Tom’s Thumb Trail in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve


The thumb is sticking up on the horizon on the far left

The thumb is sticking up on the horizon on the far left

You might recall I hope to climb to the summit of Arizona’s highest mountain in June. So I’m in training.

First time I've seen a backhoe doing trail repair

First time I’ve seen a backhoe doing trail repair

I started this hike at the Tom’s Thumb Trailhead at the north end of the preserve. I made it to the base of the landmark then turned around and came back the same way. Total trip length is between 4 and 4.5 miles and I figure a 1000 feet of vertical elevation gain. The footing is mostly gravel/dirt. Lots of folks were hiking it with less sturdy shoes than mine. It took me 1 hour and 50 minutes round-trip.

At the base of Tom's Thumb, overlooking Scottsdale and the Valley of the Sun

At the base of Tom’s Thumb, overlooking Scottsdale and the Valley of the Sun far in the distance

On the way down I was wishing I’d brought my trekking poles to take some of the strain off my knees.

Click for trail details.

The thumb up close and personal

The thumb up close and personal

Mark Rippetoe Argues That Older Folks Need Strength Training

Of course, he’s right. Click the link below for his reasons.

“Strength – as well as a tolerance for childish nonsense – is the thing we all lose as we age. Squatting down, standing back up, putting things overhead, pulling things up the driveway, loading the groceries, wrestling with the grandkids, teaching the dog who’s boss, mowing the yard, putting the broken lawnmower in the truck again: simple physical tasks we took for granted years ago are often problems for older, weaker people, as well as a source of potential injury that can be expensive and debilitating.

For most of us, this happens because of inactivity. If you do not use your muscles to produce enough force to convince them to maintain their ability to do so, it shouldn’t be surprising that they become less capable of doing it. And walking, running, riding a bicycle – physical activities whose performance is not limited by strength for even moderately active people – cannot increase or even maintain strength.”

Source: Strength Training for People My Age | Mark Rippetoe

The View From Pinnacle Peak, Looking Southeast

Taken with my new iPhone-7 Plus

Taken with my new iPhone-7 Plus

This was only my third training hike (in prep for Humphreys Peak) and I was pleasantly surprised to feel a positive training effect already. Or maybe I was just high on the beautiful day and setting.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Latest Diet Craze: Lose 19 lb With the Venezuelan Diet!

“In a new sign that Venezuela’s financial crisis is morphing dangerously into a humanitarian one, a new nationwide survey shows that in the past year nearly 75 percent of the population lost an average of 19 pounds for lack of food.”

“Venezuela’s food crisis has gotten so bad that remains of everything from dogs and cats to donkeys and even giant anteaters have been found in garbage bags at city dumps around the country.”


But caloric restriction doesn’t work, right?

Source: Study: Venezuelans lost 19 lbs. on average over past year due to lack of food | Fox News

High-Dose Omega-3 Supplement May Lower Alzheimer’s Disease Risk in APOE4 Carriers 

Folks who have inherited a gene called APOE4 have a higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s Dementia compared to those who don’t have the gene. A recent review suggests that supplementing with an omega-3 fatty acid called DHA may help prevent or slow the onset of the dementia.

Cold-water fatty fish are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, and consumption of these fish seems to protect against dementia. The “dose” is one or two servings a week, for years.

Not everyone can afford fish and some folks don’t like the the taste. So supplements are a consideration for them.

From MPT:

“Giving long-term high doses of docosahexaenoic [DHA] acid to carriers of the apolipoprotein E ε4 (APOE4) allele before the onset of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) dementia may reduce the risk for AD, or delay the onset of symptoms, and should be studied, according to an expert review.

While the review of landmark observational and clinical trials that assessed supplementation with ω-3 fatty acids such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA),revealed it was not beneficial in symptomatic AD, several observational and clinical trials of ω-3 supplementation in the pre-dementia stage of AD suggested it may slow early memory decline in APOE4 carriers, reported Hussein Yassine, MD, of the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and colleagues.”

Source: High-Dose Omega-3 May Lower AD Risk in APOE4 Carriers | Medpage Today

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: My books have several easy fish recipes in them.

Book Trailer for “The Advanced Mediterranean Diet (2nd Ed.)”

Here’s my first and only trailer for The Advanced Mediterranean Diet, (2nd Ed.).” Have a listen and try to identify the source of my accent.

You can thank my son Paul for my limiting it to 3.5 minutes.

QOTD: Miracles and Bernadette Soubirous

“For those who believe in God, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe in God, no explanation is possible.”

—From the opening lines of the 1943 movie, The Song of Bernadette

Jennifer Warnes co-wrote and sang the related and beautiful Song of Bernadette. Here’s a good version.

You’ve heard of the healing waters at Lourdes, France, right? The movie is about that and 14-year-old Bernadette Soubirous.