By Art “Karts” Huseonica
I receive a lot of feedback on the articles written about me in the Sun City Independent. Although I write articles about the Sun City PRIDES and the Sun City Hikers, most feedback is about those adventure articles.
Some people insist that I am narcissistic. That is, I have an unusual amount of interest and admiration in myself. I feel an obligation to share my adventures with everyone. Living vicariously through my adventures gives many readers a sense of being there themselves. This, they take great pleasure in. A narcissist? Yes, I am guilty. After all, if I can’t love myself, there is no way I can love others and appreciate what they have to offer.
Others are very critical of everything I do and say. I receive their lambasting via phone messages, emails and messages via my social media platforms. They question my sanity and talk about things I’ve done, which they never have experienced themselves. I suppose it gives them some sort of pleasure. I became immune to harsh criticism a long time ago through my leadership in community organizations, taking it all in stride.
Most feedback I receive centers around my risky behavior. I am questioned as to why at age 67 I insist on going on extreme adventures. Having recently completed a 800-mile/1,300-km hike across Arizona from Mexico to Utah, this gave them plenty of opportunity to comment.
They shared the many dangers with me, as if I didn’t already know. This includes illegal immigrants coming into Arizona from Mexico. Yes, I witnessed paid “runners” bringing illegals across the border and to transfer points along the Arizona Trail. They never bothered me and were, in fact, quite friendly and only curious about the route ahead.
I hiked on goat paths along the side of mountains where one slip meant death. A small stumble meant a big fall hundreds of feet onto boulders and cacti. Of course, I was on my toes the entire time.
Infrequent and sketchy water sources were my key to survival. A complex system of purification was necessary to help prevent a myriad of intestinal problems from taking me down. This included the dreaded giardia that took several hikers off the trail this year.
Of course, I had to constantly be on the lookout for venomous snakes that love to lay on the Arizona Trail soaking up the morning sun. Contrary to popular opinion, rattlesnakes only rattle about 50 percent of the time before they strike at you. I wear boots and long pants to reduce bite opportunities.
I spend a great deal of time managing my risks. What I do naturally carries inherent risks with it. Thinking about where I’m at and where I’m going and the associated risks all play into how I will manage each day. Yes, there are the unknowns, but I’m aware of the current risks and can deal with the unexpected. Mitigating risk is essential to my success.
Living a life without risk, for me, is not living. I will keep at it full-throttle until I can’t go any further. Please keep sending me your feedback.Visit www.arizonianexplorer.wordpress.com.
Editor’s Note: Mr. Huseonica, a Sun City resident, is active with the Sun City PRIDES and Sun City Hikers.