The Arctic Vortex last week offered a good opportunity to hunker down and work on one of my New Year’s projects, which is to improve this blog. To that end, I am participating in the Word Press “Zero to Hero” challenge of daily “here’s how to enhance your blog” lessons. Today’s lesson included commenting on three blogs (done) and then taking the exercise a step further by writing about three blogs. Hence, I present a trio of hiking blogs: Girls on the Way, 1 Happy Hiker, and Live Free and Hike: A NH Day Hiker’s Blog. All three include links to other good hiking blogs, but I always tell my students that three examples are enough for illustrating a point or idea, and I’ll stick with that advice here.
Girls on the Way is the blog of Patricia Ellis Herr and her two daughters, Alex and Sage. Trish Ellis Herr first started writing the blog when Alex was five, and Alex decided that she wanted to hike all of New Hampshire’s 48 four-thousand footers. These efforts eventually became a neat little book titled Up: A Mother and Daughter’s Peak-Bagging Adventures. I loved the book, both for the descriptions of approximately 15 hikes and for the way the author took each chapter and turned it into a lesson, e.g. “Some Things Will Always Be Beyond Your Control”.
I don’t want to give away too much, but I will say that while reading the book, the chapter titled “Mistakes Can Have Serious Consequences” took me back to 1982 when, as a college sophomore, I followed the news about two teenagers who had lost their way while doing a winter climb of Mount Washington. They encountered whiteout conditions on the way down and lost their way. Both survived, but one boy lost both of his legs. Another young man on the Search and Rescue team was killed in an avalanche during the search. Today that teenager who survived a terrible ordeal is Trish’s husband and a world-renowned scientist. It was eerie to read about him telling his story to daughter as a cautionary tale–and to recollect my vague memories of the event, and of fellow students who had undertaken similar adventures but had better luck.
Some readers may wonder if Ellis-Herr pushes her daughter to do these hikes, a point she addresses in the book. As she observes, a parent can’t force a kid who doesn’t want to hike do the arduous hikes that Alex undertakes; doing so is just about impossible (unless you are willing to carry said child up the mountain). Children have boundless energy and the question of physical stamina isn’t a problem for most; instead, kids often lack the mental stamina needed for lengthy hikes. Alex definitely had (and has) that mental stamina, and her sister Sage follows in her footsteps. (For the record, even though my son is a good hiker, I would never attempt to conquer the 48 4,000 footers with him unless a helicopter or water slide was involved). Maybe someday my son will surprise me and announce that he wants to conquer the 48 summits, but until then, I will hike most 4,000 footers on my own.
Since the publication of Up, Trish and her daughters have had many other adventures, including several months in Spain hiking the 500-mile El Camino de Santiago long-distance pilgrimage. This summer, they hope to hike the John Muir Trail, and I hope they get to go, because hiking the JMT is also on my hiking bucket list.
Another hiking blog I like is 1 HappyHiker. The Happy Hiker’s blog is very simple in appearance and he doesn’t share much information about himself, but he is a good writer and has archived many posts about adventures in New England and beyond (not to mention that his blog has a great title, a little corny, but who isn’t happy when standing on a mountaintop?). Lots of solid well-researched information and ideas for hikes in the region. This blog often comes up on Google searches related to hiking in New Hampshire.
Finally, I’ll give a short shout-out to Live Free and Hike: A NH Day Hiker’s Blog by Seacoast resident Karl Searle, who writes about hiking and outdoor adventures, including many that are family-oriented. The blog has a great title and good content about adventures within striking distance of the Seacoast region.
Readers, if you have any ideas for a revised blog title, please send them my way! “Random History and Offbeat Trivia” is okay, and reflects the fact that sometimes you just need to put the fingers on the keyboard and start typing. But I am trying to devise a title that more effectively captures the essence of this multi-faceted blog: hiking, adventures, travel, history.