April 11, 2017
by David Ryan

Wandering Along on a Do it Yourself Kennedy Walk

Three or four weeks ago I saw a mention of “Kennedy Walks” on Facebook or someplace else. I’m not sure where, but it did bring back some very vague recollections of Kennedy administration members doing very long walks along the C & O Canal towpath near Washington, D.C.

In looking into the matter further, I found out that John F. Kennedy had learned of Theodore Roosevelt’s challenge to Marine Corps officers of his era to show their fitness by walking 50 miles. President Kennedy subsequently challenged members of his administration to walk 50 miles in twenty hours as a show of his administration’s vigor.

The President’s brother, Bobby, took the bait and walked 50 miles within twenty hours on February 9, 1963. He wore his regular leather business shoes and followed the C & O Canal towpath from Great Falls of the Potomac to Harpers Ferry for his route.

My memory, which could be wrong, was of twenty-five mile walks being popular at that time. I mentioned seeing something about Kennedy Walks to my friend Phil, and he told me that he did a twenty-five mile Kennedy Walk with some friends when he was in high school.

A couple of days later, Phil called me up to say that we should do a Kennedy Walk. Less than a week later we stepped off from Phil’s house at the base of the Sandia Mountains in Albuquerque for our own “do it yourself” twenty-five mile Kennedy Walk.

We did not have a pre-determined route with exact measurements. Our destination was my house over eleven miles away by car in the Rio Grande valley. Our intention was to follow existing bike trails and footpaths to get there and to use my Fitbit to track of our mileage.

Our route would be generally downhill or level. And even better we were not going to march. We were going to walk at a pace that would get us to our destination and let us take in what was along the way.

Phil even remembered to bring along a Kennedy half dollar coin to honor our walk.

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February 5, 2017
by David Ryan

Running Into Folk Art While Wandering

Whether you are on foot or in a car, wandering offers the opportunity to notice many of the little things that life has to offer and, even better, encourages you to take the time to examine them. Folk Art is one of those especially wonderful little things to notice when wandering.

Earlier this week I had the chance to wander around, what is, perhaps, the most remarkable example of Folk Art in the world – Watts Towers in Los Angeles. The Towers are currently being considered for listing as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are currently only eleven UNESCO cultural sites in the country!

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January 14, 2017
by David Ryan

Wandering into Pure Joy

Earlier this week the dogs and I headed south to spend an afternoon with birds. Surprisingly the Rio Grande valley in central New Mexico is the winter home of over ten thousand Sandhill cranes. Most of them can be found at Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge about ninety minutes south of Albuquerque.

You can see birds all day long at the refuge, but main event occurs near dusk when wave after wave of cranes, snow geese, and other bird species in V-shape formations return to their roost after a long day of feeding. Seeing thousands of birds fly into the Bosque, seemingly out of nowhere, within a matter of minutes is a sight you’ll never forget.

On this week’s journey, we cut our drive short by forty-five minutes and pulled off of I-25 at the U.S. 60 / Bernardo exit. Just east of I-25 at this exit, the State of New Mexico has planted several hundred acres in corn with the sole purpose of feeding birds. And out of gratitude the birds have been happy to pack the fields and chomp away.

The "Waterfowl Management Area" is north of U.S. 60.

The “Waterfowl Management Area” is north of U.S. 60.

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