A silly moment in the woods

A silly moment in the woods

happiness

Mix a little foolishness with your serious plans. It is lovely to be silly at the right moment. ~ Horace

So as I hiked in the forest the other day I noticed  a sign that seemed a little confusing to me.

100_1799My confusion came from the thought of why the wildlife, might need to be insured.  My answer came with a quick turn to the right and another sign.

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Apparently the wildlife has been feeding on the plants and the plants are on drugs!  Ok, just a little bit of silliness to raise a smile and help you have a happy day my friends

~ Rev Kane

 

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Some quick thanks!!

Some quick thanks!!

happinessSo as I’ve written about, I’ve spent some time doing some training hikes in the Armstrong Reserve in Guerneville, CA and during those times I stayed at a wonderful little place call The Fern Grove Cottages, lovely little cottages in the Redwoods and super nice and friendly proprietors so my thanks to them!

happinessSecondly a big thanks to Dobson’s Sweet Treats & Meats for taking such good care of me back in Rocklin, great BBQ and awesome fudge, ebony and ivory fookie is the best!  Plus they gave me this rockin hat!

happiness

Rockin the Fudge-a-licious hat

Thanks to all of these folks, may they all have happy days ~ Rev Kane

 

 

 

 

 

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Happiness is Being Accidentally Hip!

Happiness is Being Accidentally Hip!

happiness

So I’ve never been someone who has been particularly hip. There is a reason for this, I have never particularly cared to be all that hip. To me, fashion and the vagaries and whims of what society thinks is cool at any particular moment has never held much interest. I have been fortunate to have been someone who wasn’t particularly impacted by others opinions and have worked hard to be less concerned about those opinions as I’ve gotten older.

So I find it quite humorous to suddenly find myself as part of the in crowd. First, hipsters have suddenly made big beards cool and as someone about to go hike the Appalachian Trail I’ve been growing my beard out for some time now.

Happiness

This is not a new thing for me, here’s a picture of me hiking in Scotland five years ago.

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Finally, it seems that long-distance hiking and thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail itself is about to be in vogue. With both Wild about the Pacific Crest Trail and A Walk in the Woods coming out this year it seems that long distance hiking will be all the rage.
So here we are, Reverend Kane might actually suddenly be hip! God help us all!
So go for a hike, buy or grow a beard and you can have a happy day too my friends               ~ Rev Kane

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Appalachian Trail (AT) Happiness – Walking in the Rain

Appalachian Trail (AT) Happiness – Walking in the Rain

Happiness

Rev Kane, selfie in the rain

Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams. ~ Ashley Smith

So friends I find myself once again in the Armstrong Redwood Reserve to do a couple of days of training hikes. California also happily finds itself being hit by a series of pacific storms dropping significant rain. So as I laid down last night to sleep and the rain began to beat on the roof I wasn’t surprised, nor was I upset. In the morning the rain had not let up, in fact it was heavier and more steady than it had been the night before.

The nice thing is that this would be the first opportunity I’ve had to test out my rain gear. So I geared up, heavier undershirt, lightweight rain coat, cycling rain gloves with my silk liners, my new rain skirt and my Merrell cross-trainers.

As if the universe wanted to join in, as I pulled into the parking lot the rain cranked up like a fire hose, if you’re going to test your gear, you may as well test it full on.

The beginning of a hike in the rain is never comfortable for me, I’m always a bit grouchy, I’m worrying about my gear, my footing, basically I’m stressing out and expecting the worst. However the true beauty of hiking is that as you walk stress falls away. The rain hits you but it’s ok, you don’t fall on your ass as soon as you hit the first slope, you start focusing on the hike. All the little things that eat up your brain when you are walking; picking the right spots to step and trying to stay out of the streams of water running down the hill,  evaluating your handholds on your trekking poles, getting the hood of the rain jacket appropriately placed on your head, and remembering to focus on your breathing.

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Rivers forming on the trail

The focus is particularly strong in the rain and the world grows closer.
In the rain, with a hood up, the rain beating on your head sound is deadened a bit, your vision is slightly restricted and things get close and quiet, you’re more focused on the details of the hike. I like this and particularly in a dark redwood forest the closeness leads to a feeling of peace.

So today was a peaceful day, my hands were soaked through, my body was soaked, sweat and humidity more than rain. My Morrell Moabs were exactly as billed, completely useless at keeping your feet dry, but tonight we’ll see if they dry out quickly also as advertised. The rain coat did its job and I LOVE my rain skirt!!! I hate rain pants, a pain to get on over your boots or worse, you have to take your boots off to put them on. The swish-swish noise of rain pants kind of drives me nuts, so when I read about a rain skirt I had to give it a try. It’s perfect, easy on and off, keeps the rain off of your legs, extremely light, packs up tiny, velcroes down the side which even makes rest stops easy to deal with. Hell, if need be it could serve as an impromptu rain tarp, love, love, love it.

So today the most beautiful thing I saw was a waterfall, I’d walked this path a number of times and always wondered why there was a walkway off to one side. Today I learned why, there is a lovely little waterfall just off the trail.

100_1798What made me happy today was just being free and walking in the in the rain without a care.

What I learned today, was the beginning of the understanding of what spring on the AT is going to be like, particularly as I sit here drying my gear, a luxury I won’t have most nights on the trail.

Day 2

So my second day was a mess (at least my shoes had dried out), started out with the intent of testing my new video camera, battery was dead. This stressed me out way more than it should have, also, although no aches and pains it was one of those days when you just don’t have it. So I was grouchy and bitching under my breath and feeling overly tired and I came quickly to a little bit of reality, I was being an idiot.

So I stopped, took a break on a climb and took about 2 minutes to just do a very simple meditation. Just to focus on my breathing, really simple, stop, breathe, let it flow in and out and after a couple of minutes I felt better. So I powered through and did the hike, was happy to have put in the miles, even in the downpour that was the last couple of miles. Once I got my head right it was a really wonderful and peaceful walk in the fog, the clouds and the rain.

What was the most beautiful thing I saw today? It was an old couple, a really old man and his really old dog, out for a walk. They both looked over and kind of smiled at me as they hobbled along together. They looked like they’d been together a very long time.

What I learned today was more of a reminder than something new, just remembering to breathe, to keep working toward getting into the flow of this journey I’m currently on.

What made me happy, was the most beautiful thing I saw today, the dog and the old man, out walking in the rain really touched my heart and left me smiling for quite a while today.

I topped the day off with a long, hot bath, I leave the mountains in the morning and head for two nights on the ocean, falling asleep to the sounds of waves outside my door. Today was a wonderful day and I hope you had a happy day as well my friends ~ Rev Kane

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Thank you for 15,000 views!!!

Thank you for 15,000 views!!!

happiness

Four years ago I started the Ministry of Happiness, things started a bit slow, in the first four months we got about 800 views.  Over the next three years things got steadily better, increasing to 8000 views for 2013.  In 2014 we kicked up our game a bit and for this year the goal has been to post every day, so far we’ve made it and there have been some great results.  When we began this year we had about 350 likes on Facebook and around 700 Twitter followers.  So our goals for 2014 were to make 500 likes on Facebook, 1000 Twitter followers and 10,000 views on the blog.

Thanks to you my friends we’ve exceeded all of our goals, we are at 2280 likes on Facebook, almost 1400 followers on Twitter and yesterday we hit 15,000 views on the blog!

Thank you, thank you my friends, I hope we’ve made a difference and helped you have happier days my friends and we look forward to a wonderful new year  ~ Rev Kane

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On the Road Again – Metamorphosis

On the Road Again – Metamorphosis

happiness, changeSo it is truly impossible for me to start a journey without Willie Nelson ringing in my ears, thanks Willie! But today I left my old life, I wrote yesterday about the trip details, but today I wanted to talk about the internal trip.

First some thanks are in order, to all the folks that threw me going away shindigs, bought me a beer, lunch and especially the particularly relevant gifted REI cards, thank you.

My wonderful friend and massage therapist KC, not only has she kept my body in great shape, but became an awesome friend and even bought my house, how’s that for friendship!

My friend Steve, dude is the best, gave me a place to stay for my last few weeks in town and over the last few years has been a great friend and colleague.

happiness, changeOver the last few years my job has sucked, basically the institution I was working for was totally in neutral, the executives saw questioning as dissent and basically ran down anything I put forward. There was absolutely no surprise when they denied my leave of absence request, basically their way of saying we don’t really want you here. It was time to go and the silver lining, no leave, means no return date which in return grants me massive freedom for this journey and no safety net. I once heard Eddie Murphy talk about why he was successful, his point quite simply, he had no safety net, failure was not an option. It’s kind of how I feel right now.

I’m happy to be closing a chapter and opening, hopefully fully authoring the next one. Scared senseless, of course, but the fear pales in comparison to the possibilities and the excitement. I’m a gypsy, this is what I was born and destined to be, to do. It’s not a typical or an easy life, but it’s an amazing one that has led me everywhere, through all kinds of amazing adventures. I’m never bored.

happiness, changeSo what does this next chapter hold? We’ll see, the goal is to hike the Appalachian Trail, Georgia to Maine, but there are thousands of miles and 70 plus days before that starts.
As a gypsy my friends are seldom near, I cherish the times I do get to be near them, face to face, but that is not my path. So I work hard to keep in touch, to bring them with me in so many ways on my journeys, this blog serves to do that as well. I’ll see some I haven’t seen in a while as I travel. Those will be special days.

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So tonight, a sense of melancholy as I transition, a tingle of excitement as I daydream and think about what is to come, whatever it is, they will be happy days. And as always, I hope for nothing more than happy days for you my friends ~ Rev Kane

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And so it begins, Appalachian Trail (AT) or bust!

And so it begins, Appalachian Trail (AT) or bust!

 

happiness, appalachian trailWherever you go, go with all your heart ~ Confucius

Hello friends, if you’ve been regularly reading the Ministry of Happiness blog you know that I’ve been talking a lot lately about embarking on a big adventure. Well, it officially started, as of today I have no actual address, no job, the house has been sold and I’m sitting in a cabin in the redwoods in Northern California. I’m up here for a few days of hiking, I haven’t done much the last few weeks and given I start hiking the Appalachian Trail in about 70 days, it’s time to really start focusing on being ready.

So for those of you following along here’s my itinerary from now until that start date.
3 days in the redwoods
2 days in Monterrey
2 days in the San Diego area

Starting next Sunday I start rolling east, my first stop will be Borrego Springs for a night, then:
5 days in Anza Borrego State Park
1 night in Indio
1 night in the Painted Desert area
3 in the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge

Then, well then things are kind of up in the air, I may head up to the Prescott National forest and then Taos or I may make a more direct line for the Dallas area to see some friends. Past that my plans take me through Arkansas and hopefully a night or two in Hot Springs, AK. Then through TN with a stop in Knoxville and possibly further east into North Carolina. I’ll turn northeastward and parallel the Appalachian Trail up through to NY, stopping in some trail towns and doing some day hikes on the AT. After that a few weeks with family NY, some snow and ice hiking and dialing in on how to sleep warm enough in my hammock.

Finally, a bus or train to Atlanta, a couple last days sleeping in a bed then up to Springer Mountain via Amicalola State Park. The AT is not for the faint of heart, the very first mile has 800 feet of elevation gain, the first 7 miles, which really only gets you to the official start of the trail, 1600 feet of gain.

So that’s where I’m going, the plan, the beginning of the goal, tomorrow night a bit about how I’m feeling, here’s a hint, this is the Ministry of Happiness! I hope you are doing well on your own personal journeys my friends, drop me a comment and let me know and most importantly, have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

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Happy News – December 10, 2014

Happy News – December 10, 2014

 

happy news, happiness

Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn’t know you left open. ~ John Barrymore

NFL Player gives up 37 million dollar contract to grow food for the hungry

happiness, nfl

In praise of idleness by Bertrand Russell (1932)

happiness

What happens when a news site only reports good news for a day

happiness, good news

There are Angels among us: A true story of kindness & giving

happiness, giving

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Appalachian Trail (AT) Happiness: Second Test Hike

Appalachian Trail (AT) Happiness: Second Test Hike

happiness, Appalachian Trail

Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean. ~ John Muir

So from my first test I learned a lot about how my body would respond to the stress of hiking the Appalachian Trail (AT). One thing I found out was that my hip abductors were weak so I started hitting the hip machines. The other thing I became concerned with was how could I work the muscles needed to descend because they had been incredibly sore. In doing some research I found out something surprising, the elliptical machines in the gym, when operated in reverse, hit the muscles you use descending. I was a bit skeptical but one session and I was convinced and so I switched up my gym routine to include these new workouts.

So I headed back up to the Armstrong Reserve I talked about in my first test hike post and this time the plan was to do 5 days in a row. I was curious to see how I would respond after really upping the intensity of my gym workouts including targeting some areas I discovered needed work during the first test hike. At the gym my workouts have including three consecutive days with one to days off afterword. The first day is a high intensity 75 minute workout, 25 minutes on the stair machine (level 9), 25 minutes on the elliptical (forward – level 22) and 25 minutes on the tread mill (15 degree incline and 3.2 miles per hour). This workout burns over a 1000 calories. The second workout is strength focused, hip abductors, biceps, deltoids, bench press, a couple of back workouts and squats. The third day is a longer and lighter version of day one, same workouts at lower intensity but also I alternate the elliptical modes 3 minutes forward and 3 minutes reverse, all of these workouts are 30 minutes in length.

Day 1

As always a hectic three hour drive from home and then right to the trail head. A quick nearly six mile loop, the same loop I did on Day 1 last time. Obviously training has had some impact, I did the loop a little bit faster with a pack about 5 pounds heavier than last time and I cut about 20 minutes off of the loop. That first night I felt good as I sat in front of the fire place in the cottage I had rented.

The most beautiful thing I saw today was a spread of bright yellow leaves framed against the rich dark soil.

happiness, hikingWhat I learned was that my training was working at least a little bit, Days 2 and 3 would tell a lot more.

What made me happy today was being out on the trail, I’ve been so busy with selling my house, packing, wrapping up my job it felt absolutely great to be doing nothing but walk! I also met a couple of other hikers, not tourists, but hikers who are also traveling nurses. It’s always great to run into fellow hikers and have those wonderful trail conversations you always have.

Day 2

Woke up and I could tell I walked the day before but wasn’t particularly sore. I did a long loop around 8 miles up the Pool Ridge trail to the Gilliam Trail Head and back down. It was a good workout, I had obviously strained something or tweaked a nerve on the inside of my thigh. It didn’t constantly hurt but it would tweak out and cause me a really sharp pain every time the terrain flattened out, a couple of the times quite badly but it was really intermittent and so I motored through.

Motor was the word of the day, a little over 8 miles in less than four hours with a 35 pound pack and about 2000 feet in elevation gain. I was a little more tender at the end of Day 2 than Day 1 and went to bed a little tentatively wondering what the morning would bring as far as how physically sore I would be.

The most beautiful thing I saw on Day 2 was the view down the valley when I hit the high point of the hike, a beautiful sunny day with fog flowing up out of a valley in the distance.

happiness, hiking
What I learned on Day 2 was that my training was working, I felt a lot better descending and at the end of the hike didn’t feel bad, as a matter of fact the last mile or two I was actually cranking along and smiling I felt so good.

What made me happy today was that I was able to stop a number of times and experience natural quiet. A point where you can hear nothing man made what so ever, there isn’t much more relaxing than standing in a dark redwood forest hearing nothing but the sounds of nature.

Day 3

Today I came up the backside of the hike I had done on Day 2 and the last mile is an amazingly steep and consistent climb. The nerve I had tweaked the day before seems to have calmed down. I walked the entire climb with one small break, marking myself against the last time I did this climb where I had several stops. I felt good, a little faster than I had expected to be although nothing anyone would consider speedy. I stopped and had a really pleasant lunch, I had forgotten I had thrown in a couple of peanut butter cookies and it was a very happy surprise.

The walk down was pleasant and fast, I must be feeling really comfortable in the grove as when I hit the valley floor and the wave of tourists I’m suddenly getting peppered with questions about the park. I happily answer them as I walk along, a really great day.

The most beautiful thing I saw today was a friendship. Two friends who I leap frogged on the trail, one an avid hiker the other being pushed a bit. At the top of the trail they stopped for lunch where I did and I heard the newbie thank her friend for pushing her.

What I learned today? My preparation is really on track, I feel good and am starting to pick up my speed.

What made me happy today was really starting to feel like the smallest bit of a thru-hiker, getting back into the multi-day hiking swing of things.

happiness, hiking
Day 4

A reverse of the previous days hike, a fast and comfortable 8 miles and I really feel like I’m hitting my stride. The most beautiful thing I saw today was a really brightly colored garden snake, about a foot and a half long and skirting along a little rock face.

What I learned today was how different life on the trail is for some of us. A lot of tourists today and they are loud and bouncy and really not taking time to soak in the surroundings. Not a judgment but a really different experience than the one I’m after.

What made me happy today was walking my fourth day over big hills with little pain, I’m tired but I feel really good.

happiness, hikingDay 5 is a quick little 6 mile loop before I make the drive home. The most beautiful thing I saw today was the Russian River as I crossed it, really calm and beautiful. What did I learn today, I guess that transition days suck, already missing the trail as I drive home. What made me happy today was just the knowledge that I’ve done nearly the equivalent of what I’ll do from start til my first reply on the AT, I feel good about my progress and am starting to get excited for the real deal and many happy days my friends ~ Rev Kane

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Happiness, the minimalist mind & hiking the Appalachian Trail

Appalachian Trail (AT) Happiness: A Start

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Happiness, the minimalist mind and hiking the Appalachian Trail

Happiness, the minimalist mind and hiking the Appalachian Trail

life happiness himalayas

Rev Kane fully living in the Himalayan Mountains

I want to hike the Appalachian Trail because it will be an adventure, adventure is transformational and I want to live a transformational life ~ A Rev Kane original

As my big adventure gets ever nearer my mindset, as I mentioned in my last post, is beginning to change. One of the biggest changes, (driven I’m sure by how little weight I want to carry on the Appalachian Trail), has been a minimalist attitude. It has hit in some really interesting ways, first I had packed everything I will be taking with me on my year plus journey. But as my mind has changed I’ve found myself re-evaluating and have already cut the amount of clothing in half. Hell I even find that I’m starting to eat less and less often. The funniest one is that I’ve actually started showering less.

A good friend has been kind enough to give me a place to live for a couple of weeks before I depart and you’d think, knowing how rarely I’ll get a hot shower while camping across the US and hiking the Appalachian Trail, that I’d be taking three a day but it’s been the opposite. The one thing I will say however is that my level of gratitude and appreciation is greatly increasing. I’m taking fewer showers but have been incredibly mindful during each one of how precious a hot shower is and have really focused on how wonderful they are.

happiness scotland

Rev Kane goin native in the Scottish Highlands

The same thing has happened with meals, as my time has grown short people have been taking me to dinner and I’ve really focused on how wonderful a really well-prepared and tasty hot meal is versus reconstituted camp food. So, before I have even stepped my first step on the trail, two months before in fact, the AT has already begun to impact my mindset, making me more mindful and grateful.

It is important to keep the psychological aspects of the trip in mind, both the benefits and also the psychological challenges. I’m starting to feel some of the challenges as well, the anticipation of being alone, of being electronically out of touch and the diminished social connections. A great book that deals with this is Zach Davis’ book, Appalachian Trials, it’s a great read on the subject.

So life is changing and change can be good, the minimalist mindset is helping, so take a moment to think about what could you really do without, maybe giving it up will help you have a happier day my friends, give it a try ~ Rev Kane

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