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South West Coast Path: Cornwall Coast

Views from Wednesday’s walk from Hartland Quay to Bude on England’s South West Coast Path. The tough going has its rewards, indeed.

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South West Coast Path: Time for a Checkup

We stumbled upon a bench and a view for our picnic lunch Tuesday.
GPS map shows our location with an arrow on the blue trail.
We looked north to Wales for the first week on England’s South West Coast Path, but have turned the corner and the sun is setting into the ocean as I write. I can no longer see Wales, nor any whales, which has been a homonym joke for us. Don’t you wish you were here to share in the fun? How’s the trail? As varied as any we have walked. Plenty of mud, slippery rocks, and more than 4,000 stairs–so far. Most of the time, it has been dry and steep. We have climbed more than 20,000 feet so far, which means we have descended 20,000 feet. Mont Blanc and Italy had steep parts, but not as consistently steep as this. If you are calculating averages, we had two quite flat days around Barnstaple. How’s the food? B&Bs offer breakfast menus now, with many choices. Even a continental breakfast tray, delivered to our room when we want an early start. Lunch is a picnic, usually a sandwich, crisps and fruit bought in the morning at a shop. However, we are in a stretch with no stores nearby, so we get box lunches from the hotel. We have learned to carry plenty of snacks. Our evening meals come in pubs and a couple of restaurants, or when there is nothing else near, our hotel. In Woolacombe, we found a place that satisfied our veggie craving. Lots of fish and chips, and last night I had a huge Yorkshire pudding with sausages, chips, and (what else?) peas. We both have tried (and liked) mushy peas. Surf’s up? Surf shops, surf lessons, and surfers, everywhere. The surf? Not so much. Americans? None on the trail, so far. Actually, not as many other trekkers as we expected. Mainly brits, others from the continent. Otherwise we go long stretches without having to share the trail. Long stretches are very remote, in fact. How far? We hope to make it from Minehead to Land’s End, 260 miles. Everyone else we have talked to is doing a day hike, or a few days. So far, no one going to Land’s End, nor the entire 630 miles. We have walked 109 miles so far, or about the length of the Tour du Mont Blanc.

The weather? Tuesday was brilliant, our third such day. Two days of rain, others were overcast, sometimes drippy.

Forest or pasture? We left the forest behind at midday Tuesday and had wide-open views of pastures, farms, cliffs, the ocean. Forest walking is not our cup of tea…climbing on a drippy forest trail is not much fun. The same climb out in the open seems so much easier.

Language? Everyone so far speaks English, making for fun conversations over breakfast, in the pubs, or on the trail. No sign language required.

Laundromats? Are you kidding? We wash, rinse, squeeze in a towel, and hang our moisture-wicking clothes. One B&B host offered to do our laundry, though! Perhaps she was hoping to get rid if the odor.

Speedy? As usual, Sue zips up the hills and I struggle to keep up. But we agree steep uphill is less worrisome than steep downhills, where one slip-up can be disastrous.

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South West Coast Path: A Magical Morning

We slept until 7:00 this morning and hated to leave the wonderful Bed and Breakfast we were staying in…but the path called, and we had a long day of climbing, including reaching the highest point on the South West Coast Path, The Great Hangman, at an elevation of 1,043 feet.

As we left Lynton, our first surprise was rounding a bend and wandering through The Valley of the Rocks, a spectacular display of rock formations looming above our heads. The rest of the day unfolded with one breathtaking view after another.

Reg chats with a solo walker and a camping walker at the top of The Great Hangman.
Good night from the Newberry Beach Lodge in Coombs Martin.
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In the Shadow of Peak Lenin, Day 1: Welcome to the Big Leagues!

Take A Hike Photography transported us to heights we can only dream about in their post titled In the Shadow Of Peak Lenin, Day 1: Welcome to the Big Leagues! This was just too amazing not to share. Enjoy!

Take A Hike Photography

We have been trekking in Kyrgyzstan for 23 days now. We have only four days left, and we have saved the biggest challenge and hopefully the best scenery for last. For our final trek, we will be hiking around Peak Lenin, Kyrzygstan’s highest peak at 23,405 feet. They say that Peak Lenin is one of the easiest 7000+ meter peaks to summit, but we have no interest in going that high.

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Driving the PCH

We chose the long way home after a visit with my Dad (for his 93rd birthday). Highway 1, California’s Pacific Coast Highway, stretches the length of the state and offers some of the most stunning coastal views you’ll find anywhere.  We drove the section from San Luis Obispo to Monterey, taking advantage of a few of the roadside stops along the way.

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Even our liquor store deli sandwiches tasted gourmet with a view like this.

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Spectacular views come into focus around every bend of the Pacific Coast Highway.

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When the views open up to the east, they are every bit as beautiful as the scenes across the Pacific.

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It’s not easy to keep cars moving along this highway.  Roadwork continues along parts of the road.

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A trip to California is not complete without a drive up the iconic Pacific Coast Highway.

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Clarkdale’s Copper Collection

The Arizona Copper Art Museum contains a jaw-dropping collection of copper pieces.
The museum is located in the old Clarkdale high school building, built in 1928.

The little community of Clarkdale owes its existence to the copper mining industry. It was a true company town, founded in 1912 by William A. Clark, owner of Arizona’s largest copper mine. Although the good old days of the copper mining industry are long gone, the Arizona Copper Art Museum continues to celebrate the very thing that put Clarkdale on the map. Housing over 5,000 pieces of copper art from the 1500s to present day, it certainly exceeded our expectations! The old high school has quite an interesting history of its own. This is a not-to-be-missed treat!

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If You Were A Cactus…

This was Reg’s favorite Saguaro from our outing today.

I’m fascinated with the desert saguaro cactus. Thousands upon thousands are spread across the Sonoran Desert, each one as unique as a human fingerprint. And since I brought up the comparison, I thought you might like to see the chart I found at The Saguaro (east) National Park Visitor Center.

This fun chart explains just how long these slow-growing saguaros live.

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Arizona Desert Super Bloom

We’re calling Tucson, Arizona home for a few days while we explore all the area has to offer…and hopefully enjoy some warm southwestern sunshine.

Luck was with us as Reg backed the Mini into one of the nicest spots in the RV Park.

Our first stop: Saguaro National Park, home to the iconic Saguaro cactus featured in so many of your favorite westerns.

The western side of the park claims a much more dense Saguaro population.

After a quick stop at the Visitor Center, we found ourselves armed with a trail map and directions to the Sendero Esperanza Trail which would lead to what the ranger described as, “The best wildflower showing in years…a desert super bloom.”

As we climbed higher along the trail we reached the poppy fields where acres and acres of bright orange petals were strewn across the hillside. The desert bouquet also held red, yellow, purple and white blooms of all shapes and sizes. I gave up trying to capture the scene on film and simply enjoyed.

This trailside rock offered us the perfect picnic spot.

As the trail snaked uphill, we climbed out of the flower fields toward the top of the ridge. Our map indicated a picnic table that we thought would be the perfect lunch destination before our journey back down the hill, however it proved elusive.

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Carryoncouple climbs to a new peak


A view from our trek on the Way of St. Francis in Italy.

As the 21st century began its last year as a teenager, carryoncouple turned seven in record-setting fashion.

Our travel blog collected 8,758 views from 3,654 visitors in 2018, both eclipsing our previous record of 5,232 views by 1,561 visitors in 2013, the year we walked the Camino de Santiago.

People stopping by our blog represented 75 countries, led by the USA with 5,813 views. Canada was in second place for much of the year, but lost the No.2 title to the United Kingdom, which had 486 views, topping Canada by nine views.

Our 2012 post from Italy–Basilica Honors San Zeno–mysteriously continued to attract attention, with 91 views, but lost its 2017 top post title to another surprising choice, Coming Soon to Amazon. Was it the “coming soon” or just the word “Amazon” that attracted the clicks? Or Sue’s book cover? We remain puzzled by the record-setting (for us) 564 views of the post from many countries.

Although our numbers are humble by WordPress standards, we remain thankful to our blog followers and viewers. We hope to keep the interest going through several adventures in 2019, including another one with backpacks, to be announced.

Our favorite trip of 2018? That’s easy; see Sue’s slideshow by clicking here.


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Camino Sunrise: Readers React

When I took my first steps on the Camino de Santiago, I never could have imagined where the famed pilgrimage would lead me.

When I sat at my MacBook Air a year and a half ago to chronicle my journey in Spain, my words had an unknown destination.

Little did I know that the trek would take me back to my troubled childhood and lead to real dangers on the path, as my wife Sue’s illustrations show, above. Her ink-and-watercolor works grace each chapter.

Less than two weeks after publication of Camino Sunrise: Walking With My Shadows, my first book, readers have kindly shared where my words have taken them.

“Reading this book reinforced my own interest in “minimalism” and renewed my desire for peace in my own life,” one wrote. “As Reg bares his soul, you can’t help but reflect on what is important in life…just read it.”

Another shared his thoughts: “What an adventure! I was traveling every step of the way with you and feeling every bit of it.”

A third reader shared this: “So well described that I feel like I was there and that the connections you made along the way are my friends too.”

My story features humor, tragedy, triumphs, and hardships through a cast of characters that I call my Camino family. I describe real events and how the Camino stripped away the unimportant and exposed the best in life.

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Click here to go to Amazon. I would love to hear from you after you read my book and ask that you consider reviewing Camino Sunrise on Amazon.

Thank you,

Reg

Categories: Camino de Santiago, Inspiration, Reflections, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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