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The Death Valley story made me recall my own “adventure” about 20 years ago in Colorado.  I hiked in a county park near Fort Collins out to a scenic overlook in late July.  I violated all the rules – left no note in my car, no one knew I was there, only carried a minimal amount of water, had no way to make fire, no flashlight, no food and was wearing a t-shirt/shorts/hiking boots.  As I made my way back from the overlook, I suddenly realized that I was off the trail – the rain had made the pine needles into what sort of looked like a trail, but it was not.  Steep hillside, covered in pine trees & not a person in sight/sound.  I initially thought that I was above the original trail & hiked downslope, but no luck.  I then thought that I would hike to the top of the ridge & get an overview of where I was and/or run across the trail.   As I made my way upslope the ground was sandy, with plenty of rocks that gave way.   After about 10 minutes this I realized that I was going to turn an ankle or break something.   At this point, I stopped, sat down, & drank most of my remaining water.  I gathered my thoughts and looked in all directions.  Off in the distance I could see the distinctive white rock that marked the scenic overlook that I had hiked to earlier in the day.  With a firm landmark in sight, I hiked in that direction, confident that I would stumble upon the trail sooner or later.  A short time later ( seemed longer of course) I hit the trail & made my way back towards the parking lot.  I stopped and related my story to a kind young couple coming the other way.  They graciously offered me some of their water, which gave me the energy I needed to finish my hike back. That experience has stuck with me for all these years since then.  My wife and I hike a fair bit on our own and even when we  travel with a commercial group I still make sure that I have water ( and a way to filter it), some food, light, fire making “tools”, and clothing to handle weather changes.

Re: food prices.  In the 60’s people ate at home a lot more than we do now.   A major consideration is the impact of the food that we are eating.  Obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. are all way up from what they were in the 60’s.  These are influenced largely by what we eat – way too many processed food with large amounts of sodium, carbs(sugars) and fats.  Our intake combined with the overall decrease in activity all combine to make for a sicker society.   While food costs have decreased dramatically, the amount we spend on healthcare for chronic illnesses has gone up to make up the difference.   Things that make you go hmm…or ugh!  We have been buying frozen turkey burgers, same brand same store for about the past three month – on a low carb not quite paleo diet – and noticed a change today.  The current stock is 6 burgers vs. 8 that we last purchased about 6 weeks ago & the price went up $1 a package.  I checked when we got home (still have the last box) and sure enough, the weight had dropped from 32 ounces to 24.  A 25% decrease in content, combined with a roughly 10% increase in price in SIX weeks.  Wow! The other thing I have been noting recently is that the quality of produce has declined – more overripe/moldy/rotten stuff in packages.   Wondering if we can chalk that up to slowdowns in the supply chain/lack of folks to harvest crops/weather.  Any thoughts on that?


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The Death Valley story made me recall my own “adventure” about 20 years ago in Colorado.  I hiked in a county park near Fort Collins out to a scenic overlook in late July.  I violated all the rules – left no note in my car, no one knew I was there, only carried a minimal amount of water, had no way to make fire, no flashlight, no food and was wearing a t-shirt/shorts/hiking boots.  As I made my way back from the overlook, I suddenly realized that I was off the trail – the rain had made the pine needles into what sort of looked like a trail, but it was not.  Steep hillside, covered in pine trees & not a person in sight/sound.  I initially thought that I was above the original trail & hiked downslope, but no luck.  I then thought that I would hike to the top of the ridge & get an overview of where I was and/or run across the trail.   As I made my way upslope the ground was sandy, with plenty of rocks that gave way.   After about 10 minutes this I realized that I was going to turn an ankle or break something.   At this point, I stopped, sat down, & drank most of my remaining water.  I gathered my thoughts and looked in all directions.  Off in the distance I could see the distinctive white rock that marked the scenic overlook that I had hiked to earlier in the day.  With a firm landmark in sight, I hiked in that direction, confident that I would stumble upon the trail sooner or later.  A short time later ( seemed longer of course) I hit the trail & made my way back towards the parking lot.  I stopped and related my story to a kind young couple coming the other way.  They graciously offered me some of their water, which gave me the energy I needed to finish my hike back. That experience has stuck with me for all these years since then.  My wife and I hike a fair bit on our own and even when we  travel with a commercial group I still make sure that I have water ( and a way to filter it), some food, light, fire making “tools”, and clothing to handle weather changes.

Re: food prices.  In the 60’s people ate at home a lot more than we do now.   A major consideration is the impact of the food that we are eating.  Obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. are all way up from what they were in the 60’s.  These are influenced largely by what we eat – way too many processed food with large amounts of sodium, carbs(sugars) and fats.  Our intake combined with the overall decrease in activity all combine to make for a sicker society.   While food costs have decreased dramatically, the amount we spend on healthcare for chronic illnesses has gone up to make up the difference.   Things that make you go hmm…or ugh!  We have been buying frozen turkey burgers, same brand same store for about the past three month – on a low carb not quite paleo diet – and noticed a change today.  The current stock is 6 burgers vs. 8 that we last purchased about 6 weeks ago & the price went up $1 a package.  I checked when we got home (still have the last box) and sure enough, the weight had dropped from 32 ounces to 24.  A 25% decrease in content, combined with a roughly 10% increase in price in SIX weeks.  Wow! The other thing I have been noting recently is that the quality of produce has declined – more overripe/moldy/rotten stuff in packages.   Wondering if we can chalk that up to slowdowns in the supply chain/lack of folks to harvest crops/weather.  Any thoughts on that?


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