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.

All Patagonia Profits to Saving the Planet

Yvon Chouinard:

“As of now, Earth is our only shareholder,” the company announced. “ALL profits, in perpetuity, will go to our mission to ‘save our home planet’.” …

Each year, the money Patagonia makes after reinvesting in the business will be distributed to the non-profit to help fight the environmental crisis. …

Chouinard and Patagonia have long been groundbreakers in environmental activism and employee benefits. In its nearly 50 years in operation, the Ventura, California-based company has been known for extensive benefits for employees, including on-site nurseries and afternoons off on good surf days. …

Patagonia’s billionaire owner gives away company to fight climate crisis

#respect

I like Patagonia gear. And I’ll continue to be a loyal customer.

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

Andrew Alexander King attempts the 14 Summits

Sponsored by Black Diamond Equipment.

King, a mountaineer and adventurer, is attempting to climb the world’s tallest mountains.  If he succeeds, he’ll be the first African American to climb the 14 summits (the seven summits plus the world’s seven tallest volcanoes). 

But, “conquering mountains” isn’t his actual goal.  He knows that bringing diversity to the outdoors is the real challenge.  …

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Hiking Vancouver Island North

A pandemic is a good time to stay local.

And physically distance from strangers outdoors. 😀

The only hiking I’ve done atop Vancouver Island is famed North Coast Trail.

In early July, I’m hoping to bikepack trailhead-to-trailhead.

There’s much to see. And a touring bike looks to be good transport in this remote area.

I’d get a ride to Port Hardy. Then cycle to as many of Gregg Strong’s recommended areas as possible.

I’d navigate with apps and the Vancouver Island Backroads Mapbook.

Click PLAY or watch some highlights on YouTube.

Check a map of trails and attractions.

Respecting Female Hikers

An important post from Backpacker:

DO be friendly, but not aggressive. If a woman doesn’t seem interested in having a conversation with you, back off.

DON’T ask solo women where they’re headed or where they’re camping.

DON’T suggest that a woman hiking alone is unsafe.

DON’T use sexual innuendo.

DO give solo women space. Keep distance between your tents if you end up camping in the same area.

DO be extremely cautious about flirting. Don’t make her feel like she has to change her pace or otherwise compromise her hike to escape from you.

How To Avoid Seeming Creepy To Solo Women Hikers

Haiku Stairs Kaneohe by Kalen Emsley

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