My 2021 Indiana State Park Pass

I bought a 2021 Indiana State Park Pass. It cost $50. In my pedantic thinking, I will need to visit an Indiana state part at least 8 times in 2021 to recover the $50 cost. Assuming, of course, the average entrance fee is $7 for In-State Residents. Out of State people are given a $2 penalty.

An iPhone 7 photo of the 2021 Indiana Annual Entrance Permit. Photo taken by Dave O
An iPhone 7 photo of the 2021 Indiana Annual Entrance Permit. Photo taken by Dave O.

If I gather enough energy and motivation and exceed the required 8 visit quota, then the average cost of each visit declines. So, I am therefore motivated to exceed the required 8 visit quota.

At one time in my recent life, I vowed to hike every marked trail in every Indiana state park. I bought an Indiana State Park Pass at that time. In my excitement, I drove two hours south to Spring Mill State Park. Due to my perpetual out-of-shape condition I could not hike every marked trail in that park. I realized I would need to visit the same park several times to hike every trail. And, in my pedantic thinking, expenses, costs, time requirements increased exponentially and I gave up on that quest.

Maybe I will pick up that quest again. Maybe this time I will understand that fulfilling such an epic quest might not be achieved in a single year under the purchase of a single Indiana State Park pass.

If you are interested, this page lists all the entrance fees for Indiana Department of Natural Resources properties.

The Summit of Indiana

In my past life I craved the experience of standing at the summit of Mount Everest. As such, I read all that I could about trekking to the top of the world, what I would need to sacrifice to train my mind and body to achieve such a feat, the monetary price that I would need to pay. This was in the mid 1990’s. Even though I was in awful shape and knew that I would probably never ever make that kind of trip, the lure of the highest point on the planet still held its grip on my psyche.

But as with most of those kinds of intense passions, it faded over the years. Obligations of family and job took priority. Although I still have an interest in the lore of Mount Everest, my trekking is done from an arm chair in front of a large screen plasma television.

Maybe not as glorious of summiting Mount Everest, I have summited the top of Indiana. On July 4, 2019 I dragged my ass out of the arm chair, programmed the GPS and drove north of Richmond Indiana to find the Indiana High Point. Located off a rural back road, I parked in a gravel lot next to a corn field and walked the twenty feet into a wooded area and stood at the top of Indiana.

During my Everest mania I read Jon Krakauer’s “Into Thin Air”. In that book, he related that he stood at the top of the world for maybe ten minutes, maybe fifteen at the longest (if I remember correctly). In order words, he didn’t break out the grill and cook the brats while he was on top of the world. He didn’t buy a post card at the gift shop either. If fact, there was no register book he needed to sign to prove he was there. He simply climbed up, looked around, and walked back down.

My experience was similar while I stood at the top of Indiana. Although I did sign the register to prove I was there, essentially I walked to the submit, looked around, took a few photos, walked back to the car and drove away.

The Indiana high point is called ‘Hoosier Hill’ and commands its own wiki page for everyone’s informational enjoyment.

Hoosier Hill on July 4, 2019. At 1,257 feet above sea level, it is the highest point in Indiana. Awful photo by Dave O.

Since my dream of standing on Everest is probably never going to happed (unless I want to be the oldest twice divorced overweight high BMI high blood pressure high cholesterol father of four to not make it to the summit) I could make an effort to stand on top of all 50 high points in the United States. The Highpointers Club exists to encourage and help people like me to do just that.

Early Morning

This morning, I was up at 4:35 am. The alarm goes off at 4:30 am each work day. This alarm setting is a hold-over from the time (feels like so long ago) when I routinely was up at 4:30 am to prepare to get to Planet Fitness to workout. In those days, I ran on the treadmill and pushed around some weight.

These days, I still wake up when the alarm goes off at 4:30 am. Usually, I wake up to turn off the alarm and then immediately fall back asleep. I sleep until the next alarm goes off at 6:05 am. The 6:05 alarm is the time I need to get up and get ready for work.

However, this morning was different. The 4:30 alarm went off and I woke up to turn it off. Yet, I stayed up. And, I decided to take a walk.

So, I did. I walked around the neighborhood for 60 minutes. That equates to about 3 miles. I started the walk at 5:05 am and ended at 6:05 am, just in time to turn off the alarm.

Hopefully, maybe, this will jump start a new exercise time, where I exercise in the morning instead of after work. This would be advantageous since I could use the time in the evening for yard and outside work when the weather brings warmer temperatures.

Honestly, I prefer the morning workouts. However, I just haven’t disciplined myself to get up at the 4:30 alarm. Maybe things will change. I want to start the C25K program soon and it will be a good time to get back in the habit of morning workouts.

March 6, 2017 Eating Calories

I ended the day at 1,221 calories. That is 389 calories below the target of 1,610. Maybe that number is too low? I don’t know. My dinner salad was lower in calories than usual at about 700. I had the usual Slim Fast shakes for breakfast and lunch. There was a yogurt for a snack.

March 6, 2017 Exercise Calories

I was able to get in the five walking miles for the day: two miles at lunch and three miles after work. The walking effort burned 435 calories.

Blood Pressure

This morning, my blood pressure was 110/72 with a resting heart rate of 58. And, this was after the 3 mile walk. I would have expected the heart rate to be higher. But, 58 is the lowest heart rate I’ve seen it for almost two years.

Random Photo

This photo is from my June 2015 trip to Colorado. I was on the Whitney Lake trail and entering a groove of aspen trees. This hike was wonderful. However, I was totally out of shape at the time and due to the elevation, the incline, my lack of fitness and the snow pack, I was unable to make it to Whitney Lake, which was about 2.4 miles from the trail head. One day I will return and complete the hike.

Entering an Aspen Grove along the Whitney Lake Trail, Holy Cross Wilderness, Colorado.

Entering an Aspen Grove along the Whitney Lake Trail, White River National Forest – Holy Cross Wilderness, Colorado. June 16, 2015.

Wishing everyone a great day !

Sixth Week Review

181.1  There was a 1.2 pound weight loss this week. I feel blessed and lucky to have any kind of weight loss this week as it wasn’t my best eating week since I started this weight loss effort.

I’ve lost 18.7 pounds since January 1, 2017. Even with the low loss this week, my weekly average is 3.11 pounds. I guess that isn’t too bad. To double-check: I started on January 1 at 199.8 pounds. Now I weight 181.1 pounds. That is a loss of 18.7 pounds, 199.8 – 181.1. I’ve been at this for six weeks, 18.7 / 6 = 3.11.

My original intent was to lose only 1 pound per week on average. The current average is 3.11 pounds. I’m encouraged by that. And, far ahead of my original plan.

Calories for the Week of February 6 – 12, 2017.

  • Monday 2/6 : 1,536
  • Tuesday 2/7 : 1,195
  • Wednesday 2/8 : 1,412
  • Thursday 2/9 : 1,535
  • Friday 2/10 : 2,557
  • Saturday 2/11 : 1,654
  • Sunday 2/12 : 1,005

Total Calories : 10,804. The daily averages was 1,543.

The was two days (Friday & Saturday) I went over the target of 1,610. Friday was a mega overload with 947 calories beyond the target. On that night, there was a dinner of a fried crispy chicken sandwich and tater tots and two slices of sausage pizza. Plus a lunch of a cashew chicken salad. It was a heavy eating day. I had some stomach issues after the pizza. After all that eating I felt a binge coming on late Friday night. Thankfully, I feel asleep before I could wreck even further the calorie count.

Saturday was a little better. However, there was a giant cupcake waiting for me at the end of the day, which I could not resist. The cupcake, which was so good threw me over the target.

Most of the week was spent near the target. Monday and Thursday eating was close enough. There was birthday cake and ice cream on Thursday.

Sunday was the lowest day with only 1,005 calories. But I intentionally limited the eating as to not unduly influence the weigh in number this morning.

Exercise for the Week of February 6 – 12, 2017.

I exercised six days of the week. Friday was the only day I wasn’t able to exercise. I walked 23 miles over the week. I guess that is not too bad. However, I only climbed onto the Max Trainer once. And, I did not run at all. I did not even attempt to run at all this week.

The highlight of the week in regards to exercise came on Saturday, 2/11. It was such a warm day for mid February in central Indiana with temperatures in the low 70’s. I took advantage of this unseasonable warmth and drove to the Fort Harrison State Park in Indianapolis.

Other people had the same idea as the park was crowded with hikers, walkers, runners and cyclists. There was even a long line at the gate to get into the park. And there was even a longer line at the gate when I left. I hiked the Lawrence Creek trail for about 3.7 miles. It was a muddy trail. But, otherwise, it was a good time to be outside.

Walnut Trailhead of the Lawrence Creek Trail.

Walnut Trailhead of the Lawrence Creek Trail. Photo taken on February 11, 2017.

Non Scale Victories

There were two NSVs this week.

The first was when I was able to comfortably move to a tighter notch on the belt. That means there has been some loss of circumference around the mid section.

The second was when I tried on a pair of hiking pants. I bought this pair almost two years ago. I bought them for my June 2015 trip to Colorado. The pants were too tight when I bought them. I could squeeze into them. It was uncomfortable but bearable. The pair was a large size but the extra large was too big. Even though the pair was too tight, I bought them anyways. I only wore the pant once during the trip. They have been in the closet ever since.

When I decided to drive to the park on Saturday afternoon to hike I tried on the hiking pants to see if I could fit into them. And, I could. And, I could comfortably. Wow. What a rush of satisfaction.

Other Things

This morning, my blood pressure was 113/75 with a resting heart rate of 60. Wow. That is a great number for me.

I had only two beers last week. One on Monday 2/6 and one on Friday 2/11. That brings my total to 3 beers for the month.

On Sunday afternoon, I worked on stretching my final painting. Now, all the paintings I’ve done since August 2016 are now stretched and ready to hang or give away. I also built two frames for future paintings. During the time I spent in the workshop I really wanted to drink some beer. In the past, a Sunday afternoon would have been spent working in the workshop and drinking beer. However, since I am trying to lose weight, drinking beer in the same quantities as before is just not conducive. It was hard to say no, especially when I had already believed I’ve wrecked the weight loss effort for the week with all the overeating on Friday and Saturday. Thankfully, I stayed the course and did not have any beer.

Wishing everyone a great day and a great week.

Return to Colorado

I work as a graphic designer, web programmer slash front end designer, photographer and general illustrative person for a small midwest manufacturer. I’ve been in this position since 1998 but been with the company since 1992.

Not very often are there ‘kudos’ for a good job. You might hear about a bad job. Kudos, good and bad, do come at times, thankfully. But since there are no quarterly or yearly evaluations I never know if I’m doing as expected or if I’m doing great or if I need to improve in some area or if they are planning to show me the door. And with the new ownership change, not knowing can play havoc inside my head.

However, two recent comments made by the some of the new owners kind of took me by surprise.

The first comment, made directly to me and about me and made by Owner #1, concerned my lack of use of ‘vacation time’. Just a comment, no “you did bad by not taking all of it” nor “you did good by not taking all of it and being at work”.

The second comment, spoken in an expressive tone loud enough for all to hear expressed Owner #5’s point of view as to “WHY anyone in their right mind WOULDN’T take ALL of their VACATION TIME”.

I thought there are several reasons why someone wouldn’t take all their vacation time. In this company, vacation time is earned, not given. Therefore, it’s pay. Some people, like me, can use the nice ‘bonus’ at the end of the year to pay bills, debt, kid’s tuition, etc. Other people, also like me, just don’t know where to go on vacation nor have the cash to go. Other people, like me, use vacation time to work around the house or wait for the cable guy between the hours of 8 – 4.

I’ve used 7 days of my 15 days of total 2015 ‘vacation’. Five days were taken to drive to Colorado and hike and explore. Two days were spent hiking around some state parks and going to a doctor’s appointment. I did have other vacation scheduled but those days were delayed and then rescinded due to work and other conflicts.

There are five new owners at the company. Maybe they want people to take vacation time for good employee morale or accounting or other reasons. Probably for accounting reasons since vacation time is not accrued from year to year. They cut a check for unused vacation time at the end of the year. So, if you don’t take two weeks of vacation then you get a ‘bonus’ (not really a bonus but you understand my drift) of two extra weeks of pay.

So they are encouraging people to take their vacation. At least that is what I’m hearing. I wouldn’t want the new owners, particular Owner #5, to think I’m somewhat deficient in person or spirit because I didn’t take all of my earned vacation time.

Took this photo in 2015 during my Colorado 2015 vacation.

Took this photo in 2015 during my Colorado 2015 vacation.

So, I’m now planning some vacation time for late July, 2016. And, I’m going to Leadville Colorado and going to run on the Mineral Belt National Historic Trail. It is an 11.6 mile paved fitness trail that winds through and around Leadville.

How cool. It is cool!

I should be in shape to run the total distance by late July. I have two mini marathons scheduled for May and June 2016. So, I should be trained up for 11.6 miles. However, the elevation may offer a challenge, as Leadville is at 10,152 feet in the Colorado Rockies and is the second highest incorporated municipality in the United States.

Most, if not all, of my running and training is in the low lands of the midwest. So it may be a challenge to run at that altitude but it’s a challenge that I’m now looking forward to!

I plan to stay at a campground in Leadville or close by. I also plan to complete the Whitney Lake hike during this trip. In June 2015, on my first attempt at Whitney Lake, I turned back about a half mile from the lake because of deep snow and not really being prepared physically, as I was overweight and out of shape at that time. That hike, and that trip to Colorado in general, gave me the motive and impetuous to get back in shape.

I drove through Leadville on my 2015 Colorado trip. For the 2016 trip, I plan to linger in Leadville, take in some of the local craft brew and color and hike around the San Isabel National Forest.

Leadville is kind of a mecca for running. It hosts an entire series of races, from a 10K to the famous Leadville 100 ultra trail marathon. Here’s a link to their web site.

At least I have something on the 2016 vacation schedule. Hopefully that will make some people happy. However, I’m sure the plans will change and morph along the way before July 2016. Until then, I have something to look forward to and train for.

The Weekend of November 19 – 22

The weekend of November 19 – 22 was a mixed bag of activity.

First, I drove up to West Lafayette on Friday evening to see a good friend who is in the hospital. I’m glad she’s doing much better and was released on Sunday.

Second, on Saturday, I ran 4 miles straight in 40:11 for a pace of 10:03 for those miles. That is awesome! I continued the workout for another mile, but I walked and ran that mile. So, the total time for the 5 miles was 52:28 for a 10:26 pace. Not too bad for a sunny and bright yet chilly morning.

Third, the first accumulating snow for the season finally arrived. There was maybe an inch or so on the ground when the snow moved on but it all melted quickly. Bummer.

Fourth, started Christmas shopping for the kids and their boy friend and girl friends.

Fifth, actually met up with my second ex-wife to help her select a cordless drill. She and her significant other are buying a new house and she is wanting to stock up on tools.

Sixth, I bought my 25 pound trophy! Yay! I also bought a new pair of running gloves.

Seventh, sent a copy of the Equalizer Movie DVD starring Denzel Washington to an old high school friend. My nick name for him was the Equalizer. It was a take off from the old TV show Equalizer, starring Edward Woodard. I watched that show religiously.

Eighth, on Sunday, hiked about 4 miles through the back country of McCormick’s Creek State Park in Spencer Indiana. It was still cold and snowy but a bright and sunny day. Perfect for a hike. I could have gone longer had I left the house earlier. I didn’t leave until after noon and with the drive it put me at the park about 1:30. By 4:30 when I walked back to the car it was already getting dark in the forest.

So, overall, it was a good weekend. Wasn’t not able to work in the yard due to the snow but was productive in other areas.

Still Caught in the Flu

So, it’s been a week since this flu/cold took ahold of me. It was hard at the start with the delirium and fever and crushing body aches. It then transitioned into a head cold with the stuffy nose and chest congestion.

Thankfully, I have a few days off from work this week. Although I would rather spend my vacation days doing something else besides dragging along this flu/cold.

Even though I haven’t been able to run, I did get away to some slow hiking at McCormick’s Creek State park yesterday. It was only a few miles but does count toward my Epic Quest to hike all Indiana state park trails. This flu/cold limited my ability and motivation to go further than a few miles. It was a great weather day, bright sun with mild temperatures. Even with a flu/cold it was great to be outside.

The two trails I walked on would be great for trail running. I really need to look into that. Combine two things I really enjoy … hiking and running.

I’m a slow hiker. At least now I’m a slow hiker. In my youth I was only interested in the distance and time. Now, in my mid to old age, I’m more interested in the trail itself, what it offers, what to look at. So, with camera in hand, I tend to stop every so often to take photos. So, I’m not a very fast hiker.

Interesting note … about 25 years ago I came to this park with a friend. We both were (still are … by the way) overweight and sluggish in our fitness. While walking a trail in the park a trail runner passed us by. We marveled at the guy’s fitness and ability to run the trail. That was my first introduction to trail running. I thought at that time what fun it would be to run on the trails.


(mostly a) Wordless Wednesday

This is a view of a lone tree from the Cross Creek Trail in the Holy Cross Wilderness in Colorado. I thought the lone tree framed in the center with foliage on the edges of the frame made for a good shot. The blue sky and the puffy white clouds didn’t hurt the photo  either. I love the rock formations on this trail. This photo was taken on June 18, 2015.crossCreekTree_001

Cross Training and Improved Blood Pressure

I tried to cross train last night. It was very pretty or effective.

I bought this Bowflex Max trainer back in September 2014. At the time, I wanted something different and it seemed like the thing to buy. I used it on a steady basis until early March 2015 when I caught the flu. After the flu, I just never returned to it.

Now that I’m back on track with the C25K program and I’m losing some weight and trying to eat better, I decided to get back on the Bowflex trainer for some serious cross training.

The Bowflex is a stair-stepper-elliptical hybrid machine. And it’s very effective at increasing the heart rate rapidly. I had to dust off the trainer before I stepped onto it. I could only go for 15 minutes at a very very slow pace. Before I quit using the Bowflex I was racing through some of the hardest preprogrammed workouts. Now, I could hardly get up to any kind of speed or resistance.

I was not surprised. I know that I lost most of my fitness while I laid off all those months. But, at least I’m on the right track now.

And speaking of the right track …

My last doctor’s appointment did not go well for me. The Doctor (kind of) scolded me on my major weight gain and blood pressure (way too high). She explained (sternly) that I was maxed out on my medication and if my blood pressure wasn’t coming down by the next appointment she will change medications. It took a while to ‘find’ the right medication without complicating side effects so I wouldn’t look forward to changing medication. She also said I need to lose weight to get to ‘normal’ BMI. Normal BMI is 155 pounds for me. So, I need to lose over 40 pounds. She also “suggested” that I keep my salt intake to under 1,500 mg a day. I had no idea what my salt intake was because I never looked at food labels. She also calculated that I was consuming an extra 800-1,200 calories a day with all the beer that I was drinking.

I understood what she was saying and I know she cares for me. But I didn’t carry out her advice right away. About two months later I went to Colorado. I had such a hard time hiking some of the trails because of my lack of fitness. I knew I had to do something to get back in shape. I vowed that next year when I return to Colorado I will be in much better shape.

So, for the last two weeks I’ve been exercising more and watching my salt intake (I do look at food labels now) and trying to limit and control what I eat and drink. I took my blood pressure this morning. 119 over 79! Yay. I haven’t seen numbers like that in a very long time. Maybe I’m doing something right by following the Doctor’s advice!

Blood Pressure on July 8, 2015 at 6:53 am.

Blood Pressure on July 8, 2015 at 6:52 am.

The Start of an Epic Quest

Like many worker bees in America, I had a three-day weekend to celebrate July Forth.

I debated on what to do with the extra time. And since my porch windows were not scheduled for delivery until July 5 and since there wasn’t much to do around the house that require large amounts of time, and I wasn’t required to show up to any family functions, I decided to start an Epic Quest.

Soon I will have a new page on the Current Mile titled Epic Quest that will explain everything involved. But, for starters, the Epic Quest is a goal requiring time, planning and endurance. It’s not something that can be achieved quickly or in a single session. It’s designed to keep me motivated and inspired for the long-term, months or maybe years. So when I have extra time and don’t know what to do I can always devote my efforts to an Epic Quest instead of sitting on the couch watching van dwelling You Tube videos.

My new Epic Quest is to hike every trail in every Indiana State Park. There are hundreds of miles of hiking trails in Indiana State Parks and for this Epic Quest I will hike every one. On July 3 I drove to Spring Mill State Park and hiked over 8 miles in the thick humidity. I hiked every trail expect for one.

I have other Epic Quests … like to stand at every high point in the US. Climb all Colorado 14ers. Maybe even climb Everest one day. Maybe through hike the Appalachian Trail. There are all sorts of Epic Quests.

Since I’m single and alone it is easy to feel sorry for myself and spend evenings and weekends pissing away time on the couch or sleeping. I don’t mind occasionally doing that but when it become ‘normal’ there is a problem. An Epic Quest is designed to avoid wasting time. And I’ve wasted too much time already since Nikki left. This (I hope) will keep me active, give something to write about. I may even design a logo for each Quest and print t-shirts!

Raging creek in Spring Mill State Park. The trail to the Donaldson Cave is totally under water.

Raging creek in Spring Mill State Park. The trail to the Donaldson Cave is totally under water.

So … onward to the Epic Quest.

Here’s a photo from my recent Spring Mill hiking day, part of my Indiana State Parks Epic Quest.