BBC Scotland reports that the tiny town of Newburgh in county Fife has a wonderful Christmas tradition. For the past 20 years, this tiny town selects one student each year to get their Christmas drawing made into an illuminated creation that lights up the town’s streets.
Nobody remembers exactly how it started (likely a proposal by a local school teacher), but continues every year. Once a winning proposal is selected, the artwork is sent to Blachere Illumination to convert them into the massive street light. They are then hung up around town for the enjoyment of all.
In 2010, Forrest Fenn hid a treasure chest containing gold and other valuables estimated to be worth well over a million dollars. The only clue to its location was a 24 line clue-filled poem.
What followed was a decade of treasure hunters searching, trespassing, harrassing, breaking into Fenn’s home, suing each other, going bankrupt, and even dying in pursuit of the treasure.
Yet on June 6, 2020 an unassuming 32-year-old Michigan native and medical student named Jack Stuef finally solved Fenn’s poem and found the treasure in Wyoming – after only 2 years of searching.
He has tried to stay anonymous and has kept the location secret in the post-finding madness. He says it is almost certainly what Fenn would have wanted – which shows the lengths he went to understand Fenn himself.
Which lends itself to the most fascinating aspect about his search technique:
The key was really just understanding Forrest Fenn. Stuef hunted solo, never discussed his search with others, stayed away from the blogs after his initial looks at them, and tried hard not to get caught up in any groupthink.
To read about Stuef’s search, the best way to find the treasure was to simply get to know the man. Which might have been Fenn’s whole goal – to have someone else really understand him. The final goal of a 90 year old man before he made his own departure shortly after the treasure was found.
Not only that, but they are re-manufacturing a number of other tiny cars in the line – with a whole host of colors and features. There is a Cabrio version that is a convertible, a Trident that has a classic 60’s era bubble dome cockpit, and even build-it-yourself kits.
Snow can get funny at high altitudes and on mountains. It can be powdery soft, squeeky and crunchy, wet and gummy, or even form strange shapes depending on pressure, humidity, temperature, and a host of other conditions. It’s one of the fascinating parts I love about climbing mountains.
In the high Atacama desert, Penitentes, or nieves penitentes (Spanish for “penitent-shaped snows”), are snow formations found at high altitudes. They take the form of elongated, thin blades of hardened snow or ice, closely spaced and pointing towards the general direction of the sun.
The name comes from the resemblance of a field of penitentes to a crowd of kneeling people doing penance. The formation evokes the tall, pointed habits and hoods worn by brothers of religious orders in the Processions of Penance during Spanish Holy Week. In particular the brothers’ hats are tall, narrow, and white, with a pointed top.
These spires of snow and ice grow over all glaciated and snow-covered areas in the dry andes above 4,000 metres (13,000 ft).They range in length from a few centimetres to over 5 metres (16 ft).
Penitentes up to 15 metres (49 ft) high are suggested to be present in the tropics zone on Europa, a satellite of Jupiter.According to a recent study, NASA’s New Horizons has discovered penitentes on Pluto, in a region informally named Tartarus Dorsa
Most people have heard of Mehran Karimi Nasseri, the Iranian refugee who was forced to live in the departure lounge of Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport from 1988 until 2006. His story was made into a book and then the 2004 Tom Hanks movie The Terminal. This is not that story.
Instead, this is set in Japan about a very different man. One I am almost certain I taxied right past in one of my trips to Japan.
Takao Shito is a farmer living in the Narita International Airport in Tokyo, Japan. Unlike other farmers who left when the airport was built in the 1960s, he chose to stay and continue to cultivate his farmland. He’s been offered the equivalent of $1.5 million USD – but refuses to leave the land his family farmed for 100 years. It’s a rare an interesting view into land rights disputes and Japanese culture.
And when I say he lives right in the middle of the airport – I mean it. Here you can see the red spot exactly where his farm is located on the north end of the terminals right between the terminals and runway 34R.
Besides hiking down in the canyon itself, I also found a really good article by Annemarie Kruse from REI Adventures. We only had time for our Phantom Ranch hikes, but there are many different trails that can be even more amazing at the right seasons and times of day. She gives her expert opinion and list of trails – along with the best seasons and times to do them. I found them so good, I wanted to include them here too in case the article goes away.
Cape Royal Viewpoint
Where: North Rim (open May 15–October 15 only) Distance: 0.6 miles (round-trip) from the parking lot Best time to do the hike: Sunrise, especially from July to September (monsoon season) for incredible cloud drama Highlight from the trail: Sweeping views to the eastern edge of the Canyon, and out toward the rocky badlands of the Painted Desert and Navajo Nation Best for: Beginners who want an easy win with memorable sunrise views
Kolb Studio via the South Rim Trail
Where: South Rim Distance: 2.5 miles one-way from the Grand Canyon visitor center (check to see if the free shuttle is operating so you can take it back to your car) Best time to do the hike: Mid-September, when air conditioning at the visitor center offers a respite from the heat and the Grand Canyon Conservancy, the park’s nonprofit partner, typically kicks off its annual Celebration of Art. Nearby Lookout Studio (pictured) also affords views, and a gift shop, naturally Highlight from the trail: Passing through the Trail of Time with its geology exhibits en route to the perilously perched Kolb brothers’ photography gallery built in 1905, now a hub for artists exhibiting works inspired by the Canyon Best for: Beginners with a penchant for art and human history
Grand Canyon Lodge via the Transept Trail
Where: North Rim (open May 15–October 15 only) Distance: Four miles round-trip Best time to do the hike: September–October to walk amid changing, fiery-colored aspen groves Highlight from the trail: Hiking directly from the popular lodge to the edge of the Canyon, alternating between dense woodlands and killer cliffside views of the Transept tributary and Bright Angel Canyon Best for: Beginners looking to get their feet wet hiking at North Rim’s high elevation
Where: North Rim (open May 15–October 15 only) Distance: Two miles round-trip from Tuweep Campground Best time to do the hike: May to June, before the muddy monsoon season Highlight from the trail: Backcountry vibes off the tourist map and the chance to stare down the edge of an abrupt gorge and a 3,000-foot sheer drop, the tallest in the Grand Canyon Best for: Any level of hiker craving a rugged, remote option and prepared for the rough drive (a high-profile vehicle is a must)
Ken Patrick Trail to Point Imperial
Where: North Rim (open May 15–October 15 only) Distance: 5.4 miles round-trip Best time to do the hike: June for spring wildflowers Highlight from the trail: Hiking through a wooded alpine climate to the highest overlook point on the North Rim at 8,803 feet Best for: Intermediate hikers who prefer minimal elevation changes
Bright Angel Trail to Indian Garden Campground
Where: South Rim Distance: Nine miles round-trip Best time to do the hike: October to December for minimal crowds, color-changing cottonwoods, and a festive finish with holiday cocktails outside on the veranda of the historic El Tovar Hotel Highlight from the trail: Descending into Native American history with rock pictographs en route to the turnaround point of Indian Garden campground, a lush, creek-fed oasis once farmed by the Havasupai Best for: Intermediate hikers who want a solid introductory descent into the canyon
South Kaibab Trail to Skeleton Point
Where: South Rim Distance: Six miles round-trip Best time to do the hike: November–October (though it’s good anytime but April, when high winds can overcome this exposed hike) Highlight from the trail: A quick, switchback-laden descent opening up to a ridge and 360-degree panoramas with views to the North Rim, across the river corridor, and then, from Skeleton Point, a rewarding perch about 1,000 feet above the rarely spied Colorado River Best for: Experts looking for jaw-dropping views of the canyon and the river below
Grandview to Horseshoe Mesa
Where: South Rim Distance: Six miles round-trip Best time to do the hike: September–October and March–May for comfortable, snow-free temperatures on a challenging hike Highlight from the trail: One of the most remote trails from the South Rim, this rugged backcountry route doesn’t lead to Phantom Ranch or take you from rim to rim, but does offer an uncrowded option through signature Grand Canyon scenery, deep into the desert and high up to a forested mesa sprinkled with pioneer mining history Best for: Experienced hikers with between a few hours and a half day to explore
Grand Canyon Rim Trail to Hopi Point
Where: South Rim Distance: Five miles round-trip from Bright Angel Trailhead Best time to do the hike: June through July, when shade under the pines offers respite from a blazing summer sun Highlight from the trail: Accessibility may be the draw, but sweeping views of the West Rim from the wide Hopi Point promontory will impress every level of hiker Best for: Beginners and those who’d rather trade elevation for a flat, well-maintained trail