WordPress just notified me that we started this blog 1 year ago today.
Ranger and I casually approached the young lady at the desk. Our intentions were to acquire maps that could aid in our quest of finding every “no exit” road in the County. By the time we left we were both exhausted and exhilarated. Meeka, the inspirational spitfire we’ve come to know and adore, had pushed me beyond my comfort zone. I had jokingly suggested I’d start a weblog about Ranger and I, and all the unknown trails we’d discovered on no exit roads. I even suggested a silly name for it : 2 Old Guys Walking. Meeka laughed and jumped on the idea, immediately volunteering to help in any way she could.
I suddenly felt a twinge of panic. She was so excited and driven that I felt embarrassed by not being equally excited. I began making excuses for myself. I retired to get away from this commitment pressure, I told myself. I don’t know how to start a weblog. I can’t afford a weblog. I don’t even know how to pay for one. Besides, don’t be silly, I’m too old to start this kind of foolishness.
However, I’d promised to provide Meeka with maps of our no exit trails (which I still haven’t done, come to think of it), and I had to do something before I saw her again. So, I sat down in front of the old QuadCore, and started exploring. Turns out, I was blogging within an hour. And it was free. And anybody can do it, regardless of age or anything else. Oh yeah ! This held promise, and just might be an awful lot of fun too.
As I worked with it, I began to recognize the formats, and then realized that a lot of the Internet websites I visited, were personal weblogs. There are a lot of weblog providers out there, but I found our sponsor, WordPress, the easiest to work with. Of course, for less than $10/year we could change our Internet address from “2oldguyswalking.wordpress.com” to “2oldguys walking.com”. But why bother ? Our blog is now big enough that Google will “autosuggest” it by the time you punch in “2oldguyswalk“.
WordPress told me that all weblogs evolve as they age, and they were absolutely correct. I’ve re-written the “About” page three times since its creation a mere year ago. The original intention of this blog was to provide a site where local hikers could get maps of unmarked trails beyond the backroads of Northumberland County. That was it, along with a review or two on some of the trails from Ranger’s and my perspectives. That was near 100 postings ago, and only nine trail reviews are listed as of yet. Instead, we’ve shared some of the most private moments, memories, and events in our lives with you.
Owning/operating a weblog makes certain demands upon ones time. Just last week Ranger told me that he hadn’t just sat and read, anything, since the blog come into being. “Every time I sit down to read something, I think I should be writing something, not reading” he said. So I shared my philosophy that “There is a time to read and learn, and there is a time to write and teach. Our time to write and teach, is now”.
Owning/operating a weblog also gives one a sense of accomplishment and worth. The .jpg below is a partial screen capture of our stats page. The dark blue bars are the number of visitors, and the pale blue bars are the number of posts they read (on a monthly basis just so’s you can see the entire year).
The rest of the page lists 82 posts to date, and a total usage of 23 % of our allotted web-space. The “best ever” means our highest number of “hits” / day. I hit this page at least twice a day for the daily update. This is all the data we can see. We have no idea who is reading us unless you choose to “follow” the blog, or send us a comment. All we know is which post you read, what words you used to find us, and which country you accessed us from. That’s it.
Mind you, we’ve had some odd “hits” which begged further investigation. I remember one from South Africa who’d hit on a posting titled “High on the Hogsback – 20 Years On”. It was a reminiscent visit to a trail and river Ranger and I hadn’t seen in 20 years. Exactly why someone from South Africa would give a damn about such a posting intrigued me. I looked up what words the searcher used to find us. Then I did a Google search on “Hogsback” and “South Africa” and came up with a dozen sites concerning a nudist beach called Hogsback in South Africa. I then got a mental image of some sweaty palmed horny South African high school boy looking to see if any of his school teachers were at that beach. Imagine his shock and surprise when he began reading about two old farts reminiscing over a canoe trip, when he was hoping to see …
Another interesting observation is when most of you access the site. For the most part, the week-ends are dead. Just about everyone hits it on weekdays. Maybe you’re busy having fun on week-ends, and use our blog as a break or distraction from your busy workdays. If so, we’re glad we can help alleviate some stress for you.
On the subject of accessing. If any of you are unfamiliar with weblog dynamics (as I was myself a year ago – and continue to learn today), I’ll take a paragraph or two here and explain how it works. If you look in the top left-hand of any page, you’ll see a button named “follow”. If you click on this, you can instruct Worpress to send an e-mail telling you when a new write up has been posted, or just have WordPress e-mail it to you so you don’t even have to visit the site.
Comments are the only form of communication we have with you. Admittedly, just like “following”, your e-mail address is revealed to us, but only to us. That’s so we can thank you for doing so personally if we wish, though we prefer to respond as a reply on the site anyway. Commenting can be a fun way for us to chat, and learn more about what you’re interested in reading.
Though this blog is a great way for us to remember things in the years to come, we’re also writing it for you to enjoy. My LilSis and her words of encouragement to Ranger, Meeka telling us about her “weird stuff” shelf, Johnny vouching for my stories of the wee beasties, Bruno sharing his adventures with bald eagles out west, and Dan and Scott sharing memories of Camborne’s ski hill. Your comments enlighten us, encourage us, give us direction, and we’re grateful for every one you send.
Heay !! Look at me ! That’s 12 solid paragraphs and I haven’t once wandered off on a senseless tangent, nor made up some dumb-ass, childish story to recount. However, now that I’ve noticed that, I’d probably do well to just finish this up and go to bed before I start something.
In closing, I’ll reiterate my thanks to all our readers, and I’ll offer up my heartiest congratulations to my old friend Ranger. May we live long and spout foolishness for many decades to come.