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

BestHike #3 – Tongariro Circuit, New Zealand

Tongariro Northern Circuit is one of our top 10 hikes in the world.

Click PLAY or watch a 1 minute introduction on YouTube.

Tongariro Circuit

Our favourite multi-day tramp in our favourite hiking region of the world — glorious New Zealand.

AND our top volcano hike worldwide.

by Jeff Pang

AT A GLANCE

  • one of our top 10 hikes in the world
  • non-stop superb hiking
  • mostly volcanic & desert environs
  • 34+km (19+mi) depending on route
  • 3-days, 2-nights minimum
  • option to climb a volcano, or two
  • medium difficulty hiking, with challenging sections
  • wonderful variety of scenery
  • Dec – Mar best months
  • maximum elevation Red Crater 1886m (6188ft)
  • very crowded on the Tongariro Crossing section

Read more on our Tongariro Northern Circuit information page.

Timberline Trail – around Mt Hood

Jon posted a detailed trip report on their August 2019 circuit of Oregon’s highest peak. It’s close to Portland.

This report is all you need to organize that adventure for yourself. 

Plenty of climbs and descents. Quite a few creeks crossings. Not what we’d call an easy week.

They started and ended at Timberline Lodge. And hiked clockwise.

The report includes excellent photos so you really get a feel for what to expect.

Mount Hood (photo credit: Dan Nevill, CC 2.0)

Ramona Falls (photo credit: Dan Nevill, CC 2.0)

Check it out:

TIMBERLINE TRAIL – MOUNT HOOD WILDERNESS, OR (40 MILE LOOP)

Similar adventures in the Pacific N.W. include the Wonderland Trail around Mt Ranier and / or a partial circuit around nearby Mt Adams.

Kilimanjaro Uncovered by Alexandra Tanbai

I read this book in preparation for our own Kilimanjaro climb scheduled for September 2020.

Alexandra penned Kilimanjaro Uncovered in real time while preparing and during her climb on the Northern Circuit, a little-known hiking route away from the crowds to the top of Kilimanjaro.

She provides valuable guidance for those interested in climbing themselves and tells a broader story of a truly life-changing experience.

Alex is a rookie mountain climber. She over-prepares. Is cautious and thoughtful about every aspect.

The book is very informative for anyone who has never done a serious multi-night tent trip.

I admire her courage in planning that big adventure on her own. I admire her  honesty and vulnerability sharing fears and problems on the trek, big and small.

Alexandra Tanbai made the summit. In fact everyone in her guided party made the top though one had a serious ankle injury. No helicopter was available for evacuation.

Less than a year after publishing Kilimanjaro Uncovered, Alexandra founded KiliGATE.com—the first and only online Kilimanjaro tour booking platform committed to responsible tourism.

Her goal—make it easy for tourists to book their climb with a responsible tour operator and promote fair porter treatment.

I do feel this book is too long.

It’s available in paperback and Kindle formats.

 

hiking Kamchatka, Russia

There are certainly fantastic treks and volcano climbs on Kamchatka Peninsula.

Climbing Koryaksky (3456m) close to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky is quite doable, for example.

You can find a number of trekking guides with Google.

But are they reliable?

It’s possible to hike Kamchatka independently.

But we’ve not yet talked to anyone who’s hiked there. (Leave a comment below this post if you have more information on Kamchatka.)

In the meantime, check some photos from Dark Roast Blend:

Wilderness without bounds, in a typical Russian style.

There is a place in the world so remote and so wildly beautiful, that very few decide to go there and those who do, carry the enchantment for the rest of their lives. Land of towering volcanos and magnificient Pacific coastline, as boundless and pristine as the Canadian North, but far less known and definitely less travelled. Life is harsh there, and ghosts of communist past are never too far behind.

With the exclusive permission of “Kamtravel” – Kamchatka photography site, we give you some examples of its exhilarating terrain:

Petropavlovsk-Kamchatski lies in the shadow of Avacha volcano

more photos – Dark Roasted Blend: Kamchatka – Magnificient Russian Far East

climb Mt Kenya in 2020

Mount Kenya is the second-highest in Africa, after Kilimanjaro.

It’s about  150 kilometres (93 mi) north-northeast of the capital Nairobi.

I’m looking at using Mt Kenya as an acclimatization hike immediately prior to Kilimanjaro.

Mt Kenya takes 5 days and reaches a high point of 4985 metres over a trek of about 50 kilometres. 

So far I’ve been talking to Adventure Alternatives and have been very happy with their response. And they’ve been quite flexible to help me fit in this climb just before Kili.

My rendezvous with the Kili group in Arusha is September 7th.

DETAILS – Mount Kenya Traverse 

30th August – 3rd September

Price starts at £1,095pp ($1355) plus extras. Much less expensive than Kili.

Mt Kenya

Click PLAY or watch it on Vimeo.

Pumalín, Chile – Volcán Chaitén trail

trip report by besthike editor Rick McCharles

Duration: 2½ hrs round trip.
Distance: 4,4 km round trip.
Return: Same route.
Difficulty: Medium-High.

In May of 2008, Volcán Chaitén erupted after 9000 dormant years, causing tremendous damage to Chaitén and Pumalín, and even into Argentina. The park was closed for two years, during which extensive restoration work was conducted.

Parque Pumalín 

Volcán Chaitén seen from commercial airliner 2008

This hike is not dangerous, but it is strenuous.

From the trailhead the volcano looked too far away. I assumed — correctly — that they still wouldn’t allow hikers to get very close.

It’s a steep climb. Interesting to see what vegetation has recovered over the past 10 years.

You arrive suddenly at a crater rim lookout.

It’s an impressive panorama looking over to the still very active mountain.

Another gorgeous day in Patagonia.

Check my cyclist’s tan!