walking the Keystone XL pipeline route

When writer Ken Ilgunas set out to walk the 1,700-mile proposed route of the Keystone XL pipeline and talk to the people he met there, he expected challenging debates about climate change, energy security and national sovereignty. In researching his new book, “Trespassing Across America: One Man’s Epic, Never-Done-Before (and Sort of Illegal) Hike Across the Heartland,” he expected to experience the wisdom of the people and decipher the pipe’s symbolic meaning. He expected enlightenment.

Instead, he found a country we wish were just a caricature: an America that does not actually value debate, or enlightenment, or wisdom at all. …

LA Times review

Ilgunas is a very interesting and thoughtful writer.

He’s personally against the pipeline.

I listened to an interview on the Backpacker Radio podcast.

The Keystone Pipeline System is an oil pipeline system in Canada and the United States, commissioned in 2010 and now owned solely by TransCanada Corporation. It runs from the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin in Alberta to refineries in Illinois and Texas, and also to oil tank farms and an oil pipeline distribution center in Cushing, Oklahoma. … 


… The proposed Keystone XL (sometimes abbreviated KXL, with XL standing for “export limited” Pipeline (Phase IV) would connect the Phase I-pipeline terminals in Hardisty, Alberta, and Steele City, Nebraska by a shorter route and a larger-diameter pipe. …

The Adventure Blog has moved

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


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

related – The Adventure Podcast

My Interview on Adventure Podcast #17

Kraig Becker:

The latest episode of The Adventure Podcast is now available for download.

As usual, you can grab it from Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcher, and Spotify. I’ve also attached it to this blog post for those who prefer to listen directly from their browser ….

Adventure Blog – Interview with Rick McCharles of BestHIke.com

We talked best hiking trails in the world. My essential gear. Cam Honan. And much, much more. It’s a long episode.

I’ve learned a lot about a lot over the first 18 episodes.

Adventure Podcast – Episode 2: 10 Essentials of Hiking

Dave Adlard and Kraig Becker talk gear on their new audiocast.

Dave referred to his 2003 edition of Freedom of the Hills. The Ten Essentials first appeared in print in the 1974 version of that classic.

He and Kraig added 3-4 more essentials, only briefly touching on the non-essential electronics most of us carry.

Check it out:

The Adventure Podcast – Episode 2: The 10 Essentials of Hiking


  1. Navigation. Topographic map and assorted maps in waterproof container plus a magnetic compass, optional altimeter or GPS receiver.
  2. Sun protection. Sunglasses, sunscreen for lips and skin, hat, clothing for sun protection.
  3. Insulation. Hat, gloves, jacket, extra clothing for coldest possible weather during current season.
  4. Illumination. Headlamp, flashlight, batteries. LED bulb is preferred to extend battery life.
  5. First-aid supplies, plus insect repellent.
  6. Fire. Butane lighter, matches in waterproof container.
  7. Repair kit and tools. Knives, multi-tool, scissors, pliers, screwdriver, trowel/shovel, duct tape, cable ties.
  8. Nutrition. Add extra food for one additional day (for emergency). Dry food is preferred to save weight and usually needs water.
  9. Hydration. Add extra 2 liters of water for one additional day (for emergency).
  10. Emergency shelter. Tarp, bivouac sackspace blanket, plastic tube tent, jumbo trash bags, insulated sleeping pad.

The textbook recommends supplementing the ten essentials with:


NEW – The Adventure Podcast

 I’m subscribed. 🙂

An extension to the excellent Adventure Blog online.

Kraig Becker:

… The first episode is now available to download through iTunes or can be accessed directly here.

… weekly news from the adventure world, discussing major topics of interest, talking about gear, and having interviews with interesting guests.
It is co-hosted with my friend David Adlard, who has a rich background in the world of outdoor adventure as well having competed in several Ironman events and numerous adventure races, as well as working as a mountain guide and race director himself. …
We have also set up a few social media outlets for those who would like to share feedback and learn more about the podcast. Our Facebook page can be found here and we’re active on Twitter at @adventure_pod. We can also be reached by email at theadventurepod@gmail.com. …

do you want a hiking Kindle?

Andy Howell has been using one for a few months … and gives it quite a favourable review:

… The key to the Kindle is its weight. This is a properly portable machine which can slip into your case or pack quite happily. …

First off, this is a very light way of carrying a lot of books

With the wifi link usually off I have been able to get three weeks usage without any problems at all. If you are backpacking you should be able to rely on three weeks, maybe four, so long as you keep the machine warm at night, although I must say I’ve not noticed any great degrading of battery performance in the cold.

When backpacking you will want to keep the Kindle in a waterproof sleeve of some kind — I use an Ortlieb map carrier which I know to be watertight. Phil Turner has devised his own protection system details of which he has published here so you can knock one up yourself. …

The really big downside is that you can’t share books or pass them on to someone else. You can register up to 6 Kindles with one Amazon account, which might get around things a little. But this system is still far too inflexible and Amazon need to sort this out quickly, even if it is to let you pass books on a limited number of times. …

read the rest of the review

I’m quite happy with audio books and podcasts on my iPods (normally carrying two) but wouldn’t mind trying a kindle on a longer adventure.

I mostly read in the tent. And it seems a pain that a headlamp is required to read a kindle. In fact, that might even be a deal breaker for me. Perhaps I’d use the built-in audio jack or rear speakers to listen to my audio books via Kindle.

Leave a comment if you’ve tried taking a Kindle on the Trail. Either here or over on Andy’s review.


DAVE PIDGEON will not take his iPad on the Trail.

Compass Points Media via flickr – original photo

But he does review a few Apps on this post – A Backpacker’s iPad

(via Tom Mangan on Facebook)

hiking electronics

by site editor Rick McCharles

You may find it surprising how much electronic gear I hauled on my recent 17-day trek in the Everest region.

I carried two iPods. … Overkill?

My iPod shuffle plays for about 10hrs on a charge. The iPod touch perhaps 20hrs. Both filled with audio podcasts and books on MP3.

Click on any of the images below for a description.

Everest trek  - 148

Everest trek  - 151

Everest trek  - 150

Everest trek  - 149

Everest trek  - 146

Everest trek  - 147

Recharging batteries en route was not always easy.


no job? … go hiking

Happy 4th of July to all our American readers.

And a special shout out to Fedak who’s hiking out the recession.

Three of 4 of our top 10 hiking regions in the world are in the USA.

#1 New Zealand
#2 Southwest USA
#3 The Rockies
#4 Sierra Nevada

National Public Radio has an interesting podcast called – On The Appalachian, Some Hike Off The Recession:

… For Rusty Towery, taking this much time away isn’t difficult at all. Nicknamed “Wheeler,” he was laid off in November from construction equipment manufacturer Caterpillar. He sees this as an amazing opportunity.

“I have no major responsibilities yet in life so [I] might as well do something like this while I can, instead of having to wait like the other half of the population on the trail,” he says.

Wheeler is 26 years old. After being laid off last year, he worked a series of odd jobs to save up a little money. He also ran each day to build his endurance. He says his friends were a little jealous the day he left, even joking that they wished they’d been laid off, too. …

click through to see the audio / video presentation – On The Appalachian, Some Hike Off The Recession

Mount Katahdin - Northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail
Mount Katahdin - Northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail

more interesting photos tagged Appalachian Trail