Header image for Special photo edition: Didn't Die in the Mountains

Special photo edition: Didn't Die in the Mountains

Ridgeline Transmission 020


Back. Didn’t die. Savagely beaten by the trail. Wonderful? Yes. As rewarding as it was challenging. But, folks, it beat me something good. Every meter. You worked for every. single. meter.

I keep a diary of how my body is doing each day. From yesterday:

My knees hate me. They hate me so much. They hate me more than the Corleones hate the Barzinis. More than Alex Honnold hates big refrigerators. Left shoulder heavily bruised. Right, lightly bruised. Both shins bloody, scabbed. Left wrist, sprained. Butt, black and blue. Feet, amazingly fine, blister free. Hips, chafed. Calves, ready to explode.

Japan doesn’t have giant mountains, but it does have a lot of them. And we crossed two or three or four or five a day. Ridgelines and valleys and summits. Two days of clear weather and then sleet, sub-zero nights, chains, vertiginous walls, high winds, rain, dozens of hours of descending steep paths covered in wet roots slick as oil.

It’s going to take some time to process the last six days of walking. For now, a quick edit of the photos. A visual Ridgeline this week.

Tomorrow, I’m in Shingu, and start my walk up to Ise Shrine along the mostly coastal Ise-ji route. No rest for the walking, knees can file complaints to the appropriate department.

Nara ridgeline Mist, moss, morning THE ROOT Ridglines and mountains The One Gossamer Gear Tent Moss and rocks Morning sunlight, sassa grass Roping down the rockface Ridgeline distance Rock formations Peak Fog, mist, hiker


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Fellow Walkers

“I am still in the midst of becoming myself; from the dusty trails in Boulder, CO to the rain slicked streets of Hong Kong, I walk with conviction that all experiences, good and bad, will and have shaped me into who I am. “

“Torn from the shell of the ‘non-arts’…an admixture comprising of immigrant parents who did their best, and my bestest obedience admist structure, visible progress and certainty.”

“Looking back, it all felt very ordinary and middle-y, which perhaps provided the fuel for wanting to escape to travel as soon as I could and peer over some edges – edges of cultures, waves and my comfortable bubble.”

“In my community growing up, all the kids called the adults by their first names. My parents moved into my neighborhood not because they liked the house, or the location, but because they loved the people and intentional community there. I have yet to find a place that has the same number of leftists and progressives who are also Catholic. For that reason I never grew up under the soulless conservative Christian veil that seems to cover so much of the US. For college, I tossed myself into a new city, where I find myself, in addition to practicing violin, thinking a lot about deliberate communities and how they can exist within cities. “

(“Fellow Walkers” are short bios of the other folks subscribed to this newsletter. In Ridgeline 001 I asked: “What shell were you torn from?” and got hundreds of responses. We’re working our way through them over the year. You’re an amazing, diverse crew. Grateful to be walking with you all. Feel free to send one in if you haven’t already.)


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(A weekly letter on walking in Japan)