I must have not been paying good attention in high school when we read Walden. I assigned an excerpt for my American History students and got to re-read some of it. Awesome. Unbelievable that it was written in 1815. Change a few words and it could be relevant today. Technology and conveniences have not necessarily made our lives easier or better. We become trapped by them. Thoreau escaped to Walden pond. I escaped to the Great Divide. Need a break from the distractions, but it's the things that are supposed to make us better that are the distractions.
2) Our local sports writer, Dean Hensley, writes an interesting op-ed on High School sports:
I was talking with one of our basketball coaches this week. We had a quad match that didn't get done until after 10:00. It was a late night for us, but not normal. A typical basketball game always gets done that late. 2 JV games and then 2 varsity games makes for a late night for the athletes and the coaches. All our coaches are teachers too, so sometimes their students suffer from a tired, overworked, underslept teacher.
Dean's proposal to play JV games in aux gyms might help in many places, but not North Henderson. The geniuses that designed our school made a second gym with no bleachers and little extra room. Playing a game with fans lining the wall would not be safe or enjoyable.
But I totally agree, basketball takes too long. We've gone an hour away, wrestled and been back before the end of boys games before. I feel for the coaches and the student-athletes.
3) Car update: new starter installed. $153 for the part. Thanks to Danny Williams for helping and to John Williams (no relation) for letting me use his truck for two weeks.
4) The US Forest Service is inventorying land in Western North Carolina for redesignation. It can range from become National Recreation Areas to Wilderness Areas. There's a lot to sort out because it is a government agency, but lots of outdoor, conservation and various interest groups are lobbying and commenting. Those groups range from conservation groups to organizations like the Sierra Club, Backcountry Horsemen of WNC and International Mountain Biking Association.
The thing that concerns some in the biking community is the potential to expand Wilderness Areas. Wilderness Areas like Shining Rock are closed to mountain bikes and are maintained differently from other areas of National Forests. The problem is that some of the best areas for riding are in the inventory, including North Mills River (Spencer Branch, Fletcher Creek, Middle Prong Trails), South Mills River, which has several great biking and camping areas (campfires prohibited in Wilderness Areas also), Laurel Mountain and Daniel Ridge. That's basically over 60% of the potential biking trails in Pisgah.
The latest proposals seem to have left the Wilderness designation off all of the above. Let's see how this all plays out. Here are some links:
US Forest Service
5) Speaking of rides, took advantage of highs in the 60s to get out and enjoy Pisgah. Did the Cove Creek loop and added part of Daniel Ridge. Great ride, great weather and great friends. Brian Land got to ride with us. Noah took his new bike out on it's first ride. Shawn, Mr Reliable, was a part of the crew. It was a good time: 13 miles, 1,600 feet of elevation gained. Oskar Blues post-ride for Old Chub and Chub Burger.
6) Wrestling team had a full week of competition this week. Our issue is that sickness has been hitting us hard. We had a few kids out on Tuesday and then a few more out yesterday. One actually left during the tournament, he felt so bad. But here's what we did:
- Tuesday, we went 2-1. We beat Mitchell and Erwin and lost to Eastside 33-31. Tough loss to a very good team. It was brutally close match that went back and forth. Erwin, we were actually down 28-6 before getting 6 pins in a row. Final score, 42-31.
- Yesterday was a good day that started rough. We drew Jefferson City, GA and they have won 15 state titles in a row. They beat us pretty good: 59-16. We only won 3 matches. But the group rallied and won the next four matches to take third. I was really proud of the way they overcame adversity
- Team is 10-3 for the season, with two losses by a combined 6 points and another to a juggernaut team. This week we have a quad a Boiling Springs on Tuesday and then host Franklin, Brevard and Hendersonville on Wednesday.
7) I'm going to have to find new topics for number 7 since college football is wrapping up. Army-Navy was the closest game in years, but the Midshipmen still have the advantage over the cadets from West Point. Congratulations to Derek Henry on winning the Heisman, though I think the Heisman is the most overrated award in athletics. And it doesn't go to the best player in the country, it goes to the best player on one of the best teams in the country. Based on what I know, I like McCaffrey. Keenan Reynolds and Trevone Boykins would have been my picks, but Reynolds plays for a service academy and TCU lost down the stretch so they would never win.