Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Kenmare, County Kerry, Ireland Day 1 - Blackwater Bridge to Sneem

mom and Dad Blackwater Bridge to Sneem

Our first hiking day in the county of Kerry is done. It has been a misty rainy day pretty much the whole day. The sun made a short appearance while we were having dinner around 20:00 but that was the only time blue skies and the sun appeared; the rest of the day was overcast and though sometimes the cloud cover lifted a bit it was never a day for views.

The HF group has 23 hikers and two leaders. The group that did the longer walk had 20 hikers .We did the longer walk which would take us from Blackwater Bridge to the village of Sneem: about 13km with about 200m of ascent and descent according to Heather who was our hike leader for the day. We shouldered our packs under drizzling clouds just after 10:20 and immediately struck off from the single-lane paved road on a country path that quickly rose to an open moor-like region some 80 meters above our starting point. Once up there we felt the drizzle and wind far more intently than we had as we climbed. It wasn’t exactly cold but you know you were in conditions that were far from ideal. No views to really speak of which is a shame as I suspect the surrounding hills would have given some fine vistas. We plodded along the path trying to avoid the worst of the manure and more boggy bits. I likely failed on the first count and certainly did on the second. For the next km or two we walked across a blanket bog. Eventually we joined a country road that wound through forests of ferns, firs, and who knows what else. Bog cotton (it blooms at the end of a grass stall) had appeared earlier and we found foxglove, fascia, and other flowers blooming in the woods.


Our walk would follow more lanes and  paths with occasional open country where the rain and wind could make themselves more felt. We didn’t dawdle anywhere. At about the 7km mark at a church we found shelter against walls where we could and hurriedly ate lunch standing up. Even had I wanted to capture more of the walk in photos and video there just wasn’t going to be the opportunity given the weather. Our only other “breaks” happened when we crossed the seemingly countless stiles. It takes time for 21 people to climb up and then down each stile. 

Just before 15:00 the village of Sneem, the name may refer to a knot in a river, came into view. It’s a busy place and perhaps a local tourist hub. We were able to find a cafe for pastry and tea. Others found a bar. While the weather was somewhat against us the walk was still enjoyable and certainly gave us a taste of what we can expect.

Distance: 14km; ascent and descent 185m. 


  1. Mom and Dad trekking along the improved two-track lane. We had several kilometers of walking on lanes like this or a bit worse. We also would walk along paths that wound through forests and open bog where we felt the full force of the  wind and the misting rain. At least it was warm.
  2. Forests of firs and ferns abound. We would also pass by bunches of lovely flowers like these foxglove (we think) and honeysuckle and much more. Even in the open boggy areas provisions of bog cotton would be found.
  3. We hiked fromBlackwater Bridge to the village of Sneem. A walk that generally trended westward and would end in the village which is smaller than it actually seems.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Audio Podcast: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Backpacking Trip May 2018

IMG_6237.jpgFog rolled in now and then creating views like this on the cliffs of Lake Superior.
I do not know how many times I have backpacked the Lakeshore Trail in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore over the past couple of decades. I have gone in both directions many times. This year, with 13 other people many with little to no backpacking experience, I would travel the trail once again from Sand Point to Sable Falls. This is something of an annual trip over Memorial Day Weekend though I do not always get to attend.  The trip would turn out to be a very fine one even with some trials and tribulations thrown in. We lucked out with the weather and everyone had a good time. The audio you are listening too will give you a sense of what we experienced.  You can find more photos in these photo albums which have the same photos but display differently (Google, Apple).
IMG_6304.jpgSunset at Mosquito Beach on Lake Superior.
IMG_6213.jpgKen and Doug near the start of the Lakeshore Trail. Its ful of mud and downed trees for the first few miles.
There is also a video you can enjoy here on YouTube. The podcast feed can be found here on my Libsyn page or you can find it in your favorite podcast catching app by searching for Wandering Knight.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

How To Open and Close the kershaw Leek Knife

The directions that come with the Kershaw Leek knife are actually pretty good. But, I found that I was having trouble figuring out how to close the knife. I am going to blame a combination low-vision and hand-eye co-ordination for my failure. Fortunately I have friends like Paul “Siler” Haan who can lend timely assistance. Paul created the short video you are about to watch explaining how to properly open and close the knife. By the way, for what it is worth Paul has had this knife for ages and is an experienced long-distance backpacker too.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Video: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Backpacking Trip - May 2018


Grand Portal Lake Superior

I’m not sure how many times I have joined Andy Mytys, Elwira and various others to hikes the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore between Grand Marais and Munising (if you want to be precise Sable Falls and Sand Point). We have done the 4-day trip in both directions. Each has its advantages and weaknesses. This year we would travel eastward from Sand Point to Sable Falls. We would be making up a group of 14 people of which nearly half have either no backpacking or very little backpacking experience. It promised to be an interesting trip. This video should give you a sense of some of what we experienced throughout the trip. Eventually I will add more photos and a somewhat more extensive audio diary to go with the video.