Posted by: davepidgeon | January 8, 2009

A rare Celtic site, cycling salvation and family time in the Canyon


The ruin outer wall of Dun Duchathair on Inishmor, Ireland.

The ruined outer wall of Dun Duchathair on Inishmor, Ireland.

Oh, how I do love Mac’s. New podcast is up at with the focus on a not-so-frequently visited Celtic ruin in Ireland. The vid is a little amateurish, but hey, I beg your forgiveness since it’s just the second one, and I’m working with some basic equipment here.

Lot’s of other stuff to point out to you. Some students from Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia have embarked on a cycle tour of the Americas, heading out to Paraguary from the land of Thomas Jefferson. Their goal is to make the Mennonite World Conference, held this July in Paraguay (yes, there are Mennonites in Paraguay; but no Amish, I think), as well as other spiritual aspirations, which I have no doubt an epic cycle trip like this can help them find. Ben Harper said if Jesus was alive today, he should surf instead of walking on water. I think cycle touring wouldn’t be a bad gig, either.

And finally, there’s this short recount of what sounds like the kind of family time I’m hoping for when I have kids. Jonathan Dorn, chief editor of Backpacker, set out for a Grand Canyon trip with his wife and two children, and check out the photos, particularly the one where they’re crossing a snow-covered ledge a mere feet from what I assume to be a thousand-foot drop. Awesome.

Dorn points out a great time to check out the Big Ditch when it lacks the camera clicking tourist crowds:

We drove down from Boulder the Friday after Christmas, scored a walk-up permit the next morning for one of the premier wilderness routes in the park, and were shouldering packs at Lipan Point two hours later. Over the next 40 miles—from the top of the Tanner Trail down to the Colorado River, up the Beamer Trail to Lava Rapids (a dayhike), over Unkar Overlook and across the Escalante Route to Hance Rapids, along the Tonto Trail to Horseshoe Mesa, and and up, up, up the Grandview Trail to the top of the South Rim—we crossed paths with only four other backpackers.

You could also try mid-week, like a Wednesday. Or, trust me, if you want an Arizona national park experience without the crowds, head here:


The Douglas Spring Trail leads into Saguaro National Park, Ariz.

The Douglas Spring Trail leads into Saguaro National Park, Ariz.


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