My book review-The Great Alone: Walking the Pacific Crest Trail by Tim Voors |

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I really enjoyed this unique book. Published in Berlin and printed in Italy in 2019, this book was written, richly illustrated, and photographed by the Netherlands hiker, Tim Voors. I picked it up in a bookstore in Maine, lured in by the striking black and white photo of Voors on the front. It’s a cut above the usual hiking memoir, due to the hardbound cover, and also the graphic content: multiple double-page panoramic color photos, professionally illustrated maps, and colored drawings. I’m increasingly intrigued by the use of hand drawn renditions of trail location that accompany text reports…. 

Continue to whole review here:  The Great Alone: Walking the Pacific Crest Trail by Tim Voors

New Year’s Resolution? How About A Yearly Fitness Goal ?

Here’s my mileage goal for the coming new year:


While the graphic above is from today’s New York Times article about fitness trends and facts, it also is my mileage goal for 2020.   I’ve worked up to 2,000 over the past several years after one the the most active hikers I know, Carey Kish,  first posted a plan for hiking 1,000 miles up here in Maine on his blog, Maineiac Outdoors .

Kish suggests walking for an hour three times during the work week,  adding a couple of longer half-day weekend hikes a month,  and even to consider adding an 8-to-10 day traverse of the Appalachian Trail’s Hundred Mile Wilderness to reach your own 1,000 mile total.  Check out his original 2014 challenge here->  1000-mile challenge kish .  It may inspire you!

In 2015 I succeeded in reaching 1,000 miles of hiking by following Mr. Kish’s program and have evolved to doubling that mileage for figure the past 3 years, with 1,000 miles of biking and the other 1,000 hiking. I believe that alternating both sports reduces injuries from repetitive use and varies my outdoor experiences as well.

I’m a data driven individual, always have been. It’s one of the reasons I continue to enjoy my work as a school psychologist. A big reason I go out on days when the fickle Maine  weather says, “Stay in” is the reinforcement that I receive, both positive and negative, from the Strava app that I mate to my iPhone or Garmin eTrex30 GPS.  Right now, I’m feeling flush due to this end of the year  information:


and this hiking data:


I’ve been working with yearly fitness goals long enough to know that it helps to log mileage when the weather is more favorable.  For example, when I was reviewing my end of the year data in early December last year I saw that I had made an error that resulted in my need to cover 100 more miles in 3 weeks of dark, cold, and unusually frigid conditions.  It was not so much fun to make up those miles.  Another reason I try to bank miles is ensuring that I have miles to draw on when I get injured, which generally ends up in me having to lay off hiking and/or biking at least a month out of the year.

Strava is a free digital service accessible through both mobile application and the web, which offers various advanced features for a monthly payment.  If you want to  check out the goal setting features for either distance, or time, get a free trial, and if you like the new features, pony up for $2 a month to  bolster your chances of sticking with more  frequent rides or hikes.

Disclaimer: I have not received any compensation for my review from any particular company, product, or service mentioned in this post.






Walk Like Groucho Marx !

I live on the coast of Maine, where the winters appear to be increasingly warmer and freezing rain is a more frequent event.  Sometimes it warms up outside and rain falls on top of a fresh snow cover to make a real mess, with the weight of that sodden snow making for tough plowing and snow shoveling.

The winter of 2018-2019 was particularly bad. Hard times prevailed when it rained before a sudden deep freeze, and if that wasn’t bad  enough, the addition of  powder snow over the ice layer.  This is the worst of all conditions to walk over, because you can’t see hidden patches of ice under the snow’s mantle.  Fresh powder on top of ice is a wreck of a situation to walk on and sometimes even drive over as the unconsolidated crystals of snow lubricate the surface of the ice and make the pathway ultra slippery, and prime territory for a hard fall.

Falls last winter resulted in higher than normal emergency room admissions for wrist, elbow, back, and even head injuries.  Luckily, I escaped any falls.  Part of the reason was my choice of winter footwear, especially when I ventured out of the house and crept uphill on my driveway to get the morning paper and the mail from my street side boxes, one for the US mail and the other for my Bangor Daily News.

Ice, ice, baby!

My footwear of choice for ice are Muck Boots with a set of Stabilicers strapped to the bottom.


I keep the Stabilicers mated to the boots during the winter where they stay on the porch for easy on easy off.

I just saw a media post from a friend that featured a recommendation to Walk Like a Penguin on ice.  Here’s the graphic:

For, me, there is a better way of walking over slippery conditions- walk like Groucho!   I  use the “Groucho glide” when hiking over uneven terrain, especially when it coupled with going downhill.  Here are a couple of examples, first from the original master:

Here’s a brief clip of students in a martial arts class practicing the “Groucho walk”:

So… get traction, stay low, keep movin’ like Groucho and even grab a couple of hiking poles as you deal with the winter’s ice.   Best wishes for all in 2010 !