Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Book Review - 1001 Walks You Must Take Before You Die


I am excited to bring you 1001 Walks You Must Take Before You Die by Barry Stone, Universe Publishing, 2015.  This impressive hard cover edition features 960 pages with 800 color illustrations and is scheduled for release today.  Travel writer Barry Stone has compiled an impressive guide to the best hikes and walks the globe has to offer so lace up your favorite pair of walking shoes and join me for a tour.

Broken down into 5 distinct sections, there is sure to be a hike or walk that will appeal to anyone. Personally, I've always been partial to hikes in the woods and the beauty of this book is that it opened my eyes to a wide variety of different options that I clearly had never considered before.   The sections are as follows:

  • Overland trails will vary from a few hours to several months and you can decide if you want to camp out and what level of isolation you prefer.  
  • Urban walks will take you through cities and towns, as well as renovated railroads, riverside paths and town centers steeped in history.
  • Mountain inspired treks will appeal to both lovers of high altitude ridge lines and summits as well as those who prefer lower level circuits around the base of a mountain.
  • Heritage trails will take you on journeys that explore burial mounds and battlefields, petroglyphs and canalways or even a monastery or two.
  • Coastal & Shoreline walks will have you exploring sand dunes and cliffs that may occasionally test your mettle with their ascents and descents.
Each section of 1001 Walks is then further broken down by hike.  Every hike has pertinent information such as the distance, the approximate time it takes to hike, the grade, type of hike and an on-line url which I found most helpful.  Almost every hike is accompanied by a page long description and a gorgeous color photo.  The description of each hike usually includes a bit of history - for example, The Perseverance National Recreation Trail in Alaska provides access to Perseverance Mine, which was once the richest gold mine in the world and you'll get to see old stamp mills, remnants of mining sites and the 1000 ft. deep hole where the gold was taken.  This trail also provides access to additional trails that will take you past waterfalls and alpine lakes and perhaps you'll spy a black bear or two along the way.  Are you intrigued yet?

The trails vary in length with the shortest being a medieval stone bridge called Ponte Vecchio in Tuscany, Italy and it spans a mere 295 feet.  Or perhaps I can interest you in a 2-3 year long experience as you explore the world's longest network of trails.  Scheduled for completion in 2017, the Trans-Canada Trail will keep you busy with its distance of 14,000 miles.  Whether you enjoy rolling hills, scenic meadows, cascading waterfalls, wild life, 1600 year old redwoods, vistas, meadows exploding with wild flowers, crashing waves or history frozen in time, I promise there is something here to catch your eye and sense of adventure. Join me on a quick tour of some of the walks this book has to offer.

OVERLAND  
  • Joshua Tree in California has trails that will lead you to gold mines as well as through cholla cacti.
  • Buckskin Gulch in Utah is said to be the longest slot canyon in the world and begins with a 2 ft wide pass that you have to squeeze through to enter.  Once inside, the rock walls are so high that sunlight rarely reaches the bottom.
  • The Narrows of Zion in Utah offer sandstone walls that tower 1300 ft.  For an interesting change of pace, two-thirds of your walk is done while immersed in the Virgin River.
  • Grand Canyon Rim in Arizona offers panoramic views from multiple vantage points and is a must see just after sunrise and just before sunset in order to truly appreciate the splendid reds and oranges of the canyon.
  • Flint Hills in Kansas takes hikers through one of the few tallgrass prairies that remain in the US.
  • Tunnel Hill in Illinois is just that - an old, narrow railway tunnel that dates to 1872.
  • Laurel Highlands in Pennsylvania not only offers you the string like Laurel Ridge, but also Frank Lloyd Wrights "Fallingwater."
  • The Appalachian Trail that spans from Georgia to Maine is world famous hiking destination.
  • Valley of the Moon in Chile will give you desert hiking and is best experienced during a full moon when it's properly bathed in moonlight.
  • Devil's Throat Boardwalk in Argentina features one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world and you'll travel through rain forest as you are lead to the very edge of the Devil's Throat.
  • Pennine Way in Scotland is not a trail for the novice as it leads you across more than 200 bridges, through 300 gates and past more than 450 waymarkers so you can experience outcrops of limestone.
  • Fish River in Namibia is the second largest canyon in the world, second only to the Grand Canyon.  This hike can only be made from May to September, and there is a hot water spa resort to entice you after your journey.
  • Wadi Rum in Jordan has red granite sandstone and granite rocks as well as several rock bridges that link formations and petroglyphs.
  • Dragon's Backbone Rice Terraces of China will stun you with their beauty whether you view them covered in frost and snow of winter, green shoots in spring and summer, or golden rice in the fall.
Urban
  • Golden Gate National Recreation Area in California will overwhelm you with the wide variety of choices.  Whale spotting, lighthouses, migratory birds, Alcatraz and redwoods.  What's not to like?
  • Chicago Lakefront Trail in Chicago is one of the most heavily visited walks in North America.  Check out Lincoln Park, Grant Park, the Art Institute and must see Jackson Park where buildings still remain from the 1893 World's Fair.
  • Brooklyn Bridge in New York showcases New York's skyline and was once the largest suspension bridge in the world.  
  • Atlantic City Boardwalk in New Jersey is the grand daddy of all boardwalks and is steeped in history.  
  • Fort Jefferson in Florida is actually located 68 miles due west from the Florida Keys and is the smallest national park in the US.  Ft. Jefferson is a coastal fortress and you can access it by day ferry or seaplane.

(Fort Jefferson Florida Credit Visit Florida)
  • Mont Saint Michel in France is a monastery atop an island and is best accessed across the sand dunes at low tide.  Once there, check out the abbey and church, underground chapels and crypts.
  • Left Bank in France is a must see location.  Take in museums, the Eiffel Tower, french military history, the riverbank, an art gallery, the oldest bridge in Paris, and Notre-Dame.
  • Sydney Harbor Bridge in Australia was completed in 1932 and is an engineering feat that gives you a unique perspective of the worlds largest harbor.  Did I mention that you actually get to climb, via walkways and harnesses, up the arches to the actual top of the bridge?  Accessible only with a specialized tour group, this one is on my bucket list!   

(Sydney Harbour Bridge Credit Sydney Bridge Climb)

Mountain
  • Goat Trail in Alaska requires a bush flight in order to reach the beginning of the trail that will lead you through unmarked tundra as you explore a 100 year old prospectors path.
  • Grouse Grind in Canada is Vancouver's most popular trail and will test your strength and endurance. A mere 1.8 miles, this beauty may have you considering an about-face before you complete the first quarter mark.  Once at the top, take a gondola ride back down.
  • Brewster Glacier Skywalk in Canada has interpretative stops along the way with your final destination being a 1640 ft. long boardwalk and a glass viewing platform that extends 100 ft over the Sunwapta Valley, which is 918 ft. below.
  • Hidden Lake Trail in Washington is a 2 day hike that will take you past boulders, outcrops, and  snowfields and end with an 800 ft. rough-boulder scramble that leads to a 1931 restored mountain hut. Sit back and drink in the view!
  • Ciudad Perdida Trek in Colombia is accessible only if you hire a pricey tour operator to take you on the 3 day trip, but it will probably be worth it.  Visit the lost city of Teyuna, hidden in the jungle, that consists of 169 circular terraces carved into the mountainside.
  • Kaieteur Falls in Guyana is 4 times higher than Niagara Falls and begins with a boat ride, has you spending the night in a hammock and then you get to go on an 8 hour hike to the bottom of the falls.  But wait, you still have a 4 hour climb to the top of the falls.  Takers??
  • Huayna Picchu in Peru is accessible by walking from Machu Picchu on the "Hike of Death."  You'll get to walk up stone stairs and go down the hair raising walk to the Templo de la Luna, (which is the Temple of the Moon) and is carved into a network of caves.
  • Shackleton Crossing of South George Island is where you can retrace the footsteps of explorer Ernest Shackleton.  Your four day journey begins with a 2500 ft ascent and from there you will ski, walk and toboggan your way from one end of the island to the other.
  • Laugavegurinn Hiking Trail in Iceland will take you past waterfalls and a volcano, across glacial rivers and near ice caves.
  • Tetlis Cliff Walk in Switzerland is actually a bridge.  But you need nerves of steel to attempt it - 1640 feet above ground, at 328 ft long and 3.3 ft wide, this is the highest suspension bridge in Europe and is on the list of the 10 scariest bridges in the world..  What a super place to view the Alps!
  • Aletsch Glacier in Switzerland is Europe's longest glacier.  Once roped to your group, you descend onto the glacial field and spend the night in the Konkordia Hut.  Get a good nights sleep because you'll be eating breakfast at 5:30 am before heading back out onto the glacier.  
(Aletsch Glacier Credit Switzerland Tourism)
  • Dachstein Ice Cave in Austria is one of the world's largest ice caves.  Fed by icy waters, you will view gigantic icicles and ice sculptures.  For a real treat, catch an Ice Sound concert.  How many times in your life will you go to a concert in an ice cave?
  • El Caminito del Rey in Spain is a concrete pathway that is 300 ft. high and pinned into the walls using steel rods.  Recently restored, there are now glass floor panels to add to your thrill.
  • Mount Sinai Summit in Egypt is considered to be the biblical Mount Sinai.  There's a monastery at the base and a Greek Orthodox chapel at the summit.  Feel free to spend the night at the summit and enjoy the sunrise before heading back down.
  • Everest Base Camp in Nepal may not be the summit, but at 17,590 ft above sea level, it's still impressive.  
  • Mount Hua Plank Walk in China is the world's most dangerous walk and there is a Taoist Temple at the summit.  Plank walkways extend out from the vertical wall face and are mere feet wide.  Chains and handholds are chiseled into the rock and you can harness yourself in for extra safety. Even so, my hands were sweating just reading about this walk.
  • Kepler Track in New Zealand is where you will experience a glacier, fjord, lake, and rain forest while on your walk.  You will also see the Waiau River which doubled as the river Anduin in the Lord of the Rings movies.
Heritage
  • Bodie Ghost Town in California is the largest ghost town west of the Mississippi and still contains old hitching posts and boardwalks, as well as 170 buildings.
  • Sloan Caynon Petroglyphs in Nevada is referred to as the "Sistene Chapel of Native American rock art" and is located near Las Vegas.  Consider this is a day trip destination as camping is not allowed.
  • Old Croton Aqueduct Trail in New York is over 160 years old and this is one of New York's best kept secrets.
  • Spotsylvania Court House Battlefield Hike in Virginia is the location of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War.  Walk the battlefield where there were more than 32,000 casualties.
  • High Bridge Trail in Virginia stands 125 ft high and 2400 ft long.  Having once been set afire by the retreating Confederacy, it has been restored and now offers a host of multi-uses such as walking, cycling and horseback riding.
(High Bridge trail Credit Virginia Dept of Conservation & Recreation)
  • Mayan Trails at Chichen Itza in Mexico is a long abandoned Mayan city.  View temples, ancient ball courts and El Castillo - the serpent god.
  • Cueva de las Manos in Argentina is where you will follow a narrow trail to the "Cave of Hands" where you will view 5,000 year old stencils of hands.  
  • Clyde Walkway in Scotland is a showcase  of Britain's' bridges with one dating to 1695.
  • Paris Catacombs in France may not be for the faint of heart.  They contain the remains of over 6 million former residents of the capital and are stacked in neat and orderly rows with entire walls being formed out of skulls and thighbones.
  • Bastogne Historic Walk in Belgium begins at the Bastogne War Museum and then you do the 5 mile loop that connects 3 of the villages that were key during the WW2 engagement.
  • Berlin Wall Trail in Germany has 22 historical points of interest to view as you trace the relics of the 100 mile wall that stood from 1961 until 1989.
  • Bregenrzerwald Cheese Road in Austria - I can't pronounce it, but I'd love to check it out.  Start at the Mountain Cheese Factory and sample the local cheeses as you go.  Many farms along the way will invite you for a tour and demonstrate cheese production.
  •  Pompeii Walking Tour in Italy will provide you with a glimpse of the town that was buried in volcanic ash.  The remains of 1150 Pompeii citizens have been perfectly preserved by ash and show them in the final minutes of their lives.
  • Mungo National Park Fossil Trails in Australia is a 16 mile long series of sand dunes that rise above the dry lake floor of Lake Mungo.  View more than 450 fossilized footprints that are dated at 20,000 years old.  
Coastal & Shoreline
  • Oregon Coast Trail in Oregon runs the entire length of the state and has stunning features like Haystack Rock and the largest expanse of coastal dunes anywhere in the US.  
  • Tillamook Head Trail in Oregon is another walk on my personal bucket list.  This was the westernmost point on the journey of explorers Lewis and Clark and aside from the spectacular view, you will go past cliffs, a lighthouse and stand at this world famous location.
  • Golden Gate Bridge in California is perhaps best viewed from the shoreline of Marina Green Park.  Stroll through Crissy Field, past Torpedo Wharf and head towards Fort Point under the bridge.  Take time to climb up on the magnificent bridge itself. 
  • Bayfield Sea and Ice Caves of Wisconsin may be beautiful most of the year, but to truly experience them, one must approach them on foot during winter, when walking across the ice is possible.
  • Hana-Waianapanapa Coastal Trail in Hawaii will lead you over lava fields, past lush vegetation and blue seas, and be sure not to miss the Heiau, a Hawaiian temple site.
  • Isla del Sol in Bolivia features more than 180 ruins that date from the Inca period as well as slabs that were used for sacrificial purposes and the Rock of the Puma, from which the lake there gets its name.
  • D-Day Beaches in France will give you a glimpse into the battles that began on June 6, 1944 - Juno, Utah and Omaha Beaches are not to be missed.  
  • GR21 Alabaster Coast Trail in France will lead you to a white, chalky coastline of cliffs and arches as well as the famous rock needle - Aiguille de Belval. 
  • Green Lake in Austria can be considered both a lake and a meadow, depending on what time of year you are visiting   In the winter it is a park, but when the snow begins to melt, the area fills with water so the newly formed lake is deep enough for scuba diving.
  • Otter Trail in South Africa will have you scrambling over cliff tops as well as exploring caves, hiking through coastal forests, walking next to the sea, crossing a river at low tide and enjoying waterfalls.  
What is it about a trail, leading around the distant bend, that quickens my heart and fills me with joy?  Is it the sense of adventure, the unknown, the promise of something new and different to see and experience?  The hikes, trails and walks depicted in  1001 Walks You Must Take Before You Die promise to do just that, and more.  This massive book has trails for everyone whether it's something calm and tranquil, terrifying, adrenalin filled, a simple stroll in the woods or a hair raising experience.  It includes locations from around the globe and more hikes that most people can do in a lifetime.  Pick up the book, dog ear the hikes you plan on doing and then fuel your dreams by reading about the rest.  You won't be sorry.  Explore our world, one walk at a time.

(I was given an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.  Images are the property of the publisher and cannot be reproduced without consent.) 














Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Mason Jar Pin Cushions

Last week Chablis asked me to help her make a mason jar pin cushion.  She had found a tutorial on Pinterest that she liked and you can go here to check it out.  We gathered up a couple of small mason jars, some fabric, a needle and thread and some polyester fiberfill.  See the green sewing box sitting there? I know it's kind of beat up looking, but my mom's cousin brought that back from Vietnam for me in the mid 1960's.  I have held onto it and used it all these years....


We gathered the fabric with a needle and thread and then we stuffed the top with the fiberfill.  Be careful not to over-stuff them.  We did at first and after we glued them down to the lids we had to cut them open and remove some of the filling because we couldn't get the jars to screw shut.  Live and learn...


Once we had the proper amount of filling we re-glued the fabric to the lids, glued a small piece of felt over it and finally screwed the lids onto the jars....


It was actually a pretty easy project and something I can definitely use....



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Friday, March 20, 2015

Mom and Dad Hit 2200 Geocaches

Last weekend we took my mom and dad geocaching so they could hit a new milestone -2200 geocaches found!

Louie and I tried doing this cache a couple of weeks ago and had a DNF (Did Not Find) on it.  It was hidden in a tunnel underneath the railroad tracks.   We brought reinforcements this time and with 4 of us searching, we found it this time around...


I promise the cache is someplace in this photo....


I enjoyed this easy find - it was placed on the porch of the VFW Hall (with permission)....


The cache is a travel bug hotel, so we were thrilled to find some travel bugs inside.  I dropped off a TB I picked up last week....

This cache was mom and dad's 2200th cache - congrats!!


Looking through the travel bugs and signing the log book....


Sammy's Snack Shack was closed and empty that day.  Good thing because I'm sure this would be a hard cache to find once the  weather gets warmer and kids are using the nearby pool....


The cache was hidden someplace around this phone booth....



Mom and dad searching for the cache.....


....and signing the log sheet.....


This was another cache that Louie and I had a DNF on a few weeks ago.  No wonder, it was hidden under 2 foot of snow when we were there last....


No problem today and Dad made the grab....


We enjoyed this cache so much when we did it that I wanted my parents to see it.  It was a favorite of theirs as well...



And finally we took them to grab this cache that we had found a few weeks ago.


Dad found it a lot quicker than we did....  "Hello, can you hear me now?"


I think we found 12 caches in all that morning.  Now that the snow is about gone we're ready to get out and cache again.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Re-Purposed Vintage Chest

A couple of weeks ago Louie found this great vintage chest at an estate sale.   You can go back and check out that post if you want to here.   But this is what the chest looked like when we brought it home...


It was pretty beat up and very rusted....


The inside still had some of the original herringbone paper, but it was torn and shredded, as well as slightly moldy.  It had some nice dents and dings on it, but basically it was sound and sturdy....


Not many people would even give this little chest a second glance, but that's exactly the kind of thing that we pounce on.  Because it's so easy for me to see past the ugly and imagine what I can do with it.


I couldn't wait to get started on it.  First I washed it and let it sit outside in my shed for a few days to air out. Then I gave the outside a quick sanding to remove as much of the rust as possible and I tore out as much of the inside paper as I could.   Then I dry brushed a layer of white paint over the entire box, including the black metal edging and the original hardware...


After that I added a layer of blue paint, again, dry brushing it on here and there until I got the coverage that I liked.  Once it was dry I took a sanding block and distressed the entire chest, including the metal edging and the hardware....

Next I took my stencils and added one of my favorite quotes.  I think it pairs well with the map theme you'll see in a minute...


Next I brushed a thin layer of white paint on the inside.  Why?  I don't know, just because....


Last week at another estate sale we had picked  up an old book of maps, so I leafed through it until I found some ocean maps that I liked.  I cut them down to size to fit inside the chest and then secured them with a couple of layers of Mod Podge.....




I  wanted to darken and antique the paint on the outside of the box so I pulled out some wood stain and my Finishing Wax.   I brushed on a thin layer of the stain and immediately wiped it off. 


If you look at the next picture you can see the difference - the top half of the box has been stained and the bottom half hasn't.  Which color do you like better?  I prefer the stained antique look, so the entire box got a coat of stain.


 Once that was dry I wiped on the wax and then polished it off...





I was really happy with the way it turned out....


It's a great size -
17 3/4" long
9" wide
9" high


It will make a cute keepsake or a wonderful gift.  If anyone is interested, it's for sale here.


I had such a good time re-purposing this chest.  They really are a labor of love, you know?

Monday, March 16, 2015

Estate Sale Finds 3-16-15

This week was slow again for sales but we did manage to pick up a couple of things.  I'm always grabbing paint brushes because I can never have too many of them and the vintage coffee container is in excellent condition.  I wish the rest of the set would have been there as well...


A Levi's jean jacket - it's too large for Chablis (remember she grabbed my other one a couple of weeks ago?) so this one is being washed and will go up for sale this week.


A couple of vintage fitted sheets and some pillow cases.  I may keep the blue ones for the lake house - they are so pretty.  I've never bought and sold them before but other people seem to do good with those so I thought I'd give it a try...


These were my favorite find of the week - vintage angora gloves.  LOVE them and they still had the original tag holding them together, so they were never used.  Who would own these and not use them?   Did I mention that I love them?  Unfortunately it's already too warm to wear them any more this winter, but I'll be putting them away for myself for next year.


 This owl cutting board is huge and super thick.  All it needs is a good sanding, a little coffee ground staining and a good rub down with some coconut oil and it will be gorgeous.  I may keep that one to use when I'm pounding silverware for lettering.  The grater is headed to my shop and the spoon was a fab find - sterling silver!  I got it for a quarter.  I want to stamp something on it using my new letter stamps, but I haven't decided what yet.  It The basket I got for free because the woman at the estate sale didn't have any bags so she just threw a bunch of my stuff into it for me to carry.


And 3 small bags of vintage glass ornaments.  Some of them are really pretty and there were a bunch of plastic ornaments tossed in as well.  I don't much care for plastic ornaments.  Does anyone know if they will sell?  The glass ones will be headed to my shop.




And that's it for this week.  Be sure to come back tomorrow so you can see what I did with the chest we picked up last week.  All I can say is AWESOME!!!

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