Friday 29 April 2016

Climbing Cherni Vrah, Vitosha Mountain

This video is composed of several short ones, which I made during my climb to Cherni Vrah, Vitosha mountain. This is the mountain next to Sofia, Capital of Bulgaria, the name of the highest point "Cherni Vrah", roughly translates as "Black Peak" and is 2290m above the see level, which is not very high as the mountains go, but makes exellent mini-adventure, just to taste what is the thing called climbing, without the dangers and exhaustion from real thing in the bigger mountains.

This climb took me exactly 13 hours from which 7 going up, half hour taking pictures on the peak itself and 5 and half hors getting down. It can be done much faster in different time of the year, but today there was snow up to 1 m deep on the higher parts and in the lower section, where the snow melted the ground was muddy. The temperature was between -5 and 10 Celsius depending of the place. With all that said, the whole exercise was somewhat challenging, but nonetheless very pleasant in general.

Wednesday 27 April 2016

New tent-cape design

For travelling I wanted to have my gear as light and versatile as possible. The first item in my list was shelter/tent and the lightest one was about 2kg and couldn't serve for anything else and inspired by the plash palatkas I decided to design kind of tent that could be used also as cloak/raincape, hammock and possibly kayak. I stumbled through few iterations, but finally I settled to the one shown on the pictures. It is going to be rectangular piece of waterproof light material with sides 2:3, which for my size should correspond to 1.6m by 2.4m. Pitched up it will have roughly as sizes 2.9m length, 0.9 width and 0.7 height, which is rather a small tent or even better said bivvy. Also it will be possible to be sealed near hermetically with waterproofed zips and instead of standard hoop it will use simply 2 walking sticks pegged into the ground and supported by 2 small pegs which also will stretch the whole thing diagonally. And finally, I tried it and while not superior experience it is still comfortable enough to allow you multi-day camping and the advantages of this type of tent far outweigh the weak points, at least for my needs.

On the pictures bellow you can see some drawings, paper models and real-life sized model. Some of the next days I'll post more updates and information about that project.

A fold to give sense of shape and proportion
Folded paper model, "d" is where one of the supporting stick will be fixed and the other one will be on the opposite  side
Folded model, side view
Real-life sized model
tent-cape with flap down
Real-life sized model with the flap down

Tuesday 26 April 2016

Tuesday 19 April 2016

Travels through Morocco - Tangier

So happened that last summer I had a chance to visit Morocco thanks to friends of mine who went on holiday  there and invited me to travel with them. All I can say is that I was very pleasantly surprised by the people, nature and country in general. Now, an year latter I decided to share this experience I had and show you few of the things I've seen there.

First we traveled from mainland Spain to the Spanish enclave Ceuta with the ferry and then we crossed the border between the countries. The ferry itself was a bit of hassle, mostly in regard to finding cheaper tickets and more convenient times, but otherwise it was relatively fast and pleasant trip. After that he crossing of the border was relatively fast too, it took maybe no longer then 2 hours and it felt as a minor inconvenience and there were few things which could've been done better by the authorities, but at the end it was still far better then what I expected.

Once we entered in the country, we went to drive straight to Tangier were a friend of my travel-mates was waiting for us. The guy was a local dude, who generally speaking lives and works in Spain or France, but regularly comes back to his native country. Meeting him remained me for the dreaded African lack of any kind of punctuality. He said is coming in 15 min, but appeared about 2 hours latter walking non-nonchalantly and without showing any signs, that there something may be wrong. This was actually very good to happen to me the very first day, because it called my attention, so I can prepare myself accordingly and accept this particular quirk as inevitable part of the picture, just like the snow in the winter and so I can start enjoying even that. However the things with the lack of punctuality run much deeper and are probably rooted in the human biology, but I'll talk about this some other time in the future.

There is a lot that can be said about Tangier, but for now I'll mention only that my first impression was that this place is an even mix between the most modern and new buildings and infrastructure on one hand and old or plainly strange on another. For today I'll post few of the pictures, so everybody can judge for himself. Thanks for reading and I hope you'll like it.

Out of Ceuta
Tangier's beach
Tangier beach walkway
Tangier's centre
Tangier central place - view of the Medina's entrance
Tangier's Mdina
Tangier's Spanish colonial style buildings and cafes
Small walkway in the old parts of Tangier
Secret passage in the Tangiers Medina

Health benefits of walking and running barefoot

Recently I've got interested in the topic of barefeet running and walking in general. So, I made some research and after trying it I empirically confirmed for myself the stated in Wikipedia health benefits. Just to list a few:
1. The natural position of the toes if shoes were never worn is sprayed and this puts the centre of the weight of each feet exactly above the axis between the big toe and the heel and therefore diminishing all unnatural forces that bend and torsion the ankles, knees and hips. This actually leads to diminishing the pain and damage in all these relatively fragile points of the body.
2. Without shoes, the gait tends to be more natural, while running its easier to lend more naturally on the middle part of the feet instead on the heel and thus diminishing the forces and damage suffered by the knees and other parts of the body.
3. Without shoes, we can easily see that big part of the walking actually is how the big toe grips the ground and this makes us much more stable and in general trains and develops the muscles in the feet and therefore decreases the risk and severity of the injuries suffered.
4. Happen that the surface of which we walk stimulates the skin and nerves on the feet and make us feel pleasure, which by itself normally is sign we do something that is good for us.
5. Risk of athlete foot type infections is greatly decreased, because the feet are pretty well aired and dryer
6. Last, but not least, barefeet walking allow our skin to get in contact with the dirt and with this we allow certain number of environmental bacteria and allergens to enter in contact with our immune system and to "train it" and therefore make us healthier.

Comparison of an adult foot that has never worn shoes displaying natural splayed toes and (Right) cast of boy showing damage and inward-turned toes after wearing shoes for only a few weeks. Image courtesy: Wikipedia
There are also some minimal risks, mostly of injuries like cuts, but my experience says that this risk is so insignificant and so much out-weighted by the benefits, that is not even worth thinking about it.
Other then that, there are problems walking barefeet if the whether is bad and some other issues, about which I'll write in separate post and I'll try to find some solutions.

Sources: Wikipedia

Friday 15 April 2016

Walk from Chilham to Canterbury and back

Last Sunday, a friend of mine, Karen suggested that we do part of the North Downs Way with organised group of hikers. The walk was supposed to start from Chilham at 9 o'clock and to be 20 miles long. However due to train from London bridge to Tonbridge canceled, Karen couldn't pick me up at 8 o'clock and had to wait for me to get there by 8:30, which didn't give us enough time to get to Chilham at 9 o'clock. Any way she spoke with the organizer, who told her to wait for them in the next village, but then there was again problem with his phone and as a result we couldn't meet. After a bit of wondering what to do, Karen decided that we should walk to Canterbury and then return back, which roughly translates as 10-12 miles. This seems to be on the shorter side, but then again the weather was not particularly pleasant with the rain and wind starting and stopping all the time and the trail itself fairly muddy, so we settled for this at the end.

So, I'll upload some of the pictures I've taken during the trip and I hope you'll like them.

Canterbury main road
Canterbury museum

Canterbury side walk
Old English style house with restaurant in Canterbury
Traditionally looking Fish&Chips in Canterbury
Karen having a tea
Canterbury cathedral
Karen taking selfie
Karen taking another selfie
Karen taking yet another selfie
This strange symbol in the Canterbury's cathedral is the Altar of the Sword's Point
Walkway along the river Great Stour
Karen hiking in the rain
Walk along the river Great Stour
View from Canterbury
Houses along the river Great Stour
Interesting bench along river Great Stour
The Way Back

Summary of the blog

So, I decided to start a blog dedicated to nature photography and hiking. Obviously, these two are my favorite pastimes/hobbies/passions. Also I have big plans for walk around the world in search of any kind of mysteries and less known things which may lie hidden out of sight in remote places and which need to be photographed by me :).

There are few questions which need to be answered first. Some of them are: How long it will last, where exactly I'll go, how exactly I am going to do it and so on. Also there are few things to be done first, like physical and logistical preparations. However I ma not in hurry and everyone of these issues are going to be sorted in due time.

That's it for now, thanks for reading and see you soon.

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