Sunday, April 8, 2012

Expeditionary Meanderings

I've recently made a big change in my personal life, now that I'm approaching fifty, and have altered my nutritional habits. Yes, a complete overhaul. I started over two months ago and have lost 35 pounds and counting. I'm a little over halfway to my goal. But a better diet is only half the plan. I have also been conditioning myself to return to the trail and, ultimately, my world-traveling ways. A good buddy and I have been looking at some trails around the world, getting ideas, and have our sights on some destinations. His girlfriend has become enamored with Northern Spain and the pilgrim trail to Santiago, so we may put that first on our list, once we're ready, and join the thousands of hip-travel geeks that give it a go. We're not into anything hardcore, mind you. You won't be seeing us on the slopes of Everest. Be reasonable.

Naturally, our plan involves a bit of re-training our bodies to the basics, so we're starting with something simple this month: the Cougar-Crest Trail in the San Bernardino Mountains. This easy day hike will officially inaugurate our return to the trail (There has been plenty of local small stuff I've been doing for a few weeks now). Nothing overly strenuous, believe me. The biggest concern here is that there are mountain lions that occasionally remind folks whose territory it is. We don't want to end up like these guys ^

Of course, we're likely overnighting in a hostel and I know we're definitely enjoying a fine meal at the Himalayan Restaurant at the end of the day, imagining ourselves as cool as Brad Pitt. After we master all the day trails in the Berdo mountains, I plan to head out into more interesting corners of the California wilderness, like the western Yosemite area near Sonora.

Part of my regimen has been studying up on advice from experts I know.
One of them is Mike Clelland, author of this ultralight backpacking guide.
Even if you're not doing ultra-light, believe me, the info in here is essential.
This book will be well-worn and always in my collection.

Naturally, all this can't be just for the enjoyment of the outdoors. I simply must bring movies and writing into the mix. You can bet I'll be combining research for books and location scouting with trekking. I'm presently doing research on the follow-up to a non-fiction book I wrote, and I'm also identifying locations for a particular movie project I'm considering for the line-up after Hell's Bells (if Secret of the Amazon Queen is delayed further into 2013). This film is all outdoors (well, at least 80% of it) and will certainly add fuel to my fantasies of following in the footsteps of one of my favorite directors, Merian C Cooper, once famous for his early expeditionary filmmaking. Above right is a shot of Cooper during the production of Grass, a pre-King Kong effort...

All this 'back to the trail' activity naturally makes me think of movie expeditions. Here's the crew from the 1959 Journey To The Center Of The Earth ...

And a re-enactment of the Malory expedition on Everest, produced by National Geographic...

These bags would be great movie props!


And I'm loving this idea...

And look at the devotion to camping that a
hero of mine shows for his final resting place!

Aaaah, the romance of adventure!
I'm sure I'll have some cool photos of this month's adventure to post when we return...

1 comment:

Mike Clelland! said...

Walter has fine taste in literature. His referencing of Mike Clelland's fine addition to the world of written works shows his exquisite taste.

I'm deeply impressed.