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Sunday, December 8, 2019

Slán leat, my Brother

I met John Fast on August 21st, 2010.  

Beginning on the banks of the ancient Susquehanna River in the valley of Wyoming, we walked a few hundred yards together, and then met up several hours later at Gas Stock at the Luzerne County Fairgrounds.  

More about that day here and here

Over the ensuing years, we kept in touch via messages, blog comments and an occasional phone call. 

I shall miss John's corporeal presence on this little blue dot in the cosmos...and yet, far more remains.

Until we meet again...Slán leat.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Farewell, my Friend

I recently learned of the passing of the BlogMeister behind Fracked.

I was saddened to hear the news, as during the years we kept in touch, the obvious breadth and depth of John's intellect both inspired and amazed me. He was truly one of a kind. 

I consider it an honor that I was asked to pen few words for his obituary, and I plan on attending his memorial service in mid-December.

More in a few.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Owed to Charlie

"The currents that travel unrecognized channels from ancient generations to our own can be felt more strongly, I have come to believe, on the high mesa of Carantouan than elsewhere in America."   -   from The Susquehanna by Carl Carmer

Of all the books and journals I've read about the Susquehanna, that passage remains as one of my favorites. I think about it often, and it truly helps me be "in the moment" when I recognize that I am part of and/or witnessing something special that may never happen again. 

I never met Charlie Biron. He passed away last year at roughly my age. I did meet his wife and identical twin brother. I was looking to buy some York Olympic plates online, and found a post listing quite a bit of equipment not too far from my house, so after some brief exchanges, I scheduled a time to stop by. 

The garage behind Charlie's house was his gym. As it was told to me, that outbuilding was a significant reason they purchased their house. When I first arrived, my eyes darted to the hundreds of pieces of equipment, plates and some exercise paraphernalia I didn't recognize. After closing the deal on the plates I came for, I started asking questions about Charlie, his lifting career, and why there were so many pieces targeting grip strength.  

As best I recall, Charlie entered his last powerlifting meet in 2002, winning the NJ State Master's Championship trophy at the age of ~49.  At some point thereafter, Charlie recognized or decided that he could no longer train for P/L meets, so he refocused his love of the iron game to building grip strength. Based upon what I saw in his gym, the items I purchased, and what I've learned since...I feel qualified to state that Charlie's garage gym had a higher concentration of grip-related exercise doodads than elsewhere in America. 

Energy is neither created nor destroyed, and I believe that energy can remain long after the person(s) or event(s) that created it have moved on. From the time I spent during several visits, the energy from thousands of sets and reps in Charlie's garage gym expended over many years was definitely palpable. I was both humbled and honored to be there, learn about the man, meet his wife and brother, and bring many of his iron "toys" back to my basement gym. 

Someone I met within the last year or so, when purchasing some old York barbell plates from me, asked..."So what's their story?" 

Think about that.

To a man I never met and his family: Thank you.

I'll do my best to make sure Charlie's ode is not yet complete...

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

And so I begin...again

Over 20 years ago, well before Facebook and other social media platforms existed, I began blogging to get the word out about the proposed inflatable dam on the Susquehanna River.  I'm 99% sure my first efforts were in 1997, but I never bothered to print any of my posts, and the ISP/Host (Go.com?) for those early missives under the name of Susquehanna River Navigations has long since dissipated into cyberspace. 

I won't say I'm back...but old passions are definitely stirring.  

Mitakuye Oyasin. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

50 Shades of Clueless

For centuries before the colonization of Penn's Woods, the forests were so thick in the Poconos between Easton and the Wyoming Valley that they were given the nickname "The Shades of Death". It is written by some that it was almost impossible to see the sun on the brightest of days due to the dense arboreal canopy overhead. 

Having read hundreds of journals written by the early explorers of this continent, especially the Susquehanna watershed, what we see today is a tattered remnant of the majestic forests that existed only a few centuries ago.

From climate change to forest management, our current president is totally clueless regarding ANY environmental issue, and I continue to be amazed that there are any people left who actually believe anything this poor excuse for a man and a leader has to say.

Tempus can't fugit fast enough for me. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

A Walk Among Life's Lesser Angels

I can honestly say I do not recall reading this anywhere, but this simple thought follows me wherever I go.

'Be aware of those that wear their heart - or faith - on their sleeves, for their true conviction is as deep as it appears to be.'

Facta, non verba.  

Friday, July 6, 2018

Thursday, July 5, 2018

What's in Your Water?

Caught this headline this morning:

It’s official: City’s public swim beach closed for season

Read the rest of the article here

Anyone surprised? 

Monday, May 28, 2018

The Power of Moving Water

"They say this is a once every 1,000-year flood and we've had two of them in two years," Hogan said.

Never doubt the incredible and destructive power of moving water. 

Read about a recent event here. Take the time to check out the videos. 

And about that climate change hoax...

Saturday, May 19, 2018

The "Craftsman" of Kayaks

Sometime in 2018, I will hit the waters again in my red Perception Jocassee tandem kayak.

Since purchasing it in 1997, I have paddled thousands of miles in this boat in all 12 months of the year, and have introduced hundreds of folks to the recreational pastime of paddling. My longest one day (solo) trip was 62 miles on the Susquehanna River in 2004, and I've paddled in Otsego Lake (Cooperstown NY) before dawn and Mauch Chuck Lake after sunset. No one has ever paddled in my kayak without wearing a PFD. And so far...I've never had to go for an unintended swim. 

A professional outfitter once called this specific boat the "Craftsman of Kayaks", and deservedly so. It is big, heavy...and built to last. It's over 16' long and has a stated capacity of ~750 lbs. 

The first four pics below are from 1998 through 2000. The others span the remaining ~17 years. 

Looking forward to the 2018 paddling season...

Above: Day #1 of a 3-day, 70 mile adventure near Sayre NY. 

The pic below is on the East Branch of the Perkiomen Creek in February 1999.
Icicles were forming on the paddles. 

Above: My sister and I on the Susquehanna near Shickshinny PA.

Above: One of the youngest paddlers ever allowed @ RiverFest. 

Above: Two Drexel Co-ops paddle the Schuylkill in Philadelphia. 

Above/below: Someone's excited about kayaking. 

Above: My son's first solo paddling trip in ~2001.  

Above: The "Boys of October" near Laceyville PA. 

Above: Celebrating the day the proposed inflatable dam died. 

Above: Remnants of a coal car used in the 1959 Knox Mine Disaster. 

Above: Been there many times...

Above: The first leg of a ~200 mile paddle from Vestal NY to Sunbury PA. 
Below: Congrats from EMO's David Buck upon completing leg #4 @ Sunbury in October 2004. 

Above: A 19" smallie...boated & released. 

Above: Leisurely paddle on Mauch Chunk Lake. 

Above: Ramming speed with my sister on the Susquehanna. 

Above: Checking out the AMD outflow near Pittston PA. 

Above: My daughters catching some rays. 

Below: A ~12 term Congressman wanted to build an inflatable dam on the Susquehanna River near Wilkes-Barre, PA. The dream nightmare started in 1988, and we were finally able to kill the project in February 2008. My kayak was part of my 2007 Earth Day protest on the Market Street bridge.

The Congressman has long since retired. My kayak lives on.  

Above: Paddling on the Perkiomen near Lederach PA.