My blog has been dormant for over a year now. The brown fat of hibernation has long burned off and creative neurons are awakening from my right brain hibernacula. It’s time to write.

The last blog was written up at our Yukon Outpost, 2500 miles from our Minnesota Base Camp. I wish I could say I was beyond any computer range, say advancing on the Himalayas, paddling across the continent, or bushwhacking down the Amazon, but nothing quite that arduous.

I like to think of the blog-drought as a sabbatical while we tended to a full calendar year. There was a major kitchen renovation, Ben and Maren’s (my daughter) wedding, a long road trip to Boulder, Taos and Helper, Utah, a trip to San Francisco to visit my older daughter, Britta and her husband, Blake, three major writing projects (The Rocky Mountain and Southwest Editions of Things that Bite < keywords=great+lakes+edtion+of+Things+that+Bite&x=0&y=0> are now at the printer and I completed  an informational brochure on the Anoka Sandplain.) Whew. . . just noting these mental and physical forays down makes me crave a nap.

It’s significant that my youngest daughter was married this past June in New Orleans because with both daughters married, I am in position to be a legitimate grandfather. I even turned sixty this past July and somehow that makes grandfatherhood more credible.

I can always use tutoring from a neophyte grandfather. It was time to go for a walk with my dear childhood compadre, Nels. He is at the brink of six decades, but unlike me, he has a young grandson, and I have been granted the title of “Uncle Tom.” Even though the linkage of Nels and Anderson DNA likely intersects centuries ago in Sweden, I am an honorary uncle by virtue of being a steadfast friend for a long time.

It was Nels’s idea to hike the 240-mile long Lake Superior Hiking Trail. The lovely trail climbs and drops and crosses many creeks and rivers. Its route is never more than a handful of miles from Lake Superior as it parallels the shore in a NE/SE course. <>

Nels and I have shared an adventurous history together. It has included paddling remote Canadian rivers, numerous BWCA/Quetico wilderness canoe and winter camping trips, hitchhiking in Mexico’s Yucatan area and years of searching for the mythical whitetail buck, named “High Boy” in Superior National Forest. So it only seemed fitting that we shoulder our backpacks and head north.

As we carried our forty pound packs, hour after hour, I noted that this was a great base work out and that this kind of physical activity was key in being fit and burning calories. We stopped for a break to snack on my homemade “Save your Ass” bars and to rest the protesting shoulders. And there, beneath a tall white pine, we had a brainstorm for teaming up to write the ultimate diet book.

Every year there are scores, perhaps hundreds or thousands of new diet books published that promise “a new you.” And every year, those same diet books get put in boxes and carted to thrift stores or serve as a quick fix couch leg.

It was after a few more roller coast ascents and descents that I heard Nels offer a partnership of sorts. He wondered aloud if we should co-author a new diet book; a book that would make the Atkins Diet or South Beach diet books look archaic. Now I was surprised by the offer because I have never known Nels to be an ardent scribe. He is perhaps best known for his one sentence entry into his journal that he kept during a one-month Canadian sub-arctic canoe trip we shared in 1982. Printed neatly, barely taking up half a line, it said, “Left Andy’s at 9:15AM.”

As we climbed another rise, he enthusiastically declared, “This book would be a guaranteed weight loss book and the best part is that we can complete the premise of the book in one or two sentences.” I smiled as I knew what was coming. “All you have to do,” he continued, “is to take in less calories than you burn.” And since this was a team effort, I added, “And to burn calories all you have to do is move your body more than snoring.”And there’s the book. Like his succinct journal entry of nearly thirty years ago, Nels still carries his skills at getting quickly to the point.

Even after we shouldered the backpacks again and steadily climbed another ridge, we chattered excitedly about the book that would likely allow us to each create a non-profit foundation for the causes we hold most dear. It’s amazing how enthusiastic brainstorming can distract pain receptors from growing watery feet blisters or cramping shoulders.

Three days later, we finished our walk. We were stronger, less soft in the middle and solid on the ultimate diet book.

Any comments or suggestions?

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