Ascending my childhood hero’s mountainFree Access – Jackson County Pilot

A kid without a hero is about as rare as a kid who does not like candy. Superheroes and kids go hand-in-hand. Not hand-in-hand in the sense of skipping off into the sunset. That would be just plain weird. But hand-in-hand in the sense you cannot have one without the other.

Think back to your own childhood. Who did you worship in hero-like status? For me, my parents; Uncle Harold; my Godparents, Alf and Elaine; Harmon Killebrew; Gene Washington…

One of my biggest childhood heroes was explorer Zebulon Pike. Besides all of these, I had other heroes as well — some real, some fictional characters. But Zebulon Pike was always near the top.

I really do not know why. Maybe because he explored the Upper Mississippi. Maybe because he has a mountain named after him. Maybe because he lived during the time period I would have liked to live in.

The only drawback I can see to living during the early 1800s is I would now be dead. Deceased. Powered down permanently. Deader than a door nail. Let me tell you, living in the early 2000s, I still am not ready for a permanent power outage.

I would have loved being able to be a fur trapper, mountain man or be on an exploration expedition into the American West. Granted, exploration expeditions were not new discoveries, but a traveling into and a mapping of areas already known about by the Native Americans.

Lewis and Clark relied on the natives for information about what lay ahead. As their expedition progressed, when they befriended a tribe, they gathered information about the next leg of their journey.

While Lewis and Clark might have been the first to go to our western coast and back, mapping the geography and gathering all sorts of plant and animal specimens along the way, they were not the first to be in any given area along their route. Native Americans were already there for centuries.

Same goes when Joseph Nicollet was commissioned to map southwestern Minnesota and eastern South Dakota in 1838. He had already heard of geographical features such as Spirit Lake, Fox Lake and the Coteau Des Prairies (Buffalo Ridge).

But, the places still would have been sweet to see and enjoy before we “ruined” them with modernization. One place I hope to travel to soon is named for my childhood hero, Zebulon Pike — Pike’s Peak.

I have seen Pike’s Peak on previous trips through Colorado. But I have never ascended it. My hope is to ascend it before we head back home tomorrow (Friday) from our visit with Jacob, Heather and their four children in Colorado Springs.

Last Saturday, Kathy and I began our exploratory expedition to Colorado Springs. The nice thing about exploratory expeditions in 2020 is the trip does not take as long as the trips in Pike’s time. While our 11-and-a-half-hour drive was long, it was nothing like it would have been by going horseback.

Now that our task of information gathering is about complete, we will be able to head back to our native homeland with a hope our round-trip expedition will be completed Saturday.

We do not want to be away from home too long. Bad things happen when Kathy and I are away too long. In February we spent a month in the Rio Grande Valley in southern Texas. We should not have left. No sooner had we vacated the area, COVID-19 officially swooped in.

In the summer, we left town for a short getaway only to have all hail break loose when a bad storm swooped in, hailing out many acres of corn and beans.

I suppose we could put up security cameras. Maybe then we could spot the next unwanted invasion before it can do its thing. Whatever its thing is.

I know my next thing. My next thing is to close this edition of Wide Write. I have to; I do not have any spare time for typing. I have my hero’s mountain to ascend. To me, it is Pike’s Peak or bust.

Until next week, scratch some things off of your own bucket list. Like the one where you go cheer on our athletes as they begin their competitive sports season. Go, Huskies!

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Author: The Covid-19 Channel