July 28, 2013: Riding Horseback From Canada To Brazil, Walking Silently For 17 Years, and More

For the past year, Bruiser, Dude and Frenchie have been accompanying Filipe Masetti Leite on Journey America - riding from Calgary to Sao Paolo, Brazil. (photo courtesy of Filipe Masetti Leite)
For the past year, Bruiser, Dude and Frenchie have been accompanying Filipe Masetti Leite on Journey America – riding from Calgary to Sao Paolo, Brazil. (photo courtesy of Filipe Masetti Leite)

Every week, embark with host Boyd Matson on an exploration of the latest discoveries and interviews with some of the most fascinating people on the planet, on National Geographic Weekend.

Please check listings near you to find the best way to listen to National Geographic Weekend, or click the links after the descriptions below!

Episode: 1330 – Air Date: July 28


Before trains, planes and automobiles, riding horseback was the way to get around. These days, however, it is almost unheard of for someone to ride a horse for weeks at a time. We catch up with Filipe Masetti Leite who has saddled up for more than a year on his journey from Canada to Brazil. He tells Boyd about the difficulties of riding horses in 21st century traffic and how he recently steered clear of drug cartels in Mexico. Listen here.

Breaking bread is a symbolic way to welcome others, but what about baking it? National Geographic Traveler of the Year Nadezhda Savova has created The Bread Houses Network to bring people from different cultures or opposing viewpoints together all over the world. She explains how even feuds can mend with some simple flour, water and yeast. Listen here.

This summer’s brutal heat can cause any hiker to wither, but thankfully our hiking guru Andrew Skurka, author of The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide has some tips on how to stay hydrated and some pretty handy water purifiers to ensure you don’t drink anything unwanted from upstream. Listen here.

John Grotzinger knows what it’s like taking a trip to Mars, well, sort – of. As the Chief Scientist for NASA’s Curiosity mission, John doesn’t personally step foot on the red planet, but says his team discovers extraordinary things on Mars using the next best thing to being there – the Curiosity rover. He writes about the mission in his article “Field Trip on Mars” for National Geographic Magazine’s July issue. Listen here.

You might not think there are many species left for humans to discover, but Wildlife Conservation Society’s Rob Wallace has done just that at Medidi National Park in Bolivia. He describes the park as being not only rich in wildlife species, but also unique in its wide variation of altitudes. Listen here.

Hour 2

Many of National Geographic’s Fellows are unique in terms of their travels and adventures, but Planetwalker John Francis might get the gold medal for the most incomparable experience after walking for 22 years – 17 of which he did not speak. He shares with Boyd what his speechless journey taught him about humanity and the environment. Listen here.

Wild animals used in circus shows are often severely abused, which is why South American countries have made it illegal. Tim Phillips, co-founder of Animal Defenders International rescued those animals still in illegal captivity in Bolivia, including 25 lions. Lion Ark documents the lions’ 5,000 mile journey to Colorado where they now live in better conditions that Tim says “allows them to be lions again.” Listen here.

Yacare caiman, which are like tiny crocodiles, were once so heavily poached in Brazil that they were endangered. Now, thanks to conservation efforts, the reptiles are abundant. Roff Smith, who wrote “The Comeback Croc” for the July issue of National Geographic Magazine, explains how the creatures are back to a thriving population. Listen here.

Until now, no one has attempted to run the Tour de France, but Zoe Ramano is going the distance –sometimes at up to 30 miles a day. She says running this route is much more athletically demanding than any she’s done in the U.S., with many miles going uphill. Listen here.

In this week’s Wild Chronicles, Boyd shares his own recollection driving parts of the Tour de France course to get to Loire Valley, where he was happy to see frogs that weren’t being served for dinner. Listen here.


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Meet the Author
Gina Cook is an intern for the weekly radio program National Geographic Weekend. She is a graduate student studying multimedia journalism at the University of Missouri.