It's been cold here in Denver the past few weeks and to keep at least the mind active, I've been reading what I consider the gem of the Internet, and that is blogs by hikers on those trails I've always dreamt of doing.
I've been reading the posts the past several weeks -- whenever I've got a lull in my winter schedule (and there are several lulls) -- of someone who has done a hike or long thru-hike of someplace I'd love to have done.
I'm always pleasantly surprised at how good these posts are. Example: The blogs of BrianLe, who is a frequent contributor to this forum, who has done the PCT and AT (and soon to do the Triple Crown with the CDT in 2011). I think I'm at about Post 30 of his PCT hike, and it is a most enjoyable read. It is possible to spend every moment that we might have spent with a novel or other book, just reading these incredibly informative journals of the hike we've ALWAYS dreamt of doing but haven't done, be it vicariously through their daily posts on the trail.
I've never met or even PM'd Brian, yet he's provided me with an incredible 1st person account of the PCT . . . that I know there is only the slimmest of chances I'll ever do. And he's given this all to me for FREE.
Twenty years ago we'd have paid $15 for a typo-infested, soft-bound book of these exploits. Now we can read something as good or better in these blogs for nothing.
I haven't read Brian's journal. That might be a good addition to the winter reading list....
I will heartily second your recommendation to read some trail journals though. I read Yogi's PCT journal a few years ago and was absolutely hooked. She did an excellent job writing her journals (AT, PCT, CDT) and they all filled me with a sense of wanderlust. Unfortunately, they are no longer up on http://www.trailjournals.com Not sure why they are no longer there.
So, anyone want to add in who there favorite trail journal authors are?
Loc: Washington State, King County
Wow, thanks very much, Kevon!
There are a lot of different types and styles of trail journals; mine are pretty verbose. Like many I think, I write primarily for myself and immediate family and friends. I think my journals work well for those that like a more complete day-to-day documentation, with accurate location data. I'm sure that my "style" of writing is not best for everyone (!).
Because the "best" trail journals will vary according to the tastes of the readers. There was a thread on whiteblaze.net earlier this year about good trail journals to read, so a person looking for good journals could have a look at that.
One journal that I suggest is Lil' Budda's journal for this past year --- what he did was truly awesome, hiking from the southern end of Florida to join to the AT, doing the AT, then continuing on the International AT into Canada. Lil' Budda is a great guy (I met him at Trail Days in Damascus), and IMO writes a fun and funny journal.
FWIW, Lil' Budda plans to do the CDT next year too (not with me), but in his usual fashion he plans to do MORE than just the CDT (I don't recall details, maybe continuing on into Canada).
Lesson (for me at least): there's always someone out there who's tougher and more audacious. More power to him!
Another thought about selecting journals: the site that my journal is on (postholer.com) tends to have a lot more PCT journals, so for folks interested in PCT blogs a good thing about postholer is that you can search for journals based on hit count (called there "journal visits"). I.e., look for the journals that a lot of other people are reading. I don't think you can do that on trailjournals.com, though of course TJ has a whole lot more people posting there.
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