I began my wandering ways in the foothills of California. Avoiding the wrong end of a skunk in the woods seemed infinitely more attractive to me than being bonked on the head by a Little League Baseball.
The sixties saw me off to Berkeley and the student revolution and then on to Africa and the Peace Corps. Then, in rapid succession I worked as a teacher in Philadelphia and a Peace Corps recruiter out of Atlanta and Sacramento. Earth Day 1 pulled me into the environmental movement which eventually led me into working as a health advocate doing battle with the tobacco industry.
My love of the wilderness led me to create the American Lung Association’s Trek program, which happily kept me leading wilderness trips for over 20 years.
Every few years I quit whatever I am doing to roam the world for six months to a year. I have been a janitor, pear picker, teacher, recruiter, wilderness guide, executive director, fund raiser, professional lobbyist, campaign director, writer, house husband, and well, the list goes on. My resume is not one to inspire a potential employer, or a potential wife for that matter. Peggy smiles whenever anyone asks me to describe what I do.
I am also blogging a book about my experience of backpacking 750 miles down the Pacific Crest Trail to celebrate my 75th birthday plus other wilderness adventures. The working title is “It Is 4 AM and a Bear Is Standing on Top of Me.” And yes, I have actually been awakened by a bear standing on me. Its snout was six inches away from mine.
I met Peggy in 1989 when I finished a 10,000 mile solo bicycle trek around North America. I had been through one marriage and several relationships. They were all good. But it was love at first sight with Peggy. All I had to do was convince her and her children, Tony and Tasha, that it was mutual. The first time I took Peggy backpacking, the 14 old Natasha made her mother a sweatshirt that said, “Don’t Mess with the Mama.” She came around, eventually.
Like Peggy, I love to read and do photography.
You may wonder how a nice Midwestern girl from Ohio who went to college at Mary Baldwin and the University of Tennessee, became a special-ed teacher, married into the army, and ended up as an elementary school principal, eventually hooked up with a man who prefers wandering to work. You are not alone. I first met Curt when I was employed at the American Lung Association in Sacramento and was between lives, so to speak. He walked into the office pushing his bike at the end of his 10,000 mile bicycle journey. He was, uh, quite svelte in his tight fitting bike clothes. Things evolved from there.
“Curt’s a safe date,” my sister Jane, who was Executive Director of ALASET and a long time friend of Curt’s, assured me. Safe for what? After 30 years I am still working on that question.
I have two great children, Tony and Natasha. Both are married— Tony to Cammie and Tasha to Clay— and have children. Since it is the digital age, I have three million four hundred and forty two pictures (slight exaggeration) of the grandchildren: Ethan, Cody, Connor, Christopher and Cooper. Curt, who didn’t have any kids, quickly and easily slipped into the role of Dad and Grandpa.
Beyond travelling, my hobbies include photography, reading, playing the guitar, quilting and creating unending projects for the grandchildren.