spent much of my life in West Michigan, born and raised in Grand
Rapids near the eastern shoreline of the Big Lake. There I learned
to love and respect the natural world. For as long as I can
remember, I have enjoyed being outdoors... exploring the majesty and
wonder of nature by way of the back roads and out-of-the-way paths
seldom traveled. Though its power and fury were often felt,
especially in Michigan's harsh winters and stormy springs, it was
the quiet and tranquility within nature's beauty that captivated me
from a very young age and made a lasting impression. Today nature
continues to captivate me and I feel very fortunate to be living in
Southwest Virginia now. There is a timeless, incorruptible
magnificence in these surroundings. The rugged beauty and splendor
of the Appalachian Mountains, it's diverse ecology and geology,
offers a multitude of quality hiking adventures perhaps unequalled
in any other area of the country. It is a hikers paradise!
Hiker was created to fully explore the diverse and wonderful hiking
opportunities in and around western Virginia. It is a work in
progress, so if you want to share your thoughts about any hikes that
are not yet featured (or even those that are), please send me an
email. As a reporter for
LocalHikes.com, and in an effort not to duplicate those
hikes here, most of the treks listed on the Index of Hikes page will
open in a new window with my report on the LocalHikes web site.
The hikes described typically take place on trails, rather than on paved or highly
manicured paths. Paved paths are great for touring cyclists or
joggers, but in my mind, they are not the optimal locations for a
true hiking experience. I believe that a great hike should take you
away from the hustle and bustle of "civilization," providing a
measure of solitude, an experience of being out in the wilderness.
Keep in mind that hike difficulty
ratings such as easy, moderate, and strenuous are somewhat
arbitrary. It really depends on an
individual's ability and experience as well as the terrain one
encounters. Some hikers climb even the steepest hills like mountain
goats but then complain about their knees all the way down a grade.
Others like flat hikes, or get hot and irritable in the sun, or
every other possible variation. If you're an experienced hiker, I
suggest you check out the maps and photos on the reports; you probably
know what kind of hike you're looking for. For those who are new to
hiking, try out a few short hikes and see what you like.
The reports on LocalHikes.com
includes the following information:
- Directions to the the trailhead,
trail description, and other pertinent information.
- A list of applicable guide
books and Internet links related to the hike.
- A topographical trail map of
the hike and a highway map of the hike location.
- Up to four photographs that best represent the hike.
- Mileage is approximate, based
upon GPS or the management agency.
I have hiked all of the trails
listed on this site
myself, and taken each photograph. Any mistakes are mine. If you
come across errors and/or trail conditions that merit a change, or can fill in the blanks for any missing information
(particularly plant identification and trail mileage), please e-mail
me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also note that all content (including photos) is protected by
copyright, and use of content is prohibited without consent.