Text Box: Personal Interest Page
         Here in the wilds I am wholly free,

   with my silent companions,
                              the lofty mountains, the desolate place,

Tibetan Pass                               idling forever...T. Allen

Foot of Rongphu Glacier, Tibet

Everest Base Camp Two, Tibet

Roof of the World, Tibet
Trekking and Climbing

Everest Backdrop with Monument to Mallory and Desolate Landscape (2004).  Mallory is one of my all-time best heroes - next to Ernest Shackleton.  Unfortunately he died climbing Everest. I believe he reached the top back in 1924 , but died on the descent. The Hillary expedition officially made the summit 30 years later in 1953.  Mallory was climbing when outdoor enthusiast were really a tough breed - no Gor-Tex, Under Armour, nylon ropes, or ascenders. A lack in performance wear and gadgetry was made up in endurance.

I am standing in front of the Rongphu glacier near Base Camp Two where the East Rongphu glacier joins the main valley to Everest.  While beautiful the glacier  is a formidable barrier of ice, seracs, and crevasses.  From here the climb gets much harder.  You can see the peak of Everest rising out of the background. 

To me this photo does not look real - more like a painting.  Note the lone horse and rider with a colt doggedly following in step.  The "Roof of the World" photo is one of my better shots.  Unfortunately, my super expensive digital camera had frozen and died by this point, so this was taken with a simple point-and-click 35 mm camera. 

Summit, Morocco

Summit Video (mouse over to play) - Mt Toubkal, Morocco

High Atlas Mountains, Morocco

Mountain Climbing

Morocco is a country where the people, mountains, deserts...are sublime.  From Europeanish Tanger, to exotic Marrakech, to famous Casablanca , Morocco is a feast for the backpacker.  The best of the best in Morocco is the High Atlas Mountains.  The highest peak in North Africa is Jebel Toubkal at 13,665 feet.  Normally it is an easy climb, but I managed to be there in the winter during a huge snow storm.  Somehow I have a knack for making an adventure out of nothing.  Unfortunately, I did not heed the local guides advice NOT TO GO to the Mountain.  I thought he was using scare tactics in order to persuade me to use him as a guide.  I like doing things for myself and did not want a guide.   Thus, I set out on my own and climbed until I nearly froze (later I found that my two big toes were frostbitten). Exhaustion and dizziness via acute mountain sickness were my constant companions.  On adrenaline alone, plodding maybe 100 feet per hour due to the deep snow drifts,  I made a mountain refuge and meet up with some fellow climbers waiting out the storm. It was all so worth it, as the summit day was spectacular.   The wall of snow abruptly stopped falling, the wind died down, and the sun burned bright - wow!  Worth it? YES.

Washington State


Sichuan, China

Back Country Trekking

Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Washington State 1998.  While I have traveled over much of the world and hiked many amazing wilderness areas, few if any, natural places rival the shear splendor of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness in late fall.  The name Alpine Lakes arises from the almost 700 mountain lakes nestled as blue sapphires among the jagged knife-like rock peaks and treed tamarack valleys.  The lakes are blue due to the mineral travertine and the rock "sidewalks" are pinkish because of feldspar in the granite.  Visit in early November when the tamarack "needles" are yellow, the groundcover is red, and snow forms a patchy soft white blanket.  But don't forget to get a pass. Unfortunately, the Wilderness is being "loved to death".  As many as 150,000 people visit the area each year.  Seattle is only an hour or so away.  Go when it is cold  and the number of hikers should be smaller.  Remember leave no trace so that the beauty of the Wilderness will live on.

Chomolungma Wilderness:  Taking a trek break on the Roof of the World,  Himalayans.  The spot where I am sitting is Everest Base Camp on the Tibetan side. The prayer flags mark the location as sacred space.  To get here Eric and I averaged nearly 30 km per day.  Most of this distance was covered at over 16,000 feet, where a good breath of air was a luxury.

Tro La Mountains: Note the headwater tributary stream of the mighty Yangtze River in the background, Sichuan, China.  Most of the reaming records of the Tibetan people are stored in the nearby town of Derge in a small monastery.  Throughout Tibet, during the the early years of Chinese occupation,  most all records were burned. 



Xien, China

Hiking Ruins of Ancient Cultures

Great Wall of China (for more Great Wall of China pictures click this link). After the slideshow loads click "Slide Show" for full screen viewing.  The great wall of China is such an imposing and impressive site.  Construction on the oldest sections of the Wall began at least 2600 years ago. It is the longest structure on earth. Hiking advice - The area I hiked in was Gubeikou and Simatai.  This section is not as popular as the Badaling wall near Beijing.  The Simatai area is very spectacular, but there are some tourist and hawkers trying to sell you books, drink…  If you leave Simatai and walk on toward Jaingjunguan Pass you will be pretty much alone.  In places the Wall is completely gone and the route is hard to find.  You can walk toward the Pass for one day and then spend one day walking back to Simatai.  All routes are good.  The walk from Gubeikou to Jinshanling to Simatai is very scenic while the trek from Simatai toward Jainguinguan Pass is remote.

I am standing inside a guard tower.  Not surprising due to its age, most of the Wall has fallen down.  In most places it is not even visible.  The outer layer of  the Great Wall serves as a gigantic tombstone, while the interior is literally a tomb.  By most estimates, more than 1,000,000 workers are buried as "filler" within the walls.

 Walking among the 2000 year old Army of Terracotta Warriors is as awe inspiring as the Great Wall.  I bought a book in Xian on the Terracotta Soldiers. The farmer that discovered the site while digging a well actually singed my copy. 

Northwest Territories, Canada

Northwest Territories, Canada

Northwest Territories, Canada
Arctic Wilderness Canoeing Trips, 2000

The Horton River flows off the coastal plain of far northern Canada to the Arctic Ocean.

Summit Iliniza, Ecuador

Chimborazo, Ecuador

Ambato Peak, Ecuador

Mountain Climbing

Self-Photo on the Summit of Iliniza ~17,000 feet, Ecuador 2002.

Chimborazo at 20,561 feet is the highest mountain in Ecuador (great night photo w/full moon rising).

Leaving my climbing partner behind in the cover of fog - as he suffered from acute mountain sickness -  I pushed on to the summit alone.

Rincon, Puerto Rico

Flamenco Beach, Culabra Island

"Little Malibu", Puerto Rico

Rincon or Little Malibu offers big winter breaks and surfers from all over the globe, Puerto Rico, 2005.

The Discovery Channel rates Flamenco Beach on the small island of Culabra as the second most beautiful beach in the world. Its white sandy beach stretching for miles mingles with the stunning blue of the bay.  Flamenco is not crowded and is a good place to snorkel, swim, and camp. The only oddity I found was the WWW II vintage tank washed up on the shore.

When the board is to long for the rental car you make it work! I found excellent winter surfing in Rincon on the far western side of Puerto Rico. Rincón is well known as "Pueblo del Surfing" (the surfing town) and less know as "El Pueblo de los Bellos Atardeceres" (the town of beautiful sunsets).  Mostly gringos (like myself) to be found.  It kind of felt like Southern California. 



Antigua, Lesser Antilles


Surfing Laceration Offshore Atoll Break,  Indonesia 2003.

Surfing smaller waves in the Caribbean.

Good surfing along the Baja Peninsula and parts of the Yucatan in Mexico.

Darwin Reseach Station, Galapagos

Rabida Island, Galapagos

Santa Cruz, Galapagos

Nature/Exploratory Travel 

Giant Tortoise (that's a big turtle). I think the tortoise weighs around 500-600 lbs. They can live to at least 150 years old. The sad part is that there are not many of these majestic creatures left - about 13,000 total. Most were killed by whalers. Habitat encroachment and introduction of exotic species such as dogs and rats (eating eggs) and goats eating the same vegetation are taking there toll now.

Sea Lions, Galapagos Islands 2002.

The flora and fauna of the Galapagos were spectacular - Animals were not afraid of humans.

John Muir Wilderness, California

Atlantic Rainforest, Brazil

British Columbia, Canada

Wilderness Hiking and Backpacking

Sierra Nevada Mountains, California 1996.

Spectacular flowers in the wilds of the Brazilian Rainforest, 2001.

Stikine Mountains,  Northern British Columbia 1994.

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Visiting/Hiking Ancient Ruins

Spectacular temple rising out of the Cambodian Jungle at Angkor Wat. 

I found Mr. Niem at the ruins of Angkor Wat.  Notice that he also graces the cover of my Lonely Planet guidebook to Cambodia.  Mr. Niem could not speak any English so communication was not easy.  I do not think he knew that he was on the front cover of a book, until I showed it to him.  He was so excited.  I had to be careful, as too much excitement might not be good - he seemed like he might be about 200 years old.

The jungle has engulfed many of the ruins at Ankgor Wat.  Often the only thing holding the ruins up are strangler fig vines.

Siem Reap, Cambodia

Siem Reap, Cambodia

Near Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Backpack Travel to Exotic Destinations by Land and Water

That bike was loaded.  I was on my way to the airport heading home, so I was really loaded down with lots of trinkets.  Until the very last couple of days of a trip, I travel very light.  I was so heavy that the front tire would not stay on the ground.

Nun with incenses warding off evil at a temple entrance.

I took a boat from Vietnam to Cambodia up the Mekong.  The picture shows Cambodian boat people at home and work.  They live their entire lives on the water in small boats - amazing. 

Adirondacks, New York

Adirondacks, New York

Adirondacks, New York
Back Country Hiking

Little nap along a stream after a rigorous hike, Adirondack State Park 2004.

Rivers and stream of any kind in any place in the world are my passion.

Sheenjec River, Alaska

Wood-Tic-Chic Lakes, Alaska

North of the Arctic Circle, Canada

Remote Camping & Solitude

In the far north above the Arctic Circle flowing out of the Brookes Range, I found tranquility paddling the pristine Sheenjec River, Arctic Alaska (1999).

Tenting on water: this was the trip from hell.  Try paddling hundreds of miles on flat, huge lakes with a head wind - fun, Southwest Alaska Wood-Tic-Chic Lakes.

Open spaces, above the Arctic Circle Northern Canada.

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil


Hoi An, Vietnam

Backpack Travel to Exotic Destinations

Rio is a city blessed with an exceptional landscape (note Sugar loaf in the picture) and beautiful people.

Kids at play on the beach while the parents work their seaweed farm - small isolated island off the coast of Bali Indonesia.

Hoi An is famous for beautiful clothing, but I found a river.  The locals were amused at my  American style of paddling the boat.  I can't even describe their crazy way of paddling.


Ubud, Bali


Sichuan, China (far Eastern Tibet)

Kuta Beach, Bali
Backpack Travel to Exotic Destinations

Hiking the countryside through scenic rice terraces, Bali.  This is one of my favorite pictures.

I camped on this knife like ridgeline for five days conducting deforestation research and enjoying the scenery.  The mountains were rugged with occasional remote settlement outposts.  Sichuan is a political delineation located in the far Eastern region of Tibet.

I was in Bali just after the terrorist bombings, I agree with the sentiment written.  The bombing sites felt like graves.  In the sun loving beach culture of Kuta,  I stood out like a sore thumb - walking about with my backpack and heavy alpine boots

Nusa Lembongan,  Indonesia


Wyoming and Utah
Water Sports of Any Kind

Finding surf on the remote island of  Nusa Lembongan  This island was totally laidback - no cars, motorcycles or most any technology.  The main occupation on the island was seaweed farming.

Snorkeling is a favorite.  Belize has the second largest barrier reef in the world next to Australia.  Naturally, I wanted to see it.  I snorkeled on the reef and was able to swim alongside several six foot nurse sharks and actually touched a manta ray with a wing span that was much larger than myself. I have snorkeled in Florida, Galapagos Islands, Puerto Rico, Antigua, Indonesia...but the best snorkeling by far is the Bahamas.

I paddled on the Green River two times - once in Wyoming and once in Utah.  The spectacular scenery ranges from wide-open plateaus to deep canyon gorges.

Mount Fuji, Japan

Summit Mount Fuji, Japan

Foggy Mount Fuji, Japan

Mountain Climbing

Summit Mount Fuji Under Shinto Shrine, Japan (2003) 

Above Everest Base Camp, Nepal

Above the Khumbu Glacier, Nepal

Kala Patter (5623m), Nepal

Mountain Climbing

Highest point on Earth -Everest- in Background.  I began this particular climb at 3:30 in the morning so that I could see the sun rise behind Mount Everest.  I was not disappointed.  When the wind blew especially hard, kicking up snow, it looked like the peak of the Mountain was on fire.  The camera can't do the scene justice.

Just hanging around.  I was so cold while waiting for my climbing companions that I had to do something.  My water actually froze in the bottle despite my activity.

Simply sublime. Himalayas, Nepal 1996

Far Northern Alaska

Oregon, USA

Mount Hood, Oregon

Taking the Road Less Traveled

Brooks Range, Northern Alaska.  On this trip we were dropped off by a small tundra plane hundreds of mile from anyone or anywhere.  We paddled down the Sheenjek river to the Porcupine river to the Yukon river - in all just shy of 300 miles.  The boat in the picture is my backpack canoe.  It has a plastic shell that is pulled over a constructed aluminum frame.  I have taken it on many trips to Alaska, Canada...anyplace that a fly-in is required. 

Strawberry Mountains Eastern Oregon.  In this picture I was in a thin, already leaking, rubber raft breaking through the ice like an ice breaker. You ask, "what would happen if a piece of ice pierced the raft"?  Let me tell you.  I paddled like heck while my slightly unnerved friend pumped air into the deflating chamber so fast that an air compressor had nothing on him. We made it albeit a little damp. Not real smart.

I have climbed Mount Hood three times.  The first time - way back when- I did not know what I was doing.  It was blowing steady 60 mph winds.  The weather station kiosk at the foot of the mountain warned against climbing.  My coat was pathetic (too poor to afford Gor-Tex at the time) so I pulled a garbage bag out of the bathroom and made a windbreaker. My crampons were broken, and I had no rope; yet; somehow (with the skills of my friends) I made it to the top. Even though Mount Hood is a very easy climb, more people have died on this mountain than any other in the US.  I suspect this fact is true due to first-timer morons like myself  that think "I want to go climb a mountain" without any real idea of the skill required.

Three Finger Jack, Cascades, Oregon

Cascades, Oregon

Andes, Peru

Climbing and Occasionally Being Stupid

Riding the Pinnacle of Three Finger Jack (1994).  I have to say that it was a bit spooky looking over the edge.  On the pinnacle it seemed like over a 1000 foot drop on all sides.  I am squeezing the Mountain with my legs because I am afraid of the fall.  My friend got to the top, chugged several Three Finger Jack Beers ( yes, the beer's name sake), stood on the very edge, and pretended he was surfing.  He actually asked me "if this rock should break off, what kind of ride do you think it would be?". Crazy. After we got down I had a beer.  He was one of the best climbers in the world (RIP Chris).

I used to rock climb all the time.  Rock climbing is different than mountain climbing.  My first climbs were in 1986 or so in the Appalachian and Blue Ride Mountains of Virgina (were I grew up).  The sport has changed so much now.  What the heck is bouldering?  Boulders used to be obstacles on the way to the top.  The top was paramount.  Of course I am kidding.  I have bouldered or in my case blunderd some, so it easy to make fun.  I would not mind getting back in to the sport again, but, I don't think you will ever see me in a climbing Gym.

Mountains that call, Andes Range, Peru.  I have been near this mountain twice.  I don't even know its name, but It sure looks like a good climb.

Maine, USA

Alberta, Canada

South Bahamas

Scenic Backpack Trekking

Baxter State Park, Maine (2001)

Canadian Rockies, Alberta

Remote Cay somewhere in the South Bahamas, 1986 (The beginning of my wanderlust- first big trip; I worked/bummed  my way through most of the Caribbean Islands by boat and foot).

South Sister, Oregon

Quebec, Canada

Galapagos Islands

Climbing & Summit Views

Near the summit -  South Sister Mountain, Cascades Range, Oregon (1997)

Mount Richardson, Chic-Chok Mountains, Quebec (2001)

Summit of Volcano, Bartalome Galapagos.  I am not sure why I decided to climb to the summit of a volcano barefooted?  The assent was cacti heaven and the rock was a mixture of sharp aa and pahoehoe lava.

Esopus River, New York

Playboating Video (mouse over to play), New York

Ocean Surf Kayaking Video (mouse over to play), Outer Banks - North Carolina

Whitewater Kayaking

Whitewater Kayaking in a playboat is my new favorite sport. The adrenaline rush is as good as any - maybe better.  Just as I start into big water my palms sweat and butterflies set in my belly.  However, once in the throat, I become calm and skill, instinct, and luck mark the outcome.  Over the last three years, starting in 2004, I have aggressively tried to learn the sport.  It helps that I have whitewater canoed all my life and was a raft guide.  The picture is a very easy class IV drop on the Esopus.  I am being sucked backward into a nasty hole (note the grimace).  Fortunately I had a  good line and enough momentum to push through.

The middle video shows some basic playboating moves in flat water.  Currently I am working toward a flat-water cartwheel and a front flip.  I got the flip once on moving water by throwing my weight forward on a wave crest and then abruptly throwing backwards while under water. I think it was beginners luck.  I have so much more to learn.  My Pyranha 420 Freestyle kayak with an aggressive H20 paddle sure makes learning fun!

On a set-on-top kayak I can catch about every wave and surf it.  On a surf board waves are always few and far between, so this is a fun diversion.  Since this video I have been taking my whitewater kayak out in to the surf.  Because you are "locked" into the kayak there is a real danger of getting flipped forward on a breaking wave near the shore and landing on your head on dry land.  It has happed to me twice.  Hum! People sometime say that I am a bit "touched in the head" - now I know why.

West Canada Creek, New York

Northwest Territories Canada

Northwest Territories Canada

Whitewater Kayaking And Canoeing

At the put-in with my Riot -Upstate New York, winter 2004

Horton river in the Northwest Territories of Canada - way above the Arctic Circle - scary keeper hole with big drop and wave.

We ran some big water on the Horton.  My collapsible backpacking canoe preformed excellent.  White Water Canoeing - Canadian Arctic Coastal Plane (2001)

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Hanoi, Vietnam

Quito, Ecuador
Budget Travel/Hiking to Exotic Landmarks

Christ the Redeemer with outstretched hands, overlooking the city of Rio

Protector of Vietnam even in death "Uncle" Ho rests in peace in his tomb located at the figurative and literal heart of Hanoi.

The majestic statue of La Virgen de Quito surveys and protects her domain from the summit of El Panecillo in Quito.


El Salvador

Exploring the Great Outdoors

I was walking around in a small park in northern Argentina and came across trees with the grandest buttressing I had ever seen.  The buttresses dwarfed me.  The base circumference of this giant rubber tree compares with the mighty redwood in California. 

Splendid volcanic landscape.  El Salvador is known as the Land of Volcanoes.

Exploring the biologically diverse mangrove wetlands off the coast of Belize.  I fancy wetlands of any type and mangroves are among the most spectacular. 

Near Costa Del Easte, Uruguay

Buenos Aries, Argentina

Montevideo, Uruguay
Discovering the Uniqueness of Place

Road trip to southern Uruguay. Grabbing a bite to eat.

Buenos Aries is a vibrant, richly colored city.  I am not a big fan of large cities, but Buenos Aries had great appeal.  The locals in the artisan district where partially colorful.

This picture does not really fit with all the others, but I just liked that cool old car against the modern Pepsi sign, Uruguay.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica

Near Saigon, Vietnam

Hiking to Unusual Destinations

Scenic grandeur of an active volcano in Costa Rica.

Being goofy - playing Tarzan in a Costa Rican cloud forest.

Crawling through a tunnel used by the North Vietnamese during the Vietnam war to hide from American troops and avoid bombing.  The local guide was surprised when I volunteered to crawl through these very deep, small , and black tunnels.  He told me that my American butt was too big to fit.  About halfway through, while considering the next bend might be home to a cobra, I realized he was correct.  Ironically, if not for my fearful profuse, sweating, I may have gotten stuck!

Brazilian Rainforest

Nature Travel


Mountains Ecuador


Phu Vang, Vietnam

Cat Ba Island, Vietnam

Ha Long Bay

Discovering Unique Places

On the east coast of Vietnam, just south of the old DMZ dividing Vietnam into two countries, and near the ancient capital of Hue, lies the unassuming, sleepy village of Phu Vang.  The picture (which I really like) is crossed by multiple fish pens and is the source of livelihood for most of the local residents.  Fierce fighting between the Americans and North Vietnamese occurred around Hue and the DMZ line.  Hamburger Hill and The Rockpile became battle names known to most.

I had a great hike in Cat Ba National Park.  The karst topography is simply stunning.  I walked so much that I wore the tred off of my Chaco hiking sandals and mostly ended up sliding down the steep, muddy slopes.

Floating city.  Over 3,000 karst islands or "haystacks" jut out out the emerald water of Ha Long Bay.  Truly this is one of the most splendid waterscapes on earth, as such it is designated as a World Heritage Site.  Ha Long means "where the dragon enters the sea".  Legend has it that the Bay was created when this dragon descended into the sea.  As it thrashed about, the islands where lifted above the waters surface.




Exploratory Budget Travel/Hiking

Left to right - Indonesia, Korea, Indonesia


Punta Del Easte, Uruguay

New Brunswick, Canada


Coastal Hiking

Strange Coastal Geomorphology, Uruguay South America,
Sea Stack at Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick
Sea Arch, Hawaii





Visiting a Hindu Temple in Indonesia



              VERY SOON! 


Nicaragua, Spain, Myanmar (Burma), Mexico City and the Yucatan, Panama Canal by Boat

Hiking Ancient Ruins in Guatemala...

Indonesia, Korea, Peru, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales...

Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bolivia, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia...

Russia, the Trans-Siberian Railroad, Siberia...

Wanderlust is a Temptress