The Hatchet by Gary Paulson

Hatchet is a 1986 Newbery Honor-winning young-adult wilderness survival novel written by American writer Gary Paulsen.

Brian Robeson is a thirteen-year-old son of divorced parents. As he travels from Hampton, New York on a single-engine Cessna bush plane to visit his father in the oil fields in Northern Canada for the summer, the pilot suffers a massive heart attack and dies.

Brian tries to land the plane but ends up crash-landing into a lake in the forest.

He must learn to survive on his own with nothing but his hatchet—a gift his mother gave him shortly before his plane departed.

… He discovers how to make fire with the hatchet and eats whatever food he can find, such as rabbits, birds, turtle eggs, fish, berries, and fruit. …

Over time, Brian develops his survival skills and becomes a fine woodsman. …

I enjoyed the short book. But it’s far from realistic. The Alone (TV series) documented just how difficult it is to survive on the much easier west coast of Vancouver Island.

The film adaptation is even more over the top.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Many readers asked the author WHAT would have happened to this teenager if he had to try to survive the Canadian winter. Brian was rescued by floatplane in The Hatchet.

So — in 1996 — Paulson published what would have been a sequel IF Brian had not found the emergency beacon.

Brian’s Winter

… still stranded at the L-shaped lake during the fall and winter, constructing a winter shelter, building snow shoes, being confronted by a bear, befriending and naming a skunk and learning how to make a bow more powerful. …

There are more books in this series. I’ll read those as well as I’ve grown to wonder how Brian adapts to civilization.


There are 3 other Brian books. All quite good.

I thought Brian’s Return was quite good. He meets a mysterious Indian mentor in the woods.

FINALLY – the Camino de Santiago

I’ve many times been asked IF I’d done the Camino. Surprisingly, the answer was NO. Until now. 😀

The Camino de Santiago … known in English as the Way of St James … is a network of pilgrims’ ways or pilgrimages leading to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where tradition holds that the remains of the apostle are buried.

As with most hikes that can be cycled, I prefer to cycle. At least 10% of pilgrims cycle rather than walk or arrive on horseback. They are known as ‘bicigrinos’ or ‘bicigrinas’, bike pilgrims.

My PLAN is to ride León to the famous cathedral. About 325km. Perhaps a week. No rush.

The total length starting in France is 825km.

You need to cycle at least 200km in order to receive a Compostela certificate in Santiago (as opposed to minimum 100km walking).

Nearly 350,000 Compostela pilgrim certificates were issued in 2019. I won’t be lonely. 😀

The Camino Francés, or French Way, is by far the most popular of many routes. Roughly 60% of pilgrims choose this camino over other options.

Though no guidebook is needed, I picked up a paper copy of Mike Wells’ Cycling the Camino de Santiago (2019). I’d listened to a good interview with the author.

Wish me luck.

Many folks only know the famous pilgrimage from the 2010 Martin Sheen movie. It’s very good, by the way.

Click PLAY or watch the trailer on YouTube.

R.I.P. Dervla Murphy

An Adventure Badass I much admired, I was sad to hear Dervla is gone.

Of her many travels, I think I liked best those she did with her daughter. Trekking Peru, for example, in Eight Feet in the Andes, over 1,300 miles high altitude with a mule.

Dervla Murphy (28 November 1931 – 22 May 2022) was an Irish touring cyclist and author of adventure travel books, writing for more than 50 years.

Murphy took a break from travel writing following the birth of her daughter, and then wrote about her travels with Rachel in India, Pakistan, South America, Madagascar and Cameroon.

…. In 2005, she visited Cuba with her daughter and three granddaughters.

Murphy normally travelled alone without luxuries and depending on the hospitality of local people. …

Cam Honan’s Himalaya Book

… Described by Backpacker Magazine as “the most travelled hiker on Earth”, Cam has trekked across 56 countries and six continents, logging more than 60,000 miles (96,500 km) in three decades. We sat down with him to discuss his experiences in exploring this region, and creating Wanderlust Himalaya in collaboration with gestalten. …

Q: What sets the Himalaya apart from other mountain ranges you have hiked before?

A: Apart from the fact that they’re higher, distinguishing qualities of the Himalaya include its iconic teahouses, Buddhist monasteries, and rich folklore. …

Q: Was there a specific moment or place during your hikes in the Himalaya that was memorable to you? And if so, why? 

A: I couldn’t pinpoint one specific moment or place. That said, among the standout features of all my journeys in the region has been the friendliness of the locals. Irrespective of the country, the hospitality I’ve encountered during my Himalayan treks is something I’ll never forget.  …

gestalten.com

Wanderlust Himalaya: Hiking on Top of the World is a coffee table photography book with route-plans for over 50 hikes.

This is the latest in a series. All excellent.

Wanderlust: A Hiker’s Companion (2017)

The Hidden Tracks: Wanderlust – Hiking Adventures off the Beaten Path (2018)

Wanderlust USA (2019)

Stein Valley Divide hike, B.C.

Stein Valley is one of the best hikes in North America.

It’s high on my personal list of hikes to do … SOON. 

Wild and remote, the “route” is about 90km and has a total elevation change of at least 4300m. High elevation is about 2150m.

It’s tough. You probably want to schedule 7 days. Perhaps 9 days to enjoy some side tripping. Carry ALL your food.

Click PLAY or watch it on Vimeo.

Without question you should purchase the only guidebook. And perhaps maps, as well.

2nd edition 2013

purchase at MEC

Life Lived Wild by Rick Ridgeway

Wow.

What a life. What a life story.

Rick Ridgeway was one of the first Americans to summit K2 in 1978.

He’s climbed new routes and explored little-known regions on six continents.

Spent a total of 5 years sleeping in a tent while adventuring.

A pioneer in filming extreme outdoor pursuits.

You might have read one of his other books — Seven Summits (1988), an account of how Frank Wells and Dick Bass planned to climb the highest mountain on each of the world’s seven continents.

Ridgeway later had some adventures with Reinhold Messner. In this book he doesn’t mention the controversy that Canadian alpinist Pat Morrow and then Messner claim to have completed the Seven LEGITIMATE Summits. 😀

Ridgeway — born 1949 — has outlived most of his climbing partners. A rare survivor.

His wife of near 40 years died too before he published his life story in October 2021.

It’s a summing up.

BEST in this book are his lifelong adventures with Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, and Doug Tompkins, who cofounded The North Face.

In fact, it was Ridgeway who was paddling with Tompkins in southern Chile 2015 when they capsized. Rick was rescued. Tompkins died of hypothermia.

Yvon Chouinard is still alive as well. Age 83.

All three of the do boys, as the friends called themselves, eventually made environmental protection the main focus of their lives.

I highly recommend this book.

Life Lived Wild by Rick Ridgeway.

It is hard to imagine my life if I hadn’t met Rick Ridgeway. Rick invited me on my first National Geographic expedition and taught me how to film, but more importantly he shared how to tell a good story. In Life Lived Wild Rick recounts the most poignant moments of his legendary career as an explorer, climber and conservationist, but mostly, as an extraordinarily observant and compassionate human being. He captures the essence of a lifetime of storytelling. — Jimmy Chin, Adventurer and filmmaker

Vermont’s Long Trail

I met Alan Wechsler on the John Muir Trail this past summer. I hiked in parallel with his group, finishing the same day at Whitney Portal.

Alan convinced me to put Vermont’s Long Trail in autumn on my personal life list. He suggested I follow the changing of the leaves starting late September and hiking south.

272 miles (437 km). 70 backcountry campsites.

Details.

Alan is a writer and photographer based in the Northeast. He recently spent a year section-hiking the Long Trail in various seasons. His 73-page narrative describes the challenge and history of the trail, along with the people he met along the way, and is generously illustrated with his photos. Download the e-book here:

 

Banff Mountain Festival 2021

Click PLAY or watch the teaser on YouTube.

The 2021 Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival is happening virtually and in-person this year from Saturday, October 30 to Sunday, November 7!

Featuring over 75 films, live events in Banff and Canmore, and 30 virtual programs to watch from the comfort of your home over nine epic days. Get your festival passes, Tuesday, October 5—available to purchase only until November 2 👉

BanffCentre.ca

#AskCicerone: Walking in Europe

Cicerone is by far the best publisher of guidebooks for hiking Europe.

Podcast episode 28 gives an overview of their 162 guidebooks to Europe.

Too many good choices in that continent. This is a good place to start.

#AskCicerone: Walking and trekking in Europe

Listen here.

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