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A 100-mile walk in England - Part 1 of 4
July 19, 2014

A 100 Mile Walk
On the South Downs Way
In Southern England

Part 1 of 4

By HENRY INTILI

INTRODUCTION

The idea of a 100 mile walk on the South Downs Way in Southern England has been percolating in my mind for at least ten years. After our retirement from full-time work in March, 2013, Barb and I finally had the time to make a reality of this dream.
The walk in England was the second part of a European summer following a week in Tuscany. The plan was to fly from Florence (through Paris) to London’s Heathrow Airport and then take the train to Winchester for the start of the South Downs Way. Barb insisted on our hiring a local person to move our large backpacks from one bed and breakfast to the next rather than toting everything on our backs for ten to fifteen miles every day. FULL STORY

A bicycle trip in Holland - Part 1 of 4
July 19, 2014

Through the Tulip Fields
Leiden to Haarlem
By Henry Intili

INTRODUCTION

Last year after we almost drowned in the North Fork of the Koyukuk River, Barb decided that this year we need an adventure with less danger.
"Henry, my love, next year we're going to bicycle through Holland at tulip time. This is a trip you've promised me for years. And the correct response is...."
"Yes, dear," I answered with a pasted-on smile.
"My mother always wanted to visit the tulip fields of Holland and never made it. I want to stay in people's homes every night," she whispered with ethereal overtones. "I want to eat wholesome food, and bicycle like regular tourists with other people around us."
"Is that a comment on our adventures in the wilderness of Alaska?"
She moved her gaze from the distant hills of Elysium directly to me. FULL STORY

A canoe trip above the Arctic Circle - Part 1 of 3
July 18, 2014

110 miles on the North Fork of the Koyukuk River
Gates of the Arctic National Park
Alaska
August 2011

By HENRY INTILI

First of three parts

"Henry, my love, you wouldn't have broken your ankle falling out of that pine tree in Yellowstone last year if we had stayed at the Big Lodge near Old Faithful - the way I suggested," said Barb giving me a look that had only one possible answer.
"You're always right, dear. But don't forget I was retrieving your fishing fly from that pine tree when the limb broke."
"Humpf. Had we been staying at the Yellowstone lodge instead of our miniscule cabin in an RV resort, we would have been feasting on trout someone else caught."
I knew better than to answer.
"So, Mr Intili - where are you taking us this year?"
"I was thinking of returning to Alaska in August. FULL STORY

Paddling the Okefenokee - Part 1 of 2
July 19, 2014

PADDLING THE OKEFENOKEE

Two Days in the Georgia Swamp

Part 1 or 2

By Henry Intili?

INTRODUCTION

For several years now Barb and I have wanted to canoe in the Okefenokee Swamp. We judged the best time for the trip would be in the spring before the weather turns brutally hot. And buggy. And with active alligators. We reserved three nights at a camp site in the Stephen Foster State Park for March 20-21-22. This state park lies within the western side of the Okefenokee Swamp past the Georgia town of Fargo.
After our adventure in 2011 on the Koyukuk River in Alaska where we used a collapsible Ally canoe, we purchased a collapsible Pakboat canoe that is much lighter and easier to transport than our old fiberglass model yet still has many of the handling advantages of our old canoe. FULL STORY

Paddling the Okefenokee - Part 2 of 2
July 19, 2014

Part 2 of 2

By Henry Intili

DAY 2
It was chilly last night. We snuggled together like two peas in a pod. First thing in the morning I wiggled out of our tent and started a fire to heat Barb a cup of coffee. The gloom of night does not lift her veil until Barb has at least one cup of coffee.
Mid-morning we checked in at the Stephen Foster State Park main building so they would know if we didn’t check back in late in the afternoon. “We haven’t lost anyone in the swamp yet,” said the lady ranger. That yet was not encouraging. We launched our canoe at the main dock. Barb sat in front and I paddled from the back. Our friends used separate kayaks.
The water in the swamp is dark like Barb’s coffee. This is not from pollution, but from the peat that underlies the vegetation throughout the swamp. FULL STORY

A 100-mile walk in England - Part 2 of 4
July 19, 2014

Part 2 of 4

By Henry Intili

June 9, 2013. Sunday.
Corhampton to Buriton

The dawn breaks much earlier here than in Georgia. By 5:30am it’s hard for me to sleep. We’re much farther North here than in own home state.
There were clouds in the sky when I looked out the window. The weather man yesterday said no rain until Tuesday, and I was beginning to worry. Yesterday’s plan was to omit our umbrellas from the day packs to keep the load light. That may not be the smartest move. How many times in our travels have we been caught without adequate rain gear or blankets because I wanted to shave a pound or two from the pack.
After a great English breakfast in their dining room, we sat down with Earl, Susanne’s husband. I told him that we haven’t seen any animals around his farm. FULL STORY

A 100-mile walk in England - Part 3 of 4
July 19, 2014

Part 3 of 4

By Henry Intili

June 13, 2013. Thursday
Bury to Steyning
Woke to dreary rain showers and a stiff wind. At breakfast we watched the BBC weather report that promised a day of high winds and occasional showers. Outside we watched the trees and flowers bend in the wind while showers pelted the glass door.
Carol talked about her anemia, her vegan lifestyle, osteopenia, her mother’s hip fracture, her daughter’s dead Jack Russell terrier…She agreed to drive our bags to Steyning for L15, so I didn’t object too loudly to the monologue. Then she talked about paralysis.
“I’ve had migraines since I was a child. That’s what started me on my vegan diet. In the last several months I’ve woken up with my left side limp and unresponsive. FULL STORY

A 100-mile walk in England - Part 4 of 4
July 19, 2014

Part 4 of 4

By Henry Intili


June 16, 2013. Sunday.
Kingston to Alfriston.

Barbara enjoyed a full English breakfast of fried egg, ham, tomatoes, sausage, and hold the mushrooms. I settled for cereal and toast – an example of my dedication to clean living and pure thoughts.
We were Jean’s only guests last night. She sat with us at breakfast. “My husband was a forensic chemist with Scotland Yard. When he died, he left me L100,000. I used that money to remodel this home into a bed and breakfast. The local Council is very strict. As if they have nothing better to do. They make us take courses on housekeeping, as if I didn’t know how to keep a house after all these years. They tell us how to wash dishes, how to wash floors. Ridiculous! And the paperwork!
“They don’t allow us to serve dinner to our guests. FULL STORY

A bicycle trip in Holland - Part 2 of 4
July 19, 2014

Part 2 of 4
By Henry Intili

April 23, 2012
Monday

I slept poorly last night with visions of spending our vacation on a park bench fighting with pigeons for crumbs. I woke to a dreary morning. Outside our window, three floors down, I could see the rain splashing the canal water. Matched my mood.
Downstairs at the computer in the lobby I went on the Internet for one more foolish, hopeless try to transfer money from my Regions checking account to Western Union.
IT WENT THROUGH! I stared in disbelief at the screen. The bank had allowed me the honor of transferring $950 US into euros. Our vacation wasn’t ruined! The credit cards didn’t work, but we had cash.
The hotel charges 7 euros for an extensive breakfast buffet. Whole loaves of bread are laid out, deep, dark bread with cracked wheat and nuts, a white, crusty bread, and several others I couldn’t identify. FULL STORY

A bicycle trip in Holland - Part 3 of 4
July 19, 2014

Part 3 of 4
By Henry Intili

April 25, 2012
Wednesday
A crying baby woke us this morning which proves what minimal sound damping there is between these townhouses. Barb believes that the blasting TV again last night was not from downstairs but from next door. During yesterday’s ride, we saw new townhouses being constructed on the north end of Noordwijkerhout, probably in an old flower field. The walls between the units were constructed of cinder block which is a good conductor of sound.
Our hostess told us many farms are being sold. “The price for flowers goes down and the price for everything to raise the bulbs goes up. The farmer cannot stay in business.” That’s a song we’ve often heard in South Georgia. Barb’s two sons are farmers and we’ve herd their stories often enough. FULL STORY

A bicycle trip in Holland - Part 4 of 4
July 19, 2014

Part 4 of 4
By Henry Intili

April 27, 2012
Friday

We woke to bright sunshine and milder temperatures. A ring-neck dove sat in a tree outside our window.
After breakfast (the usual heavy fare), Heleen’s therapist came over to work on her foot for thirty minutes. When he left, a friend dropped by to take her out shopping. They asked about our plans for the day.
“I want to bicycle back to town to see the Frans Hals Museum,” I said. “Is that a good desitination for the day?”
“Yes, that is lovely. And do not miss the Teylers Museau. A wonderful collection. And you must stop at the main city market around the large cathedral. So much to see there. What are you doing for dinner tonight?”
“We’re taking you out,” I answered to her startled expression. FULL STORY

A canoe trip above the Arctic Circle - Part 3 of 3
July 18, 2014

Part 3 of 3

By Henry Intili

Friday, August 19.
I was up early to a lovely sky, the half moon high in mid-south, a few orange bellied clouds in the east waiting for the sun like celestial roosters. A morning mist covered the river like soft smoke until the sun speared though the eastern hills and reclaimed its right to sparkle the river into a dance of shimmering silver.
After breakfast, while we took down our tents, Barb wondered aloud how small pieces of dirt had managed to get between the ground cloth and the bottom of the tent. “Henry, these aren’t tiny stones, they’re snails!” A dozen 2-3mm snails had worked their way under the tent like Tolkien dwarf miners. We shook them loose and wished them well.
Tents folded, clothes and sleeping bags packed in dry bags, and bear barrels locked, we loaded our canoe and kayaks, and pushed off downstream once again. FULL STORY

A canoe trip above the Arctic Circle - Part 2 of 3
July 18, 2014

Part 2 of 3
By Henry Intili

Wednesday, August 17.
At 2:30 this morning the tent was bright enough that I didn’t need a flashlight to throw on jacket, pants and shoes, and grab a pepper spray and camera to go outside to photograph the northern lights. I shouldn’t have bothered. Low, thick clouds with a past-full moon winking between them, along with wind and cold were there to greet me. At least we slept warm with one opened sleeping bag under us and a second opened sleeping bag above us. The bags are a matched pair that enables us to zip them together to form one large double bag. Add to that a thick wool blanket and we had enough bedding to keep warm.

Death paid us a visit today. In Iceland we had a day in the black cinder desert where we were unprepared for the freezing rain and blowing wind, on the Noatak River we had an unanticipated encounter with a bear cave. FULL STORY