Writing, like sleep, has never come easily to me. There’s a restlessness to it. Perhaps, because the search for the right words is a struggle that haunts every writer—the burden of imperfect communication. Then again, perhaps it’s because nearly all of my writing happens in the unlikeliest of places…
The wilderness is—news flash—a wild, and scenic place. The fact that it occupies a romantic place in our brains outside the familiar is, in large part, the essence of its appeal. It also explains the sheer terror that many people associate with being out in that wilderness.
Skiing isn’t an inherently sensible thing to do. Think about it. From the time we realize, as infants, that standing up seems like a cool thing to do, we spend nearly every moment from that day forward trying to avoid the pitfall of that decision. Namely, we try not to fall flat on our faces. Gravity, it turns out, is an effective teacher.
What is at the heart of any trail experience? It’s a question I’ve had more time than most to ponder over, the luxury of a charmed life whose privilege is never forgotten. And over many years and many thousands of miles, I’ve come to the realization that the experience of a trail is not about the trail itself, not the thing physically beneath your feet. It’s about where it takes you.
When I was a kid, I loved geography. Couldn’t get enough of it. Maps, atlases, countries, flags, states, capitals. It was the first way I remember trying to understand the world I was a part of. To learn about my place in that world, and to exercise that childhood curiosity about places I would likely never see with my own two eyes…
In August 1914, with the world peering into the void of what would become the First World War, a wooden ship unique among all but one set sail from Plymouth, England bound for Antarctica. Apart from its cousin ship, Fram, no other wooden ship had been built—or has been since—with such attention given to strength and the ability to withstand the crushing power of an Antarctic winter’s ice floes.