Into the Heart of the Alps

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Into the Heart of the Alps Adventure Will Continue in 2013

It's with a good bit of sadness that Bob and I have decided to postpone the next leg of our Into the Heart of the Alps for Atrial Fibrillation Awareness adventure until 2013 (next summer).  This summer is a time of transition for everyone in our family (except the dog) and not a good time to be gone for most of the summer – I have a new full-time job creating a new program from the ground up; our son just graduated from college and is starting his “real life” as a music teacher and musician in Seattle; our daughter graduated from high school in June, is home all summer until she starts college in Portland; and Bob had minor knee surgery a couple months ago which continues to heal well, but slowly.

Our love for all things Via Alpina continues.  The only decoration on the walls of my new office (except for family pictures) is a large poster of this Refuge de Furfande panorama.  This view is my “happy place” – the place my mind goes when it’s overwhelmed, can’t sleep at night, bored, getting tired while hiking, etc.  I may just have to surround myself with a few more posters (and fill myself with café au lait and croissants) to keep the memories strong until 2013.

Refuge de Furfande, 7541’, France

    Refuge de Furfande, 7541’, France
Our love of being outdoors continues. Bob’s trail running distances are picking up (29 miles last weekend, just a little short of previous years’ 100-mile races though).  I’m keeping my uphill fitness on lengthy walks with the dog on the steepest roads we can find in the neighborhood and climbing “my little mountain” about a half-mile away.  We hope to continue “bagging” a different local peak virtually every weekend.

Lake Blanche, 8920’, Wasatch Mountains, Utah

    Lake Blanche, 8920’, Wasatch Mountains, Utah

The efforts to raise awareness about Atrial Fibrillation (AFib), the increased risk of stroke it causes, and the options to be “fixed” permanently, continue as well.  My story has been featured on University Health Care’s Because of ‘U’ ad campaign, with a TV commercial (you can watch it here), as well as a poster on highway billboards and on the sides of buses.

Because of 'U'

In 2013, we will start hiking the Via Alpina where we ended in 2011 – in Vallouise (Stage R129, Red Trail) and continue north through France (with a few short detours into Italy) until we meet the Green Trail.  We plan to complete as much of the Green Trail as we have time for (14 stages, mostly in Switzerland, ending in Liechtenstein). Highlights to look forward to: Col du Grand-Saint-Bernard (yes, this is the pass where St. Bernard dogs and their whiskey barrel collars were made famous); Tour de Mont Blanc (and Chamonix); Blümlisalphütte (highest point on Via Alpina in Switzerland); walking in the shadows of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau peaks and glaciers … and … great cheeses and wines and coffee and chocolate and bread. 

FYI, I’m now 2.5 years AFib-free and feeling younger than ever!  WAHOO!  Thank you Dr. Marrouche and the CARMA Center team! 

If you want a patient’s perspective about AFib, or want our logistics chart from 2011 (Stages R161  - R129, following the Blue Trail in the middle – distances in miles, elevations in feet, and places to stay), email me at
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