He's back at it!

People who know me know that I belong on the Trail. I've thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail (twice),the Pacific Crest Trail and the mighty Continental Divide Trail. I've hiked many of the long trails here in Michigan including being the first to hike both the Ironwood Trail and the Great Lake To Lake Trail. In 2016, I hiked the Israel National Trail and the Golan Heights Trail. My next goal is to be the first person ever to hike the Baja Divide Trail.

The purpose of this blog is to keep anyone who is interested informed of my progress and to encourage those who are able to support me in this endeavor.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Moosejaw and Mexico

I am on cloud nine right now. I thought about holding off writing this post until the excitement subdued but I don't think it ever will.


I just left from Moosejaw Mountaineering's HQ in Madison Heights, Michigan.  My friends there are as excited for my upcoming hike of the Baja Divide Trail as I am. I have their full support for this endeavor and I am beside myself with the pride of partnering with a great Michigan company like Moosejaw.

My relationship with Moosejaw Mountaineering began in 2011 when I returned home from my first thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. A friend of mine took me to the Birmingham, Michigan store and introduced me around. That night, I bought a Granite Gear pack and I met a ton of cool people. I was impressed that the staff there had actually used much of the gear they sold. The folks who work in the stores, at the warehouse and in the offices of their Madison Heights headquarters helped me plan for my thru-hike of the PCT in 2012 and every hike since then. They even turned me on to the Shore to Shore Trail.  Good people, all of them.

I've worked with them on projects like this in the past and they have always come through for me when I needed them. Thank you, Moosejaw, for times like these:


Early on the PCT in 2012



In the Goat Rocks of Washington


Finishing my second time through the AT

Finishing the Israel National Trail

Gotta give a shout-out to Underground Quilts. They are another great Michigan based company that I'm working with on a super light (22oz!) quilt to use on this hike. Really excited to see what they come up with.

In the meantime, gotta stay focused on the goal: Being the first person to conquer the Baja Divide Trail on foot.


The Baja Divide Trail starts in San Diego and finishes in Cabo San Lucas
Got a comment or wanna wish me luck? Please leave a comment below.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Hiking Talks

I've got a couple of speaking engagements coming up that I'm really excited about.

The first is on Thursday, August 31st at 6:30pm at the Berkley Public Library. You have to register online here. I have presented here before at the invitation of Matt Church and had a really good experience.

(Photo by Gary Zaborowski)

Next is at the SOLAR Club on Tuesday, September 26th in Livonia, MI. They are a bunch of very  cool people. I have great relationships there with Jennifer Tislerics and Jeff McWilliams. C'mon out to their monthly meeting to learn more about the club and listen to me blather on about hiking in Israel.

I'm also happy to be working with the guys at Shvilist.comin helping to encourage Americans who are interested in hiking the Israel National Trail. 




Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign

Sometimes, it's just because of a misspelling or sometimes it's because of the intensity of the information being delivered but many of the signs I saw in Israel fascinated me. 


 
What is this? A command? Thank who?



 
It can be. Depends on your perspective. 



 
Thought it might be a cool new invention. Turns out, it's just a regular pizza joint. 



 
But swimmING is okay?



 
No, YOU bewar!



 
Passes of damages?



 
And yet the blaze encourages me to enter. 



 
Both sides of the avoid path?



 
Ubiquitous in the Golan. 



 
Infront?



 
I hate seeing signs like this on the ground. Where does it belong? What area is closed?



 
Loved the name of this place. 



 
Fresh Booza?! Aw, hell yeah!!



 
Fancy chicks not allowed. 



 
Seems like a violent place. 



 
Too late!



 
Probably true. 



Fack people who deface property, too. 



 
 Not sure how what I wear could 'harm' a holy place but, fine, I'll put my pants back on. 



 
I know what this means!



 
I wish I could read Hebrew. Clearly, I'm not supposed to do SOMETHING, but WHAT?! It prbably translates to "Stop making up stupid captions to these pictures!"



 
Hardly ever see this one in Michigan. 



 
Like ME! (This was actually in New York not Israel)



 
For now. I'll write more soon. In the meantime, please leave me a comment below!


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Flowers of Israel

I'm not a botanist. I have no clue what most of these flowers are yet they were so beautiful that I had to photograph them. Anyone who recognizes a particular species should leave me a comment below. Thank you!


 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Friday, June 2, 2017

Hiking the Golan

 

 


As a little kid, I remember hearing about the Golan (GO-len) Heights and the war that was going on there. 


While hiking the Israel National Trail, I heard about the Golan (go-LON) and how beautiful it was. It's the northeastern part of Israel and it was the scene of a savage tank battle between Israel and Syria back in 1973. Remnants of this war are everywhere and the actual boundary between Israel and Syria is still disputed. 


I decided to see for myself by hiking the Golan Trail and I loved every step of it. I started on Mt. Hermon in the north and hiked south to Ein Ofek at the south end of the Sea of Galilee. 


I took a million pictures along the way. Here are some of them:



 

 This is the official 'start' picture. This sign is in the parking lot of a ski resort on Mt. Hermon. The entire trail has great signage - often in Herbrew AND English. 

 


 

The blaze for this trail is the green, blue and white. You can almost always see the next blaze from the one you are at. I carried no map with me and never got lost. 

 



 

 

The trail is divided into 15 sections. Each section starts with a huge sign like this. I just took a pic of the map at the start of each section and I was fine.  



 

Have YOU?


  

 

Lots of these signs, too. Sometimes on both sides of the trail. There were lots of remnants from the Yom Kippur War of 1973. Bunkers, tanks and minefields are all reminders of the violence this area has seen. 



 

 Not sure what this was but I did not dance upon it. 

 



 

A local guy told me that a mine went off here but they didn't know why. These are anti-tank mines. Not to be messed with. 


 

 

Because of the elevation, it gets chilly in the mornings in the Golan. It felt GREAT. 



 

 

Bunkers, like this one, surrounded by trenches, are at the top of almost every mountain. You can go inside and explore all you want. 



 

 

Had to stop for lunch here. How could I not?




 

 

There are four Druze villages on the slopes of Mt. Hermon. Very friendly folks. 



 

Cows are not usually a problem on the trail. I just yell and clank my trekking poles together and they move. This giant bull, however, was guarding this heffer and would not move. When he lowered his head and kicked up dirt with his hoof, I went around. 

 



 
 
Remains of a Syrian mosque. There was an eerie, bombed out village around it. 


 

 

Me with my cool Moosejaw shades. Always in style. 



 

 

Syrian tank from 1973. It was awe inspiring to look out over the Valley of Tears and imagine 800 of these things rolling across. 




 

 

Cannibal locusts! There was a road covered with these bugs. When cars ran over them, their buddies would jump out and EAT THEM. Then, THEY would get run over and their buddies would eat THEM! It was a gruesome scene. 




 

 

Despite the typo, I get it. 




  

 

I think this was a T-72. 




 

 

Beehives and windmills. 




 

 

 

Looking over the border to the Syrian village of Sha'af El Kabir. 



 

 

Only 60 clicks to Damascus? Dang...



 

 

YOU bewar. 




 

 

More bunkers and trenches. 





 

If 'trespassers will be punished', then why does the blaze send me that way?




 

 

Sunset over the Sea of Galilee.




 

 

I almost cowboy camped on top of this thing. The view was amazing but it was really windy and I was 500 meters up. Didn't want to lose anything. 




 

 

'Finishing' pic. Really enjoyed this trail. 


I admit that I had some trepidation about hiking this trail. I even posted about some of those concerns here. I must say, for the record, those concerns were completely unnecessary. Nothing bad happened. Everyone I met was super nice. The scariest thing that happened to me was that, sometimes late at night, I could actually hear bombs and .50 cal gun fire coming from far away. Other than that, the trail is completely safe, well-blazed and a pleasure to hike.