Published on October 24th, 2014 | by tanya0
Five Minutes With…Jordan Summers
Have you TrekAlongers been enjoying getting to know our authors a little better? Ready for another new face?
Jordan Summers, author of Five-Star Trails around Lake Tahoe, 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles – Sacramento, and Easy Hikes Close to Home – Sacramento (Menasha Ridge Press), has quite a bit of backcountry experience up his sleeve. His stomping grounds in the Tahoe area are arguably some of the most beautiful in the country. And conveniently, another one of Jordan’s favorite pastimes is sending us pictures and making us jealous of his weekend excursions!
Why did you decide to write a guidebook?
The opportunity to write the first book, 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Sacramento, just fell into my lap. It’s not as if I wasn’t prepared for it. Hiking with friends and family, or displaying my backcountry photos for my often-awed office mates, or wandering solo just to tell someone else about the experience. I had taken the Outdoor Educator course with NOLS and was a WFR. I truly enjoy sharing the outdoors with others. So, I was ready. Writing my first guidebook was the best way I could ever share what I had been able to see with others who had not seen any of these places up close. It was the surest way to help hikers of all abilities to get to a trail that they could enjoy and remember fondly enough to want to share it with others.
What are your favorite things to nosh on when you’re on an adventure?
Favorites on the trail? No such thing. I live at 60 feet elevation. Each weekend I hike in the Central Sierra Nevada at 6000 to 10000 feet. And a common side-effect of even that modest elevation change is a diminished sense of taste and appetite. So, I add a bag of peppered jerky to my first day’s trail snacks. The spice makes me drool like a dog and everything after that – Clif bars excluded – seems to taste much better. One thing that’s always welcome is a cup of hot miso soup. When I’m fixing up a bag of rice-sides or mashed potatoes on my single-burner, I add some cumin, paprika, or red chilis and that makes me actually want the next bite. Favorites. Hah!
If you could trek anywhere in the world, where would it be?
My foot travel started in college in the Rockies and so I’d like to get back there next year to see what I’ve been missing. I think the Continental Divide Trail in 2016 sounds reasonable.
What advocacy or conservation groups are you a part of locally, and why are they important to you?
I have been a volunteer for the Pacific Crest Trail Association here in Sacramento. Speaking at PCTA functions from time to time, working in their booth at events, or contributing to the PCTA Communicator have all been opportunities for me to engage with and learn from other hikers and trail advocates. I have also served as a volunteer for the Tahoe Rim Trail Association. I was able to lead dayhikes, section hikes, snowshoe hikes, and full-moon hikes for their members and for the public. Guiding and training folks new to hiking was a kick in the summer and it was a sensational blast when I did it each winter. Helping people who have never even camped out overnight to do this in 25 feet of snow and subfreezing temps seems like a challenge. The next morning, after realizing that they are still alive, the smiles are abundant. Reward time. I was also active in training the new guides during the annual training weekend. These were all things that, I think, gave me the best part of the deal – being able to help new volunteers learn about taking hikers into the outdoors. And that in turn, makes the volunteers feel great and the new hikers feel wonderful about what they’ve done, too. Super!
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not outdoors?
To keep the internet service running, I am a partner in a software company. In hiking season, I’m usually, uh, hiking. In the winter, I manage to travel the Southwest by auto. That’s when my National Park Pass starts smoking. But I manage a few snowshoe hikes and overnights. I have unaccountable weaknesses for fine-dining, driving slowly through wine country, and stand-up comedy.