Today is my first day back in the office after a week of hiking in the Adirondacks. It was a week without television. Cell phone and Blackberry reception were iffy--depending--it seemed--on which way the wind was blowing.
It was essential to bring only essentials. OFF! bug repellent is a must for everybody. For me, a good book and a reliable flashlight are necessities. The Last of His Kind: The Life and Adventures of Bradford Washburn, America's Boldest Mountaineer by David Roberts was the perfect choice. (Yes, it's a hardcover--but an Exacto knife and a few rubber bands can turn any hardcover into a paperback. And, the pages read are good kindling.)
I don't have much in common with Bradford Washburn. I don't do any technical climbing. I don't want anything to do with ice crampons. I haven't made nine first ascents. I am not much of a photographer, and I have no skills as a cartographer. I will never be asked to address The National Geographic Society. Still, I've managed to haul myself through the Himalayas, the Grand Canyon, and assorted mountain ranges by putting one foot in front of the other--inspired by and following maps created by true mountaineers like Bradford Washburn.
Was The Last of His Kind worth its weight in my knapsack? Yes.