In this post we interview Dave Douglas, Fantasy Novel author and Outdoor – Travel blogger from Dave’s Photo & Travelblogue. Must say, we have been a bit naughty and “lifted” the above picture from Dave’s site to take pride of place in this interview – funny enough he did not send this one to us for the interview! (sorry Dave) Please take the time to check out Dave’s site, there is some great hiking and travel information. (He also takes terrific photographs)
1. How about a bit of background on yourself. Live where? Work where?
I’m an American, East-coaster, but have lived in Munich, Germany for five years. After my employer went bankrupt, I took the opportunity to write a fantasy novel and start my blog. This winter I plan to make a carving-snowboarding DVD. What comes next, I have no idea…
2. How did you first get into hiking and the outdoors? Any particular mentor or group?
I started hiking as a Boy Scout while growing up. Really enjoyed it and made it to Eagle Scout. Ever since then I always try to find a bit of the outdoors, even when I’m in big cities. You’d be surprised at how much greenery there is in and around Hong Kong!
3. Solo or with someone? Who is your preferred hiking partner?
I prefer to hike in a small group, although if I’m on a business trip or solo jaunt, I often end up hiking alone as well. I’ve had a few great hikes recently with an old friend from High School, he really encourages me to expand my boundaries, like a 15-mile one-day snowshoe hike in New Hampshire.
4. If you had a couple of months off just to hike, what would be the three multi day hikes in your region you would complete?
First would be Alpspitze and Jubilaeumsgrat, in the area near Zugspitze (Germany’s highest mountain). Second, I’d do a trek in the Matterhorn region, although I expect that reaching the summit is a bit more technical rock climbing than my skill would allow. Third, I’d try out Watzman, a high mountain in Berchtesgaden National Park in Germany. The area is rich with history, and there is much to see, such as Hitler’s little-used “Eagle’s Nest.”
5. Alright, unlimited finances, money and time what would be the three multi day international treks you would complete?
That’s something I haven’t thought much about. However, I’d just pick three amazing regions I’ve always wanted to visit and search for a trek there which isn’t too technical. I’ve always dreamed of doing something in the Himalayas at rather high altitude, 5000-6000 meters. Then there’s Hawaii; the desire to hike there is even stronger now after seeing the beautiful scenery in “Lost.” And there’s Australia, where I’ve wanted to go for many years… I would find a trek there with tall mountains and great views.
6. My three favourite bits of gear are? Why?
The new helmet-cam I made by mounting a Canon HD camera on my skydive helmet. I used it to get great video clips for the Zugspitze videos posted on my blog. It’s not comfortable, but the results are worth it! Next, the mini-tripod-grip from my 10yo Canon film camera, though it works with any SLR like my current Nikon D90. I love it because it is very solid, reliable, and folds up under the camera (kind of like a battery grip). Never yet saw another mini-tripod that was half as good as this one. Lastly: my Sigg aluminum water bottle. It’s light and doesn’t give that plastic taste to the water. And the scratches & dents it accumulates over time somehow give me a feeling of accomplishment.
7. I really hate it when I am bushwalking / hiking / treking and …..?
…someone answers a call on their mobile phone. It’s a common occurrence in Europe where ubiquitous ski areas have led to a cell tower on most mountaintops. If I have to communicate, I make it quick or (preferably) send a text. But it really disturbs the serene nature feel of a hike when someone is chatting on a cell phone.
8. I knew we were in trouble on that trip when …….
Not a big thing, but quite fresh in my memory: hiking Lantau Peak in Hong Kong. Tourist info told me, “it’s an hour and a half or so to the top.” After twenty HOT minutes in 35C+ heat and 99% humidity, I turned a corner and saw the rest of the trail going up the mountain. Stone steps, very steep, in full sun with almost no trees or anything else for shade. I used 2L of water in the 2 1/2 hour round trip, then downed another liter when I reached the bottom.
9. What trips have you planned in the next 12 months?
Good question, I’m not quite sure yet! I would like to do the Alpspitze/Jubilaeumsgrat hike next summer. In addition I hope to do a “round the world” trip with 5 stops along the way, places like Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Hawaii. But it depends on the timing and the season.
10. What is your favourite outdoor website?
Definitely bergfex.com, an outdoor site for Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. Mostly I use it for skiing/snowboarding information, but there is also some summer info. Their ski resort summary has everything in one place, always the same format: weather, snow height info, trail map, and so on.
11. What is your favourite outdoor hiking gear store?
In Munich: Sport Schuster in Marienplatz. They have almost everything (even a climbing wall!), and I like the feel of the store. The elevator has an LCD showing mountain peaks of ascending height as you go up. Back home in the US, I have a soft spot for EMS after a pair of their store brand $100 Gore-Tex pants kept my butt dry for almost ten years of snowboarding.
Many thanks to Dave for taking the time to be interviewed. We have learnt a lot about some terrific spots to visit in Germany and Europe! If you are interested in Fantasy Novels- Dave is blogging about writing his first, Demon’s Bain – click on the image of his proposed book cover to check it out!
Do you have a story you think would interest Our Hiking Blog readers? Contact us by email to organise an interview, we would love to hear from you!