Thursday, September 22, 2016

Treasures of the Grand Canyon: Little Colorado

Two years ago, my crazy family went on yet another fantastic adventure.  When I was a kid, we rode to the bottom of the Grand Canyon (and back out) on mules.  This time, we went from top to bottom in length rather than depth, floating from near Lake Powell all the way past Havasu Creek heading towards Lake Meade.  I haven't written about the trip at all yet (we've already discussed how I'm a failure, so I won't get into that again), but I did decide long ago how I want to break it out, because it's too much amazingness to cram into a single post.

I had planned to write one piece dedicated solely to the Little Colorado.  Apparently there's no time like the present!  This pristine, sacred place is currently the focus of a controversial debate about a development plan to build two hotels and a railway that would permanently alter the very heart of the canyon and the rivers, and would increase the number of annual visitors to the tens of thousands.

Full disclosure: I do not support this development plan.  I signed the petition against it.  But I'm not an environmental activist, and I'm not writing this to try to drum up hundreds more signatures advocating on behalf of the canyon.  (Although feel free to sign if you want!)  As ever and always, I want to introduce you to a beautiful natural place, share my memories, and perhaps inspire you to undertake your own adventure to visit!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

For the Bookworms in Boston

In this age of tablets and smart phones and every other manner of portable screen that you can carry with you anywhere, the printed word seems to be losing the war.  Newspapers and magazines are struggling to morph into something that aligns with this digital world, and those brick-and-mortar bookstore classics like Barnes and Noble and Books-A-Million have been forced to shutter many (or all) of their stores and expand their wares far outside the realm of "book."  And then there's Amazon, who was originally born straddling the line between digital and physical as the biggest retailer of printed books that existed purely in the digital world.

Maybe in 50 years kids won't understand colloquialisms referencing turning pages and the like because Kindle will rule the world.  Maybe people will have forgotten that musty smell of undiscovered stories and waiting adventures that wafts through the stacks of shelves in old libraries and second-hand bookstores.  Maybe "browsing" will no longer signify hours wiled away reading back page summaries and will instead refer only to scrolling through lists of titles on a search engine.


Thursday, September 1, 2016

Bataan Memorial Death March in Review

My 2015 marathon was atypical.  Although I guess that doesn't mean much, coming from me.  But this one was different, even by my standards, because it wasn't a run.  It was a hike.  Or, more appropriately, it was a march.

The Bataan Memorial Death March is held annually in memory of the forced march of over 60,000 American and Filipino soldiers at the hands of the Japanese Army after the three-month Battle of Bataan in the Philippines in 1942.  Over 10,000 of those prisoners of war (POW) died during the brutal 60 mile journey.  A significant number of the American POWs were from the New Mexico National Guard, which is why the New Mexico State University Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) began sponsoring the memorial march in the late 1980s.  The New Mexico National Guard and White Sands Missile Range became sponsors of the event in 1992, which is when the march relocated to the missile range.

I don't remember the first time I heard of the Bataan Memorial Death March, but it's been in the back of my mind for years.  I did not (and honestly still don't) know a great deal about the history that the march is memorializing.  I was hooked because of the location.  White Sands Missile Range was, in my mind, one of those mysterious, secretive, forbidden government sites that I naturally was curious to see.  What a great opportunity!