Sunday, September 23, 2018

Welcome to Discover the West

The American and Canadian west is home to thousands of miles of hiking trails. From the glacially carved mountains of Glacier National Park, to the red rock deserts of Sedona, hikers can find a wide range of hiking opportunities to satisfy their need for adventure, or to simply find solitude in wilderness.

"The tendency nowadays to wander in wilderness is delightful to see. Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life."

-- John Muir

Discover the West is based on all the trails Kathy and I have hiked over the last several years. We put this website together to help you discover some of the best hikes the western United States and the Canadian Rockies have to offer.

Here you'll find a range of hikes in Banff, Jasper, Rocky Mountain, Zion, Bryce, Arches, Grand Canyon, Guadalupe Mountains, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Glacier, Mt. Ranier, Redwoods and Yosemite National Parks, as well as in many of the national forests, national monuments and other public lands scattered throughout the west.

To get started, simply use the Hiking Trail Directory - organized by state - on the right.

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You can also visit one of our four sister websites, each of which offer comprehensive hiking trail coverage for Grand Teton, Glacier, Rocky Mountain and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks:

* Teton Hiking Trails

* Hiking in Glacier

* Rocky Mountain Hiking Trails

* Hiking in the Smokies

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The author of this blog and the four online national park trail guides, is also the author of Ramble On: A History of Hiking, which chronicles the rich history of hiking.

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Saturday, September 22, 2018

Announcing The Release of My New Book on The History of Hiking

I’m very excited to announce the release of my brand new book on the rich history of hiking! Ramble On: A History of Hiking is the first broad historical overview of hiking in one volume. Among the variety of topics discussed about the early years of hiking, the book also includes anecdotal stories of trail development in some of our oldest and most iconic national parks, including Great Smoky Mountains National Park. To give you a better idea of what the book encompasses, I've copied the introduction to the book (below), which is now available on Amazon.


Ramble On:

How did hiking evolve from the upper-class European sport of alpinism and the publication of an English travel guide into an activity that now has millions of participants all over the world? Who built the thousands of miles of trails that now crisscross America? What did early hikers wear, and what were some of the key inventions and innovations that led to our modern array of hiking gear and apparel? How was information about hiking, trails and gear disseminated in the early years? And what were some of the reasons why people hiked, and how have those changed over time?

Ramble On, a general history on the sport of hiking (also known as rambling, tramping, walking, hillwalking, backpacking or trekking), attempts to answers these questions, as well as many others. This book chronicles hiking’s roots in alpinism and mountaineering, the societal trends that fostered its growth, some of the early hikers from the nineteenth century, the first trails built specifically for recreational hiking, the formation of the first hiking clubs, as well as the evolution of hiking gear and apparel.

When I first considered writing this book two years ago I wasn’t really sure how much relevant information I would be able to find, or how compelling of a story could be written about the history of hiking. I feared that I wouldn’t have enough material to write a full book. However, after diving into the project I soon realized that hiking actually has a very rich and compelling history, and has been profoundly influenced by a series of events that had nothing to do with hiking. I was continuously amazed by how much hiking has been molded by societal trends, as well as national and international events. The story of hiking took me in many directions that I never would’ve considered, from Romanticism and Transcendentalism, to the Industrial Revolution and the labor movement, to the rise of automobiles, environmentalism, club culture, and even art, to name just a few.

However, what intrigued me the most were the anecdotal stories of trail development in some of our oldest and most iconic national parks, as well as the peculiar and quirky traditions of some of the early hiking clubs. One of the most compelling stories was the apparel women were forced to wear during the Victorian Era, and the danger those fashion standards posed to women who dared to venture into the mountains.

This book also takes a look at some of the issues that currently impact hikers and trails, such as overcrowding and social media, and takes a peek into the future on how some of these trends could unfold. I also explain some of the solutions public land managers are currently considering, and offer a few suggestions myself.

My hope is that you will you come away with a better understanding of what it took to make hiking one of the most popular activities in the world, and what we need to do to preserve our trails and the spirit of hiking for future generations to come.

To order your copy now, please click here. Thank you very much!



Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
Ramble On: A History of Hiking