Charles Darwin was a hiker

He got into hiking in his 20s, but it was trekking and scrambling in little know wilderness on four continents visited on his five-year-long H.M.S. Beagle voyage between 1831 and 1836 that cement him as one of the most worldly hikers in history.

 “Mount Darwin” is the highest peak in Tierra del Fuego. On February 12, 1834, Captain FitzRoy named a mountain after him on his birthday. …

Mt. Darwin

Darwin walked mainly to discover plants and animals unique to those regions.

I learned all this by reading his travelogue Voyage of the Beagle.

By the way, the famous phrase “survival of the fittest” comes from Herbert Spencer’s 1864 publication, “Principles of Biology.” The term is largely thought to have been coined by Darwin regarding his thoughts on evolution; however, this is a wrong assumption.

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. …

Hikertrash: Life on the Pacific Crest Trail

I did enjoy this entertaining trip report published 2014.

Carl and Erin decide — on a bit of a whim — to thru-hike the PCT.

Through blisters and shin splints, jaw-dropping landscapes and craptastically unspectacular forests, searing heat and pouring rain, complete hilarity and utter exhaustion, this is the story of what day-to-day life is really like on one of America’s greatest trails.

As told through Hummingbird’s journal entries, this is the story of life on the trail – the people you meet, the things you see, and how,mile by mile, you eventually become Hikertrash. …

What Is Hikertrash?

Hikertrash: a long distance hiker, shabby and homeless in appearance, rarely bathed and rank in odor, more at home outdoors than in society, with a deep reverence and respect for all things wild.

Amazon

Heather Anderson – NAT GEO Adventurer of the Year

Heather Anderson, who goes by the trail name Anish, has thru-hiked the U.S.’s mega trails—the Appalachian, the Continental Divide, and the Pacific Crest—three times. …

Since 2013, Anderson has speed-hiked 28,000 trail miles—a greater distance than the circumference of Earth at the equator. …

Anish outdid herself last year, when she became the first woman, and fifth person, to complete the Triple Crown—7,944 miles—in a calendar year. She pulled off the feat in stunning fashion, hiking an average of more than 31 miles a day to finish in 251 days, 20 hours, and 10 minutes. (Cam “Swami” Honan holds the overall record at 231 days.) …

All this from a girl who was 70 pounds overweight and often teased while growing up …

National Geographic

How does anyone do this kind of thing?

You hike a lot of 18-hour days — waking up 4 a.m. and walking until 11 p.m.

AND Heather won’t accept rides in and out of town to pick-up her resupply!

She has a new book. Available in paperback and Kindle.

In her new memoir, Thirst: 2600 Miles to Home, Heather, whose trail name is “Anish,” conveys not only her athleticism and wilderness adventures, but also shares her distinct message of courage–her willingness to turn away from the predictability of a more traditional life in an effort to seek out what most fulfills her. …

Thirst: 2600 Miles to Home

Ascent – Chris Bonington’s autobiography

In 2016 Sir Chris Bonington updated his 1989 biography.

He added accounts of his later expeditions to Greenland, India, Morocco and his re-ascent of the Old Man of Hoy in 2014, with new climbing companion Leo Houlding. The Old Man climb was filmed by BBC. Chris was not at all sure he could still do it.

Bonington was one of the few high altitude mountaineers to survive the kind of climbs he did. AND he’s an excellent writer.

He’s known a lot of tragedy including the drowning death of a young son.

Though known as one of the great expedition leaders he had many die under that leadership.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28955087-ascent

All that said, I did enjoy this book. And recommend it to everyone regardless of whether or not you have an interest in mountaineering.

Boys of Everest by Clint Willis

The Boys of Everest: Chris Bonington and the Tragedy of Climbing’s Greatest Generation (2007) is the full title.

Of the famed high altitude climbers I’ve always related most to Bonington. He seemed to be the smart, articulate and careful one.

Not so, I learned. There were a dozen times Chris could have / should have died like so many of the others.

Though reviews have been mixed, I did enjoy this book. Especially the audio version reader James Adams.

… courage, achievement, and heartbreaking loss tells of Bonington’s Boys, a band of climbers who reinvented mountaineering during the three decades after Everest’s first ascent. …

Next I’ll be reading Bonington’s biography – Ascent (2017)

new Torres del Paine trekking guidebook

Paine in Chile is one of the best hiking destinations in the world. No question.

But foreigners are endlessly frustrated trying to organize their trip from abroad. Many — including myself — show up on a hope and a prayer trying to make it happen onsite.

Check our Paine Circuit Information page.

Try downloading Trekking Torres del Paine (2016) by Rudolf Abraham long in advance of your trip. It’s available for Kindle.