Paris to Chamonix

Poking about in a little loft room, not much bigger than a pantry we enjoy our one night in Paris, setting up for the experience of a lifetime, exploring the valleys and passes of the Mont Blanc Massif. The train is on time and there are many other hikers assembling on the platforms, packs and equipment on backs. It’s been a year in the planning and to say I’m a little apprehensive would be an understatement. I love mountains, but not exposed heights, it a conundrum I’ve been working on over the southern summer, pushing into longer, steeper, higher and more exposed walks.

While train travel is a wonderful way to get around Europe there is no simple A to B routes and most require multiple trains, today its 3.

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Walking on the Dragons Back

On a cheeky layover in Hong Kong, I managed to score a weekend on the tiny island and having been surrounded by people all week, longed for the quiet escape that every city has secretly tucked away. The enclave of the CDB is surrounded by lush beautiful forests, most easily accessed from the cable car up Mount Victoria. For the more adventurous, but train bound explorer the southeast offers some interesting areas to walk, namely the Dragons Back.

The Dragons Back arguably the most scenic section of the 50km Hong Kong Trail, stretches 8.5km through the Shek O Country Park. Aptly named as it undulates along the ridge, Shek O Peak at 284  provides commanding panoramic views  across  Shek O, Tai Long Wan, Stanley, Tai Tam, and the South China Sea.

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Takaosan, peaks, snow and ice

Japan is a fascinating country one of the most advances nations on earth, but also one of the most traditional. The juxtaposition of high rise multinational corporations, moving billions in trade and products, next door to temples that stood when the rest was all forest.

Tokyo is the seething heart of this island nation with over 20 million people passing through it’s arteries. Wedged in on Tokyo bay and hemmed by the mountains, the forerunners to the Japanese Alps, Tokyo offers the intrepid traveler and vacationer alike a unique experience.

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Chickens legs for lunch, it’s no KFC

In a previous post I wrote about my  once in a lifetime experience with the Great Wall of China, a childhood dreaming. At the conclusion of the walk we pushed further north within 300km of the Mongolian border to a little village for lunch, all part of the tour.

It was close to Chinese New Year and there were signs of the impending festivities everywhere making great photo opportunities of the celebration preparations. zig zagging our way through the cars, people and bikes it was becoming very apparent I was no longer in “touristville” and somehow had become the attraction. It didn’t help I was in a  private vehicle, sitting in the back like I was being chauffeured. I guess I was.

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Great Wall of China, a childhood dreaming

During the 70’s in the remote Northern Territory we had only the ABC, the government funded Australian Broadcasting Corporation to deliver us the news, soaps and educational viewing. As the 80’s dawned we started to receive commercial television courtesy of a set of videos flown in from Darwin and replayed locally. The news was a day or two late and so was the weather. Aside from these anomalies it opened up a whole new viewing experience and one of the programs that captured my imagination was The World Around Us.

It inspired a generation to explore our environment, with spectacular footage of the some of the most amazing places on earth. In one such episode the host adventurer was exploring the Great Wall of China. I was captivated by the history, the construction and most of all the environment, towering steep mountains and narrow ridge lines. I dreamt of walking it myself, stepping on its ancient stones and hearing the distinct music of China as I moved across the landscape.

It was just a pipe dream and I didn’t truly expect I would ever visit the far flung communist nation, but I could imagine. There were many documentaries throughout my teenage years that explored the Great Wall of China experience and I remained captivated by it.

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Mt Baw Baw, finding the one

You might recall an innocuous line in a previous post that went something like this, “With my temp gauge proudly hanging in a tree, it does little to comfort us that the day is indeed warming, stubbornly staying below the 5C mark.” if not you can read it here Mt Baw Baw snow, look don’t touch.

Well that one line set up a year’s expedition to recover a little piece of plastic that had far more sentimental value that it could ever have monetary value, let me explain.

At the conclusion of our first and very successful snow camp at Mt Baw Baw, I inadvertently forgot to collect my temp gauge out of the tree and didn’t realise this oversight until we were off the mountain and unpacking in the days following.

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I need a miracle, that’s what I need

Do you believe in miracles? I do, but I cannot explain them, something that as a science graduate many years ago, frustrates me in my curious pursuit of how things work.

I guess I should start by explaining what I mean by miracles, I’m talking irrefutable, creative miracles, ones that science can substantiate, cancer disappearing, blind seeing or in my case, bone that had disintegrated growing.

Why am I writing about this in a hiking blog? Well because inevitably on a long walk the subject of injuries comes up and someone always asks have you broken any bones, one such occasion happened this past week.

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