awanderingknight – Meet the Outdoor Bloggers
Name – Ken Knight
Blog – awanderingknight
Twitter profile – kenknight
Age – 44
Home Town – Ann Arbor, MI
Where do you spend most of your time outdoors? Mostly in the States. If I get out for weekends it is almost certainly going to be somewhere in Michigan. I manage to get a few backpacking trips in per year and also do a fair bit of day hiking sometimes with those trips being organized by a third party company.
Where did outdoor passion come from? . I am not really sure I have a good answer for this. I have been a day hiker for much longer than a backpacker and I did that with my parents. However, my backpacking experience really dates back to a first 5 day trip on the Appalachian Trail with two friends including one who was attempting a thru-hike a little over a decade ago.
Favourite spot to camp ? While I certainly enjoy campsites that have good vistas I think I care most that the site have good access to water and not feel overwhelmingly crowded. This does mean that the classic “Caravan campgrounds” are low on my list of places to be unless, of course, I am doing a car camping trip. I certainly have stayed at some campsites that I would be happy to return too like Lane Cove on Isle Royale; Death Canyon Shelf in Grand Teton National Park; places in the High Sierras are almost always attractive; and, many others that I return to year after year but more because the area is fun to visit rather than the specific campsite such as Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore or Nordhouse Dunes especially in the winter.
Favourite hill? I don’t think I have a favorite hill.
Biggest achievement in the outdoors ? That’s a tough one. I’ve done some very long trips in the past like The Great Outdoor Challenge in 2008 and 2010. I’ve done some very lengthy stretches of the Appalachian Trail. At some point I want to take a big whack at the Pcific Crest Trail. There are many places outside the United States I want to visit and given the amount of effort some of those will entail they could qualify as a biggest achievement in the outdoors too.
Any burning desires ? I do intend to do the TGO Challenge again though I want to do it with a group. I’d like to tackle more of the North Country Trail here in Michigan and elsewhere. The NCT lacks the eye-candy of western trails and in many places the hilliness of a trail like the AT (which has more elevation change than the longer PCT) is still a trail worth exploring. Other long-distance trails in the US area also of interest. I am not against going off-trail but those types of trips definitely will be with others.
Boots or trainers ? Typically I wear a shoe more akin to a trainer than a boot. In milder weather a shoe like the Keen sandal is a favorite though I wish the sole were a bit grippier. I’ve had a soft spot for some of the very light trainers like those from Innov-8. In colder and/or wetter months I do tend towards more of a boot perhaps with a waterproof lining though on the whole I’ve had limited success with such linings.
Down or synthetic ? Down. Some of my puffy clothing is synthetic but overall I feel down is a far better choice even when the weather gets in that horrible temperature range just above freezing and you start to get freezing rain or sleet instead of snow.
Ale or lager ? Ber is good in most forms.
Going up or down? I prefer going up but that is probably because going down requires more use of depth perception which I do not possess.
Trail or TGO ? While I have done the TGO Challenge I don’t subscribe to TGO or Trail. Nor do I subscribe to Backpacker.
Compass or GPS ? I carry a compass but am not against the use of GPS as long as you understand the limitations. I think GPS is a very useful tool.
Other blogs you like to read ? This is a list that is probably too long to cite. Many UK-based hikers have some fine blogs like Alan Sloman and M&G; Hendrik Merkel (sp) from Finland is worthwhile reading; and, of course, numerous US-based sites exist that I enjoy for gear reviews as well as trip reports like Backpacking Light and Section Hiker to name just two.
Funniest thing you’ve seen on the hills ? Probably some of the trail dogs that I’ve met over the years. The mid-sized dog that I met 11 years ago in southern Virginia who had a magically vanishing limp that only appeared when his owner was in view. By following that strategy the dog managed to get his owner to carry his gear for several day as the rest of us who knew the truth kept the dog’s secret.
Favourite bit of kit ? Well I seem to have a lot of backpacks so I suppose that they lead the way. I’ve a definite soft spot for my Goosamer Gear Mariposa and I suspect my new Murmur will become well used. I also like my Mountain Laurel Design Trailstar.
Favourite tipple ? What is a tipple?
What do you like about blogging ? I enjoy sharing my experiences and trips with others. Of course to really do that I get to play with some pretty advanced electronics which is always fun.
Give me your best outdoor relatedt rant? To be honest I am not sure I have a big rant. Perhaps my biggest complaint about the outdoors is the encroachment of noise-pollution into the wilderness. For example, you could be trekking through the Grand Canyon and the solitude is shattered by the sound of a helicopter flying overhead. Or snowshoeing through the deep woods in Michigan you are pulled out of your reverie by the sound and worse smell of a group of people zooming by on their snow machines. While I understand that motorized travel in the wilds is important especially to the rural economies that are in thise regions I still find them irritating. I actually am far less bothered by the fact that communications has become far more ubiquitous in the backcountry. I suppose a cell tower in the back woods can be an eyesore but as long as I don’t hear a person talking loudly on their phone or the trills of notifications I am not bothered by such technological intrusions. In fact, I have taken advantage o such technology to share aspects of a trip in a near real-time fashion. I don’t want people to adversely affect the habitat of the wildlife that is already living out there (i.e., keep roads down) in the backcountry.
Something good about the outdoors ? YOu have the chance to explore and see something new every time when you go outdoors. You also, if traveling with others, have a chance to deepen relationships with friends in ways that you aren’t likely to be able to do when staying in a familiar and comfortable place like your hometown.
Favourite sports team? That’a a toughie. Of course, being a non-European it sure isn’t going to be a soccer (sorry, football) team. I’m definitely more of a baseball fan and I suppose these days the Tigers have to be a favorite but that’s more because I have lived in Michigan for 20 years now.
Thanks Ken, just for your info a tipple is a UK term for a alcoholic drink, if my memory serves me correct you enjoyed quite a few Whiskies when we bumped into each other on the TGO challenge.