Susan Alcorn’s Backpacking & Hiking Tales & Tips, Dec. 2022

Susan Alcorn’s Backpacking & Hiking Tales & Tips, #278, Dec. 2022

Backpacking & Hiking Tales & Tips image of half dome
Yosemite’s Half Dome

Happy Holidays!
Contents of Backpacking & Hiking Tales & Tips:
#1. Bay Nature Talks — online and free
#2. New! “Boots McFarland – 20 Years on the Trail”
#3. Camino info: Ivar discusses 2023 Brierley Camino Guidebook and Bed Bugs.
#4. Camino: Sylvia Nilsen’s Guided Camino walks
#5. Camino: Hospitalero Training in Point Reyes, Ntl. Park, California
#6. First Woman to do Continuous Trans-Canada hike
#7. Heather Anderson received new award, plus offers hints to hikers
#8. Jaunting Jan’s 2022, Jaunt, the Landscape. WOW Edition. JOY!
#9. Regional: Bay Area Ridge Trail. Tom Coroneos captures a grand peninsula hike.
Articles:

#1. Bay Nature Talks — free.

The delightful and informative Bay Nature Magazine offers free one-hour webinars. Whether you want to read “An Inside Lock at Bay Area Bobcats,” “Nature Journaling with John Muir Laws,” “A Year in the Life of the Urban Gray Fox,” or something equally fascinating, you can enjoy it from anywhere — “an indoor escape into the San Francisco Bay Area’s natural world.” 

#2. New! “Boots McFarland – 20 Years on the Trail”.

  Geolyn Carvin writes, “Hi Susan, Yes, I finally finished the new book…. Man, that took a while.  I lost my mojo (like a lot of people during the pandemic) so gave myself permission to be lazy.  But luckily I got my focus back.”

“Boots McFarland — 20 Years on the Trail spans the history of the Boots character from 2003 to 2022.  It contains more than 130 comics moving through the seasons, showing the evolution of the artwork and of Boots’ personality.  Its colorful illustrations are for grown-ups, though most kids will enjoy them too.” 

“Geolyn Carvin has been in love with the mountains her whole life.  She has completed the Pacific Crest Trail and the Tahoe Rim Trail.  ‘I had a lot of experiences on my hikes, mostly amazing, sometimes uncomfortable, occasionally painful, and most often humorous.  I enjoyed writing a journal and soon discovered that it was fun to draw a snapshot of the trail comedy that we all experience.”

#3.  Camino info:

Ivar discusses 2023 Brierley Camino Guidebook, number of pilgrims, BED BUGS and more. Could be important info for pilgrims in this video. (Bedbug portion Starts at about 3:00). 

#4. Sylvia Nilsen’s guided Camino walks.

“In spring everything in northern Spain is green, the wildflowers are spectacular and the European storks have returned to their huge nests on towers and steeples to raise their chicks. amaWalkers Camino is offering a 17-day walk from St Jean Pied Port (in France) to Santiago de Compostela. On your 17-day Camino you will walk 255 km, across three scenic sections of the Camino Frances, averaging 16.5 km (10.25 miles) per day. The longest day is 22km (13.6 miles).

We arrange everything, accommodation, transport on the sections you don’t walk, luggage transfers and a group leader who will accompany the group. All you have to do is walk! Information and registrations on our website

Sylvia is one of the women featured in my most recent book, Walk, Hike, Saunter: Tales and Trails from Seasoned Women Hikers.

#5. Camino Hospitalero Training, February 3-5, 2023.

The first American Pilgrims on the Camino Hospitalero training for 2023 has filled up, but there is a waitlist.  A hospitalero supports other pilgrims on the road to Santiago.
Here are the current plans for next year:
February 3-5, Point Reyes, CA. Registration has filled up, but the waitlist is open. Follow this link for more information.
April 11-13, Zephyr Cove, NV (Lake Tahoe)
June 2-4, Stroudsburg, PA
September/October, TBA
The February training costs $295 and will be held at the Hi Point Reyes Hostel, 1390 Limantour Spit Rd., Point Reyes Station, CA 94956, and will begin at 4:00 PM on Friday, February 3, 2023, and conclude at 5:00 PM on Sunday, February 5, 2023. Sunday night lodging is available at the hostel for an additional $25.

To attend you must: Have walked at least 100 km or biked at least 200 km of the Camino; Have stayed in at least 2 non-private albergues; Be a current member of American Pilgrims on the Camino; Be at least 18 years old by January 15, 2023; Provide proof of COVID vaccination plus the Booster; Note: all attendees may be required to wear masks during the training. Bring your masks.

Training Schedule: Check-in: 4:00 PM on Friday, February 3, 2023; Training complete: 5:00 PM on Sunday, February 5, 2023. You must attend the entire training session to be certified!  Make your travel plans accordingly! 
Register here: February 3-5, 2023 Hospitalero Training
Email for any questions here.  hospitalerotraining@americanpilgrims.org

#6. First Woman to do a continuous hike of Trans-Canada.

Melanie Vogel completed the 12,000-Mile Trans-Canada Trail hike on Saturday, November 12, and became the first woman to complete a continuous coast-to-coast-to-coast hike of the Trans Canada Trail. She hiked all the land-based miles of the 15,000-mile land and water route—26 million steps.

 “Vogel started her journey on June 2, 2017 in Cape Spear, Newfoundland, and finished in Clover Point, Victoria, British Columbia.” She had originally planned to complete the hike in two years, but when COVID-19 began, “she was forced to reside in Yukon for a year and a half until she could resume hiking.”

Vogel was born and raised in Germany, and immigrated to Canada in 2008. “A 10-day trek to the Annapurna Base Camp in Nepal was her only previous long-distance hiking experience.”

The Trans Canada Trail (TCT), formerly known as the Great Trail, combines both land and water routes that, together, span over 24,000 km (14,912 mi). It is the longest trail network in the world, connecting the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic oceans.

Prior to Vogel’s accomplishment, Dianne Whelan was recognized as the first person to complete both the land and water routes of the TCT in August of 2021. In 2017, Sarah Jackson became the first individual to complete an east-to-west journey on the trail.

Learn more: https://tctrail.ca/news/melanie-vogel/ and https://thetrek.co/melanie-vogel-completes-historic-12000-mile-trans-canada-hike/

#7. Heather Anderson, aka Anish, gains new award, and more.

As her website says, she’s an explorer, trailblazer, thru-hiker. She’s also an award winner —including the hikers’ Triple Crown, has set many speed records on the trail, has hiked 45k foot miles, and was National Geographic Adventurer of the Year 2019.  She has written two memoirs, published by Mountaineers Books, Thirst: 2600 Miles to Home (2019) and Mud, Rocks, Blazes: Letting Go on the Appalachian Trail (2021).

Her most recent honor was “becoming a member of the California Outdoor Hall of Fame. In her current issue, she writes, “To snuggle up with hot cocoa or tea and a good book. To take a moment and catch snowflakes on your tongue. To be grateful for the simple joys of being alive. The Danish call this ‘hygge’.”

Sign up for her Newsletter! Website here.  If you sign up for the newsletter, “As a welcome bonus you’ll receive an excerpt from my upcoming book: Adventure Ready: A Hiker’s Guide to Planning, Training, and Resiliency…available only to my newsletter subscribers!” 

Heather’s Hints from her December Gear Spotlight:
“The humble safety pin is often overlooked as a crucial piece of gear. Quite honestly, carrying a few of these in different sizes can save the day in so many ways. In addition to first aid (popping blisters) they can also repair a wide variety of gear and clothing failures.”

#8. Jaunting Jan shares highlights of travels and hikes in Colorado and more.

Jan (one of the women in Walk, Hike, Saunter) spent five months traveling and hiking this year. That’s especially noteworthy because it followed   lengthy knee rehab. “This 5-minute video showcases my favorite scenes. May it bring smiles as we head into the holiday season.” Jan’s 2022 Jaunt, the Landscape WOW Edition. “JOY! 

#9. And last but not least: Regional: Bay Area Ridge Trail video by  Tom Coroneos.

Here, our friend Tom captures our delightful S.F. Peninsula hike. In late November, we did a hike of two Bay Area Ridge Trail segments: Russian Ridge and Windy Hill (8.3 miles). How many people are lucky enough to have a hiking companion who captures so many of the special moments we have on the trail? Tom is amazing. He hikes with us, goes home and takes a short nap, and then spends a couple of hours putting together his wonderful videos for us to enjoy the next day! +++++++

Walk Hike Saunter cover image
Walk, Hike, Saunter

Thank you everyone. Stay well, keep hiking when prudent. I encourage you to send in items of interest to the hiking community to me at backpack45 “at sign” yahoo.com
Susan ‘backpack45’ Alcorn
Shepherd Canyon Books, Oakland, CA
https://www.susandalcorn.com
https://www.backpack45.com

Susan Alcorn’s Backpacking & Hiking Tales & Tips, November 2022 – blister prevention, john brierley event, Backpacker Mag last words

Susan Alcorn’s Backpacking & Hiking Tales & Tips, #277, November 2022.

Happy Thanksgiving!

John Brierley coming on zoom near thanksgiving

 Contents:

#1. World’s Oldest Restaurant: Madrid
#2. Not good! Burning Clothes and Shoes after the Camino – Fisterra
#3.
American Pilgrims: John Brierley Zoom coming up
#4.
2023 Annual Gathering of Pilgrims in Lake Tahoe, NV, April 13-16, 2023
#5. Foot care/avoiding blisters
#6. Free delivery for donations of slightly used, outdoor gear
#7. Good advice from Backpacker Magazine’s final issue
#8.
Regional (California and Baja): The Blainville’s horned lizard
#9. Regional: Bay Area Ridge Trail Hike
#10. Regional:
Jack London State Historic Park’s Ninth Annual After-Thanksgiving “Turkey Waddle,” Nov. 25, 2022

Articles:
#1.
World’s Oldest Restaurant: Madrid.

 Camino-bound and stopping in Madrid? Check out Restaurante Botín in Madrid, Spain. It’s recognized by the Guinness World Records as the oldest restaurant in the world.  “At the World’s Oldest Restaurant, the Fire Has Been Burning. Since 1725. They’ve never turned the oven off.” (Mike Pomranz, Travel and Leisure; posted by Michael Noël of the Nor Cal Pilgrim group.)

#2. Not good! Burning Clothes and Shoes after the Camino!

A number of local websites are reporting another campaign against the practice of burning boots and clothing at Fisterra. Something which locals say has given an area of natural beauty the appearance of a landfill site. Previous poster campaigns have had limited success.

Ask yourself–would like this practice carried out on a beach near you, or in your backyard? If you want to get rid of your used hiking clothes, see item #6 below and see how you can send items to an organization that will pass them on to someone else. LNT!

#3. APOC (American Pilgrims on the Camino) Zoom session.

APOC will be holding its 2nd Annual Holiday Open House on Saturday, December 10th at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time. “There will be an hour with John Brierley, author of Pilgrim’s Guide to the Camino. In this live virtual event, John will share his inspiration and insight, from how the Camino is emerging from the COVID-19 years to his powerful personal reflections on the healing power of the Camino.

“A significant portion of this live Zoom session will be dedicated to answering your questions. Look for more information on how to register for the event through the American Pilgrims Facebook Group, on their website, and in your email if you are an #APOC member. Zoom: Registration link will be sent in an upcoming member email and event will be streamed live on the American Pilgrims Facebook Group (available to all).”

#4. American Pilgrims on the Camino — 2023 gathering.

This summer the APOC’s “planning teams provided updates regarding the 2023 Annual Gathering of Pilgrims in Lake Tahoe, NV, to be held April 13-16, 2023. Making it an international gathering is being discussed with the Canadian Company of Pilgrims. There was also consideration of proposed joint efforts with Spanish associations …”

#5. Avoiding blisters.

We all know that everyone’s feet are unique and what works for one may not work for all, but I was recently asked for my advice, and I answered as follows. Keep in mind that I had a terrible time with blisters on my first Camino hike (2001), but got the following advice from a (French) pilgrim, which has helped tremendously— as did changing from boots to trail runners (Altra Lone Peak).

I do two kinds of preventative taping. First I wrap a wide, breathable tape (Omnifix) around the ball of my foot (I have bunions). The tape is backed by paper that you easily pull off after you cut a length of it to fit. Then I wrap each toe that is prone to blisters with a one-inch tape called Medipore. The Medipore is breathable, stretchy, and soft-cloth-like. It tears off in about 1&1/2” segments; I tear off about 2-3 sections per toe. It stays on for a couple of days if needed. These products can be obtained through Amazon and many pharmacies.

In the past I have used double-layer socks such as Wrightsocks, and toe socks such as Injinji, but now I wear a single lightweight sock by Tilley, called “Unholey”, Tilley women’s ankle socks. Unfortunately, they are increasingly difficult to find (none have worn out, but just in case…) Darn Tough are tough, but also heavier than I prefer.

Other things to consider—it you are expecting to encounter a lot of loose dirt, or sand, you should consider a lightweight gaiter like the fun ones Dirty Girl Gaiters dirtygirlgaiters.com  offers. Blisters are generally caused by friction (abrasion or rubbing) and heat — and/or by ill-fitting shoes or socks.

When hiking, always take care of hot spots right away; take off shoes and socks to let things cool. Popping a blister is usually not a good idea because it can introduce bacteria and cause an infection. But if the #blister is large and painful, it might be necessary. If you choose to do so, be certain the needle, your hands, and any other material are sterile. Do not pop a blister than has blood in it or any other sign of infection. If you develop a blister, it usually will take a week to go away. You can cover it with a special bandage for blisters if necessary.  

#6. Wanted!! All that gear you never use: Outside’s Gear program, Give Back.

Three simple steps: pack up your gently used items, print a shipping label, and send them off (free in the U.S) to the Gear Fix. Their repair partner prepares items to be resold and to benefit the Outdoorist Oath (advocates for environmental justice and an inclusive outdoors.” oursideoline.com/give-back

#7. Sound advice from Backpacker Magazine.

The last issue, as I understand it, of the print edition of Backpacker Magazine, is the Fall 2022. It’s an interesting comparison of the advice and practices in the early days of the magazine (which goes back 50 years), and of that given and favored now.
Hiking poles: Adjustable poles came about in the 1960s. German Karl Lendhart, a skier, came up with a locking system. The system, “patented for the first adjustable pole—the Leki Makalu—is still in use today.”

Trail running shoes: When I first started backpacking in 1989, I wore the kind of footwear that most other hikers were wearing — boots. However, choices have widened! “Last year, a thru-hiker survey found that 77% of Appalachian Trail Thru-hikers wore trail running shoes. “ The 2011 release of Altra’s Lone Peak model, changed things dramatically, and they have become the overwhelming favorite.  Credit the “breathable mesh upper, chunky lugs, cushy midsole, zero drop heel, and a wide, foot-shaped toe box.” (Backpacker.com Fall 2022)

#8. Regional (California and Baja): The Blainville’s horned lizard.

Have you ever seen one? Looking at an earlier (Spring 2022), copy of Bay Nature Magazine, I stumbled again on an article about this amazing reptile. It “is endemic to California and Baja, eats native harvester ants, and as a defense of last resort, squirts blood from its eyes.” The article continues, “the blood can reportedly reach six feet forward or backwards”— chiefly to startle coyotes, foxes, and dogs (it would startle me too!). Put this on your calendar to do a search next spring in our South and East Bay Counties. 

#9. Regional: Bay Area Ridge Trail.

After a delightful time at a recent event—where I was invited to give a talk on Walk, Hike, Saunter: Tales and Tips from Seasoned Women Hikers—I found a renewed interest in circumnavigating our amazing trail.
For those who aren’t familiar with the #Ridge Trail, it’s a planned 550-mile (890 km) multi-use trail along the hills and mountain ridgelines circling San Francisco Bay and more. Currently, four hundred miles are currently open. Link to Ridge Trail

With my hiking partners, Patricia Schaffarczyk, Tom Coroneos, and Ralph, we recently did another section-hike on the San Francisco peninsula. We started at the North Parking lot of Purisima Creek Redwoods (off Skyline/hwy 35) and ended at the South End Parking lot of Purisima Creek Redwoods. It was 5.8 miles of gentle descent (1000 ft.) and ascent through wonderful redwoods with occasional sightings of the ocean.

One of the things that struck me was that (except for an occasional airplane) it was absolutely quiet once we were away from the highway. On the weekends, it would be busier, but on this weekday, we saw only three other people.

#10. Regional: Jack London State Historic Park’s Ninth Annual After-Thanksgiving Turkey Waddle.

The Day-After-Thanksgiving Turkey Waddle Hike at Jack London State Historic Park sets the pace for a healthy holiday season. That’s Friday, Nov. 25, 2022. “…The annual Turkey Waddle Hike lets everyone get out and ‘shake their tail feathers’ after a day of feasting and football.

This moderate 3.5-mile hike leads through mixed evergreens on the way to the majestic Ancient Redwood (also affectionately known as the Grandmother Tree).
Waddlers, will gather at 10 a.m. in the Ranch parking lot to the right of the entrance kiosk.  The hike will end at noon.  The event will be cancelled in the event of rain. Great for all ages, participants should wear sturdy shoes and bring water.  The trail includes uneven and rocky surfaces and involves some elevation gain and loss.
“Reservations are required and can be made at jacklondonpark.com/events/turkey-waddle-2022/.   Tickets are $10, plus the $10 per car entry fee (up to nine passengers).” More info at: jacklondonpark.com/events/.

+++++
Thank you everyone. Stay well, keep hiking when prudent. I encourage you to send in items of interest to the hiking community to me at backpack45 “at sign” yahoo.com
Susan ‘backpack45’ Alcorn
Shepherd Canyon Books, Oakland, CA
susandalcorn.com
backpack45.com

Author of Walk, Hike, Saunter: Seasoned Women Share Tales and Trails; Healing Miles: Gifts from the Caminos Norte and Primitivo; Patagonia Chronicle: On Foot in Torres del Paine; We’re in the Mountains Not over the Hill: Tales and Tips from Seasoned Women Backpackers; and Camino Chronicle: Walking to Santiago.

Please note: Hiking and backpacking can be risky endeavors. Always be prepared for emergencies and carry food, water, shelter (warm clothing, etc.), flashlight/headlamp, matches, first aid supplies, and maps. Cell phones don’t always work. Leave word where you are traveling and when you are due back.

Susan Alcorn’s Backpacking & Hiking Tales and Tips, October 2022

Dingle Way stone huts
Old stone huts in Ireland along the Dingle Way.

Susan Alcorn’s Backpacking & Hiking Tales & Tips, #276, October 2022

“Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” Miriam Beard. (Thank you Joyce Bender for sharing this.)

Contents:


1. Hiking the Dingle Way in Ireland
2. Philanthropy and Yvon Chouinard
3. Camino interest: “Flying from Western North America flight home from Porto, Portugal are Cheapest.
4. How to Forage For and Prepare Bay Nuts
5. “Stringbean” Joe McConaughy Sets New John Muir Trail FKT (Fastest Known Time)
6. Book review of Walk, Hike, Saunter
7. Green Friday: Author Susan Alcorn on “Seasoned Women Hikers” Recording
8. Bay Area Ridge Trail hike in honor of Latine/Latinx Heritage Month!
9. SF Bay Area Regional: Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife 10. Refuge celebrates 50th Anniversary
11. Regional: Walking every street in Alameda, CA

Articles:


#1. Hiking the Dingle Way in Ireland.

Ralph and I returned recently from three weeks in Ireland, of which two weeks were about hiking. We had signed up for a 9-day walk, using the services of Hillwalk Tours. This is the first time we have utilized the services to plan our specific route, provide maps and information about the trail, sites, and towns along the way, and to shuttle our excess luggage ahead to the accommodations they had arranged. They did an excellent job and we definitely would use them again.

Dingle Way trail
Descending the pass

We hiked alone (vs. with a group) approximately 10 miles a day on moderate terrain for seven days. The Dingle Way, which is on the Dingle Peninsula in SW Ireland, is about 179km (112 miles) long, which means we completed about 63% of it—enough to learn that the hiking in Ireland can be incredibly wonderful. The accommodations arranged by Hilwalk were first rate as was the food provided at the hotels or B&Bs in the morning and at the local pubs in the evenings.

Some days we walked along the coast on magnificent beaches, other times alongside ancient stone huts and other ruins, and one day over a mountain pass. And, sometimes we were walking alongside secondary roads, but drivers were universally courteous and careful about moving over to give us wide berth and waving to us. We found the Irish to be extremely friendly and helpful.

After the planned hike, we took trains and busses to a couple of other areas where we could hike. We spent time in Killarney and the Killarney National Park on the Kerry Way, and in the village of Kenmare on bits of the Kerry Way and the Beara Trail. When we were in Dublin, we took an afternoon bus ride out to the Glendalough National Park in the Wicklow Mountains and did a short hike there. We were amazed to learn that there is such an abundance of trails and parks in Ireland—and we know that we hardly touched the possibilities. 

#2. Billionaire No More: Patagonia Founder Gives Away the Company.

“A half century after founding the outdoor apparel maker Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard, the eccentric rock climber who became a reluctant billionaire with his unconventional spin on capitalism, has given the company away.” Chouinard was a pioneering rock climber in California’s Yosemite Valley in the 1960s. He lived out of his car and ate damaged cans of cat food that he bought for five cents apiece.”

“Mr. Chouinard, 83, his wife and two adult children have transferred their ownership of Patagonia, valued at about $3 billion, to a specially designed trust and a nonprofit organization. They were created to preserve the company’s independence and ensure that all of its profits — some $100 million a year — are used to combat climate change and protect undeveloped land around the globe.”

“Patagonia will continue to operate as a private, for-profit corporation… but the Chouinards, who controlled Patagonia until last month, no longer own the company.”

In August, the family irrevocably transferred all the company’s voting stock, equivalent to 2 percent of the overall shares, into a newly established entity known as the Patagonia Purpose Trust. “Because the Chouinards donated their shares to a trust, the family will pay about $17.5 million in taxes on the gift. Then they donated the other 98 percent of Patagonia, its common shares, to a newly established nonprofit organization called the Holdfast Collective, which will now be the recipient of all the company’s profits and use the funds to combat climate change.” “Because the Holdfast Collective is a 501(c)(4), which allows it to make unlimited political contributions, the family received no tax benefit for its donation.”

“I didn’t know what to do with the company because I didn’t ever want a company,” he said from his home in Jackson, Wyo. “I didn’t want to be a businessman.”  “I feel a big relief that I’ve put my life in order,” Mr. Chouinard said. “For us, this was the ideal solution.” nytimes.com/2022/09/14/climate/patagonia-climate-philanthropy-chouinard.html David Gelles. (Sept. 14, 2022, Updated Sept. 21, 2022).

#3. Flights for Camino-bound.

“Just Jack,” a contributor to the Camino Facebook page, wrote, “I’ve been … checking out flight options from Vancouver that will get me to/from the CF next spring. I’ve checked out cities all over Europe. Many people advised that the simplest and cheapest way to SJPDP (Saint Jean Pied de Port, FR) was Vancouver –> Paris –> SJPdP. And after checking many many different routes I fully agree.

“I assumed that flying home from Madrid would be the cheapest and simplest, and that’s what I was planning to do. However someone on this site suggested I check the flights from Porto to Vancouver, and that was a great tip. It’s closer to Santiago, and much cheaper to fly from than Madrid. That tip will save me several hundred dollars, not to mention allow me to see what looks to be an incredibly picturesque city, in a country I didn’t intend to visit, so a heartfelt thanks to that person!” caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/flying-from-western-north-america-flights-home-from-porto-are-cheapest.77128/.  

#4.  How to Forage For and Prepare Bay Nuts.

“The Bay laurel is one of our iconic trees, writer and herbalist The California native grows widely, and provides important benefits to wildlife. But humans love it too. Here are some tips for foraging for and preparing roasted bay nuts this fall or winter.

The article, baynature.org/article/how-to-forage-and-prepare-bay-nuts/gives the details of how to gather; shuck, wash and dry; roast; shell and eat. (Important note: foraging isn’t legal everywhere. Please check before you gather!). Original article: Ali Budner, Bay Nature, October 12, 2016

#5. “Stringbean” Joe McConaughy Sets New John Muir Trail FKT.

“On Thursday, August 8, 2022, Joe ‘Stringbean’ McConaughy set a new north-to-south Fastest Known Time (FKT) on the Nüümü Poyo, known to many as the John Muir Trail (JMT). The John Muir Trail is 223-miles from Yosemite National Park to Mt. Whitney. McConaughy lowered the FKT from three days, three hours and 55 min to three days, one hour and 34 seconds.

“Stringbean tackled the route from north to south, although FKTs have traditionally been done in the opposite direction to minimize elevation gain (north-to-south boasts 4,000 additional feet of climbing). McConaughy’s effort also bested the previous overall unsupported FKT, which was done south-to-north. The north-to-south route places Mt. Whitney, a 14,505-foot peak that’s the tallest in the lower 48 near the end of the route, a major challenge on an already tough route.” trailrunnermag.com/people/stringbean-joe-mcconaughy-sets-new-john-muir-trail-fkt/

#6. Book Review from Sue Williams of fiftysense.com.

If sometimes you get discouraged by getting older, this is definitely the book to read! Susan has compiled stories about 32 women over the age of 45 who are still out there exploring the great outdoors. At 74, I happen to be one of the women interviewed and cannot be more thrilled to be included with these amazing women. Although I have slowed down, choosing shorter, less challenging backpacking trips, I’m still having a great time!

“Each story, like each woman is unique in not only what they have accomplished but also the challenges they have had to overcome not only in getting older…” 
fiftysense.com/resources/resources-books/walkhikesaunter.shtml

#7. Green Friday: Author Susan Alcorn on “Seasoned Women Hikers.”

Sierra Club San Francisco Bay Chapter. The August 12, 2022 Sierra Club Green Friday program featured author of Walk, Hike, Saunter, Susan Alcorn, who talked about her experience backpacking and interviewing women hikers for her book. youtube.com/channel/UCEpBcwQR-A6H-plbD8FUrlQ 

S.F. Bay Area Regional

#8. Latinx Heritage Month – Group Hike.

Saturday, October 15, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM. “Join the Ridge Trail and hike leader Heather Diaz for an East Bay group day hike in honor of Latine/Latinx Heritage Month! We can celebrate our heritage, learn about each other’s heritage and culture, and celebrate the independence days from Spain (September 1810), which includes The Act of Independence of Central America. Countries that celebrate their independence: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, and Chile. There will be an optional, post-hike activity for folks who want to hang out a little longer and build community.

“We’ll meet close to the parking lot of Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park in Oakland. Exact trailhead location sent in at registration. We’ll then start a loop hike through the beautiful redwoods. There will be an optional, post-hike activity for folks who want to hang out a little longer and build community. Distance: 3 – 4 Miles, Difficulty: Moderate, Time: 2 – 3 hours.

The leader, Heather Diaz, is a first-generation hiker from the suburbs of Houston who now lives in Morgan Hill. She has hiked over 2500 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail, and is now hiking the Ridge Trail for the 2022 Ridge Trail Challenge. Her goal is to help women feel included, prepared, and empowered in the outdoors by hosting group hikes and camping trips. Learn more at LetsGoOutsideYall.com and also follow Heather on Instagram.” Email: Events@ridgetrail.org with any questions.

#9. “Celebrating 50 Years of Conservation: Past, Present, Future.”

“On Saturday, October 8, 2022, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge will host a celebration to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of its authorization by Congress in 1972. The celebration will include a land acknowledgment from the Costanoan Rumsen Carmel Tribe, a variety of speakers and activities hosted by refuge staff and its partners, including guided and self-guided hikes, games, arts and crafts, and information booths.”

Program: 10 – 11:00 a.m.: Opening ceremony and remarks. 11:00 a.m. – 3 p.m.:  Activities and booths (includes a family nature walk, puppet show, guided geology walk, Junior Ranger activities, face painting and more!). Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge, 1 Marshlands Rd. Fremont, CA

 “In the heart of California’s high-tech industry lies one of the nation’s first and largest urban national wildlife refuges. It is a wildlife oasis in an urban sea with 30,000 acres of habitat supporting millions of migratory birds and endangered species. For 50 years, the refuge has provided extremely important habitat for several threatened and endangered species, and many opportunities for people to learn about San Francisco Bay salt marshes and enjoy the benefits of nature.”

#11. Walking every street in Alameda, CA.

Ralph and I recently set a new challenge for ourselves and quickly were joined in the project by our hiking buddies, Patricia Schaffarczyk and Tom Coroneos, who earlier did the Nifty Ninety Peaks Challenge with us.

Ralph finds a swing in Alameda.

We plan to hike every street in Alameda, which is an island just across a short bridge from Oakland. (This endeavor is in addition to our renewed interest in circumnavigation the Bay Area Ridge Trail). Alameda offers easy walking—it’s totally flat and it’s residential. It does, however, mean that we are almost always walking on sidewalks, which is not easy on the feet. I contacted the city’s transportation planner, Chris G. Marks, and learned the City of Alameda has 276.5 miles of roads—so this project is going to take us a while.

All of us are familiar with Alameda to some degree, but there is a lot of new territory to explore because our earlier visits there have been to visit friends, or outdoor events, and so specific locations. Now we are discovering the personalities of various neighborhoods and we’re enjoying finding lots of yard art, stately Victorian houses, and talking with residents.

This is the second time that I have taken on walking on every street in a town—years ago, I walked every street in hilly Piedmont, California. It’s a great way to get to know the layout and personality of a place. So, something to consider if you are looking for a new challenge close to home!
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Thank you everyone. Stay well, keep hiking when prudent. I encourage you to send in items of interest to the hiking community to me at backpack45 “at sign” yahoo.com

Susan ‘backpack45’ Alcorn

Shepherd Canyon Books, Oakland, CA

 

https://www.susandalcorn.com
https://www.backpack45.com

Author of Walk, Hike, Saunter: Seasoned Women Share Tales and Trails; Healing Miles: Gifts from the Caminos Norte and Primitivo; Patagonia Chronicle: On Foot in Torres del Paine; We’re in the Mountains Not over the Hill: Tales and Tips from Seasoned Women Backpackers; and Camino Chronicle: Walking to Santiago.

Please note: Hiking and backpacking can be risky endeavors. Always be prepared for emergencies and carry food, water, shelter (warm clothing, etc.), flashlight/headlamp, matches, first aid supplies, and maps. Cell phones don’t always work. Leave word where you are traveling and when you are due back.

Susan Alcorn’s Backpacking & Hiking Tales & Tips, July, 2022.

Susan Alcorn’s Backpacking & Hiking Tales & Tips, #274, July, 2022. Happy Fourth!

Contents:

1. Bed compartments for Economy Class?
2. 10 Best Day hikes in New Zealand
3. Getting Rid of Toxic PFAS in Outdoor Wear
4. Post Offices along the Camino Frances
5. American Long Distance Hiking Association’s (ALDHA-West) Gathering
6. You will probably never need this—but…foil footprint
7. Travel for Good: Volunteer in South Africa
8. Avoiding Poison Oak
9. REI Adventure Centers
10.
What is Felt?

Articles:

#1. Air New Zealand to install bunk beds?

“Air New Zealand to install ‘Skynest’ bunk bed compartments for economy, premium economy passengers from 2024.” Will it really happen? Would a 4-hour rest period be worth it? What about passengers with physical challenges? Will other airlines join in? Many questions, but an interesting direction. Read the piece here.  

#2. Best one-day hikes in New Zealand:

10 of the greatest walks you can do in a day. New destination for many of us with new thrills (when COVID restrictions allow). Three of the hikes are tied for best of the best: Tongariro Alpine Crossing, Pouakai Crossing, and Avalanche Peak. Avalanche is described “as close as you’ll get to mountaineering without the rope and crampons.” New Zealand link. Andrew Bain

#3. Getting rid of Toxic PFAS in Outdoor Wear.

 According to NRDA (National Resource Defense Council), several leading U.S. clothing brands are working to get toxic chemicals out of our clothing. Leading the way are efforts by Patagonia, American Eagle, and Ralph Loren. The products of concern, PFAS, “have been linked to serious health risks from cancer to kidney disease” and are often found in outdoor wear—especially items resistant to water and stains. (See nrdc.org/pfas for more info).

#4. Camino de Santiago: Post offices (correos) along the Camino Frances.

 Contributor Terry Sweetland sent, “To address mail to yourself put your surname first, in capitals. When you go to collect mail, take your passport as ID; and to be sure, ask them to check under your first name as well as your surname. Here’s a list of places along the Camino Francés, with postal codes, two or three days apart: 
Lista de Correos  
31080 Pamplona (Navarra)  
31100 Puenta la Reina (Navarra) 
26080 Logroño (Navarra) 
09080 Burgos 
24080 León  
24700 Astorga (León) 
24400 Ponferrada (León)  
27600 Sarria (Lugo)  
15780 Santiago de Compostela (A Coruña)
Example:
SMITH, John (Pilgrim)
Lisa de Correos
31080
Pamplona
Navarra
Spain”

#5. American Long Distance Hiking Association’s (ALDHA-West) gathering: A save-the-date.

  The Gathering 2022: Sept 23-25. Keystone, CO. This friendly and informative hiking organization also is calling for “number-type-people!” They are looking for a new treasurer at the Gathering and seek nominations. “Peaches has done an amazing job of setting our systems up for ease of use so if you’re curious but hesitant, reach out for more information.” Contact:  treasurer@aldhawest.org for more info. aldhawest.org

#6. “You will probably never need this, but…”

 I loved this headline and thought the advice well worth repeating—even if you never need to use it! Derek Koonce, trailname “Two Dogs” writes, “Through my many classes with Hug-A-Tree, [I learned that] a great way to leave a bootprint is use aluminum foil. Place a sheet on top of a few towels. Step carefully onto the aluminum foil. Roll around with the soles to get a good imprint. Carefully step off. There is now a nice set of prints. Mark with your name, if more than one person. Place in vehicle.” (used with permission).

#7. “Travel for Good Conservation Experience” with Wild Tomorrow Fund. 

I was recently at a travel adventure show and picked up a leaflet from Wild Tomorrow Fund. The organization seeks people to join them in South Africa to help with conservation of various animals: elephants, rhinos, lions, leopards, hyenas, and others that are in trouble. Projects can be efforts to help save wildlife or to help save habitat. Earlier projects with animals have involved such jobs as rhinos dehorning (so the animals will not be killed for their horns) and GPS/Radio collaring of animals, and helping at the rhino orphanage. Habitat projects could include reforestation of plant life or removing invasive plants. The upcoming 2-week trips are priced at $3,950 ($2,000 tax-deductible in the U.S.)

I can’t vouch for them because they are new to me, but it sounds like a wonderful opportunity and if you are interested in their program, you can look into it. tori@wildtomorrowfund.org or call 1-917-962-3922. Reviews at Great NonProfits Link here

elephant not in south africa Susan Alcorn ©0169

#8. Poison Oak.

 Poison Oak is a native plant that is important to wildlife, but not friendly to humans. Its toxic resin, urushiol, can cause severe rash and itching. As a preventative measure to avoid the rash, “Many veteran hikers ditch their clothes directly into the washing machine when they get home, then take a nice hot shower, a sound policy.” But, as the Mount Diablo Review (Summer/Fall 2021) points out, more casual hikers may forget that their boots may have lots of urushiol on them, lying in wait for the next time they put them on.

Because urushiol can last for months (even years), “when you get home, spray a little rubbing alcohol on your boots, including the soles, and let them air dry. Rubbing alcohol is a fast-acting solvent “rendering the urushiol harmless.” Writer Staci Hobbet, of the Mount Diablo Interpretive Association, says that many on the mountain carry alcohol swabs just in case they accidentally brush against the poison oak.

#9. REI Adventure Centers:

 There are now three Adventure Centers in the greater Bay Area: Saratoga, Sacramento, and the newest, Richmond. Many of the classes and rentals will take places at the centers rather than the box stores. Link here

susan with source of felt;

Susan Alcorn ©0169

#10. What is Felt?

Felt is a woolen fabric that is neither woven nor knitted. “When wool gets wet, the microscopic scales on individual hairs open, and with agitation, the scales interlock with other individual hairs, and interlock. This ancient process of felting is still used to make many useful products, from tents to jackets, hats, and shoes.” (Activity Guide, East Bay Regional Park District. July/August 2022).
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Thank you everyone. Stay well, keep hiking when prudent. I encourage you to send in items of interest to the hiking community to me at backpack45 “at sign” yahoo.com

Susan ‘backpack45’ Alcorn
Shepherd Canyon Books, Oakland, CA
susandalcorn.com
backpack45.com

Author of Walk, Hike, Saunter: Seasoned Women Share Tales and Trails; Healing Miles: Gifts from the Caminos Norte and Primitivo; Patagonia Chronicle: On Foot in Torres del Paine; We’re in the Mountains Not over the Hill: Tales and Tips from Seasoned Women Backpackers; and Camino Chronicle: Walking to Santiago.

Please note: Hiking and backpacking can be risky endeavors. Always be prepared for emergencies and carry food, water, shelter (warm clothing, etc.), flashlight/headlamp, matches, first aid supplies, and maps. Cell phones don’t always work. Leave word where you are traveling and when you are due back.

Susan Alcorn’s Backpacking & Hiking Tales & Tips, February 2022

Susan Alcorn’s Backpacking & Hiking Tales and Tips, #271, February 2022

Contents:
1. Yosemite news: volunteering, jobs, and activities
2. Hospitalero Training
3. Gossamer Gear’s blog
4. Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics for the Camino de Santiago
5. What you should know about Banana Slugs
6. Regional: Susan’s Bay Area book talk with walk following

Articles:
#1. Items from the Yosemite Conservancy Newsletter of January 2022. If you are heading for Yosemite in the next few months, check current road conditions and tire chain restrictions by calling (209) 372-0200 (press 1, then 1).

“In other news, we’re hiring a Staff Accountant (based in San Francisco), an Outdoor Programs Coordinator (based in Yosemite), and a Marketing Coordinator (location flexible). Know someone who’d be a good fit for our team? Click here to apply

In addition “Volunteer in Yosemite in 2022: Enjoy a week in the park while completing physical restoration projects including trail repairs, habitat rehabilitation, and more by joining a Work Week Crew. Spend a month sharing your Yosemite knowledge to help visitors navigate and enjoy the park as a Visitor Information Assistant. Apply Now. Click here for volunteering.

Yosemite Conservancy has many custom adventures and virtual adventures. Here are their “upcoming winter adventures in the park. February 12: Winter Hike in Mariposa Grove; February 15: Full Moon Snowshoe Hike #2; February 19: Winter Hike in Mariposa Grove.” These may be full, but there will be more during the year. info@yosemite.org and  www.yosemite.org

#2. Camino Hospitalero Training, March 29-31, 2022. Registration is open for the first Hospitalero Training session of 2022! This is right before the Annual Gathering of Pilgrims as mentioned in my January newsletter (March 31, 2022 – April 4, 2022). The training session will be held at the YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly in Black Mountain, NC (near Asheville).

Schedule: Check-in: 4:00 PM on Tuesday, March 29, 2022—Training complete: 5:00 PM on Thursday, March 31, 2022. “You must attend the entire training session to be certified!  Make your travel plans accordingly! If you plan to attend the Gathering there is a separate registration. Follow this link for Gathering information.

“Checklist: Do you want to learn what it takes to become a hospitalero supporting other pilgrims on the road to Santiago? To attend you must: Have walked at least 100 km or biked at least 200 km of the Camino. Have stayed in at least 3 non-private albergues. Be a current member of American Pilgrims on the Camino. Be at least 18 years old by March 28, 2022. Provide proof of COVID vaccination plus the Booster. Note: all attendees are required to wear masks during the training.”

Click here. to register for Hospitalero Training or questions to: hospitalerotraining@americanpilgrims.org

#3. Short film on the incredible hiker, Anish—and more from Gossamergear.com A wealth of articles in Gossamer Gear’s blog: This month, I particularly enjoyed  the new film on Heather Anderson’s (aka Anish) Thru-Hiking FKT Journey AND Korrin Bishop’s “7 Tips to Quiet Your Mind While Hiking or Backpacking.”  https://www.gossamergear.com/blogs/our-blog

#4. Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics for the Camino de Santiago. Important reading for Camino-bound travelers. https://lnt.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Leave-No-Trace-Camino-Version_FINAL_2020.pdf

#5. What you should know about Banana Slugs. I have to admit that banana slugs are not my favorite critter, but they are interesting. So, did you know that they are soft-bodied creatures without a backbone and are mollusks related to snails and sea slugs? They are gastropods. You probably haven’t one seen a nose sticking out—that’s because it breathes through what is called a pneumostome, a breathing hole on its side leading to its one lung.

They are native to North America and they generally can be found in habitats offering shaded and damp conditions. They travel on the trail of slime they produce; the slime protects their body and discourages predators because the slime tastes bitter and can make one’s tongue feel numb for a moment.  

At the front, they have two sets of tentacles: the upper set is sensitive to light; the lower set is for smelling and feeling. It used to be that teachers and others would encourage students and other visitors to parks to kiss a slug, but this is no longer recommended because the slime can carry parasitic worms and mites, plus lotions humans might have on their hands can be harmful to the slugs. More info in Bay Nature Magazine.  Click here to read

#6. Regional: Susan’s Bay Area book talk and walk. Save the date (and confirm closer on because we all know dates for events sometimes change), but currently we are scheduled to give a book event in Sonoma, CA on Sunday, April 10, 2022. 10:30 for the talk and reading; 3-mile hike to follow.

Details are developing, but what I am hoping for are a couple of the women from Walk, Hike Saunter: Seasoned Women Share Tales and Trail to join in and read from their chapters OR talk about their upcoming hikes. I can guarantee that they will be inspiring!

Following the talk, we plan to lead a gentle hike to an overlook in a local open space with a terrific view of not only Sonoma, but also south to San Francisco and more. Readers’ Books is at 130 E Napa St., Sonoma (and right off the main square). Click here for trail info. We scouted out the trail recently and found that it can be done without hiking poles, but there are some roots and rocks, so bring a pole if you’ll feel safer. 
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Thank you everyone. Stay well, keep hiking when prudent. I encourage you to send in items of interest to the hiking community to me at backpack45 “at sign” yahoo.com

Susan ‘backpack45’ Alcorn
Shepherd Canyon Books, Oakland, CA
https://www.susandalcorn.com
https://www.backpack45.com

Author of Walk, Hike, Saunter: Seasoned Women Share Tales and Trails; Healing Miles: Gifts from the Caminos Norte and Primitivo, Patagonia Chronicle: On Foot in Torres del Paine; We’re in the Mountains Not over the Hill: Tales and Tips from Seasoned Women Backpackers; and Camino Chronicle: Walking to Santiago.

Please note: Hiking and backpacking can be risky endeavors. Always be prepared for emergencies and carry food, water, shelter (warm clothing, etc.), flashlight/headlamp, matches, first aid supplies, and maps. Cell phones don’t always work. Leave word where you are traveling and when you are due back.