Beautiful Hiking @Harpers Ferry

Hiking the Appalachian Trail, oh so glorious. 

The only photo not shown is the large snake we ran into on the rocks on the side of the path.


My wife screamed:


“S-n-a-k-e!”


And we were running for the hills in this direction and that.


We had no idea where she was pointing to.


It was pretty hilarious. 

 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Pet Rock 2018

So when I saw this colored rock last evening, it made me think two things:


One, cool idea, looks nice and fun to make.


Two, it reminded me of the Pet Rocks in the 1970s that made millions (this one was hippie even though those back then weren’t actually even colored).


A business guy came up with the idea to sell smooth rocks from Mexico beach and market them as pets.


Yeah, they are so lovable and easy to care for!


It was one of the great branding and marketing events of the 20th century.


Who would think people would actually spend money on a plain dumb rock that you could basically pick up off the street?


But incredibly, putting the rock in a box with holes (so the rock could breath) and sitting it on a little stack of hay with an joke of instruction book for caring for your rock, SOLD. 


And in fact, over 1,500,000 rocks were sold at a pop of $4 each.


The guy became a millionaire and got rid of a truckload of worthless rocks.


Yes, “One man’s garbage is another man’s treasure!”


But surely this was getting a little ridiculous.


Hey, I’ll give you a nickle for the shinny painted rock in the photo here. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Indian Wedding Rocks

Loved seeing this amazing Indian wedding.


The rocking music, the beautiful colorful outfits, the pageantry, and the adorned white horse.


While this looked like a relatively small and intimate wedding–perhaps quality balances out quantity. 


Although one of my good friends from India told me that he had 4,000!!! people at his wedding that was held in a stadium–I can barely even imagine how awesome that was. 


So happy…all life should be great times like this. 😉


(Source Video: Andy Blumenthal)

Got To Be A Caveman

Andy At Crystal Grottoes Caverns
So this was an awesome caveman experience.



We had seen a sign a number of weeks ago from the highway for Crystal Grottoes Caverns.



Today, we decided to try it out, and made the trip to Boonsboro!



I wasn’t expecting much, since I had heard a lot about Luray Caverns in Virginia, but never anything about this one in Maryland. 



Well we were really pleasantly surprised.



Half an hour tour underground through a literal maze of caves filled with the densest formation of stalactites (hanging from the ceiling) and stalagmites (springing from the floor). 



These things grow only like a centimeter every 150 years, so when we saw literally countless that were meters long, we were really looking at thousands of years history. 



Incredibly, these beautiful mineral rock formations come into being from water seeping through the limestone a drop at a time, and we saw rocks sparkling with crystals, and in shapes ranging from hands to turtles and much more. 



The guide even showed us a special place (almost like a chamber) where a number of couples had gotten married down there…sort of an appropriate place to tie the knot ever so tight in those caves. 



It was also nice that we had our own tour guide for this thing, and that made this all the more interesting to ask questions and really get to see everything. 



At one point, the guide suddenly shut the electricity in the caves, and we were left in complete and utter darkness…it was so surreal and sort of scary, but peaceful to be in a complete void. 



The guide explained that if you were down in the blackness for 6 or 7 months, you would actually go blind from not using your eyes whatsoever. 



Overall, it’s sort of a oxymoron, but we just felt so alive down there…breathing this super pure and clean oxygen (no real carbon dioxide down there, because basically nothing grows there) and the cave is this marvelous perfect 54 degrees all year round.



The owner is third generation and you can tell that he truly loves owning this precious jewel of a cavern, and he meticulously cares for it and continues to expand and improve the spectacle. 



However, from a business perspective, I definitely don’t think he has took advantage or capitalized on this priceless property.



There were basically no concessions (except that you could buy some samples of the rock from a single display case under the front counter), and there was no cross-selling of t-shirts, pins, posters, hay rides, animal petting, hiking, boating, or food stands!



We took some (as in like 20) brochures from the owner on the way out to give out at Rebecca’s school (especially, since she is taking Environmental Science this year), but this guy otherwise doesn’t seem to even advertise. 



This place was a hidden underground gem…50 feet down underground, but no Starbucks. 😉

Walking On Rocks

Walking On Rocks

The first few times when I started hiking, I had this paradigm that I had to walk between the rocks–sort of like hopscotch–then I realized that I could walk on them.

For a long time, I had heard about how thinking within the box constrains our thought processes and innovation.

It was interesting for me to see this in action just by the way I initially viewed a basic skill like hiking.

The paradigms we use to view the world alter what we think and do, and only when we break out of the proverbial box we are in, can we really see and be open to other ways of being and doing things.

You can walk between the rocks or you can climb over them–whatever works best for you–just be open to seeing things in many different ways.

No one way is necessarily better than another–they are just different and each useful in their own time and place. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)