Hero or a Zero?

Today, as we start another 30 days of social distancing to fight, well you know already, I’ve lost faith in starting a Nobo Flip/Flop. Yes, sadly, I said it…The conditions in relation to this pandemic don’t seem to be improving at all, even in the areas of early infection, it’s just not slowing down.  In fact, the county that I currently reside in Indiana is now considered to be the next hot spot, which frankly is starting to scare the living shit out of me. While I live north of the major area of the population in Indianapolis, the fact that this virus is camping out in your backyard is a bit stressful and emotionally draining, as I continue to witness people ignoring the social distancing guidelines.  Let’s just say that good, restful sleep has been more miss than hit since early March.

As a person who has Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), I take Methotrexate once a week to treat my autoimmune disease.  However, Methotrexate, which in high dosage is used to treat cancer, puts me in the immunocompromised category. Simply put, my immune system is always in a weakened state which puts me at greater risk of infections. To top it off, even though our family is active, non-smokers, not overweight, and eat fairly healthy, we’ve been blessed with hereditary high blood pressure, so strike two.  On a positive note, a couple of things that I have going for me is that I’m still under 60 and I don’t have any history of respiratory issues. I even outgrew my seasonal allergies many years ago. Not to mention, I’m still in really good shape, but from what is being reported, I’m not sure that the virus cares about that. However, strike 3 is that females fare almost 50% better than males do in terms of mortality. 

Since I took early retirement to thru-hike this year, spending my days at home has not been an easy task. My wife and I decided to downsize last year and sold, donated, and gave away about 90% of our belongings and moved to a small apartment in preparation for her to live the simple life, while I was on my journey.  We wanted to simplify our lives so that we could enjoy the outdoors, travel more and not be tied down to material things and the “stuff” that comes with owning a big home. My wife is fortunately still working full time. She has been working from our little apartment, on our dining room table since early March, double monitors and all. Our last offspring was away in Chicago, attending college and she has been home now for weeks with a dorm room full of stuff that well, has no place to go… So here we are now looking like ” The Simpsons”, not just trying to squeeze onto a couch together, but trying to live in harmony in our tiny apartment, dog included.  

I held on to hope, looking for trail magic in life, that a miracle would happen and I could still thru-hike this year, even if it was a flip-flop. I’ve come to now realize that I need to let that go. I’ve still been training at home, not to just stay in shape in case that life magic happened this year, but training now to boost my immune system and help me fight it if I did contract, I’m not going to say it. My wife has been putting me through some pretty intense cardio/bodyweight workouts 5-6 days a week tuning into some live and app-based workouts that her gym, F45, is offering during the shutdown.  I’ve been also walking 6-8 miles a day, avoiding people and doing my best to adhere to the 6 feet rule. It’s been a challenge at times, as I’ve learned that many people have no concept of distance. We’ve also been playing some pickleball, tennis, and as the weather continues to warm, we’ll be hitting the backcountry for some local overnights as long as there are not people crowding the trails. In addition, I’ve been taking lots and lots of immune-boosting vitamins…

Please remember we are in this together, so stay home, wash your hands often, and please follow social distancing regulations. There are so many people’s lives that depend on it, including your own, your families, and our first responders who are on the front line.  Additionally, these folks also don’t get enough credit, so hats off to all of the support workers, truckers, grocers, volunteers, and countless others who are out there making a difference to win this war. Sometimes the biggest heroes are those who are not seen and are able to make the sacrifices needed to stop the spread, like staying home. Are you going to be that hero? Please stay home, please Be_kind…and we will Be_again once more, anew, afresh… Stay safe ~ Purpose



  1. I can imagine this is quite hard for you after delaying last year as well, and retiring to boot! Lots for you to wonder about what the universe is saying ! Like I said, must be hard I’d to keep having to adjust your plans – sounds like you’re rising to the occasion – I was able to section hike about 200 miles south of Virginia early March – I live in Roanoke


    1. Thanks, Johnathan. We’ll just see what happens but right now the AT has become the furthest thing from my mind. I’ve packed all my gear away for now so I don’t have to look at it. I’ve broken down my resupply boxes and have a large pile of food that I need to drop off at a local food pantry. Honestly, right now I’m not even sure where I stand about 2021. I can’t even think straight anymore. I am just plain worn out emotionally over it all…Thank you for reading and please, please stay safe…


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