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Chariot of Fire [Burning Sensations]

 

Running is a great way to feel healthy and alive.

Running is a great way to feel healthy and alive.

            I, a fat man, had been circling Portland, Maine’s Back Cove like a dog prepping its bed for most of the summer of 2007. Now intimately acquainted with every pothole, washout and linden tree on the route, I finally turned 7 miles at 9:20 per, and added longer runs of 10 and 12 miles. I was feeling reasonably prepared for my first-ever long running event until just before the race, when a telephone call informed me that I was to be without my race partner,
who I lovingly refer to as Chubby. Her plantar faciitis had put her on the back foot (pun intended) since the beginning of the summer. She simply didn’t feel ready to tackle the full 13.1 miles of running in Hanover.

“I’ve tried to run a half-marathon before I was ready, once,” she said. “I’m not going to do it again. But you can still come and stay with us, and I’ll pass you gu during the race.” Now alone in my quest, I commenced a final week of training: a solid 9.5-mile jog, a 3-mile Monday, a 5-mile Wednesday and a 7-mile Thursday. It was a beautiful week, with clear skies and temperatures in the mid-70s. My times were on target. I was feeling so good about my preparation that I left work early on Friday and promptly wrecked my motorcyle… Continue reading



13 Epics of Woe [Hall of Infamy]

A friend from Outside Magazine, Senior Editor Jeremy Spencer, reminded us of this excellent collection of misadventures he edited four years ago. Featuring the likes of Jane Smiley and Jon Lee Anderson, it’s a ghoulish gallery of murderous hitchhikers, lightning strikes, and worse. A little something to inspire your own submissions here. The article was paired with a classic travel disaster reading list, and a rundown of the 10 worst adventure disasters of the last 200 years. Enjoy—CDB



Over The Edge [The Abyss]

 

Sometimes the sea calls, and we answer.

Sometimes the sea calls, and we answer.

           I never thought I had a death wish, but one experience on my recent travels had me reconsidering. I’d been traveling around South-East Asia by myself on a break from my studies to see the world. One day I decided go cliff jumping and snorkeling in Thailand; I’d seen signs all over advertising guided trips.  On the same signs there were also advertisements for swimming with sharks.  At first I thought it would be quite a day to do all three, but to swim with sharks I would have to get up at 6:00am. That is just not a time of day I wake up to go jump in the water with sharks.  That’s not even a time of day I’m awake to see super models swim in the water…

 

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Fly The Fiery Skies [Sulleysque]

Come fly away to exotic locales!

Come fly away to exotic locales!

[Here’s an amazing yarn from our first octogenarian contributor, Bob Nielson, age 86…we’re not worthy! —Ed.]

Back in 1960 the Toronto Star sent me to South Africa to report black-white violence.  I boarded an American Airlines 6-propeller plane in New York, which crossed the Atlantic and stopped briefly at a few East African cities while heading south.  I had a window seat over the right wing and saw the nearest engine catch fire, shooting flames 30 feet high.  Called the flight attendant who ran to the cabin.  Turned off, that engine glowed like a red-hot coal.  We were over the jungle with no place for an emergency landing…

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Because It Might Be There [Off the Map]
I'm pretty sure it's down there.

Yep, I'm pretty sure it's right down there.

     We don’t usually repost from other blogs, but this interview with New Yorker writer David Grann on his new book, The Lost City of Z,  for The Daily Beast is simply too entertaining to pass up. Hats off to Grann, who fell way off the map searching for clues to the disappearance of Percy Fawcett, the celebrated, ill-fated, Victorian Explorer. We’ll be leafing through the book on the way to getting lost soon. – CDB



Dumbo Strikes Back [Call of the Wild]

 

They say an elephant never forgets your face.

They say an elephant never forgets your face.

Gabon, New Year’s Eve, 2002:

She was about seven feet at the shoulder, with sixteen-inch tusks, and weighed two tons. I used to have zero fear. Zero. I could walk up to any elephant I saw. So when she charges, I bluff back, but it doesn’t stop her. I run to get between her and the group I’m with, including my girlfriend. The elephant’s got her head down, ears tucked, doing this kind of shuffle. I’m thinking, I’ve got about a second to stop this thing. She’s thinking, I’m going to kill you. Do I straight-arm her, or do I run? But when she gets within three feet, I take three steps to run and — boom — I trip and hit the ground.

I immediately turn… Continue reading



High On Nature [Close Calls]

 

Hiking is so invigorating.

Hiking is so invigorating.

A riveting tidbit from Philip James, founder of the social networking+wine site, Snooth.com. — CDB

            I don’t talk about this too much, but in 2003 I climbed Mount Everest. My friend and climbing partner broke his leg at 28,000 feet. As a result no one in our expedition reached the summit, but we did get him down safely in what became the worlds highest altitude rescue.

 

            I’d set out to become the youngest Briton to climb the North Face of Everest and had joined a small independent expedition with just 5 other climbers. After 60 days on the mountain we ended up with a 120 hour rescue that ended with a broken leg, broken ribs, dysentery, frostbite leading to several digits being amputated as well as several fatalities and multiple medals of valor.

If you want to learn more about the expedition itself, here are some news articles about the event:

BBC News article – Everest on his knees 

Manchester Evening News – Amazing Escape of Everest Survivor

Everest News – Everest North Side Expedition ‘03

Click here to download the slide show (45mb). Finally, if you want to see it in the “Tilt Viewer” format – click here.