Less than a week ago I was camping a minutes walk down from these falls, said to be 154 feet high. Normally it’s a popular place to stop, but a combination of the pandemic, thunderstorms, mud and it being blackfly season kept many people away. The campsite was next to the stream the falls dump into from the falls, so it was easy to fall asleep to the sound of rushing water but harder to get up and leave. Not long after leaving I was drenched in a thunderstorm but no matter. My trip—a thru-hike of the 138mile Northville-Lake Placid trail—was coming to an end. Until next time!
This is a small part of the view from Hasedera Temple in the Sakurai (Nara-ken) area of Japan. The original edifice dates to 686 ACE, and, while picturesque any time of year, it’s best in the fall and during winter. I’d often cycle here from a job a few hours away. Up from here is a dam and beyond that woods, field and mountain villages. Near the dam was a small open area I’d use for camping. Great place to see the night stars and flickering light in the distant villages.
After six months of hiking up and down hills and mountains, fording fast-moving streams, being rained on and losing over 20 percent of my weight, I could see the end of my journey coming into view one clear morning in northern Maine. The mountain in the distance is Katahdin, northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. In my thru-hike year of 2015, the trail stretched for some 2,189 miles from Georgia to Maine (or Maine to Georgia if going south). It took me six months to cover the distance and was an unforgettable experience. As with any such journey, there’s pleasure at having completed it, but also a bit of sadness that it was over. On the plus side, there’s always another journey to undertake.
Most students enjoy a break
A short boat ride from Sittwe in Myanmar’s Rakhine State lies Wabo village. The settlement is known as the “weaving village” and here you’ll see women working hard at looms in the sheltered areas located below the ground floors of their stilted homes. Wabo is famous for the design and quality of its longyis, the traditional, wrap-around garment still worn by a majority of Myanmar’s inhabitants. While walking around the village—it was in 2008—I came upon this school, and the kids had just been let out for a short spell. There was something about the school’s wooden structure and the children with their smiles, framed within a break in the surrounding lush foliage, that made this, for me, a memorable shot.
Synthetic rubber is readily available but, as the saying goes, there’s nothing like the real thing. This tree is very close to what once was Camp Carroll, an America artillery base in the Republic of Vietnam. To get there, I traveled along Route 9, the originally French-commissioned colonial highway located close to the former Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating North and South Vietnam. The base, run by South Vietnamese soldiers after the Americans downsized their force commitments, fell in 1972 to North Vietnamese soldiers. Closer to the highway, I encountered local people heat-testing the sap for quality and then, if satisfied, pouring it into large containers for transport to processing facilities. It was late 2017, and I was traveling from Dong Ha to Khe Sanh, site of the former American combat base. The battle there formed a prelude to the politically-momentous 1968 TET Offensive.