For a little while now I have been hinting at some books I have had in the works. I have not given too many specifics on what they entail, mostly because I am not the type of person who likes to count their chickens before they hatch. However, after many, many months of work, the books are finally nearing publication and are now available for presale on Amazon. The first book, officially called “Hiking California’s Mount Shasta Region“, has 55 trails in the Mount Shasta area. Needless to say, I am really excited that all the work is finally going to be realized in what is, in effect, a hard copy of this website.
It has been a long road to getting this book published. In some ways, it began back when I was in graduate school in Dallas. Having spent much of my time out there exploring the Wichita Mountains in Oklahoma, I felt that a good guidebook would have been a useful tool for hikers in that part of the country. At the same time I joined Summitpost.org, a user driven mountaineering website. After lurking for a time, I began contributing content. Many years of writing for that site finally led me to want to do things my own way and to cater specifically to the interests of hikers in the greater Mount Shasta area. I finally launched Hike Mt Shasta two years ago. A lot of the initial content was transferred over from Summitpost, but I soon began developing things solely for Hike Mt Shasta.
Things took a big leap forward in March of 2014, when I was approached by an editor at Falcon Guides. He inquired whether or not I would be interested in converting the website into a printed guidebook. To be perfectly honest, I had wanted to work with Falcon Guides for years. Their style had great appeal to me and it really fit with the way I envisioned a book of my own being done. I even had printed out their book proposal documents and had them sitting on my desk when the editor contacted me. Naturally I jumped at the chance to author the book. At that point the work of transforming the digital site into a print edition began. This continued right up until mid-December, when I finally finished all the necessary elements of the book. It was then sent off to layout and cartography, where the maps and the book itself are all made.
Of course, it did not take me the better part of a year to put together a single book that was, in some respects, already written. There was certainly a lot of work left to do (a lot more than I anticipated!) but it was not enough to cause me to push back all the work until December. Having just been given the opportunity to work with Falcon Guides, I figured I ought to pitch another project to them. I was raised in Sonoma County and grew up hiking and backpacking the trails in that area. It always surprised me that there were so few guide books for such a popular area. I pitched the idea of a guide book for the wine country and they accepted it enthusiastically! Thus began work for “Hiking California’s Wine Country“.
From April through August, I made monthly trips back down to Sonoma County and began hiking a lot of the trails that I had grown up exploring, as well as a host of fantastic new trails. Needless to say, it was not a bad way to spend the summer. I am not sure exactly how many miles I hiked but it was a lot. It was also a really gratifying experience to rediscover my hometown anew and gain a different and deeper appreciation for how amazing that part of California is. The wine country book contains 75 trails spread around Sonoma, Napa and southern Lake Counties. It has hikes through vineyards, along coastal bluffs, next to beautiful creeks,beneath towering redwoods, deep into vast wild areas and to the summits of tall mountains with amazing views (though none are nearly as tall as Mount Shasta, of course!). Even though I knew and loved the trails in this area, I gained a new appreciation for just how much of a first rate hiking destination the wine country is. Here are a few images that will be in the book, to give an idea of the kinds of places the trails journey through:
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Both books are going to be released in the next couple of months but they are available for presale on Amazon right now. Some of the details on the Amazon pages like page count, the number of hikes and (hopefully) the release date are inaccurate and will be updated soon. Of course, once the book is in print, some changes will necessarily be made to the Hike Mt Shasta website. What exactly this will entail and how much content will need to be removed remains to be seen. I hope to leave as much beta as possible on the site, but some aspects will have to be altered. Despite this, the blog will continue to be published. For those looking for a Mount Shasta fix or some good discussion of the area’s virtues, there will still be plenty of that on this site.
Thanks to everyone who has read Hike Mt Shasta and been supportive of this effort. I really appreciate it and I sincerely hope that what I have written about the Mount Shasta area has been edifying, helpful and encouraging.
It seems my adventure writing hiking guides is just beginning. The opportunity to write many more books has been presented. Perhaps “Hiking Oklahoma” will be next!