Monday, November 4, 2013

My Day In The Woods

Backcountry Campsite #18 - West Prong Trail
GSMNP - October 28, 2013

I honestly can't remember which of us discovered the blog of the other first, but Pam @ Nomadic Newfies and I have been reading each other's blogs for well over a year.  Pam and her husband live in Wisconsin and are still employed, but do a good bit of traveling each year in their RV.  I love seeing a state with which I'm unfamiliar through the eyes of someone who lives there, so I truly enjoy reading Pam's blog.  I've known for many months that they were planning to spend a couple of weeks in the Smokies during October and we both looked forward to meeting and doing some hiking together.  First, the government shutdown appeared as if it were going to derail their plans and then I got sidetracked with Bill's illness and treatment schedule.  It just didn't look like it was going to happen and I was so disappointed.  Thankfully, things stabilized here and we were finally able to get together on one of their last days in Tennessee.

Being sorely out of hiking shape and Pam still a bit intimidated by her midwestern, flatland hiking options at home, we chose a combination of two trails that are favorites of mine, yet very easy by Smokies standards.  The total hike was right at six miles which was perfect.  The easy and gentle terrain making it comfortable for us to talk while we enjoyed our surroundings.  As is the case with every single person I've met via this blog, Pam is delightful and I can only hope that there are more opportunities for us to hike again in the future.

I was happy to notice that at the lower elevation at which we were hiking, the trees had barely begun to change although here and there, we'd come across something stunning......

 I am hoping that Bill will feel well enough at some point during round two that we might at least be able to get out and enjoy some fall foliage, something that is normally a huge part of our year, but this year has simply been forgotten.  The hike yesterday reminded me that life does go on, seasons change and while things in nature will lie dormant for awhile, new life is just waiting to spring forth in a few months.  Hmmmmm, surely there is something in there that I need to embrace!

Thanks, Pam!  It was a wonderfully therapeutic day for me.  I hope for more just like it in the future!

Bill has enjoyed a good week in which he has felt almost "normal."  His appetite returned quickly with a few odd exceptions of things that still taste like metal, but thankfully he has eaten well and regained much of the weight he lost those horrible nine days after round one.

He begins round two today.  We have spent a good bit of time with his Oncologist and talked about ways we think his nausea can be better managed this time, so we are hopeful that this round will go a little smoother than last.  But there are no two ways about it, chemo is rough and Bill's specific treatment protocol is agressive, so keep him in your thoughts and prayers over the next several days.  At least we know there is a reprieve and the worst will have passed in about nine days.

Our fall foliage is just about at peak here in the East Tennessee valley and with Bill feeling well, we have covered lots of ground looking at leaves the past couple of days.  I'll share some pictures in my next post along with an update as to how round two is going.

One last shot of my hike with Pam that I can't resist posting.  Pam enjoys photography and seems to me to be pretty good at it, but one thing is for sure.....she'll do most anything to get the shot she wants.  I loved this is so HER!!

 All for the shot of a Sassafras Tree
(which apparently aren't found in Wisconsin)

Since I'll have lots of quiet time this week while caring for Bill, tell me what's happening in your life that I can keep in my heart and thoughts!


  1. Well you have a good hikeing buddy there, I've been following Pam for a while and have started following your blog now. You lucky to be able to go to such beautiful areas and Bill is lucky to have you for support. I wish him well and pray for a good recovery

  2. So glad that Bill had a few "normal" days, and I will definitely be praying for him over the next week through Round 2. And yay! for hiking with another blog friend!! I'm glad you were able to get out and enjoy some of the fall foilage. It's pretty much gone at the upper elevations, but still just turning in the lower. We did the Chimney's Saturday and the color gradient from the top was amazing!

    Not too much going on here...thankfully ;)

  3. I knew you'd post that photo if it came out! Wayne gets quite a few of me taking my photos, but none like that! I'm glad our hike together helped you unwind, I was worried I blabbed on too much. I'm so used to being alone that the sound of my voice rolling on and on sounded strange to my own ears. Glad Bill is doing well, and I'm hoping I'll be bringing my mother out there in May to make up for her missing this trip. If I do I think I'll stay in Townsend this time to avoid the Gatlinburg madness. Then again, the Greenbrier section is gorgeous in spring and I still haven't explored Cosby! I'm back to work this morning...a full nine hour day with patients scheduled, yikes!

  4. I am so glad to learn that Bill feels like getting out and seeing the fall colors. Things are beautiful in my area right now.

    I'm glad that your oncologist is open and willing to hear your ideas regarding treatment. I pray that round 2 will be much better than round 1.

    You are so kind to offer support to your readers in the midst of so much going on in your own life. You will be blessed for your generous spirit.

    65MD and I are getting some unexpected opposition to our little SNAP experiment. We knew we'd get some because we aren't that naive, but this opposition is from a very unexpected source and more aggressive than we anticipated from any area. We haven't blogged about it yet. We're not quite sure how to approach it in the blog just yet. Other than that, we're doing great with the challenge. Here's the link if you need it.

    Thanks for letting us help you and Bill through his illness.

  5. That photo of Pam is all I need to know to know I'd like her! (This from a woman who fell backward over a guard rail, slicing open her arm, trying to get a picture.)

    You and Bill are both in my thoughts and prayers. I hope that the discussions with the doctor and also knowing what to expect will ease some of his side effects.

  6. So cool to see two of my blogging buddies getting together! Looks like a beautiful trail. I had to laugh at your photo of Pam on her back getting the shot. Yes, I would do that too! :)

    You and Bill are in my thoughts this week. Hopefully round two will be easier. Hang in there, things will get better!

  7. So glad you got to recharge your batteries a bit in such a lovely setting, and that bill found some respite in between rounds. Hope the next isn't quite so awful. Remaining in my prayers...

  8. That looked like a great hike with another good blog friend, Sharon. How neat that you could meet up with her on her visit to the Smokies…. Cute picture of her taking the photo of that tree. We take those trees for granted, don't we???? ha

    Glad Bill has been doing so well. Hope this week is ALOT easier than the first time he went through it… Prayers!!!!


  9. I'm so glad you got out and about with an RV friend. The woods is a wonderful healing place where I always feel like I can finally take really deep breaths and just lay it all down. Hoping for the best possible round 2 for Bill.

  10. I am glad you got in a good hike. Positive thoughts coming to Bill and to you for the next round of chemo.

  11. What a great respite to hike with a new friend. The outdoors is healing for our spirits. I hope this round goes easier on Bill. The cycles come very quickly without much time to recover. I will be thinking of you both over the next few days.stay strong

  12. Wonderful that you got to sneak in a hike with a blogging friend. Pam's pics are beautiful. I plan to go back and explore her blog a bit more! Prayers for you and Bill as you start round 2.

    What am I doing this week? Its one of those weeks where I looked at my calendar and there was NOTHING on it! That always delights me. So I am quilting, going to the gym a little more than usual, and if I am really ambitious, I think it is the week to go and uproot the last of the annuals in the garden and get those 150 bulbs planted (that goes in the category "what was I thinking...)

  13. There is nothing like being out in nature - it's always a good way to recharge the battery! What a wonderful day you had with your blogging/hiking buddy. I'm so glad you have those recent memories to draw on as you work through Bill's second round of chemo. Prays and good thoughts are headed your way from CA.

    We actually got back out on the hiking trail this past Saturday and just a few steps into the hike I felt that joy and excitement that I get when I reconnect with nature. It had been quite a while since I had been able to hike what with my own foot issues, sciatica and hubbies injuries we had been benched for a couple of months. I hope to blog about that hike but for now I shall tell you it was a new trail for us, only 5 miles long but we covered a great deal of elevation so with a 30 minute lunch break it took us 5 hours to complete the hike. It's near lake Berryessa in Northern CA and the trail is maintained by a university group from UC Davis as they use it for research. The trail was pretty busy with many groups of college students. The views from the ridge were amazing. Coming down from the ridge we ran into a large group of college students who were on their way up and they were stopped for a rest. I told one young man "the views are worth the effort" and he said, "I don't know if I'll make it to the top" to which I replied "if us 50 plus folks did it you can too! He exclaimed "Wow 50 plus really?" Hubby Tom and I laughed and kept on hiking! I remember being that young and thinking anyone in their 50's was so old. We are so happy to be hiking again and are trying to figure out where to go this coming Saturday!

    I hope you get to enjoy more of the fall foliage with Bill. Blessings to you both.