At the Trailhead: About My Blog

A summer rain storm –

My journal’s sodden pages

Scatter with the gulls.

On the road: Lugano, Switzerland

JOY, KICKS, DARKNESS

Welcome to TGTW!

I started this blog in early 2011 after returning to my home town of Brisbane, Australia, from a big year of adventuring in the U.S. and Switzerland. I wanted a place to record my little stories from over the years, plus more recent, everyday stuff, and some of the photographs that are taking an increasingly important part in my adventures. But the common thread running though most of the content on TGTW, and through my own life, is walking.

I love walking, be it a stroll to the shops, a 2,000-plus-mile epic, or anything in between. And my love affair with photography is turning into a dangerous and expensive obsession. But walking and photography complement each other so well for me, they seem as tightly synchronised as a left foot with a right.

Limping through the cold, cold heart of Hokkaido, Japan

Walking takes you places, and not all of them are on the map. There’s nature, there’s freedom; there’s exertion and solitude and camaraderie. But what really intrigues me is the internal landscape with all its peaks and valleys and dark and twisted paths.

I like words like ramble, tramp and wander. I’m intrigued by  journeys, about nature and environment, and we humans’ place in it. Walking overlaps with everything that interests me, and my walking philosophy has been influenced as much by permaculture, Robert Johnson, Basho, Bob Dylan, Ed Abbey and punk rock as by Ryan Jordan, Ray Jardine or that guy who’s run the whole P.C.T. in a few weeks.

You won’t find many gear reviews, statistics, mileages, directions to the trailhead or compass bearings in TGTW. It’s place that turns me on: the history (human and natural), geography, geology, and the stories that result when humans travel through it.

I walk every day, wherever I’m living (moved to Upstate New York in Jan, 2014), and do Big Trips whenever I can: so far my two-footed follies have taken me from Australia to the American desert and the High Sierra; from the Deep South through the Long Green Tunnel to the White Mountains and the lonesome lakes of Maine; on journeys through Swiss villages and medieval town centres and among snowy peaks; and on many, many excursions in the wilds of backwoods and inner-city Japan. I also managed hundreds of outings in Korea, including one 13-day walk up the east coast, during the two years I lived there.

It’s about time I jotted some of these rambling reminiscences down, maybe shared a few pictures — I need a hobby, readers, and maybe this is it.

GOAT, Brisbane, Australia, October 2014

I am just going outside and may be some time ~ Captain Lawrence Oates, Scott’s Antarctic Expedition, 1912

Snack stop on the A.T., PA

Trail dirt, Pacific Crest Trail

54 Comments

  1. Andrew Smallacombe says

    Ah, Mt. Kumotori… what fun that was. Remember the “no rocks in the snowballs” rule?

    Years ago, I wrote something about our ill-fated trip up Ho-o-sanzan (well, we managed two of the peaks…) but it probably got lost on the old computer.

    I might even be able to scan whatever precious few pics I have of those days.

    • Ah, yeah, I remember the snowball ambush! And I used to have a paper copy of your report; I’ll have to do some hunting. Any pictures you could scan and send would be awesome. One of those rocks in the picture on my last post is from Ho-o-sanzan.

  2. Andrew Smallacombe says

    I did a little hunting – no electronic or hard copy of my Mt. Ho-o report to be found. If one turns up in your possession, could you send me a copy? Cheers.
    And check your mail inbox for some blasts from the past!!

  3. Thanks for the pictures, keep ‘em coming if you find any more! I used to have that report you typed up, would like to read it again myself.

  4. pilgrimpace says

    Just stumbled upon you via The Solitary Walker. Thanks for the blog – I’ll be enjoying spending time reading (although I’m rather unreformed when it comes to carrying weight)

    cheers

    Andy

  5. Paul Rogers says

    Hey Goat, its Paul here from Deagon. I have really enjoyed reading your blog. I wish you many more, long, and happy walks.

    • Hey Paul, thanks for dropping by, great to have a local reader, and I do indeed have some exciting adventuring planned for the not-too-far-off future…

  6. Sundance says

    Hi, Goat!

    Google-ing AT blogs to plan for my own trip and yours came up (am also stealing/copying your pic of the Southern trailhead start in Springer Mts., Georgia.

    I like your sense of humor, and that you are from another country—and that you have hiked other countries!! Way cool!

    I live about 100 miles West of Asheville, NC and have time this year, and am going to probabliy work or something to raise the needed funds.

    Will read more about your trek to Katahdin!

    Best,

    Sundance (already test-driving a trail name!!)

    • Hey, Sundance, glad you found the blog and enjoyed those entries. I have a lot of catching up to do on my A.T. stories — I’m now in South Korea and the hiking here is keeping me busy, but will be revisiting the A.T. saga when I run out of Korea stories!

      Those A.T. pictures are all scanned film images, but there are some good ones. I loved the A.T. though it cost me a lot in injuries and suffering! Will definitely be returning to do it again, this time hopefully much lighter and more comfortably.

      Good luck with your planng — you live in a beautiful part of America, by the way.

  7. Hi Goat,

    I’ve just discovered your blog and am enjoying reading your posts. Oh, to be young and unburdened again! I’ve always had a yearning for travel, and manage it whenever I can. I did do some hiking in Thailand in 1999 when my daughter was teaching there. What an adventure!

    These days our travel is done by motorcycle and motor home, but we still find lots of interesting people and places.

    Enjoy your vacation!

  8. Looking around on a cold Sunday morning for a new blog to read, I happily came across yours. I love to walk. A recent back injury means I can only do it virtually for a while. So your blog, aside from being enjoyable, will be therapy too!

    • Hey, thanks! Sorry to hear about the back — mine can be problematic as well but it’s been behaving itself lately. Get well soon and I hope you keep reading.

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  10. I may have discovered the Goat’s Korean roots!!
    In Japanese, yagi (山羊) or occasionally (野羊), thought to be derived from (野牛)
    The Korean word for sheep is “jang”, which may have been corrupted in Japanese as “yangu” and then “yagi”

  11. Hi. I just came across your blog through a recommendation from the almighty wordpress itself. Great writing and great style. I’m a lover of walking also, but it hadn’t occurred to me how far walking can take you. Your meandering is inspiring! I’ll be “following” along.

    • Hey, thank you, Bridgett! Great start to my day. I’m glad a few people are reading. It’s another sweltering summer day here in southern Korea, but a nice break from the rain and I’m hoping to do a good walk and an overnight camp tomorrow (Saturday). But meanwhile I should really get another post out!

      • The procedure seems to require passing it along to those you deem as worthy. I wasn’t sure what to do at first, but I just used Kyred’s post as a template and thought of ten blogs I liked, etc. I realize it is time consuming. The rules are in my post. Do whatever feels right.

  12. Cris M says

    Hi Goat,

    I arrived to your blog from the comment you left in “The Solitary Walker”´s one. I did some walking in Spain last year and discovered a whole new world in long distance walking (pilgrimage). I certainly will enjoy reading your adventures. Many hugs, Cris M

    • Hey Cris, thanks and welcome! That Solitary Walker bloke has led many a pilgrim astray, but there are worse places to land than here.

      Spain is (high) on my list. Just diligently saving up and dreaming to fill the gap…

  13. You have a lot of patience to do a ton of walking! Since I bike as part of my lifestyle, there are times I get impatient just walking for 20 min. to the store.

    Still it’s all better than whizzing by stuff in a car.

    • I think my psychology has evolved (deteriorated?) over time, Jean. I have a bike back home and enjoy it for getting to a few more distant places when I don’t want to spend half the day getting there. But in truth I never feel completely comfortable on wheels. I haven’t even owned a car since very early 2000! I’m so used to walking a relatively long way (by most westerners’ standards) to do simple things like getting a coffee, going to work or doing some shopping, it really does seem like nothing to me. I think it’s ’cause I’m usually alone — if someone else was accompanying me I might wake up and think, “Damn, this is really quite a long way!”

  14. Of course found your blog from Daily Post. A lot of walking.
    Have you ever thought of walking the Holy Land? Israel has an almost 1000 km trail that runs the length of the country – we’re a small country, you can walk the breadth, yam l’yam in 3 days. Yam means sea, so that’s from the Mediterranean to Sea of Galilee.
    Your landing page is great. How do you get the scrolling headers of photos and text?
    Shmuel

    • Hey, Shmuel, I’ve heard about that trail and a trail friend and Pacific Crest Trail celebrity called Billy Goat (no relation!) was planning to do it when I last saw him on the PCT in 2010. It sounds beautiful.

      The “Featured Post Slider” is a feature of my blog theme, Linen: http://theme.wordpress.com/themes/linen/. It’s a premium theme and is a delight to use. The only (minor) hassle is that you have to choose which posts you want featured at the top and if you’re me, you’ll want to rotate them regularly. But it’s really quite simple: you just tag the chosen posts as “Sticky” and they go up there. I keep them to about five to keep things rolling smoothly for people without super-fast Korean Internet.

      If they could design it so the posts were chosen randomly and automatically every so often, that would be a dream theme ;).

    • Thank you! I don’t know Richard Long offhand. Will look into this when I recover from the Japan trip I just returned from. I tried to respond earlier, by the way, while in Tokyo, but had lots of wifi trouble over there — strangely…

      • Thank you. I looked him up — think I might have heard him a while back on Solitary Walker’s blog. His resume is impressive!

  15. Hi, Just found your blog by chance, but glued to it for a long time.

    Walking is my passion too, but most of times confined to short hikes through the western Ghats.

    Your blog is really awesome and thanks a lot for sharing the stories, really inspirational.

    Sreejith.

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  17. Hello Goat,
    Please accept my congratulations and my nomination for the Versatile Blogger award. I nominated you out of sincere appreciation for what you have to say in your blog. I don’t know if you accept such awards, but if you do, go to my website for the award information. It’s the second post at http://garryrogers.com.
    I hope you have a great day and a great rest of the year!
    Garry

    • Thanks, Garry. Nah, I politely and gratefully decline such awards, but I appreciate the nomination.

      Happy new year to you too. I am attempting to come to terms with Brisbane heat combined with a little jetlag, but it’s great to be back.

    • Oh yes, I usually tell people the Long Trail is my favourite. It’s long but not too long, and surprisingly challenging. I also love that it feels so remote, and that so many of the old huts survive. I took a detour from the Appalachian Trail in 2006 (the first hundred miles of the L.T. were incorporated into the A.T.) to thru-hike it to the Canadian border with a like-minded nut. We were amazed at its ruggedness and the solitude there after the relative highway of the A.T..

      • That’s good to know. I’m definitely inspired by your experiences, even though I’ve never done anything longer than a day hike.

  18. I’m glad I stumbled upon your blog. It’s got a single-minded focus to it. I like that. The idea of walking everywhere. Carrying a backpack and going. Putting a foot down, step by step, covering bits of the earth. I hiked a lot as a teenager, to the point of obsession. Going every weekend, neglecting school at times, with a 40 litre backpack with everything I needed. It rained. There were mosquitos. But there was so much nature amid the concrete jungle I lived in. I loved the difference, and the quiet. There was also zero light pollution where we went so the stars were always brighter than in the city. Your blog brings back a lot of those memories and maybe I’ll take to the roads again. You take beautiful photos too.

    • Thanks for the nice comment and your intriguing story! I’m looking forward to getting out in the bush again next week for some “real” hiking. Nothing beats an Australian night sky when you’re away from the city lights. Last week I was in the bush for a few days with some friends and every night we stood outside trying to find the Southern Cross through the canopy and watching Mars slowly travel along the claws of Scorpius…

      • Hoping I can see it one day, that Australian night sky. I’ve never been able to locate the Southern Cross, only the obvious ones like Orion, Cassiopeia, the Big Dipper. I do have a knack with shooting stars and spot those from time to time. You seem like quite the astronomer!

      • I wish I was a LOT better. I’m only good with a handful of constellations and the odd planet myself. One day I’d love a big telescope…

      • A telescope would be so cool. I’m hoping for a super powerful camera someday for the stars!

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  20. One of the best “about” pages I’ve read in a long time, I wish you well in your travels and look forward to reading about them.

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