Risk's Ultralight Hiking

The skills involved in setting up a light backpack serve well for both hiking and touring. Learning what is really necessary and then finding high quality gear that meets my honest needs leads to much less carried and more fun. I hope this journal is as much fun to read as it is to write.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Reading at Barnes and Noble

There was the snow, and my wife's desire to not drive in the snow, and my desire to be out of the snow. All this resulted in my enjoying a nice morning reading a motorcycle touring book.

The book, titled Motorcycle Touring, was written by Dr. Gregory W. Frazier, had a great quote about the difference between travel in a car and travel on a motorcycle.

"We are moving through the environment of the earth, tasting and smelling it, not from the enclosed bubble of a car or a bus or a pressurized airplane. We are actually part of what we are passing through." (p. 17)

To tell the truth, with the snow swirling outdoors, I don't much mind being in an enclosed bubble this cold spring day!



The day began with a fast accumulation of about 2 inches of snow. Kids were excited, until they realized that school was not to be canceled and they all needed to get to school anyway.

The birds and the animals were anxious for their daily feeding more than usually.

I drove Diane to work so that I could use the Jeep, not knowing if the roads would be reasonable as the day progressed.

Monday, March 20, 2006

World's Fastest Indian

I had the pleasure today in going to see Anthony Hopkins in "The World's Fastest Indian."

Burt Munro's actual Indian in the 1960s

This is a great story for the whole family. Hopkin's character Burt Munro has been 25 years in the business of devoting his whole life to making his motorcycle go faster. He casts his own pistons, and has brought the speed of his '27 Indian up from its stock 54 mph to ... well you have to watch the movie to find out.

It was not all that easy to find the movie playing in the Dayton, Ohio area. It is an independent movie and is not in the major movie houses. I was able to see it at the Neon in downtown Dayton.


Saturday, March 18, 2006

Three Sisters

Mike, my saturday hiking partner , was busy helping his daughter move. So I had a morning to take a walk someplace different. It had been 5 or 6 years since I had last walked through Sugar Creek Reserve in Centerville, and the park appeared to be a good destination for a cool late winter walk.

The cool morning kept the path from being muddy, having gotten below freezing overnight. Other than a jogger who passed me twice, I had the park all to myself at 730 AM.

A half mile into the walk, near the creek, I heard and then saw 5 white-tail deer crossing the water. They splashed their way across and then quietly stood on the far shore, frozen in their non-moving and wondering if I might be a threat. With the interest I have recently had in hunting, the thought of deer hunting did come to mind, but as I was thinking about this, they turned and nearly silently ran away from me into the brush and into a dense tangle where I swiftly lost sight of their white flasing tails.

I continued on around the 3 mile trail and came across an ancient grouping of three white oaks. Long known as the Three Sisters, these trees have been growing since Columbus discovered North America for the White Europeans 500 years ago.

The middle sister had its last leaves in 2004, but the trunk has not yet begun to rot away, its structure still giving homes to many classes of forest dweller - from the bacteria that are slowly consuming the trunk to higher animals making nests and dwellings in the slowly rotting limbs.

As I came back up on top of the hill, a sign reminded me that the Ohio wilderness had not been an unbroken forest. Buffalo kept large sections of the flat areas grazed well and there were large prarie areas full of grass. The trails that led from one of these areas to another were kept open by the animals long before native americans used them as paths and whites later built roads on the same tracks.

Arriving back in the parking lot, which had been empty when I started walking at 715, there were now a dozen cars and trucks. Many more people were out enjoying the park. I had only seen two of them by the time I left. Maybe they started walking the circular trails in the same direction that I had come.

Life is this way. Sometimes we are not alone, but are traveling in the same direction as others. It is not until we come full circle that we see how many others are on the path.

It gave me food for thought.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Warrior Trail

I have been reading "A Sorrow in Our Heart, The Life of Tecumseh" by Allan Eckert. It is a biography of the famous Shawnee Warrior who died about 1814. He lived much of his life about 5 miles from my house in a place now known as Old Town, Ohio.

US 68 goes through Old Town and proceeds from there south to the Ohio River crossing at Maysville KY and Aberdeen Ohio. This is an ancient trail used by Native Americans long before Europeans began filtering into the woods west of the Appalachians in the 1700s. According to Eckert, this specific path was known as the Warrior Path. It crosses the Ohio near Limestone Creek, and the settlement that Simon Kenton worked hard to get off the ground. It proceeds past Blue Licks and ends up in Paris KY which is in Bourbon County, just north and east of Lexington.

I decided to drive the Warrior Path on my motorcycle on this cool spring day. It took me a couple hours to drive the 110 miles south to Maysville and drive through the old downtown. Down and back, I kept thinking about the old trail that must have more closely followed the creeks and streams that often border US 68.

It was good to get outside, smell the air, see the fields with their newly greening grass, and visit a town I had never been inside. I'd recommend the trip anytime the weather is cooperative, and I plan to take it again - on a day that I have the time to drive the 25 additional miles to the Blue Licks battlefield.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Reading Tate's "Walkin with the Ghost Whisperers

Over the last few weeks I have completed the new book by JR Tate.

This is a great book and very worth the reading for anyone who likes
stories about the AT. It picks up from his previous "Walkin on the
Happy Side of Misery" and tells many of the historical stories of the

Great book.

Posting an audio entry with the telephone

this is an audio post - click to play

Today I bought a RAZR V3c to be able...

Looking forward to Spring Hiking

The days are getting longer and the grass is turning green. Watching the woods come to life is beginning to drive me to a deep longing to get out and hike again.

Just the other day, I was walking in a local park - The Narrows - just making my way down the trail on the moist dirt footpath. A primal kind of desire to walk all day and spend the night in this home-away-from-home hit hard.

But now, it looks like a trip may be closer at hand. I may be able to go hiking in
April. That would be very nice indeed.