Swiss Wine?

Mention Switzerland and all sorts of things come to mind: cheese, watches, chocolate, the Matterhorn, yodeling… 

What almost never factors in a conversation about this alpine nation is its wines: one of Switzerland’s deepest secrets. The country produces around 200 million bottles per year. And
nearly all of it is consumed domestically. 

I’m in the Valais region of the country (the Rhone Valley), exploring its little know viticulture. While here I’m also checking out an 80km-long hiking trail that winds through vineyards on the slopes of the Alps, linking the French-speaking end of the valley with the German. 

Story will appear in Montecristo magazine this winter. 

Hyder - The Libertarian Enclave

The village of Hyder (population, around 60), is a tiny hamlet nestled in the Coast Mountains of the Alaskan panhandle, right across the border from Stewart, British Columbia, Canada. 

The town’s claim to fame is that is completely cut off and isolated from the rest of the state - the only road in and out is from Canada. Apart from a post office and some US Forest Service personnel, there is no American government presence or law enforcement in town. People here forge their own independent existence, off the grid. 

I’m here this week working on a feature story about life in the town, and its sister community of Stewart B.C. 

The Harrison Lake Sasquatch

It isn’t much of a secret that I’ve been working on a book about the Sasquatch phenomenon in British Columbia. That story is set in the Great Bear Rainforest region on the Central and North Coast. But some of the background to the book takes place in the Harrison Hot Springs area, a few hours east of Vancouver, where the word “Sasquatch” was coined in 1929. 

I travelled there today to spend time with a couple of local Bigfoot investigators for a magazine article - and additional researcher for the book. They took me onto the gravel backroads running along Harrison Lake, showing me spots where sightings have taken place. At one scenic vantage point above the lake, the men stopped and unpacked a bunch of plaster casts of alleged Sasquatch tracks they’ve collected over the years (photo above). 

Northern Lights, Moose Factory, Ontario

I had a few good nights of Aurora Borealis activity while visiting the community of Moose Factory, Ontario, for a magazine assignment. 

The area around Moose Factory (and its sister community of Moosonee), located just south of James Bay, is one of a handful of spots in Canada considered the best to see the Northern Lights. The Aurora is particularly active there in the autumn months. 

Look for my travel feature on Moose Factory in the Summer 2017 issue of Explore magazine. 

Documentary on Canada’s Residential Schools

I visited the Six Nations of the Grand River Reserve, near Brantford Ontario today, to shoot footage and conduct interviews for an Al Jazeera documentary. The doc is about Canada’s residential schools and the forced assimilation and abuse of indigenous children attending those schools. More details to come.

Update, February 2017 - The Al Jazeera doc entitled, Canada’s Dark Secret, is now available online. You can view it here.

The Holloways of Dorset

Just back from a quick trip the U.K. While there I hooked-up with British travel writer Robert Twigger who led me on a hike through the hills around the town of Bridport. 

Our traipse took us into a holloway - one of many deep ruts found across the U.K. made by centuries of foot, cart and livestock traffic. The shot here, with Twigger in the foreground, captures the look and feel of the place. 

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