Monday, August 18, 2008

I'm ready for a career change.

On Closing Doors... A personal reflection

1. On June 3, 1967 I stood before a church in Pennsylvania and closed the door on dating and romance with the women still available at my college. But that closed door enabled me to walk through the door of a superb marriage to Sharon for the rest of my life. Closing one door opened another.

2. In 1969 I closed the door at my first pastorate by resigning and numerous folk thought I was making a mistake closing the door on that that church. But I could then walk through the open door to being a full time student at Princeton Seminary. Closing one door enabled me to walk through another door.

3. After seminary I closed the door on a developing career running camping programs for the Salvation Army in New York where I had my first ministry after seminary. I could not be both a Salvation Army leader and a Wesleyan pastor—closing the Salvation Army door made it possible to walk through Wesleyan ministry doorway.

4. In 1971-72 I wandered the country with Sharon living in a VW camping, backpacking, and living like the hippies of that day. To the disappointment of that hippie generation we closed the door on our care-free wandering life in 1972. But that closed door opened another one: to work at my denomination’s headquarters in Children’s ministries for the next six years.

5. In the 1970’s everyone was talking about over population and I even went to a doctor to get an operation guaranteeing we would not contribute to the world’s “Population Bomb.” (The doctor talked me out of it.) In the late 70’s we I closed the door to our happy “just you and me” life together and opened the door to parenting when we decided to have our first child—one door had to be closed before the other could be opened.

6. In 1976 I closed the door to children’s work in the youth department and walked through the open door to become my denominations executive editor of curriculum. A General Superintendent called me on the carpet and said, “You have made a terrible mistake—you belonged in the youth department and now you’ve gone and ruined your chances of election to be in charge of youth forever.” Right or wrong I had to close the children’s ministry door in order to walk through the open door to leading my denomination’s curriculum the next two years.

7. In 1980 my denomination shut the door to my curriculum work when it ignored the opinion of the GS and elected me to lead my denomination’s youth work for the next eight years. The curriculum door shut and youth work door opened.

8. By 1988 I was worn out on youth work and announced I would close the door on that era of life against my mentor’s advice. At the summer general conference I closed the door on yet another opportunity and went to IWU to teach Christian Education. Those closed doors enabled me to be present in my son’s lives instead of traveling every weekend in denominational work—one door closed, another opened.

9. Even though I loved teaching college, I closed the door on it in 1990 when I felt prompted to accept leading my denomination’s Christian Education department. If I had not closed the door on teaching I could not have walked through the door to six important years of learning in my life.

10. In the Fall of 1995 I sensed that it was time to close the doors on denominational service forever, even though many friends and advisors urged me to stay put. It is the only time I have ever “put out a fleece” for a decision. I wrote one Tuesday on a Day Alone with God, “The first Wesleyan College that offers me a position teaching without my applying I will accept it immediately.” I got an unexpected call Thursday and by Tuesday I had a contract—I was willing to close one door in order to walk through another door and retired from denominational work in 1996. Teaching college again also opened the door to a new summer avocation—backpacking. I started that summer trying to finish the Appalachian Trail, a childhood dream of mine.

11. In the next 12 years of summer backpacking I have been able to take students or other professors into the mountains and I have had wonderful times. I’ve been able to finish the Southern Upland Way and the West Highland Way in Scotland, complete the entire 2160 mile Appalachian Trail, and 2600 mile Pacific Crest Trail along with completing the Colorado Trail. The last few years I’ve actually been repeating miles on these trails, including re-hiking the bottom 500 miles of the Appalachian Trail this past May. In total I’ve had the privilege of backpacking more than 10,000 miles of trails the last 12 summers. Now I’m closing that door. I have six summers left before I’m 70 years old, 16 summers before I’m 80. There are other summer adventures I want to experience. As I close the door on backpacking I can walk through the door to other things—like canoeing, bicycle-trekking, and whatever other adventures open up. I will still do some walking in the woods and mountains, but I am closing the door on backpacking as my primary summer career, and pondering several open doors to other adventures.

So, I need a career change. Not a change in my day job as professor but a change in my summer avocation of backpacking. I'm wearing out on long-mile backpacking.

I hiked more than 600 miles this summer but this came to me most clearly in August while I was hiking the Colorado trail with three other guys, We were doing a moderate 15 mile a day with three or four thousand feet of elevation gain. The trail beat me and I dropped out before the end of our planned 100 mile hike. I was "surviving" each day only by using up all my reserves… and all my Advil (16 per day) to enable my knees to carry me. It took the fun out of hiking. I turned down a jeep road near Silverton Colorado and eventually got a hitch with a 4WD jeep 60 miles back to our starting point where I retrieved our car to meet my hiking buddies when they ended their hike in Durango. Now I'm pondering next summer....

Some options for my new [summer] career are:

Reading/writing. Maybe I should forget trekking altogether and get a cabin in the mountains each summer and read and write for four months. I love reading and just to read all the books I’ve already purchased would use up the first five years. Maybe my treks in the future should be through books and my output should be words not miles. Maybe I’ll settle down in one cabin that has a great view of mountains and read-and-write all summer. I could switch to a reading-writing career.

Motorcycling. Or, maybe I could move into motorized trekking. I could buy a motorcycle and wander around the nation (and the world) like the guys did in “Motorcycle diaries.” I could write a daily travel blog on the road. Or maybe I could buy an off-road motorcycle and explore the 200,000 miles of 4WD forest service roads in the national forests I met two guys in Yellowstone park this summer riding from Canada to Mexico on these 4WD roads. I once rode my moped along the 600 mile Blue Ridge Parkway/Skyline Drive and It was fun—maybe I could adopt a motorized trekking career next.

Canoeing/kayaking. I left a canoeing career for backpacking. I had canoed nearly a thousand miles even before I did the entire Missouri River in 1999. I was planning a canoe trip down the Yukon River in 2000 when Paul Kind talked me into doing the PCT with him instead. He used the argument, “Coach, you can canoe when you get old.” Maybe now I’m old enough to go back to canoeing. I still have all the maps and research done for both the Yukon and Mackenzie Rivers along with books and guides to 14 other great rivers of America. Maybe I could switch back to a canoeing/Kayaking career.

Bicycling. I could switch to a biking career too. Biking is easier on the knees than backpacking. I might start by doing the Rails-to-Trails treks including the Great-Alleghany-Passage/C&O trail from Pittsburg to Washington DC. And there are other long off-road bike trails. I might even try to tackle the Great Divide Mountain Bike Trail from Canada to Mexico which parallels the Continental Divide backpacking Trail. I have far more friends willing to bike than backpack and Sharon likes biking better too since one can sleep in motels each night. Maybe I should switch to a biking career.

Maybe there are other summer careers too—but I sense my knees are saying it is time to switch careers. It is time to lay down my backpack. So if you are reading this personal blog you must be one of my friends... So what do your think? After dropping my backpack what do you think I should pick up?

keith drury

36 comments:

Amanda said...

I vote canoeing...mostly because I selfishly want to join you...plus it's something we could drag Sam along to.

Let's go on a canoeing trip and camp out (car camping style), and then take a brief break to go white water rafting for the day.

Or how about sailing? That gets a bit pricey, but it's pretty fun.

I will do any and all things boating. Speed boats are my favorite, but that's not a whole lot of exercise.

Okay, now that I've made this comment all about me, I'll sign off. :)

JohnLDrury said...

I vote canoeing or cycling.

Here's the reasons for each:

Canoeing is the easiest switch, because you already have experience and its the most outdoorsy of your trekking options. If you choose it, however, be sure to schedule canoeing partners since the waters are far lonelier alone than trails.

The advantage of biking is it will keep you healthy without the high strain on the body. Some of the other options will make so you will have to (gasp!) exercise and eat right during the school year. But not cycling -- that has all the physical benefits of hiking without the problems.

Kathy said...

I too think the canoe/kayak one. I did like your biking idea but I am afraid it too might be hard on your knees. If you can have people join you in canoeing I think that would be best to avoid the loneliness like John said.

Motorcycling.. I don't think it is you. I think of you being more getting right into nature. Lots of people motorcycle and not many do what you have done with hiking and canoeing which sets you apart. I think you like to really get away and I am not sure if you would feel that as much with this because you would always be on a road and you are used to really being out.

I also think in addition you could do a month or 6 weeks of reading and writing in the mountains too and even day hike from it for fun.

Samuel Bills said...

I don't know enough about canoeing to rate it - but biking still has that great trekking spirit about it - like backpacking.

Amanda said...

Okay. If I take myself out of the equation than I would have to say that I think cycling would be good for you, too.

Burton Webb said...

I will write a more substantial comment later - but let me take a quick alternative tack...

Instead of changing careers, why not fix the knee problem? If the issue is relatively minor (torn meniscus) and not major (osteoarthritis) then a quick clip and stitch could give you another decade of hiking.

Biking will strengthen your knees, but there is still significant stress on the tendons when climbing.

My vote - fix the problem, and keep the career. You are NOT old enough to retire. It is a bad idea to make career decisions when you were just "fired" by the trail for an injury.

James Bauers said...

Shalom Brother Keith, I would vote for a mixture of 'cabin time' along with the canoeing. You'll still be able to do some hiking and yet get the books read and some more writing. Being in 'woods' and near lakes and streams you'll be able to get some canoeing and fellowship time in. Sometimes we know when it is we need to make adjustments in our lives and go with those adjustments. We'll come into new places and vistas!

JMKendall said...

I'm actually with Dr. Webb on this one. Coming off the end of a painful hike doesn't shed the best light when contemplating a career switch. It's kind of like you would be pulling a Brett Favre. It's always hardest at the end of a season, but wait a couple months and the love of the sport will draw you back.

Maybe you could do a hybrid of hiking and test out your other choices next summer. 600 miles is a lot for anyone, but cut that in half and throw in some canoing or biking and you'd be good to go.

I would definitely put off the cabin the woods idea. It's harder to mentor someone when you are alone all summer long! Probably some of your best memories of hiking aren't the views, but the people you traveled with. Save the cabin in the woods idea until you are old :)

Rudy said...

coach -

i read this last night and decided i needed to think before responding. as i was thinking about what to say...i remembered when i ran my first marathon and at mile 8 could not feel my knee as it tightened up with pain. after finishing 5 minutes short of my goal, i was unable to do anything physical for over 2 months. they thought i had tore my meniscus (from running) and had me get an MRI.

the whole marathon idea brought to my memory what you wrote before we hiked the PCT in 2003. remember? will you make it?

you are far from old. you are not someone either who likes to be defined by something. so if you choose to give up backpacking, don't let it be because of something you think is a problem.

i agree with Burt...check it out. if it is medical, fix it. if it happens to be age and the body breaking down...maybe consider a change in your goals. backpacking with a different goal. backpacking to mentor people at a slower pace, a destination perhaps not a trail, a remote group of people you might help out in someway. just thoughts.

right now your body has given you a great reason to end something you love. if the love is gone, give it up...but not because you feel beat up and defeated.

my goal for my first marathon was to qualify for the Boston. 2 years later i did...7 weeks later i found out i was pregnant. now, 1 and 1/2 years after qualifying...i WILL run that race.

you have never let things/people define/determine what you will do. keep thinking outside the box...this is why you will always be an amazing coach. you do not settle and you inspire change.

this was long ;-)

Kathy said...

I changed my mind. I like what Burt and Rudy said. Of course they understand you better than I do as I have never hiked a mile with you. We should do that sometime. (hike a mile) :)

Marcelo and Laura said...

Coach. tri-athlete Canoe, bike, and hike
Remember: we have not wings we cannot soar, but we have feet to scale and climb, by slow degrees by more and more the cloudy summits of our time... the great heights reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight but they while their companions slept were toiling upwards in the night(longfellow) I know you will continue to scale what you use is up to you. I also know you will have great companions toiling upward in the night. Marcelo (chelo)

Ken Schenck said...

Sorry to hear about both knees and Sharon's father. I wouldn't presume to suggest something. I've rarely known you to be indecisive about what you want to do :-)

David Drury said...

If you don't hike anymoe how can you be Cool Hand Luke for us?

Why won't you eat that last egg?

Do whatever you like. Get fat and start watching NASCAR for all we care. We'll still love you.

-DD

Dave Ward said...

Well I am glad I got in my few days backpacking with you before you decided to hang up the towel. David is dead on...we would shake our heads in wonder...but we would love you fat and rednecked-out. :)

Burt...thanks for that suggestion...for all of us who want to keep hiking with Coach D in the future, thanks!

My input? I think thousands would benefit from your writing. You know that. But the same may be true with canoeing or kayaking or cycling, etc. in a different way. If (big if) the knees really end the day of foot treks for you...then try them all out. Try each on for size and toss what you don't like.

You should get the cabin in the mountains anyway though. Buy it, rent it out on VRBO or have someone else do it. Then you can use it when you want to use it and rent it when you don't. I don't see any reason to wait on that one if it sounds good to you already.

You can always read and write AND do some other avocation. How about six weeks of reading and writing and ten weeks of vagabonding? Or vice versa?

Most importantly...thanks for the hike, thanks for the starbucks, thanks for the coaching...

p.s. You didn't mention globetrotting. How about ultralite world travel every summer?

Philip Woodbury said...

You are multi-talented and you have multiple interests. Your schedule, experience, and patience have allowed you to be a "seasonal warrior" (rather than the typical "weekend warrior") with a remarkable minimum of injury or pain over the years. A seasonal approach to vigorous physical activity becomes increasingly risky. Injuries can and do happen.

Even though I have declined to heed my own advice and that of others to seek medical evaluation for knee pain after training for and running a Boston qualifying marathon, I agree with Burt and recommend a thorough orthopedic evalualtion which could lead to effective rehabilitation and/or surgical intervention (followed by rehabilitation and "off-season" exercise) that would allow you to continue the physical activity of your choice during your summer months. Or you could just change your activity, not doing anything that hurts too much. If that level of activity is acceptable, then carry on. But see someone to advise you on general and/or injury specific "off-season" exercise/rehab.

Even if you choose to spend some of your avocation time bicycle touring, I would think you would be at risk, as are many other bicyclists, runners, etc., for the repetitive injury induced Patellar-Femoral Pain Syndrome. Likewise, a current injury or problem with the meniscus may prove to be limiting on a bike. Medical evaluation and treatment may prevent/solve these problems.

If you return to canoeing/kayaking, will portaging be required? I have more recently found it harder to find tripping canoe partners than hiking partners, but I am sure you would have less difficulty.

Including this past week's hike on the CT, I have hiked almost 1000 miles with you since 2005. We have also canoed together in the Boundary Waters of MN. And I have benefitted from your writings. You have been a great coach and friend through all of these. Glad to call you friend.

Burton Webb said...

My Longer response:

I love backpacking, but I have a confession to make. I really love backpacking with Keith. There is something about the time we have spent hiking - closing in on 2000 miles - all over the USA. Maybe it is what we talk about, maybe it is what we do not talk about. I'm not too sure. But somewhere in those hundreds of hours we have become fast friends.

That said, I will stick with my original advice about seeking medical counsel for a medical issue.

What I cannot speak to is the desire to walk.

If hiking has lost its joy;
if you no longer feel the sticky scent of the lodge-pole pine;
if the chirp of the marmot calling for its mate no longer turns your head;
if there is no sadness in the desolation of a clear cut;
if the hours of sunlight on tundra have lost their light-headed dizziness;
if the sunlight sparkling on tumbling glacier melt no longer tastes as sweet;
if the sound of approaching thunder no longer quickens your heart;
if the canopy of stars brushed by milk doesn't dazzle your eyes
if these things cannot pull you out into the wild
then it is time to retire

As for me
I will walk on the high trails
through the deep forests
weeping at the desolation
I will drink from the streams
clear, pure, and bright
under skies cloudy or spangled

I will dip my paddle in the water,
push my peddle toward the hard-pack,
peck at my keyboard,
or watch the sunset
with good coffee in one hand
a good book in the other
next to my friend
for as long as I can

Recounting the days
in the sun
and the Many Seasons
of life

The AJ Thomas said...

I can't tell you what you should do but I can tell you what I would (I'm pretty sure that's what most of us are doing anyway). I'd consider using that time to expand my impact on pastors. You likely feel you get enough of that at IWU anyway but maybe consider something where you set up 4-5 outdoor experiences each summer in a different part of the country and invite a reasonable size group of younger pastors to join you for some fresh air and coaching. You could do a camping with some day hikes one place, hang out at a cabin somewhere else, and come up to my neck of the woods and paddle the St John or Shubinacidie.

lori lls said...

I don't know what you should do, but it's evident that you have many people who love you and will forever treasure their expeditions into the wild with you. I hope whatever plans you make include some time for reflection on that.

pk said...

A lot of great thoughts have been thrown out here. (i.e. dont decide too quickly, check out your knees, we would love you no matter what you do) I wouldnt presume to tell you what you should do, but I will take a crack at guessing what you will do (in typical Coach D fashion). I think 'variety' will be the word that marks the next decade of your avocations. You'll finally canoe the Yukon or the McKenzie. You'll bike that route out on the east coast. You'll travel to some overseas destinations you hadn't been to before. And somewhere in the midst of exploring these other avocations, you'll start to wonder if your knees could take you up to Forrester Pass one more time. And the trail will lure you back. It's just hard to picture your pack (or 10 packs as the case may be) permanently stuffed away somewhere. 'Variety'

kerry said...

Keith, I would prefer to reject the honor of being the "last" to hike with you, unless it is at some time in the distant future.

This is not a closed door like the other examples in your life. Others have made more knowledgeable comments about the prospects of knee improvement. But even without perfection, your love for the trail is part of you. Burt's eloquence brings a lump to the throat. It would be just too sad to never return. If necessary reduce the climbs, reduce the miles, and add variety to your summers. But keep the trail in the mix.

Gwen said...

I know you asked for a vote on possible summer career options (I like the "variety" suggestion), but I just want to say that your chronicle of closing doors so new ones could open was encouraging and meaningful to me, especially since just three months ago we closed doors and opened new ones.

Thanks for sharing!

Philip A. Woodbury said...

Keith,
Other than our time in the Boundary Waters when I was 12, I only know you from other people talking aobut you, mostly my father. My dad came back from his hike with you and told me your story. It is truly amazing how God set up His timing during that couple weeks.

Get a med check. I am sure you do not plan to be giving up walking altogether. You may prevent future pain and arthritis.

With that said, I have some ideas for you.

1. Sailing. If you do not know how to sail, there are books (get the ones authored by Colgate). Sailing schools are a good approach as well. Chicago is one of the nearest cities with good schools. With the new skills, you could sail from Chicago to Detroit, passing through the Mackinaw. Get a port o' call for the sections of the great lakes. Certain sail boat rentals will let you sail a one way trip. Get an account at sailnet.com and be "coached" by many others.

2. Jet Ski/Wave Runner. You can take the same path mentioned in the sailing section. Again, a port o' call book will list ports and refueling stations.

3. Take a winter off and dogsled.

Those are my thoughts. Happy Hunting.
-Phil A. Woodbury

Ken said...

hey keith,

i don't know much about hiking; after all, i seem to have been built for stability and high winds.

but i will say this: why not get a jeep wrangler 4x4 rubicon, drive it deep into the forest, then get out and hike with your new, bionic knee?

jeeps are better than cycles, since they keep four wheels on the ground. AND... they'll get you to trails a bit faster than a simple bicyle.

keep in mind, i like to sit around and read, so i'm a novice when it comes to hiking and canoeing. but i had a cycle once (kawasaki vulcan 800), and i'll tell you this: my RN wife thinks four wheels on the ground is better than two, and i'll bet your wife (and kids and grandkids) think so, too.

blessings with whatever you decide...

-kd

Pastor Rod said...

Keith,

I predict that you'll do some version of the cabin in the mountains with a Thoreau twist. You seem to be drawn to things which include physical challenges and require mental discipline.

I found your reflection on closing doors personally meaningful.

God Bless,

Rod

Anonymous said...

Keith, I think motorcycling is the ticket. According to Bike magazine (a British publication), steady riding expends about the same energy as walking and more if you are riding fast. I'm a Free Methodist pastor and I think we should revive the old "circuit rider" practice, only on iron horses! I'm 59 years old, but I still like to ride "crotch rockets" and motocross bikes! By the way, I have followed your writing for a number of years - thanks!!

Angie Van De Merwe said...

My 91 (almost 92) year old grandfather had both kneew replaced in the last three years, as well as a pace-maker. He is still working full-time! So, you are never too old to get a knee replacement AND my grandfather's quality of life has been enhanced tremendously. You're a "young chicken" compared to him, so why not get those knees replaced? You could be continuing to enjoy those things that you think right now may be "put on the shelf"...

On a wider note, we live in a free society that doesn't determine our choices, except within certain boundaries. So, you are free to choose any of these options, aren't you? Aren't we blessed to have the opportunity and the choices that American freedom gives?

Bitty said...

Coach:
I think it's important to discern whether you're feeling antsy for something new in the summer pattern, or whether you're feeling discouraged from the loss of control over your body.
So all I'll say is this:
one time, in a pub in Scotland, you said some things that have continued to goad me: it was a rant that went something like this:
"everybody wants someone else to change things instead of just doing it. I hear students complain about Marion all the time, but who's staying behind after graduation to work on these projects? Don't tell somebody else they should do it. Everybody always has these dreams, but nobody is actually committed to investing in them, here."
(This was after I talked about a big old house near downtown that could be used for ministry if only someone would fix it up and use it.)
So, Coach, I suggest something like this (don't laugh!):
1) get clearance to build trails/parks around Marion from zoning committees
2) indulge your inner introvert and your love of being out in the sun by starting a large community garden (to provide for things like people who like to "buy local", but also to provide produce for area shelters/food banks)
3) consider moving your emphasis from one on one mentoring in hiking to a broader investment by teaching inner city kids how to canoe.
Personally, I think number two would offer the most for both enjoying nature and renewing your mind between semesters. There is little more therapeutic than digging your hands down into some mud!

Phil and Kathy Troyer said...

How about a Guatemala work team...10 days...June 26-July 5? Laotto Wesleyan and a group from Myron Atkinson's church in Virginia are teaming up and would love to have you join us. Working with Pastor Luis Martinez is a joy.

You could climb San Pedro Volcano which is about 13,500 ft. I think.

Mark S said...

Well, many have already weighed in on this, and I'm very late because of being on the PCT. But, perhaps being on the trail gives me a different perspective.

I read this quickly while in Snowqualimie Pass. And am now in Skykomish. Less than 200 miles to go. But, I'm fighting an infected ingrown toenail that looks pretty bad. I think I'll be able to make Canada without having to deal with it majorly. I got an antibiotic to make sure the infection doesn't get out of control.

Now to your post...
Wow. You, me and we all have known you will not hike forever. This is true for me also. Some day you will not hike as strongly as you always have. Some day you will not hike at all. Is now that day??

I can't help but hear that you are writing this post this summer and not last summer or the one before or in five summers, because of your Colorado hike. After all, this would seem to a rather leisurely stroll compared to your normal hiking lineup. The trail can certainly humble all hikers. One day I feel I could average 35 miles a day no problem. Another day, when real pain sets in, I understand just how far 1 mile can really be. The trail certainly beat you up. And it did it on a moderate hike with friends who aren't nearly as trail worthy as you. That's hard. That's frustrating. And it really sucks. I think this is why you are writing this post NOW. (the knee thing). Remember you did 600 miles of serious hiking this summer, that's huge!! I don't see this summer as a sign of you getting too old or beat up for the trail.

My real question is why are you writing this post at all?
Do you want to hike as long as you can?? Or do you want to do these other adventures?
I'm wondering if part of your desire to move away from hiking has less to do with my body is beat up and more to do with “I have lived my hiking dreams and now have other dreams.” You set a goal on finishing the AT and then the PCT. And then experimented with the CDT to determine it's not a goal. You decided to cherry pick from great sections of trails (a brilliant idea). But, now you've sort of done all that. Could there be a sense that you've accomplished your backpacking dreams and goals and are not sure you need to keep backpacking when there are other dreams?

The heart of backpacking is the heart of an adventurer, a vagabond, simple living, and so on. Most Backpackers find themselves diving into all sorts of other adventures, many like the ideas you mentioned. Backpacking is a great foundation for all types of adventure as you well know. And I see it in so many of the hikers I meet... they travel to foreign countries, they climb mountains, they bike across America, they kayak long distances, they have a sail boat. There is a common thread through all of these adventures that makes them more common to each other than first appears. Your other summer plans seem to me to be a natural extension of your backpacking. You'll always be a Backpacker... even if you never hike again.

If you were section hiking the CDT as a goal I don't think you would throw in the towel on hiking over this knee thing, without getting it seriously looked at and even trying to do whatever is needed in the off season. I think this knee things was a just a trigger or tipping point for something you've been wondering for a while.

Do you always have to close one door to open another? Sometimes yes! You can't go back on some choices. But, I don't believe you have to close the door on Backpacking to open other doors. Perhaps you want to close that door. Perhaps that somehow helps to truly release any other hiking dreams. But, as I mentioned I think Backpacking is very common with other adventures.

Questions I'm wondering...
Have you really given up on hiking the CDT ??? (or is it “ would like to try, but I can't do it alone, and my current hiking partners don't seem to have the experience to make it on this trail”).
How satisfying had the mentoring while hiking been?? Especially recently? What's wrong with canoeing a summer and then going back to hiking if you feel like it? I won't comment on the individual options now... I could do that if you wanted. I'd be happy to join you on most any.

That's some thoughts for now. I haven't written in a while sorry if they are jumbled.

…trying to limp my way to Canada in the cold, cold rain.
Mark

PS. THanks for this summer. I wouldn't be out here on this trail if it weren't for you and our hike.

Amber Janelle said...

Coach,

I join the "variety" vote--I think you'd go stir crazy if you ONLY read and wrote for a summer, but I agree with Dave that your writing will continue to be an even greater blessing to the Church. You have so much wisdom to offer... There's no way you've even begun to get all your Uncle Keith smarts in print for all of us. ;)

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the way you posed the closed doors leading to the open doors. It is a thoughtful way to look at it.

No vote from me as to a possible summer career change - I am sure you'll find something that fits you well. I'll look forward to hearing about your continuing adventures of one sort or another!

Pete Vecchi said...

If it were me, I might opt for golf. There are lots of nice golf courses throughout the country, and walking them several hours a day might be nice for me.

But then again, I enjoy the game of golf (even though I'm not all that good at it -- about a 16 handicapper). I don't know if golf holds any interest for you.

Keith Drury said...

THANKS TO ALL for the thoughtful input and advice... I'm pondering it this fall as I decide what new summer adventures I'll launch for the next 18 years--up until I'm 80. After that I plan to mostly garden. ;-)

Thanks again for the insightful comments.

John D. Howell said...

Maybe shuffleboard? You could move to Brooksville and organize a team of retired ministers and tour the country in a mini-van entering shuffleboard tournaments.

Or fix the knees. That's worth looking into.

But I'd take a hard look at doing short/fun hikes with extended stays in remote locations where you can write, reflect and commune with God.

that's my vote.

churchpunk4life said...

forget canoneing!
you should check out white water rafting!
at least once!
we get to do that with our jr high students when we got on the mission trip.
I love how when they flip themselves they come back up with these stories about how they almost died and how traumatic it was...reality is that they just got dunked in the water.
it is fun to watch the Lord use that "near death" experience because every year one of them turns it in this devotional later on in the week.

Keith Drury said...

Biking it is.... more later