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.

Polish Power Put to the Atlantic (x3)

Ninety-nine days after leaving Senegal, Doba arrived in Brazil. He was greeted by one journalist and the Polish ambassador. Nobody cares if you cross the Atlantic in a kayak.

 

I care.

I have followed the exploits of this  unique comrade for the past several years and feel a kinship to him for being older, Polish, and proud of his ability to put up with adversity and self inflicted pain.   As a farewell gift from my co-workers I was given a traditional rocking chair when I officially retired from full time work at the age of 52, after 30 years of work as a teacher and psychologist.  If I had known of the plans to get the chair, I would have requested a backpacking camping chair instead.

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Unless there really is life-after-life, we have only a certain number of days on this incomprehensibly alluring and abiding planet.  Just 30 minutes ago I just received an e-mail that John, a friend of mine who had recently announced his retirement, is now in hospice care for a rare form of incurable and rapidly progressing brain disease that only occurs in 1 out a million people.  I hope John will still be alive tomorrow when I pay him a visit.

Michael Meade writes, ” There’s an African proverb: ‘When death finds you, may it find you alive.’ Alive means living your own damn life, not the life that your parents wanted, or the life some cultural group or political party wanted, but the life that your own soul wants to live.

Do read this long article.  Maybe it will inspire you to live your own damn life.

Why He Kayaked Across the Atlantic at 70 (for the Third Time) – The New York Times

Georges River Land Trust’s new SnowDog clears the way for groomed trails !

SnowDog Brent

–>> Georges River Land Trust’s new SnowDog clears the way for groomed trails | PenBay Pilot

Great news announced today for our local community recreation area.  Before now, it was down to snowshoeing in a large group of walkers doing this in order to ride bikes in the snow.  Or we’d line up to ride our fat tire bikes and pound the snow down with breaking trail and multiple passes of those wide 5″ tires.

This is the brightest thing that may come my way this snowed-in day!

Snowdog!

Snowdog!

I’m “In it for the long haul”

Check out today’s  Sports section of the Maine Sunday Telegram.

Retired psychologist from Midcoast amasses major hiking resume – via Portland Press Herald

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A big thanks to Deirdre Fleming, journalist/reporter, Gregory Rec for his photos, and anyone else who helped me keep walking!

Read on –>> Retired psychologist from Midcoast amasses major hiking resume – Portland Press Herald

 

Polish Alpinists Attempt First K2 Winter Ascent

From the NYTimes ( 12/27/17) :

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Tommy Heinrich, National Geographic Creative

A team of Poland’s most elite climbers just launched an attempt to scale one of the deadliest mountains on Earth—a feat no one has accomplished. The Polish team has been preparing for almost two years, purchasing the best climbing equipment and hiring a supplemental team of weather forecasters, dietitians, sports trainers, and doctors.

They encompass the world’s best climbers and is overseen by renowned Polish climber Krzysztof Wielicki. The 67-year-old made headlines in 1980, when he became the first person to climb Mount Everest in winter. He has led three winter expeditions to different peaks on K2, but never to its tallest point.

read full NYTimes article here:  Climbers Set Off to Be First to Summit World’s Most Notorious Mountain in Winter

Also,

Check out the award winning book about Polish climbers specializing in winter Himalayan ascents :  Freedom Climbers by Bernadette McDonald. This book won the following awards:
2012 American Alpine Club Literary Prize (USA)
2011 Munday Award, Banff Mountain Festival (CANADA)
2011 Boardman Tasker Prize, Kendal Mountain Festival (UNITED KINGDOM)

Here are my two previous blog posts ( 2008) about Polish ascents of the winter giants:

https://tjamrog.wordpress.com/2015/08/23/the-poles-take-on-himalaya-winter-climb-2008-national-geographic-magazine/

https://tjamrog.wordpress.com/2008/03/02/ice-warriors/

 

Beet Kvass for Holiday Cheer !

It’s time I went back to my Slavik roots (literally) and embraced the positive aftermath of my gardening work this season.  While the ground is now freezing progressively deeper here in Maine,  I’m processing the last of my harvest:  carrots, leeks, and beets.

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photo: holisticsquid.com

Blessed with an overabundance of beets, still viable in a 5 gallon bucket on the porch, I’m excited to make my first batch of kvass, a drink that my grandmother, Philomena, used to make when I was a little boy on the family dairy farm in Somerset, MA.

Here’s a pic of what I accomplished this morning.  The crock will be covered and put beside the wood stove for the next 10 days or so.

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From holisticsquid.com:

What is Beet Kvass?

“Beet Kvass is comprised of simple ingredients and is simple to make through the process of wild fermentation.  Here in my kitchen, we call it blood of the earth. Indeed I do taste the earth when I sip this crimson liquid. Beet Kvass is an age-old tonic associated with many health benefits including efficient hydration. Fermented beverages are the original sports drinks. Like other lacto-fermented drinks, kvass is more hydrating than even water. In order to remain hydrated, our bodies require a balance of electrolytes. Cultured beverages like kvass help restore this balance without the sugar and preservatives of modern ‘sport drinks’. Beet Kvass is traditionally heralded as a blood and liver tonic. And indeed this ancestral knowledge is meted out in science. In fact, beets are high in betacyanin which can dramatically increase the oxygen-carrying ability of the blood.”

Easy ( no cooking) kvass recipe and  info here:

Beet Kvass Myth Busting (& Recipe) – Holistic Squid