“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”
- John Muir (1838-1914)
The information contained in the hike summaries is generally aimed towards independent walkers, hiking without the aid of porters, guides or animals. Except for a handful of day walks, all of the hikes examined are multi-day affairs. They range in length from shortish two or three day excursions to the multi-month Pacific Crest Trail. Note that rightly or wrongly, I tend to use the terms hiking / bushwalking / trekking / tramping and walking interchangeably. In regards to the various sub-headings for each hike summary, please note the following points :
Distance: In some cases, such as my hikes in the Copper Canyon area of northern Mexico, the overall distances given are estimates and should not be taken as gospel truth.
Avg.Time: I think a lot of guide books tend to overestimate how long your average hiker requires to do certain treks. The “average time” calculations that I have given are based on what I think a reasonably fit hiker, with an average level of experience, can do the walks in without the aid of porters, guides or animals. These estimates are calculated on the hiker walking for a minimum of 6 hours per day. Note that a strong experienced hiker should be able to finish most of the walks some 30% faster than average, whereas a slower/less experienced hiker could usually add on 30% to the estimates given.
Maps / Info: Usually I will list the maps and/or trekking notes that I personally used for the hike in question. If appropriate, I will then note other information, which I myself didn’t have access to, or which has subsequently emerged in the period since I did the hike.
Route / Conditions: An overview of terrain, water sources, supply options and miscellaneous navigational points, which may or may not be addressed in associated maps and trekking notes.
As a photographer I make a great hiker. Taking photos during my hikes (or any part of my travels) has never been of primary importance. Occasionally it would occur to me to take a few snaps, but more often than not I would be so immersed in the moment that it would completely pass me by. Nothing much has changed over the years, however, with the advent of digital cameras, I definitely take more images than I used to. I think my shot selection may have improved a little as well.
Each hike summary is supplemented with a gallery of images. Whilst many of the photos are less than stellar, my hope is that they will provide a visual companion to the information provided in the hike summaries. Listed below are the cameras I have used over the years:
- From 1993 to 1999 I used a Minolta Weathermatic 35 DL. An absolute brick of a camera, its one redeeming feature was that it was waterproof. Great for snorkelling; not so good on land. The canary yellow casing made it difficult to lose………although I tried my best.
- From 2000 to 2003 I used a Pentax point-and-shoot of some sort. Can’t remember the model. Nonetheless, it was definitely an upgrade from the Minolta, although ironically it met a watery end on the final day of the Wonderland Trail.
- From 2003 to 2007 I used a Pentax Optio 33 WR. This was my first digital camera. After my Wonderland experience, I immediately went out and purchased another water resistant model. The fact that it was half price may have swayed me.
- During the 12 Long Walks between July, 2011 and December, 2012, I used a Canon Powershot SX 230 HS, in addition to an iPhone 4s.