Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Disabled Hiker, ep-3, LIFE IS CHANGE pt 10


A few weeks before heading out to film the narrative part of episode three, my mother was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of cancer. Although I had threatened to postpone my trip, my mother herself had urged me not to change my plans. Needless to say and although I tried to keep it hidden from the camera. It overshadowed everything I did.
Sadly, my mother lost her battle two weeks after I returned.

I don't know if she ever understood exactly what I was doing with the blog and hiking and the dogs and so forth. But if nothing else I somehow get the feeling she knew the peace I felt when I was out in the woods. And that even as a small boy she knew that that's where she would find me as that is where I belong.

From my mother, I received my musical talents. Just as from my father I received my love of engineering and invention. But as for where I got my love for the wilderness and living on the trail? ... 

I must admit, I think I left both my parents scratching their heads on that one. Why I would rather hike a wilderness trail and sleep on the ground over going to a fancy hotel on my vacations was always baffling to them. Even though it made perfect sense to me.

However if I've learned anything from my mother, it is to follow my own path. Even if that path is a lonely mountain trail.

And so I have dedicated this episode of The Disabled Hiker, Life Is Change, in honor of my mother, 
Elissa M. Craig.
Gods speed Mom.


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Disabled Hiker, ep-3, LIFE IS CHANGE pt-9


After debuting my first hanging pack system late in episode two, I had planned to create a video specifically about this idea. Sadly however, only a month after releasing episode two of The Disabled Hiker, my best friend and hiking partner, S'iyo (She-yo), fell gravely ill. For the next year our cameras would set idle while I nursed my friend in hopes of his recovery.

Surprisingly, this idea continued to evolve despite my absence from the field. Particularly after seeing one item for sale online that seem to bring the whole idea together.

Has this idea stopped evolving? I don't know. But from my observation, I'm not sure that anything ever stops evolving until it becomes obsolete. So until they invent the antigravity-backpack I'm sure I'll keep working on this one.

In the meantime, take a look at how the idea has changed over the last two years. And oh yeah, don't be afraid to send me your suggestions to make it even better.


The Disabled Hiker, ep-3, LIFE IS CHANGE pt-8


It's usually around 12 hours before I have to start packing to go home that I really start savoring every moment. As the reality of returning to civilization starts to sink in, I start to realize that for the next few hours anyway, I have nowhere to be, and no rush to get there.

More often than not, I have no idea when the next time will be that I'll be able to slip away to the wilderness. It's usually during these last few hours I start to recall how at one time, I insisted on going on a backpacking expedition at least once a month and how I would so love to turn back the hands of time.

But that is not our destiny. Our destiny is to move ever forward.
And so for now I enjoy my last 12 hours on Indian time.


Monday, December 22, 2014

The Disabled Hiker, ep-3, LIFE IS CHANGE pt-7


Once I had decided that I was not going to let my physical challenges get in the way of getting back out on the trail, I began to make a list of things I would have to change in order to keep hiking. Logic seem to suggest to me to start with the most painful aspects and work my way down. You know, the scary stuff. Like where to sit my butt down without sitting on the ground or stacking 50 lb rocks to a comfortable height. Neither of these seemed to be a viable solution.

Strange as it may sound, where I was going to sit became quite a big deal. When you're young and flexible the whole world seems a good place to sit. But it was obvious I needed something that would potentially lower pain levels, not increase them.

So began my search for the perfect pack stool.


The Disabled Hiker, ep-3, LIFE IS CHANGE, pt-6


As I mentioned before, many a Through Hiker can be seen working their way up this side of the gap in August and September. By this point in their journey many have that glazed over look as if all they can see is the trail ahead of them. As they pray for the smoother trails they've all heard about in the states to the South, they seem to have little patience.

So often when I try to talk to Through Hikers about the gear they have been using, they can sometimes be cold and even rude. It's all good though. They are a little tired by this point on the trail, whether heading north or south.

However this is not always true. As is in the case of a bright young man I met on the trail named Thor.

Thor (Kirby THOR Timoney) had taken some time off of work to hike the length of the Appalachian Trail with his father. Thor was kind enough to take the time to answer some questions about the hiking gear he and other hikers on the trail were using this year. Which included some very good Intel on the Sawyer Mini water filter I was using.

As in most relationships, the time you spend together is just as important as the time you spend apart. Especially when doing something as intense as hiking the entire Appalachian Trail together.

As only fate would have it, our chance meeting in itself was full of strange coincidences. I was hiking without my son who was very much on my mind on this journey. While Thor had found himself separating from his father when the elder felt the need to go into town to get coffee a day or so back. We both got a good chuckle out of how even though he thought he needed time alone, he had inevitably found himself hanging out with someone his father's age, while I in turn found myself hanging out with someone who was the same age as my son. We got an even bigger laugh when I told him, that I too would have gone into town for the coffee.


Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Disabled Hiker, ep-3, LIFE IS CHANGE, pt-5


At first glance it would be perceived that this segment is about poison ivy. But in fact it is about relationships. The yen and yang that exists all around us, yet in such subtle ways that we as modern human beings often miss it. A modern blindness, if you will.
As a student of nature, I've been taught to recognize a beautiful irony in the plant world where cause and cure live side-by-side. And to understand this relationship is to understand how it all fit into the natural world. Everything has a reason to exist, even if we cannot instantly perceive it.
Our ancestors called this medicine. Yet today these teachings and remedies are relegated to the back pages of some obscure herb book and generally overlooked as New Age medicine, rendering them little more than magic tricks in the public's eyes.
But make no mistake. There is nothing New Age or magical about herbal medicine. In fact most pharmaceutical medications are based on an attempt to mimic the effects that already exist in nature itself. In an attempt to create a uniform dosage, often some of the healing properties that existed within the herbal plant medication is not transferred to the pharmaceutical application, often lessening its overall effectiveness.

The Disabled Hiker, ep-3, LIFE IS CHANGE, part-4


After vowing to eliminate the aluminum in my Cook set, I went out looking for a set of stainless steel cups to switch out the old ones. But when I saw the Stanley Adventure Camp Cook Set, I decided to take a chance on something a little different.

As a person camping with physical challenges, I try to keep it simple when cooking in the field. So I'm always looking for "simply add water" kinds of food to bring with me should I feel the need for a hot meal. However, in the summertime I'm usually happy to eat "as is" foods such as beef sticks, crackers, and so on. So in these warmer months I find little need to do more than heat water for coffee.

Although I was a little skeptical at the time I purchased this cook set. I must admit, I am very pleased with the Stanley Adventure Cook Set.


Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Disabled Hiker, ep-3, LIFE IS CHANGE, pt-3.


After only a short time in camp, heavy rains forced us to take cover for the night. Fortunately I had brought along the perfect device to help with the muggy and hot conditions inside the tent. 

As TaSunka peacefully slept on, the sound of the rain hitting the tent soon lulled me to sleep as well.

Waking the following day to the sunshine and the birds singing, TaSunka and I could hardly wait to begin our day of playing together in the woods.


TRYING OUT THE SAWYER MINI. The Disabled Hiker, ep3, Life Is Change, pt-2



(Gear review)

Just as in the old days when I hiked here at Lehigh Gap, Outerbridge shelter along the Appalachian Trail overlooking the Lehigh River is a very busy place. Besides the constant flow of day-hikers and weekenders like myself, In June and July, northbound through-hikers with dreams of reaching New York City before the Fourth of July fireworks can be seen intently working their way up the east side of Lehigh Gap. In August and September, it's scores of southbound through-hikers that can be found scrambling over the rocky terrain, hoping to reach the next dependable water source before it dries up for the season.

Regardless of which direction they were going, I found many of them using Sawyer water filters this year.

Considering Sawyer's extraordinarily low price, I was not surprised by the amount of people I found using both the Sawyer Mini filtration system and its big brother, the Sawyer Squeeze Water Filtration System.

Based on the same technology that kidney dialysis machines used to filter blood, Sawyer water filters exceed EPA standards by effectively remove 99.9999% of bacteria and protozoa without using chemicals




Friday, December 19, 2014

The Disabled Hiker, ep-3, LIFE IS CHANGE, pt-1


A New Friend.


~ After more than a year, it's great to be back on the trail again.
Together with my new hiking buddy and trail dog TaSunka, I am determined to make up for some lost time.

Episode 3 was filmed over the course of two hikes covering the same territory. This was done in the hopes of bringing even more of my experiences into each episode than I had ever done previously.

The first trip took place in early September and is the basis for the narrative of this episode. However, the second hiking trip that I had scheduled with my good friend and cameraman Larry Deitch, was postponed for several weeks after my mother lost her battle with cancer.  By the time Larry and I were able to get out on the trail again, a month had passed. Putting us well into the October hunting season here in Pa.

Although my mothers passing was devastating, this seemed to only further solidify in my mind what was to become the working title while I continued working on this episode.  As indeed, all had once again proven to me that life is eternal change.

When filming past episodes, I was limited to what I was able to film on my own out in the wilderness. Even setting up the simplest of shots while on the move was an incredible burden. This method requires me to literally cover the same territory three times just to show you a single 20 second clip of us walking by with our packs on. As I'm sure you can imagine, there are times when I just could not pull this off on my own.

So when professional artist and photographer Larry Deitch offered to join the team and come along on one of my expeditions as a cameraman, I was a little self-conscious at first. I've always worked alone and as a naturally self-conscious amateur filmmaker and individual in general. I've always found a calmness when I am alone in the wilderness and interacting with an unmanned camera. I was afraid I would lose my nerve once somebody was standing behind that same camera.

Although I am still getting used to that feeling to some degree, it wasn't quite as bad as the butterflies in my stomach had made it out to be. And what Larry has brought to this project is priceless and proved to be a major contribution to this work.
Many thanks to my brother-friend Larry Deitch for his many contributions to episode 3.

And now, without further delay I give you part 1 of Life Is Change, entitled,  
A New Friend.


Thursday, December 4, 2014

TaSunka's Trail

Hiking During Pa Hunting Season



Thursday, March 20, 2014

DISABLED HIKER Eps-2 Video Library


Eps-2, Part-1. – THE HIKE IN.

* Filming the second episode became increasingly difficult as the colder months closed in on me. I had dealt with several health issues over the preceding summer months that seemed determined to put me out of action until the following year. However with a little extra cold weather gear I was able to pull it off.
In hindsight I would say I had everything I needed except for one thing. Something I left behind in order to save a little weight in my pack. But that item will become apparent in part -8 of eps-2.
For now just sit back and enjoy part-1. The Hike In, with the same assumptions I had at the time..... ie; I had everything I needed with me.


Eps-2, Part-2. – WHY A TENT?

* This part of episode 2 dives into some of the little things to look for when looking for the proper campsite. Especially when you have back problems. Simply doubling up on the sleeping pads you carry can really enhance the experience. As well part two also touches on why one would prefer a tent over a hammock especially in cooler temperatures. This one's for you chronic pain sufferers as there is not one among us that does not suffer at the hands of the cold icy dagger-like grip that comes along with being slightly hyperthermic. Often I think because of the pain I've become acutely sensitive to the cold. So staying warm is essential if I intend to enjoy myself out there.



* Strangely enough the word Atlatl was the most accurate term I could find to describe the ball throwing device. The Atlatl was a prehistoric spear throwing lever that enabled prehistoric man to bring down things as large as mastodons and mammoths. And just calling it a ball throwing who–jiggy–ma–whatsit just didn't sound right to me. However considering the modifications I had to make sticking with it's store-bought name wasn't such a hot idea either in my mind. Just imagine a world where when you saw a need for something useful you simply created it. Yup, that's where I live.
When it comes to hanging a bear bag just when I think I've seen it all someone comes along and proves to me that I can still be surprised from time to time. Such as the group of young folks I saw who preferred to hang their bear bag directly over their tent while boldly stating, "There! If the bear wants my food he's going to have to stand on me to get it." ..... I don't know what made this gentleman think that a bear would not be more than happy to stand on him to get to his food. But these are the people I like to camp far far away from. Especially after losing so much mobility. There's an old joke about two men standing in the woods. One turns to the other and says, "If a bear attacks remember, I don't have to worry about out running the bear. I just have to worry about out running you." I always remember that joke when I see a bear. And then looking back at my hiking dog I start to wonder. Hmmm. Did he hear this joke before too?



* THE SHIYO WILDERNESS DOG RUN is one I experimented with for many years. Even though S'iyo was never much for running off. Their were plenty of times where I needed to know that he was not going beyond his boundaries. Such as while I was setting up camp and he tended to be a little underfoot. Which as you can imagine is something that gets a little interesting for me. It also comes in handy In the wee morning hours when your hiking partner wants to go find that special tree that needs watering out there somewhere, and you don't exactly feel like climbing out of your nice warm sleeping bag to go watch the selection process.


Eps-2, Part-5. – * A PAIN IN THE WOODS.

                         * THE HOOK.

                         * THE REAL WORLD.

* A PAIN IN THE WOODS. Most of us who have survived 15 years or more on heavy pain meds have stories about overdoing it. Striving so hard to achieve that pain free feeling once so familiar to you comes at a heavy cost. At one time I thought that cost was a necessary evil of my situation. I seem to constantly be hiding the amount of pain I was in from my supervisors at work and even from my family. But, just as all bad ideas do. It led to some serious consequences. And so although I may say I wish the drugs were stronger. I know the consequences of that as well and today I'm content to just keep on wishing.

* THE HOOK I had originally designed after becoming frustrated when attempting to throw my knives as I had once done in order to get some much needed exercise. However my skills had diminished over time and the constant bending and squatting to pick up missed blades quickly took its toll. Soon after I started I would be in pain. The whole idea was to take something I used to love and use it to get some amount of exercise. But this wasn't working at all. At first I tried one of those store-bought grabber devices. However the blades proved to be too heavy for the jaws to maintain a grip on them. Then it occurred to me that almost every blade had at least some whole and the handle and that perhaps something as simple as an L shaped hook was all I really needed. I soon found myself lasting a full 10 min. at a time throwing my knives. Twice as long as before considering before creating this little gem I would have spent most of that time adding to my pain making any exercise I got from it counterproductive and frustrating. This little invention really blossomed though as soon as I took it hiking with me. I keep it close in case I drop a walking stick or other gear while wearing my pack. I've even found myself tying little loops of string on many of my things so they can be more easily retrieved by The Hook should I drop them.

* As for THE REAL WORLD? ...... it's real and it's out there, so get out there and enjoy it.


Eps-2, Part-6. – *THE BIG FALL.

* After years of hiking Pennsylvania trails I can honestly say that falling today does not scare me anymore or any less than falling when I was completely healthy. To be honest, it scares the crap out of you just as much. Often when falling the only thing there to catch you is a pile of rocks. All pointing upwards sharply of course. If you're lucky you can turn and land on your pack. Sadly and more often than not you come down on your knees adding catastrophe to injury. Even the healthiest of hikers can be taken out by a single and seemingly innocent fall. I guess that's why, as the old saying goes. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Early in my disabled hiking days I decided it's just better to be prepared then to be put out of action. And part six has everything you need to be ready for, The Big Fall.

* Even though he is not in the frame most of the time my dog S'iyo was a very big part of filming this segment. As I laid there recording he stood constant and silent watch over me standing just a few feet off the right. In fact he always made me feel well protected out there. It is for this reason that at the end of part six you will notice a short remembrance of my protector and friend S'iyo S'unka. There is no love so deep as that of a faithful dog.


Eps-2, Part-7. –  D.H. EQUIPMENT REVIEW.


* My daughter Jamie bought this for me for Christmas a few years back when I was in the process of trying to find lighter gear. These candle lanterns are the lightest and from what I've found they are also very well made. Sadly however I cannot say the same about the tea light candles manufactured to put into them. Even the more expensive ones seem to have this common flaw to their design. Part seven goes over how you can turn the cheapest of tea light candles into a Tea Light Powerhouse for your lantern.


Eps-2, Part-8. – * NIGHT VISITOR.

               *EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED.

* Encounters with wildlife, the land and water. Even the elements. That's one of the biggest reasons I still love to go out there. "Surprise me Mother Nature!" Let's just say that this night however, was just full of surprises.


Eps-2, Part-9. – *PACKING AIDS.

* Often packing and unpacking can be a tiring chore in itself. Part nine sheds light on a few methods I've come to really appreciate over the years. Used in conjunction with The Hook (featured in part 5.) I can easily pack everything myself as well is put my own pack on without adding to my pain and discomfort.... Well, most of the time anyway.


Eps-2, Part-10. – * TIME TO GO HOME.

* As a footnote to part 10. Please be careful when attempting to get out there again. Take every precaution. Never hike alone. Always carry bear spray, a whistle, and a cell phone. Don't overdo it by expecting too much of yourself. And most of all and at the top of your list above all the others, Have Fun out There. It's your world too. And you deserve your piece of it and place in it.
Mitakuye Oyasi
(we are all related.)
Terry Craig ~the Disabled Hiker


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Disabled Hiker: Tas'unka's Trail

:"Hi my name is Tas'unka  and I'm Terry's new hiking partner. I came to Terry through the Save Our Saint's, St. Bernard ..."

 Check out the full story at 

The Disabled Hiker. Tas'unka's Trail

Friday, March 7, 2014

 The Disabled Hiker, eps-1, Video Library


Greetings Disabled hikers and Innovative Thinkers.

After my hiking dog S'iyo (She-yo) was diagnosed with a terminal heart condition. I felt it necessary to take a hiatus to care for my faithful hiking companion. Sadly he lost his battle with his condition 
this past January 13, 2014. 
S'iyo played a big part in allowing me access to the wilderness as both protector and companion. Knowing how much he loved our hikes together I could not imagine hanging up my hiking equipment for good. No sir. He never would have wanted that for sure.
Therefore in the spirit of remembering the good times past as well is anticipating the ones yet to come. I've begun the process of reediting episodes 1 and 2 (ie; the S'iyo episodes) into shorter clips creating a video library so that the information can be more easily accessed.

Episode 1 and 2 can still be found in their entirety at the following links.
The Disabled Hiker (eps. 1.)
 The Disabled Hiker (eps. 2.)

And now here for your viewing pleasure and In honor of fallen companions.
Episode 1 of
The Disabled Hiker, parts 1 thru 7 

The Disabled Hiker, shorts from eps-1, part-1. * Intro to Disabled Hiking.
is just a short introduction to not only my dog and myself but also gives a bit of insight into my packing list and the weight each item adds to my pack. Keeping it light is essential.


The Disabled Hiker, shorts from eps-1, part-2* Rules for the Disabled Hiker
touches on a few of the basic considerations when planning your outing. It's important to be safe out there yet at the same time not leave loved ones behind worrying about where you got to or when you'd be back.


The Disabled Hiker, short eps-1, part-3,  
* The Rock Cairn Fireplace & * A few words on Bear Spray.
* The Rock Cairn Fire Place is a method of using flat rocks to not only protect the environment from the fire spreading but also protects the fire from wind and rain. It also promotes a more responsible fuel consumption by using a smaller amount of wood and allowing the heated rocks to do most of the work. oh yea, and of course by simply scattering the ashes and putting the extra rocks back in this method also protects the environment from those big ugly and over used fire pits found in almost every prime camp site across the land. (except the ones we keep secret that is aye.)
* A Few Words On Using Bear Spray gives a little insight into some info you might not find just hanging around the trails and hiking sites.
Be careful out there but for Pete sake get out there and enjoy the wild places.


The Disabled Hiker, short eps-1, part-4
* Pain management, *Hiking Companions, *Trail Safety & Comfort.
*Pain Management is a very difficult subject for me. On all fronts. So i would like the present video to speak for me on this subject. And to simply tell anyone seeking "pain management" for extreme long-term pain that I wish you luck in your search.
*Hiking Partners covers the main reason why you should never hike alone. Anything can happen. Just by taking your dog with you it is adding a level of alertness to you on the trail as when you are worried about the next step you are taking. The last thing you want to worry about is walking unknowingly right up to a bear or worse down a steep hill. Think your "mutt" wont be smart enough? Think again. Even if they aren't Lassie or  RinTinTin you'll be amazed at their ability's
*Hiking Safety and Comfort covers some tricks I've learned over the years for both man and dog aimed at letting wildlife from as large as a bear to as small as a snake know you are near. Allowing them plenty of time to get out of the way cause your coming threw. - It also covers ways to keep your dog comfortable while hiking. Especially in the cooler months or when hiking with an older dog.


The Disabled Hiker, short eps-1, part-5 
* Bear Encounter #963 & the Birds That Laugh At You.
Shortly before dark a large black bear came right up to the edge of our camp before he noticed S'iyo and I were sitting there. He surprised us just as much as I only herd his last few footsteps at the edge of camp. For their size bear are incredibly stealthy. In fact some Indigenous tribes here used to call them ghosts because they were famous for seemingly appearing out of nowhere.


The Disabled Hiker, short. eps-1, part-6
*S'iyo's Sleeping Bag.  *My Hammock Pros & Cons.
*S'iyo's sleeping bag became a necessity after seeing S'iyo shivering on our second hike together. It was an unusually cold summer with night teps that went down into the high 40's. At the time I opened up my bag and used it to blanket the both of us. But as usual my experiences get my mind going and the next thing you know, you have S'iyo's Sleeping Bag.
*My Hammock Pros & Cons focuses on one particular experience I had when using a hammock without putting up a tarp over it. Allowing wildlife to get a little closer than I would have liked.


The Disabled Hiker, short. eps-1, part-7 * My Home Made Stove & Cooking Set.
As my last installment in episode 1 I've had decades to "mess" with this one folks. (Pun fully intended. Ha-ha) But when it comes down to it, I don't like to cook out there any more than I like to cook at home. So why would I take my misery with me aye?
That's when I stared taking foods with me that I did not need to cook and even some I'd found that I could eat both raw or simply roasted over a flame. This cook set also allowed enough hot water capacity to heat 2 cups of water for those dehydrated meals you can purchase (Some have asked about that second tin cup..) But you will need another heat source to heat the second cup synonymously.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Terry Craig's Journey

Nothing is better than finding out you have had an impact of some kind on someones life. And so it's become one of my favorite things to hear from folks who are inspired by my videos and/or my music.
This video comes to me threw my friends at Wildergimp.
Wildergimp is a organization that is doing great things for the disabled hikers in the great state of Florida including purchasing Trailrider one wheeled, two man driven carts that allow the disabled to go where no disabled has gone before. (Sorry, too much Star trek as a child.)
The people at Wildergimp have also been instrumental in change trail regulations to finally allow the disabled the enjoy what the Americans with Disability's act insures every American. >
The right to enjoy the wilderness. I mean come on. It's the 21st century. We should be floating folks up into the mountains on hover-carts by now. But as that's not possible yet, and thanks to these good people physically challenged folks are getting the opportunity to enjoy the wilderness. Some for the first time in their lives. 
Stop by and check out the many good things they do.


Thursday, January 30, 2014

 In memory of S'iyo S'unka (She-yo Shun-ka) 

Oct, 2003 to Jan, 2014

In memory of the best Trail Dog, Protector, Companion, Teacher & Student, Helper, and the best Co-Host and all around Best Friend Ever.
Forever loved, forever missed.
See you on the other side my Friend.
S'iyo S'unka. Oct, 2003 - Jan, 13, 2014.
I had written 2/3 of this song after my Grandfather had taken the Journey (passed on) back in the 90's. Although I'd always considered it incomplete I still performed it from time to time. I always knew however that it was incomplete. So eventually I shelved the song and forgot about it altogether.
It wasn't until S'iyo's last week with us that for some reason I pulled it out and begin working on it again. Only unlike in the past the words seem to flow through my pen like water through a sieve. In some ways when that happens I'm a little freaked out. Although it's one thing to have a song spill out of you in a matter of hours or even a day, to contemplate the finishing of a song for years yielding no results at all and then to pick it up a more than a decade down the road and finishing it in a matter of minutes can, well let's face it, be a little freaky. One must therefore wonder if those things are really ours in entirety. Did I write a song or did I simply collide with its interpretation of the universe first at one end and then the other. With a whole lot of living and learning to do in between. Perhaps I would not have been able to understand these words at that time. As if they were written in some foreign language and I'd just produced them all prior to knowing the language it was written in. In either case it is completed now. And I truly feel like I have come full circle. But as you know the circle doesn't end here. It simply continues from here.
~The Disabled Hiker