Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Toast

...To new paths leading to unbridled adventure and abiding satisfaction. The Ryder-Walker Staff wishes everyone a happy and healthy New Year.

Image: Melanie Eggers, our Office Genius, researching new paths on our latest Cinque Terre tour.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Images of Ladakh


Our Markha Valley Trek explores an extremely remote region in northern India. The region is so remote, and the topography so rugged, that local villagers can only access their summer grazing and farming lands at the end of winter when the local Zanskar River freezes. The river becomes their highway, and they wait until it freezes again in the fall to come back out. These photos offer a glimpse of their seasonal migration.

Images by Ace Kvale



Friday, December 11, 2009

Choose the Right Size Trekking Pole



Trekking poles make a nice holiday gift for the avid hiker. They reduce stress on the knees, they offer added stability, and they increase stamina. How much stamina? A German physician discovered that each pole plant relieves approximately 18 pounds of pressure from the lower extremities when traveling on an incline. Consider that an average hiker makes around 45 pole plants each minute, and the total weight savings over the course of a hike becomes enormous. Trekking poles are a "must have" on all of our hikes.

Use these sizing charts when shopping around for the perfect pair. The idea is to shoot for a 90 degree angle at the elbow when gripping the pole, and then make minor adjustments based on personal preference.

Two other notes: Always buy two poles, one for each arm. And, make sure that your poles aren't completely extended while walking on flat ground. You want some length left in reserve so that you can extend the poles for added reach on the downhills. The object is to shorten the poles on climbs, and then extend them for the descents. You should rest somewhere in the middle on flat/slightly undulating terrain. The following charts from Leki offer advice.

Click image for larger size.





Friday, December 04, 2009

Don't Pity the Humble Painter



It was Leonardo Da Vinci that once wrote, “Don’t pity the humble painter. He can be lord of all things. Whatever exists in the universe, he has first in his mind, and then in his hand. By his art, he may be called a grandchild of God.”

Da Vinci originally wrote those words to describe an idea whereby everything that we see around us represents the product of our thoughts. Every bridge, every road and every house, for example, first began in someone's imagination before it became a reality. This insight also works the other way around. Not only can the visual artist create a reality based on what they see in their mind’s eye, they can also capture for all-time the greatest mysteries, and sometimes tragedies, that already exist in the universe.

One of our recent guests captured a bit of that greatness and then shared her work with us. Please enjoy the following pieces from the Engadine region of southeastern Switzerland, painted by one of our recent guests, Marlene Kort.

The above image captures the romantic architecture that characterizes the Engadine. The following image offers a view of the Bernina Massif as seen from the St. Moritz side, the Fuorcla Surlej. As an interesting side note: A close up of the Biancograt, the ice ridge on the far left, made it to the cover of our 2010 catalogue. Check it out.




Please contact us if you’d like more information regarding Kort’s work, or if you’d like to purchase one of her paintings. We’ll gladly forward your information directly to her.