My New Book is Free For 3 days!

I’m launching my digital version of my new book with an “offer you can’t refuse” .

In the Path of Young Bulls is free on Amazon Kindle from Friday, August 17th, through Sunday, August 19th!   After that it will be available as a Kindle download  for $3.99.

Just click here:  In the path of Young Bulls:  An Odyssey on America’s Continental Divide Trail to download it to your Kindle device, iPhone, or tablet once you install the free Kindle app.

I hope that you will enjoy the book, which is into its second printing already!   I’d really appreciate it if your would post an Amazon review, even a brief  one.

Thanks to all my supporters over the past several years !


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?

Backpacking the Fundy Footpath, Day 3 of 5

Start: Brandy Brook campsite
End : Little Salmon River campsite
Mileage: 9.15 mi
Elevation Gain: 2,641 ft

Today’s Strava map:

Hiking west- Brandy Brook to Little Salmon

We say signs today that the Fundy Footpath was an official segment of the Trans-Canada Trail.
From Wikipedia: “The Great Trail, formerly known as Trans-Canada Trail, is a cross-Canada system of green ways, waterways and roadways that stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific to the Arctic oceans. The roadway sections often have significant levels of vehicular traffic and some lack segregated pedestrian shoulders or walkways. The Trail extends over 15,000 miles. It is now the longest recreational, multi-use trail network in the world”.

Sorta like the AT- white blaze and all

The hike today was composed of challenging ascents and descents in traversing 6 ravines. We hiked 400’ up to the table land from the Quiddy River, down and up another ravine east of Martin Head, then down and up another 400’ through Telegraph Creek.

Ascending one of the switchbacks today

It got more challenging as we hiked 570’ of down and then up over Wolfe Creek, and capping of the days slog with a descent of close to 700 feet to the Little Salmon.

Another rocky isolated beach crossing

I felt that trekking poles were essential to my survival on some of the descents due to the steepness of the grade, crumbling soil conditions, and humidity-saturated roots.

I  upped my food intake today, due to the rigors of ascending this path. After my typical breakfast of granola, Nido (powdered whole milk), Carnation Instant Breakfast, and added Starbucks Via freeze dried coffee I had a couple Cliff bars before lunch, which consisted of 1/4 box of Triscuits and several tablespoons of peanut butter. Normally one snack gets me through the afternoon, but today I ate a half a Cliff bar every hour. It really helped keep my energy and attitude on track.
I felt strong today, but was definitely ready to call it a day after 10 miles of staircasing this challenging terrain.

Here’s my sawtooth Strava elevation profile, read left to right:

I’ve been listening to The Trail Show where I heard about Disco’s hygiene kit. I assembled the 0.5 ounce kit, composed of a small sponge, tiny dropper bottle with Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap, and a microfiber towel. Each evening, I’ve enjoyed washing the grit and sweat off my body with this setup. I plan to add the ziplock baggie containing these items to my permanent packing list. Thanks, Disco!

I continued to be pleased with my progress on this hike, particularly when I compare my experience to the last time I hiked the FF, ten full years ago. What’s it like to hike it at 68 vs. 58 years old ? Truthfully it’s easier, probably due to the fact that I’d fifteen pounds lighter than I was way back then. One thing that made it easier was that we didn’t have to get up in the night to cross Little Salmon at low tide this time.

The tides here are dramatically evident.

BI checking out Bay of Fundy

When it is low tide the shoreline is Waayyyy Out! At peak surge, the water can rise ( or fall) a foot every 15 minutes !

We saw our first thru-hikers today- 2 young women who seemed to be doing fairly well. They have been the only other hikers we have seen so far on the FF, period!

Our campsite for the night:

Little Salmon River camp site

Backpacking the Fundy Footpath, Day 2 of 5

Start: Goose River Trail Campsite at western border of FNP
End : Brandy Brook campsite
Mileage: 9.5        Elevation: 2,700′

Today’s Strava map

Euphoric recall is a wonderful thing, for the most part.  It is a term that I associate with hiking, but has usefulness in other aspects in life as well.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:  “Euphoric recall is a psychological term for the tendency of people to remember past experiences in a positive light, while overlooking negative experiences associated with that event(s). Euphoric recall has been cited as a factor in substance dependence, as well as anger problems. Individuals may become obsessed with recreating the remembered pleasures of the past”.
    Ten years ago, Bad Influence and I did this same backpacking trip, but in the opposite direction.  Our own euphoric recall was strong enough that we are back here trying to thu-hike this bitch of a trail once again. Staggering into our campsite, drenched in sweat from the excessive humidity and over 2,700 feet of elevation gain (and losses),  we began to experience the difficulties that would lie ahead of us over the next several days.
Canadian Geographic ( Jan/Feb 2018 issue) notes that, “This narrow, rock-strewn track along New Brunswick’s Fundy coast is recommended for only the most prepared hikers — but those who brave it are amply rewarded.”  Here is one of their stunning photos:
View of Fuller Falls along the Fundy Footpath.

Here’s my own photo of Bad Influence trekking along the soft, springy forest floor:

BI heading to Brandy Brook

There are shorter segments of stream bed and beach walking encountered on a daily basis.

Transition zone

Occasionally, it is necessary to cross tidal streams and even rivers, which are best accessed at low tide.  Tide charts are necessary in order to to time your traverses . Some of the tidal walks are up to a half kilometer across.

Low tide is good here!

Wildflower meadows lined some of the shores:


A half hour later we were up toward the tableland again, which sometimes reached 800′  in elevation.  Here a long view looking west to Martin Head,  jutting out into the Bay of Fundy.

Looking west

Eventually we made it to put up our tent ( me) and hammock (Bad Influence).   This fire was the only one we were able to enjoy for the rest of the trip, due to rain.

Brandy Brook campsite

These falls were upstream and in view of the campsite.   I don’t like these flashy signs promoting the organization involved with supporting the FF.

Despite our efforts to dry out our clothes, the humidity persisted throughout the night.  We slithered into wet, cold, sweat-saturated socks, shirts, and pants each morning for the rest of the trip.

On the positive side, it never dropped below 60 degrees not did it get excessively warm for the whole walk.  Mosquitoes were not an issue either!

My thoughts on “The Three A’s” via The Hiking Life

Both on and off the trail I live each day with little projection of my hope and fears into the future.  On my last thru-hike (completing the CDT), the challenges that came each day were more than enough to deal with on a daily basis,  these difficult events forced me to stay in the present.  Being present is actual Being.  It still works for me.

I receive e-mails from legendary backpacker Cam Honan, and today he’s going on about what he refers to about the “Three A’s” – Accept, Adapt and Appreciate – of wilderness travel, a set of principles that have represented the cornerstones of all Honan’s backcountry trips since 1996:  Do read this.

I gave two packpacking presentations last week:  The West Bay Rotary and The Jackson Library in Tenants Harbor, ME.   A key message for both talks was my need to embrace the principles of improvisation.  At both events I presented this slide, a cover shot of a book that was given to me by Brad Purdy, who shares that most of his successes as a chef were largely due to his training in improvisational theater.  I may not be a thespian, but I carry a Kindle of this book on my iPhone and refer to it when I am out and about.


This book is short, but so sweet.  After reading Cam Honan’s blog post, Madson fills in the details of exactly how to adapt to unexpected challenges.  Pushing through the pain ain’t exactly the mantra that brings me results any more, as regular readers of my own blog post will acknowledge.  When I screw up now, it takes me so much longer to heal up and be off the trail.   Last season, a crash on my mountain bike and my last stumble of the trail each resulted in a month’s hiatus from engaging in both those activities.

I’m still learning.  For those of you that would like to learn more about how I translated obstacles to opportunities over 2,500 hard won miles in five all-encompassing months in 2013,  consider buying my new book,  In the Path of Young Bulls.  It’s real news.

Justin Lee and Alan Widmaier in CA on PCT (2010)