Trespassing Across America – by Ken Ilgunas

An excellent book. Even if you have no interest in hiking or pipelines. 😀

In fact, you won’t learn much about hiking. A thru hiker would not be impressed. Ken’s gear was too heavy. And he hiked the wrong months of the year.

Ken Ilgunas has a Masters in English from Duke. He’s a terrific writer.

This book has given me the best insight into how poor North American rural people think. An insight into why they vote for political Parties that make the rich richer, the poor poorer. Worse education and health care.

Children and grandchildren leave for big cities. Life is tough for those remaining.

Ken mostly sought out small town religious leaders, asking them for advice on where he could tent safely. He was astonished by the generosity of those spiritual leaders.


Ken worked as a backcountry ranger in Alaska. And was forced to take a job as dishwasher in a high Arctic oil camp.

Jobs there were high pay — very low quality of life.

Those arguing for the Petrotoxin industries usually shout JOBS, JOBS, JOBS. Ken came away thinking these were actually lousy jobs. High rates of alcoholism and drug abuse.

In September 2012, I stuck out my thumb in Denver, Colorado, and hitchhiked 1,500 miles north to the Alberta tar sands. After being duly appalled, I commenced my 1,700-mile hike south following the route of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, from Alberta to the Texas Gulf Coast. It would become a 4.5 month journey across the Great Plains. To follow the pipe, I couldn’t take roads. I’d have to walk across fields, grasslands, and private property. I’d have to trespass across America.

The book is about my journey–fleeing from cows, taking cover from gunfire, and keeping warm on a very wintry and questionably-timed hike. But it’s also about coming to terms with climate change and figuring out what our role as individuals should be in confronting something so big and so out of our hands. It’s about taking a few months of your life to look at your country from a new perspective. Ultimately, it’s about embracing the belief that a life lived not half wild is a life only half lived.

kenilgunas.com

Most of the folks he met were supportive of Keystone XL Phase IV — but over the months Ken didn’t come away with even one good argument in support of the project.

Few jobs. Short term jobs. MOST of the money kept by the corporation, not those people who had dirty oil flowing over their property.

Most of the dirty Canadian oil is shipped overseas.

There are plenty of pipelines in North America. If you must ship Petrotoxins, pipelines are likely the least terrible way.

But Keystone XL became symbolic of the debate over how to slow or reverse climate change.

On January 20, 2021, Biden revoked the permit for the pipeline on his first day in office. It may never be completed.

Surviving Vancouver Island Wilderness – ALONE TV

Alone (TV series) … follows the self-documented daily struggles of 10 individuals (seven paired teams in season 4) as they survive alone in the wilderness for as long as possible using a limited amount of survival equipment. …

They may “tap out” at any time, or be removed due to failing a medical check-in. The contestant who remains the longest wins a grand prize of $500,000. …

Seasons 1, 2 and 4 were shot on Vancouver Island.

The first season premiered 2015.

They were dropped on Quatsino Sound in Northern Vancouver Island, Canada, only accessible by boat or float plane.

As I hike and cycle a lot on the Island, I was keen to see how mere mortals could live off the land in a remote rain forest.

Starting a fire was the first big challenge. EVERYTHING is wet all the time.

Food was the long term challenge.

Lucas was by far the most skilled in season 1. He built a boat, yurt and even a musical instrument.

But Lucas didn’t take home the $500K first prize. That went to the contestant that was psychologically strongest. I do believe he could have lasted weeks longer — though he lost over 60 pounds.


The 10 people selected for season 2 were better prepared. The challenge was the same — remote, wet Vancouver Island. Though the weather was better.

The final four all found ways to last a long time. But as winter approached, the food supply dwindled.

Nicole was one of my favourites. Marine biologist. Expert in intertidal zone ecosystem. Knows what plants to eat. What plants not to eat.

She had the luxury of letting a big salmon go free one day. Wow.

I was cheering Jose, as well, a Spaniard who had adopted the ways of the North American indigenous peoples. His kayak is amazing.

In the end, missing loved ones at home was the final reason to tap out.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.


Season 4 had seven teams of family members competing against one another.

Same geographical location.

Personally, I found the pairs stories less interesting. Did not finish the season.

documentary – Surviving the Outback

Michael Atkinson places himself in the historic predicament of two stranded German aviators in 1932 to see if the his skills as a survival instructor, pilot and adventurer will allow him to escape to the nearest civilization.

It is a gripping film.

I learned a lot about surviving in the harsh Australian coastal wilderness.

The most remarkable feature of this documentary is its mode of filming. It is not performed by any film crew that follows his journey. It is single-handedly managed by Mike through drones and cameras so it preserves the natural element. The breathtaking pictures of the ocean, varied shades of the waters, flora and fauna of marine sea and the natural cliffs along the coast paint an excellent landscape for the viewers. It manages to take one to an unexplored world …

 Watch the hour long documentary FREE on TubiTV.

Kilimanjaro Uncovered by Alexandra Tanbai

I read this book in preparation for our own Kilimanjaro climb scheduled for September 2020.

Alexandra penned Kilimanjaro Uncovered in real time while preparing and during her climb on the Northern Circuit, a little-known hiking route away from the crowds to the top of Kilimanjaro.

She provides valuable guidance for those interested in climbing themselves and tells a broader story of a truly life-changing experience.

Alex is a rookie mountain climber. She over-prepares. Is cautious and thoughtful about every aspect.

The book is very informative for anyone who has never done a serious multi-night tent trip.

I admire her courage in planning that big adventure on her own. I admire her  honesty and vulnerability sharing fears and problems on the trek, big and small.

Alexandra Tanbai made the summit. In fact everyone in her guided party made the top though one had a serious ankle injury. No helicopter was available for evacuation.

Less than a year after publishing Kilimanjaro Uncovered, Alexandra founded KiliGATE.com—the first and only online Kilimanjaro tour booking platform committed to responsible tourism.

Her goal—make it easy for tourists to book their climb with a responsible tour operator and promote fair porter treatment.

I do feel this book is too long.

It’s available in paperback and Kindle formats.

 

hiking the Tombstone Range, Yukon

by BestHike editor Rick McCharles

Dustin Walker put together a list of less well known trails on his site Slick and Twisted Trails:

10 Hidden Hiking Gems: Outdoor Writers Share Their Fave Little-Known Backpacking Routes

 

Dustin picked Keeha Beach/Cape Beale Trail, B.C. — a wild challenge.

I shared my trip report from our very memorable 2007 adventure. This incredible in the north had only been designated a Provincial Park in 2004.

There are a number of ways to hike Tombstone. The best is to chopper in, hike out. At $20 / minute, we each paid over $200 for the one way flight.

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This was a bit of a hiking honeymoon for Dana and Bill who had been married just a few weeks earlier.

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 Divide Lake campground

Grizzly Lake campground is just as lovely as Talus and Divide.

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View over 125 photos from this trip on flickr.

Tombstone Park – Yukon government

Read my trip report

The Adventure Blog has moved

Our favourite site covering adventure worldwide — including hiking — has moved to a new URL:

AdventureBlog.net

The new theme looks great too. Follow them on the site, Facebook or Twitter.

related – The Adventure Podcast

Skurka is writing a book on the new Yosemite High Route

He hopes to publish February 2019 to get the information out for next season.

As Skurka has envisioned it, the YHR forms a figure-eight from Dorothy Lake Pass in the north, pinching in the middle at Tuolomne Meadows, and extending as far south as the area surrounding Rodgers Peak, not far from Mt. Lyell. …

What are your favorite sections?

The “good stuff” on the Yosemite High Route runs south from Grace Meadow in upper Falls Creek and ends at Quartzite Peak at the northern end of the Clark Range. All the miles between these two points are world-class. You can’t go wrong. …

Adventure Journal 

andrewskurka.com – Trip Report: Scouting the Yosemite High Route

unreal Tasmanian Winter Traverse

One of the toughest journeys on foot … ever.

Louis-Phillipe Loncke …. This was an epic journey that left him exhausted, pushed to his limits, and 15 kg (33 pounds) lighter than when he set off.

The video below is from a new report aired in Australia that caught up with the Belgian adventurer just as he was crossing the finish line, providing some insights into what this journey was like. …

Adventure Blog

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

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