Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Arizona State Parks adds more trails

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Fifteen,in fact, mostly around Phoenix and around Marana near Tucson. There’s little documentation of them aside from their names, but they are official trails now.

Here’s the link to their press release:

Five Star Trails on ViewRanger

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

There’s an app for my hiking guide. I can say that now with a completely straight face – not just because I live in the future, but because there really is an app for my hiking guide.

From the press release:

ViewRanger ™App partners with Menasha Ridge/Wilderness Press

Cambridge, UK – December 15, 2011 – ViewRanger, the award-winning outdoor navigation app, is

pleased to announce its partnership with Menasha Ridge/Wilderness Press, a leading publisher of

comprehensive outdoor hiking books and maps.

ViewRanger, which hails from the UK and is owned by software development company, Augmentra,

Ltd., is a mobile app that turns a smartphone into a powerful Outdoors GPS. It delivers high resolution

mapping and trails, waypoint navigation, web-based route planning and location sharing.

“We are looking forward to working with an independent enterprise that offers the same benefits to

readers as our company; memorable adventures in the great outdoors ,” says Menasha

Ridge/Wilderness Press president Richard Hunt. “ViewRanger has done a brilliant job of executing their

business plan overseas and we look forward to teaming up with them as they make their debut in the


Commenting on the partnership, ViewRanger CEO Craig Wareham states “we are excited to be working

with such renowned publishing titles as Menasha Ridge and Wilderness Press and for the opportunity to

deliver their high quality expert guidebook content through our location-aware smartphone publishing platform.”

ViewRanger will bring their guidebooks to life by accessing the expert outdoors content provided by

Menasha Ridge/Wilderness Press. Popular trail routes will be available to browse and download onto

smartphones and delivered like a guidebook with a map, trail descriptions and advice, and photos of

things that users may see along the way. Once users are on a hike or walk, they can see their location

over a map and navigate along the route. ViewRanger also gives navigation alerts if you veer too far off


“My Five Star Trails in Flagstaff and Sedona guidebook will be in the first release!” Squealed Menasha Ridge author Tony Padegimas, contacted by courier pigeon in his isolated desert stronghold. “If this prevents one hiker with a fully-charged phone from getting ost in the woods, my life’s work will have been worth it,” he added.


At least one of those paragraphs was not in the original press release.

View Ranger website:




Tempe REI book event post-mortem

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Gave a little talk, sold a couple books, hope somebody learned something, and if not, at least there were pretty pictures.

Thanks to all those who came out.

Most of those fine folks filled out my survey (and one won a free book as a result!). On that survey, a responder can help choose my next hiking book. If you’dlike to play along at home (or wherever you read this blog) head over to the Choose My Next Book page, and enter a comment. OR comment on this post right here – since that link is easier to find.

I have updated the current totals following the Tempe REI event.

There’s no Behind-the-hike this week, but I have a holiday hike recommendation:  Cottonwood Trail #120 up by Roosevelt Lake.This was one of the better hiked from Day and Overnight Hikes – Tonto National Forest.

The Tonto NF has changed their website. Their new link to this trail is here:

Have a great Thanksgiving!

UPDATE: Spammers 100; actual commentors 0 – so I am closing comments

Book Event Post-mortem

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

In the spirit of my personal blog: What Have We Learned?

I had about 20-25 fine folks show up at my book presentation at REI last Wednesday (9-14). Thanks to all who came out. I hope you all learned at least something. I certainly did:

  • Leave a full half hour to dial in the AV – especially if you are relying upon projection (as I did).
  • Dialing in the AV is the most important part of setting up. Maybe 4 people noticed the props I had on my table. Everyone noticed how we started late trying to match the projection to the screen.
  • If you are going to read from your preface like a pretentious schmuck, you could at least rehearse it a few times so as to not stumble over your own sentences.
  • The twenty minutes of general hiking safety and know-how seemed to go better than the 30 minutes of essentially photos from the hikes. This may be because the slide-show of my vacation (not far from the literal truth) came at the end of the program.
  • The prop part, where I emptied my day-hike bag and explained what I took and why went better than I expected. From the questions, I definitely want to talk more about GPS and hiking sticks.
  • Really wish I had the logistical wherewithal to have recorded the event.

In all modesty, I did do a few things right.

  • I visited the store prior to the event, met the woman in charge, worked out the terms, and got the lay of the land.
  • The Paradise Valley REI folks were really cool to work with, and did a lot to publicize the event.
  • I had a cashbox with adequate change.
  • My kids were great helpers, and work for soda-pop! (We’ll see how long that lasts…)
  • I had my own inventory to sell. This approach makes life simplest for all parties. Not all booksellers are set up for the kind of cashier stunts needed to sell a book on consignment, or audit an inventory brought in just for the event. So, for one night, I totally screwed them by selling a product for almost 25% less than buying it off their shelf. But, I drew 25 people. And it was just one night.

Want to learn more? Book Publicity Blog has a primer on What Authors Need to Know re Book Events. Nothing in there about props.

If I seem hard on myself – well- I want to get good at this. I have two more events booked already, and that’s them calling me. I’ve yet to start hustling these events myself.

Towards that end, I’ve added a couple of pages. One repeats a survey I passed out at the event, a practice I intent to continue. The other is simply an ongoing calendar of my events.

[The event page is pending some confirmations]

Next week, we’ll get back to behind-the-hike posts.

Much more than a book signing

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

We interrupt hike by hike coverage of 5 Star Trails Flagstaff and Sedona for some breaking news:

I will have a presentation / workshop, based upon the new book, at the Paradise Valley REI on September 14th, from 6:30p to 8:30p. I was aksed to prepare about an hour’s worth of material, and the rest reverts to a Q&A or book signing format.

The Link to REI’s website

You have to be an REI member to sign up (you need your member number, anyway), but I will not turn anyone away.

I’ll also talk about D&O Tonto, and compare/contrast writing the books.

SPOILER: The biggest difference of the photography requirements.

If you want more info, contact REI, or comment to this blog from the About the Author page.

We will resume regular hike descriptions shortly.

5 Star Trails Flagstaff Sedona is out!

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Just as the fire restrictions are (mostly) lifted, the book I have been working on for a year is on or heading towards the shelves. You can already buy it online.

The cover of my new book!

So you can expect more regular updates on this page.

As soon as I stop dancing. (And that may be a while).

Meanwhile, whisky for my hiking companions (and a free copy – contact me!) and beer for my 2006 Equinox.

Fire updates for Arizona wildfires

Saturday, June 11th, 2011

An alarming percentage of the forests in Arizona are on fire watch, closed in fear of fire, or actually on fire right now. At this writing, Flagstaff, Sedona and the Tonto National Forest (the areas for which I have written hiking guides) are not ablaze. But it’s still early in the fire season.

The Wallow Fire is burning along the eastern border of Arizona, mostly in the Apache National Forest. (Apache is half of the Apache/Sitgreaves National Forest – the two are combined administratively). The fire, now the second largest in state history, and threatening to become the largest, threatens developed communities of Alpine, Greer and Eager, and has burned a couple dozen strictures around those parts. There have been no reported deaths or injuries.

Two other fires are burning in southern Arizona, and are also quite large: the Horseshoe and Murphy fires burning within the Coronado National Forest, and surrounding areas. Those fires are closer to containment, but the conditions that made them possible, extreme dryness and high winds, still exist. Thus, the Coronado Forest – all of it – it closed to entry.

Here are some links to help keep track of what’s open, what’s closed and what’s on fire right now:

Inciweb Incident Information System [] is the clearing-house ofr press releases for fires and other natural disatsres. This link goes to the Wallow Fire, the big fire on the eatsern border of Arizona.

Apache- Sitgreaves Web Page – normally with event announcements, but currently with evacuation notices.

The Coronado National Forest Web Page. They’re closed. They mean it.

Finally, Arizona Game and Fish is keeping track of all the stuff around the edges, including fishing and hunting restrictions that go along with closures.

The Coronado NF press release explains some of the science:

The Forest is faced with an unprecedented fire season this year, with extreme fire danger and over 200,000 acres burned across the Forest. Our national resources to fight fire are being strained to the limit. Fuels (grass, shrubs, trees, ground debris) on the Coronado are at record levels for dryness. Kiln-dried lumber sold in hardware stores is at 12% moisture content. The large fuels on the Coronado are at 4% moisture content. The smaller fuels are drier. All are extremely flammable.

They go on to conclude that “The probability of ignition on the Coronado is 100%, which means any firebrand to hit the ground where fuels are present would start a wildfire.”

There is also a 100% certainly that some camper would build a fire, or even drop a lit cigarette if the forest were open, and that’s an automatic fire. So they’re closed. Both of the current fires began in spite of fire restrictions across the forest.

The Wallow Fire, just as ominously, was caused by an abandoned campfire (as was the Schultz Fire last year near Flagstaff).

Fires don’t put themselves out in Arizona. People have to do it. You can either do it on your own, with a bucket of water and shovel before you leave camp, or the government can do it 600 square miles later with hundreds of people and millions of dollars. That choice is yours every time you build a fire.

Flagstaff is on fire

Monday, June 21st, 2010

You can see the smoke from as far south as Sunset Point.

I drove up there today thinking, “Wow, the wind is really kicking up the smoke from the Eagle Rock fire…” The Eagle Rock fire has been burning for several days northwest of Flagstaff, but is mostly contained.

Wrong. Flagstaff had three different wildfires burning today, basically within city limits. Two are still going. One is still going unchecked.

Most threatening is the Schultz Fire, in the heavily wooded Schultz Pass separating Mt. Elden from the San Francisco Peaks. That fire, zero percent contained at this writing, is forcing evacuations, and has closed AZ 89 just north of town.

The Scultz fire has spread over 5000 acres, and its cause is unknown.

Flagstaff city spokeswoman Kimberly Ott told the Associated Press, “It’s torching, it’s crowning — all the things you don’t want it to do.” Winds gusts up to 50 mph are accelerating the fire.

Aside from life and property, this fire also threatens some of the best hiking trails in the area. Earlier today, there was some concern about some hikers still in the burn area, but they have all been accounted for.

Two other smaller fires were started and contained or controlled by the end of the day.

The Hardy Fire, which erupted in southeastern Flag – near the “country club” region is contained. It was started by an unattended campfire, and a California man has been arrested in connection.

A third fire flared up near western I-40 from a car fire, but was contained within hours.

However big the smoke plume looks in the photos, its bigger than that from in town.

NAZ Today has been providing good local coverage.

Official: 5 Star Hikes – Flagstaff and Sedona is underway

Friday, May 21st, 2010

I have contracted with Menasha Ridge Press (our fine host here) to write 5 Star Hikes – Flagstaff and Sedona (or some very similar title. It’s not official until it gets an ISBN)

The following is adapted from the style guide:

Five-Star Trails combines elements of the popular 60/60 series (60 Hikes within 60 Miles of . . . [city]) with those of the D&O series (Day & Overnight Hikes in. . . [national forests, national parks, other wilderness areas]). […]
Like the 60/60 series, Five-Star books typically cover hiking in and around cities, but Five-Star books’ anchor locations are smaller urban areas than those chosen for 60/60. For example, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Atlanta are 60/60 topics, whereas Spokane, Boise, and Chattanooga are examples of cities that fit the Five-Star profile. Also, Five-Star books present only 30 to 40 hikes-or half- to two-thirds as many as the 60/60 series.
In common with the D&O series, a Five-Star Trails book provides starred ratings in several categories presented in a box at the top of each new hike entry.
Unlike the D&O series, Five-Star Trails is geared to day-hikes and rarely touches on camping or extended trail time.

I have already started work on the guide and have several Sedona area hikes completed (the hiking anyway):

Airport Mesa Loop

Brin’s Mesa / Soldier Pass

Bell Trail (Wet Beaver Creek)

Woods Canyon trail (Dry Beaver Creek) (Yes, these creek names are real)

Lime Kiln Trail (the whole 15+ miles)

Verde River Greenbelt

MRP’s publicity packet suggests I blog somewhere about how the hike actually went (since the book has almost no personal references), and a few notes to supplement the information in the guide.

What a swell idea.

You can expect some posts on those hikes, and all the others as we go.

May 10+11 Hike plan

Monday, May 10th, 2010

Monday, I’m hiking the Lime-Kiln trail, a 15 mile route that historically connected Cottonwood and Sedona, but more recently connects Dead Horse SP with Red Rock SP. This is practical because I have a car-shuttle arranged.

I suspect I will go ahead and camp overnight at Dead Horse.

Tuesday will be two short hikes – TBD.