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.

Hiking the Drakensberg, South Africa

The Drakensberg escarpment stretches for more than 1,000 kilometres (600 miles). Some of the best hiking in Africa.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube. One of the best hiking videos I can recall. Ever.

Harmen Hoek:

In March 2022 I solo hiked for 8-days in the Drakensberg mountains on the border of South Africa and Lesotho.

My route started in Cathedral Peak in uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa.

I hiked up to the escarpment via Organ Pipes Pass where I headed north towards the Mnweni area. I got down the escarpment via Rockeries Pass for resupplies and back up (bushwacking) via Fangs Pass.

North at the top of Tugela Falls in the Amphitheater of Royal Natal National Park I met up with my dad to spend one last night up the escarpment.

We got down via the infamous Sentinel Ladder.

Favorite hike in the world. The weather, terrain, views, people and remoteness make this hike really unique. Also the most challenging hike to date.

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.

HOW to Hike Huayhuash, Peru

The best hike in the world for me personally was the Huayhuash Circuit,

We did rent a cook tent and hire a mule driver, but decided on our route independently.

Huayhuash is dangerous. Hikers have died there. This is arguably the best hike in the world but is appropriate only for robust, experienced high altitude trekkers

The greatest danger is altitude sickness. We hired horses instead of mules so we could evacuate by horse, if necessary. Smart trekkers do some acclimatization treks out of Huaraz before catching the bus to Huayhuash.

Click PLAY or watch tips and gear recommendations on YouTube.

400km on the Cordillera Blanca Traverse, Peru

This is a route invented by Cam Honan 2014.

  • 400 km (249 mi)
  • 16-22 days
  • more than 20 mountain passes ranging between 4,347 m and 5,201 m (14,262 ft-17,064 ft)
  • 4 stages for resupply

The jumping off point is Huaraz, Peru, one of our top 10 hiking towns in the world.

If interested in being one of the first to complete this high alpine traverse, check Cam’s post:

A Quick & Dirty Guide to the Cordillera Blanca Traverse

To get an idea of the challenge, watch Austin Lillywhite’s CBT Video from 2017. (10min)

NEW smaller Bear Canisters

Mac:

BearVault has just released two new products, the BV425 “Sprint” and the BV475 “Trek“.

Both bear canisters meet Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) grizzly bear testing standards as of May 2022 and are approved for use on the John Muir Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail.

… hikers now have twice as many options on offer from BearVault to help protect their food (and protect the bears) in the backcountry. …

Halfway Anywhere

Though canisters are bulky, I certainly do appreciate having a CAMP CHAIR when I carry one. 😀

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