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“A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” (Section 2 (c) of the 1964 Wilderness Act) This certainly sounds like a good idea in an age where human… Read more “It’s complicated”: Borders and Wilderness
During my expedition along Germany’s death strip-turned-green-belt, I followed a strategy I came to think of as “structured sauntering.” The former border strip itself, with the help of a guidebook in my handlebar pouch and a GPS route in my phone, provided the geographical structure for my journey, from the Baltic coast in the north… Read more More on Heimat, and Sauntering, and Gratitude
For me, this has been a year of discovering small, almost hidden treasures: Rare birds, small towns, bobcats, mystery wetlands – off the beaten path and yet, right in the middle of Germany. I encountered these treasures on my expedition along and around the strip of land that once ran through the landscape like an… Read more Remember the good news stories
When the Berlin Wall opened under the pressure of protesters 28 years ago today, a wave of euphoria swept not only through Germany but around the world. Listen to my commentary on Vermont Public Radio on the disappearance and reappearance of borders since then.
I had learned by this point in the expedition that I should not even attempt to ride more than 50 km a day. A 30 km day yielded enough impressions, encounters, and food for thought to last for several more days. And then there were the hills, which were more like the Green Mountains than… Read more Roaming the Rhön Mountains, and lunch at the Bay of Pigs
The weather forecast had said something about temperatures in the 30’s – Celsius, of course, which translates to high 80s and 90s in Fahrenheit. I know I have some good hills coming up, so I make sure both my water bottles are filled, and buy a bottle of Apfelschorle (apple spritz) at a small store.… Read more Phantom borders, phantom villages
I like traveling along rivers. During the first leg of my expedition farther north, I had spent two days along the river Elbe, some 60 miles of which served as the “inner-German border” during the time of the German division. Now I’ve arrived at the banks of the Werra, a river I had heard about… Read more Salt mountains, and a river in recovery