HBD or Hike Before Death.

Lately, with the beauty and wonder of the New Zealand countryside at my disposal, I have been inspired to seek out hikes. I am slightly transparent when it comes to hiking. If a friend of mine was stuck on the side of the road in need of help, but at that exact moment I also got an enthusiastic call from another friend telling me that the caravan for a hike was about to leave….well, my other friend better have an AA card (AAA for Americans). I’m being facetious…kind of.

Also with the fact that I am leaving at the beginning of the new year for my country of birth, I have started to see opportunities for hiking everywhere. Urban hiking, day hikes, 5 hour hikes, multi-day hikes, mountain hikes, camping trips, road-trips TO the hiking destination. It doesn’t matter. Lately I have even been going on hikes on my own, which has actually been incredible. I want to soak up as much of this incredible country as I can before I leave.

This got me thinking along a very specific train of thought. I started thinking about ALL the great hikes. The spots that cause you to stop walking, look in front of you, and take deep breaths. Spots that need no camera because they leave a lasting imprint on your life. It’s places like these that I want to fill my time finding. If I am to have a hobby, then this is my craft. The hike is my vehicle, and the trail is my highway. Let’s get lost.

So what ARE the great hikes.” one may ask. The answer: Too many. Here is a list of the places I want hike before I die. Starting geographically South and going North. Once you reach the bottom, I’ll sum everything up.

CALIFORNIA (side note: I want to do the entire Yosemite Valley)

Half Dome Yosemite

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El Capitan Yosemite

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UTAH

Bryce Canyon National Park

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Springville Overlook

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Fisher Towers

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Angels Landing Zion National Park

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Mesa Arch Trail

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OREGON

Neahkanhnie Mountian

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Canyon Beach

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WASHINGTON

Mt. Baker

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Noble Knob

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The Enchantments

he Enchantments called Colchuck Lake.

Chikamin Ridge

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Blanca Lake

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CANADA

Cheakamus Lake, BC

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Banff, Alberta

Lake Louise (since I was a boy, this destination has been a place I vowed to visit)

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Johnston Canyon

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NORWAY (one day, I hope to visit the country of my family’s origin.)

Trolltunga

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Kjeragbolten

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Geirangerfjord

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Preikestolen

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So there you have it. My HBD list.

The first few locations are recent additions from places that I have always longed to go, but never have. The locations in Canada and Norway in particular have sentimental significance to me. My father’s side of the family came from Norway and I have always been insanely curious to go there and experience my heritage. And Canada. I grew up knowing that my Dad had his first honeymoon in Banff, Alberta. Since I was a little kid, I have had this tourist pamphlet from the 80’s for Banff National Park. My little eleven year old self vowed that at some point in my life, I would go to this magical land that captivated me.

I don’t know how many of these I will cross off my list, but I think that it is good to have something like this in your life. What is life without a little adventure and something to look forward to? The Wild runs through my veins. Always has. Even living in flat Chicago all my life. I was born for the mountains. I live for the ascent.

Alright, time to cross a few off my NZ list. Until next time.

The Adventures of Booker & Bishop

Hello again. I am writing to let you know that I have written a short story. ANOTHER ONE!! I have really loved writing these stories and I thought I’d share this one with you. This is a long one. Yeah. Still. If you have some time, and like my writing, I would encourage you to check it out. This is like Indiana Jones meets The Hardy Boys. I loved writing the characters and jumping into their world. I drew from my love of this genre in story and in film. So. That’s all. Have fun. Here is an excerpt from the story, but for the full story, click the link below the excerpt.

“Do you have the key with you?”

“Yes we do,” Bishop said without making an indication of its proximity.

“May I see it?”

The two looked at each other hesitantly, but ultimately, this was why they had come to Zurich in the first place. Bishop took the box out of his pocket and handed it to the professor. Griffin took the key to a room in the back of the apartment. He turned on a light connected to a slanted table and began to work. Booker pulled on Bishop’s arm,

“Hey, if those guys find out where this guy lives, and I’m sure they already know, then we may be out of time.” Griffin seemed to have heard them,

“I received that email at work, not from my home address, but yes. We don’t have much time.”

A short time later, Griffin returned from the back room with the key in his open palm,

“Do you know what this is?”

“Are you asking or do you know?” Booker tried to be funny.

Bishop responded to Griffin’s question, “Professor Hyland told us that it was very old and might predate the Greeks.”

Griffin smiled, “He was right…but he was only half right,” Griffin’s eyes widened as he walked to the empty chair. Booker and Bishop followed him. Griffin started up again,

“I have to admit, I have never seen anything like this before. The key is reminiscent of some of the earliest cultures ever documented, and yet it is unique unto itself. It is almost as if culture and civilization’s Genesis were from this very artifact,” Griffin paused to let this sink in, “After some digging and cross-referencing, I noticed the key’s designs were similar to a set of Spanish hieroglyphs found a very long time ago.”

“Professor…” Bishop started

“Stop that, call me Griffin.”

“Sorry. Griffin, the Spanish never had hieroglyphs. What civilization ever existed in that region that used hieroglyphs?”

“Ahh. This is where books are no use to you and where myth plays a very heavy role.”

The Adventures of Booker & Bishop: And THE LOST DOOR

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The Year I Left My Mid 20’s

If you have been following my writing on this site, and you have good understanding about how and why I write, then you know that key life moments usually make the grade, among other inspiring things. Tomorrow is such a life event. Tomorrow I leave my mid 20’s. Tomorrow I turn 27.

Continue reading “The Year I Left My Mid 20’s”

Film #40: Hook

Well tonight was the final night of my challenge to myself to watch 40 films in 40 nights. I have to say..that was WAY longer than I anticipated. Of course, I knew it was going to be 40 days, thats not what I meant. It felt much longer for some reason than just 40 days, and I have to say that a lot has happened in those 40 days.

I was just recently asked what my favorite film from the challenge was. Which one stood out above the rest? I didn’t know how to answer him. I was never very good at trying to think about my favorite film. It wasn’t until about a year ago that I came up with The Indiana Jones Series, Jurassic Park, and Hook, as my favorite films. “Why those Eric? Those aren’t  exactly the ‘best’ movies of all time…” Well reader, thats very observant. However, I chose those films for nostalgic purposes. I chose those films for the way that they make me feel. They stir within me something magical, and new again. Transport me to a time when I had never seen a dinosaur on screen, or a pirate ship come to life, or a chase scene through a desert. They have the ability to make me feel like a kid again, like I am right back at my home on 1872 Lisson Rd, Naperville, IL, 60565, (630) 961-2637…yep, it’s amazing what you can remember when given the proper stimulus.

Tonight I watched Hook, one of those very movies I was talking about above. Hook somehow has the ability to transform the viewer into a specific state of viewing. Blame it on the “Pirates vs. Lostboys” theme, or the “Never-Never Land” concept, but this film has a way of making you wish you were a kid once more, never to grow up and do grown-up things. It is a major theme throughout the movie, and it truly permeates into the viewer. I love the set design in this film and TOTALLY wanted to be a “Lostboy” when I was growing up. No Question. Additionally, the “pirate ship dock area” was incredibly designed and meticulously perfected to look incredible. I loved the alternative take on the entire Peter Pan story, and the casting for this film was absolutely perfect. Is it a coincidence that all three films were directed by my favorite director Steven Spielberg? Actually, yes, haha.

I could not have asked to end this challenge on a higher note, and I loved every second of it. I urge you to try one of your own, but I warn you to shoot for a…less ambitious goal than 40, ha.