Posted by: davepidgeon | November 20, 2009

A weekend hiking assignment

Old Rag 41

Heading for those brown mountains beneath that rock. (Compass Points Media / flickr) http://www.flickr.com/photos/compasspointsmedia/ / CC BY-ND 2.0

Two words I absolutely love – On assignment.

Starting as soon as this post is published, I’m on assignment, working on an article for Backpacker regarding a remote section of Shenandoah National Park, Va. Heading down with good friends Jason Stevenson and Chris Seiple for two days and one night in search of bears, mountain streams, early winter vistas and the quiet ghosts of the park’s past.

Even before departing for the Shennies, this has been a watershed week for me, if you don’t mind me saying so.

If you live in Pennsylvania, please check out the latest edition of Pennsylvania Magazine. The cover story – “Tending the Iron Horses” – I authored and peers into the working lives of laborers at a historic rail road. I wanted to know what motivates people to work on antiquated rail roads, especially one that mundanely runs back and forth over the same 3.5 miles of track, passing the same ol’ farm fields every day, as opposed to working at a better-paying modern-day rail road. And what about a generation that’s entering the workforce now, who came of age when passenger rail was merely an echo of its glorious past? Can they be taught to see the value of steam engines when modern electric versions criss-cross the nation?

In another arena, Backpacker published its readers’ choice edition. The ‘zine divided the country into regions, chose 4 to 6 readers in each region to form a committee, and then asked them questions such as what was everybody’s favorite day hike or mountain in that region. Then, we wrote it up. I had the privilege of putting together the Northeast Committee and writing the prose. The piece looks great, the reward of a lot of hard work over a short period of time. Everyone involved from the committee members to the editors should be commended for an excellent magazine.

If you happen to have the November 2009 edition, the one with the Gear Guide supplement, please check out the Ansel Adams article I contributed. And in the Gear Guide, you can find a short piece I wrote about the lack of temperature rating standards of sleeping bags in the United States.

The tweeting goes on at CompassPointsDP, so come on over and say hello. And don’t forget to friend Compass Points at Facebook. Facebook subscribers will be alerted first (and given the first look) about when the new Compass Points blog will launch. I have to say, it’s looking sharp, and I find it increasingly difficult not to share it yet.

Alright, everyone in one loud chorus of voices, as we stand at the trailhead of another great weekend, you know the words:

Hike on, Pointers!

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