Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Things That Inspire


Old Growth Ponderosa Pine near Lowman, Idaho


I am often inspired by the people I meet on a daily basis and the sights I witness.  As we begin the new year, I thought it might be appropriate to share two of my most inspirational events from 2011.

This past August, I made a trip to Idaho to visit the community in which I lived and worked following graduation from WSU’s college of forestry.  Living in Idaho was a wonderful time in my life, I was in my early twenties and everything was new and a grand adventure.  The visit this summer allowed me to be inspired once again by the simple beauty of God’s creation.  This visit may have been short but the experience continues to inspire me.

Working as a volunteer docent at the Columbia Maritime Museum gives me countless opportunities to meet people from all walks of life.  This past September, I met a man who called himself the “gimpy geezer” and his story was incredible.  The “gimpy geezer” spent much of his life in Wisconsin tied to the daily routine of a dairy farm.  Upon the death of his wife, he decided it was time see of the the United States so he sold the farm and began his three year adventure.  Unlike most people, he didn’t load up the car for a road trip; instead he bought a pair of walking shoes and bus ticket to Delaware where began his journey west.

I asked him if he had planned out his route using a guide book to which he responded that he wasn’t very good about following directions.  He instead preferred to find his own way while heading west.  He also spoke about the people he met and the sights he saw.  He continued his quest each year until the early fall, at this point he would hop the bus to Wisconsin to wait out the winter.  In the late spring he began again from where he left off the pervious summer. 

After three summers, he finally reached Oregon and the end of his hike.  During our visit, he told me that he averaged thirteen miles a day and wore out several pair of walking shoes.  I use to think that it was a good day if I rode my bike seven miles in one day; not so much any more!

I have often wondered what he will do in the new year.


Monte Stevens said...

What an awesome story, Steve. I would love to meet this gentleman and listen to his stories. I've wondered about traveling the country but not by walking. I've thought about using a motorcycle, bicycle or driving while camping along the way.

Steve Skinner said...

I agree Monte, walking 3000+ miles is a big under taking.

Earl said...

I've no doubt if his health is good the “gimpy geezer” will find some other way to experience the full gusto of life this year. He probably never saw it as walking 3000+ mile...he only saw it as walking 13 mile each day.

Figure an 8 hour walking day that's about 37 minutes per mile...a stroll. :-)

Nice post and wonderful story, Steve.

Steve Skinner said...

Thanks Earl. The year past allowed me to meet many interesting individuals. I wonder what 2012 will bring?

Deanna said...

The Gimpy Geezer sounds like someone I would like. Our lives are surrounded by inspiration. We just have to take the time to stop and look.

Happy New Year to you and yours. May it be an inspiring one!


Steve Skinner said...

Deanna, 2011 was a great year for meeting interesting people and hopefully 2012 will be even better.

Anita Jesse said...

I have confidence that you will meet many interesting people in this new year, that seems to be easier for interesting people to do; but, I doubt you will hear many stories that match this one in its ability to drop jaws. Thank you for sharing this inspiration with us.

Steve Skinner said...

Thanks Anita, 2011 will be difficult to beat!