Monday, September 9, 2013

Natural Healing

I walked into Crawford, NE, after some tough and very hot days on leaving the Mickelson Trail and the Black Hills of SD.

I remember hearing a dog bark near some new structures next to Highway 71 a mile north of Crawford as I passed by. There must have been a human presence around the dog's bark, but not words. So I just waved as I walked on to town.

I had been low on water, dry in the mouth and ready for a meal. A driver who stopped earlier on the road recommended the Frontier Bar. So I went there for breakfast.

I downed three icy tumblers of wonderful cold water before I even ordered a meal. I visited just a bit with the waitress Sarah who is getting married in October. I walked out the door a bit refreshed and returned to my rig. A man pulled up in his green pickup, moved across the street, and said, "You walked by my house just an hour ago. What are up to?"

John Dinsley and I were soon comparing notes about our interests in walking and healing. John had walked and hitchhiked many parts of the world in his early years. In recent times, John and wife Kimberly have developed a substantial business on the edge of Crawford NE based on a simple remedy which has many, many uses. The remedy is (activated) charcoal and their business is detailed at The commercial enterprise developed and rapidly expanded after John published his book called The Complete Handbook of Medicinal Charcoal and Its Applications in 2005.

John and I had crossed paths 35 years ago but not met in 1978-79. We had both spent a year in western Georgia - eastern Alabama and gotten to know Drs. Agatha and Calvin Thrash at the Uchee Pines Institute, Seale AL. John studied their natural healing methods intensively at the Institute. I visited Uchee Pines a number of times and several more at the associated health foods store and restaurant in Phenix Ciy, AL.

John Dinsley

So, we had lots to talk about. Walking and healing being recurring themes. Saturday brought an invitation to spend a morning studying at the Dinsleys home followed by vegetarian lunch plus peaches and ice cream. Then, I got a tour of the Charcoal Remedies facility next door to the Dinsley home.

Soon after, we drove several miles into the Nebraska Hills to the Ministry of Health center run by Jim and Cindy Hornung. The Ministry of Health uses herbs, juices, vitamins, hydrotherapy, massage, steam baths, organic vegetarian diet along with Biblical lifestyle to promote natural healing. In the beautiful, restful, yet simple setting, the Hornungs have helped many people at modest cost to recover their health and even heal "incurable and terminal illnesses."

John and Kim and I stayed for three hours or so. The men debated Evolution and Creationism. I'm not sure what the women spent their time on. Before the evening was over, the Hornungs shared a tasty repast of fruit smoothies, whole grain bread, and popcorn after a heartfelt blessing.

To me, the best part of the whole day was seeing a Community developing and maturing. Not just a forced one or one composed of people who share the space out of necessity. But people working, sharing, cooperating together out of choice.

I am reminded of the quote (approximate) of psychiatrist Scott Peck: "The pathway to real healing in the modern era is through community."

It seems to me Community put Amity and Unity together. May we all find ways promote all of the above.

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The Best to you from the Sandhills of Western Nebraska,


I've Been Walking on the Railroad

My brother Tom lives in Deadwood, SD, for the last six years. He has been telling for a long time about the Mickelson Trail which starts just a couple blocks from his house and ends in Edgemont - 109 miles to the south. Tom and wife Janet and daughter Megan are among many who take to walking or cycling on the trail from their homes in one of several towns along its route.

Well, the trail sounded like a fine thing. But, Seeing is Believing and Experience is the Best Teacher.

When I stayed at my brother's house for two weeks plus, I got to put my feet on that path once or twice daily. I joined my brother's family several times. On practically every excursion, Molly the Dachshund came along. We became good buddies.

Molly can be mouthy and excitable when first encountered. And her different-colored eyes can also be somewhat intimidating. But, she is a lover at heart. I wished I could have brought her on the trip. My brother said that I am in line to inherit Molly if anything should happen to her present masters.

When the time came to depart Deadwood for southern lands, it was a relatively easy choice to take the Mickelson Trail which was built between 1991 to 1998 on the old Chicago, Burlington and Quincy RR bed from Edgemont to Deadwood. These are some of the high points of the Trail and of my 3 1/2 trip on all but the last 16 miles:

A bit of a miracle in 19th century construction - The trail is spotted with dozens of signs with stories from the old railroad's history. It is both fascinating and impressive to learn that the 109-mile line was built to include 100 trestles and 4 tunnels in 255 days in 1890-1891. That was a time when manual labor, primitive machinery, and dynamite were the only forces available to get the job done. (The Burlington Northern Railroad ceased running the line in 1983 and eventually donated the land to what eventually was called the Mickelson Trail.)

Chipmunks and chokecherries - The little critters were the most frequent animal company on the trail. And chokecherry bushes line the trail by the thousands. My mother would have gotten her fill of chokecherry picking if ever she had visited the area.

Grand and constantly changing scenery - I'm sure that bicyclers enjoy their tours on the Trail. But like my other travels, walking the Trail gave the slow and steady opportunity to appreciate the terrain, the trees, and the rolling trail itself.

Fifteen trailheads are interspersed along the route - Some spots are plain and with modest facilities. Others are more developed. I stopped for the night at two trailheads. I didn't camp. I just unrolled my pad and laid out my sleeping bag at Mystic and Lien Quarry. The latter night seemed almost magical as I looked out across the Black Hills forest under the starry sky. Mystic had its own moments as its name might suggest. Both were isolated and away from traffic.

On the second night, I just rolled my buggy off the Trail and parked myself under some pine trees a mile south of the Crazy Horse Memorial intersection and a bit short of the next trailhead. That kept me some distance away from the highway.

Between trailheads, benches appear every few miles - That came in handy for a walker like me. I find that I can sit for just a few minutes and be rejuvenated. If I lay down, it is harder to get going again.

The Mickelson Trail is extraordinarily well maintained. The paths are gravelled and graded and almost spotless of litter. Users appear to really "pack it in and pack it out."

My only quibbles include too much barbed wire. But, that is practically the case on every stretch of road I travel. My other strange complaint is "too many trees." I am a flatlander and like to see the prairie stand out before my eyes. So, I was relieved when the forests broke for the plains after Crazy Horse and later on. Picky, picky, picky.

I also think that the Trail should open up ways to accommodate Walkers like myself who might wish take the whole shebang on and sleep out under the stars along the way.

I had the good fortune to meet the Manager of the Mickelson Trail just after I finished my trek to Minnekahta Junction - instead of Edgeont. I took a rest in the early afternoon and walked on to Hot Springs later.

Dana Garry, the Manager, was making her weekly check on the trailheads and picking up registration packets. We visited for some time. Comparing notes, we found that Mitchell, SD, had been important in both our lives.

I shared a copy of my Montana book with her and she left me with a cold peach for my lunch.

I recommend others to Take a Walk on the Railroad - the old Chicago, Burlington and Qunicy which is now the Mickelson Trail. Great scenery, lots of history, good exercise, plenty of greenery, fresh, fresh air, etc.

For more info, go to or just do a google.

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Article in the Forsyth Independent Press - August 8 - by Chaun Scott

"Dr. Bob" walks to spread the word of Amity:  
Vietnam Veteran takes his third journey cross country 
with a message of love and community

Forsyth - With the rest of the world racing for the finish line in a blur that runs from one day to the next, one Harlowtown man has decided to take an 1,800 mile walk to Arizona in order to share friendship with those he meets along the way. Physician and Vietnam Veteran, Dr. Robert McNary (Dr. Bob) has set out on a summer journey to talk about "Amity," a word, according to Dr. Bob, not many understand in today's culture. So, on June 30, with his companion Fannie, a red, white and blue flag fashioned with a heart and one star, and a push cart, he began an 1,800 mile trek south to Arizona to spread the word.

"How long should we wait for things to change?" Dr. Bob asked. "Who do we think will make things right, better, wonderful? Must we wait for government or God to act? I'm walking to bring awareness that we need to care for each other, our family, neighbors and fellow citizens. We all belong to the human race."

When we caught up to Dr. Bob in Forsyth, he had already traveled from his hometown of Harlowtown, walked along Montana Highway 12 passing through Melstone, Ingomar and 
miles of country until he arrived in Forsyth where he decided to a nap under a shade tree. After spending a few hours in Forsyth, Dr. Bob packed up his bed-roll and head south towards Colstrip to continue his walk. His plan is to walk to South Dakota to visit his brother and then journey to Arizona where he plans to arrive in the fall.

The journey is nothing new for Dr. Bob; 11 years ago, he set out on a trip that took him from Lavina to New York City. The 2,100 mile trip took five months and four pairs of boots. He wore out the soles of his shoes but not his determination to complete the journey to the feet of Lady Liberty. 

The focus of his first adventure was to share his inspired version of the American Flag and encourage love and good will to those he met. And then last year, he set out on a 900-mile walk from Harlowtown to Reno, Nevada. The trip took him approximately 40 days to complete.

Dr. Bob hopes the symbol that Fannie represents will bring the message of love and goodwill as it waves. He believes that in order to heal, the nation must overcome divisions and love our neighbors and our adversaries, and extend America's goodness and wealth to everyone. "It's time we take care of our neighbors and quit relying so much on the government," said Dr. Bob. "Let's all pitch in again and again. We are never too old or weak to do a good deed and make a difference. Let our little lights shine."

If you see Dr. Bob while you are driving down the highway, stop and say hello. A friendly smile and good conversation is the first step to making a change. "A bottle of cold water is good, too." 

Dr. Bob is the author of Montana Made Me Do It and People Medicine.