Armchair hikers: Cross the Pyrenees and don't leave home

If you love hiking but just can’t take the summer heat, or if you’re just in the mood to sit back and be inspired by someone else’s encounters with the wilderness, then Leonard Adkins is your man this week. 
Affectionately known as “the habitual hiker,” Adkins has hiked more than 16,000 miles exploring landscapes and seascapes from the Appalachian Trail to the Arctic Circle, from the Continental Divide to the Caribbean. He has crossed deserts in 100 degree heat, ascended 13,000 foot passes, and witnessed spectacles such as steaming geysers melting into adjacent glaciers, 100-foot waterfalls dropping into narrow canyons,  flower-carpeted meadows, and fields of ice.
When he’s putting one foot in front of the other,  Adkins is either writing books and articles based on his travels, or sharing his journeys directly with hikers, writers, students, and armchair travelers across the country. How does he share the wild, exactly? Not by making his audience hit the Stairmaster and spray themselves with Deet, but through an engaging, inspiring multi-media, slide, music, and voice-narration presentation that basically brings his hikes to dramatic life– indoors.
On Tuesday, July 8, at 7:30pm, Adkins will transport the Pyrenées to the tent- and Teva-outfitted interior of Blue Ridge Mountain Sports. In a presentation entitled, “From the Atlantic to the Mediterranean: Along the Pyrenées High Route,” audience members become virtual companions on a two-month-long hike across the mountain range bordering France and Spain. You’ll traverse-– with the suggestive guidance of Adkins’ narration–  terrain more rugged than the Rockies, pass through foggy Basque sheeplands and Catalonian vineyards, and cross breathtakingly steep passes as you make your way from the wave-tossed Atlantic to the deep blue Mediterranean. If you get tired along the way, the images and folk-classical music soundtrack will encourage you pick up the  pace.  Missed something along the way? Just ask That’s what the post-slideshow Q&A session is for.

Leonard Adkins presents his slide show hike, “From the Atlantic to the Mediterranean: Along the Pyrenées High Route,” July 8 at 7:30pm at Blue Ridge Mountain Sports in the Barracks Road Shopping Center. Free. 977-4400.

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