Monday, December 29, 2014

Urban Hike: Disputed Tracks

I sometimes wake in the night and listen for a distant train, a steady rumble as locomotives pull a mile of freight cars. Oil from North Dakota, coal from Wyoming or Montana, grain from Minnesota or North Dakota.

I'm standing next to the railroad. The first snow of winter has melted, fresh snow is falling. It's time to follow these tracks before they becomes impassable on foot. The hike will take me on track where deep snow can hide ankle-twisting cavities, control equipment, and levers.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

My Worst Travel Fail

I have rarely felt more alive, more calm, more in the moment, more close to death. But that all came later that night.

It was October 2011, northern India, Haridwar, one of Hinduism's holiest places. The city is set in the foothills of the Himalayas at mile 157 (253 km) of the Ganges' 1,569 mile (2,525 km) journey to the Bay of Bengal.

I was traveling alone, doing what my partner, Dwight, would call a route march. I loved Haridwar. It was a manageable size, the walking was good, the oppressive heat of summer was long gone, street vendors and beggars generally ignored me.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Changes of Gauge

Delta flight 160, Denver to Amsterdam, landed today (December 1, 2014) in Amsterdam with no Denver passengers on board. This is not uncommon: it also happened with DL160 on November 13.

The explanation starts with a "change of gauge," a term rooted in railroads.