his website will inspire you to wander& learn. I'm a Harvard MBA who left the tech world in 2006 to pursue a more fulfilling mission: visit every country in the world and share their unique lessons with whoever gives a crap. First-time visitors:start with the best articles!
This article was written in collaboration with Lauren Quincy:
Every year, thousands of hikers come to Grand Canyon National Park to hike the scenic and historic trails of the area. Many of these trails are relatively short and can be done in a day or maybe two at the most. Others take a bit longer but are still rather standard. However, there are a few remote trails that aren't traveled that often due to the fact that the park no longer maintains them. They are known as routes and today we will take a look at some of the more challenging routes for hiking in the Grand Canyon.
The Tanner-Escanlante route starts out at the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona and stretches over 36 miles of various terrain. The park no longer maintains the trail, so only the most hardcore hikers take this route. Your hike will follow along the route were Pioneer Seth Tanner went along mining for copper along the Colorado River. Part of this hike includes an unavoidable 30-foot cliff near Hance Rapids that will have to be climbed. This demanding trail will probably take about 6 days to complete at a normal pace.
Royal Arch Route
The Royal Arch Route is a 45 mile hike starting at the South Bass Trail and then proceeds to Royal Arch and then to Elves Chasm and then back to South Bass via Tonto. The trail is considered to be an expert trails and recommended only for those with sufficient outdoor and wilderness skills. Make sure you take at least 50 ft of rope, 20 feet of webbing, and a reppel ring as there is a good amount of climbing, especially at Elves Chasm.
This old route from the South Bass trail to Apache Point is shorter than most at only 18 miles, but it is one that may require a little more flexibility and ingenuity for most hikers. The original trial for this route apparently has come in such disrepair and degraded over the years that many maps have become near useless. Your best bet when hiking this trail would be to review your map carefully, scan your topology and then pick your own best line of hiking.
Things to Remember
Route hiking at the Grand Canyon is only for the most experienced hikers. If you are a recreational hiker or have limited outdoor skills, do not hike these routes. Below are a few other things to remember when hiking these routes:
Never hike these routes by yourself. Beyond the fact that there is safety in numbers, additional members will be helpful when traversing large climbs, etc.
Bring plenty of water. If you think you have enough water, bring more. Some of these routes have limited water access and you need to keep hydrated for these hikes.
Don't rush the hike. It doesn't matter if you can hike 8 miles in a day normally. These are advanced trails and require more time and planning to traverse. Also make sure you have plenty of maps for the area so you have an idea of what to expect.
If you want more information on any of the routes listed above, there are plenty of resources online starting with the Grand Canyon National Park service. There are also numerous forums online with people's experiences that have hiked these routes and you can get a better idea on how to prepare for these hikes ahead of time.
One easy way to motivate people to go to business meeting is to hold it in an exotic location. Here's a short guest post by Catherine Lavinia....
Sometimes it may be a better option to take a business meeting outside of the office. This can be held at a conference room at an alternative location if meeting with a number of people, or at a coffee shop down the road if you're meeting with one other individual.
As always, there are a few things you should keep in mind when organising such a meeting and here are some of them:
The most important decision to make when looking for an alternative location is how suitable the room is.
Will it fit all those attending meeting comfortably?
Is it a convenient meeting place for the majority of those meeting to travel to?
If you're planning to spread the meeting over two days, will attendees need accommodation for the night? If so, it might be a good idea to have a look at group accommodation from Travelodge for better rates on bookings.
Some of their hotels even offer on-site meeting facilities so you can kill two birds with one stone.
April 3, 2013 Update: After 1 month in Africa, Josh is returning home to New Orleans. The article below were my thoughts about Josh 2 weeks before we left the USA. Of course, my 3+ year trip to all 54 African countries will continue!
In the spring of 2012, I got a long, rambling email from a guy in New Orleans that basically said:
Hi Francis, I was researching the idea of hiking El Camino de Santiago, when I stumbled on your controversial article about it. I laughed my ass off. Then I learned about your plans to go to Africa. I want to go with you and film you.
That email was from Joshua Huval, a 21-year-old who is obsessed with cinematography.
Many people have proclaimed to me that they would like to hike/travel like I do (or that they would like to join me on my adventures), but almost nobody makes any serious effort to make that happen. So when I got Josh's email, I gave him a friendly reply, but I figured he'd eventually fade away once he seriously contemplated what it really meant to follow through with his offer.
Therefore, I was surprised when he persisted - he really wanted to film me in Africa. What made me raise an eyebrow was when he proposed flying halfway across the country (from New Orleans to California), on his own dime, to spend one week hiking with me in the Sierra. He was putting his money and time where his mouth was. I was curious about this bold man, so I agreed.
I'll confess: my goal was to break him. Sure, Josh was half my age, but I didn't think he could keep up with me. And certainly not with a smile. Traveling to all 54 African countries over three years will be hard on the mind and body. I needed to see how tough Josh was and where he would break down.
I plotted a trail that would take us high in the Sierra Nevada, to places that would be filled with mosquitoes. If the bugs didn't break him, my hiking pace would.
My Africa trip is happening thanks to several sponsors who have given something to help make it happen.
ExOfficio makes clothes that are ideal for the adventure traveler. Their apparel is functional and light enough for when you're doing a thru-hike, yet stylish enough to wear in a city. I'll be wearing their clothes throughout the 3-year trip.
Parallax is the maker of the Elev-8 Quadcopter, which we will be using to film aerial shots. The benefits to this system are a stable platform, with no mechanical linkages for a small maneuverable and agile aircraft.
ikan is sponsoring us with a their Flyweight Camcorder Shoulder Rig for our heavy camcorder. They're also supplying an awesome light and battery accessories.
Jacks 'R' Better has been making the best sleeping bags/quilts available. They use top quality down insulation and are lighter than anything else out there. I used their quilt on my 7-month 9,000-km hike on the CDT. I'm happy to use them again. They're also supplying us with a beanie and two amazing headlamps. They're not slick marketers, but their products are the best in the world.
SteriPEN is supplying us with their SteriPEN Classic and their Freedom product. They both provide an ultraportable means to purify water via UV rays. The main difference is that Classic runs on AA batteries whereas Freedom recharges via USB. We will get their latest products once they get released in mid-2013.
IceTech USA is providing us their top-of-the-line solar panel, the i12K and its camo solar array. This will help power our gadgets when in remote areas.
DeLorme's InReach product will allow us to send out "I'm OK" signals to satellites. Unlike SPOT, DeLorme's InReach covers Africa (and anywhere on the planet, thanks to the Iridium satallites).
Looxcie makes the Looxcie HD Explore, which is a ultra-portable video camcorder that we are excited to use.
Wimdu lets you rent out rooms, apartments, or houses from locals! It's an affordable way to travel and you're more integrated into the travel experience than in a hotel.
ZPacks makes the lightest backpacking shelters. They also have an excellent selection of ultralight gear. They've agreed to supply our home for the three years.
I enjoy partnering with innovative backpacking gear companies. For example, in 2001, GoLite sponsored my Appalachian Trail thru-hike when few backpackers knew that GoLite existed. Today, it's a strong player in the backpacking world. In 2006, Gossamer Gear sponsored my Pacific Crest Trail adventure. They've also grown significantly since then. In 2013, I've identified Lite Trail as another innovative backpacking gear company worth watching.
The Scrubba is a slick way to wash your clothes when you have limited water and/or no access to washing machines. The product came out of a highly successful Kickstarter project.
For my thru-hikes, I favored a minimalist backpack. When I backpack in the wilderness, I prefer a pack that weighs less than 226 grams (half a pound). Such ultralight backpacks have small capacity and are uncomfortable when you carry more than 10 kg (22 pounds). That forces you not to take junk. For example, my CDT packweight was less than 3 kg (under 6 pounds).
However, in Africa, I won't be hiking nonstop. Instead, I'll mostly rely on vehicles to get around. Furthermore, I'll be able to buy food nearly everyday. Translation: Low daily mileage + Frequent access to food = I can load up on luxury items :)
My ideal backpack for Africa
The requirements for my backpack are:
Less than 1 kg (2.2 pounds) when empty
High storage capacity (I won't use the capacity most of the time, but I want the option to carry extra stuff)
It should hold comfortably carry 15kg (33 pounds).
Several pouches/compartments to help organize stuff
Few zippers (they often break over time)
Watch this video to see how the Gossamer Gear Mariposa Backpack does:
You can't always rely on help with your pack load.
Traveling light -- it's the only way to fly, right? Reducing your pack load is also the best way to hike, backpack, or generally move about Eastern Europe, Africa, or any other multi-week or multi-month travel destination.
Fanatics, like ultra-light hiker Ray Jardine, go to extremes to shave ounces off their pack. With just 12 – 15 pounds on their back for several month excursions, these featherweight gurus cover twice the mileage in a day that the poor schmucks lugging around the kitchen sink can manage.
While foregoing a tent to sleep outside in a bivy bag or sawing off the last three inches of your toothbrush to shave off a few micrograms may be more extreme than you're willing to go, anybody planning to carry a pack -- even for just the time between the bus station and the next hostel -- will benefit from the principles that ultralight hikers espouse.
Before your next trek, adventure, or trip across the pond, consider these general weight-slimming tips for your pack, and save your back a bit of unnecessary strain:
On October 29, 2012, when most New Yorkers were staying home and bracing themselves during Hurricane Sandy, I decided to go hiking in New York's Adirondacks. And not just to do a leisurely stroll, but rather to take on one of America's toughest hike: the Trap Dike by Mt. Colden.
What is the Trap Dike by Mt. Colden?
The Trap Dike (Brits write "Dyke") is an off-trail way to hike/climb from Avalanche Lake to the summit of Mt. Colden. It requires minor climbing. Although climbing gear and rope is not required, it is quite steep and exposed.
The Balkan Peninsula is a culturally diverse region. Therefore, its cuisine offers a great variety, too. The culinary traditions of the countries that make up the peninsula are as similar as they are different from each other. What contributes the most in terms of variety is the fact that the more you go east, the more you can feel the oriental flavor. In this sense, the Balkans are something like the border between the West and the East, both culturally and culinary.
What follows is a short, but informative, description of three notable types of Balkan cuisine.
This is my first ereader and I love it! I've been researching them for years and finally I've found one that worth buying: Amazon's Kindle Paperweight. Here's my review of it.
Super long battery life: it was half-charged when I pulled it out of the box. It's been over a week and I have yet to charge it, even though I've been using it a couple of hours every day. Amazon claims a 2-month battery life, assuming you use it 30 minutes per day, no wifi, and at 40% brightness. That seems reasonable. Yet even if it's half that, it's amazingly good.
Multi-touch display: Although it's not as responsive as a iPhone/iPad, you can swipe and pinch all you want. Typing is less responsive than a standard LCD touch screen, but you can certainly type and even use the free to-do-list app.
The screen is as bright as you want it: The Kindle Paperwhite targets people who like to read black text on a white background. Ironically, I prefer black text on a gray background. I find it easier on my eyes, so I usually leave the brightness setting at only 5% brightness. That saves battery life and, for my tastes, it's what looks best in complete darkness AND a bright environment. It's only in semi-lit environments where I will boost the front light. Still, it is amazing how bright it can get and that you can have a nice white background even in a bright room.
The double helix nanoimprinted light guide technology: It lights up the eink perfectly and evenly, unlike any other ereader in the market today. (See pic on this page.) A few reviewers have complained that there are extremely minor shadows at the very bottom of the reader (see them in the video). It's true. They are there. However, it's so incredibly subtle that only the most picky person would care. If you're one of those, I suggest you go to therapy.