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Published on June 4th, 2013 | by Pat

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What Hooked You on Hiking? The Experts Explain.

National Trails Day was this past Saturday, and reports of its successful celebration are coming in from all across the country! As a national resource, our National Trails System is one of the best tools we have in promoting the personal, environmental, and health benefits that come from making the trails an arena for numerous types of outdoor hobbies.

In this vein, we at Trekalong approached the host of hiking & outdoor experts at Wilderness Press and Menasha Ridge Press, to get to know better what makes the trail such an inspiring, enriching place. Here’s some of what they had to say:

Paul Gerald – Portland, OR

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Paul is considered one of the Northwest’s premier outdoor writers, having penned most recently 60 Hikes within 60 MilesPortland and Peaceful Places: Portland. Paul caught the hiking bug early on:

When I was 12, I was at a summer camp in Wyoming. One night, at dinner, a staffer announced there would be a sunrise hike to the top of Steamboat Mountain in the morning, and I decided to go. Before most kids had gotten up the next morning, I had seen bald eagles in their nest, heard the first bird calls of the morning, and splashed my face in a clear mountain stream. I was completely hooked.

Kevin Revolinski – Madison, WI

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Kevin is a prolific outdoor author representing the Midwest, whose most recent title, Best in Tent Camping: Wisconsin, was just released in its 3rd edition by Menasha Ridge Press this May. Kevin’s journey into the great outdoors came on as a surprise consequence of a trip with a different purpose:

I came to hiking in my mid-20s when I bought my first pair of hiking boots and an external-frame backpack recommended in preparation for a volunteer trip to northern Mexico. I had no idea that the overnight camping side-trip would be a rigorous foray into the Copper Canyon, a place I had never even heard of. That steep trek to the bottom with its dizzying views of what was, for me, a newly discovered natural wonder, first lit the fire in me.

James Dzieznyski – Boulder, CO

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James is the leading expert on summit hiking in the Colorado Rocky Mountains and runs his own outdoor publishing company, Mountainous Words. With Wilderness Press, James authored bestselling title Best Summit Hikes Colorado. For James, the love of hiking came from experiencing the solace and tranquility that only the mountains can offer.

After my first true mountain hike, Camel’s Hump in Vermont, I felt a lightness that stayed with me for days after. I’ve come to recognize this sensation as my best interpretation of inner peace. For better or worse, it can only be refreshed in the mountains.

Robert Loewendick – Central Ohio

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Robert hails from the great state of Ohio, and is a leader in the local hiking communities. Aside from travel writing, he is also an accomplished photographer and journalist, with an impressive credits list. His latest release from Menasha Ridge Press is the tent-camping guide Best in Tent Camping: Ohio. For Robert, hiking is the family business, and he intends to keep it that way:

Reaching the summit of an Appalachian foothill, a dozen steps behind my father, and taking in the view across the valley, remains one of my cherished hiking memories from my early teen years. Today, I share trails with my two young adult children that have inherited the hiking torch handed from my father to me and from me to them. The fire within burns for adventure – from generation to generation – from trail to trail.

Sean Patrick Hill – Louisville, KY

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A freelance writer, poet, teacher and father living in Louisville, Kentucky, Sean is also a graduate student in the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers, studying poetry. His love affair with the outdoors has yielding one of the bestselling guides to the Red River Gorge in Kentucky: Hiking Kentucky’s Red River Gorge. For Sean, exposure to the elements yielded his love for the outdoors:

I did my first backpacking trip in the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania as part of my Backpacking class in college. It rained nearly the whole time, and my legs burned from the steep climbs, but I saw turkey vultures nesting on cliffs and cold springs on mountaintops, and at night, when we huddled around a fire on the creek bottoms, I had my first taste of being cradled in the wilderness.

What made you fall in love with hiking? Tell us in the comments section!


About the Author

is happiest when he's on the move, whether by foot, pedal, or some other form of alternative transportation. Hiking, biking, camping, and rock climbing demand his outdoor attention at all times. Now, as editor and contributor to Trekalong.com, they demand his indoor attention, as well.



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