Trekking in the Indian Trans-Himalaya. Chris Willett’s journals from a July-August trip to Ladakh and Zanskar, India. I still agree with my claim that he has pretty much the best hiking journal on the internet when you consider the double-whammy of writing and photography. Usually pretty unvarnished. Sometimes travel is damn hard.

It was here that Tibetans fled when the Chinese liberated their country, and it was here that I was told Tibetan culture was still intact. Desert peaks leading to handing glaciers soared above irrigated valleys, with monasteries carved into the sides of mountains and an outdoor paradise, this was the objective for the summer. But as always seems to happen, my time was more an experience within myself, an experience that helped to bring clarity to my own life at a time of transition. I will not be back.

This past weekend I did the 40-mile hike I’d been pondering for a while. It was hard. It was worth it. I will do it again. I hadn’t done proper hiking since early January, so I was feeling a bit like Dickens:

Restlessness, you will say. Whatever it is, it is always driving me, and I cannot help it. I have rested nine or ten weeks, and sometimes feel as if it had been a year—though I had the strangest nervous miseries before I stopped. If I couldn’t walk fast and far I should just explode and perish.

Looks like a couple people already wrote the book I was thinking about creating: Appalachian Pages, a thru-hikers’ guide for the Appalachian Trail. The real winning idea here, the one that I wanted to see, was having the elevation profile watermarked on each page so you can sneak a peek at the day’s challenges in a glance:

sample page from Appalachian Pages

Thank God they saved me the work. It looks great. If I ever end up on the AT again, I wouldn’t be surprised if I carried this book instead of the classic AT Data Book.

Blackberries

blackberries
I spent Saturday night in the woods. On Sunday morning I walked back through a nice stretch of trail with blackberries growing along the sides, just turning ripe. Hiking pace went from 4mph to 0mph. I ate pretty much anything I could reach without having to go into the brambles.

The LA Times has a nice profile of Billy Goat, a hiker who has finished off 32,000+ miles of hiking, including the Appalachian Trail, Continental Divide Trail, and where he’s best known, the Pacific Crest Trail. I’m thinking about heading for the PCT next summer, so I found this bit pretty interesting: “Each year about 300 people attempt to hike the PCT in one season, generally April to September. Of those, about 60% make it — fewer people than scale Mt. Everest in a year.”