cannot for the life of me figure out why anyone would go on a hike to nowhere.

My hikes always have a purpose in mind like finding a deer or elk, bear or moose or some secluded stream or lake to cast a fly into. To simply walk for the pleasure of walking seems to me to be a little bit on the crazy side.

Somehow Ol' Dutch was able to dodge the hiking part of the day by reminding the girls that this is rattlesnake country and passing a road sign that said “Lower Rattlesnake Road” did wonders for my cause.

Of course I do realize that to go about anywhere you either have to double back or make a loop and this day was no different as we continued on around the mountain range and up to the Snake River.

Now there is something Ol' Dutch could get excited about as there were people fishing and Cricket and I got to watch them for a while. Trixie had stayed in the truck in the parking lot perusing the Internet on her phone and was treated to a couple doing the “the horizontal hula” in the car next to her. That gives a whole new meaning to going fishing to soak your worm to which Trixie rolled her eyes. 

But all in all it was a good day with the No. 1 daughter and we did end up making a loop – albeit in the truck – which was good since we wanted to go home at the end of the day. 

If you are into hiking just to hike I can appreciate that but having a real purpose in mind keeps Ol' Dutch more interested. But who knows, maybe someday I will take one of those side trails and talk Trixie into a little hula of our own.


Go Big

Getting to roam the earth like I do, I am often drawn to the most odd-named spots on this planet.   It makes sense that a lot of towns were named after meaningful people or places like New Amesterdam or Georgetown. And, some places are named after a unique geological feature common to the area like South Fork, Colorado named for the adjacent river that runs through it. 

In the San Luis Valley we see the early influence of the Spanish and later Latino peoples in the names of the cities and places like the Sangre De Christo Mountains which translated means, The Blood of Christ.

But Ol' Dutch has always been amazed at some of the names he visits and reads about and I have to wonder where these could have possibly originated?  You don't have to look far to find a Bugtussle, Texas or a Boring, Oregon. There is a Why, Arizona and there is Whynot, Mississippi. Another interesting place is Loafers Glory, North Carolina which I take to be a good place to re-shoe oneself but Trixie says that maybe is where Ol' Dutch can ply his trade of "loafing."

The town of Sweet Lips, Tennessee gives me great memories of a gal I knew from the South and Lick Skillet, Tennessee kind of leaves a slick feeling on my tongue.  I know nothing about Hell, Michigan but it would give most preachers fits as they try and convince their congregations that they need to be "saved from Hell." Personally, though, I have been in a few towns I wish someone had saved me from too so Ol' Dutch thinks this might just be one of them.

Now Ol' Dutch has never been one to be too prudish but how people came up with Intercourse, Pennsylvania for a town name is a tad suspect. As for other less than dainty sounding names there is Dildo, Canada to which Ol' Dutch won't touch with a 10 foot pole. And Middlefart, Denmark brings up thoughts of odoriferous airs about town. 

We cannot fail to mention Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, Wales which has fewer residents than the letters in its name.  More local place names include Center which lies in the center of the Valley and Creede, named for Nicholas Creede who first found silver deposits there. 

I guess my favorite of all times however would have to be Timbuktu which is located far away on the edge of the Great Sahara Desert. This name invokes something far, far away and is also just fun to say like Waxahachie, Texas. 

Maybe this year you will find yourself in Hygiene or Spook City, Colorado. Or possibly you could find your way to Wideawake or maybe pick up a few new house guests in Old Roach, Colorado? There is one thing I do know after all these years and that is "wherever you find yourself, there you are" and the journey is half the fun of any adventure. 

So should this year find Ol' Dutch and Trixie in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico or  Pee Pee Ohio or some other town with an interesting name, we will try and always remember the old saying, "you cannot judge a book by its cover.” Even if we end up in Anus, France Ol' Dutch will try not to have a crappy outlook on life. 


Kevin Kirkpatrick and his Yorkie, Cooper, fish, hunt, ATV or hike daily. His email is Kevin@TroutRepublic.com. And his blog is www.troutrepublic.com.


Our lives seem to be full of items that are constantly breaking or needing adjustment. The standard smartphone or DVD player are typical of these things we use daily yet seem to need the skills of a qualified technician to fix them.

This can range anywhere from a $60-an-hour repair at the local store to an 8 year old neighbor kid who can adjust, tweak, program and set the clock on any item.

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Losing your memory

If you hang around this world long enough you will find that the old brain box doesn't seem to operate quite the same as when you were younger. Creaking gears and grinding sounds emanate from your head when faced with the simplest of things.

This can start quite early if you have a number of children as you will catch yourself going down the list of their names when the time comes to discipline just one of them.

This makes you look like an idiot to your children as you say “Billy, um..Donny, er ..JIMMY quit doing that.”

I am here to tell all of you younger folks that it only gets worse with age. Finding a set of keys or your cellphone becomes a normal day’s chore even if they are in your pocket or in your hand at the time you are looking.

The first time I knew that I was in trouble was when I was talking to my son on the phone while gathering my things before leaving for church. One thing, though, eluded me. I told him “I can't find my damn phone.” To which he said “DAD, you are talking on it.” And to my amazement, I was.

Those of you who are afflicted with this dread disease called “old age” will relate to these problems and I am here to tell you that even though it is prevalent among seniors you probably don't have anything to worry about.

In an age where we live to advanced years, the rise of Alzheimer’s leaves us all in some fear of ending up with those symptoms.

A doctor in the family told my dad the other day not to worry too much about forgetting where your keys were as long as when you eventually find them, you know what to do with them. It’s the finding them and sticking them in the blender that should cause worry.

With the advent of the cellphone and more particularly the “smart” phone there is a plethora of applications that you can download and games that you can play.

One that I enjoy is online Scrabble and a daily contest of skills with both friends and strangers tests Ol' Dutch's mettle. I like to think I am pretty good at it as I win most of the time but then again, maybe I just have some easy opponents?

Try as I may, I cannot get Trixie to play that game with me and I guess she is afraid that Ol' Dutch will show her up thereby gaining the upper hand in our relationship. I had even thought about investing in a Scrabble game to use on the kitchen table so I could whip up on Trixie every day or two in person.

I have noticed that when I open up a game of Scrabble that I am involved in the board looks totally new to me. This gave me an idea. Why waste so much time playing against other people and having to wait on them to respond in turn when I could maybe just play against myself.

Those of you who watched the I Love Lucy Show may recall the time she was in court and was her own lawyer. She would bounce back and forth from the witness chair to questioning herself in third person.

So if you see Ol' Dutch playing a board game and changing chairs every turn you will know that he has given up on Trixie and has decided to play against himself.

One thing about it. I can't seem to recall the moves from the previous turn so it will be an even match.

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Traveling through history

Ol' Dutch is quite the history buff when it comes to reading material and he has spent considerable amount of time reading about the Old West in varying genres.

Now while most of think I don't even know what “genre” means but Trixie has had some positive influence on this crusty old soul and even THIS old dog has learned a few new tricks.

A lot of my reading of late has been about the Battle of the Little Bighorn where the nefarious George Custer led his men into a cauldron of mad Mohicans. Well, they were mostly Sioux and Cheyenne Indians but I liked the way that sounded.

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Google yourselves to endless knowledge

You would have to be born under a rock not to know what Google is and how it works but for those of you who are part granite, here is the gist of the thing.

Somewhere out there in space there is this huge plethora of information just waiting for you to access it. Back in the day, when a person wanted to know something you would consult the encyclopedia and after spending countless hours perusing those pages and pictures, maybe find out or not.

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Get your free stuff here

here is nothing in this world more desirable and alluring than the offer for something free. 

Now for those of you who don't know what alluring means the dictionary describes it as an adjective that has two definition: 1) very attractive or enticing or 2) fascinating and charming.

The first is maybe not so well-known a quantity but to those of you who have met Dutch you certainly know what the second definition means?  Of course, Trixie says I’m charming like a king cobra, but that’s a story for another time.

My ninth grade English teacher would just be happy I actually know what an adjective is or at least can spell it correctly.

No matter where you go, there is the offer for free things dangling out in front of you trying to tempt you to stop for a second or two and be-goggle someone's offerings.

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If a tree falls in the woods

You have all heard the saying, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, did it really make any sound.” The basic premise behind this is that without an audience, maybe there is no sound after all.

I am not sure how close you have to be to insure the tree knows you are there so it can produce a sound while hitting the ground. When I lived atop Willow Park, I would watch the trees fall in the big winds of spring.

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