I grew up in the Rocky Mountains hiking pretty much every day, whether it was the mile to school or all over the trails during the summer. We didn't call it 'hiking' then - it was just playing and getting from one adventure to the next.
Hiking is a tremendously healthy experience that exercises your body, mind, and soul - and the best thing is that just about anyone can do it, no matter location or age.
Now, I camp, backpack, and lead others on frontcountry and backcountry outings to share my skills with them. The most enjoyment I get from life is watching a youth that has pushed himself to do more than he thought he could. Not watching him push himself, but watching him when he encounters the next challenge, or the next - he no longer doesn't think he can do it; instead he figures out how he can do it. Self-confidence and solid skills are two invaluable things us old guys need to pass on to the young ones.
I put together this web site as part of the Outdoors Dudes group of sites to share expertise and encourage others to get out there and move. I hope the advice, tips, and words of experience you find here make your wanderings more fun, safe, and fulfilling.
Having just celebrated my 50th birthday in 2011, and passing my Scoutmaster duties for a large troop over to another volunteer, I'm starting a new personal adventure of long distance hiking the country's National Scenic Trails. I won't be setting any speed records or doing extreme physical challenges, but I do want to share my evolving story so other normal folks can see it's not too difficult to get out and explore. I say normal because many gear manufacturers and such love to be part of exotic, extreme, epic adventures, but I think they miss the fact that 99.9999% of their market is just normal guys like you and me.
I hope you decide to join me, both virtually through this site as well as physically on the trail when I hike by your community. See my Hike Schedule to get an idea of where I hope to be on the trail.
The stages of preparation, hiking, and reflecting for each hike means this site will have an active blog for the next few years. I sincerely appreciate it when you tell others that you enjoy a post or learn something new. The most fun for me is having you leave a comment on a blog entry, so please don't be shy!
Enjoy my site and I'd love to hear about your hiking adventures. If you have questions or suggestions, or want to know more about me, or just want to say 'Hey!', use the Ask Hiking Dude link at the bottom to drop me an email.
All Who Wander Are Not Lost
Feb 13, 2012 - Matt Nelson
Executive Director, Arizona Trail Association
Thank you! I look forward to meeting some ATA folks on the trail or in trail towns. I've already e-met a bunch of nice, helpful people.
Have you considered hammock camping as part of your trek? Let me know. I just published a book on hammock camping and would be glad to send you a copy to review for your trek. Let me know.
I'll also be hiking the Ice Age Trail this year, much of it through the forests of Wisconsin. But, even then, there are many miles without trees so I'd be on the ground. I've heard (and read) a lot of good things about hammocks - comfort, rain protection, bug protection, leave no trace, but haven't gotten past the need for trees.
A really good resource for AZT info is Gray Ghost. He can help you a ton with logistics. He thru hiked the AZT '10.
When you are ready to hike the IAT, contact me. I keep a Hiker2hiker info list about the trail and other logistical resources for the IAT.
Will post my exp as i return this month end.
Thank you for the SITE.