Friday, May 4, 2012

Spring Update!

Hello friends!
Sober Living Home

MINISTRY UPDATE: Here I am again with a tardy ministry update along with the latest doing's in my life. And the Latest? I've Moved! I had been praying about whether God wanted me to be doing working for Him in a Sober Living home, when an old friend of mine asked me for advice on—of all things—obtaining a new manager for the Sober Living Home that he owned.

Room for my Stuff
    Thank you, Lord! I'm now near South Pasadena in a room just large enough to fit my Library. There are 10 beds here for men who are coming from treatment centers or elsewhere and want to build new lives without a dependency on alcohol or drugs. I'm still helping each week with a new ACNA church being planted by Fr. Charles Myers, along with a weekly Bible study and family picnic in the park for all our homeless friends and anyone else that may come by. I have also begun helping in a Pasadena convalescent home to strengthen those who don't want to return to their  former lives in drug addiction, and I'm still teaching the Common Solution Recovery 12-step class every other month or so.

My Work Camp for working on the Ken Burton Trail
 HIKING AND CAMPING: My last email ministry update was July of 2011 (bad, bad, Rolin!), although for those with the link to my web log, I did post a hiking/camping update in February:

Since the Gabrielino Trail was closed, I had to find another way to get to the Oak Wilde Trail Camp deep in the upper Arroyo Seco, which according to the literature on the front counter of the Ranger Station boasted seven campsites with tables and stoves, supported by pit toilets and hitching rails for the horses.

7 Foot Brush
The only other way into the campsite was the Ken Burton Trail starting at the end of the Brown Mountain Fire "Road" (which hasn't been passable by vehicles for many years). But no one had been down that way for at least 3 years, and the trail had disappeared under heavy brush as much as 9 feet tall.
     If I put my face to the ground, I could see what was left of the trail, not much more than a rabbit burrow from one end of the brush patch to the other. So, back down the mountain to bring back a machete and other tools. I worked on the trail once a week from late September through early December The photo at left shows one result of that work, after hacking my way through scrubby greenish-brown brush pepered with red-leafed poison oak (ouch). Took me some time and a doctor's visit to recover from that little episode. 
7 Foot Lupine Blossoms
     And when I returned that way again last week, what to my wondering eyes should appear but lush greenery and delicate Lupine blossoms caressing my face from both sides as I pushed through the same trail segment. Big improvement over the poison Oak!

     At the end of the trail in the bottom of the upper Arroyo Seco should have been the seven-site Oak Wilde Trail Camp.

Instead I found devastation:
Oak Wilde Campsite
a boulder-strewn plain swept clean by the floods after the huge  Station Fire. One campsite remained, half buried in mud. Behind the table in this photo can be seen a stovepipe sticking up  out of the mud where the camp stove lies buried.
Sword in the Stone
DISNEY TRIP: Alex, the young man I cared for in Pennsylvania for almost three years, is now living in California with his relatives out here. Here he is with his friend at Disneyland, where I had the opportunity to take him on his first visit there, at the age of 13.  He is doing well in school and is glad to be back in California after many years absence.

Backbone Trail with Snow
TRAINING FOR MOUNT WHITNEY CLIMB: I have a July 3 reservation to hike the 22-mile round trip to Mount Whitney, at 14,500 feet the tallest mountain in the 48 States. It is a 6,000 foot climb, so I am training twice weekly to get in shape. For exercise at high altitude, I attempted to scale 10,000-foot Mount San Antonio (Old Baldy) last month, where I was turned back by the depth of the snow at the end of the Devil's Backbone Trail at about 9,000 feet.
Backbone without Snow

     I had much better luck on the second attempt last Saturday. I experienced a bit of dizzyness, probably due to the altitude, so  I hiked it again last Wednesday and was improved. I need to  spend more time at altitude.

Mount Baldy Up Close
Old Baldy itself is hidden from view from the ski resort at Baldy Notch and from most of rest of the 3+ mile trail up to the summit from there. But on rounding the slope of Little Baldy we were presented with the impressive view above.

Topside of Baldy

 I was accompanied Saturday by my friend and mentor Fr. Richard Menees (left) and by Tony Pietrolungo of Saint James Newport Beach, who I hope will join us on our July 3 assault on Mount Whitney.

Friends, I will endeavor to do better in my quarterly reports, and will send you an update when I find out whether our assault on the Mount Whitey Trail will successfully take us topside there.

In Christ,