Free Fire by C.J. Box

I downloaded this book because it was set in Yellowstone National Park.

The plot is dumb, I thought. But the location kept me going.

The Yellowstone Caldera supervolcano supereruption possibility is one thread of the story.

Joe Pickett’s been hired to investigate one of the most cold-blooded mass killings in Wyoming history.

Attorney Clay McCann admitted to slaughtering four campers in a back-country corner of Yellowstone National Park—a “free-fire” zone with no residents or jurisdiction.

In this remote fifty-square-mile stretch a man can literally get away with murder. Now McCann’s a free man, and Pickett’s about to discover his motive—one buried in Yellowstone’s rugged terrain, and as dangerous as the man who wants to keep it hidden.

CJBox.net

The Salt Path by Raynor Winn

Winn and her husband Moth, who was diagnosed with a terminal illness, became homeless after a bad investment and decided to walk the 630-mile (1,010 km) South West Coast Path. …

In September 2019 it was the number one bestselling book in UK independent bookstores.

An excellent read.

The couple had not hiked for decades. Pretty much everything that could go wrong, did go wrong.

And they survived on an income of about £40 a week.

Amazon

related – Couple walked 630 miles and lived in a tent after bad investment left them homeless

Juan de Fuca Trail, Vancouver Island

Our #1 hike in the world — West Coast Trail — was closed all of 2020 due to COVID. Hopefully it will reopen in 2021.

Right next door is the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail.

It’s one of the great alternatives to the WCT. Logistics are much easier. And it’s less expensive.

Vancouver Island experts MB Guiding have a Juan de Fuca Marine Trail Guide online.

Check that for planning. And get a copy of the best hiking guidebook – Coastal Hikes.

NEW podcast – Cicerone Hiking guidebooks

As publishers of nearly 400 outdoor travel guidebooks, Cicerone Press are a specialist team who love the outdoors and want to inspire and guide you on your next outdoor adventure.

In this episode, hosts Amy Hodkin and Hannah Stevenson introduce themselves and speak to Joe Williams about the history of Cicerone, our team of expert authors and the areas and activities covered in Cicerone guidebooks.

Whether walking, cycling, trekking, scrambling, mountain biking, running or skiing, Cicerone offers guidebooks written, edited and tested by outdoor experts.

Find out more and view our full range of guidebooks on the Cicerone website, www.cicerone.co.uk.

You can also search for @CiceronePress on FacebookTwitter and Instagram, and join our Facebook community group, Cicerone Connect.

I used their Aconcagua guidebook, for example, when hiking independently to French Base Camp.

Hiking Strathcona Park on Vancouver Island

Here’s our list of the best hikes in Strathcona, so far:

I spent over 3 weeks hiking Strathcona Provincial Park on Vancouver Island June – October 2020.

Fantastic.

The real experts on this park are Mike Blake and his team at MB Guiding.

If you are looking to organized a guide trip — climbing the Golden Hinde, for example — go with MB Guiding.


If you’ve never been to Strathcona before, easiest access is via the Paradise Meadows trailhead out of Courtney / Comox which gives easy access to the Forbidden Plateau.

Well signed, well organized, well maintained, there are loops of increasing difficulty depending on your time and the weather.

One loop is wheelchair accessible, for example.

There are trails ideal for kids, as well.

Three campsites on the Forbidden plateau are first-come, first-served. Great value at CAD $10 / person / night.

If you want to tent, I’d recommend you head for the furtherest campsite – Circlet Lake.

From there are fantastic day hikes to Moat Lake, Castlecrag and/or Mt Albert Edward.


There are even better trails in Strathcona in the more remote section of the park around Buttle Lake. That’s where you find the main car campgrounds.

My favourite was Cream Lake via the Bedwell Lakes trails.

Cream Lake

Nearly as good for me was Elk River with a tough side trip up to Elk Pass.

Landslide Lake

There are many, many more great hikes, of course, well documented in the best hiking guidebook – Exploring Strathcona Park by Stone.

I’ll return to do more.

Barney (Scout) Mann’s Pacific Crest Trail book

In Journeys North, legendary trail angel, thru hiker, and former PCTA board chair Scout spins compelling tales of hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail in 2007 as they walk from Mexico to Canada.

That year terrible snow storms rocked the Canadian border starting the last days in September.

Barney (Scout) Mann hiked with wife Sandy (Frodo) Mann, and recounts fascinating stories of others they traveled alongside that season.

For me, Blazer was the most interesting.

The book is unusual.  Not your standard step-by-step trail journal.

Instead the time line jumps forward and back along the trail, using PCT anecdotes to illustrate bigger life lessons.

If asked to recommend just one book on the PCT, Journeys North would be it.  The best starting point for a hiker considering it. 

Other excellent and inspiring reads include:

Amazon

Barney Scout Mann has hiked the Appalachian, Pacific Crest, and Continental Divide Trails. He has been board chair of the Pacific Crest Trail Association and is president of the Partnership for the National Trails System. Mann has been recognized with a Lowell Thomas Journalism Award and is the coauthor of The Pacific Crest Trail: Exploring America’s Wilderness Trail and author of The Continental Divide Trail: Exploring America’s Ridgeline Trail. He and his wife, Sandy, live in San Diego and have hosted more than 7,000 PCT hikers. Visit him online at BarneyScoutMann.com.

 

 

Andrew Skurka interview

Andrew Skurka is without question one of the most accomplished hikers in history.  A legend.

  • Alaska-Yukon Expedition (6 months, 4,700 miles),
  • Great Western Loop (7 months, 6,875 miles), and the
  • Sea-to-Sea Route (11 months, 7,775 miles).

He’s run a 2:28 marathon, as well.

The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide: Tools & Tips to Hit the Trail, was published by National Geographic – over 125,000 copies sold.

Today he and his team lead people to exciting destinations, teaching skills along the way: planning, gear, fitness, food, navigation, responding to emergencies, etc.

In a recent podcast interview Andrew explains why he still prefers map and compass, using electronics as a back-up.  And you have to believe him since it was sponsored by the Gaia GPS app.

Click PLAY or listen to it clicking through via Twitter.