I was recently invited to what's called a "baby moon" trip with my buddy. His wife was due to give birth to their daughter a few months from then and she wanted him to have one last good hurrah in the wilderness before the child came (Update: the child arrived...and is beautiful).
So, five of us packed our bags and headed for Asheville, North Carolina, for a weekend at a lakehouse: climbing, swimming, grilling out, and relaxing.
We decided to not particularly have any plans so that we could all take one collective breath from our normal schedule. This was a massively good decision...except for one logistic. Our climbing trip.
When looking for green in Paris, there are many places to go, but only one that will change your life—one way or another. And that place is Bois de Boulogne.
Established by Louis Napolean over 150 years ago, this park (which is over 2,000 acres) literally carries within it the unexpected. There you can find a hippodrome, two man-made lakes, a massive forest, the famed Roland Garros tennis facility, and much much more.
When I landed in London, I hoped that the largest swatch of land I was going to see would be bigger than the football pitch at White Hart Lane, but I had no need to worry. These four stunners, in particular, welcomed me to this 2,000-year-old city with open arms:
Greenwich Park—Home of the Prime Meridian and large patches of rolling green hills, interspersed with forests. I couldn't help but feel like Greenwich was older and more historied than many places I went in London. This was verified when I stumbled upon the marked ruins of a Roman Era structure. Go here if you like science, history, and beautiful scenery. (Bonus: you can tour a 150-year-old English clipper called the "Cutty Sark," though you have to pay to get in.)
When I stepped off the train in the Irish coastal town of Bray, I had no idea what to expect. My heart was longing for the outdoors so much that I only knew I was going to someplace that others said was beautiful.
As I wound through the alleys and broad roads to get to the beach, the tranquility of the town wrapped me in its arms. As I stepped on the stone beach and looked out as far as the overcast sky would let me, I pretended I could see Wales and that I'd just sailed in on a wooden cargo ship. Slowly, my mind—which had been so busy and full in the previous months—began to empty. I by-passed the walkway full of others seeking respite in the beauty of nature and trudged along the beach until I came to the trail. Bray to Greystones.
I've been planning a series of solo hiking adventures by myself. I know that I'm breaking the golden rule of never hiking alone, but sue me—vacation allowances with friends don't always overlap and plans sometimes don't pan out. That's just life. With that in mind, I made myself a survival kit—an essential packet of goodies meant to aid me in the unlikely event of a dangerous situation while I'm all by my lonesome.
These are the items I personally deem as important, after much research, personal experience, and the recommendations of others:
1. Navigation tools. I carry a small compass (which works best when you have a map or already know which direction you are and need to travel).
The massive lakes surrounding the state of Michigan are not the only things great about the fabulous state to the north.
Here are three of the reasons I love it so, and why you should probably consider visiting:
The place is a veritable playground of wonderfulness.
Michigan has the longest freshwater shoreline of any political subdivision in the world, is the largest state—in terms of area—east of the Mississippi River, and has over 10,000 lakes (you're never more than 6 miles from an inland lake at anytime).
The five-year anniversary of having my feet in Vibram Fivefingers is right around the corner and I'm ready to celebrate. Those things have been with me for countless adventures. Running, hiking, tubing, gardening, travel, I could go on.
But to me, aside from all the reasons I enjoy the shoes, the thing that stands out the most about them to me now is that they've lasted as long as they have. It's pretty ridiculous, actually.
I don't wear them every day, but most of them I wear weekly. And all of them I've had more than 3 or 4 years.
I recently was given some amazing plants for free (for you green thumbs, yerba santa, yucca, chaya, and papaya). The problem was, I got each of them late in the day and they had to be planted in the ground as soon as possble. This meant I'd have to plant in the dark.
So, when I got home, I ran inside and immediately grabbed my Black Diamond Zenix headlamp. It's been so long since I've purchased it that I had no idea what the style name is (I looked it up), but who cares?, because it still works capitally.
When I moved to downtown Orlando, just over a year ago, there was one purchase that assisted me in both saving money and enjoying the city to the maximum: a bicycle.
Forget gas; I'll pedal.
And if you know anything about Florida, you know that it rains. A lot. In the summer, it is fairly incessant. To ride, I need a bag that is waterproof to keep certain items dry.
Previously, I had a DryComp Ridge Sack (primarily used around the water) that was a wonder, but the piping on the shoulder straps broke when one of my friends was borrowing it last year. The main reason I took exception to the breakage was because that piping held on the two pieces of chest strap that buckled in the middle. With the piping busted, if I cranked the straps tight, the plastic attachment on the chest straps would slide right off the piping and be rendered useless.
Many people have asked the question "How long do Fivefingers last?" While I think this is a good question, in principle, it's much more difficult to explain than one might think.
And it starts with, "It depends..."
THE ISSUE//Frequency and Comparision to Running Shoes
This may sound obvious, but it's foundational to understanding how long you'll have you brand new toe shoes.