Archive for July, 2006

“People Get Held Back By The Voices Inside Them”

With a few recent exceptions, every hike I go on, at some point I think I can’t make it.  That doubt typically surfaces during an ascent.  🙂  For example, last year’s Tinker Cliffs to McAffee’s Knob Hike– I made it up to Tinker’s Cliff fine, but at the halfway point when we started a slight rise right after Brickey’s Gap, a subtle lump rose in my throat, I thought about the path ahead and I wanted to cry. 

McAfee's Knob - Tinker Cliffs

But as with all hikes, I keep going and before I know it, I’m at the top or in sight of my car and I’m ready for a nice Fuddrucker’s hamburger or better yet, some ice cream.

It is my mind that doubts what my body can do!

This knowledge has come in handy in my professional life.  Last July, I had a very hectic travel schedule.  In looking over the back to back itineraries and flights, I thought to myself, “I can’t do this!  It’s impossible!”  Then I remembered all the hikes where a similiar thought crossed my mind.  I took it one trip at a time and like hiking, I drank a lot of water and ate well.  Before I knew it, I was through all my obligations and I had a great deal of fun while I was at it.

Unfortunately, now I’m on to myself.  On five recent hikes (Tinker Cliffs to VA-220, VA-635 to Pine Swamp Shelter, Blackhorse Gap to VA 652, Mount Rogers and Bald Knob), I knew better.  I never thought I couldn’t make it.  But, with Mt. Bierstadt I definitely had my doubts!  Those doubts were a slightly different species, however– they occurred before I even arrived in the state.

When Mike Newman first emailed me the trail info, the elevation gain of 2,850 feet stuck out to me. 

Bierstadt Elevation Profile

Although I had ascended 3000 feet on a hike on an Appalachian Trail, that was spread out over the course of 13 miles.  With Mount Bierstadt, the elevation gain was pretty much compacted to a 2 mile area. 

Anyone who has hiked with me, knows that I am quite slow on the steep inclines and take a lot of breaks.  Add the thin air to the mix, it seemed to be an impossibility.

“It’s like two Angel’s Rests back to back,” I lamented to friends, “with 1/3 the oxygen!”

Enter Mike Newman who was not deterred one bit by my concerns.

“I honestly think you can do it, and you won’t exhaust my patience–you’ll just have to trust me on that one,” he emailed.

It turns out, Mike Newman was correct on both accounts.  As soon as I was on the trail, I was no longer concerned.  And although I was challenged by the rocky, steep sections– there was never a time where I wanted to turn back…and certainly never a time where I wanted to cry.  By the time the trail got hard, the summit was close enough that I knew it was obtainable (though I still reveled in my surprise that I was going to make it).  The whole while, break after break, Mike Newman proved to be a very patient and pleasant companion (He also demonstrated an uncanny ability of estimating the number of paces to the next cairn).  It turned out to be a wonderful, fulfilling day.

If I had listened to my own doubts or let my worry of irritating Mike Newman win out, I would have settled on a very different hike.  I would have missed out.  And ultimately what was I worried about?  I was worried about looking like a wuss.  I would have missed out because I was trying to save face!

This all reminds me of another K’naan quote from The Beginning

People get held back by the voices inside them

I’m glad, thanks to Mike Newman’s encouragement, that I did not fall into that tempting pitfall.

I’m glad that I did not get held back by the voices inside me.

Vicky at Summit!

July 16, 2006 at 9:30 pm 5 comments

Rollerblading – 16th State

Keeping with my traveling tradition, I packed my rollerblades and brought them along to Colorado.  Last night, I went rollerblading with my ten-year old cousin, Allison.   That makes Colorado the 16th U.S. State I’ve rollerbladed in.

Allison Rollerblading

Young Allison was not the first of my cousins to rollerblade with me.  That honor would go to Samantha Sawyer– who rollerbladed with me in Bethany Beach, Delaware.

P.S.  The other states I’ve rollerbladed in:

  • Virginia (numerous venues– most commonly Occoquan and the Huckleberry Trail)
  • Delaware (Bethany Beach with Samantha)
  • Texas (with Brian Nenninger who jogged)
  • Georgia (on beautiful Jekyll Island)
  • Lousiana (in New Orlean’s Audubon Park)
  • Tennesee (the perfect River Trail in Chattanooga)
  • Kentucky (some waterfront trail in Louisville)
  • Michigan (Vincent Court in Lansing)
  • Maryland (Assateague Island)
  • Minnesota (One of the many bike paths in Hibbing)
  • Wisconsin (Heistand Park)
  • Nevada (Sunset Park)
  • Florida (Bike Path that ran along A1A)
  • Pennsylvania (Montour Bike path near McMurray)
  • Kansas (Prawnee Praire Park)

July 14, 2006 at 9:41 pm 1 comment

Mt. Bierstadt

My day started at 5:30 AM (Not too bad– it was 7:30 AM EST).  Mike Newman picked me up at my hotel at 6:00 AM and we headed to Georgetown, Colorado to hike to the summit of the Mt. Bierstadt, a “14er”.  In other words, a mountain whose summit is over 14,000 feet.

We started at 11,669 feet, descended about 200 feet and then climbed all the way up to 14,062 feet!  To put it in perspective– the elevation of the tallest point in Virginia is 5729 feet.  Our hike began twice as high as that!

A couple of pictures–

Here is a shot at the beginning of our hike when we are crossing the Willows.  The large mound at the top right of the screen– that is where we are heading!

Willows at Bierstadt

The last mile or so, the trail got really rocky.  Here is a shot of some of the rocky trail, Mike Newman AND snow that remained on the mountain:

Mike Snow

Finally us at the summit!
Mt. Bierstadt Summit

Anyway, more pictures from this hike and my Colorado trip thus far are available on my website.

More information on Mt. Bierstadt from

July 14, 2006 at 9:17 pm 2 comments

Seinfeld Parallels from Colorado

Greetings from Boulder, Colorado!

Sean and I arrived seperately yesterday afternoon.  Since his trip is business travel and paid for, he flew from Roanoke, Virginia.  I had a different (cheaper) schedule of flights departing from Greensboro, North Carolina.  I had a very smooth journey– no delays, quiet passengers, a surprising selection of snacks, adequate entertainment.  In fact, my flight arrived in Denver 15 minutes early! 

When I landed, I got a series of text messages from Sean revealing his journey was quite different.  Both of his flights had delays.  On one small plane, Sean was accompanied by an all-woman country music group who would not stop cackling.  On the large plane, Sean was stuck watching “Behind the Scenes of Deal or No Deal”.

It reminded me of that Seinfeld episode where Jerry and Elaine get split up on a flight back to New York.  Jerry gets to sit in first class while Elaine is stuck in coach.  Throughout the episode they switch back and forth to compare the two experiences.  Jerry is pampered and has a pleasant and peaceful ride.  Meanwhile, Elaine is cramped, gets hit with a beverage cart and has to brave smelly lavatories.

This morning, we decided to forego the free breakfast at the hotel and find a restaurant to eat at.  We had a wrong turn right off the bat when we left the hotel parking lot.  Then we could not find a single place (besides coffee) that was open.  Then Sean turned on another road, believing there may be more options there– but even after a few miles, the side of the road was vacant of breakfast opportunities.

Sean was less than pleased and yelled, “DAMN IT!  Every decision I make today is absolutely wrong!  I need to do the exact opposite of what I think!”

Which reminded me of the episode where George came to the same conclusion.  🙂

In the end— we retreated back to the hotel and partook of their free food.

Don’t be misled by those tales though.  So far it has been a good trip.   Yesterday, we were able to visit the Denver Zoo and we had an absolutely delicious dinner at Noodles & Company.  AND the hotel beds felt so so very good after such a long trip.

Today I’m visiting with my Uncle and two cousins and tomorrow I’ll be hiking with Mike Newman.  On Saturday, Sean and I are capping off our trip with a visit to Rocky Mountain National Park.

July 13, 2006 at 10:59 am 1 comment

7/7 Attacks

This morning I woke up and was reminded that it has been a year since the London terror attacks.  What was I reminded by?  The Mike and Mike in the Morning show, of course.  Anyway, it seemed fitting to revisit my journal.  Here is an excerpt of the July 9, 2005 entry.  It was written as I rode in the passenger seat of Larry’s jaguar en route from Washington, PA to Blacksburg.

With the exception of DC and Roanoke, I think the city I’ve been at the most is London.  I believe London even beats out Charlotte.

(If you don’t count trips to the airport that statement stands correct).

Maybe it’s because I’ve been in London 4 times, that I’ve grown quite an attachment to that city.  Actually I suspect the city itself and the circumstances of my visits led to my affection.  The magnitude of my connection to the city was prevalent this week.

Wednesday morning Sean and I awoke to a sports talk show I’ve becoming especially fond of.  It’s called Mike and Mike in the Morning.  I don’t really care that much for sports — but Mike and Mike has become such a constant in our morning routine – it’s close to my heart.

It is amazing how much I enjoy that Mike and Mike show.   I remember when Sean first started watching it, I would complain.  “It’s just like Groundhog Day!  Every day it is the same old thing– Oh look, they’re talking about Barry Bonds AGAIN.”  But now, I like the show so much if I wake up earlier than Sean I turn it on.  And a true testament– when I travel, I put it on in the mornings (assuming my hotel cable gets the appropriate channel). Watching it makes tends to make me feel closer to home– to my husband and my dogs which I inevitably miss.

That morning Mike and Mike were talking about something that normally would be of great interest to me anyway– the 2012 Olympics.  That morning was the final annoncement of which city won as the host.  London and Paris were the two finalists.  They aired the annoncement live– it was London that won!

My heart was so joyous for the city.  I wanted London to win.  When I visited last January there were signs everywhere that read, “Support the Bid”.  London really wanted this event.  Jason [Pitt] and I discussed it.

“I really hope London gets the Olympics,” he said.  “It did Sydney so much good — reinnovating run down parts of the city.  London really needs this.”

And then to watch the jubilation in the city over the annoncement– it was amazing.  New York was also in the running but even from the get-go a lot of people were complaining.  They didn’t really want the Olympics.  I’m sure there were dissenters– but I got the impression London really wanted the Olympics and were happy with the news.

Flash forward a day.  I woke up much earlier than usual– well before my alarm.  Sean was already sitting up watching the TV.  It wasn’t on Mike & Mike — our usual morning show.  The first things I registered looking at the TV — one of London’s trademark double decker buses ripped apart; bright red letters; London; Terror.

It didn’t take long before I realized the extent of the damage wasn’t just one bus.  Three trains in the tube were hit as well.

My heart ached instantly.  The magnitude of my outrage and sadness surprises me.  New York– those attacks were closer to home and on a grander scale.  Heck even my “home city” of D.C. was hit.  One of the planes was downed in Washington, PA – a town I’ve done business in.  In fact– I was there this week.

Madrid had an attack very similiar to the one we saw in London, but bigger.  There were more bombs, more injuries and more fatalities.

You may want to double check that before you quote me.  I seriously doubt I was fact-checking on I-79.

Maybe I’ve blocked out the past a bit — I don’t know.  Right now, it feels like my heart sank more for London than the other cities.

Actually I know now that’s not true.  Recently I went over my September 2001 entries and there was a lot of emotion I had not recalled when authoring the above passage.

I don’t think it’s from silly projected paranoia.  A.k.a. “Oh my gawd, I rode that double decker bus– that could have been me!” or “I was just in King’s Cross station just a few months ago!!!”  It wasn’t that.

Double Decker Bus

Rather – I think it’s because I’m familiar with the places and the sites on the TV.  I’m fond of these sites.  Maybe I’m sad because I know it’ll be harder for people, perhaps myself even, to relax and enjoy those sites as much as I have in the past.  Maybe that is what dampens my mood– the prospect that the city will never be the same.

Umm… I didn’t say this in the journal– but of course, I was sad for the people who were killed, were injured or who lost love ones as well.

But who am I kidding?  London, of all cities has weathered so much — including devastating bombings during WWII.  The city will persevere. 

As I write this I wonder if I should worry about Jason Pitt.  I don’t want to be silly– just because I know someone who lives in London doesn’t mean he is in jeopardy.  It is sort of kin to someone assuming I know a Virginia Tech student they know.  Virginia Tech is such a large school– odds are I don’t know them.

Same with this.  The population of London is so large and the casualties were (relatively) small.  Really– what are the odds that the one person I know was a casualty????

But then– I can’t help but wonder about his well being.  He lives right next to Kings Cross and I haven’t received a reply to my email.

Well– we’ll give it a few more days.

Ha!  That ending of that passage amuses me.  “Could my friend be dead?  Oh well, moving on!”  🙂  But it turned out, Jason Pitt was fine.  So there really was little need for me to even speculate.

Oh well, moving on. 

Although my memory continues to prove to be shakey, I think I will always remember how happy I was for the city one day and then just how sad I was for the same city the very next day.

July 7, 2006 at 9:42 am 1 comment

Ian Fund, Corn, Ian Fund

Been a busy, busy, week and it’s past my bedtime.  But here’s a quick update of some things that have been going on.

Ian Open
Last Friday, CCS hosted a Charity Golf Tournament for Ian Herbst.  Ann Bowman Jones of Bowman Handbags, Ted Bowman, Jennifer Blankenship and I participated as a team. 

Vicky Herrala and Ann Bowman Jones 

Although my game certainly struggled, our team did not hold up the entire event like I feared the night before.  And surprisingly, we did not come in last place!  We were 9 over par…. and some poor team faired worse.  Regardless of scores, it was a great event in wonderful weather and it brought in a good amount of money for Ian Fund as well.

Chic-A-Que and Sweet Corn
Despite hearing multiple sources rave about Eric Axilbund’s 4th of July party, Sean and I continued our tradition of visiting his parent’s.  I always, always eat extremely well in Zuni– both on the quality front and on the quantity front.  On Sunday, we went to the Bowden’s house to enjoy Ted Herrala’s tasty Chic-a-que.  Not only is the chicken delicious, but it is a very interesting event to spectate as you watch Ted and his companions flip and sauce hundreds of chickens over the makeshift cinderblock grill. 

On Monday, the timing was just right to get the first of the “How Sweet It Is” sweet corn.  You couldn’t get more fresh corn than what we had!  Literally just an hour or so before ingesting it, Sean, Bret, Phifer, Ted and I were picking corn in the field (braving a looming thunderstorm and freaky-looking brain fungus).  The corn was absolutely delicious!  So far, I’ve ingested 6 ears of corn this week…and there is more to come.

More Ian Fund
Another Ian Fund project in the works is Pine Cone Wreaths. 


They are making them to sell at Craft Fairs and raise money for Ian.  A crafting company donated most of the supplies– all we need is pine cones!  Well for a month or so, I’ve been collecting pine cones on and off. 

As we neared Sean’s family’s house, I kept eyeing the nearby scenery for pine trees. 

“Look, there’s some pine cones!” I’d say.

Sean assured me, “There is no shortage of pine cones in this area.”

Boy, was he right!  In fact– Sean’s family’s backyard was COVERED with pine cones.  On Monday afternoon, I was able to fill up two giant black trashbags full of pine cones…. and the yard was still littered with remaining cones!  My collection should keep the crafters busy for a while.  When they do eventually run out, I know just who to hit up for more.

July 5, 2006 at 11:30 pm 1 comment

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