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Anne Elk
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PostSun Jul 26, 2020 12:23 pm 
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In June, NWH member Backpacker Joe (Tom B) made a post to share with our community the news of the sudden onset of a vision problem which at this point has rendered him almost totally blind. I spoke with him shortly after he made the post, and phoned him again yesterday.  We talked for an hour.
Having fun in the spillway
Having fun in the spillway

I can update what BPJ allowed our Administrator Tom D to share re his condition: his optic nerve is no longer inflamed and the condition has stabilized. He said that his vision seems slightly better at certain times of the day but thinks that may be an illusion. This week he will have a genetic test to determine if he has a hereditary optic neuropathy that at least one second-degree relative in his family had.

The more important reason for this post is to let all of you know that, for those willing to reach out in a more personal way, now might be a good time. BPJ's spirits are sagging and he's become a virtual shut-in. He has a few great neighbors who've been assisting him with  errands and relatives in Ellensburg.  But he could really use some sympatico companionship from fellow hikers and distractions to pull him out of the funk he's fallen into.  A single, independent type used to being self-sufficient, he readily admits feeling sorry for himself and his fears for the future. He's convinced that there isn't anything he used to do that he'll still be able to do, especially hiking.  He shared that what he's mostly been doing is watching his giant TV at close range, waiting for it to be time to go to bed.  frown.gif

Without minimizing his feelings and the seriousness of his situation, I gave him a gentle pep talk; reminded him of the many community resources for the blind he can utilize to stay active and productive (he hasn't investigated these yet).  I shared the story of Chris Downey, the architect who went blind after brain tumor surgery, and sent him the link to watch the story on 60 Minutes.   We joked that it wouldn't be long before he could get out on the road again given the state of self-driving car technology.

BPJ expressed not wanting to "be a burden" to others. I told him that I'd read all the supportive posts in his thread and said he has more concerned friends than he realizes.

I hope we as a community can rise to the occasion, do whatever we can to lend a hand and lift his spirits.  I don't know how much BPJ is checking emails b/c it's so difficult (use huge fonts).  If you reach out to him and don't get a timely response, PM one of the moderators (Tom, Damian or myself), and we will facilitate; get permission to share his phone number, etc.

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"There are yahoos out there.  Itís why we canít have nice things."  - Tom Mahood
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Tom
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PostSun Jul 26, 2020 12:46 pm 
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Thanks for the update.  I had it on my list to follow up.
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moonspots
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Joined: 03 Feb 2007
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PostSun Jul 26, 2020 4:16 pm 
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Anne Elk wrote:
. ...I told him that I'd read all the supportive posts in his thread and said he has more concerned friends than he realizes...

Anne, thanks for this update. I can't assist, although I'd like to be able to (I'm 1000 miles away), but I can write him a note.

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"Out, OUT you demons of Stupidity"! - St Dogbert, patron Saint of Technology
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treeswarper
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PostSun Jul 26, 2020 4:57 pm 
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That is really a nice thing you did.

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What's especially fun about sock puppets is that you can make each one unique and individual, so that they each have special characters. And they don't have to be humanĖĖanimals and aliens are great possibilities
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Stefan
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PostSun Jul 26, 2020 5:23 pm 
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Thank you!

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Art is an adventure.
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veronika
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PostSun Jul 26, 2020 9:24 pm 
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This is a very nice gesture. Please send my regards. Although I think we may have only met once at a social years ago... not sure, I have always considered him to be a positive influence on our hiking community. Still do. Always loved his TRís! Especially the one when the bears kept charging at his tent! Keep your head high! We never know what lies around the corner. ♥️♥️♥️ God speed BPJ!

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Take risks not to escape life, but to prevent life from escaping

I may not have anyone rocking my world right now but, I don't have anyone messing it up either.
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Anne Elk
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PostSun Jul 26, 2020 11:13 pm 
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treeswarper wrote:
That is really a nice thing you did.

Well, we have a connection of sorts, and I owe him one.  Last year I was the big winner in his "spare ultra-lite tent giveaway". I wasn't familiar with ultra-lites and nearly fainted when he sent an online link so I could see my "prize".  Such generosity.  We had a nice lunch and gab-fest when I went to Cle Elum to pick it up.

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"There are yahoos out there.  Itís why we canít have nice things."  - Tom Mahood
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Songs2
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PostMon Jul 27, 2020 11:10 am 
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Anne Elk,
Thank you. I could suggest Books on Tape. There is a ton of fascinating stuff - The Odyssey, Shakespeare - read by trained actors, old radio programs (The Shadow), much more.

Also, perhaps he could go for (socially distanced) walks outside on flat ground with a companion, start getting a feel for navigating the world in a different way. A nearby park or arboretum, perhaps one he already knows, could make for a fun outing.

Does he swim? There are ways to swim with a buddy in open water. Canoeing.

Does he play a musical instrument? Is there one he would like to learn?

I wish him the best as he moves forward into a new world.
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Anne Elk
BrontosaurusTheorist



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PostMon Jul 27, 2020 11:33 am 
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Songs2 - The books on tape are a great idea.  Once he gets managing the basics of daily life sorted, his horizons are sure to expand.  He's still kind of in "shock" mode, but a few members are stepping up.  BPJ is going to have some visitors & modified tech soon!   biggrin.gif

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"There are yahoos out there.  Itís why we canít have nice things."  - Tom Mahood
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moonspots
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PostMon Jul 27, 2020 11:37 am 
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Anne Elk wrote:
treeswarper wrote:
That is really a nice thing you did.

Well, we have a connection of sorts, and I owe him one.  Last year I was the big winner in his "spare ultra-lite tent giveaway". I wasn't familiar with ultra-lites and nearly fainted when he sent an online link so I could see my "prize".  Such generosity.  We had a nice lunch and gab-fest when I went to Cle Elum to pick it up.

I remember that, and was seriously impressed by such generosity. And your humble acceptance of it. 👍👍 to both of you.

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"Out, OUT you demons of Stupidity"! - St Dogbert, patron Saint of Technology
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Roly Poly
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PostMon Jul 27, 2020 1:37 pm 
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Iíd be happy to go visit him.  Iíve never met him in person, just a few PMs.  I feel really bad for him.  Anne E, would he like an in person visit?
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Cyclopath
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PostMon Jul 27, 2020 2:16 pm 
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Anne Elk wrote:
The more important reason for this post is to let all of you know that, for those willing to reach out in a more personal way, now might be a good time. BPJ's spirits are sagging and he's become a virtual shut-in. He has a few great neighbors who've been assisting him with† errands and relatives in Ellensburg.† But he could really use some sympatico companionship from fellow hikers and distractions to pull him out of the funk he's fallen into.† A single, independent type used to being self-sufficient, he readily admits feeling sorry for himself and his fears for the future. He's convinced that there isn't anything he used to do that he'll still be able to do, especially hiking.† He shared that what he's mostly been doing is watching his giant TV at close range, waiting for it to be time to go to bed.† frown.gif

Maybe some nwhikers can call Backpacker Joe and ask for info/advice about hikes in the Salmon la Sac and Teanaway areas?  Start with "I've never done this trail, can you tell me what to expect?  Is there water along the route?" etc.

From everything Anne Elk just told us, I bet BPJ would love the conversation and the feeling that he's able to help other people and be a part of the hiking community through this.
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Damian
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PostMon Jul 27, 2020 6:38 pm 
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Tom is an accomplished hiker who is generous with his knowledge.  And gear.  First time I met him he offered me a winch for my truck.  Tom is into hiking, 4wd vehicles, and photography and is an avid gun collector.  He is knowledgeable about each.  PM me if youíd like to contact him.
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captain jack
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Serving suggestion
PostMon Jul 27, 2020 6:44 pm 
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Damian wrote:
Tom is an accomplished hiker who is generous with his knowledge.† And gear.

Yep  up.gif
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salish
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PostWed Jul 29, 2020 10:32 am 
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Thanks for posting this message. I am sorry to hear of Tom's issues. Like several people on this site I go way back with BPJ to the old WTA Trail Talk, and we all followed Tom to this site when WTA ceased their forum. BPJ has been one of the most entertaining and fun posters I've ever encountered. I've never hiked with him but I've been with him a few times at Hi Laker meetings and other places. I'll try and get in touch with him.

Cliff

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My short-term memory is not as sharp as it used to be.
Also, my short-term memory's not as sharp as it used to be.
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