Bated Breath

posted in: Uncategorized | 15

Hello everyone,

I’m really sorry about the long absence. I want to update the entries more regularly, but lately things have just been too busy or I’ve just been too tired to write. What with just having searched for and moved into a temporary apartment, moving belongings there, looking for an apartment for my wife, packing the original apartment (hey, I can now say, for a short time only, that I have three domiciles… including a place out in the country!), preparing end-of-semester tests and grading at the university while still trying to learn the ropes, and holding onto some semblance of sanity with all that is happening between my wife and me, well, I’m more than just a little overwhelmed. The other day I sat in my office for one hour in a kind of catatonia, completely unable to get my brain to compute what the next step was that I had to do right at that moment. At night all I dream about is year-long bicycle journeys and long-distance walks in the mountains. I think my brain knows better than my conscious self where the marbles are rolling toward…

Please be patient with me. I will start writing regularly again as soon as the silt has settled. For now, please take a look at Pohanginapete’s latest entry. Beautiful.

15 Responses

  1. Where are you dreaming about hiking? Right now I really want to do the hike from Toyama down to Kamikochi (well, actually, I’d really like to be doing the PCT, but that’s a pacific away).

  2. Ah, where to go for that long walk… Something I think about nearly every day.

    In Japan I want to walk the same route you mentioned, but from Toyama to Shizuoka, the southern tip of the South Japan Alps. Maybe a month journey, at most? I also want to walk the length of Japan, like Stephen Pern did back in 1989, following the “Spine of Japan”. For shorter walks, I’d like to go from Kiyosato at the base of the Yatsugatake range and walk all the way to Okutama (Tokyo) along the Oku-Tama ridges. I’d also like to walk from Doai (Tanigawa range) to Ose. Further north I’d like to walk along the Dewa Range through Yamagata, Akita, and Iwate, up to Aomori. And of course there is Hokkaido. I’d love to walk the entire length of the Daisetsuzan National Park.

    Further afield, for now, the walks I’d love to do are the Appalachian Trail, PCT, and Continental Divide Trail, as well as the John Muir Trail and Long Trail in Vermont. I’d love to do several long trails in Tasmania, the Larapinta Trail and Blue Mountain Trail in Australia. In Sweden I’d like to do the Kungsleden Trail. And in France and Spain I’d like to do the Camino de Santiago from Arles France to Santiago Spain. Another dream are the trails around the Torres del Paine in Argentina. And of course a good long walk in the French Alps and the Dolomitis in Italy. And Nepal, of course. And some good long walks in Africa, like the Drachensberg in South Africa, some part of the Namib Desert in Namibia, along the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. And I’d love to get to see Machu Pichu. Erm…

    Does it sound like I’m salivating? When will I ever have the time or money for such things? Well, dreams are free, I guess.

  3. Haha, that is a lot of salivating! I need to read up more about world hikes, though it wouldn’t be to the benefit of my wallet. Have you heard of the Lycian way? It is a 3 week trail through Turkey, covering Mt Olympus (I think so, anway…) as well as the ruins of several civilizations, sunken city swimming holes, etc.

    I did the Daisetsuzan traverse this summer. The weather was 90% amazing and the park was shockingly underpopulated, but the full traverse is pretty unpopular with locals due to the 23km 4th day. It was definitely worth it though. My site has a gallery from that trip under the title “Hokkaido.”

    I’d like to do a hike during Golden Week – any recommendations? I think most of Japan is still somewhat impassable at that time, isn’t it?

  4. Glad to have you back.
    Dreams are our projections on the future. You only have to be a little patient and they will come true. For the time being, reading about the places where you (and Mr/Mrs Lindelauf) are planning to hike, made me dream and smile in turn.

  5. Everything has it’s time…

  6. Hi Perrin, lot’s of salivating indeed! And you just added to the load with yet another dream of a walk through Turkey! Ahhhhhh!

    I actually had a good long look at your photos on your site. I was especially piqued when I saw that photo of your ultralight set up. I couldn’t identify the tarp…Looks just like my Gossamer Gear SpinnShelter, yet yours is made of silnylon. How did it fare in Hokkaido? Any trouble with wind? Do you hang out at all at Backpacking Light? I’m in the forums quite a lot. We should compare gear lists some time. I’ve made quite a lot of my own equipment, too.

    Walking in the high mountains around Golden Week can be pretty difficult with the snow. Last year many passes that are normally open by that time where completely snowed under. Yet, a friend of mine managed to get some walking done at altitude around Nikko (normally heavily snowed in). Whereabouts do you live? If you’re near or in Tokyo you could always try Oku-Chichibu, just west of Tokyo. Many of those ridges are open all year, with only ankle deep to knee deep snow. I tried to walk from Mount Kinpu to Okutama two years ago, but was in such bad shape I had to give up. This year I plan to try again, and really work hard at getting in good shape.

    I’d like to hear more about your Hokkaido walk. Daisetsuzan is one place I really want to go. You mentioned not seeing many people. I think it is because everyone is afraid of the brown bears (aka. grizzlies in the US). Did you have any trouble with them?

    Maybe we could go for a jaunt some time?

    May, so good to see your words. It’s been hectic and I keep wanting to drop by and talk more with you, but until I can clear away all this busy-work, I won’t be doing a lot of internet browsing. Sigh… Today I was correcting tests all day from nine in the morning and still going strong now at 5:50 in the evening, all while students kept dropping by to pester me about when the tests would be done. I had to open the office window to let in the winter air so that the room would be like a refrigerator and keep me from falling asleep!

    Zen, I keep trying to remind myself of that, but while you are slogging through unpleasant drudgery sometimes it feels as if time has ceased to exist!

  7. Don’t worry, take your time, you know where I can be found.

    Should you go to the forest of brown bears, take many photos of them, since it is my favorite animal. If it is possible, bring a baby bear home for me. I’ll cover him with kisses.

  8. All this dreaming must be doing you good, easing all the aches and pains (both mental and physical) of all the changes in your life. Wishing you well as you adjust to your new life.

  9. All this dreaming must be doing you good, easing all the aches and pains (both mental and physical) of all the changes in your life. Wishing you well as you adjust to your new life.

  10. Hey Miguel,

    That is actually a gossamergear spinshelter. I have had mixed results with it. Do you put hiking poles directly into the grommets? I had a windy night next to Kussharo-ko when I was out of Daisetsuzan, and it was pretty miserable. I could have picked a better site, but at the same time, I haven’t really been able to establish an iron taut pitch so far. Regarding BPL, I actually found your site through some photos you put up there. I was surprised to see another member from Japan, so I followed the link. I like that site a lot, and it is responsible for driving my FSO weight from 35lbs to about 17 or so. Do you have your gear list posted someplace? I can put a version up on my site.

    I’m in Kyoto, so it is a bit far. Maybe once the summer warms up we could meet — I am switching jobs soon and will hopefully have more time once I go semi-self-employed. I am considering Kyushu for Golden week, as it may be one of the only places not buried in snow. I hiked through Omine-san in Nara last year at the same time but everything was still dead and dormant.

    Daisetsuzan was 90% fantastic. I had a really bad few hours right beneath Tomuraushi but otherwise the weather was prime for a sunburn. A couple of the big mountains on the 4th and 5th days were capped in cloud, so that was boring. As for animals, I didn’t see much of anything. The famed fox, responsible for all kinds of ecchinococcus paranoia among Honshuites (and foreigners) was only spotted once. No bears, not even scat. Couple of crows. And, actually, a huge and highly erroneous rabbit. Meeting people along the trail (the few that were there) was fun because they couldn’t believe how far I had walked on my packsize, especially on my 5th day. Most campers were carrying 25kg or so.

    PS – I forgot to reply to your comment at my site, but I did add those 2 books you suggested to my book list for the year. Thanks!

  11. Miguel,

    I couldn’t readily find an email address, so posting here. This site is taking *ages* to load. I thought it was locking up Safari, so I tried Firefox; it too wandered off. Eventually it came back. Intrigued, I used curl to grab the page. It got to over 3MB before I killed it. I’m not 100% sure but I think the problem is the page-number drop down at the bottom of the page: it has over 100,000 items. At 80 characters per option, that’s 8MB odd.

  12. Andrew, thank goodness for your expertise! I didn’t have a clue as to what was causing the problem, but every since I upgraded WordPress to the latest release (2.1) the whole site went into wholesale denial. I figured it was one of the plugines, but even after going through them one-by-one I couldn’t find the culprit. Just now I deactivated “Page-Navi” (the page number drop down) and sure enough everything went back to normal. Would the readers here try opening the page again and tell me if you are still experiencing problems? Thanks so much!

    By the way, Andrew, what is “Curl”? That could come in very handly in figuring out web page problems.

    Cheers, everyone!

  13. Cool!

    curl is just a UNIX program. The man entry says:

    curl is a tool to transfer data from or to a server, using one of the
    supported protocols (HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, FTPS, TFTP, DICT, TELNET, LDAP
    or FILE). The command is designed to work without user interaction.

    curl offers a busload of useful tricks like proxy support, user authen-
    tication, ftp upload, HTTP post, SSL (https:) connections, cookies,
    file transfer resume and more. As you will see below, the amount of
    features will make your head spin!

    I use it in one of 2 ways: curl -I somesite.com will fetch just the header, nice to know that the site is alive. curl somesite.com will fetch the page and stream it to standard output, ie the screen. It can also save the page to a file, but another program, wget, is better for that.

    The best way to get curl, or other open-source utilities, on OS X is to use MacPorts.

    So all I did was fetch the HTML straight to the screen, and when I saw it scrolling and scrolling and scrolling with thousands of page numbers I realised the problem immediately. View Source from within Safari or Firefox would have done the same.

  14. Just checking in to see if there’s anything new here, Butuki. Hope you’re doing OK; I’ve been thinking about you. Best wishes to you from Montreal.

  15. Hi Butuki. This is the Kate that commented some time ago on your writing, and wondered if you had written any books…just wanted to say that I just stopped by to catch up with this site, and I await with interest the “approaching storm”, when you have the time to put it up. It’s always a pleasure to read your work.

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