Hike to Nowhere

Hike to Nowhere, Rocky Mountain National ParkSometimes the best outdoor adventures have no goals, no expeditions to high mountain peaks and pristine alpine lakes. Sometimes the best adventures are found deep in the forest, off trail with only the sound of silence to reward you. Sometimes the best adventures are nothing more than a hike to nowhere.

We took a hike just such as this. With no goal in mind and no destination planned, the rule of the day was, just hike until it feels right. The trail had no real defining features. A well blended forest of alpine fir, lodgepole pine and aspen opening here and there with an occasional glimpse of snow-capped mountain peaks. A gentle rolling creek trickling alongside on our left fed by a high alpine lake in the far distance. Steep slopes rising to the right and dropping to the left, leaving just enough room for the trail and our unknown destination of a hike to nowhere.

We meandered our way up the canyon, stopping here and there, taking a non-aggressive pace and enjoying the quiet of nature.

At some point the trail turned away from the creek and headed uphill. We, on the other hand, did not. Following the creek, off the trail, we made our own way. Our trail to nowhere brought us to a small outcropping overlooking the creek, surrounded by dense woods and the perfect place to call it a day.

Hike to Nowhere, Trail FoodThere we were, all alone, despite the wildlife who possibly hadn’t seen humans for quite some time, if ever. We coexisted well with them and enjoyed each other’s company. For us, time didn’t exist.

While preparing lunch we looked up at a lone aspen tree that sat on the edge of the outcropping and were dumbstruck at our finding. Perfectly carved in its aging trunk, a peace emblem. Indeed, this was the spot we had been looking for. Perfect in so many ways, and yet, perhaps, unimpressive to anyone else.

Sometimes the best outdoor adventures have no goals, no expeditions to high mountain peaks and pristine alpine lakes. Sometimes the best adventures are found deep in the forest, off-trail, with only the sound of silence to reward you. Sometimes the best adventures are nothing more than a hike to nowhere.

Hike to Nowhere, Peace SignBirds singing, a gentle breeze winding its way through the trees and the creek running gently below us, we sat front row to a natural symphony while a flood of memories of our lives together danced through our heads.

Our hike to nowhere had indeed taken us to a very special place.

Peace,

MAD

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Summer Breeze

Summer BreezeAn almost perfect moment in time, a cool summer breeze, listening to music and watching nature unfold into another day.

It’s 5:00 in the morning, the airport is still and a gentle morning summer breeze is rolling through. Sitting outside, in what normally is an extremely hostile environment, feels calm and serene. Perched atop a piece of aircraft servicing equipment, watching the drama of night and day play out, the early morning light begins to overtake the dark and create amazingly rich colors across the sky.

I sit, iPod on, earbuds in, the Rush album Signals drifting through my ears, all coordinating in a seemingly remarkable multi-dimensional composition of sound and nature in such an unlikely place. The song “The Weapon (Part II Of Fear)” sparks the imagination and gives way to the enchanting violins of the next song “Losing It” that dances with the sunrise. I’ve often enjoyed the silence of headphones (now days earbuds) that shut out the world and allows for no interference where my imagination is left to wander.

An almost perfect moment in time, a cool summer breeze, listening to music and watching nature unfold into another day. I say, almost perfect. Despite being at work, and most noticeably, wishing Debbie was here with me to experience what I’m seeing and feeling, I take what I can get to pass the time of being someplace I don’t want to be. Some days you just want to quit the rat race and run to the mountains. Who created this mess we call life anyway?

The music continues and I wonder, does anyone even see the sunrise anymore? Are we all just so damn busy to realize the natural world and what we really are? The lyrics linger as the dark fades to light and another day begins…

 “Some are born to move the world
To live their fantasies
But most of us just dream about
The things we’d like to be
Sadder still to watch it die
Than never to have known it
For you, the blind who once could see
The bell tolls for thee…”

Peace,

MAD

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Between the Lines

Between the LinesHave you ever just sat back and considered the detail of your life? Have you ever tried to read between the lines? No doubt if you have you’ve seen many coincidences that have made you think about your life all the more.

There’s no secret that we tend to filter everything through the mystical, hence we tend to read between the lines. Though we’re not overtly religious, and would probably be deemed irreligious, there’s more to the story than face value. Yes, there is a G-d. Yes, there is an intelligent design to the cosmos. No, we don’t feel a four-walled organized religion is the way to go [for us].

There are many aspects to all religions that seem to have the fingerprint of a moral compass, and that’s a good thing, they also seem to have man driven ideologies that can equally impact in a negative way. We listen, observe and consider, from a distance. For us it’s the mystical observations found in between the lines.

Of late we have been looking at patterns, physically and spiritually, that would give us further insight into our relationship. Why, you ask? Well, if we had to explain it would come in the notion that we do accept that our relationship is almost too good to be true. Not that we’re complaining. But, it just doesn’t seem to be the norm. Allow us to explain through our observations from a somewhat eclectic approach.

Spirituality, mysticism, astrology, kabbalism and numerology all seem to get a bad rap from the naysayers. Relating them all in the same mind set on the other hand can be quite a mouthful full of complexities that take time to evaluate, understand and even accept. That being said, pull up a chair and be patient.

In Judaism there is a practice of reading through the Torah [Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy and Numbers] each year, the cycle repeating each year thereafter. In a nut shell, each day of the entire year has a corresponding assigned portion to read. As well, the Psalms are also read alongside in like fashion. If one approached this from a rote mentality there would be a likelihood of missing out on a deep spiritual impact.

Here is where we get off the religious wagon and walk down the path less traveled. We have approached this same reading schedule with an interesting question. Is there something between the lines here, something that somehow corresponds to us, say a major life event as the day we were born or were married? We think so. For the purpose of this writing we’ll focus on our marriage.

We were married on March 27, 1984, that being the Gregorian calendar. On the Jewish calendar, Adar ll 23, 5744. It was a waning moon, three days before the new moon. The Torah portion for the day we were married was Par Tazria, or Leviticus 13:18 – 13:23. At first glance this just seems like some Jewish religious practice. And while that is true, there’s more to it. Just reading those  passages alone probably won’t tell you much either, unless you’re into leprosy and how it was dealt with in the Torah. Not a popular topic to say the least.

However, once we begin to read between the lines, a rather interesting pattern begins to emerge that has much more to say than dealing with a disease. Looking at the letters, words and phrases, in the Hebrew alphabet, has enough to chew on for several lifetimes. Hell, the numerology, or gematria, itself is perplexing. To simplify, if that were so, we’ll focus on the “hidden” content.

A bit of history about us. When we first me, even before that, and soon thereafter, we were already questioning everything. We trusted no one. Sure, we were fragile teenagers dealing with our own issues. A relationship is not something we wanted or were looking for. But it happened. It wasn’t long before we figured out we were both in the same boat and that we both felt familiar to each other. We both wanted away from the world and to be left alone. We needed a fresh start from the norm.

Back to the Torah portion. Examining the afflicted person, “The Kohen shall look at it, and behold – the affliction has changed to white, the Kohen shall declare the affliction pure; it is pure.” (Leviticus 13:17). The color white has long been understood as meaning, clean and pure. Even in cultural memes, white is used in many ways to designate something good, holy and undefiled. The idea of becoming pure, clean, moreover, the moment just before becoming pure and clean occurs, is a notion found in between the lines in that this would be the time the Messiah would come, at the climax of the greatest intensity. This would be the unveiling moment when destiny is revealed.

The Talmud (Sanhedrin 97a) describes the Messiah as coming only after the governments of the world become totally heretical, come to a climax. Again in the Talmud (Sanhedrin 98a), it speaks of the generation when the Messiah will come, “a totally deserving, or totally guilty” generation. A generation at its climax.

Our point being, we were at a climax in our lives. The intrigue is that the Torah portion is associated with the day of our marriage when we were at the apex of change and went a whole new direction in our lives with the energy of change, the same energy the Torah speaks of. Thirty-four (at the time of this writing) years later we are still moving forward in that energy, still connected to each other, if not more, than ever before. There is something to be said about destiny, connectivity and the energy that binds it together. Understanding such evidence is not necessarily vital, but sure does help us understand just what our lives are about and how our unique relationship has had an impact on us.

If that were not enough, interestingly, on the day of both of our births the Torah portions for those days also describe new beginnings, receptively fitting to both our own personalities at that. Debbie being the role of sacrifice, offering and teaching future generations (Leviticus 1:1-13). Mine being yet another beginning, another apex if you will, where man was moved from the Garden of Eden to work the soil of the earth as he strives forward to go back, knowing both good and evil (Genesis 3:22-4:18).  Coincidence? The references don’t end here, are certainly not tied only to religious content and have become overwhelmingly too numerous to put in this one writing.

Are you curious about the patterns in your own life? Start researching and be amazed! Need help? Drop us a line and we’ll try to share some resources with you.

Peace,

MAD

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Who Do I Think God Is

Who Do I Think God Is?

Who Do I Think God Is

Who do I think God is? Honestly, I don’t know. What I do know is what others say he is. In my humblest opinion, God is bigger than any of us will ever know.

I’m not one to follow the crowd, memes and the like. I’m not a religious person. I test everything, I question all and I do not regret doing so. I have never felt sacrilegious about my decisions, nor any negative discomfort from them. To me, God wants us to challenge him, he wants us to figure him out and by and far he wants us to come to an understanding on our own and not by someone else’s views or opinions.

Evolution? Sure, we’re evolving one day at a time. But seriously, something can’t come from nothing. So we’re left with an intelligence far beyond our own.

I don’t care for four-walled organizations, I’m not a fan of structured religions and by and far I have no place in my life for anyone who claims to know it all and tells me it’s either their way or the highway, hell, purgatory or oblivion.

I approach this all too complex issue from a rather simplistic and rudimentary angle, God simply is. One piece of evidence struck a chord in me many years ago, a somewhat reoccurring theme within a wide range of texts ingenuously states that we will know God by his creation. Simply put, open your eyes, ears and mind to the natural world around you and patterns emerge, human nature reveals and the vibrations of life proclaim his essence.

Though seemingly complex, it’s rather simple, humans just seem to complicate it all to the point of a legalistic dogma that leave no room for interpretation, no place for contemplative thought and certainly no place for honest and open debate. Sad, but we all just seem to back into our own corners of the religious market and raise our camp flags.

Indoctrination is a dirty word with far more negative impacts than many of us are willing to admit. Albert Einstein puts it all too well, “If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.”

If I had to explain myself, perhaps the best way to express my eclectic and ever evolving beliefs, for lack of a better word, would have to be a mystic influenced by the spiritual blur between the lines. I’ve been told I am a critical thinking INTJ. I look for patterns in vocabulary, in numbers, in equated complexities of adding them together to form words, sentences, paragraphs and beyond. I learn from history and do not repeat it. I look in the recesses of places I’m told are taboo. I journey spiritually in my sleep and awake times. My mind constantly drifts in thoughts of the unknown and how to get from here to there. I listen to all and repeat few.

If you ask, I’ll say I’m Jewish. But then I’ll ask you what you think Jewish is! Too many times we surmise what we think someone is by a title, a title man has created and given meaning to based on human ignorance.

I love Kabbalah, Gematria and Jewish mysticism. I want to visit Safed, Israel and not Jerusalem where too many fight and argue over their right to the sand. I don’t have a problem with Jesus, Muhammad, Buddah or the like, I don’t know them either. What I do have a problem with is what people have made them out to be, much less their religious claims on any given doctrine. One thing is for certain, one day we’ll all know the answer. Question is, in the interim, how much time will we waste arguing and waging war when we could be collectively exploring God and not our egos.

Who do I think God is? Honestly, I don’t know God. What I do know is what others say he is. In my humblest opinion, God is bigger than any of us will ever know.

Peace,

Miller [The “M” in MAD]

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It is A MAD World Out There

It is a MAD World Out There

It is A MAD World Out There

It is a MAD world out there! Each morning we get up and do it all over again. Consumed by the rat race we neglect to capture our thoughts and go about our day out of tune and out of touch.

Do what you love, or hate what you’re doing. Seems pretty straight forward, and most likely a statement attributed to our work or careers, but this could also apply to all of life, everything we do. 

Who knows. We’re the kind of people that tends to incorporate every mundane thought and action into a complete package where nothing is exempt as it all is a part of life. We’d love to make it a la carte, picking and choosing what is personal and what is not, but unfortunately that is not a task that we find feasible, if we’re breathing, it’s life.

Wish we would have known all this stuff at an early age.

Alas, we are all taught what someone else believes to be a successful and productive life. In a meme driven culture, it’s a wonder anyone of us has half a mind to figure out what it is, as individuals, we want out of life. Essentially, it is like a virus that takes over our thought-process and tells us what we believe we want, but do we want those things, and how do we know and does it matter to most? 

The business, political, religious and educational leaders [to name a few] seem to have a plan they’d like us to follow, outside of that box, you’re deemed rebellious and a societal outcast…or, better put, weird. Keep ’em busy so they can’t think for themselves and the machine will run as designed.

If you do stop, observe and think about it for even a second, it can cause one to wonder who you really are. Or, at the very least, confuse the hell out of you and leave you wondering what exactly truth is, and what it is not.

It is a MAD world out there! Each morning we get up and do it all over again. Consumed by the rat race we neglect to capture our thoughts and go about our day out of tune and out of touch.

Peace,

MAD

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Miller Harrell, Debbie Harrell, MAD Hippies Life, Indian Peaks Wilderness, Colorado, Rocky Mountains, Lost Lake

Hiking Lost Lake

Hiking Lost Lake, Colorado, Wildflowers, Rocky Mountains, MAD Hippies Life, Hessie TrailheadWelcome to springtime in the Colorado Rocky Mountains!

The winter thaw is upon us, the creeks and rivers are running fast, the lakes are filling back up and the wildflowers are blooming like a fireworks display on the 4th of July. On the menu for today, four moose, three deer, a black bear and an amazing landscape! Hiking Lost Lake in Colorado is an adventure close to Denver full of wildlife, wildflowers and waterfalls.

Many people are coming out from their long hibernation, along with the bears, and heading up into the mountains to enjoy the cool mountain air, the incredible explosion of colors and trade in their skis and snowboards for hiking boots and backpacks.

Hiking Lost Lake is an old favorite which never lets us down when it comes to an abundance of wildlife, wildflowers and waterfalls. And once again, we were not disappointed as indeed we were witness to several moose, deer, a black bear and an amazing breathtaking landscape full of the life we’ve come to appreciate that springtime in the Colorado Rocky Mountains provides.

Hiking Lost Lake, Middle Boulder Creek, Waterfall, Indian Peaks Wilderness, Hessie Trailhead, Lost Lake, MAD HIppies LifeNature’s air conditioner! Many of our hikes are broken into segments, not necessarily to stop and rest, although in the high country that is not such a bad idea! There are those places along the trail that pull you off the beaten path to explore rare opportunities to experience the wild and untamed landscape. When the snow melt begins in spring and the creeks begin filling, the rapids and waterfalls can be quite dramatic. Here, the Middle Boulder Creek bursts with an incredible volume of fast moving water creating a spectacular sight. The heavy mist fills the air and makes for a great spot to cool down. Exploring such a hidden gem is remarkable, while sitting and soaking up the roar is equally meditative.

As much as you might want to stay here, there is so much more to see when hiking Lost Lake. Though, a quick mental note to return again is always a good idea.

Moving on, the trail deepens into the sub alpine world as you climb higher and deeper into the Indian Peaks Wilderness of Colorado. Snow capped peaks begin to emerge behind the tall pines and the trail resembles more of a creek than a footpath as the ever increasing evidence of snow melt overtakes the landscape. The land is alive and your curiosity begins to spark the imagination of what lies around the bend.

Indian Peaks Wilderness, Hiking Lost Lake, Hessie Trailhead, Colorado, Rocky Mountains, MAD HIppies LifeAnd just as the sun rises in the morning giving way to a vast array of colors in the sky, you turn the bend, rise over the ridge and find yourself witness to an incredible landscape that could only be compared to paradise on earth. Beautifully adorned, Lost Lake is a deep blue wonder surrounded by sub alpine trees that reach high into the sky. The cloudless morning sky is endless, rich and clear and the breeze is ever so slight though crisp and cool. All around, snow capped peaks beg to be summited.

A few backcountry campers, still in awe of their find, begin to emerge from their slumber to fill their lungs with the mountain air while the birds serenade us all with songs of the high country. It wasn’t that long ago we were dumbstruck by a waterfall, yet now that begins to fade as this new encounter has stopped us dead in our tracks. Mouths wide open and our souls leaping with joy, we are now witness to an awesome natural wonder. Yes, let’s build our dream cabin right here and never leave!

Indian Peaks Wilderness, Hiking, Backpacking, Hiking Lost Lake, Colorado, Rocky Mountains, MAD Hippies Life, Hessie TrailheadAfter we collected our thoughts and got passed the awe of what hiking Lost Lake has to offer, we began exploring around and above. It is really quite amazing, while you can keep close to the shoreline, equally fun is to climb high above and look back down for a new perspective. Soaking up such a view not only gives you and bigger and much grander understanding of the landscape, but offers views that would otherwise never be seen. Alas, our time here was growing short, though not short on experience. We took one last good look around and chose the long way back out to the main trail.

Peace,

MAD

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Love is in the air

Watching Time Watch Us Watch Time

MAD Hippies Life, Watching Time watch Us Watch Time, Love, Life, Experience

How do you get two people to be in the same place, hell just the same general geographical proximity, at the same time that they would be caught up in a silent explosion in the cosmos that sets off a chain reaction where time, space, life and love will continue to exist in perpetual motion and the resulting memories, experiences and emotions are shared well beyond their own lives?

OK, so maybe that is just a fancy way of asking how two people meet and their history begins. Still, the question begs to be asked, what possibilities exist that they will emerge from such a chance meeting and continue to surge forward in the energy of it all as if it were indeed planned from the beginning of time?

And yet here we are, sitting among our memories watching time watch us watch time.

How is one supposed to consider the mind-numbing statistics that exist in bringing two people together? You know the kind of equation that would keep Einstein awake at night as his variables become demons and solutions are nothing more than dreams. Does such a thing even need to be asked?

Though we will just tell you, it is real and not just some fairy tale.

Life can throw you curve balls every now and again. At one moment you can feel as if everything is spinning out of control, barely allowing for a minute to sit and catch your breath. And, at other times, it seems as if time stands still while everything just passes you by. Perhaps it is just one of those things, the natural movement of time if you will, the unexplained but necessary parts of being human where we wonder if we are watching time watch us watch time.

Strange, it is not as if we can control it, much less make any demands, but indeed time itself seems to watch us watch it, pulsing in one way or another, that we might catch up, slow down or just take in the moment, perhaps if for nothing else but to make necessary alignments in the grand scheme of things.

When we were first married it almost seemed as if time stood still. Sure, when we were dating we could not wait to be together again, and time certainly was our nemesis, but when it comes to time standing still, we refer to the notion that nothing mattered. It was us, just us, and that is all we ever wanted. We were caught in the middle of our own dream state and became oblivious to the outside world.

As parents some of that seemed to change a little, though not in a bad way. We would gather our glances and catch those special moments on the move as time was moving much faster. Minutes, hours and days flew by turning into years. We were busy taking care of the day in and day out activities, going through the motions and doing what we did to watch over our nest. We came to love those quiet dull moments as gifts to take a breath, look around and at each other if for just a moment and realize we are still here and it is still us. Our beautiful wonderful girls were growing, carefree and absorbing life and we were there guiding them one step at a time.

Don’t blink though, you will soon realize that the years have blazed by in a whirlwind of parenthood and those children have become adults and are beginning their own process of creating as we did in perpetual motion.

Alas, the clock stops again, silence.

We sit looking through all the special pictures we have taken and recount the memories of it all, smile a little, cry a little and perhaps laugh as much. The dust is settling, our breath is returning as we regress back to those days of being just us again. Dare we stop and think what just happened, or even consider that we are intact and still the same free willed and spirited teenagers we were so many years ago. The deafening quiet then becomes less noisy and peace settles in, we are still head over heels in love, though more refined in our still free spirited ways.

Just like the pictures we sat among spread all around us in all directions, so too does the energy continue on through our children, their children and on and on. It is all so beautiful, serene and utterly mind blowing to witness and experience, much less the understanding that it all started with us.

Peace,

MAD

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