Since July 2009 I’ve been logging regular day hikes. I hiked 150 miles of hiking trails over 25 days during the first six months, then 300 miles over 47 days in 2010, 326 miles over 50 days in 2011, and 266 miles over 44 days in 2012.
Thus far my favorite hikes have been:
- Oregon’s Saddle Mountain and Eagle Creek
- Colorado’s Piedra River, Williams Creek, and Alberta Peak
- Arkansas’ Mount Nebo and Winding Stairs
- Oklahoma’s Robbers Cave and Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
- Missouri’s Roaring River and Ha Ha Tonka
- Kansas’s Elk City Lake
To read about my day hikes, you have several options. You can click Day Hike in the category cloud in the lower right-hand column to see those posts in reverse chronological order, or get the same effect by visiting happywanderer.us. But if you’d like to see where I’ve been and focus on a particular spot, you can use my custom Google Map or Google Spreadsheet.
Click on a map marker to bring up the name of each hike and links to any blog posts and photo sets from it. You can drag and zoom the map to your liking.
You can also access a full-page version of my Google Map.
I’ve also made a public spreadsheet in Google Docs, tabbed by each calendar year, with entries for each hike and links to each blog post and photo set.
My Hiking Outfit
Camera: Canon PowerShot SX260 HS
Poles: Leki Corklite Aergon SpeedLock Trekking Poles
Pack: Ascend H1250 Hydration Pack
(I picked this one for its size; I use bottled drinks instead of its hydration system)
Boots: Columbia Fireland Mid Omni-Tech Hiking Boot
Socks: Smartwool Hiking Light Crew Sock
Hat: Tilley TM10
Summer Shirts: wicking T-shirts, such as Under Armour
Summer Long Pants: Magellan Yellowstone Cargo Pants and Railriders Eco-Mesh Pant with Insect Shield
Summer Shorts: Mervyn’s High Sierra Cargo Shorts (long defunct)
Insect Repellent: Cutter Backwoods Unscented
(Cutter doesn’t stink like Off!; applied liberally to bare legs, socks, boots, pant cuffs, hat, etc.)
Hiking GPS: MotionX GPS app on an Apple iPhone
Driving GPS: TomTom GPS app on an Apple iPhone
Audio: Audible audiobooks, The Great Courses lectures, and podcasts on an Apple iPhone
Why Do It?
What attracts me to this hobby? It combines several pleasures into one for me. I spent most of my childhood vacations at my parents’ lake home near Roaring River State Park in Missouri and grew up hiking its various trails with family and friends. In my adult life I’d go on the occasional hike, but it wasn’t a focus for me. But several years ago, desperate to escape the dreadful heat of summer in Oklahoma, I began a series of summer vacations in the cool and beautiful Pacific Northwest. In 2006 that included forays on splendid coastal trails in Oregon with GPS to guide me to the trailheads, a compact digital camera for photographs, and an iPod to keep me entertained with audiobooks, lectures, podcasts, and music.
When I returned to Oregon in 2009 for my fifth summer vacation in the Pacific Northwest, I made hiking trails the focus and posted daily blogs and photo uploads, enhanced by my iPhone’s GPS tracking. The feedback from the posts and enjoyment of the experience led me to seek out new trails in the region around my home and I haven’t stopped since. By 2013 I’d visited most of the decent trails within driving range and my average mileage declined, but I keep hiking, listening, photographing, and blogging. Thankfully there are several decent trails at the nearby Osage Hills State Park and I can always hoof it on Bartlesville’s Pathfinder Parkway.