Hiking amongst the limestone of the White Desert, Western Egypt (copyright Janine Murphy)
Hey Gang,
Check out my new article in the Globe & Mail on off-roading adventures in Egypt’s Western Desert!


A Kazakh eagle hunter surveys the field near Olgi, Western Mongolia at the annual Olgi Eagle Festival (copyright Janine Murphy)

Hey Everyone,

Check out my new article on western Mongolia’s Eagle Festival in this weekend’s Globe & Mail!


This is my continuing blog about preparing to do a one-day, 45 km hike of the Skyline Trail in Jasper National Park to raise funds for the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society

And I walked, and walked and walked until I couldn’t walk anymore.

14 hours and 46 km after leaving Maligne Lake, I reached the opposite trail head of the Skyline near the Jasper Park Lodge. A thick remnant snowpack on the trail kept my time pretty slow but the hike was still fun, challenging and, despite the aching knees, beautiful. Best of all, thanks to my wonderful co-workers, friends and family, $2000 was raised for the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society.

I’ll write a full report and get some video and pics up once I return to Toronto. But for now, I’ll simply sign off with sincere thanks to all who donated to the cause, encouraged me or followed the blog during this little adventure. 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have an ice pack to prepare.

Here we go people! Weather’s good so it’s Skyline or bust! Hopefully not bust. If you haven’t donated to my I Walk the Skyline fundraiser hike yet, there’s still time! Just visit here. To all those who’ve read the blog and donated over the past few weeks, thanks! I’ll give you an update at the end of the day. Happy birthday Canada!

This is my continuing blog about preparing for a one-day, 45 km hike of Jasper National Park’s Skyline Trail to raise funds for the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society.

Driving into Jasper last night, I scanned the brown and grey mountain tops even more carefully than usual. It’s early season here and I’ll be spending two thirds of this hike above tree-line. The most famous peak in the area, Mt. Edith Cavell, looked its standard early season forbidding self, fogged with cloud, dusted in a thick layer of white. But many of the other peaks looked mostly clear. It was a good sign, and my hopes raised even further when I saw the forecast for today on the hotel whiteboard.

Sunny and high of 21. Perfect conditions for walking.

The only downer was the forecast for the next day, June 30, Hike Day. Thunderstorms. The only weather in which you really don’t want to be stuck on an exposed trail like Skyline. When you’re on a barren mountain ridge, you do not want to be dodging lighting bolts. Frickazied hiker anyone?

The weather for July 1 is perfect. Sunny, sunny, sunny and a high of 18.

So, I Walk the (Sky)Line is officially being backed up by one day, to July 1.

Maybe it’s meant to be. Can you think of a better day to raise funds for CPAWS than Canada Day?

Janine, Machusky and Jason at the Skyline Trailhead back in the old days…

We’ve left Toronto and have started the vacation that will eventually land us in Jasper and at the trailhead of the Skyline.  Vancouver today for a visit with Kathleen’s great grandmother, then off to Edmonton to see Janine’s family and finally Jasper for a week of relaxation and hiking.

Fundraising for the I Walk the Skyline hike is going very well, thanks especially to my ever-generous, constantly-forbearing colleagues at the office. Once I add on the contributions of my ever-generous, constantly put upon family and friends, I’m hopeful I’ll hit my goal.

I thought today I’d tell you about my last hike on the Skyline. Like I said in my first post, it was done back in 2007 with my wife and younger brother, the scene-stealing Matt, or as he’s known to us, his adopted family, Machusky Ballsnokov. Read on here

Hey, I’m no super hero (although my 4 month old daughter thinks I’m pretty cool when I snap and whistle at the same time). Still, I would be pretty pleased with myself if I finished a walk of the Skyline trail in one day with my body still 40% functional.

At least I would have been pleased until I saw this video of Lisa Porter and her friends running the whole trail.

Running. Is that even allowed?

I won’t even bring up the nice gentleman who wrote me earlier today to advise he hiked the whole thing a few years back, when he was a “spry young man of 55”. 

At this rate, I fully expect to come across footage of someone doing the trail blindfolded on a unicycle.

Well, on the bright side, this is pretty inspiring stuff. Their impressive accomplishments make mine seem very doable.  Way to go Lisa and Old Man and Unicyclist Guy (who is very likely out there)!