Archive for April, 2011

packed to go Campo

Buying bulk, as much as possible organic, groceries for months

We’re just north of San Diego, where we are thankful for staying with Glen van Peski founder and chairman of Gossamer Gear, our ultralight gear sponsor. He would give us a ride, but we did not fit in the car with all the food we bought in Pomona (near LA, where we stayed two nights at the Regen Coop again). We did major shopping for the coming 4,5 months by loaded two big carts full (and now also the car). We packed 113 organic oat and granola breakfasts. In the pic, Justin holds dried potatoes for some dinners and I am filling a bag with 9lbs of dried humus for lunch.
After packing food, we stopped by the UC Riverside Herbarium. Two botanists, Justin & Andrew Sanders were identifying plants Justin had collected during the shake down hikes. It was my first time in a plant library: plants were drying between newspapers, dried plants were glued on paper, stacks of them in fully categorized cupboards. After that, we continued south to Carlsbad a little north of San Diego.
Here, we met with author and journalist Richard Louv, and his wife Kathy, last evening. His book ‘Last Child in the Woods’, I read when writing my thesis for Schumacher College on Holistic Learning for Sustainability and Ecological Literacy. For 1,5 hours, we shared ideas and talked about the walk, Justin’s plant guide (almost 5/6 there at Kickstarter) and my Walking College plans. We were just in time to catch Richard Louv before his big tour around the States for his new book ‘the Nature Principle’, where nature means “being present in meaningful relationship with beings other than our own”.
Justin is at a local garage for the rear of his car to be fixed. This gives me the chance to write you in the meantime (bonus-internet time). Yesterday night, I was rounding off my research project for the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) Platform until 1:30am. Very happy to have finished that just in time. It have been long marathon days behind the computer with a view of a couple of inches at an arm’s length distance. I look even more so forward to having depth to dwell into and walk. We’re all packed, soon we will be heading to Campo – like Justin wrote to the kickoff party and from Sunday we will be walking, step by step.

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2011-April-28 Final preparations done, heading to the Kickoff

Li An and I will be heading down to the ‘kickoff’ celebration just north of the Mexican border.  This is a thru hiker gathering which happens each year at the end of April.  Many of the thru hikers will start immediately following this.  Some, like ourselves, already have in sections.  Others will begin later.  It will be interesting to meet the varied and colorful people who make up the thru hiking community.  We will head north from there, connecting up with the two sections already completed.  Snow packed mountains are IN THE FORECAST.  The Sierra has the highest snow pack for 65 years this season, which should make looking at plants pretty challenging.  No matter, we are willing to be flexible in our approach of what sections we are able to do and when, and will make efforts to bow gracefully to the demands of the mountains.  I have constructed a ‘ultralight’ plant press for small specimens of encountered unknown plants.  I also have a kindle loaded up with various plant identification keys to aid in the process and a digital audio recorder in order to, hopefully, record field notes without having to write too much.  These notes will be transcribed into word processor using transcription software.  Sounds pretty high tech?  O well, I hope to keep it simple enough to stay in the flow of the trail, the mountains, and the fresh scenes, and out of the pencils and paperwork.  We will see how this method works out.

This afternoon we made another visit to Andy Sanders at the UC Riverside Herbarium to id some specimens collected in mid March.  Prior to that we have been busy buying bulk foods and bagging up smaller quantities to be boxed and shipped to us along the way.  Back in New Jersey the past month I spent a fair amount of time dehydrating ground venison, home grown spaghetti sauce, shiitake mushrooms, and home cured venison ham to add to the stocks of dried blueberries, tomatoes, zucchini, and jerky.  Yeah, a LOT of dried food heading for the digestive system.  I have also stocked up on brand x Beano…mmm

I also wanted to give you an update and let you know that thanks to over 50 contributions the kickstarter campaign has blazed past the 2/3rds mark.  There are less than two weeks to go and my communication from here on out will be spotty.  If you have some folks in mind who you have been thinking about passing the link on to, now would be an opportune time.

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East to West, soon

In his essay about walking, Henry Thoreau wrote about heading West: “we go Westward as into the future, with a spirit of enterprise and adventure” …”The West of which I speak is but another name for the Wild; and what I have been preparing to say is, that in Wildness is the preservation of the World. Every tree sends its fibers forth in search of the Wild.”

As we are still concentrating of what needs to be rounded off and prepared for, I feel all the fibers in my body ready to move West into this Wildness that Thoreau describes. Meeting the open world unfolding itself constantly, unread, unspoken, always opening. As the layer of winter’s trace melts, we arrive and  start the trails. But first things first, I will need to finish my research project and Justin will need to prepare his plant press. In the meantime you can visit and forward the Kickstarter clip with Justin introducing more about the plant study and to help support by crowdfunding the project which has 18 days left and still 2/3 to go.

Happy Easter – Vrolijk Pasen to you from here in Spring blossomed-New Jersey.

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Kickstarter campaign is underway

With two weeks until we head out on the PCT, and 29 days left in the Kickstarter campaign we are making progress in raising funds for the book.  If you haven’t seen the link and short video clip please check it out, and help make the book a reality by pledging and ‘pre-ordering’ yourself a book if you like.  Li An is plowing her way through a final work project analyzing methodologies for the the beef industry to better understand and calculate their supply side carbon footprint and sustainability assessment.  I have been busy with the tree nursery getting shipments out and grafting next years crop of several hundred pear, plum, paw paw, and mulberry trees.  We are both making some final decisions on gear to bring on the hike, and I am working on ideas for creating an ultralight mini plant press…Ideas?