Yearly Archives: 2014

Hiking Mt. Mansfield

Vermont Public Radio Commentary

INTRO: For 25 years, commentator Rick Hubbard has spent most Tuesday mornings hiking Mt. Mansfield with a group of friends.


Shortly before 7am most Tuesday mornings, my life-partner Sally and I meet a small group of friends in the parking lot at the base of Stowe Mountain Resort.

We come to hike Mt. Mansfield, as many of us have been regularly doing for more than 25 years. Most Tuesdays, our goal is the top of the quad ski lift, high on the mountain.

Throughout the year we experience all kinds of weather, and dress accordingly. At various times in winter we climb with Micro-spikes, or snowshoes, or skis with climbing skins. But on warm and sunny days in the late summer or fall, we climb in trail shoes or hiking boots.

Often we head diagonally up along the Crossover trail at a conversational pace, passing several of Stowe’s famous downhill runs. But when we get to the North Slope trail, conversation stops and it gets more serious. Each of us then heads uphill as rapidly as we can, and slowly we drift further apart according to our various abilities.

At the top, we regroup, snap a picture, and head down together, when it’s time for conversation again.

I’m 72 now and most of us are in our 60’s or 70’s. We’re all clearly in, or approaching, what we might call “use it or lose it territory” and I’m sure we all share the same preference to keep our fitness up as long as we can. Continue reading

Independence Day – How Are We Doing

Vermont Public Radio Commentary

INTRO: As our Independence Day holiday approaches, commentator Rick Hubbard suggests we ask ourselves an important question related to the founding of our country, and then think about its implications.

As we the people gather together in remembrance this Fourth of July, it’s a good time to ask ourselves this simple question: How well are my individual interests, and our collective interests, being represented today by our Washington politicians?

It’s an important question, because the issue of improper representation is the main reason we declared our independence from Great Britain in 1776, fought a war, and founded our country. The original settlers of America had come to feel that, in levying taxes on the colonists, King George the 3rd was representing his own interests, and those of his wealthy trading company backers, without properly considering the interests of American colonists.

So when our founders gathered in Philadelphia in 1787 to draft our original Constitution, they were very sensitive to this issue of improper representation.

During their debate, this question emerged. What if we set up a new form of government and, at some future time, a majority of the people feel it’s happening again, and Congress won’t fix it?

Many now argue that time has arrived.

There’s ample documentation that outcomes of legislation, regulations, and policy are often tipped in favor of the interests of wealthy contributors. The minority party in Congress often engages in tactics that promote gridlock in order to hopefully become the majority party, rather than to actually resolve issues important to American citizens. Continue reading