Black tarmac slips into view — tires impact — with jolt and bounce we arrive. I’ve left New York behind, and with it, family, friends, routines, familiar places – in a word, I’ve left behind my home. Traded it for a city with a herd of larger-than-life bronze bulls and a brassy sun. By the way, I like it here fine. For a two-week stay, anyway. The issue is, splitting my time between two places – not to mention other travel too – leaves me feeling spread a little thin. Like Bilbo Baggins, who told Gandalf, “‘Why, I feel all thin, sort of stretched, if you know what I mean: like butter that has been scraped over too much bread.” Then he briefed Gandalf on his plan: to leave his home in the Shire, to see the mountains one last time, to find a place to rest, and maybe finish writing his book. Continue reading “Homeless in Dallas”
“You’ll be the troublemaker.” Arif gave me a sly look as he guided me to a far corner of the restaurant, and I nodded, because surely life is too short for small talk.
There were six of us seated at the table. Four middle-aged women — each one attractive, intelligent, engaging, successful. A quiet-spoken serious young man with a shock of brown hair. And me, wearing camouflage-colored Yankees cap and a few days’ worth of stubble.
This was an “intergenerational dinner,” hosted by the Hoot Owl, a cozy restaurant in upstate New York with a loyal local following. The event was organized around a series of questions designed to elicit discussion.
Anne had been tasked as the table’s guide, and now she opened with the first question – what makes you feel most alive? Continue reading “More Nature, Less Technology”
After three years and three attempts, this summer I finally completed the 211-mile John Muir Trail entirely without shoes. Whether sensible or not, that was my objective all along. As my friend Mat reminded me, when I ran in to him at Red’s Meadow, “finishing what you start is a good habit to get into.” And then a few seconds later I realized that’s what I told him — in 2021 when he’d seen me struggling on Glen Pass, shortly before I gave up and pulled on shoes. So throughout my 2022 journey, especially when things got tough, I kept thinking to myself how much better it would be to report to Matt a successful outcome, rather than explaining why I failed again.
I’m working on a detailed write-up, which is quickly expanding to book-size length, adding to a great mountain of material that awaits the light of day. For now, this post contains links to a number of short videos I filmed while walking down the trail. You can also access these videos on my YouTube channel. Continue reading “Barefoot on the JMT – 2022”
This is a guest post by 2022 SRT 70-mile finisher Mike Valentino
It’s been 3 weeks since the race. As I look back on my experience all I can say is, WOW! First of all, I can’t believe I finished. It was the hardest race I’ve ever participated in – between the distance, terrain and having a minimalist format.
At the start, I really had no idea if I could complete the task at hand. When I signed up for the SRT, my wife said “you’re crazy!” and “why didn’t you sign up for the 30 mile event?”. I knew I could go 30… but 70 miles? Continue reading “Mike Valentino’s 70-mile SRT Race Report”