Something New: Books and My Backpack

What’s in your backpack?

Get out your drum and give it a roll; my blog has a new name, Books and My Backpack. I offer you spoiler-free reviews of books that will take you on adventures around the world. Selections include the Pacific Crest Trail, Costa Rica, the Silk Road, and Mont Blanc.

If journeys of the mind are your thing, authors include the Dalai Lama, Thoreau, Hesse, and Seneca. See the drop-down menu for a list of book titles (and quick links to each review).

There’s much more coming from the trails and pages ahead, so stay tuned.

Where am I in my wife Sue’s photo? In the Alps, taking a break from the Tour du Mont Blanc, which will be part of my next book. My first book is Camino Sunrise: Walking With My Shadows.

I hope you like my blog’s new name. Have a suggestion for a book or a trail? Please send it along.

Mont Blanc: Camino Lessons Travel to the Alps

See that speck of a building below the glacier? It is Refugio Elisabetta, one of a collection of remote hostels on the 110-mile Tour du Mont Blanc.

I would never have stayed there if it had not been for my hiking adventure on the Camino de Santiago.

Perched on a spur in the Italian Alps, Refugio Elisabetta offered triple bunks in a crowded coed dorm and bright orange clogs for walking around an outdoor setting that left me gobsmacked. I showered in minimal privacy, shared a sink with other men, and waited to use the only toilet with a seat. We had lucked out with a private room with barely enough room for one set of bunks, but its tiny window opened to a view of the glacier. The dirty duvet made me wish I had packed my sleeping liner, but I was grateful for the bed after several exhausting days of climbs and descents.

Refugio Elisabetta was a highlight of our two-week trip around the Alps’ tallest mountain. The delicious communal dinner came with quick-binding friendships with trekkers who had traveled from throughout Europe. Some were sleeping in tents in the campground down the slope from the building.

In Camino Sunrise: Walking With My Shadows, I describe the restless night in my first albergue in Spain and how I had ruminated about the lack of privacy in coed dorms and bathrooms. Our first long-distance backpacking adventure eventually guided me to come to terms with ghosts that had haunted me since childhood.

And, oh, so thankfully, the Camino lessons led me to Refugio Elisabetta.