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Health and Hiking

AUSTRALIA IS IN THE GRIP OF A TERRIBLE DROUGHT. A month ago, I took a trip that landed me right in the middle of this drought. Didn’t see a blade of green grass for two whole days. Sadly, just a lot of dead kangaroos.

A second trip was at the other end of the spectrum: north-east Queensland where the tropical forest and sugar-cane fields were totally green. And I saw a part of the Great Barrier Reef that is still very much alive. This will be another blog — Australia Part 2.

The current great Australian drought is shown on the map. Dark red splotches are the lowest rainfall EVER in the two-year period ending March 2019, and things have changed very little since then.… More

WHATS IN THIS BLOG: • Victoria Gray, 34, from Mississippi has sickle cell disease. • A genetic defect deforms the red blood cells, causing terrible bouts of pain. • A new gene-editing treatment involves a grueling round of chemotherapy, weeks in the hospital, months of tests. • But there’s hope…

THERE WAS AN UPROAR OVER GENE-EDITING EXPERIMENTS carried out in November 2018 by Chinese biophysicist He Jiankui. He claimed to have done experiments on human embryos that resulted in twin girls whose DNA had been engineered to make them less susceptible to contracting HIV. The controversial experiments drew condemnation in China and internationally and led to the scientist’s firing from his University in January.

The problem: it’s possible that the twins inadvertently increased their susceptibility to other infectious diseases.… More

WHATS IN THIS BLOG:Rafting on the Animas river.Hiking along the Purgatory Flats trail.A roadside hot spring.An outstanding Mexican restaurant.

I WENT BACK TO DURANGO. With my step-daughter Kim and my granddaughter Kara. I wanted to see Smelter Rapids, to see how much the water had risen in the ten days since I’d last been there. To read my earlier Durango blog, click HERE. The Animas River had risen – and was now 7,000 cubic feet per second – highest flow rate for many years. The major rafting companies had stopped running Smelter Rapids because they were class 4 and the risk of a raft overturning was too high.

THE FIRST RAPID IN SMELTER was constructed artificially by placing huge boulders in the stream.… More

WHATS IN THIS BLOG: Pics from a jeep tour and a hike around Durango. High water and river play – best snowmelt runoff in 25 years. Best places to visit in Durango. How Olga Little saved 17 miners.

NOTE FROM THE GRAY NOMAD: IF THE BLOG PRINT IS TOO SMALL ON YOUR SCREEN AND HARD TO READ, CLICK ON CTRL AND + SIGN TOGETHER, AND THE PRINT SHOULD GET LARGER. CLICK ON CTRL AND – TOGETHER AND THE PRINT SHOULD GET SMALLER.

Durango is in southwest Colorado, just over the border with New Mexico. Just a 4-hour drive from Albuquerque, the town is bustling in summer when the famous tourist train runs from Durango through the mountains to Silverton. Silver and gold and other metals were discovered in the mountains in the 1860s.… More

I DROVE INTO TUCUMCARI A FEW DAYS AGO. Tired, after eight hours on the road from Kansas, I pulled over and called my hotel, meaning the one that I found when I was stuck in Tucumcari a previous time (see HERE to read about that adventure.)

A small voice answered, “Would you mind holding for a minute…” After 10 minutes of waiting, I hung up. I drove away from Amarillo for 30 minutes and tried again. Nobody picked up. I drove another 30 minutes… still nobody picked up. After another 30 minutes I tried once more but nobody answered. I gave up.

I COULDN’T BELIEVE IT, I WAS STUCK AGAIN IN TUCUMCARI. As I drove into town, tired and upset, I mulled over what to do.… More

GHOST RANCH is 21,000 acers in the midst of red rock country about an hour north of Santa Fe, New Mexico. There are five terrific hikes through spectacular scenery. We took the hike called Chimney Rock – a moderate hike of 3 miles which took about 3 hours round trip. Photos of this hike are interspersed above and below.

Ghost Ranch was originally in the wild west, as quoted below: The canyon was first inhabited by the Archuleta brothers, cattle rustlers who enjoyed the coverage and invisibility that the canyon provided as well as their ability to see for miles down the valley. They created two jacal homes and would move stolen cattle throughout the night to Box Canyon. By transporting the cattle through streams, footprints would be lost and they could not be tracked.… More

WHATS IN THIS BLOG: • What is the immune system and immunotherapy? • How many successful immunotherapy drugs? • Judy Perkins’ amazing cure.

WHAT IS IMMUNOTHERAPY? The immune system is designed to mount an offense against unwanted intrusions in the body: bacteria, viruses, cancer cells.

Cancer however is tricky. Malignant cancer cells develop from normal cells that grow out of control. And the immune system is programmed NOT to attack the body’s own cells.

Scientists have found ways to retrain the immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells. Two of them just shared a Nobel prize – Dr James Allison of MD Anderson Cancer Center and Dr Tasuku Honjo of Kyoto University. Back in the 1990s they independently discovered ways in which the immune system is blocked from attacking cancer cells.… More

WHATS IN THIS BLOG: • A goldmine of info by an expert from Harvard. • Consequences of sleep loss are startling. • What about sleep apnea and insomnia?

HARVARD SLEEP EXPERT. At Harvard University, sleep expert Dr. Charles Czeisler unveiled a new sleep class for all freshmen. His work has exposed results of sleep loss that are startling.

The following bullets come from a podcast on NPR’s Here and Now, on 12 October 2018:

• Insufficient sleep can be deadly: causing traffic accidents, contributes to obesity and diabetes, • Harvard has a mandatory online sleep class for freshmen. It will soon be mandatory for upper classmen as well. Some reasons for the class are given below: • Student pressures: Some study groups organize to meet at 1 am.… More

WHATS IN THIS BLOG: • My niece and husband came from Australia. • Golden aspens and blue skies. • Crater lake carved out by a glacier. • Iron Mountain Hot Springs.

MY NIECE CAME TO VISIT FROM AUSTRALIA and to see the Maroon mystery. Alyse and her husband, Sam, visited LA, San Fran, and Las Vegas. Then last week they flew into ABQ and I took them for a tram ride to the top of Sandia Peak, a bit over 10,000 ft (ABQ is a mile-high city at 5,000 ft altitude).

A couple of days later we drove my Subaru Forester to Durango where we took lunch. On to Silverton, then the million-dollar highway to Ouray, Colorado. It’s called this because the cost to build the highway was a million dollars per mile (in the 1960s I believe).… More

WHATS IN THIS BLOG: • Tom and Anne Thomas roll in to hike New Mexico. • A river runs through it – El Porvenir. • Wild fruit – raspberries, apples and tomatoes. • Lunchtime at second waterfall. • Hot springs and mountain lion.

TOM AND ANNE THOMAS DROVE OUT IN THEIR CAMPER VAN FROM HOUSTON. I have known Anne for years, principally from Chapelwood United Methodist, a wonderful church. She was an insurance broker, originally from the deep south (Georgia). Tom, a mechanical engineer, worked for a service company that supported the oil industry. His last job was to oversee the building of an enormous submersible platform to be used to drill and produce oil in deep seas like the Gulf of Mexico.… More

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