I Rode to Labrador 25 Years Ago

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In 1994, twenty-give years ago, I published my first feature article.  It was about a two week motorcycle ride from Maine to the newest leg of the Labrador Highway- Churchill Falls to Goose Bay.  My touring mentor and buddy, Alan MacKinnon and I had just read Great Heart, by Rugge and Davidson and were inspired by the book to explore the region.

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To link to a .pdf of the article, complete with original photographs, clink the link below, where you will be able to  download the .pdf in separate browser:

Lonely Road to Labrador

Game-day caffeine keeps the Portland Trail Blazers running

I’m a regular user of coffee, the legal drug that is associated with athletic performance enhancement.

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According to a Fitness Genes blog post (10/03/18- Dr. Haran Sivapalan),

reports suggest that around 74% of elite athletes use caffeine either before or during an event, and the majority of these seem to be endurance athletes. There’s good reason for this. Studies of cyclists, rowers, and runners show that caffeine can significantly prolong time to exhaustion, increase average power output and improve finishing times.  Caffeine works by blocking a receptor in the brain, called the adenosine receptor. It’s this action that explains how caffeine stimulates our nervous system and keeps us awake. Blocking adenosine is also thought to improve the recruitment of muscles, reduce our perceived effort during exercise and dampen our perceptions of pain, all of which help endurance exercise.

I’ve settled into a few morning cups- usually no more than three. In the late afternoon I’ll sometimes have another cup a half-hour before I head out on a mountain bike ride or a hike.   I’ve recently discovered that I can also enjoy an occasional espresso after dinner, with no disruptive effect on my sleep.

I’m what is known as a fast processor of caffeine.  It’s clear that caffeine isn’t an equal opportunity enhancer. The extent to which individuals experience performance benefits appears to vary according to how fast you metabolize caffeine. This, in turn, depends on your genes, particularly your CYP1A2 gene.

I’m a fast metabolizer of caffeine.  My Fitness Genes analysis indicates that I have the AA genotype for CYP1A2,  which results in an ability to break down caffeine more quickly.

In 2006, Dr. El-Sohemy and his colleagues published a study in JAMA showing that slow metabolizers had a heightened risk of heart attacks if they frequently drank coffee, compared to people who were genetically classified as fast caffeine metabolizers. The scientists theorized that the drug, which can constrict blood vessels, hung around and produced longer-lasting — and in this case undesirable — cardiac effects among the slow metabolizers.

“The fast metabolizers rode nearly 7 percent faster after they had downed the larger dose of caffeine compared to the placebo. The moderate metabolizers, by contrast, performed almost exactly the same whether they had received caffeine or a placebo.”

Clicking below will introduce you to learn how a peformance-based training program that includes coffee appears to keep at least one professional sports team on the run.

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The game-day caffeine routine keeps the Portland Trail Blazers, the NBA’s most well-traveled team, running

Death on the CDT

screenshot.pngvia–>>> Snowbound | Outside Online

Outside Online posted this excellent report, which includes three short Youtube videos taken shortly before the hiker, Stephen Olshansky, perished in 2015 at the end of his southbound thru- hike attempt  in the Southern San Juans in New Mexico.  “Otter” was an experienced long-distance hiker who died on the trail  waiting rescue, despite having adequate food, and using a heated tent.   I can relate to the dangers of that section of the CDT.  In 2013, I was forced to bail out on the “official” CDT and take alternate forest roads in the San Juans in early June due to weather and excessive snow depths.

Otter’s death was similar in one aspect of the death of a hiker named Geraldine Largay, AKA  Inchworm, who died on the Appalachian Trail in the summer of  2013, 26 days after she set up camp.  Both hikers died less than 8 miles away from a highway,  both patiently awaiting rescues that never came.  Both hikers were without their own personal locator beacons.

For more stories of backpackers and day hikers who have fallen into the abyss where they experience multiple unfortunate mistakes in the wrong places and at the wrong times check out these two excellent books: Not Without Peril: 150 Years Of Misadventure On The Presidential Range Of New Hampshire Paperback by Nicholas Howe  and  Desperate Steps: Life, Death, and Choices Made in the Mountains of the Northeast, by Peter Kick.

Since Largay’s death, I’ve been using a satellite based communication device, and  subscribe to the $12 a month charge.

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Garmin InReach Explorer+

It allows me to text messages via sattelite, so now the numerous areas I explore without cell coverage are not a problem.  I’ve started packing  it in my day pack.  Who knows what might happen out there, where age is not our friend ?

As  famous teacher once advised me, “Avert the suffering before it comes” .

Please considering commenting if yu do take the time to read and view the Outside Online material.

Great Adventurers – a Reading List via Alastair Humphreys

via Great Adventurers – a Reading List – Alastair Humphreys

I’m on a roll with outdoor reading this summer.  Since January I have been reading at least an hour a day.  I’ve racked up 33 books so far.  Here’s my updated 2018 list:  Goodreads Challenge .

Today I’m posting a different sort of reading list, with a decidedly British emphasis, brought to us by one of my favorite authors, Alistair Humphreys, author of a unique book called Microadventures. 

There’s adventure reading gold to be mined here for sure, so consider Aistair’s list.  There isn’t much time left for summer reading, although winter is coming!

Several of these titles are at my local library, and I plan to pick up this one today:

screenshot 27.pngAre there any really good outdoor adventure books that you can recommend as well?

Why I am going back to hike the East Coast Trail

First read this overview, released today ( May 9, 2018) –>>via Newfoundland, Canada: The travel spot that the natives love | CNN Travel

Not only are there no ticks in Newfoundland, the hiking is world class on the East Coast trail (ECT).

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I flew from Boston to St. John’s there last year to hike the 170 mile East Coast Trail, dubbed one of the Top Ten Backpacking Trails by National Geographic in 2011.

This coastal trail definitely lives up to its description as a “genuine wilderness walking and hiking experience”.  Printed materials from the East Coast Trail Association describes the trail as passing directly over the most easterly point in North America at Cape Spear as it connects over 30 communities (some were abandoned) along the route.

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Hiking to Cape Spear lighthouse

I enjoyed visiting the communities along the way where people were welcoming and were interested in speaking with us.

I have written a daily blog report, complete with daily pics spanning my two weeks there that can be viewed here.

Here’s three minutes of drone footage from last August that was shot and produced by Mark Shaw of HMS Images, my hiking partner on this adventure.  Recently I have been giving presentations on this thru-hike.  Please contact me if your organization would like to have me present this summer.

My reaction to “The Year I Learned to Quit”

Rather than resolving to do more, consider less. I’m heading into that phase of my yearly cycle- when I fret when I think that I haven’t done anything useful and then am propelled into activity.  My self-imposed spring frenzy is rooted in growing up on a daily farm in southeastern Massachusetts in the middle of an agricultural belt where I was surrounded by friends and neighbors that got things done in a visible manner. There was a fruit and vegetable farm on one side of our farm and a giant multistory chicken house next door. This is time of year when I pruned trees, dug  outdoors, worked in greenhouses transplanting thousands of seedlings, burned brush and weeds around the edges of fields, planted seeds in the tremendous whoosh of activity that propels farm families back into their 100 hour a week work schedule.

I’ve learned to handling this type of imprinted mental program. One of the best techniques is to let the feelings of responsibility well up and play out, and not necessarily responded to in a knee jerk manner. I am so far behind with outdoor work, carpentry projects here and at our camp 10 miles away that it could be a 100 hour a week deal for me to ever clean up the list over the summer.

And take a plunge into list making?  I learned this in college- make up a detailed list in my little notebook of all the unfinished things that I had that were popping up throughout the day and even disrupting sleep at night. I got good at to do lists, but now I do better with another sort of list.

The Done List

The done list is simply taking  look back on my day ( or my morning)  and jotting down what really did happen,

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which often stuns me, as I am able to easily full a notebook page on some of the days where I felt that I was moping and slugging along.  I sometime am able to trace a pattern of progress or setbacks that I can reflect on and consider in a different manner.

This NY Times column inspired me to write this post- maybe you will be inspired to reframe the incessant doing and live in a manner where Being is good enough.

>>The Year I Learned to Quit – The New York Times

 

Surviving the Fundy Footpath

Yesterday, I put a rehike of New Brunswick’s Fundy Footpath (FF)  up on my summer hiking list. I was exploring recent hikes reports of the  Fundy Footpath when I found this most interesting documentary of a thru hike of this most unique trail. The “star” has zero backpacking experience. Must see!

via (1) Surviving the Fundy Footpath (OFFICIAL TRAILER) – YouTube

This 45 minute collective YouTube is brought to us,in part by Parks Canada. It bears an uncanny resemblance to the Halifax, Nova Scotia cult-like pseudo mockumentary Trailer Park Boys, now in its 12th (brand new) season. Warning: lots of swear words!

Surviving the Fundy Footpath is an adventure doc that follows mega-novice Bruce Persaud, a city slicker from Toronto, with zero camping experience, as he attempts to complete one of Canada’s toughest multi-day hikes, the treacherous Fundy Footpath. Follow along as Bruce and his team of guides climb in and out of nineteen steep ravines, traverse stunning Bay of Fundy mega tidal zones, and navigate their way through 65 kilometres of dense old growth Acadian fog forest.

Maine International Appalachian Trail Chapter holds Annual Meeting

I’m the after dinner entertainment up to Shin Pond in couple of weeks.  I’ll be presenting after the full belly dinner at Mt. Chase Lodge on Friday night –  a  brand new hiking presentation entitled,  “The Allure of the Long Distance Hike”  Reservations are  being accepted until April 20 !  I bet there will still be snow on the ground in the campground, but rooms and cabins are available in the village.

 

Hiking/Maine: Fascinating books about some treasured trails

Five-great-books-on-four-of-Americas-national-scenic-trailsHiking in Maine: Fascinating books about some treasured trails

Read Carey’s whole article here–> Hiking in Maine: Fascinating books about some treasured trails – mainetoday

“In the Path of Young Bulls: An Odyssey on America’s Continental Divide Trail.” By Thomas Jamrog, Maine Authors Publishing, 2017, 263 pages.

At a time in life when most men are happily easing into retirement, Tom Jamrog of Lincolnville took up long-distance hiking, tackling the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. Satisfied but by no means sated, the then 63-year-old Jamrog sought the ultimate prize, the Continental Divide Trail. Jamrog’s story describes the desolate, brutal, expansive, majestic 3,000-mile journey, a monumental effort achieved in the company of hiking partners half his age. With palpable determination and commitment, Jamrog colorfully and honestly captures the highs and lows of thru-hiking through the Rocky Mountains from Mexico to Canada.