The Liebster Award is a Blogstöcken — roughly translated as blog stick — that’s passed from one blogger to another. The basic idea is that it exposes the reader of a blog to other blogs they might find interesting, expanding our online world a bit. In my case, Lost Swiss Miss — a hiker living in Switzerland — passed the “stick” on to me.
The “Rules” of the Liebster Award
I did a little research and while there are many, many recipients over the years, it was difficult to pinpoint the origin. What is clear is that the rules have tended to evolve over time, much like that game of telephone that you played in elementary school. Here are the rules as they were passed on to me.
- Link to the person who “tagged” you.
- Answer the 11 questions that the person asked you
- Look for 11 bloggers and nominate them.
- Come up with your 11 questions for the new nominees.
If you do a little quick math, you’ll see that this award very quickly becomes the equivalent of a digital chain letter. Which I abhor. However, SoCalHiker is not headquartered in an office complex with a team of people cranking away on trail guides and reviews. It’s a labor of love by a real person: me. And since I was tagged by a real person, I’ll join the fun and share a bit about myself — and invite a few others to do the same.
1. Where is your ‘Happy Place?’
I’m pretty adaptable, and I’ve found happiness is more a state of mind than of location. But I love the mountains, especially the Sierras. I’ve backpacked in the Sierras countless times, including two thru-hikes on the John Muir Trail. There’s nothing quite like hiking to some remote alpine lake, setting up camp, kicking back for a well-earned rest and soaking up the million-dollar views. That’s a happy place.
2. What are your goals for this and/or next year?
I have two: hiking the Lost Coast Trail in Northern California and take more weekend backpacking trips. Lately I’ve been focused on day hikes, which are convenient, but I’m itching to get out for short overnight backpack trips. Plus, readers have been asking me for more weekend backpacking ideas like this overnight trek in the Santa Barabara backcountry. So look for more in the coming months.
3. Where in the world haven’t you been, but absolutely want to go?
I haven’t been everywhere yet, but I plan to.
Seriously, even though I’ve been to many places from Moscow to Mumbai and Santiago to Dubai, there are still many places on my life list. Right up at the top is Italy. I’d love to do some hiking in the Alps, as well as more casual hiking along the Cinque Terre.
4. What was your best travel experience in 2013?
We’ve tended to alternate big experiences from year to year. In 2010 we spent three weeks on the JMT. In 2011, three weeks in Paris. The following year was our wedding and honeymoon. Our best travel experience last year was a trip we took to the east coast. We visited my daughter in Nashville, Joan’s aunt in Columbia, and my son and grandkids in Charleston. We saw parts of the country we had never seen before, but mostly we enjoyed the time with family.
5. What’s your worst?
Our worst travel experience of 2013? Well, the weather in Nashville was not super cooperative. We had over 12 inches of rain the first day we were there. But if that’s the worst, I’d say we’re pretty lucky.
6. What’s your most memorable acquaintance on a trip?
My girlfriend. She hiked the entire JMT with me. Something obviously clicked somewhere along the path, because now she’s my wife!
7. What’s the weirdest thing that ever happened on a trip?
We got caught in New York City’s Snowpocalypse of 2010. The next day we were taking a train to Boston, and after waiting for over three hours for the train to head out from Penn Station, it got stuck in the snow. Fortunately, they were able to pull another train alongside us. We climbed down into the snow, trudged around the train and onto the other. But we made it to Boston!
8. What new sport would you like to try?
I’ve tried most sports. I grew up in the midwest before the age of video games, and we spent all our afternoons outdoors whenever possible. I’ve played most of the popular team and individual sports. I played in tennis leagues, golfed, played football, basketball, baseball, soccer, ran cross-country and track. On the outdoor-side of sports, I’ve been boulder climbing, rock climbing, trail running, mountain biking, snorkeling, kayaking, white water rafting, and stand-up paddling. But I’ve been surfing precisely once, and that was decades ago — so that’s the sport I’d like to (re)try.
9. Tips for a rainy day?
Bring your rain gear. Get wet. Skin is pretty darn waterproof.
10. What is your favorite equipment that you usually take with you?
I always feel a bit sheepish admitting this, but in the spirit of transparency I’ll let you in on a little secret. My favorite equipment — something that I take with me on every adventure — is my iPhone. It’s a digital camera, video camera, GPS, journal and MP3 player in one. You can even make phone calls with it.
11. What equipment would you really like to have but haven’t bought yet?
I have most everything I need or could want, and only upgrade when I really need to. One item that’s on my wish list is a new tent. I love my Mountain Hardwear LitePath 2, but the front entrance makes getting up in the middle of the night a royal pain in my butt. I’d like a ultra-light 2-person tent with two side doors. Any recommendations?
Passing the Baton: The Next 11 Liebster Nominees
There’s plenty of overlap in the world of outdoor adventure blogs, so I’ll try to go a bit outside the box and introduce a few blogs you might not have heard of — but should. Or I might just be nosey. Either way, the following eleven bloggers can consider themselves tagged (or beaten with a Blogstöcken… it’s your point of view).
- East-West Hike
- Campfire Chic
- California Through My Lens
- Walk Simply
- The Hike Guy
- Shoestring Adventures
- A Hiking Fool
- Jabber Walk
- Shawnté Salabert
- Ramble Kat Ramble
- Sarah Wilson
Liebster Nominees: Here Are Your Eleven Questions
- Where was your most recent walk, hike or run?
- What is in your daypack right now? Bonus points for a photo of the contents.
- What is the one third-party app on your smartphone that you would never uninstall?
- What is your favorite local trail?
- Name your favorite outdoor-inspired book or movie.
- If time and money were no object, what is your dream adventure trip?
- Describe your earliest memory of outdoor adventure.
- What in the name of all that is holy compels you to write your blog?
- If you could spend a weekend camping with one person no longer living, who would it be and why?
- Looking into a crystal ball, where do you hope we will find you in five years?
- How many times do you plan to hit me with a Blogstöcken for nominating you?
The gauntlet has been cast. Let’s see who picks it up. If you do, leave a comment with a link to your answers (posting them here doesn’t count).