Dispatch from the Razor's Edge, the Blog of Michael Stephen Fuchs
Dispatches tagged as:
walking (69)

Mark, Would you care to walk across England with me in the last two weeks of March?...   (read more)

well. presuming that mark also assents, and presuming that the two of you are not afraid for your virtue, traveling with a Member Of The Opposite Sex - i'm in. d...   (read more)

And but so I got this idea in my head. Coming back from the holidays in Atlanta, I realised that I needed something. You need something. You know? I'd read a sidebar in the Guardian mentioning the Coast to Coast path. And I thought - Hey! I like to walk!...   (read more)

Awoke in St. Bees to sunshine and breeze and calling seabirds - a very propitious morning indeed....   (read more)

So did I forget to mention the American? (Aka the Quiet American, aka the Ugly American.) We first met this august gentleman at the station in Carlisle, where our rail connection to St. Bees was cancelled and replaced by a bus service....   (read more)

So the Retained Technical Consultant on our Coast to Coast Walk was one Josh Schroeder - extremely experienced hiker/camper, Eagle Scout, and all around prince of a guy....   (read more)

So, our acute food problem so far had largely consisted of three parts: 1) breaking camp and leaving town before anything opened; 2) getting into the next town after everything had closed; and 3) not packing nearly enough trail food to get us from one to the other....   (read more)

As well, we couldn't afford to get lost up here. Miles from any town, isolated up in the peaks, hemmed in by weather . . . we could end up doing circles, or heading off in some wrong direction, until we succumbed to the weather and exhaustion....   (read more)

"Those who struggled to complete the previous stage will be less than delighted to hear that today's hike is, at 21 miles, even longer. Indeed, for many it will be the longest day on the entire route."...   (read more)

It appears that on this walk if it's not one goddamned thing, it's another: if you manage to avoid getting blown off the cliff-edge of a fell, you've only survived to later get swallowed whole by a bog. Well, never a dull moment....   (read more)

Darby: Screw you guys - I'm goin' to the B&B. Us: But- Darby: Eh! Screw you guys - B&B....   (read more)

Morning finds Applegarth Camping Barn - and our heroes snug in bed: Mark: I can't tell if that's wind or rain. Me: It's not rain. Go back to sleep. Mark: That's definitely rain. Me: No, you're dreaming . . . I had the most awful vivid dream last night. Mark: Were you trapped three quarters of the way across England with two freaks? Me: That's no dream, that's your reality....   (read more)

Mark: Wow, that's the first time the sun has driven us from our tent . . . It was true, we emerged to a gloriously sunny day in the back yard of the White Swan. This called for shorts....   (read more)

And so morning arrived at the gloriously well-appointed camp site that was somehow wildly inferior to all the pub back yards we'd camped in. Note to self, I thought: Four pints is one pint too many....   (read more)

Early morning in the Schesse-frei pub backyard. The very first light of day glances off of the still and quiet (and glisteningly wet) tents. Mark: I suppose there's nothing for it but to get moving. Me: But we don't have to do it now. Mark: I wonder if we could for once manage not to be excruciatingly early or absurdly late for breakfast . . . Darby Danger, we're up!...   (read more)

"For many, particularly those who enjoy cosy English villages hidden amongst the finest, gentlest, most bucolic scenery this country has to offer, the 13.5-mile stroll down the Esk Valley from Glaisdale to Grosmont is simply the best section of the walk . . . But first you have to get to the valley, and that means getting down off the moors . . . parts of this short-cut are extremely boggy - up to waist-deep, in my experience - and unless you want to end up like the dead sheep that occasionally litter this part of the moor it's probably safer to stick to the roads."...   (read more)

So, nothing like the best single night's sleep ever (as mentioned yesterday), before the last day of the longest walk of your life. We awoke in the clean, pretty, quiet, sunny room together, and rolled over and stretched and yawned languorously and finally roused ourselves to go downstairs for, oh yes, another ass-kicking breakfast....   (read more)

And so I had this other idea. (Yeah, I know.) But the Coast to Coast walk had been, everyone involved had to admit, except maybe you, pretty completely spectacular. And the UK has got something like a dozen national trails. And the first one hadn't killed anyone. Quite....   (read more)

Right, okay, so what was that bit about, ah, let me go back and quote myself, that stuff about 'relaxed attitude', and 'short days' and 'lie on beaches' and 'stroll on clifftops'? Bwahahaha!...   (read more)

So, previously on our show, we cut the day's dispatch short, leaving our heroes palsiedly perambulating into the port town of Mawgan Porth - one hobbling and whimpering, and the other cackling and rubbing his hands together: "Yessss... yesss... we will walk futher, we will walk more... we will walk up, and down... there will never be an end to the walking... Mua-HaHaHaHaHa!!!"...   (read more)

Morning in Newquay, early and misty and still, and I was up and out for a pre-departure run by Somerfields for provisions - and also the Kodak shop to burn CDs, and reclaim all of my camera memory. This was the self-same Kodak shop, actually, manned by the encephalitic clowns who lost all my Day 2 pictures. Heigh ho....   (read more)

Morning breaks on the overpriced Perranporth hotel grey and misty with a moving sky. Tim and I score breakfast in the dining room (unlimited muesli! muahahaha!), then spend a few minutes chatting with "sweet old Doreen". She'd seen a lot of coast walkers come through....   (read more)

Another absolutely enormous breakfast - a pleasingly recurring theme - and then we walked out into a cool, slightly overcast, and windy day. Lovely walking weather....   (read more)

And so C&M met us in the morning back at the pub, after Tim and I had broken camp. Here they are looking all cutesy-skippy- happy, and all bad, respectively. I think I can explain the skippy-happiness....   (read more)

Awoke ten minutes before my alarm was to go off (I know - but we were meeting for breakfast, and generally wanted to get an early start) to an absolutely glorious morning. While languorously performing my toilette in the sparklingly lit mirrors of the immaculate bathroom, the radio reports: "Twenty-two degrees today, clear skies, cool breezes - and plenty of sunshine!"...   (read more)

Awoke at, yes, you guessed it, same time as always, 7:30. But alone this time? you ask? Au contraire, mein freund. For, with Tim's departure, the critters have come out in their legions to cheer my morning....   (read more)

Awoke at, yes, half-seven again - what is it with this St. Ives campsite reveille? - to, yes, another glorious morning. I packed up much of my stuff, tried to shake some of the overnight dew off the tent (in anticipation of packing and carrying it later)...   (read more)

Yes, of course, I know, it's always the Michael Show here. However, it is about to become All Michael, All the Time / Too Much Michael Is Never Enough / I Want My M(ichael)TV Channel. Walking alone, the dispatches inevitably become more or less the Story of Me....   (read more)

I was up early again (camping!), right on time for a truly fab cooked breakfast - and cooked by a really lovely old whiskered gentleman. I felt like calling him "Cookie" and asking if I could carry the tin mugs over from the wagon for him...   (read more)

Awoke rather dreamy and refreshed - especially after an extra, post-rollover hour of sleep. The new sun and fresh breeze were both blasting in the window - ah, another glorious day, imagine that. Perhaps I am God. How would you know for sure, really?...   (read more)

Upon checkout, the nice innkeeper man, Terry (*) , gave me a replacement pen, gratis. Hard to argue with that. The least I can offer in return is some free, and much-deserved, publicity: http://porthcurnohotel.co.uk/....   (read more)

So - Ali was right. The bus driver really doesn't have anything better to do than tell you where to get off the damned bus....   (read more)

It had stormed overnight. I got up, crawled out of the tent, and moved the now-even-more-soaked travel towel from the fence (where it had been "drying") to an actual clothes dryer in the main building. I then broke camp, stowed my pack, and hoofed it into town...   (read more)

In nomadic camp life, you really do just get into the rhythm of waking at dawn. Badger! badger! badger! What I took to be a badger ran by, along the opposite edge of the field, with a crust of something in her jaws....   (read more)

Morning now, and I am standing on the stairs to the slide of the camp site playground, soaking up the first sunlight. I am not sitting here, nor anywhere, due to the dew, which is just a monster. The surface of the world couldn't be any more drenched if a thunderstorm had stopped five seconds ago....   (read more)

Lying in my tent in the Lizard, near to the pigs, I dreamt long, vivid, grand, yet frustrating dreams. Really long and involved. I wonder how time compression works in dreams. Are we like Data, reviewing video at impossible speeds?...   (read more)

The storm ended by morning; but my train home was from Falmouth, in three days time, and I wasn't planning on taking another step until then. I spent those three days - and three nights - in tiny little Coverack. I came to know it rather well....   (read more)

So once again I wasn't doing all that much and also good old Master Tim Corrigan was once again both free and keen - so off we went for a third long-distance walk along one of Britain's National Trails....   (read more)

Morning, tea in our room, and Tim happily moblogging from his bed. Me: This feels like redemption. I can't tell you how much time on how many trips I've kept people hanging about while I typed, or edited images, or battled net-cafes....   (read more)

Morning, breakfast in an amazing upstairs room with, reassuringly (to, you know, me) several guns on the wall. Rather less reassuringly, there was this countour map of the West Highlands, which our hosts thought they were being helpful in pointing out to us....   (read more)

Morning, breakfast in an amazing upstairs room with, reassuringly (to, you know, me) several guns on the wall. Rather less reassuringly, there was this countour map of the West Highlands, which our hosts thought they were being helpful in pointing out to us....   (read more)

Morning, breakfast in an amazing upstairs room with, reassuringly (to, you know, me) several guns on the wall. Rather less reassuringly, there was this countour map of the West Highlands, which our hosts thought they were being helpful in pointing out to us....   (read more)

During our breakfast at the big table in the big kitchen of the bunkhouse-y B&B, we were joined by a man leading a tour... So then it pretty much a matter of getting ourselves down off of Conic Hill, and onto the shores of Loch Lomond - the bonny banks of which we'd be walking along for the next two days....   (read more)

At 3295 feet, glowering over the eastern shore of Loch Lomond, Ben Lomond is Scotland's southern-most Munro. Today was the day we would pause our northerly march to climb it. ...   (read more)

We bid farewell to the Crap YHA, and its lovely lochside backyard, on what was already starting to look like a nice day... I realised something today that was already probably obvious to anyone with a head: photography is all about light....   (read more)

Well, the Large Hadron Collider had gone online. And we were still there. That was a nice start to the day - not having been sucked into a small black hole, nor woken up to find that stranglets had devoured the entire planet, leaving only an inert hyperdense sphere 100 meters across....   (read more)

We enjoyed a lovely breakfast in the well-appointed, if slim, West Highland Way Sleeper dining room. The morning train went by outside....   (read more)

Awoke from a series of long, vivid, detailed dreams (probably something to do with being in a real bed!); and Tim and I went down to the dining room (a dining room!) for a leisurely continental breakfast (breakfast!)....   (read more)

Well, it was the last walking day, and all we had to do was climb out of this strangely industrial Shangri-La. That of course meant Up....   (read more)

Well, my notes from the last day of the walk are pretty damned scanty. Suffice it to say we got up at a leisurely hour, showered - at the beginning of the day! - packed our bags one final time, and moseyed on down that last stretch of road....   (read more)

So after my various long-distance walks around the UK, undertaken for no better purpose than to amuse myself, I'm now doing my first sponsored walk for charity: the Help for Heroes Hero Walk - Avebury to Stonehenge....   (read more)

I'm sitting in the back of a parked Discover Adventures mini-bus. My head is lolling. My back hurts whichever way I array it; but I haven't the energy to keep wriggling around. I'm covered in salt. Plus dust....   (read more)

It's 6AM and I'm woken by my phone alarm - direct from a vivid dream where I'm manning a WWI machine gun emplacement. I don't think that can be a good omen for the day....   (read more)

So having topped up water and touched in with the team at the first checkpoint, I've once again taken off at speed to try and catch up the leaders....   (read more)

Finally, Tim and I pick ourselves up, gear up, and head out. Me: Well . . . it's not going to suck itself. Tim: I've been waiting for that. Me: I've been letting the tension build....   (read more)

Right, so at the 17-mile checkpoint, major themes were shade, and foot maintenance. We both topped up with water - going dry out here could be a serious problem...   (read more)

So when we last left our heroes, they were hiding out from the marauding solar death ray beneath the canopy of the 20-mile checkpoint, lapping up Lucozade and choking on trail mix, reaching down deep for the necessary sack to tackle the final 6.2 miles....   (read more)

Our third day in Cinque Terra dawned with us lounging long in bed, gazing out the thrown-open patio doors, listening to the gulls wheeling and calling over the harbour....   (read more)

Gobsmackingly beautiful mountain vistas... ass-smashing, neverending, unprecedented, merciless climbs... traverses over treacherous icy escarpments and steep snow diagonals... at least one genuine, no-bullshit, breath-stealing, this-could-really-be-it dice with death... climbs over cols and around glaciers of soul-tweaking beauty and grandeur... close encounters with Alpine wildlife (such as ibex, chamois, and marmots)... and nights in remote refuges perched in absolutely unbelievably stunning mountaintop settings (that could only be reached by Alpine trekkers, and resupplied by helicopter)....   (read more)

TMB Day 1, Les Houches to Les Contamines: to include the first punishing climb; the first stunning mountain col - and (not unrelatedly) the first snowfield across the path; the first knee-murdering, endless descent; plus the amazing Refuge di Miage, Lynchian cows, and also much witty banter....   (read more)

Planning catastrophes, sniffy French, closed-out mountain passes, crushing climbs, severely beautiful mountain vistas, dicing with death on snow diagonals, braving ridicule in snow gaiters, assault by the sun, the best refuge spot ever (so far) - and of course the titular miracle....   (read more)

Morning douches, a killer snow descent, shin betrayal, a murderous slog in the sun, the ascent of death, raging runoff, the most stunning col yet, my best photography ever, God's front room, badass Aussies, shower follies, and Tim's sledding fail....   (read more)

The photo above depicts me in, or just before, the moments when I felt, more than at any other time before or since, that it was possible I might lose my life. Obviously I didn't die, and reasonable people seem to disagree about how much danger I was actually in. But there can be no question that I've never been so scared. In my mind, at the very least, this was a no-bullshit, breath-stealing, pulse-supercharging, this-could-really-be-it (the end of my whole story, right here and now) tango with death....   (read more)

Day Five of the TMB was a day of superlatives, including: * The longest, hardest climb I (for one) have ever done; * The biggest single hunk of towering massif we'd ever see in one place (the Grandes Jorasses) - at the foot of which sat: * By far the most amazing refuge (or, perhaps, lodging of any kind) most of us had ever enjoyed....   (read more)

Today's walk was to include: * a leisurely ramble through a flower-and-butterfly-filled valley; * a climb up to an entirely decent col overlooking a big ole glacier, with a herd of ibex down on some cliffs below, and which took us over the border into Switzerland; and * a couple of hours of actual rain, and a slog therethrough - the only real rain event we experienced on a TEN-DAY WALK....   (read more)

Today we would be walking through more undramatic forest and hillsides and river paths. But it made a change. And it would end at Champex-Lac, a village on a lake - way higher up in the mountains than you'd expect to find any kind of lake....   (read more)

Morning in Hotel du Glacier, Champex-Lac. Though there wasn't a cloud in the sky, the forecast for the day wasn't good - and we met a man who had just been turned back from the Fenetre d'Arpette. Basically, it was too early in the season for such a dicy, glorious, adventuresome variante. I bowed to the inevitable. The Alp Bovine route it was....   (read more)

So. We had one last mountain to climb on this day, and on this walk: Le Brevent, at 2525m. And, along the way, we would make two big decisions that would change our memories of this walk forever....   (read more)

So the shootin' was pretty good in the Alps. Here’s a flier at a photo greatest hits collection. It's a bit subjective, and I'm sure I made a few wrong calls, but I think it still makes a decent little high-speed review....   (read more)

about
close photo of Michael Stephen Fuchs

Fuchs is the author of the novels The Manuscript and Pandora's Sisters, both published worldwide by Macmillan in hardback, paperback and all e-book formats (and in translation); the D-Boys series of high-tech, high-concept, spec-ops military adventure novels – D-Boys, Counter-Assault, and Close Quarters Battle (2014); and is co-author, with Glynn James, of the bestselling Arisen series of spec-ops zombie apocalypse dark action thrillers. The second nicest thing anyone has ever said about his work was: "Fuchs seems to operate on the narrative principle of 'when in doubt put in a firefight'." (Kirkus Reviews, more here.)

Fuchs was born in New York; schooled in Virginia (UVa); and later emigrated to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he lived through the dot-com boom. Subsequently he decamped for an extended period of tramping before finally rocking up in London, where he now makes his home. He does a lot of travel blogging, most recently of some very  long  walks around the British Isles. He's been writing and developing for the web since 1994 and shows no particularly hopeful signs of stopping.

You can reach him on .

THE MANUSCRIPT by Michael Stephen Fuchs
PANDORA'S SISTERS by Michael Stephen Fuchs
DON'T SHOOT ME IN THE ASS, AND OTHER STORIES by Michael Stephen Fuchs
D-BOYS by Michael Stephen Fuchs
COUNTER-ASSAULT by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book One - Fortress Britain, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Two - Mogadishu of the Dead, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN : Genesis, by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Three - Three Parts Dead, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Four - Maximum Violence, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Five - EXODUS, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
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