Saturday, May 19, 2012

I Love to Tell a Tale of a New Trail

I am often asked how I find trails for my guidebooks. A legitimate question, for after all folks buying my books are trying to find trails too. Okay, this is how I do it-incorporating any one or more of the following methods per trail.
  1. General Knowledge/Life Experience- I already know the trail exists
  2. Maps of all degrees and from various agencies
  3. Old guidebooks and competitors' books
  4. Websites of land agencies, trail advocacy groups, hiking forums, and non-profit land trusts
  5. Word of mouth from other hikers and explorers
  6. Word of mouth from locals of the area that I am researching
  7. Scouting roads and parks and forests firsthand while researching a different trail
  8. By accident-driving by and noticing what appears to be a trail!
Now, those of you who use my books (and I thank you for your support) know that one of the things I pride myself in with my books is that I hike every mile of every trail that I write about. And in almost all cases I hike them within a year or so of when the book highlighting them is ready to go to press. The best part of writing hiking guidebooks is the research. And the best part of my research is when I stumble upon "new" trails--both new to me and new in their existence. My recent scouting trip to Orcas Island for my upcoming Day Hiking San Juan and Gulf Islands book yielded several "new" trails-both new to me and in their existence. I found and hiked new trails at the Turtleback Preserve and Obstruction Pass State Park--both allowing for new loop options and both destined to be well loved hiking options for many. I can't wait to share them with you--and the many other new trails that I have yet to discover. Next up--Saturna Island--I can hardy contain my enthusiasm! Of course if you have a "new" trail for me, I'd love to hear about it!

(Photo: Lost Oak Trail is lost no more now that I found it!)

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