Search this site
Other stuff

All banner artwork by Brady Johnson, college student and (semi-) starving artist.

My latest books:


        Available now

       Available Now

Available now 

My book Machines are the easy part; people are the hard part is now available as a free download at Lulu.

 The Blue Skunk Page on Facebook


EdTech Update




« Classroom technology infrastructure: what's needed? | Main | On trail, off line »

Hardening of the opinions

sht081.jpg Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,--
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
                        Ulysses by Alfred Tennyson

Cary and I met our goal of 23 miles in two days, not three. We survived hail, rain, wind, wolves, narrow bridges, defective camp stoves, slippery trails, and a damned cold night. We carried 40-50 pound packs to the highest point of the trail. Heroic hearts, indeed.

I have almost recovered.

Aging fellows like me need a good physical challenge now and again. More so now really than when youth had its horns out and went looking for some territory to defend or some mate to impress. It is simply about proving to oneself that one yet harbors a small ember of the strength and, perhaps, promise of youth. That the muscles still serve - though they take longer to warm up. That the lungs still work - perhaps harder than ever. But perhaps the best thing to know is that the brain still functions - enough anyway to read a map, talk politics and women, and survive a day or two in the wild. That we are foolish enough to take on the trail, but smart enough not to hurt ourselves too much in the process.

Yet it's not really a hardening of the arteries, I fear, but hardening of the opinions. A malady that seems endemic among people my age (and younger). How do I keep from becoming one of the old grumps in the teachers' lounge who counters every change advanced with, "Yeah, we tried it that way twenty years ago. It didn't work then and it won't work now."

It's tougher to stay mentally flexible than physically fit. What can you do to make sure you can still touch your intellectual toes?

Or as Tennyson might put it:

To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.


Other trail photos can be found here


A break at the Jackson Creek campsite - just before the rain began. Doug Johnson, May 2008


Beaver pond near Carlson Lake. Doug Johnson, May 2008


Our hike started at the northern most point - a few yards from the Canadian border and took us to just
outside the Magney State Park. We have a ways to go. Map from SHT website.

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (3)

Wow! I have never been a hiker, so that looks like tough work to me. I do exercise, try to eat right, and learn something new every day. Even if it's just a new word or two, I think making the brain work does it good. Plus, taking on new challenges keeps me hopping. I don't see you as ever being one of those grumpy old teachers because you are so into technology and trying new things. Thanks for sharing the pictures.

May 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBetty

Hi Betty,

I wonder if the grumpy old teachers actually recognize themselves as such. Been reading a lot about the relationship between exercise and brain activity. Seems there is a high correlation. I know I get my best ideas when I am out walking!

Thanks for the note,


May 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Johnson

Thanks for sharing the pics Doug. Reminds me how much I miss living in Duluth...moved to El Paso 12 years ago. Sounds like you had a fun time, and faulty equipment only adds to the memory of the hike.


May 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBrian Grenier

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>