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Date Sent:      August 12, 2009
Subject:           Protect Thy Self
From:               John Bondon
When I was younger my parents used to lecture me about putting on sunscreen before venturing out into the sun. Now that I am married, my wife gets mad at me if I hike without sun protection. Last weekend I paid the price and learned that my skin is not as forgiving as when I was younger. I got badly burned after forgetting to put sunscreen on my legs as well as failing to wear a hat.

I am not alone. Too many of us take the sun's powerful and damaging rays for granted. When I speak of taking responsibility for your own personal safety while hiking, using sun protection should definately be considered part of that list. Whether your method of choice is sun screen, full clothing, a hat, or a combination of each of these methods, you should definately do something to protect yourself and your family.

I am sorry to report that Andrew has learned this the hard way as well and he is willing to share his personal story as a wakeup call to the rest of us to take action NOW, and protect ourselves and our families from similar un-neccessary suffering. Andrew will have surgery later this month to remove a basal cell carcinoma and a squamous cell carcinoma. In plain english that means too much sun. The surgery will sideline him from hiking for at least a couple of weeks. In his own words,
    We are all responsible for our own personal safety. That includes protecting ourselves from the damaging effects of the sun. I was too casual about this. I often did not wear a hat, although I did use sunscreen. I now have two cancerous growths on my skin that will be removed surgically. Please learn from my experience. Reasonable precautions probably would have prevented it.

A hike this Sunday is planned but not yet posted so please check the website later in the week for that. The upcoming hikes currently posted on the website include:

Howard says of the upcoming Snyder Ln/Shell Ridge Loop hike on Thursday, August 13 at 9:30 AM: "Let's return to Borges Ranch. A moderate, approx 5-mile loop hike with a midway short rest and snack stop at Borges Ranch. Dogs are welcome, off-leash is OK on trails.".

Andrew says of the upcoming Lime Ridge (Arbolado Park) hike on Saturday, August 15 at 9:30 AM: "Watch out for the errant golf balls as we pass Boundary Oak. Some of these golfers are terrible. This is a saturday hike.".

You'll find more details about each of these upcoming hikes, including starting time and directions to the trailhead, posted on the East Bay Casual Hiking website. In the event of rain, please check with the hike leader as to whether the hike will proceed as planned.

Happy Trails! :)

Happy Trails,

John




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