Happy Tramper

A Gift of Glory – Sunrise over Cerro Torre, Patagonia

A Gift of Glory – Sunrise over Cerro Torre, Patagonia
The firefly glow of our headlamps mapped out the winding trail through trees and boulders to the moraine, the ghostly spire of Cerro Torre just peeking over the top.   Cresting the ridge, across our field of view was luminescent ice, vertical rock and water: Laguna Torre and behind it a row of high sheer pinnacles rising above a sweep of…

The Primal Race Between Sockeye and Brown Bear at Brooks Falls, Katmai, Alaska

The Primal Race Between Sockeye and Brown Bear at Brooks Falls, Katmai, Alaska
I was one of those kids who couldn’t get enough of Mutual of Omaha’s ‘Wild Kingdom’ and the voyages of Jacques Cousteau. Nature’s splendid diversity and mystery was captivating, though sometimes the violence of it made me hide behind the sofa (“Nooooo, not the baby elephant…..!!!”) I found myself feeling the same combination of wonder, fascination and horror more than…

R.I.P.

R.I.P.
A short while ago I finished an epic October hike with a 4-hour descent in a steady cold rain.  As always, when the rain began I fished my trusty Helly Hansen full-zip rainpants out of my pack and slid them over my boots and hiking pants with nary a moment's delay and continued on.  Alas, within a half hour the rainpants…

Afternoon in Bhaktapur

Afternoon in Bhaktapur
The ambiance of the ancient Newari trading center of Bhaktapur in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal creeps up on you slowly, like the satisfaction of a rich, unfamiliar yet luscious multi-course meal eaten with the fingers. The Newars were the original residents of the Kathmandu Valley and the majority ethnic group until the Gorkha conquest of the valley in 1769. Bhaktapur, a center…

Circling Mount Doom on the Tongariro Northern Circuit, New Zealand

Circling Mount Doom on the Tongariro Northern Circuit, New Zealand
Taranaki once lived with the other mountains of the central North Island: Tongariro, Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe. Unfortunately, Taranaki fell in love with a pretty hill called Pihanga, who happened to be the wife of Tongariro.  After a fiery battle with Tongariro which he lost, the tall and handsome Taranaki, like many a young man, headed west. His falling tears at…

A Rich Feast on the Alpamayo Northern Circuit, Cordillera Blanca, Peru

A Rich Feast on the Alpamayo Northern Circuit, Cordillera Blanca, Peru
….superlatives crash and burn in a brave attempt to capture the beauty of the place.” Lonely Planet Trekking in Peru Snapping awake sometime before dawn, I extracted myself from sleeping bag and tent as quietly as possible so as not to awaken my tentmate.  Snuggling in down parka,  alpaca cap and mittens, I found a perch on a rock in…