For hikers, backpackers, slackpackers, and trail lovers everywhere, especially in the Granite State: I’ve gone back to add a few updates my 2009 Cohos Trail journal, in case anyone is inspired to follow in my oh-so-inexperienced footsteps. You’ve gotta start somewhere.
That 2009 hike was my 50th-birthday present to myself. The journal, now that I look back on it, is both a record of ten joyous days and a cautionary tale of what not to do on a backpacking trip. (Don’t forget to pack camp shoes, for one thing.)
The updates include notes on what accommodations are still available, trail re-routes, and where to find good fudge along the way. Great fudge, actually. You’re welcome.
I’m a writer, pro-life activist, and slow-but-steady hiker in New Hampshire. (More here about all that.) My advocacy work goes back a long way. My attitude is summed up by something Pope Francis once said: “Do I, a Catholic, watch from the balcony? You can’t watch from the balcony! Get involved! Give it your best.” I hope you’ll follow along as I try to do just that.
My thanks to Fr. Robert McTeigue, S.J., who welcomed me to “The Catholic Current” on The Station Of the Cross Catholic Radio Network. New Hampshire’s assisted suicide bill was the launching point for an hour of good conversation about public policy and the right to life.
Nothing scripted there: no prepared answers, since I didn’t know what the questions would be. His query about advice I might have to offer set me off on something that may have sounded a bit rehearsed, but wasn’t. Mass and Adoration. That’s my advice, and I didn’t just say that because it was Ash Wednesday. I talked about my reasons for that answer in the last part of the podcast.
All Souls’ Day: the one I don’t have to go to Church for, as opposed to All Saints’ Day. I’ve never quite shaken that childhood view. I take more note of the day than I did as a child; that comes with time and age and enduring the deaths of friends and loved ones.
I find myself saying brief silent prayers when I pass a cemetery. There’s no superstition or fear involved. It’s commending souls to God – I once thought that an odd phrase, but no longer. I even do it when the burial ground reveals no names.
I’ll be guest-hosting The Karen Testerman Show on WSMN 1590 Nashua at noon on October 31. My guests will be a couple of my favorite advocates for children, focusing on education choice: Kate Baker of the Children’s Scholarship Fund – New Hampshire, and Michelle Levell of SchoolChoice NH. Tune on online at wsmn1590.com.
I suspect Dorothy Day would have winced at the word “legendary” in the subtitle assigned to her memoir: the autobiography of the legendary Catholic social activist. Humility informs every page of The Long Loneliness. So does clear and inviting prose, a testament to Day’s experience as a journalist. She was a 20th-century treasure.
Up until now, Dorothy Day has been to me the subject of magazine articles and other people’s blog posts, some quite critical (not that criticism was likely to deter her). Picking up Day’s 1952 memoir was a revelation to me.
It’s time to dig out my blaze orange gear. My favorite hiking season is at hand. I have no complaints about the season just ended, though. It was a beautiful summer in New Hampshire and beyond, including out west for what I expect was a once-in-a-lifetime trip.