Off Yonder – Adventure Travel Stories - Seeing the world for what it is

RMC Centennial Reunion
White Mountains, Randolph, New Hampshire, United States

Back in the fall of 2006 I enjoyed a beautiful season as the caretaker for a cabin in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. This weekend, I’m back in the small mountain town of Randolph to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Randolph Mountain Club (RMC) with many of the great people who have also served as caretakers as well as those who have worked on the trail crew. On Saturday morning Al (who hired me to be the caretaker) and I hiked up to Crag Camp where we sat in the mountain sunshine and chatted with a few folks who stayed up there that night. We then hiked over to Gray Knob Cabin where I lived for two months. The large logbook on the table only had a dozen blank pages left and was the one I had started while working there. It was fun to read the entry I wrote about the first substantial snowfall that season on the first page. I wrote a little note to document this visit and headed back down.

That evening over 150 people gathered for dinner (I made a pot of chili to contribute), dessert, RMC trivia, and photos of previous caretakers and trail crews from each decade represented. We even did a photo of RMC Antarcticans as it seems this little club sends quite a few folks down to the ice.

Below are some of the photos I took as a caretaker in the White Mountains. Photos of the reunion are most likely to be found on the RMC website.

Click on any image to see more photos or to buy a print.

And there it is: Gray Knob Cabin. Tucked in just below tree line on the north side of Mt. Adams in New Hampshire. At 4,370' it is the highest year-round residence in the northeast.

Click on “Full Story” below or the title above for a quick look at a few more images.

» Full Story »

Hemmed-In Falls
Ponca Wilderness Area, Ozark Mountains, Arkansas, United States

It was just a simple day hike… something to stretch the legs. Forrest Wilder was on a road trip back to Alaska, I was kickin’ it in Arkansas.

We found a trail in a guide book that was given to us. But we couldn’t get to the trail head because the road was too much for our transportation. Shoulda brought the truck.

No matter, we found this great hike down to Hemmed-In Falls and had a blast. Check out the video for the details.

» Full Story »

Hills and Huts
Routeburn Track, Mount Aspiring NP, New Zealand

The Routeburn Track on the South Island of New Zealand is designated as one of the “Great Walks” in New Zealand. That means beautiful terrain, awe-inspiring views and luxury (by camping and trekking standards) style accommodation. It also means it’s guaranteed to be expensive and crowded. Ah well. It’s ultimately worthwhile sharing earth’s beauty. And it’s certainly tolerable the way the New Zealand Department of Conservation manages the number of people that come up.

The Buckly Transport shuttle picked Derek and me up right outside our hostel the same morning we called and took us from Queenstown directly to the trailhead. Not 20 meters in we crossed a span bridge over some of the clearest water I’ve ever seen. Further up the stream, pools of sunlit water glowed bright blue against the pure white of bubbly, churning water flowing into them. The stark dark shadows of trees spilled in creating a frame with the sparkling rocks around the whole scene. This was a good start.

Once in the woods the wide, well-established trail made for easy walking and allowed us to gawk at the surrounding beauty rather than where we placed our feet. An endless carpet of ferns and small lush shrubs covered the forest floor, split only by the meandering white rocky path. Criss-cross patterns of sunlight and shadows floated down from the canopy above.

» Full Story »

Traipsing the White Mountains
Zealand-Bond Range, White Mountains, New Hampshire, United States

The Zealand-Bond range is one of the most spectacular routes in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The Presidentals offer great views of vast valleys, but something about being on the top of Mount Guyot, or out on the remote summit of West Bond instills a wonderful sense of intimacy with the mountains. Starting from […]

» Full Story »

The Far North!
Rishiri-to, Japan

Hokkaido is the northern most of the main islands which comprise Japan. And Natalie and I went to the northern tip of Hokkaido. We were hoping for clear enough weather to see Russia for the first time, but the relatively close island of Sakhalin remained elusive. Getting there took us about 33 hours all up. […]

» Full Story »

Hut Caretaker
Mawsons Hut, Snowy Mountains, Australia

This weekends adventure was with a group called the Squirrel Ski Club (SSC), but it’s not always skiing that they do. Like this time, it’s getting towards the middle of summer and there is not very much snow out there. Just in the few shady bits lie small patches, but we never got close to […]

» Full Story »

Start High, Go Low
Grose Valley, Blue Mountains, Australia

I went to the Blue Mountains, about 2 hours west of Sydney. A guy I know had a gig with his band up there, so I caught a ride with him and saw his show Friday night, then started on the trail Saturday morning. Well, I had planned to start in the morning but I […]

» Full Story »