Great Sand Dunes

In mid Summer of 2018, I embarked on a week long driving trek through southeast Colorado. One objective during that adventure was to spend time at the Great Sand Dunes National Park.

I expected a rather large sand pile. I did not understand the enormity of the scope of the rather large sand pile until I stood in front of it .

Like other people I walked to the closet, smallest sand hill where people where sand surfing. I took photos of other people walking through the sand to even greater heights among the ever shifting dunes. I, however, stayed close to the Visitors Center as not to over extend my overweight out-of-shape body.

There is a sand dunes national park in Indiana. Interestingly, it is call the Indiana Dunes National Park. I have never been there. Actually, I have never wanted to go there. I don’t know why. Maybe it is too far to drive the three hours it would take to get there. Yet, I’ll drive over a thousand miles just to spend a few hours walking through the sand in Colorado. So, I’ll need to put the Indiana Dunes on the list of Indiana places to see. If for any other reason is that I’ve lived in Indiana my entire life and yet have never made an effort to visit the only National Park in Indiana.

The Great Sand Dunes at the Great Sand Dunes National Park. Nikon D600 photo taken by Dave O on August 1, 2018.
The Great Sand Dunes at the Great Sand Dunes National Park. Nikon D600 photo taken by Dave O on August 1, 2018.

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.

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.


Another … It’s Been A While

Note …. It appears that I wrote this post on March 30, 2015 but never published it (?). I’ve lost connection with the WordPress Admin as of late and just discovered it. This post goes deeper into some of the topics I touched on yesterday. So, I thought I would post it.


So … What have I been doing lately. Anything new? Anything exciting?

Nope. Nadda. Nothing. Nothing of significance. Nothing of consequence. Nothing to be remembered for. Nothing.

Well …

I have worked on the house. I’ve fixed drywall issues in the kitchen. I added new outlets in the family room. Instead of taking out a sliding glass door I just covered it with drywall. On that task, I actually framed in a ‘mini’ wall to screw up the drywall over the door. The sliding glass door led out to the three season porch. In the porch, I just framed in a new wall. So, that sliding glass door is forever hidden, sandwiched between wooden studs and drywall. That sliding glass door wasn’t needed anyways. Another sliding glass door in the kitchen leads out to the porch. No need for two doors into a small porch.

Believe it or not, I’m the type that enjoys drywall work. Hanging drywall, finishing drywall, sanding drywall, painting drywall. So, in the momentum created by that project, I busted out the old windows in the porch and framed in new windows and a new door. Rewired some outlets and lights. Tore out the old baseboard and casing and putting in new.

Shortly after Nikki moved out I cleaned the attic and basement. I threw out trash and donated other stuff that she didn’t want and I didn’t want. I pretty much live in an empty house now.

I also painted the upstairs dormer. I scraped old paint, caulked, replaced a down spout, primed and top coated.

Last week, I had a doctor’s appointment. She scolded me for my weight gain. I’m over 200 lbs again. She told me to lose about 40 lbs. She told me to watch my salt intake because she didn’t like my blood pressure. She told me to exercise and lay off the beer. She explained that four beers a night (my usual) adds about 800 calories to my diet. Which  probably accounts for my weight gain.

I haven’t run a mile in a long time. I tried to restart the C25K program last month to get back in the swing … but it didn’t take.

My life … post Nikki … isn’t much to write about. I feel kind of lost. Don’t really have any direction right now. Alone and wondering. Haven’t amounted to much of anything. Unless you consider weight gain as an achievement.

However … I do have a dream.

I am dreaming about this Epic Quest. I was inspired by the story of Jonathan and Jennifer Riehl. They have driven to every county in the contiguous United States. They gave over nine years of effort to complete this epic quest. Here’s their story.

For my Epic Quest … I would like to hike every established trail in every Indiana State Park.

Not that this is a major Epic Quest that will exceed other challenges other people have done. It is simple hiking trails in Indiana State Parks. I’ve had other Epic Quests in my dreams.

  • Climb all of Colorado Fourteeners
  • Stand at every high point in the United States
  • Thru hike the Appalachian Trail

But,  it’s hard to do these epic quests when you need to maintain full-time employment to pay bills and debt.

However, something like hiking every trail in the Indiana State Parks is within reach. It would require weekend days and maybe some vacation days. The longest drive would be about 3 hours. I could even camp out at the parks if I wanted to stay overnight.

Indiana Trail 100

indianaTrail100_logoI came across this web site for the Indiana Trail 100. It is a 100 mile trail race staged at the Chain O Lakes State Park in northern Indiana. It’s the only 100 mile trail race in the state (so far). It’s scheduled for April 26-27, 2014.

I haven’t signed up for this race. I don’t think I could finish that distance at this stage in my running development. Although I would like to work up to it and do this race one day. For this race, you have 30 hours to complete it. Last year, the first place finisher completed the race in 17 hours and 35 minutes.

I looked at the online registration page to see what the cost is. The cost for the 100 mile race is $180 and the 50 mile race is $95. The minimum age is 18 and the maximum age is 75. Although they allow 15 year olds to run in the 50 mile race.

I’m envious of people who have the drive, determination and endurance to train for and compete in a race of this magnitude. Ultra marathons are a new concept to me and I’ve watched a few you tube videos on the topic. At times, I can hardly drag myself out of bed to run a few miles around the block let alone run 100 miles. But … it’s now a goal … time to get out of bed.

Stay Running!