Appalachian Trail Dispatch: Spring!

first_img Editor’s Note: Blue Ridge Outdoors contributor Chris Gallaway is currently thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. He will be periodically checking in with BRO and sharing the story of his hike. This is his fifth dispatch from the A.T. Read his other dispatches from the trail: A Cold Start, Trail Magic, Difficult Winter, and Monuments.As is surely evident from previous posts, we’ve had our share of winter weather on the A.T. this year. Even after I took a two-week layover in my hometown of Asheville this March, I returned to my hike and was greeted immediately by a heavy snowstorm. One long morning climbing up to Sam’s Gap I cussed my way through a bitter wind whipping icy snow in my face and cutting through my layers. It’s times like that when you feel an illogical anger towards the Trail and the weather: you want someone to blame for how hard it feels.Fortunately, I’ve had several friends here in the Southeast who joined me on my hike and keep me company through the harder sections. My bud Josh came out to hike an 18-mile day with me that turned into a 24-mile day when we arrived at the shelter and found it full (and us without tents!). I hobbled into the Holiday Inn Express that night barely able to walk. My friend Brandon came out for what was supposed to be a mild, two-day hike into the Roan Highlands. We found the trail on Roan High Knob had become a treacherous ice chute where you could barely keep your footing. We slid our way up and down the mountain, and we spent a cold night packed into the highest shelter on the AT with numerous other thru-hikers, thankful for its four walls and door. And of course, Sunshine has been a constant companion and support, meeting me on the trail whenever she has a few days off work.Sometimes it seems like my most relentless companion has been Old Man Winter. My trail name “Frost” became a running joke with other thru-hikers—perhaps I invited this fate on us! One day it all changed at once, though, as I hiked with my trail friends Ember, Passover and Lucky. We awoke at a hostel to snow on the ground and ice sheathing the trees, and we walked through a chilly, wet morning that gradually warmed. When the air temperature hit the right point, the ice began calving off the trees and piling up on the ground, reminding me of the Robert Frost line “Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away, you’d think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.” By the afternoon we were walking under blue skies and stripping down to t-shirts. We’ve had warm weather for the most part ever since then, and I found myself a bit caught out with the wrong gear, all of a sudden regretting my insulated boots and zero-degree down sleeping bag.But I have been oh-so-thankful for the spring weather and the fine breeze that often spells the warm days. As Sunshine once described to me, we find ourselves dropping in and out of Spring as we hike the Trail. Up on the ridge it’s still bare winter woods, but every time we come down to a low gap or into town we see more buds on the trees and flowers pushing out of the ground. It all feels like such a gift: even my farmer’s tan is a mark of pride. last_img read more

Fintechs should sell financial health, not financial services

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr In the UK, last year’s report on “Consumer Priorities for Open Banking” by Faith Reynolds and Mark Chidley (which is, by the way, an excellent piece of work and well worth reading) set out just why it is that open banking by itself delivers quite limited benefits for consumers. They point towards a future of open finance (and, indeed, open everything else as well) and talk about an industry that uses the new technologies of artificial intelligence, APIs, digital identity and so on to take a more complete view of a customer’s situation and provide services that increase the overall financial health of that customer. I thought this was a very interesting way of creating a narrative for the next-generation of fintech and techfin propositions.Fintechs should stop providing financial services and start providing financial health. This may seem to be just another buzzword for embedded finance strategists, but I think it is more than that. It’s a way of thinking about the next generation financial sector. continue reading »last_img read more

Claisse planning BHA discussion following light issue | Racing News

first_imgOfficials at Cheltenham will consult with the British Horseracing Authority to see if anything can be done to prevent a repeat of the light issues that affected the final race on Saturday’s card.The closing mares’ bumper was staged in murky conditions and following a thrilling finish, a dead heat was called between Harry Fry’s Ishkhara Lady and the Dan Skelton-trained Elle Est Belle.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – However, the dwindling light at the course made the official photo hard to read, prompting some outcry about the result on social media, and clerk of the course Simon Claisse is keen to avoid a repeat of the situation if possible.“The judge can only do so much in those conditions,” he said.“We’ll be looking to see if there’s anything we can do to help minimise the risk to stop these things happening.- Advertisement – He told Racing TV: “There are all sorts of factors to bear in mind and betting turnover increases throughout the afternoon. It’s not as simple as saying ‘why don’t you start earlier’.“We’ll take a look at it with the British Horseracing Authority in the weeks to come. If there’s anything we can do to reduce the risk of these things happening, we’ll certainly look at it.“The race times are set by the BHA, in conjunction with the racecourses, but if we started earlier, someone else would be going later, so you may end up just pushing the issue from one racecourse to another.” “Our race schedule is really based around ITV and we’re very lucky to have them here – it’s not the simple matter of starting earlier and getting the racing under way and finished before sunset.“At the minute the rules say 15 minutes before sundown, which was 4.18pm yesterday, so we were in plenty of time. It was just one of those unfortunate sets of circumstances when it turned very dark because of the heavy rain.”Claisse said there are a number of issues preventing them from just starting at an earlier time.- Advertisement –last_img read more

Govt should demit office and set date for elections

first_imgDear Editor,The APNU/AFC coalition should demit office and the President should set a date for elections within the stipulated time frame before March 21. It is the honourable and right thing to do.When the coalition APNU/AFC Government lost the no-confidence motion on December 21, there was a lot of sympathy for it. People everywhere praised the Government when their spokespersons (the Prime Minister, President and others) announced they would respect the outcome of the no-confidence vote and invoke the steps outlined in the Constitution that speaks to such a defeat – their words suggested that democracy came before politics. The Government had not lost much of its traditional support at that time, and there were even some (sitting on the fences) who may have been thinking of giving it another chance. At the time, with their words that democracy was at work, people saw the Government as respecting the Constitution and subscribing to democratic credentials.But then there was a change of tone from the Government side; the political beast in it stepped in. The Government announced it would not accept the outcome of the no-confidence vote, presenting a set of ridiculous, bare-faced nonsensical, idiotic arguments (of a half man, no-confidence vote illegal, dual citizenship, etc) – all acts undertaken by the Government show it is clutching at straws to hold on to power at any cost. At a minimum, people see these arguments as trending towards dictatorial behaviour or anathema to democratic norms. More and more, this Government is losing sympathy over its hilarious claims. It is best if the Government spokespersons just shut up, resign, and hold elections. It still has a chance of doing very well.The coalition is not going to win any of its arguments to stay in office. The Speaker of the House ruled against it. The Chief Justice landed another telling blow on Thursday – with three different rulings against the Government. The Chief Justice or any further court could not rule any other way – the Constitution is clear – when the Government loses a no-confidence vote, it must resign (President and Cabinet) and be a caretaker Government until elections which must be held within 90 days. The Court of Appeal and the CCJ will not render a much different verdict – as the Constitution is very straightforward on the absurd claims made by the Government.Some forty-five days have passed since the no-confidence vote. The Government has less than forty-five days within which GECOM must hold elections. The Government should resign now and set a date for elections to show the world it subscribes to democratic parliamentary principles.Yours truly,Vishnu Bisramlast_img read more