The journey is the whole point, the only point
The mysterious 6th episode; Antarctic tourism; plant hardiness zones on the move; and more.
Public service announcement for my New York City readers: The Shorewalkers said earlier this week that tickets to register for The Great Saunter are almost sold out. You might just have time to sign up if you act fast. (Sending this out late at night just in case it’s too late tomorrow morning.)
As longtime readers know, The Great Saunter is an annual walk around Manhattan. I participated in 2019 and again last year—in the pouring rain I might add. (2020 and 2021 were canceled because of Covid.) It is an addicting experience. One of the many reasons I like it is because it is the rare event that tests strength and stamina without a competitive element. There’s no award for finishing “first,” beyond perhaps a shout-out on Instagram, and since there’s no set start time, even if one does finish first it doesn’t really mean much in particular. The journey is the whole point, the only point.
Plus, I’m addicted to getting a new hat every year.
Must-read: This article asks if traveling to Antarctica is environmentally defensible. What an excellent question! I recently applied for a journalism fellowship to accompany a research boat to Antarctica, so I feel like this isn’t an impossibility for me, just incredibly unlikely. (No, I did not get this fellowship; I am of course disappointed—but perhaps also a little relieved?) I do think going on a research vessel is quite different than traveling on a cruise ship. So, perhaps the question should be “is visiting Antarctica as a tourist environmentally, morally, or ethically defensible”? After reading the article, I certainly think not. But if someone offered me a free tourist cruise to Antarctica tomorrow, would I have the strength to say no, or would I prove myself very much the hypocrite? Anyway, always good to periodically think about where your red lines are, and what your values are, and how you express those when you travel and recreate in the great outdoors. (Jen Rose Smith for Sierra Magazine)
NOBO: “NOBO” is short for “north bound” and usually deployed to describe thru-hikers on their way to Maine or Canada or other points north, but turns out it also applies to something else: plant hardiness zones. These are moving north at a rate of approximately 13.3 miles per decade, which is pretty fast for a tree, shrub, or other plant. This reality is complicating the already-fraught native v. introduced plant debate. (Jeva Lange for Heatmap)
“There is no ‘6th episode’”: Has anyone else been following the outrage over the BBC refusing to broadcast the most ‘controversial’ episode of a new miniseries by David Attenborough, said to cover biodiversity loss in the British Isles? Would love to know what’s going on with that and how I can watch. Very much hoping that the Streisand effect applies to this mysterious ep. (Helena Horton for The Guardian)
Bikepacking history: Last year, Erick Cedeño biked 1,900 miles in 41 days, following in the wheel tracks of 20 Black U.S. Army infantrymen who cycled that same route over the same number of days in 1897—an expedition organized to determine whether the Army should form a bicycle corps. This feat by the 25th Infantry Bicycle Corps had been largely lost to history, until now. “These men are somebody’s grandparents, somebody’s great-grandparents,” Cedeño told the New York Times. “They don’t know how badass they were. I want everyone to know.” (Nina Burleigh for the New York Times)
Hiking with a purpose: Why, you might ask, did two scientists carry a giant ponderosa pine log weighing over 132 pounds more than 15 miles by hanging it off of their foreheads? For archaeology, of course. The experiment was to demonstrate how Ancestral Puebloans might have transported over 200,000 similar logs to a site called Chaco Canyon over a 1,000 years ago. The buildings at Chaco Canyon were the largest constructed in North America up until the 19th century. (Daniel Strain for Phys.org)