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Apr 26, 2007, 4:56am

Say something about yourself. Reccomend some books.

I'm based in the UK. I think of myself as a caver, though I probably end up doing mroe climbing and walking then I actually get to go caving. Apart from maps (yes you can LT them too) I own hardly any books about the outdoors, Darkworld being the best.

How about you?

Edited: Apr 26, 2007, 5:47am

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Apr 26, 2007, 6:18am

Leisurely strollers definetly welcome!

I've always been interested in the animals (less so plants) that I've seen about me. Is there much in London's parks? Or do you manage to escape the M25?

Apr 26, 2007, 6:35am

I'm a walker. I do both long distance paths and the odd long weekend in the hills. I don't like exposure so a lot of climbing and scrambling is right out.

I would recommend Nick Crane's Clear Waters Rising which is an account of a walk across the hills and mountains of Europe. A good book about the history of Alpine climbing is Killing Dragons. They are both very readable and both have moments of humour contained within their pages.

Apr 26, 2007, 12:46pm

Hello everyone - thanks for the invitation, reading-fox. We live in Canada, but my husband is Scots and loves to climb the Munros (mountains over 3000' in Scotland). I've climbed a few myself, and many make for beautiful day hikes. We also enjoy hiking in the Canadian Rockies, and hope to introduce our kids to day hiking this year, and to explore a few more Canadian wilderness parks. My husband has collected a few books on famous mountaineers and their ascents in the Himalayas.

We use tags like mountains, hiking, climbing and guide for our collection of outdoor books and guides. Maybe we have a few books in common?

Apr 26, 2007, 1:15pm

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Apr 26, 2007, 2:09pm

Great idea for a group.

We live on a (small) lake and are always finding critters, insects, bugs and various small mammals that need to be identified. I love my Audubon Field Guides for those purposes. We also make great use of our county parks for walking, exercise for me and pleasure for the husband and son.

Apr 26, 2007, 2:39pm

6> I cannot listen to music/audio when walking. It takes me away from why I am out walking which is to get away from the computer and the electronic stuff of my normal life for a couple of days.

Apr 27, 2007, 4:04am

#6"Not sure how much longer I can take being away from the mountains"

Its a really weird felling isn't it. I spent 3 years living in Cambridge (UK) which is the middle of the very very flat fens. Not a hill anywhere. Its oppresive. After about a month I'd start getting crotchetty and only a trip out somewhere hilly would restore my good nature.

Fortunetly Manchester where I am now is at the edge of the Peak district so there are always hills to gaze at. Paradoxically this means I probaly don't get out as much as I used to.

#5 we share 135 books, but the only outdoors related one is worst case survival guide.

Apr 27, 2007, 5:01am


You think Cambridge is flat? You had the Gog-Magog hills nearby. Try living in the Fens (or even at the edge of them as I do now). The only good thing about it is the big sky.

Edited: Apr 27, 2007, 5:08am

Hello, everyone, and thanks for the invite, reading-fox.
I just did my first serious long distance walk (Offa's Dyke Path) last summer. Well, most of it; due to the heat (over 30°C) and illness the 15 days we had planned only brought us to Chirk, which is where I will pick up at the end of May. Three more days :-).
Due to my job, I have been on the road quite a bit, which makes me want to stay at home at the moment rather than hit the road *again* on the weekend. But a thing I am planning to do is the Rennsteig path in the Thuringian Forest, which is only an hour away. So I could do bits of it on weekends during the summer, and if I need longer, do the rest on CC skis in winter (well, if we are going to see snow ever again...).

Apr 27, 2007, 6:30am


Ouch that was hot. I am not very good with heat and I don't envy you walking Offa's Dyke in that temperature. Give me spring or autumn any day. I would probably even pick winter over the hottest days of the summer.

Apr 27, 2007, 11:41am

Hello, everyone! I was invited to this group by reading_fox, and was glad to receive the invitation.

Like perodicticus, I'm probably more of a leisure walker. I walk for fun and prefer it over driving or public transportation. I've been known to not accept offers by family members and neighbors to get to places or back home. I choose to walk so long as the distance and weather permits. (As the really hot days give me such awful headaches, I prefer walking in the early morning or evening on those days.) When I'm stressed, I take as long of a walk as possible, as I walk much quicker. On such occasions, I may walk for an hour. Like andyl, I cannot listen to music when I walk. For me, the music takes away from the sounds of nature. I'd rather hear the birds.

I'm fortunate to have a wildlife refugee nearby my home where I can walk on many trails or even hike if I choose so. My favorite place to walk was in my neighboring city, where I'd start walking from a Borders bookstore, and hit two others (Barnes & Noble and a used bookstore) as well as a library. The used bookstore, where I visited most, unfortunately moved somewhere else in the city, and walking there no longer feels the same. I've as of yet to find a new favorite place to walk.

I don't have any books about the outdoors, but go through some bird books that belong to a family member at times.

Apr 27, 2007, 2:22pm

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Apr 27, 2007, 2:38pm

As an atheist that doesn't work at all for me.

Apr 27, 2007, 5:47pm

#12, andyl: We acclimatised during the first week and all had water bags of 2 or 3 litres, so it wasn't too bad. Still, at those temperatures and with a backpack you don't make the 22-28km easily, which are the standard distance for a day (well, some people do, but we wanted to have fun!)

Right now, there is Ich bin dann mal weg by Hape Kerkeling on my Mt. TBR. An audiobook about a walk to Santiago de Compostela (is it the St. James Way in English? I have no idea).

17summonedbyfells First Message
May 4, 2007, 6:27pm

Hello Andy, know what you mean about the flatness of the fens having lived for a couple of years in Sutton, near Ely, and I moved there from Kendal...The saving grace was the proximity of Heffers bookshop in Cambridge and of course the big sky I also did a bit of motorcycling, great along the cuts on a fine summer evening. Incidentally you may be interested in a wonderful history of the draining of the fens called 'The Great Level' by Dorothy Summers, it souds an unlikely subject but the doings of the Earl of Bedford and the genius of Cornelious Verymuyden made a considerable impression on this short time fen tiger at least..I am now (recently) resident in the North East so the Cleveland hills and Yorkshire are all within cycling distance. Yours Aye, freddy p.

18johnm1958 First Message
Edited: May 6, 2007, 11:40am

Thanks for inviting me into the group. I live in the NW of Scotland and have lots of books. Haven't got them all on LT yet so perhaps the ones I have listed so far are some of the best. I am a walker/climber/skier who increasingly finds work and family getting between me and the outdoors and my reading. But I have no real excuses as I am surrounded by hills, sea and my books. The only thing I'm short of is time to do everything I want!

Favourite outdoor books - Annapurna by Maurice Herzog, This Game of Ghosts by Joe Simpson and my climbing guides to browse for ideas about all those routes I still have to do. The number one inspirational book with regard to the outdoors in Scotland for me, and apparently for many others, is Mountaineering in Scotland by WH Murray. Summits and Secrets by Kurt Diemberger is the big mountain equivalent as the author bares his soul about climbing.

As I write this it is setting of chains of thought and suddenly I need to mention Sacred Summits by Peter Boardman and Savage Arena by Joe Tasker. I could go on but I think that's a fair start!

19AtheneSolon First Message
May 6, 2007, 4:51pm

Thank you for inviting me!

I tend to be more of a caver (spelunker for you europeans) but occasionally I like to take float trips and day hikes through to local state parks.

My favorite outdoor books Missouri Geology: Three Billion Years of Volcanoes, Seas, Sediments, and Erosion (an amateur's guide to the geology behind of formations in Missouri), Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv, Caves: Exploring Hidden Realms (this one is a coffee-table book of pictures taken during the filming of "Journey into Amazing Caves" and IMAX film), Beyond the Deep: The deadly Descent into the World's Most Treacherous Cave, and This Time Love for those who like romance (a majority of the story-but not all-takes place in the cave focusing on the trust aspect of belaying and such).

May 6, 2007, 6:37pm

I thought spelunker was the american term, here in the UK we use caver. Is This time love a novel or biography or? has it touchstoned correctly as by Elizabeth Lowell?? It sounds interesting anyway.

Edited: May 9, 2007, 2:39am

Hi, there,

I live in Colorado, a state in the Western US, at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Denver is the mile-high city, and elevations can get much higher very fast if one drives west.

It's wonderful, beautiful country. We have sunshine about 90% of the time (this is semi-arid area), and the US West is generally known as open sky country.

I joined this group on impulse. I was glad to find others interested in the outdoors. I thought Outside might be such a group, but they are more inclined toward, "take the argument outside".

I don't mind sharing opinions with people who differ from me. I often find the process enlightening. If not, I do a silent (well, maybe, sometimes verbal) "You are entitled to your opinion; I am not obligated to be bound by it; likewise, I am entitled to my opinion and you are not obligated to be bound by it."

Then I go outside and enjoy the view; mountains have a way of reducing disagreement to a reasonable perspective.

I like the photo you have chosen, reading_fox. Water and hills are a pleasing combination. In Colorado, we have "hanging lake"; a steep climb finds a beautiful, clear pond. It is all the more wonderful for being unexpected.

Water in Colorado, for those of you living on the coastal edge of the ocean, is small scale by comparison.

I don't have any books to recommend off the top of my head. I will have to think about that a bit more.


May 9, 2007, 8:38am

Helo Dore, hope you find something useful from your membership of this group. I sure envy your location in Colorado. My only visit to your wonderful country was to New York to run their marathon. In my rock-climbing days I was facinated by the exploits of such heros as Royal Robbins, Chuck Pratt, Layton Kor and all the amazing climbers who operated in Colarado, I always fancied climbing in 'The Black Canyon of the Gunnison' I wonder if you know it. I am now going to dig out my copy of 'Climb! Rock Climbing in Colorado' by Bob Godfrey & Dudley Chelton. Wonderful tales of derring do, incomparable photographs, truely touching the land.
all good wishes,

May 9, 2007, 8:40am

Not that the world will shake but for interest I thought I would post that I have today changed my username from 'freddyp' to 'summonedbyfells' (from an idea by John Betjeman, for whcih I thank him),which gives a clue to my non reading activities and is a tad more appropriate for an outdoor raders group.
All good wishes,

May 9, 2007, 6:29pm

re 22 & 23

Thank you for the welcome. Yes, I know the "Black Canyon of the Gunnison", it's a dramatic and interesting place.

We have charts and climbing programs for all the 14,000 ft. mountains; we have outdoor equipment and training schools. We have river-running trips, and all sorts of other outdoor activities.

I met a young man a couple of years ago who had moved to Denver from South Carolina, which is generally low, coastal country. He had found a book on Colorado in 7th grade, fallen in love with place, and decided to move here as soon as possible.

He plans to climb all the 14,000 ft. mountains. Since he is afraid of heights (!), I don't know how he is going to manage, but it is a lofty goal. He is certainly informed about the peaks.

I like your new moniker. "Summonedbyfells" rings memory bells of Call of the Wild by Jack London. I think of the Outdoors as Nature's Cathedral with a compelling and restoring call.

Addressing you by name is a bit tricky, however. May we call you SBF or SF?

Where do you live? England, Scotland, Ireland, somewhere else where English is spoken?


May 10, 2007, 4:32am


summoned by fells lives in the north-east of England (see msg 17).

May 10, 2007, 4:53am

Hi dore & andyl, following your messages I have now amended my profile to make it clear where I live. I was born and brought up in Scotland but have lived in England since 1970, but my accent is still as definably Scottish as ever, which I couldn't change even if I wished to do so. I'm pretty tone deaf so that has possibly got something to do with it, who knows? I think we have to admit andyl that dore has the edge on location regarding outdoor activities, the scale and range is so much greater than what is on our doorstep. But fortunately though, in 20 minutes or so, by bike I can get into the Cleveland hills and on into the Yorkshire Dales. I have only moved to this part of the world to retire in the country where my wife originally hailed from, and having had our fill of the Midlands over the last dozen years or so, It's good to be back up north!
Unfortunatly I damaged my knee last year and am currently recovering quite well from an operation on it a couple of months ago, thus my exploration of my immediate surroundings is just about to begin. I have ordered a new lightweight tent and plan to do some long distance walking and biking tours over the summer months. My first outing will be 'local' the 100 mile route of the Teesdale Way, running along the course of the river Tees from it's source in the Pennine Hills above Dufton to its destination with the North Sea above Middlesborough on the east coast. I will walk in that direction which has the benefit of finishing quite close to home. Will keep you posted though it will be the end of the month (at least) before I can start off.
Good point dore, summoned by fells is a little cumbersome so SF or SBF will be fine, as indeed will 'freddy; my real name.
all good wishes,

May 10, 2007, 7:48am

I have never even considered the Teesdale Way, never even heard of it to be honest.

This summer (well late September) I should be doing the Hadrian's Wall Path maybe with my tent or a mix of bivvy bag and B&B.

My last trip out - a weekend in the Peak District was a bit of a disaster. I pulled the tendons in my foot during the first day and didn't notice for most of the day. I spent the night in agony with no sleep on top of Kinder Scout and had to walk across the top of Kinder and down to Edale the next morning.

May 10, 2007, 8:21am

My only venture into a cave (KY's Mammoth Cave) informed me that I was not afraid of confinement (which I thought would be the issue) but HEIGHTS! Incredible caverns in that place--don't know how you people do it!! Even now, there are notes running through my head of mining disaster songs!

This spring I volunteered for the Great Lakes Marsh Monitoring Program. It's been fun to be out in the night air, finally able to identify the frog calls by species! Identifying general types of marsh vegetation looks like an easy enough future task--although the mosquitoes will be out full force by then, I'm afraid--but the bird-call challenge will be a steep learning curve for me.

So, these days I've mostly been listening to CDs of frog and bird calls, and reading up on their life histories on the Internet and in books such as A Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles.

Edited: May 12, 2007, 11:04am

Hi everyone:

I live in a very beautiful part of western Montana--western USA, a couple states north of dore who is in Colorado, but also in the Rocky Mountains.

Here is a photo of my place:

Although I do much of my outdoor enjoyment from the back of a horse, I also enjoy hiking. I've decided that at 50+ years old, someone has done something to the ground to make it a bit too hard and umcomfortable to sleep on to backpack anymore.

I hope to learn more about the birds in the area--I've always been fascinated by identifying birds by their songs.

Most of my outdoor non-horse books are tagged 'field guides' or 'outdoor recreation'.

I especially enjoy first person accounts such as those of Anne LaBastille.

May 12, 2007, 5:38pm

Hello, Streamsong,

Welcome, Fellow Westerner,

Sorry about the ground becoming too hard.

Riding and hiking sound like good alternatives to back-packing.

I can't help you much with bird songs. The only bird I've ever identified by song is the bob-white quail in Texas, and that's because bob-white is the only song that bird ever sings!

We do have some birds in our back yard that at sunrise, start chirping and singing. We call them, "the happy birds"!

Is that devastating news for you?

You have a lovely place, complete with creek, trees, and mountains.
A real outdoor home and retreat.


May 13, 2007, 3:22pm

Hi Dore

(sorry no can do the accent over the e thing with my keyboard).

I lived in Glenwood Springs for two years when I was a kid. If I wasn't where I am, I would live in Colorado--although I think of it as more highly populated than Montana.

LOL about the happy birds. A guy I worked with was an avid birder, but called all the little black, brown, grey etc birds lbj's, lgj's etc--for little black jobs and so on.

Around here the meadowlarks and the killdeer are the easy ones for their very distinct songs. Also hawk whistles, mourning doves etc.

There's a festival at a nearby wildlife refuge with several birding talks/walks and also one on bats that I hope to go to next month.

Thanks for the complements about my place. I tired twice to add it as a link but it just wouldn't show up that way--beats me why. Hope the pic isn't too big or obnoxious.

Go out and enjoy the day!

Edited: Jun 27, 2007, 6:00pm

Greetings one and all,

I live in Fairbanks, Alaska. I work as a chaplain in a hospital up here, and of course am a reader. My spiritual roots (to save you a trip to my profile) are meditative in nature...Quaker, Buddhist, but I am an ordained Presbyterian as well.

You would think I would get out more, living in Alaska and all, but like most people, I have a job, and family, but I do manage to get out some.

If you are up here, I can always recommend a few trips; biking the Denali highway, floating the Gulkana or Birch Creek, hiking in the Brooks Range.

As to reading, pretty much anything. I have about five things going right now, including Budda or Bust, by Perry Garfinkel, Desolation Angels by by Jack Kerouac, Kabuki by David Mack...well that should be enough for now.

Oh I also do a radio show with my daughter on KSUA, our college station. It is the Father/Daughter Picnic, and she plays stuff she likes (she is 18, and very knowledgable about current music) and I play stuff I like (I am NOT 18.) You can hear us at ksua.org Mondays from 4-6 Alaska time.

(How do you do a link here?)

Jun 27, 2007, 6:50pm

> 32 I recently found someone's explanation that an inserted link will work if you put a space before it. Seems to work better if you complete your text and then go back to complete the link. I have found that when you insert a link and continue typing, some of the following text gets included in the link, which prevents it from working.

I will second your recommendations for cycling the Denali highway, and for hiking in the Brooks Range, and I will add hiking the Chilkoot Pass. This is the historic Gold Rush trail used by the sourdoughs in the winter of 1897-98. The trail is not entirely in Alaska - it crosses over into the Yukon, but I think it still counts as an Alaska experience. The trail is a National Historical Park, and is well worth the effort for anyone capable of a strenuous multi-day hike.

Edited: Jun 28, 2007, 8:22am


Spent some fun time up in the Brooks range and a little time in Fairbanks - don't think I could handle living up there full time though.

This is the direct link to the KSUA mp3 stream I use.


Jul 25, 2007, 7:05pm

Hello Andy, hope the tendons have recovered I sufferred similarly about seven years ago and it kept me out of action for about 18 months or so! I have now walked the Teesdale Way and thoroughly enjoyed it but for the ten miles or so between Darlington and Yarm which was very overgrown with more nettles than you would ever wish to shake a scyth at! apart from that very good indeed. My next trip will be the Hadrians Wall footpath which hopefully I will be doing next week, have you managed to do it yet? if so any advice? I am thinking that a bivi would be better than 'fly' camping as tents are highly visible on relatively flat ground what do you think?
yours Aye,

Jul 26, 2007, 4:36am

No, not yet. I was planning for late September because I thought summer would be too hot.

A couple of people I know have done it though. They did manage to find a few camping barns and places to camp (with permission) not far from the path.

They said the worst bit was the first day which is a slog through Newcastle mainly on pavement.

Jul 26, 2007, 6:52am

Thanks Andy, I think I must have a rather weird ethic when I am hiking I really do not like staying in campsites etc., much prefering to keep close to the land and on my own, I'm not anti-social but just enjoy the experience more that way. Consequently I think I will take my chance with my bivi-bag, there is also a modicum of excitement ocassioned by not knowing exactly where I will end up at the end of the day! And of course it keeps the costs down, and thats important but even as a Scot, it's not all that important!
I see that members are cataloguing OS maps, so must get round to doing mine soon.

Jul 26, 2007, 7:12am

Not all of them were campsites as such. I think some nights it was farmer's fields. When we walked the Ridgeway we managed to camp in a pub garden (in November I think) with the landlord's permission. Of course a bivi does gives a fair bit more flexibility which was why I was thinking of taking one.

Jul 27, 2007, 1:16pm

Hi Andy, looking at the weather forecast I have decided tomorrow will be 'go for it day' so will catch a bus up to Newcastle get the underground out to Wallsend and set off across the famous Hadrians Wall. On finishing I will drop down to Keswick where my wife and I have modest holiday place for a few days rest, recuperation and beers. So no postings for a spell but will let you know how it goes. I did the Ridgeway in 1982 or thereabouts, camping out in February, we think we may have recorded the first crossing of the year!
Keep on reading!

Aug 3, 2007, 4:14pm

Just for the record I have now completed the 85 mile walk along Hadrians Wall from Wallsend to Bowness on Solway, enjoyed it so much after a celebratory beer I turned round and walked back again making a double traverse in four days, eleven hours and ten minutes. The last days walk of 43 miles was a bit of a forced march by the time you get back to Newcastle the hard pavement surfaces are quite taxing! Undoubtably the good bits are in the middle along the Whin Sill ridgeway and by doing it both ways I got the benefit of early morning light and evening sunset lighting as well. The wall is quite spectacular and makes the less interesting start and finish more than tolerable. Most people go from east to west but beware you will be walking into the weather and prevailing wind and I can vouch that you will ingest fewer flies with the wind on your back! The main problem for me was that as there are not too many places to stock up on food and water, they are nearly all closed out of normal trading hours, and I seemed to pass the few cafes etc too early or too late to take advantage of them accordingly I had to spend time of trail in Carlisle to by provisions. No problem though if your walk is during the nine am to five pm timeframe.
best regards,

Aug 3, 2007, 4:46pm

Congrats, 'fells! I see the Hadrian's Wall in my future... This long weekend, however, sees me tackling the first two days of the Rennsteig (sleeping in my own bed, only an hour to 1,5 hrs by train away).
I've found myself staring at people with backpacks and telescope sticks, so I thought it was time I get out there again! :-)

Aug 4, 2007, 3:15am


Blow me - you have long days. Me I tend to limit myself to around 15 miles so I can stop every now and then for a brew, take piccies and generally enjoy being outside. At 30-40 mile a day it would be just a head down trudge for me and I would be completely shattered at the end.

Aug 6, 2007, 10:35am

Thanks 'Girl' I hope you manage to do 'The Wall' if you think of it as a journey in three parts then all the good bits are in the middle section, both ends are rather limp from a walking quality point of view involving lots of road walking in an not very exciting environment. Doing the whole thing is of value if you are the sort of person who appreciates the completeness of things. Otherwise I would consider making a base somewhere in the middle of the of the trail and explore the main Whin Sill ridge where the wall undulates with the landscape and is very dramatic and worthwhile. Trust you have a lovely week end on the Rennsteig!

Aug 6, 2007, 10:44am

Hi Andy, yup I do rather go in for long days on the hill, I am generally up and walking by six am latest and keep a steady pace till it gets dark or tiredness takes its toll, but I find that once I am in 'walking mode' it is not at all difficult to keep going all day. My wife says I have to walk on my own as no one would be able to keep up with me. Whereas I really walk on my own to avoid the embarrassment of holding anyone up!
I take plenty of photos, over 100 on the Wall walk, and write up the location and other relevant details, I stop for a cuppa or a brew, when the opportunity presents. About 20 miles into the walk (travelling west) you will come to the Whittledence Reservoirs with a picnic site and a bird hide. I stopped in the hide and brewed up some tea watching the swifts hawking over the water. I can recommend it as a good stop. Be sure to enjoy it.

Aug 6, 2007, 12:38pm

#43, yes, lovely it was (day 1 at least). I decided this morning to not do day 2, rather do a bit of walking and knee training this week, before tackling day 2 (with some steep ascents/descents). I am one of these X-legged persons that will feel their knees no matter what they do --and especially if they don't do much, like me! So I tend not to overdo it, because it takes about 7 days to "heal" after a week of hiking. :-P

It was a lovely day, with lots of sun, and a brilliant finale in the Drachenschlucht (Dragon Gorge) leading down to Eisenach.

Aug 7, 2007, 5:04am

#45 do you use walking poles? I know a number of people who all swear they really do help the knees especially on the ascents/descents.

Not overdoing it really is a good idea though!

Aug 7, 2007, 7:11am

#46, yes, I do, but the ascents and descents here didn't call for the use of them (except for the last one into the Gorge). I use them whenever necessary, but basically I feel my knees after every tour of more than 10-15 km. I felt them for the whole tour of two weeks last year, so it is probably not only a matter of more training but also the "statics"...

Aug 9, 2007, 5:56am

Having joined, I will introduce myself. I've done the reverse of reading_fox - I lived in Manchester for four years right next to the lovely peak district and now live in Cambridge, which, whatever andyl says is really rather flat ;-) When I'm here I tend to spend most of my time on a river or occasionally running through fields very slowly indeed!

However, I tend to get hill withdrawal symptoms fairly often, so all our holidays seem to be to hilly/mountainous places! I'm just about to go to the Lakes for a week to ease the cravings somewhat and enjoy being able to climb some of the hills in my copies of A. Wainwright's Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fellss (just one touchstoned but there are seven and they're all fantastic!). They're hand drawn and written and his love for the fells shines through. Amazon have look inside for them and I would highly recommend seeing what I'm going on about! The only downside is that they will make you want to go and climb said fells :-) Another book I enjoyed recently is Feet in the Clouds which is about fell running - now I want to go and run up fells but given how bad I am at running through my local flat fields I have realised that I'll just have to stick with walking slowly and admiring the scenery!

I'm ridiculously excited about going to Nepal in October though :-D Not doing anything too strenuous as I'm going with the parents, but I've been wondering about giving Annapurna a read, as that's the region we're going to, so I might do that!

Anyway, I'll stop gibbering about hills and books now!

Aug 9, 2007, 6:45am

Liz my tongue was firmly in my cheek when I said Cambridge wasn't flat. Although it is damn sight more hilly than where I live. I think looking at the digital mapping I have I could plot a 60 mile round trip bike ride without crossing a contour line on the map. The main increases and decreases in altitude are bridges. There is a spot height at 7m a few miles away from me at a place called Horsey Hill - and that is a Civil War fort, so much of the height is due to earthworks.

Have you been watching the BBC4 series on the Wainwrights?

Edited: Aug 27, 2007, 3:06pm

I love to walk, ramble, hike- whichever descriptive you prefer. I live in the North Eastern United States of America (New England). I enjoy hiking the White and Green Mountains along with the Adirondacks and Catskills when I can. I also 'road walk'- planning to walk through every road in my town and then extend it to other nearby towns. This way at some point in my life, I would like to have walked through the majority of Connecticut (which luckily, is a relatively small state). I hope to through-hike the Vermont Long Trail and Appalachian trails soon enough. Anyhow for books, I tend to be a lot less critical of walking and 'outdoors' books than other genres. I've recently read Colin Fletcher's The Man Who Walked Through Time as well as 500 Mile Walkies by Mark Wallington. Currently finishing up Tom Fremantle's The Moonshine Mule.

Aug 26, 2007, 6:49pm

Greetings fellow walkers/hikers: I've enjoyed scanning the above messages. While I live here in the great desert of Arid-zona( which has great hiking by the way besides the Grand Canyon), I am sympatico with the several posters from the fens. My mother is from Pinchbeck, Lincs and it doesn't get much flatter than around there.

Last February I had my best walking experience in the UK when I did part of the 1066 walk starting in Battle using "The 1066 Country Walk" guide by Brian Smailes as well as the appropriate OS map. It was very wet and I won't bore you with all the details but the book was great even though there were no maps.

Speaking of trail guides, I actually collect them and wonder if there are any other collectors of hiking books out there. One of the reasons I signed up with Library Thing is that it was a great opportunity to catalog them( I've got a ways to go though).


Edited: Aug 27, 2007, 12:03pm

#51 (Edding)

I have begun to collect guide books- but I suppose rather selectively- older walking guides that have a good literary style. I am also interested in books about walking such as The Magic of Walking by Aaron Sussman and Ruth Goode and George Trent's The Gentle Art of Walking.

Aug 27, 2007, 12:51pm

I've actually gone in the other direction( not that I don't appreciate a well-turned literary style). My criteria are that there should be maps with the text( and not an overall map in a pocket in the back) and that there should be a text that delineates the landmarks along the way. Generally I look for hiking only trail guides but will occasionally bend that rule. Whenever I travel I try and pick up a trail guide or two from that specific location.

Aug 27, 2007, 3:05pm

Ah well those I do not collect, I accumulate;) I'm a sucker for a guide with a good topo as well.. but interestingly since they are very functional to me, I don't see them as a collectible (certainly my baggage, not any good basis for that). Anyhow, glad to meet you... if I come across any outstanding titles, I will keep you in mind.

Aug 27, 2007, 4:46pm

Although I don't exactly collect them, I also accumulate guides and maps from areas I have hiked or ridden on horseback.

Now, I'm also a member of www.trails.com -- a sort of sneaky site that has the info, maps, and topos for the US....but has one of those ' give us your credit card numbers, try us for three weeks and if you don't cancel, you're a member for a year' places.....and I forgot. I'm not saying that it's not a useful site but pocket trail guides are much easier to take along.

Aug 28, 2007, 3:37pm

#48 My wife and trekked the Annapurna curcuit in October of 2000. Annapurna is great book ! Tiger for breakfast is another interesting one about Nepal.

Have fun in Nepal.

Edited: Sep 28, 2007, 12:07pm

Thanks for the invitation to join, reading_fox! I've done some caving in the past, and a little climbing. These days I'm mostly interested in kayaking and trail biking. There are several really good trails here in central Maryland where I'm from that were made from old railway beds, and my wife and I have recently started exploring them. I'm also trying to get her into kayaking, but that's been a slower process! 8^}

Most of my collection of outdoors info comes from the internet these days, so my library is woefully incomplete in this area. I do enjoy stuff from the public library, though, and I've got Island of the lost: shipwrecked at the edge of the world on my to-be-read list. It compares the experiences of two ship crews wrecked in Tasmania, I think, at the same time. One crew was able to live there successfully until they figured out a way to get off the island, and the other crew collapsed and didn't make it. Anybody else read it?

Edited: Nov 1, 2007, 11:55am

Thanks for the invite reading fox! Me and my husband found our love for hiking on our honeymoon. We went to the mountains and did a few day hikes. Now me and the whole family go camping and hiking every year. My husband enjoys it more than I because he loves doing those long hikes. He is into the Applachian Trail thing and he has been section hiking that. He has a cool website with pictures and videos of his hikes. I will have to get back with you on the name of the web site though. I have gone on a few of this hikes and things have never worked out when I go. I mostly enjoy the day hikes. I forgot to tell you that I from a small town in North Carolina.

I don't have any outdoor books though. My husband has a few on hiking, camping and backpacking.

59MtnSk8tr First Message
Dec 15, 2007, 6:39am

Hi Reading Fox -- I finally made it here!

I'm a technical climber since 1987: alpine mountaineering, rock, & ice. My husband & I love to read as well as climb: our mountaineering library alone is 700+ volumes. It will take FOREVER to catalogue 'em all on LT, but once done it will be wonderful. I've used an Excel spreadsheet until now (& will continue that as well as LT).

I also have a keen interest in wilderness medicine & altitude illnesses.

My husband & I are the librarians for our local climbing/outdoors club. Goal: eventually catalogue those books on LT also. Members will then be able to access them easily from home.

We are blessed to live in the USA's Pacific Northwest: relatively close to the western USA's Cascade range, as well as Yosemite, the Sierra Nevada, Tetons, Glacier National Park, & the Canadian Rockies.

I'm enjoying browsing everyone's LT books!

Jan 25, 2008, 7:50pm

Hi all! I love hiking, though I don't get to do it often enough anymore - partially because none of my friends are big hikers and partially because I'm currently living in the middle of a suburban/city area. There are plenty of hills in San Diego, but most of them are covered with streets and houses!

I used to work at the UC Riverside Herbarium and even took a wildflower identification course in college, so I find it fun to be able to point out (a few) flowers and say obscure things like, "Oh, that's Nicotiana glauca." :-D

Jan 26, 2008, 12:20pm

That must be fun! I'm pretty good with animals, ok with UK common birds, but almost useless when it comes to identifying plants. Particularly when you come across something that looks or smells nice and you want to be able to track something similar down later for the garden- but I don't have a clue and can never remember the key bits to identify it when I get home.

Jan 28, 2008, 9:02pm

Most of the ones I know are native to California, so I probably wouldn't be much help in the UK! ;) Otherwise, I would say we should switch for a while, since I'm only ok with animals.

Feb 26, 2008, 9:46pm

(Thanks for the invite, reading_fox!)

well then - I feel like a fish out of water, I'm in the US, and not in Alaska or California the north at all! I'm in upstate South Carolina, and my biggest problem here is balancing between 110 degree daytime weather with about 90% humidity, and 55 nighttime with hard mists, when you're already sweaty and wet from a day of good mucking about. I've really found that a big towel and a change of clothes are the easiest way to deal - I just hope no-one sees me and thinks I'm some scary nekkid person trying to get them!

I prefer easy hiking and caving, I love 2 or 3 day camping hikes, with no real destination or goal, just being out there and 'exploring' the local area and trails. That's about it, with a bit of kayaking thrown in for good measure. I tend to enjoy the scenery and the 'being outside' more than the physical exertion, but I'm also stubborn, so if there's a challenging trail, all you have to do is tell me how hard it is, and I'll do it just to prove I can!

I also rock-climb in an indoors facility, and dream of someday being brave enough to do it for real - I have a fear of falling, so it may be a while!

As far as local interest, I'm very close to the Appalachian Trail - I've hiked bits of it (never had the time or funds for more than a day or so, sadly) and some really lovely state parks are close by for good scenic hiking. Ceasars Head Park is my favorite.
The views are spectacular, and the hiking is easy (well, amazingly easy when I'm in shape, and that's how I know when I'm getting too sedate - if I'm puffing to get up those, I need to get out more!) I like it that way - I can enjoy looking around.

Other nice places nearby are Standing Stone Mountain, and the actual Reedy River in Greenville, SC, which is one of the only class IV/V rated falls INSIDE a metro area in the whole USA - its nice for practice wet-rock climbing, and the occasional death-defying kayak lunge when the river is running low and quiet.

*waves to everyone*

Feb 26, 2008, 9:51pm

ps - recommended book!

It's only american birds, but its still a really cool book! We had it at my previous library, and we (the librarians) would keep it on the desk all day and play bird songs into the intercom for patrons to guess what they were!

Bird Songs: 250 North American Birds in Song by Les Beletsky and Jon L. Dunn

oh, there is this one also :

Bird Songs From Around the World: Featuring Songs of 200 Birds from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (Push and Listen) by the same guy, but it won't touchstone for some reason. We didn't have this one, but I bet it's the same idea.

The illustrations/paintings were very good also - not Audubon, but nice!

Feb 27, 2008, 9:42am


More cavers ! Yay! How do you define easy caving? I've no idea how US caves compare to the generally small UK ones.

"real" rock climbing. Go with someone you trust and who knows how to lead and place gear. You will then be seconding which is essentially top-roped and won't be in any more danger of falling than you are on the wall.

Feb 29, 2008, 9:37pm

hmm, easy caving is... no underground rock climbing, for one. : >

I also try to avoid little icky cramped wiggle-tunnels. Just a preference for me though, I don't like the idea of getting squished.

Mar 1, 2008, 6:57pm

Anything I'd take a newbie in. So no rappelling or ascenders. No water deeper than the knees. No long, twisty, belly crawls with 90 degree bends in the middle. Ok, I actually *did* take a newbie in one of those once, but it was someone I didn't like very much...8^}

Mar 2, 2008, 3:30am

and they're still there...

Mar 3, 2008, 6:11am

Hmm probably due to the different availability of caves. A lot of newbie caving trips in the UK will involve a ladder pitch

Jun 5, 2008, 1:40pm

Hello! Thanks for inviting me, Reading Fox! I do love to read and I love the outdoors! I enjoy walking, hiking, camping, and scuba diving! My brother is trying to get me into cave diving, but I'm not sold yet! I like open water above my head! However, I will be trying it in three weeks.

I live in South Georgia and it's very flat here. I would love to try my hand (or feet) at climbing and caving, but that would require quite a drive. I'll get to it some day.

Edited: Jun 6, 2008, 4:33am

Cave Diving! Is your brother just looking for a sherpa to help porter the gear to the cave sump or are you going too?

Is it cave diving, or cavern diving? The difference being in cavern diving you can see sunlight at all times. Not something I can do in the UK, lacking suitbale flooded caverns.

I've done one very short freedive sump and it is exhilerating fun, somethign I'd like to do more of. But actual solo exploratory cave diving is one of the more dangerous sports going, suffering all the risks of caving and of diving, without anything in the way of backup. It takes at least 2 hours for rescue to arrive at a cave. How long can you hold your breath?

However in the US I understand there are lot of much easier access systems than in the UK. You also have better water, better visibility (ie some), and generally just a nicer time of it.

Jun 6, 2008, 6:54am

fun, fun, fun.

*goes back to book*

Jun 6, 2008, 8:40am

Hi, Mr. Andrew!

The caves my brother is talking about are in North Florida and are relatively safe. He's been in caves and caverns many times and has decided it's time to introduce me to them! ACK!!

My diving has been limited to diving on wrecks and other open ocean dives. These caves are in springs. One in particular is Ginnie Springs in Florida. There are others, but that's the one I'm most familiar with. It's also a park so there are some safety features in that! Goggle it!

Back to my coffee and a book. :)

Jun 6, 2008, 8:50am

*smiles* thanks, i will.

i'll tell you my near-death diving experience when you safely return.

no really, i'm sure you'll be fine. Some people just shouldn't dive. Me, for example.

Edited: Jun 6, 2008, 9:10am

Wow. Ok even I've heard of the Devil's Eye. that looks absolutely amazing - very envious!

Contrast this to a typical UK cave sump.

If I've got the html right.Which I obviously haven't. grr. Try this. Okay a bit smaller.

Just not quite the same somehow.

Jun 6, 2008, 11:09am

Mr Andrew, Thank you for calming my nerves. Really, you shouldn't have! I would like to suggest that you NOT try to make me feel less nervous. :)

Reading Fox - I think I'll stay out of there! I have no desire to squeeze myself into an area that small!

Jun 6, 2008, 11:46am

my pleasure.

Jun 6, 2008, 11:51am

Literally laughing out loud!!

Jun 6, 2008, 12:11pm

I'm not really claustrophobic, but that pic reading fox REALLY creeps me out.

Jun 10, 2008, 4:32pm

Thanks for the invite readingfox! I can't believe I haven't come across this group before.
Okay, I live in Switzerland and have been hiking my whole life. My parents took my sister and me with them from the time we were born. I don't live in the mountains (more the hilly section of the country), but I spend a lot of time in the Alps as we also have a house up there.

I also lived in Colorado (Glenwood Springs) for a year and went backpacking whenever I could.
I love hiking anywhere. I've also done some backpacking in Corsica (France), Ireland, Wales, South Africa, Austria and Portugal.
Last weekend I was up in the mountains for three days together with my boyfriend and his two dogs and we attempted to climb a mountain. The weather got too bad though and we had to turn around. Ah, well, another time...

I also love scuba diving (Mexico, Egypt, Florida, Switzerland and South Africa so far), but I have never been caving. Sounds like something I'd enjoy!

Jun 10, 2008, 5:33pm

I used to do a lot of diving, but haven't gone in years. Reading_fox, your photo does not tempt me. I am not normally claustrophobic, but that looks just too scary!

Jun 11, 2008, 4:35am

I'm told, though I've not done it, that the sump in question is only about 30m long. It saves something like 30+ minuts of hands and knees crawling to get to a pretty part of the cave and further extensions. There is a reason why UK cave divers are looked on with awe and suspicion by the rest of the caving community! However it is the only way to get to see some magnificent and significant parts of some caves.

European caving: There are some massive systems in Austria, a few in France and Spain and quite a lot of less well explored stuff in Slovacia and eastern Europe. I don't know of any - which doesn't mean there isn't lots- in Switzerland or Germany. Googel should be able to find a caving club contacts for your country. Every club is always keen for new memebers and generally very good at introducing them to gentler things at first.

Jun 12, 2008, 5:57pm

I AM claustrophobic, and there is nothing short of imminent, painful death that could get me into a cave like that, reading_fox! ;D I shudder just looking at it.

I'll stick with my nice open hiking, thank you.

Jun 26, 2009, 12:58pm

Thanks for the invitation. Eventhough the last message is over year old I thought I would introduce myself.
I live in Nuuk, Greenland and have really gotten into hiking since moving here. Greenland is all about experience the wild and mostly unspoiled nature. I have been living here for over a year and am loving evry minute of it.
I usually goes hiking in the weekends. There are no trails uphere, so you just pick a direction and start walking

Jun 26, 2009, 6:52pm

trisweather! Welcome!

Jun 26, 2009, 7:00pm

Sounds lovely, trisweather! I enjoy hiking very much.

*waves at DrNewt*

Edited: Jun 27, 2009, 5:44am

Tris: "There are no trails uphere, so you just pick a direction and start walking"

Sounds like a GPSr and/or compass come in handy there!

I am planning a few days' hike in July, along the ancientOchsenweg/Hærvejen, probably starting in Flensburg on the Danish/German border, and walking south towards my hometown. Maybe I'll start in Sønderborg for the History and Culture Extension ;), and walk down the Gendarmes' Path (the border patrol path between 1920 and 1954) towards Flensburg (looking at Düppel/Dybbøl and the town next to it where my Great-Grandmother was born, Gravenstein/Gråsten castle, etc.).
Let's see how far I'll get (no specific training ATM, so I'll shorten the daily stretches according to "power left" :-) ). There's always a train or bus to hop on, as well.

Jun 27, 2009, 6:05pm

Oh, by the way, thank you for getting me kick-started on the planning: Got my guide books together, and made a trip to the library in the afternoon :-).

Jun 29, 2009, 10:59am

I have always wanted to walk hærvejen, but haven't so far. Will love to hear about your trip

Nov 1, 2009, 2:10pm

Thanks for the invitation :-)

I grew up in mid-Wales so I've never been short of geography to stretch my legs on, but I'm not good with heat, so I actually prefer walking in the winter, especially if there's a bit of snow and ice about. I like to spend the day on an interesting line of hills rather than one big mountain.

Most winters, I try to get a week or two of cross-country skiing. Mostly in Norway or Finland.

As it's not in the list I'll recommend The Ascent of Rum Doodle.

Sep 1, 2010, 2:40am

Hi - I'm new to this group, invited by reading_fox. I live in northern British Columbia, Canada, near the north end of the Rocky Mountains. I like to hike and paddle in the summers, and cross-country ski pretty much every day in the winter. I've done a little caving, mostly years ago. I've worked and travelled in the bush in northern Ontario, most of BC and the Yukon and the Northwest Territories. Some great trips I've been on are hiking the Wokkpash trail and the Chilkoot trail, and paddling the Nahanni River and the Frog River. Best outdoor book: Dangerous River, a great account of travel to the Nahanni in the 1920's. I highly recommend R. M. Patterson's other books too.

Edited: Sep 3, 2010, 2:26pm

>91 NorthernStar:

NorthernStar - when did you hike the Chilkoot? I went in 1989 (same year as the Exxon Valdez spill; it seemed like everyone in Alaska was in a state of shock and depression). I wanted to hike it for the history, but was pleasantly surprised by the scenery. We went in June, took the Alaska state ferry from Seattle, and I was up for 3 days straight taking photos on the Inside Passage. We spent a night in Skagway, so I was somewhat recovered from my zombie state by the time we started hiking.

I am convinced that I need to do that hike at least 2 more times to get the true Chilkoot experience. Once in winter, on snowshoes, and once after breakup, continuing with a float trip to Dawson.

Sep 6, 2010, 2:48am

I hiked the Chilkoot in July 1999. It was great, but I'd love to do it again. We took the train back to Skagway from Bennet Lake, and had a perfect, clear, calm day for it - the lakes were like mirrors. We drove up, and overnighted in Whitehorse and Skagway, so were well rested. I'd love to do that Inside Passage trip someday, I hear it is really something if the weather cooperates. Someday I plan to paddle the Yukon River to Dawson, but haven't got a date yet.