Thursday 17 June 2010

Interview on Tracks and Trails

Clayton Kessler recently interviewed me for the website and this has just been published here. In the interview I talk about how I became involved in the outdoors, my favourite places, meeting bears, getting lost, long distance hikes and favourite websites and stores.

Photo info: In the Montana Rockies on the Continental Divide Trail, 1985. Pentax MX, Tamron 35-70 lens, Kodachrome 64 film. No exposure details. Scanned slide tweaked in Lightroom 2.5.


  1. Who is the young lad in the picture Chris? :)
    Doesn't time fly, eh?
    Mike fae Dundee.

  2. Young? I guess I was a quarter of a century ago!

  3. I was trying to keep my eyes off your knees ;-)

  4. Looks like you've got Darth Vader on your back, no wonder you have such strong looking legs..

  5. Hi Chris, That's a great photo. and you look so smart. Is there any piece of equipment that you carried then and still do today ? What would the difference in weight be between then and now for the same kind of journey ? If you could have only one thing from that journey granted to you what would it be ?
    kindest wishes, Alastair

  6. Alastair, "smart"!. That's a new one!

    I still have a few of the items I carried on that walk but I rarely use them. The Svea 123 stove still works well. I found the Field & Trek Thermaclava (a Viloft balaclava) just the other day. I didn't know I still had it!

    The Camera Care Systems cases are still in use occasionally.

    I'd carry half the weight these days. In fact I will on the Pacific Northwest Trail. The main weight reductions are in the pack -7lbs/3.175kg in 1985, 2.06lbs/935g now - and the tent - 6lbs/2.72kg in 1985, 2.12lbs/963 grams now.

    At times I carried 70-80lbs on that hike - when I had 10 days food or, in the desert, several gallons of water. I'm sure I felt the weight and my journal shows I resented it at times. But I don't remember it at all. I just remember what a marvellous experience the walk was and how much I enjoyed it.

  7. Hi Chris. I read the interview. Good questions. Good answers. Just one more: Tell us what noise you made to scare away a grizzly bear? I want to learn how to make that noise!

    Your comment about the difference between a short and long trip was memorable. It's sad that I and many other working stiffs will not get to level 2 (the long hike) so that's why we cherish your observations!

    Walt from California

  8. Thanks for your comments Walt.

    To show the grizzly I was there I blew my safety whistle, clapped my hands and shouted. I've since been told that blowing a whistle is a bad idea as a bear might mistake it for a marmot and come looking for a snack! The bear was not scared. It stopped, sniffed the air, moved its head from side to side to locate the sound then turned aside and walked, slowly, into some willows. It may have been going that way anyway or it may have decided the noise was irritating and so moved away from it.