Fleeting…is a perfect moment that happens, then is gone….or it’s time, passing quickly…or….
Most people who know me, know that I am passionate about the outdoors. I try hard to push myself outside of my comfort zone, to try new things and to keep growing as a person. As I get older I have to admit that it’s sometimes challenging to get motivated. It’s just that sometimes the weight of life that we all feel, seems heavier on some days more than others. Having said that…I still feel that there is so so much left to do and places to explore. It’s overwhelming.
I guess what I am trying to say is this…whether you are passionate about the outdoors, food, art, travel or whatever it might be, keep growing, keep exploring. Even as you get older, remain curious and try not to let those tough days get in the way. And if they do, then just pick yourself up on the next day and get back on the horse. You will never feel more alive than when you do.
Jim Whittaker climbed Mount Everest 50 years ago. He is to me a great inspiration and understands the importance of trying to live life to the fullest. You don’t have to be a mountain climber to appreciate his outlook and achievements.
I hope that enjoy this vimeo interview with Jim Whittaker. Perhaps within it, you too can find some inspiration.
Everyone finds their inspiration in different places. A life well lived means different things to different people. I would love for you to share your inspiration with me. Perhaps you will in turn, inspire others?
Backpacking in the Alsek Valley of Kluane National Park in the Yukon is a solitary venture in the early spring. This popular Park, a Unesco Heritage Site and home to Canada’s highest mountain peak, Mount Logan (5959 m) is a popular spot. That’s why I prefer to hike either in the spring or late fall. That and well…no bugs.
There is one teeny issue when hiking in the spring that you have to be aware of. The mountain run-offs can cause the rivers to have high, powerful, cold and unpredictable crossings. It’s important to have a plan B, just in case.
This Alsek Trail isn’t technically difficult and in fact, if you are lucky you can bypass the first 15 km since it’s accessable via 4-wheel drive. Did I mention that the spring offers some challenges?
For us, this meant that only 1 km was passable by vehicle. Due to the late and cooler than normal spring, snow pack levels were still high in places including on the path, making it impassable for a vehicle. Unfortunately the snow pack was only 1 km into the hike but included a deep gully rushing with water. Much of the rest of the path would have been fine except for this one spot early on. Nonetheless, we had to adjust.
The initial plan was to drive the 15 km to the end of the trail at which time we would hike to either the 25.9 km post or even a couple of km before where we would set up camp at the junction of the Alsek, Dezadeash and Kaskawulsh Rivers. Instead we would have to hike the first 14 km in addition so we decided that we would go as far as we felt like it. Admittedly we were not in the best of shape.
The start of this hike reminded me of hiking in Mexico. The weather was starting to turn and the sun was beating on us. We were very exposed along the surprisingly dusty road and later along the rocks where the path crosses rock slide areas…the few patches of Spruce and Poplar made for a welcome respite from the sun.
As the kms fell behind us we were able to see incredible views into this expansive Alsek Valley. It’s a stark and lovely valley. High beach ridges left behind by a succession of glacial lakes are obvious here. “Further down the Alsek valley, the Lowell glacier has surged across the valley four different times during the past 12,000 years, damming the Alsek River and creating glacial lakes, the last one having drained only just over a century ago” (Parks Canada).
We made good progress until we arrived at the 18 km mark or so. The afternoon heat caused the snows to melt and the rivers were starting to run. It started slowly as we crossed along the muddy, tar like terrain and eventually the mud began to stream into small rivers and eventually larger more challenging streams. We lost sight of any type of route. Neither my husband nor I have the best route finding skills. We thought it wise to stop here, find some higher ground and set up our camp for the night. This we did.
It was a beautiful evening although at one point some very strong winds blew up and storms threatened. We had to secure the tent better and wait for it to pass. The worst missed us, instead following the ridges of the mountains and the sun came back out. It was warm and quiet. Very very quiet. With no other hikers except one couple earlier in the day who were just out for a short day hike, we felt incredibly alone in this vast valley. There were numerous sightings of bear, wolf scat and paw prints, but even more caribou tracks. The latter were huge. Luckily or unluckily depending upon your perspective, none chose to join us at our camp that eve.
We both eventually fell asleep only to shocked awake by the sound of a huge crash. I thought it was thunder and lightening but it turned out to be a giant rock slide. We were safe and a distance from the slide, but were able to watch the exciting event from the comfort of our tent through the door flap. It went on for quite some time and was spectacular to watch.
Tomorrow’s walk home seemed a like a lifetime away. That was okay with us.
Photo credits: Jim Milne, Pam Johnson
These signs say a lot.
In the small of Watson Lake, just north of the Yukon border, alongside the Alaska Highway, is a forest of signs. In 1942 a homesick U.S. Army G.I., Carl K. Lindley of Danville, Il., erected a sign along the Alaska Highway. He was homesick and while working on the highway he erected it to point the way home and the miles to get there.
Over the years many have followed his lead and are still doing so to this day. On July 20, 1990, Olen and Anita Walker of Bryan, Ohio placed the 10,000th sign. Carl K. Lindley and his wife visited the site in 1992, 50 years after his first post was erected.
21 Practical Travel Tips.
1. Being a solo traveler does not mean that you are lonely.
One of the most frequent questions I receive is “are you lonely travelling alone?” This is a natural assumption; before they visited, even my parents envisioned my sitting alone and singing myself to sleep. But when they met me in Bangkok, they quickly realized there was a vibrant community of journalists and writers and photographers and almost instantly, I had a group of friends. The nature of travel is that it intensifies human experiences, transcending social rules that would apply at home. So when I meet a great group of people we end up spending days talking, sharing meals and exploring – despite the fact that if this was New York and I said “hey, let’s share lunch, dinner and drinks for the next seven days straight“ I’d be deemed a stalker. Those rules don’t apply. Most people are open to meeting others and learning from them as they travel. With the exception of #12, below, I don’t ever feel lonely.
2. Be a travel parasite.
No, this does not mean mooching off friends or family. What it means is learning how to use guidebooks to your advantage. While they are useful to have for the history of a place or the basics in itinerary planning, I rarely look to guidebooks for the name of a hostel or restaurant. Instead, I look at their recommendations as things to piggyback on. Lonely Planet recommends a place as “Our Pick”? Great, I go there, and walk two doors down to stay nearby. Rough Guides says “this is the best restaurant in town”? Perfect! Almost every one of those recommendations will spawn another restaurant within walking distance, especially in less developed countries. Industrious entrepreneurs quickly learn that when these books recommend a place, they quickly get overcrowded and prices go up. The solution: they open a place right next door or nearby to handle the spillover. Without fail, those are the places that are cheaper, more delicious and not jaded. Being a parasite isn’t always a bad thing. (Having parasites? Not so much.)
3. There are things you should not leave home without.
Regardless of what climate I pack for, I’ve always got these five things in my bag: safety whistle, doorstop, headlamp, sleep sheet and sarong. I’ve got many other mainstays as well, but these four are there, for shorter trips or longer trips or anything in between
These are not my tips, but those of Jodi Ettenberg from her LegalNomads.com website. She offers 18 more, here.
If you are an independent traveler or travel blogger, you will most likely have heard of Jodi. If not, then you are in for a treat. This woman is possessed of smarts, commonsense, kindness and curiosity. Over the years she has created a wealth of travel resources from which you can plan a trip. If you love to eat (and who of us doesn’t) you will enjoy her photos and food blogs.
So go ahead, indulge your travel lust and delve into Jodi’s tips and resources.