A long list of places made short. December 24, 2013 “It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellowmen, and travel far and wide; and if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death. It is doomed to wander through the world—oh, woe is me!—and witness what it cannot share, but might have shared on earth, and turned to happiness!” Jacob Marley to Ebenezer Scrooge, Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” A couple of…

Torres del Paine, Patagonia, Chile. December 12, 2013. I love wind, rain and snow, so it was only natural to be on the trail to the lake at the foot of the famous “W” peaks of Los Torres at 4:15 on this Patagonian summer morning. In the dark, my headlamp made out the rocks and footholds on this steep and twisting mountain path. The Patagonian wind which roared through the beech trees above our camp and shook our tent throughout the night was even more fierce as we…

Perito Moreno Glacier, Patagonia, Argentina. December 10, 2013. Crampons lashed to our boots, we took our first tentative, flat footed, steps, driving the spikes into glacial ice and stepping forward. No heel-to-toe step but full contact with our spikes biting into this massive glacier as we started a short trek to one of the few accessible spots near the front face of this residual giant cache of ancient snows. Moving at an occasional top speed of 2 meters (about six and a half feet) per day, the Perito…

At the foot of Fitz Roy mountain, Patagonia, Argentina. December 8, 2013. I’ve come to view long hikes and treks like life. The real purpose is to enjoy the trail, not to hurry to the end which will come soon enough anyway. After a three hour flight from Buenos Aires to El Calafate, we caught a three hour shuttlebus ride to El Calatan where we met our guide and porters. Once we’d redistributed our packed goods, storing those we wouldn’t be using at an accommodating hotel, we shouldered…

Las Vegas, Nevada. December 3, 2013 U R Doin’ What? I seem to be getting some of that lately, but here I go anyway. Inside my already packed duffel bag is a backpack ready to go. After trying to recruit friends to come along, the day has come, and I’m headed for Patagonia to hike, trek, camp and soak up some magnificent scenery. This started when I found a post on Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree forum. Xiao, an Australian professional photographer, was looking for someone to share the…

November 26, 2013. Patzcuaro, Mexico. Eat off the streets and you’re gonna die! Right? Well, not really. I mean, not really if you are smart about it. First, let’s establish a base. I’m not one of those extreme eaters. I don’t eat strange things to get on tv. I eat for pleasure as well as nutrition. I like good food, well prepared, and I don’t like badly prepared food anywhere. I understand good hygiene and practice it when I can. . . . local food is a key…

Highway 15, Western Mexico. April 6, 1969. I was doing about 80 on Camino Quince (Highway 15) with Culiacan somewhere behind me and Los Mochis still ahead on that Easter afternoon. Through the shimmering light as the heat from the road turned straight lines into curves, I saw him. Rather, I saw something. Something was in the center of the road, not moving. I let up on the accelerator but was still closing quickly, close enough now to make it out. Here, on a sizzling strip of black…