Harald, Maude, and the Himba: A letter to the twins

Dear Harold and Maude, I know, I’d promised new names. We will get there—we still have five weeks to come up with them. Five weeks until you launch yourselves into the outside world. Five weeks until I hold you in my arms instead of in my belly. Back before I knew I was having you, or even sure I wanted … Read More

Common Denominator

The trouble with having a blog is a sudden desire to take basic elements like your decision to go to Africa with shoes that suddenly feel too small, how to fix the squeak of your van with a wooden spatula, the death of your grandmother, the unexpected appearance of antivenin five months after you needed it, and an utter sense … Read More

Left, Right in the Road

Last week, I left Jackson. I’d lived there just long enough to have a hard time leaving. I’d lived there just long enough to call it a home, though, to other more stable people, it seemed a stop on a quest for home. Sure, I lived in an unfurnished house on No Name Alley while strangers called my home in … Read More

Vertical Homesteading

–In collaboration with Petzl, check out the good things, and the good people who make that company one of the best– Quick test: What’s the first word that comes to mind when I say the following four places: New Hampshire, Namibia. Spain. Wyoming. Did anyone else answer home? I’ve been in Wyoming for five weeks now, before that it was Europe for three, … Read More

Waypoint Namibia: Big Walls, Desert Mirages, and Perseverance in the Darmaland and Beyond. *

On June 1st, Peter Doucette, Kate Rutherford and I completed Southern Crossing: a 1300-foot 5.11+, grade 5 rock climbing first ascent on the Brandberg, Namibia’s highest peak. But that’s only part of the story. There’s also a 2,000+ year-old painted giraffe, 108-degree temperatures, eight days at 15km/hour over washboard roads, scorpions, laser sharp granite cracks, crumbling granite faces, and 1.7 … Read More

Namibia Video 1

What it Takes to Want a First Ascent [vimeo 5076356] Namibia Movie 1 from Majka Burhardt on Vimeo.

First Ascents, Returns, and Expectations. Namibia 7

“Was Namibia everything you expected it to be?” my friend Kyle asked me this morning. I’d been home for eighteen hours and had almost driven the wrong way on the road, twice. I hadn’t yet seen the poodle. A scab on my shoulder had started to bleed again. “More,” I replied. “Better.” On June 1, Peter Doucette, Kate Rutherford, and … Read More

Purple Flying Skies. Namibia 5

People here call Namibia “Easy Africa.” The roads, when they’re tarred, are great. You can get a fully kitted out 4X4 with bed linens and a lantern. You can car camp at the base of that mound of granite pictured there: Spitzkoppe. It was what brought me here in the first place. Kate and I have spent the past week … Read More

Rick Dees’ Top 40, All The Way To The Granite. Namibia 4.

I’ve been in Windhoek, Namibia’s capital, for 48 hours—just now longer than it took to get here.  Departing Johannesburg, I had the chance to go to Gaborone, Antananarivo, Noola, Luanda. Bulawayo, Lusaka, Doha… I came here—at least here I know there’s granite. I arrived and got my rental car, and immediately got inside, on the wrong side (my right side) … Read More