Smackdown on the Gargano Peninsula

First, let us specify that we are experienced hikers – older, yes, but definitely experienced. I’ve been hitting the trails on independent hiking trips at least twice a year for twenty years. And let us also specify that the Gargano Peninsula in Italy is quite...

Market Day in Manfredonia

Manfredonia, Italy. This is the 6th annual walking trip that our Church Ladeez hiking group has taken together (we all met at All Souls Unitarian Church in Washington, DC). Since 2005, we’ve hiked in Umbria, Italy; the Dordogne in France; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Lazio...

Reading Mark Twain Again and Again

My first memory of desperately wanting an object happened when I was four. My mother and I were in the dime store of our back-bayou town of Houma, La. There, on a rack with other grown-up books, was a copy of Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer. I wanted it. No, way more than...

Writing Fan Mail to Poet Mark Doty

It was just a short little poem in The New Yorker last week. And it had a title that didn’t interest me at all: Pescadero. Is that a place? Dunno. I usually skip the poetry anyway, but this one’s first line stopped me: “The little goats like my mouth and fingers,” the...

Are You a Hiker?

I grew up in the flat and marshy lands of south Louisiana, where I don’t recall anyone ever talking about “hiking.” Sometimes Daddy took me along on bird hunting excursions with his dog Duchess (a lifetime of dogs were all named Duchess or Duke). We crunched across...

Snapping Sheep

This blog post has lots of pictures of sheep. Why? Because my iPhoto file contains hundreds of sheep pictures from hiking in England.                   It’s not that sheep are friendly. They’re not. It’s not that they’re interested in us. They’re not. For every shot...