Saturday, September 24, 2016

Sunday, September 18, 2016

One Rattlesnake, Two Black Bears, Three Days, Four Hikers, 74 km around Rae Lakes in Kings Canyon, California

Experienced and conditioned hikers shall do this hike in five days, dumb and ignorant ones do it in three days. The later is me and now I am ready for Kilimanjaro.

The Black Bear

 Mile for mile – and perhaps inch for inch – the Rae Lakes Loop in Kings Canyon National Park contains some of the most stunning and celebrated scenery in a mountain range world-famous for stunning and celebrated scenery. The route consists of three separate but connecting trails that travel through glacially-carved canyons, a high country basin containing a chain of sapphire blue lakes set against towering granitic crags, and an alpine pass that just scrapes 12,000 feet. Throughout the route, you will observe nearly every major biotic zone (life zones characterized by specific species) in the Sierra, prime examples of glacial erosion, waterfalls, idyllic valleys, tranquil meadows, and myriad sublime scenes ranging from the intimate to the jaw-droppingly grand.
From our personal experience in completing this route, we recommend that conditioned hikers take the route in 5 days, with one zero day in the Rae Lakes area. However, it is possible to complete this route in anywhere from 3 ambitious days to 7 leisurely days. We also recommend that hikers take this route clockwise, as the counter-clockwise route features some intense climbing in the initial stretch while pack weight is at its highest. The text below describes the route as if hiked clockwise in four days, although distances for specific destinations are indicated should hikers wish to use the information to fashion their own itinerary.
Basic safety considerations for high-altitude wilderness travel apply on this route. You will reach a maximum altitude of 11,998′ on Glen Pass at nearly the center of the route, and a considerable portion of this route occurs above 10,000′. Altitude sickness, overexposure to ultraviolet light, dehydration, fatigue, and heatstroke are all potential ailments you may encounter while hiking. In addition, the necessity of carrying up to 45 pounds of gear for 38 miles while gaining and losing over 7,000′ of elevation necessitates a certain level of physical fitness. Hikers attempting this route should be in good condition, preferably with at least some backcountry navigation skill and some experience backpacking.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Michael and Us

We climbed Indian Rock in Berkeley 
and went to see a show at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco.
 Wow, Michael is tough as nails. Thank you to ALL of you.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Sweet Moments

Dear Friends and Family,
Michael did not bleed when they took out the breathing tube.
Dr. Wang finally found an ulcer that is a crater shape. 
He has layers of burnt skin in his throat. All his organs are strong.
One area is raw to the bone. 
In order to work on that issue we would like for him to heal from this trauma. 
We will ask Michael how he would like to proceed. 
Extensive throat reconstruction surgery is on the menu.
He had a sweet exchange with DylanGrace, who proudly wore her brand-new glasses on her nose. 
He formed the words “boo boo”, which is his nickname for her. 
Later he shaped the word “water”. He could not get water. I was extremely anxious for DylanGrace to come out of the room so he could rest. She stayed for 30 minutes so I had no chance to say “hi” because I thought it was too much.
To his brother Larry, who flew in from Dallas upon seeing him, Michael held up the middle finger, which is their brotherly hello.
Through this procedure Dylan and I both agreed that even him being half sedated and in discomfort and pain has not yet taken away any of his humor or loving personality so we haven't even come close to losing this fight.
More shifts are needed in the next few days. Please text me at 510 652-3136 for the early bird special and to reserve your spot in line.
Thanks for all your help.
Warmly, Martina and DylanGrace 

Saturday, May 14, 2016


Our daughter witnessed her Dad loosing about a liter of blood. I was meditating for strength. She called 911.The bathroom sink needed to be cleaned by the Emeryville Fire Department. It is rattling my bones.
Happy I have to not deal with a dog of that size.

Sunday, April 24, 2016


"I told him to hold out as a King would his staff". DylanGrace said to her Papa in the Kaiser Hospital last month.
 "Look out to your kingdom" ! 
 Photo and text by DylanGrace Voorhees March 2016

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Migrant Catastrophe

My Mom and a long-time friend of our family, Susanna, greeted DylanGrace and I at the Düsseldorf Airport. We made our way to my Mom's house which was filled with good food, candles and warmth. Susanna brought a dinner of fresh ciabatta breads and an assortment of Swiss and Italian cheeses, tomatoes, olives and green grapes. As we sat around the table and discussed intently the German/European migration crisis and with an open world map between tea cups, we pointed out to DylanGrace where all the migrants and refugees were coming from and why. 

Susanna has been working for weeks in the arrival tents as a German teacher, a dinner preparer and as an usher for mime performers and greeting ceremonies. Children were arriving with naked bottoms and urine soaked shoes caked in feces as their families walked mostly through mud for weeks. All their clothes were stripped and burned in bond fires right behind the "welcome tents" and they were freshly clothed and fed. 

The other day German music (Schlager) was playing for entertainment until one Iranian man walked up to the juke box and plugged in his I-Phone filled with Arabic, One thousand and One Night oriental festive music and immediately groups of men and woman from countries like Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, Albania, Morocco, and Iraq rose from their seats, clicked their pinky fingers together and lifted their arms in waves up and down as they flew with coordinated dance feet in circles round and round. The German volunteers whose eyes were filled with tears were asked to join their song and dance.

Susanna’s believes so many are coming now because of the the advent of the I-phone. Along with Twitter, WhatsUp and the like, many countries are now made familiar and the refugees crave the European and western life styles (as you told me all along).  Their lives back in their home countries consisted of fear, oppression, poverty and were unacceptable. They are change seekers who through civil wars and guerrilla warfare lost everything. They are forced to run but feel helpless to change or topple the strongholds of their own governments. They are regular people searching for a life of prosperity, education, and a better future for their children. 

Military intervention is always wrong (Okay, it worked one time against Hitler; that is good but it has never ever worked again). The governments think that they only have one option, the military one, and that one makes money, lots of money. Lots and lots of money and IT IS all about the money. They are in complete denial about what IS (as in To Be ) and how ISIS operates. ISIS will be overjoyed to force soldiers with boots on the ground, their highest wish and joy and the reason for the brutal beheadings. Their mouths start watering with the prospects of slaughtering a French or an English human being and it gets their heart-rates going even higher with happiness to encounter an American with his/her boots on the ground so they can kill them brutally. 

Here are three proposals I learned for finishing and drying out this terror group:
1) Prevention here in our countries. 

2) Help Turkey to close the smuggler holes at the border and protect the areas where smugglers and ISIS supporters can slip undetected to and fro which would also stop the illegal oil.

3) The introduction of Syria’s underprivileged and forgotten minorities into the political process and decision making. They were politically forgotten so they had NO choice BUT to join ISIS. We need to win them back to dry out ISIS. We need to dry ISIS out financially by stopping all monies, all weapons, and punishing sharply ALL supporters and all joiners and helpers.

4) Here in Germany we have five Million Muslims (only three thousand are violent). We need to bring these 4 million 997,000 thousand into our discussions and political decisions. The 5 million Muslims living in Germany are also hated by ISIS because they are NOT radical enough.

This is my offering to peace in the Middle East. 

Martina Konietzny
 written December 7, 2015 Published February 18, 2016