Afternoon hike in Wekiva Springs State Park @ Apopka, Florida

Wekiva Springs State Park was a bit of an ongoing natural exploration for myself. I had viewed different passing phases of weather elements ranging from hot, warm, humid, rain to cool, cold, dry, and windy. All these elements had enshrouded different perspectives in and out of the water for swimming, camping and canoeing. One thing I hadn’t done yet, hiking on the many trails emanating around the spring boil. Taking a half day of time off work yesterday, I had met up with a friend for taking a leisurely advance into these nearby woods.

Our walk had started on the boardwalk close to the trail-head. On this weekday, the first thing I had realized the lack of people occupying the grounds. This expectation was bit of an adjustment, on weekends in warmer weather, people flock to this watery arena. Another adjustment was the lack of insects in the air whether wasps, flies or mosquitoes. The offset was the cool breeze washing in and out of the pine and palmetto trees. My logic had concluded this being the reason for lack of ever present indigenous locals either human or not.

Courtesy of
Courtesy of

Finishing the short boardwalk, we had moved onto the main trail heading toward Sandlake. The shimmering light of the sun had revealed harvest like colors of auburn, browns, grays, yellows and green. With a recent trip out to mountains of Georgia, the slow arcing topography of the Wekiva basin was a welcome contrast. Both environments had their unique elements of appreciation yet, Florida’s emitting a more familiar comforting emotional refrain.

With an eventual split in the trail, we had steered to the left eventually moving across a road. Coming to the connecting side of the trail, we had seen a metallic hiking icon hanging on a wooden marker. It was a bit of flashy icon with another patch below for “no biking.” Proceeding down the way, we had come to some yellow caution tape on both sides of another road. On the ground had fallen a paper white posting listing the area for a controlled fire burn for January 15 – January 17th. With lack of sight or smell of fire, I hadn’t worried much about such postings; however, with the dashing winds, I had thought prudent in a turnabout. A few moments further down the trail, I had heard the chopping of wood in the distance. I had recalled a presentation from Wekiva burn manager about their preparation for controlled burns. I had theorized these noises from an advancing group of “preppers.” With that thought, such burn notices were better suited for the front gate or a website. With this turnabout, I had accumulated unfinished business for another Florida afternoon.

Read More:
Wekiva Springs (Florida State Parks)

North-South Cross Trail in Wekiva Springs State Park @ GarzaFX 20140116-174005.jpg 20140116-173916.jpg 20140116-174032.jpg 20140116-174022.jpg20140116-174215.jpg20140116-174209.jpgNorth-South Cross Trail in Wekiva Springs State Park @ Apopka, Florida 20140116-173932.jpg 20140116-174040.jpg North-South Cross Trail in Wekiva Springs State Park @ GarzaFX 20140116-173952.jpg20140116-174136.jpg20140116-174141.jpg20140116-174155.jpg20140116-174054.jpg 20140116-174014.jpg 20140116-174111.jpg 20140116-174119.jpgNorth-South Cross Trail in Wekiva Springs State Park @ Apopka, Florida 20140116-174103.jpg

Urine, something real inside me, inside you?

Sometimes I hadn’t grasped my own limitations until confronting failure. This posting had started with inebriation on a dark summer night gone by. That’s how my memory had remembered a whimsical wager over drinking a few ounces of my urine. I really hadn’t remembered the escalating stakes that evening, only this loss. With the loss dawning on my mind, I had confronted the dubious act. Swinging my head back, I had let the solution splash on my lips and tongue. I had recalled swallowing urgently in hopes of avoiding the body warm temperature and any lingering flavor. In sharing this story, most fair minded people had responded with visceral response of cringing, if not outright frowning; however, I had luckily experienced only a colorless fluid with little aftertaste.

The importance of tale was reconciling the concept of urophagia. Some folks had done it through history in surviving nature or indulging in personal fetishes. For myself, back in October of last year, I had juxtaposed myself between the pride of finishing a morning run and extreme dehydration. The late morning Florida heat had overwhelmed my body with cramping from my calves, neck and lats muscles. The sun had beat down on my increasingly slowing position. Entering the final four miles of this excursion, I had reflected upon my number of impromptu restroom breaks along the route. My friend finishing an hour before me, I had wanted to go on for ego. Our previous outing, I was fairly fatigued yet, able to push to the end. This jog, I was encountering broader muscle exhaustion, compensating for a new knee injuries and no alternate means of hydration. I had additionally lacked a phone, a wallet, or pickup protocol. Painfully walking a brisk pace, I had wanted to quit so badly. I had resigned myself to marching on with the mindset of “Whatever it takes!”

Embracing my night of urophagia, I had headed to an oncoming Porto Toilet filling an empty water bottle. Heading back under the sunlight I had conceded to thirst. This moment of sober reality had manifested itself with the twist of a plastic bottle cap. Moving the bottle to my mouth, I had thought,”Was I committed?” The answer was all about pride. Finishing a quick gulp of the fluid, I had found enough physical and mental strength until the next water fountain. A few minutes afterward, I had started my incline toward a crosswalk. Like magic on cue, my friend had ironically appeared around the next corner with a big smile and a jug of Gatorade. I had brought him up to speed on recent events. His response was a general sense of shock and amusement. I had hardly cared. I had proved to myself a willingness to go further than the next man, perhaps stepping over a line. The line was  crossing into something personal, real, inside me, maybe “What’s inside you?”

Read More:
Urophagia (Wikipedia)
Freak out: Flounder, snakes, and a bear… (GarzaFX)
Something Real (Inside Me/Inside You) (YouTube)

To Protect And Infect Part 2: Jacob Appelbaum covering NSA, iPhone and other high tech gadgetry!

Regardless of your political ideology, technical background or country of origin, I had urged watching this one hour regarding NSA technology. I had watched this reviewing possible issues regarding Apple iPhone’s and the NSA with privacy. This was originally published at the close of  last year. The run-time for this youtube video was about an hour long. I had found this profound in respect to gadgetry, security, and politics. The presenter had provided illuminating examples along the way with humor. I had cautioned you against some unexpected expletives in advance. I had believed this as being one of the most thought provoking presentations of my lifetime. I had re-posted this with no additional comment. Just watch it!

Read More:

Jacob Appelbaum (Wikipedia)

Apple, Jacob Appelbaum and the National Security Agency (Fortune)

Suunto DM4 Vyper Air dive computer @ Blue Heron Bridge

I had recently acquired a new addition to my growing arsenal of scuba equipment in the Suunto DM4 Vyper Air dive computer with wireless transmitter. The purpose was getting more accurate data regarding air pressure and depth during dives. Reviewing a manifest of my friend’s Advanced Open Water class purchases, the Sunnto DM4 Vyper had caught my attention. Before explaining the virtues of this technical device, I had thought a good point in providing some background. The value of this device was consolidating functionality from a rented BCD’s (buoyancy control device) analog gauges to digital readouts and then some. With dives at Manatee Springs State Park, Florida, I had noticed sinking a bit further in maximum depth than my friend. To that end, I had experienced some challenges seeing my gauges under an overcast sky in the Catfish sink. Manatee Springs was a fairly controlled location; however, I was thinking forward of more complex arenas like the open ocean with current. After seeing the device in action with my dive buddy and a follow-up discussion with Paul Shepherd at Seminole Scuba, I had committed to this acquisition.

The first trial run for the Suunto DM4 Vyper was heading out to Blue Heron Bridge. On attaching the wireless transmitter, the guidance I had received, “Don’t twist overly tight to the regulator.” With respect to the computer itself, it was large enough in accommodating my wet suit with ease. As far as general use, I had still required maybe another trip in working with the device in the water. For those calculating RAT, it was perfect inventory of your dive data. Most of the stuff for your dive book was readily available on the digital read out (i.e. maximum depth, surface interval, water temp, dive time, compass, air pressure).


The day after getting home from Blue Heron Bridge dive, I had synced the Vyper Air with desktop Suunto software.The below outputted screen captures were from the three mini dives at Blue Heron Bridge. What had really peaked my interest, air consumption and depth. I was a bit obsessive with air management after bleeding through my tanks in Open Water scuba class. Or maybe it was just the notion of milking the maximum experience per cylinder. Regardless, it was extremely revealing to look at the depth, time, and air utilization with the surface intervals for snorkeling. Hopefully, I had provided some insight should you be in the market for a dive computer. Safe travels!

Dive 1



Dive 2



Dive 3




Read More:
Suunto Vyper Air Black (Suunto)
Waters off Blue Heron Bridge @ West Palm Beach, Florida (GarzaFX)
Manatee Springs State Park @ Chiefland, Florida (GarzaFX)

Cheat Day with double dipping hot dogs and Oreos!

With 2014 had come echoes of New Year Resolutions for eating right and exercising for some folks. What I had wanted to share the importance of having that day for a meal of whatever you desire once a week.

In that spirit today, I had started with scarfing down a friend’s Oreos before swimming. Returning home, I had fell sleep waking with an unmanageable hunger. With my eyes passing on protein shake mix and bananas, I had wondered onto the frig discovering a rogue package of  bacon flavored Oscar Meyer wieners! Firing up the skillet, I had thought two links should work. After consuming those, I had fired up two more hot dogs gobbling them immediately. Maybe it was the cheese, ketchup, or even the salty stuffing in the casing. Regardless, I had consumed four weiners and 10 Oreos. Had I felt guilty, nope, only the raw power of passing satisfaction!

Staying focused on your food selection while dieting was important but, flogging yourself mentally will likely bring non-compliance. Be real, be consistent, have a cheat meal once a week, Bon Appetit!

Dieting? Try Cholula Hot Sauce with Chunk Light Tuna and/or Peanut Butter (GarzaFX)


Beautiful day for a swim @ Wekiva Springs State Park, Florida

Most of this week in Florida, the weather had gone back in forth between warm to cold and back again, sometimes with variations of 30 degrees or more. Now, normally I hadn’t cared one way or another regarding the elements outside for going to the gym. Though, starting Sunday, I was blessed with a touch of the cold making the rounds with my fellow bipeds. Monday and Tuesday, I had conceded to resting and hydrating. Entering into Wednesday, two of my good friends had wanted to visit La Fitness. One had inquired if any interest? As with most days, I had stuffed my backpack for either a morning or afternoon gym interlude. In my mind, like the weather, I had switched back and forth on deciding on following through on some basic cardio.

With the witching hour upon me, I had chosen to go. Either way, I was going to be congested. The logic for going, I had thought, “I’ll be so exhausted afterward quickly succumbing to sleep!” Plus, I had figured another means of working phlegm and other impurities out of my body. The good news was after this outing and each on Thursday and Friday achieving deeper sleep and feeling better. Then, Saturday had arrived. I was key on alternating to swimming for resting my knees joints and legs muscles. I had decided on hitting Winter Park’s La Fitness for their salt water pool. After completing my mundane chores for the day, I had started driving to the gym. While jamming to tunes on my iPhone, a friend had texted me up about visiting Wekiva Springs. My immediate response was absolutely. I had pondered hitting one of the state parks during the weekend anyway.

With all the weather fluctuations in Florida recently, some people had wondered, “Why bother?” Well, if you were in one of the snow ridden states today, Wekiva Springs constantly maintains a 72 degree temperature. For some folks maybe too cold but, as another park visitor had eloquently responded later in the day, “Warmer than the North Atlantic!”  Picking up my pal, we had driven out to the park. The sun had started breaking through the clouds shedding heat and light. It had reminded me of the early days of spring. At the gate, the park ranger had stated “That doesn’t look like you?” while looking at our park pass without a photo ID.  I had followed up by turning the card over pointing to a big yellow flower on the opposing face. He then had smiled big waiving us forward.

After parking, we had walked down to Wekiva Springs swimming area. Having affixed  swimming goggles to my eyes, I had submerged into the fresh spring waters. Exhausting myself with just a lap, I had exited looking up to sky. I had reflected on what a great reason to skip inhabiting the walls of any place including the gym. In contrast to the rest of the country’s weather fortunes, I had thought, ”What a beautiful day for a swim @ Wekiva Springs!”

Read More:
Wekiva Springs State Park – Apopka, Florida (GarzaFX)


San Francisco 49ers, Dark Horse Rising

Last year, just after the Superbowl, I had asked some of my co-workers and friends to make a wager on the following year’s event. That bet had entailed going against San Fran returning to the Superbowl and winning it all. Amazingly, no one had took me up on the bet a year out. Then I had offered straight up win or lose against the field (i.e. rest of the NFL). Only one person was interested in such a bet, only then, a lunch. Summary, I had believed with everyone else, the 49ers themselves, bordering on achieving NFL dominance.

Fast forward a year, the San Francisco 49ers had a rough regular season with questions regarding their QB’s regressive play and a hefty amount of roster injuries. After being left for dead almost two weeks before the end of the season, San Fran had earned their way into the playoffs with a wildcard against Green Bay. At the start of that game, I had thought the game should go the Packers’ way with the weather @ Lambeau Field but, San Fran so many potential threats on both sides of the ball yet, so many questions still. With the 49ers springing an early lead, I had thought their ball movement reminiscent of the previous year, pretty much on demand; However, they had sputtered a couple of times converting drives into touchdowns. Ultimately, with some consistent defensive heat on Aaron Rodgers plus Kaepernick’s improvisation, the 49ers had prevailed on the road. While they had looked like a good team, just not a great team.

So this game had brought into focus the rest of their possible playoff matches going through Carolina and Seattle then, the Superbowl. For the Niners, at least one of those games, probably NFC title game, had required a great performance. That’s the question, were these 49ers, good or great? For them to complete a run to the Superbowl toward dominance had required snuffing out their arch NFC rival,Seattle, plus the Patriots in the title game. I had still believed in them winning out with a stout defense and gifted offense (i.e. Crabtree, Boldin, Gore, and Kaepernick). The funny thing, commentators on ESPN and other networks had only recently rediscovered this team’s potential post the Green Bay win. Since last year, I had stuck with this team now being called a “dark horse.” Amazingly, I had not wavered in their potential for supremacy. Now it was just a question of their execution. If they had happened to beat down Tom Brady’s Patriots in the process, even sweeter!


OMG! shaving facial hair

A few months had gone by since shaving my face completely. Sure I had trimmed here, shaved there, but, not completely. In my last blog regarding this topic, OMG! Facial Hair!, I had spoken to most of the differing reasons for letting go of the act of shaving facial hair. Part of me really had really enjoyed being so unkempt. Along the way, there was a lot of temptation for shaving out of conformity at the behest of my brother or mother; however, two reasons had remained for keeping it unruly. Of those two goals, one public and one private, I had left unmentioned in the last post.

So today, I had wanted to round back in explaining my public goal. The purpose was reducing my weight slowly to see my abs. For myself, this goal was stewing for about a good year or so. To that end, I had succeeded, almost a month late but, still through all the colds, anemia, and indigestion, done. My point here for you, especially those in my age group of 40 something, keep striving toward improving your health whether for the new year or not. The overall objective was not to be unhappy eating a strict food regime but, enjoying edible delights in moderation while attaining a certain look vs. weight.

From a quantifiable point of view, I had moved down about 20 lbs depending on the day a year ago to 155 lbs. The important aspect of this goal wasn’t the scale but, self image. For the first time in probably 5 years, I was generally pleased with my physique. Now part of me obviously had wanted to push further to get more cut. Though, for a few reasons I had opted instead to make some adjustments going into the future. Here were some of those points;

  1. Dropping another 10 lbs. on my frame would definitely reveal the rest of my midsection. The cost was flirting with an overly gaunt appearance. So for now, I had thought to pass on this objective.
  2. My doctor had recently diagnosed my protruding belly button as an umbilical hernia. By the time I had addressed that through surgery, might be worth having those 10 lbs. to spare.
  3. Going forward, I had wanted to focus more on muscle mass vs. cardiovascular conditioning.

Those points aside, I had made a few discoveries during this process.  First, I had reduced consumption of sports drinks and caffeine. On one hand, both had offered caloric or energy enhancement.  On the other, without them, they had provided a fall sense of cardiovascular health and endurance. Another recent epiphany was front loading carbs in the first half of my day or right before hitting gym. This had helped food cravings for pizza, rice or anything counterproductive. The last revelation was keeping exercise routines or activities challenging yet, fun.

As for that other goal, the private one, we’ll I had thought, “A man’s grasp should exceed his reach but, some aspirations require free will!” For now, that goal I had placed on the back burner being a deliberate man. For those just starting up with getting fit in 2014, be varied, keep at it, I was a work in progress last year and will continue to be in the future. With respect to shaving again, I had already loathed the exercise today! Yeah, think I had wanted to continue avoiding that chore as much as possible.



Read More:
OMG! Facial Hair! (GarzaFX)

I’m sorry Jimbo Fisher

So, FSU last night had won their first national championship game post Bobby Bowden. The relevance of this blog was a mea culpa for sure. If you had missed my water cooler banter about FSU’s current coach being a vote of no confidence. Watching from afar in the ACC, the SEC, I had preferred Guz Malzahn for years. In the 2010 season, I had fantasized about Jimbo getting the “boot” and being replaced by Gus with online campaign.

This morning, I had woke to see highlights of Jimbo switching FSU’s offense to a no huddle. This coaching adjustment clearly had made FSU’s title game comeback a reality. Sure there we’re plenty of offseason and season adjustments along the way; however, in this game, he had executed at the right moment at the right time. A true tenant of great coaching were these “moments.” To boot, pun intended, he had done it with class and the backdrop of his son, Ethan’s health issues.

Being a reluctant fan post Bobby’s forced retirement, I had finally come abroad in supporting him. Some might had said kinda late but, I had thought “You gotta beat the best in Gus Malzahn, to be considered the best!” To that end, Jimbo Fisher had arrived. For me, I had wanted to say “I’m sorry for not being the a biggest fan. I’m a believer now.” Today, I had truly felt comfortable with you replacing old man Bowden. Best of luck in 2014, I had hoped the very best for FSU, more importantly though, to the health of your son Ethan.

Go ‘Noles #1

Read more:
Jimbo Fisher’s 8-year-old son is fighting for something much bigger than a BCS Championship (USAToday)


Waters off Blue Heron Bridge @ West Palm Beach, Florida

In the last post, I had spoken of connections to people in your life alluding to the past, present and future. One of the pretenses for getting scuba certified wasn’t merely having new angles for adventure with a good buddy but, connecting to my father. During adolescence, my father had taken my brother and me along for various fishing and snorkeling trips while living on Andros Island, Bahamas. Commuting three hours from Orlando to West Palm Beach, I was on the verge of making a connection to my past.

For better part of 2013, I had spent quite a number of days in fresh water springs across the state of Florida. With the prospect of my first salt water dive, I had tempered my exuberance with knowledge of recent cold front sweeping through the state. Usually such weather changes had followed with rain causing turbidity in most kinds of water bodies. Before entering these briny shallows, my buddy and I had walked a rough outline of our dive plan. With the change from fresh to salt water, we had itemized a couple of technical challenges for emphasizing; buoyancy, water current, and air consumption. Putting technique aside for a moment, I was jazzed about the prospect of seeing tropical aquatic life again.

Working through technical objectives, I had loaded up another 2 lbs. of weights for a total of 10 lbs. for this salt water dive. For myself, extra weight in my buoyancy control device (BCD) had made me sink like the Titanic. For the next salt water outing, I had concluded sticking to 8 lbs. as a starting point. With the tidal shift, I had noticed a strong current on the surface water passing underneath Blue Heron Bridge. To offset, my friend had suggested diving on the bottom. In reality, the push of the current wasn’t diminished much at around 15 feet of depth with drag of the dive flag. The remedy for current was let the drift of the tide move us as necessary, otherwise swim, swim, swim! With respect to air and energy consumption, we had agreed to surface intervals for snorkeling for preserving air. In total, we had three mini dives achieving an excess supply of air of at least 1300 PSI out of 3000 PSI (i.e. pounds per square inch).

Despite reduced underwater visibility of about 18 feet, the main attraction for day was the aquatic life. Navigating the waters parallel to and beyond Blue Heron Bridge, we had seen an eclectic grouping of creatures. It was great mentally rattling off different things including; parrot fish, an urchin, juvenile Queen and Black angelfish, barracudas, Sgt. Majors, a solitary stingray, juvenile yellow Grunts and the chunks of Sargasso seaweed. With this exuberance, there was an interlude of seriousness regarding safety protocols when diving.

During the course of the excursion, we had maintained a healthy distance of about arm’s length to max of 10 feet snorkeling between us. Transitioning from one makeshift boat reef to another, I had remembered turning to check for my dive buddy. I wasn’t able to locate him within a 360 degree view, then up and down. Recalling dive protocol to surface after a minute of searching, I had almost conceded looking for him; however, I had seen a blurred silhouette on the edge of visibility. On closer inspection, it was my friend. He had tangled himself in the dive flag string. Approaching him, he had finished unraveling most of the string sans a loop around his fin. With a brief assist on the play, he was back in business gladly handing off the spool for the dive flag. The point of this scare was respect nature whether underwater or out on a mountain top, keep a visual connection to your buddy tight and avoid overloading on new gear. Now, my friend and I probably had thought skip on the melodramatic bit but, in the wild, a slip here, a mistake there, equals a dirt nap.

Speaking to past connections, almost a decade had gone by since my father’s passing. The taste of salt water and views of tropical fish had recalled great adolescent memories hanging out with him. These moments had ironically connected to one hour flights east of West Palm Beach to Andros Island, Bahamas. My parting thought for you, what had being underwater stirred inside of you?

Phil Foster Park (
Lake Worth Inlet Beach Cam (

20140105-141824.jpg20140105-141934.jpg20140105-142118.jpg20140105-141918.jpg20140105-141949.jpg20140105-142007.jpg20140105-142036.jpgBlue Heron Bridge

Sponsored by Seminole Scuba


Get to know Paul Shepherd and his competent team at Seminole Scuba in Lake Mary, Florida, whether getting certified or making a once in a lifetime trip like AFRICA 2014.

More Information: website:
phone:  407-333-8856


Road Laughter

There had existed a world and universe that physically reaches beyond our grasp. There had also encompassed a vast expanse within your mind. Recalling parts of my youth, I had spent summers in Tallahassee, Florida and Singapore. Each experience was remarkably unique; one illuminating, the other frustrating.

Without question, there was a key difference regardless of location. It was a positive mindset looking up to the big blue sky imagining possibilities. That precedent had made for years of wonderful new memories in Tallahassee, Florida. A good friend had told me, “It is not where you are but, what you do.” On that point I had wanted to share this memory with you. I had thought to also say, ”Don’t limit yourself with your state of mind or location in life.” This was more about aspiring to find yourself and bridging that gap to your family, friends and loved ones.

Imagine, reach out and make contact, listen, maybe even laugh a little, we’re all human after all.

Safe travels.

A final taste of the Appalachian Trail

After spending three days in Georgia, my good friend and I had hiked from Amicalola Falls out to Hawk Mountain. Waking on our last day on the AT, we had viewed the sunrise cresting over the horizon with the intermittent sound of birds. This vision had seemed like something between Sauron’s flaming eye from movie Lord of the Rings or the appearance of the Good Witch from film Wild at Heart. In these moments in the sun, we had drank some water while enjoying our makeshift breakfast. With dwindling food supplies, we had discussed our options for the day. Part of both of us had wanted to stay longer on the AT; however, another part of us had yearned for a hot plate of Chicken Parmesan @ Oliver Garden. With the dawn just breaking, the later impulse had won out. The plan for the day had encompassed hiking 17 miles back to our vehicle at Amicalola Falls State Park. The physical challenge for the day was exceeding our personal best for traveling this terrain in one day, 8 miles.

After packing up, we had walked back on the AT traveling at a reasonably good pace. With this tempo, we had predicted returning to Amicalola Falls by dusk. Returning to the top of Springer Mountain, we had eventually revisited the southern terminus for the AT. This time, clouds hadn’t obscured the mountains in the distance. This was a memorable sight for anyone living at sea level or Florida most of their lives. After another round of photo ops on Springer, we had moved back down the trail.

What I hadn’t expected next, the grind of the last couple of miles with the setting sun. Along the way, a few issues had cropped up for us. For myself, water and carb loaded food had run in short supply for energy. For my buddy, there was the additional weight of his belongings and the number of declining slopes on his knees. Engaging the last 6 miles of a series of ridges, I had thought, “Just one more mountain.” Seeing another ascending trail after another, I had felt crestfallen. After a while, I had focused on traversing step after step on the ascents. Removing the emotional impact of any topology changes, the logic was to keep my motivation on the earth below my feet. In the last two miles to the end, my friend had took the lead hiking. At first, it was little demoralizing to switch roles. Though, the motivation for keeping up had beat back the accumulating exhaustion from my two concurrent trips to California and Georgia. In the end, this switching of horses had provided us with the necessary daylight on our way back to the top of Amicalola Falls. After taking another brief break above the Falls for the restroom, we had quickly navigated down the side of the mountain face.

Returning to our vehicle finally, looking worn, we had smelled awful. One of the most gratifying parts of this arrival was turning the ignition on in the garnet 96’ Ford Explorer. After sleeping nights in the 20s and 30s F, the onset of heat blowing on our cold bodies was a cathartic experience. With the rumbling of the engine, we had drove out of the park turning right onto the darkened highway. We were searching for our destiny with Chicken Parmesan @ Oliver Garden in Gainesville, Georgia. After about 30 minutes, we were seated at an Olive Garden. Soon after, we had received some bread sticks with soup and salad. Savoring our food, we had pondered the day and the road ahead. This trip had meant different things to each of us. For myself, it was an expression of wanderlust, companionship, and physicality. The final taste of the Appalachian Trail was continuing to foster the idea to be truly wild at heart with adventure.


Read More:
Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (IMDB)
Wild at Heart (IMDB)

Sponsored by Seminole Scuba


Get to know Paul Shepherd and his competent team at Seminole Scuba in Lake Mary, Florida, whether getting certified or making a once in a lifetime trip like AFRICA 2014.

More Information: website: phone:  407-333-8856

Dieting? Try Cholula Hot Sauce with Chunk Light Tuna and/or Peanut Butter

For a lot of folks starting the New Year had meant resolutions for working out and modifying diet. Whether the purpose was looking better or just being healthy, eventually being creative in food selection reduces mental fatigue when changing habits during the first 90 days. Outside of having a cheat day, finding flavorful options probably had come a close second for staying on track. For myself, I had a decent record of incorporating foods like protein shake mix, bananas, chicken, eggs, and Chia. In common with all these things, they had a limited appeal with respect to richness in flavor.

So my recommendation were the following two options;

1)      Chunk Light Tuna in Water (any brand) with Cholula Original Hot Sauce. The combination of these two items had generated a flavor profile very similar to sardines in hot sauce, less the texture of bones, scales and skin. Now, the Cholula Original Hot Sauce was a mild choice for a hotness despite labeling. In difference to many other brands like Tabasco, Wild Pete’s, or Louisiana’s, Cholula had a certain thickness. This viscosity had provided a heaviness complimenting the rather light tuna flakes. Additionally, Cholula Original Hot Sauce had not overpowered the Tuna with heat. The overall combination was extremely low on calories and high on protein. This option I had used for supplementing afternoon meals.


2)      Peanut butter. This was a recommendation from a fellow co-worker. At first, I had thought maybe too much sugar in the way of carbs; however, using in a targeted fashion, it was great means of energy before working out and as a quick snack mid-morning. The great thing about peanut butter for me was the rate which your body metabolizes it for energy. For myself it had took time leveraging all the calories versus bananas or a sport drink. Peanut butter was great source of energy for extended gym sessions or running. With respect to brands, I had just stuck with generic Walmart brand. If traveling, I had just packed my spoon or other plastic ware.

For those embarking on resolutions, good luck, for those just looking for other options, I had hoped to provide something new to consider. Happy 2014!



Read More

Great Value Creamy Peanut Butter Nutrition Facts (Walmart)

StarKist Chunk Light Tuna in Water Nutrition Facts (StarKist)

Cholula Original Hot Sauce (Cholula)

New sponsor, Seminole Scuba

2014 brings GarzaFX a new sponsor in Seminole Scuba.

Get to know Paul Shepherd and his competent team at Seminole Scuba in Lake Mary, Florida, whether getting certified or making a once in the lifetime trip like AFRICA 2014.

Seminole Scuba’s next major adventure, Africa 2014, is a magical trip to trek with Gorillas in Rwanda, Safari in Kenya, and then to Zanzibar, Tanzania for 7 nights of diving and culture. As a guide, Paul Shepherd brings his 10 years of living in Africa plus, an ability to fluently speak Swahili to enrich this experience.

Travel Summary:

Gorillas, Wilderness, & Diving Approximate dates: Nov 11 – Nov 29, 2014*
Wilderness, & Diving Approximate dates: Nov 15 – Nov 29, 2014

*The Gorilla viewing is optional

More Information:
Seminole Scuba

Address: 3869 Lake Emma Road, Lake Mary, Florida, 32746
Phone: 407-333-8856
Fax: 407-333-8134


Hawk Mountain, Georgia on the Appalachian Trail @ Chattahoochee National Forest

Kicking off a third day of hiking in Georgia, my friend and I were coming down Springer Mountain heading toward our destination of Hawk Mountain on the A.T. The first mile on the trail was a soft downward descent. Clearing the mountain, we had encountered a few different creek crossings until reaching another wooden shelter. This shelter was open faced with two floors, a picnic table and two wood window doors opening on the second level in the rear. It had appeared the last occupants left in a rush. They had left a tarp, toilet paper, a t-shirt and few other pieces of trash. Needing to take “nature’s break,” the outhouse was thankfully not too far away. While at the outhouse, I had read a posting on the wall regarding the methodology regarding composting of human waste. Apparently, the process had included a two year breakdown with some general upkeep.

After our interlude, we had continued our trek coming to a medium sized bridge going over a creek appearing more like a river. From the horizon, the water had rolled through the greenery at a slight incline with the vestiges of snow fall on the ground. The rumble of water passing underneath had provided a serenity similar to listening to the cadence of waves on a beach. After collecting filtered water, we had moved back onto the trail. Walking only a few hundred feet, in the corner of my eye, I had got a glimpse of a small open air campsite down the slope. As curiosity took over, I had decided to scale down to take a closer look. Appearing in my vision, a series of rocks had wrapped around some cold grey ash. Just past the ash was a downed log where a person could easily sit gazing into this water way. I had wanted to stay longer but, our goal lay further up the mountain ridge. Rejoining my friend, we had proceeded up the side of mountain for a mile or so until bumping into another set of hikers making their way toward Springer Mountain. We had swapped information about the Hawk Mountain shelter and details of building a fire atop Springer. At this point in the day, the sun had raised the temperature a considerable amount. My buddy and I had shed most of our upper layers of clothing to avoid overheating. The bright sunny day was a welcome contrast to the gusty cold overcast previous one. During the last two miles of the trail toward Hawk Mountain, we had seen a few military helicopters conducting maneuvers. At first, I had thought maybe a rescue operation but, according to my friend’s guidebook, standard training fare.

Arriving mid-afternoon at the Hawk Mountain shelter, we had run into another group of travelers from earlier in the morning. While getting settled, we had snacked and refilled our water. Later in the afternoon, we were joined by an older gentleman. He had inquired about the general direction of the water. After some instruction, he had hiked on. Returning later, he had managed to go five miles over the next ridge top looking for water versus just down an opposing slope. After some casual conversation, one of our fellow shelter guests had started collecting wood to build a fire. This day, I had opted to cough up my bag of Doritos as kindling. I had seen YouTube video demonstrating their flammability. After trying the wet wood, the dry Doritos had proved the means to start the fire. Though, one of the other travelers had mocked the idea of carrying the Doritos, saying “Why pay for something, when you can get something for free.”

With the onset of dusk, I had opted to sequester myself socially allowing my buddy the autonomy to talk it up with our visitors. I was looking forward to get good night’s rest after the previous evening on Springer Mountain. With the evening in full swing, the sound of military helicopters had filled the night air a few times. This sound was a bit of a buzz-kill wanting to get away from “civilization.” Laying on my back, I had listened to the fire and fellow hikers for a bit slipping into unconsciousness. It was the best rest on the trip up to that point just for the dreaming. These unconsciousness dreams I had not remembered. For dreams becoming a reality, my dreams, I had believed that’s a different thought altogether.

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