Training ~ The Los Angeles Stair Streets
100’s of Great California Walks
When I moved to Silver Lake (Los Angeles) a few years ago, and began prepping for my 2005 walk, I stumbled upon a few of the “stair streets” in the neighborhood. The most famous one is now called the Music Box steps, in honor of the classic, Oscar-winning, Laurel and Hardy film of the same name. (That’s the one where they’re trying to deliver a piano up a very, very long stairway).
Little did I know at the time what I had wandered into. A couple of years later, I discovered the work of Dan Koeppel, another local resident who was intrigued by the stair streets. He went about cataloging them and then designed a single walking route that runs up or down most of them. My favorite comment from his downloadable instruction sheet, describing a view along the way is, “Minaret House, up and right. You’ll be there in five hours.” (That’s training!) (more…)
Longwalk 2011 ~ Chemin d’Arles, part 1
Books & Trail Guides
In 2011, we plan to return to Europe for several weeks of walking in France on the long-distance GR hiking trails, called les sentiers de grande randonnée. The exact route(s) are still being considered, as is the departure date, but we are currently planning to walk along the ancient series of trails known as the Chemin d’Arles (the road from Arles), starting in early Spring. This article covers the FFRP topo-guides, trail guides, and books about the various sections of the GR 653 route. (more…)
French Trails and the FFRP
FFRandonnée Leads the Way
The FFRP®, now re-branded as FFRandonnée®, is the administrative heart of the vast web of French long-distance hiking trails. If you’re planning to take a walk in France, this is prime resource dedicated to providing information to all randonneurs (hikers). The FFRandonnée Centre d’Information is in a nondescript office building not far from the Paris Métro station Bibliothèque François Mitterrand, on Line 14. (more…)
How to use a French Topo-Guide
Part 2 ~ Tips for English language walkers
English-language walkers without much familiarity with French may have an extra challenge when hiking the long-distance trails of France. But it is by no means impossible, and may be both educational and fun. Imagine how impressed your family and friends will be when you return home being able to say “kwarh-SOHn” instead of “crah-sahnt” when you order a croissant. With a little effort, and a small dictionary, it is not too hard to figure out the maps and instructions of the French-language topo-guides (trail guides) published by the FFRP, (the French long-distance trail association). (more…)
The FFRP Topo-Guides® of France
Part 1 ~ Introduction to the Best French Trail Guides
How do you find your way?
How do you keep from getting lost?
I’m often asked these questions about my long-distance walks in France and Spain. The reason I rarely lose my way, is that I use one of the many superb trail guides, called Topo-guides® (pronounced “TOH-Poh-Gheed”) that are produced by the FFRandonnée, also called the FFRP, for Fédération Française de la Randonnée Pédestre (French Long-distance Hiking Association). These excellent trail guides contain detailed maps, pathfinding instructions, lists of useful resources along the GR® routes (sentiers de grande randonnée), and a wealth of history, culture and wildlife information about the various sections of the trail. (more…)
Trails ~ Turkey
The Lycian Way and St-Paul Trail
Every year, more walkers are discovering the walking trails of Turkey. Although the routes themselves evolved far back in history, only in the last decade or so, have they been organized and waymarked for modern day long-distance hikers. There are two principal routes. The first is the Lycian Way (more…)
The Miam Miam Dodo Guides to Walking in France
One of the best resources for Santiago pilgrims and other long-distance walkers in France is a series of guides with the funny name Miam Miam Dodo. This is French baby talk that roughly translates to “Yum Yum Nighty Night”. (more…)