Tennessee Hiking

Summer in Tennessee is normally too hot for hiking, but these past few weeks have seen temperatures perfect for enjoying the great outdoors.  Additionally, rainfall for the year has been well above average, so that means that Tennessee’s lakes are full and its waterfalls are raging.

I have tried to take advantage of every free day to get out and about.  Here are a few Tennessee hiking destinations from recent excursions worth mentioning:

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Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

I have mentioned more than once in this blog that September is one of the best months for hiking.  My Mount Kilimanjaro hike, in 2010, is just one example of successful multi-day, late summer/early fall hiking.  I can hardly fathom the thought that it has been exactly 11 years ago this month when I hiked the Inca Trail through the Peruvian Andes to the pre-Colombian citadel of Machu Picchu.

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Top Ten Life Lessons for My Younger Self

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Roughly half of my blog posts these past few months have been top ten lists.  Alas, here is one more.

I woke up this morning* at the not-so-ripe age of 41, and to a plethora of Facebook greetings from friends near and far.  Social media has its ups and downs, but I must confess: it always makes me smile to receive birthday greetings via Instant Message, Tweet, or Wall Tag.

*Written one week ago but not published until 5/21 because of computer problems.  Meh.

FB birthday greetings notwithstanding, this hasn’t been much of a birthday.  Efforts by coworkers to invite me over for a night of card playing and beer drinking failed, through no fault of their own.  And I have been feeling under the weather ever since I awoke this morning to the fetid aroma of dog farts.  “What is wrong with me?” I thought, and then the answer dawned on me: I’m 41.  Holy crap.

Where does the time go?  It seems like only yesterday that I moved from Chicago to Los Angeles, driving cross-country with my friend Chuck and stopping off in Denver, Las Vegas, and the Grand Canyon en route.  But that life-changing relocation happened in 2000!  Likewise, I can hardly believe it’s been six years since I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak and the tallest free-standing mountain in the world.  For that matter, I can barely fathom that it’s already been two years since I moved to Tennessee from Mexico City with my tail between my legs.

I never really “got it” whenever I’d meet someone who entered a depression upon turning 30 and still being childless or single.  But my first day of my 41st trip around the sun has been something of an eye-opener.  I am tired, and I have seldom felt less certain about my place in the world than I do at this moment.  If this is just, as the saying goes, the first year of the rest of my life, then I should relish it.  But can someone pass the back pills first?  😉

Here, with a hearty dose of humor packed between the dollops of honesty, are the top ten life lessons for my younger self:

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