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After 12 years in Colorado, the time has come for a change. The only problem is...I don't know where I want to live! Come with me (virtually, of course) across the country as I travel along all the rural roads, small towns, coastal regions, scrub-filled deserts, and damp, dark forests in Anywhere Else, America in search of a new home.
Recent posts

Early Bird Really Does

I learned a lot about hiking during my time in Colorado, and among those lessons is that you've got to get up early. This is a hard one for me because I'm not a morning person, but the lack of traffic on the road at 5:30 AM and the lack of people on the trail makes rising early worthwhile. Most importantly, I appreciate getting to the trailhead parking in time to get a spot. Nothing ruins the experience of a hike like arriving back at the trailhead but having another two miles to walk down on a hot road. In Colorado, however, it's often impossible to get up early enough, especially for the popular trails. I have arrived at trailheads at 4:30 AM and found the lot full already. It's awful. But in the rest of the world, the early rising habit I learned has served me well. In Maine, people start hiking really, really late, after 9 AM even. But even in sweltering hot Arizona and Northern California, at 6 AM you're often the first one at the trail. It's fantastic. And

It's Not the New Agers You Have to Worry About

Mt. Shasta, like many prominent mountains, is associated with plenty of legends and mystical occurrences, the most well-known of those being that the Lemurians live in the mountains. And of course there are supposed paranormal events, Big Foot sightings, vortexes, and other supernatural happenings. It's a mecca for people who believe in the healing power of crystals and sacred waters. The mountain does have a strong appeal. I was drawn to it as much as any of the new-agey types are, but in the sense that I needed to summit it. The view from the top is where the real magic is, where you really can feel connected to the universe. Mt. Shasta is the whole reason I came to Redding. And while I'd read about the area's legends, I'd read nothing about the city of Redding. All I knew is I wanted to hike Shasta, and coming from and going to a small town, I needed to stay in a decent-sized place where I could take care of a variety of appointments, go to a gym, and have some int

Ultra...Hiking?

No, this post is not about thru-hikes. See last week's post about the PCT if you think that's something I'm interested in. It's also not about running ultramarathons, which I'm supposed to be training for but haven't been able to because of endless injuries since March 28.  It's probably a good thing I'm not trying to run since I didn't realize when I booked my stay in Redding, California that it's the 17th hottest city in the country. Here's a snapshot of the temps from a large portion of my stay here. Note that the cloud icons aren't clouds, but rather smoke from all the wildfires in my area . There was even a small fire in the city , just a half mile from my AirBnB, last Sunday. That's a bit extreme for running. Redding sits at an elevation of around 700 feet, but within an hour's drive in any direction, you can be at 6,000 - 7,000 feet and start hiking upward. Even there, though, it's not much cooler. You'll still b

Three or Four Miles on the PCT...

 ...that is good enough for me.  I'll never be a thru-hiker. Or really a backpacker of any kind. I hiked two miles into a camping spot once and that was far enough to have to schlep all that gear. I much prefer to have all my stuff at a home base, go out for long hikes with a simple daypack, and have a cozy and already set-up site to return to, with some tasty food and a cooler full of beer in the car. Thru-hiking also requires organizing food drops and too many other logistical issues that would suck all the fun out of being in nature. That doesn't mean I don't get it though. I can absolutely understand why people thru-hike. It's the same reason nutheads likes me run ultramarathons (or sign up for them and not run them as this year is turning out. More on that next week.). I respect the need to get out there and do this insane physical thing. So I get a little giddy when I get to hike a small section of the Colorado Trail (which I did two summers ago), the Appalachian

Three Out of Five Ain't Bad

I'm not a fan of our review culture. People base their ratings on irrelevant criteria, lots of ratings are fake, and items have so many ratings that they are useless because you'll find as many that say "this was amazing" as that say "this is a pile of garbage," so who are you supposed to believe? Some things that are rated - like books - are too subjective for ratings to make sense. I don't know these random online people and what they like to read and if they even recognize good writing. Why would I care about their ratings?  But my biggest issue with ratings is the idea that anything less than five stars is not good. Five stars should be exceptional, and not everything can be exceptional because that goes against the meaning of the word. Three out of five should be the norm and people should be perfectly happy with that. It means your expectations were met, you got what you paid for, and everything was as it should be. But if you leave someone three s

Finally Got My $80 Worth

For many years now, I've possessed an America the Beautiful pass, often called a national parks pass, also referred to as the Interagency Pass. Besides national parks, you can use it for entry into a large number of forests, wildlife refuges, monuments, and recreation areas. When I lived in Colorado, however, I only used it for Rocky Mountain National Park, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, and Brainard Lake, even though it covered  64 sites . Living in the west, I had many other places to go besides fee-based areas. I also travel often with other America the Beautiful pass holders, so I haven't always needed mine to get in places.  This year, I bought one in Maine in October to go to Acadia , and then didn't use it for almost six months. In most places I traveled, I hiked in state parks or forests that were free to enter. In West Virginia , New River Gorge had not yet been named a national park. In Hot Springs , the national park is free. Even though I don't mind simply s

Missing 411

Missing persons cases fascinate me. Not all, but the ones that occur in wild spaces really do because despite all our technology, like FLIR , and all the trained tracker dogs and tens of thousands of man hours over weeks of searching, so many people leave not a trace behind them. The wilderness swallows them up entirely. This happens even when the person isn't alone but is around lots of other people on popular routes, as in the cases of Terrence Woods Jr and Trenny Gibson . I feed my obsession by watching endless YouTube videos about these disappearances. Rusty West and Steve Stockton have good channels, and  David Paulides and the CanAm Missing Project are the leaders of the obsessed. Through hours of viewing and gut feeling - and no scientific or data-based evidence whatsoever - I have decided on the following relative causes of these disappearances: Getting lost 55% Getting injured in a way that prevents the person from calling for help or getting him or herself back to a