Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Travel Gear: The Carbon Footprint of Hiking Boots

I'll soon be crossing The Pond to hike in my beaten-up boots. At the end of the trip the boots might be good for a few more day hikes.

All this leaves me with The Big Question:
Should I bring the boots home to the USA at the end of my trip?

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

My Kagoshima: Kirishima Volcanic Group Practicalities

From Karakunidake.
From Takachihonomine Ridge.

There's nothing like a decent hike after a long series of flights.

previously posted how to get from Kagoshima Airport to a hotel on the edge of the Kirishima Volcanic Group of Kirishima-Kinkowan National Park. The hourly bus from the airport takes you to the Kirishima Iwasaki Hotel in 47 minutes. If you arrive in the morning, there's time for a hike in the afternoon.

This post gives specifics about where to stay, bus service to trailheads, and trails.

Friday, September 18, 2015

The End of a 500-Mile Walk

September 2010, I felt sad as Bamburgh Castle loomed in front of us. For three weeks my partner and I got up each morning, enjoyed a hearty breakfast, then walked. I wanted to walk forever, but this Northumberland castle on the North Sea marked the end of our walk.

We had started down the coast at Saltburn-by-the-Sea. We trekked half-way across England, then north up England's Pennine backbone before heading back to the sea. We connected several trails, including half of Wainwright's Coast-to-Coast, half of the Pennine Way, and sections of connecting trails including Cleveland Way and St. Oswald's Way.

330 miles, mostly glorious miles, sometimes tough-sledding miles. Usually just my partner and me, sometimes with my brother or friends.

I called the walk a "Walk around Newcastle" because it explores countryside around Newcastle upon Tyne where I grew up. I wanted to experience and share the heritage of this rugged northern land.

I vowed I would return to complete the loop around my home town by walking between Bamburgh and Saltburn.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Freakin' Cheap: Almost-Free Homemade Stock

Risottos, soups, and gravies taste best when they're made with homemade stock. I want to make these dishes quickly, but stock takes a long time to prepare. My solution is to make stock in bulk and freeze it.

My stock is basic, and varies from batch to batch depending on ingredients on hand. It provides a foundation of flavor and body.

I don't buy any of the ingredients specifically for stock, and I try to make the preparation as unfussy as possible.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Wabi-Sabi Lessons for Imperfect Journeys

"Wabi-sabi represents the exact opposite of the Western ideal of great beauty as something monumental, spectacular, and enduring. Wabi-sabi is not found in nature at moments of bloom and lushness, but at moments of inception or subsiding. Wabi-sabi is not about gorgeous flowers, majestic trees, or bold landscapes. Wabi-sabi is about the minor and the hidden, the tentative and the ephemeral: things so subtle and evanescent they are invisible to vulgar eyes." [Source]
I love to hike up Japan's mountains, but I will never climb Mount Fuji. I love the trails of New Zealand, but I'll never walk the Milford Trail.

I'm unimpressed by brochure-speak and heavily saturated travel photographs. I don't have a bucket list, I generally avoid over-loved A-list destinations.

I don't seek "the perfect trip."

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Freakin' Cheap: Eliminating Unwanted Phone Calls

A few years ago we reached a tipping point with unwanted phone calls.

When the phone rang, it was usually a call we did not want to take: fundraisers punishing us for our previous gifts, pollsters, sales people, scammers.

Then I came up with a solution that for a one-time cost of less than $25 has eliminated all unwanted calls. Over the past 5 years our phone has not rung several thousand times.