Category Archives: Inn Way to the Yorkshire Dales

76 miles pub-to-pub hiking through the Yorkshire Dales.

My Triumphant Return

If all goes well, I’ll be on a plane to London end of next week. I’ll visit dear friends in Cornwall, do a short test hike along the South West Coast Path, visit London (West End and more dear friends), and head up to Yorkshire for yet more more dear friends and the main event: a 6-day, 26 pub, 76 mile, pub-to-pub loop hike through the Yorkshire Dales.

I included Jessica in the photo just because I know it’ll get me more readers. Maybe I can photoshop her into the entire trip? But sadly, she’ll not be joining me on this excursion. We’ve completely failed to synchronize our retirements, and she’s just too important to spare back home. Not to mention, she’s neither fond of beer nor climbing through dales. More for the rest of us?

In other news, here’s a test link to a random VR180 YouTube video just to see what happens. Try it out in your VR headset if you have one! For no particular reason… 😏  [Note: Oculus Quest users will want to launch the YouTube VR app, click on the magnifying glass then the microphone, and say the name of the video to find it on there! That seems to be the only way to get the true VR180 3D experience.  Just watching in the browser, even in full-screen VR180 mode, looks like crap!]

Okay.  So I’m vaccinated, have 3 COVID tests (before/during/after) arranged, and plenty of KN95 masks packed. Now fingers crossed UK doesn’t change their travel rules before I get there!  🤞😬

To Popa on his 100th Birthday

Lex Nason in Vermont reading a birthday greeting today, his 100th birthday.

My mom’s dad turned 100 today. I want to give him a shout-out here because, along with both my parents, Popa had no small part in turning me into an outdoors-loving, adventure-loving person. No coincidence I just happen to be departing in the morning on a 6-day trek around the Yorkshire Dales!

Popa was, among other things, a wooden canoe builder. (Other things included his day job as a continent-hopping geologist, and in his retirement, a volunteer restorer of the paddlewheel steamboat Ticonderoga and supermodel for a garden supply company.)

You could sell me anything.

I have fond memories of hiking with Pop up Mount Wantastiquet overlooking Brattleboro, Vermont, or paddling down the Connecticut River in one of his canoes. On one of our adventures circa 1985 I gave him a minute-by-minute recounting of the plot of Back to the Future. It’s crazy to think that the +/- 30 year jumps back to 1955 or forward to 2015 don’t even begin to cover my grandfather’s experience on this green and blue planet. Who needs a DeLorean with a flux capacitor when you’ve got a Volvo and above-average health?

As Seth and I set out hiking in Grassington tomorrow morning, I’ll try to imagine what life might be like in the year 2075, and whether in the meantime I might have a chance to inspire someone’s lifetime love for the great outdoors. Happy 100th, Popa. This hike’s for you. ❤️

Come for a VR Hike

I meant to blog every day of this journey as it happened.

What was I thinking? We hiked all day. We drank beer. We ate dinner. We slept hard. We ate a big breakfast. Lather, rinse repeat.

The best I could do was occasionally offload the footage from the VR camera and make room for more. Especially after I filled up my SD card with footage of the interior of a sock. (I still think it made a fine camera case.)

And then once I was back home, forget it. A million other obligations take priority. And every step of editing, previewing, re-editing, and uploading VR content takes hours, even days when it comes to YouTube processing it. Compressing all the visual quality out of a decent video takes time you know!

Anyway, a month later it’s finally finished. I’ve watched this video in its entirety 6 times now. 37 minutes seems like the perfect length to really capture the spirit of our walk, while definitely feeling like you’ve earned yourself a beer by the end of it.

For Ma

While I hope you all enjoy the video, I wouldn’t have made it if not for my mother. Just 6 years ago we were hiking through the Yorkshire Dales together, just one section of the amazing Wainwright Walk, 192 miles coast-to-coast across England.

Shortly thereafter she received a life-altering diagnosis of ALS, which has put a significant damper on her hiking career, to say nothing of her Olympic dreams. (Luckily her sense of humor will be the last to go!) With that said, she just so happens to have a VR headset and is kind of a maven…

Don’t watch the video at the end of this post

I’m not just saying this. It’s the difference between watching someone else hike vs. being there yourself. If you watch on regular old 2D YouTube, you’ll get the gist of where we went and what we did. It’ll show you a monoscopic view that you can pan around. Better than nothing, sure. And if that’s the best you can do, at least maximize the YouTube window size and set the quality to the maximum available via the gear icon.

If you do have a VR headset, or know someone who does, watch the video in YouTube VR. It’ll be stereoscopic 3D, with a 180° field of view. (Trust me, if anyone you know has a VR headset, they’ll be thrilled to demo it for someone, anyone. Just ask your people!) Also, I make house calls, and my Oculus Quest 2 travels easily on a plane. Or they’re $300 at Amazon, Target, and Walmart.

Just download the YouTube VR app onto your headset if you don’t have it yet, and enter the title of the video into the search field, or even just “yorkshire” will work when combined with the 3D or VR180 buttons.

Instead of typing, try clicking the microphone icon and saying “Inn Way to the Yorkshire Dales,” but don’t forget the VR180 or 3D button!

I tried to be sensitive to those with weaker stomachs while filming, avoiding fast camera pans. But there are a few spots that may make you queasy. Just breathe through it! Deep breaths work great for me.

About the camera

For those curious, the best sub-$1000 (and maybe the best sub-$5000?) camera I could find for this trip was the Vuze XR by Humaneyes. (Get it?)

Released in January 2018, almost 4 years ago, it’s a bit long in the tooth technology-wise. Yet its only real consumer-level competition for a 3D VR180 capable camera, the Insta360 EVO, is no longer available for sale at all. The only newer 3D video cameras since then are big heavy professional models in the $5000 to $15,000 range, and beyond! So I’m pretty happy with the results from my little $430 camera.

It’s really only when I was in motion that the compression artifacts really creep in big time. And I can’t blame it all on YouTube. The Vuze XR simply can’t record to SD faster than 120 Mbps. So the shots where I’m stationary, and not much changes frame to frame, look a lot nicer than the ones where I’m running down a trail. But even when, nay especially when, I’m running and it’s blurry, or there’s rain landing on the lenses, or there’s lots of wind noise, or Seth’s farting in Surround Sound, I feel fully immersed and right back in the Dales.

I hope you feel like you’re there with me and Seth, too. 🍻