“SIERRA” and the Pacific Crest Trail

sierra-launch  sierra-launch0   sierra-launch-1

Last October, I launched my newest AWOL thriller, SIERRA, which takes place along the Pacific Crest Trail. Right now many hikers are preparing for a long-distance hike, and I’m taking this opportunity to reach out to the backpacking and outdoor community.

My hike of the PCT was completed in 2008, and I will never forget the awe-inspiring beauty of this magnificent hiking trail. As many of you know, the PCT is contiguous with some of the John Muir Trail and goes from one end of Yosemite to the other. In other posts, I’ve shown some of my pictures.

While Sierra is a thriller and has the typical violence of drug cartels, it is fiction; I saw none of that out there. My novel should in no way impede you from planning this awesome hike. Having said that, it is always wise to stay alert in the wilds. We all know about the things that can happen near the Mexican border. What you may not realize is the lack of security at the Canadian border. I hope fellow hikers and general readers will check out Sierra. It’s sold at Barnes & Noble and is available at independent bookstores.

If you click on the link here, you have many options. Thank you!      http://www.turnerpublishing.com/books/detail/sierra

Available October 2016

Available now.

Advertisements

The Pacific Crest Trail and “Sierra”

sierra-launch-best-pic    sierra-launch   sierra-launch-old-buzzard

Here are a few more pictures from my Sierra launch. This is the second novel in my AWOL thriller series. As many of you know, Sierra is about hard drugs muled by released prisoners along the Pacific Crest Trail. Drug cartels play a major role as I take the reader from the Mexican border to Canada. The main action occurs in the High Sierra, and although I didn’t see anything like this on the PCT, I had fun making it up.

I’ve completed the next novel in the series, which involves the Continental Divide Trail. A fourth thriller is planned.

Let me know how you like Sierra. Thank you and happy trails!   http://www.turnerpublishing.com/books/detail/sierra

 

“SIERRA” and the Pacific Crest Trail

sierra-launch  sierra-launch0   sierra-launch-1

On Wednesday, October 26, I launched my newest AWOL thriller, SIERRA. The pictures above are from the event, which took place at the Hingham Public Library, with Buttonwood Books. Thank you if you were one of the 65 people attending. It was a great evening as I quizzed the group, gave out PCT prizes, showed slides from my actual Pacific Crest Trail hike, took questions, and read a brief excerpt from my novel.

My hike of the PCT was completed in 2008, and I will never forget the awe-inspiring beauty of this magnificent hiking trail. As many of you know, the PCT is contiguous with some of the John Muir Trail and goes from one end of Yosemite to the other. In other posts, I’ve shown some of my pictures.

While Sierra is a thriller and has the typical violence of drug cartels, it is fiction; I saw none of it out there. My novel should in no way impede you from planning this mighty hike. Having said that, it is always wise to stay alert in the wilds. We all know about the things that can happen near the Mexican border. What you may not realize is the lack of security at the Canadian border. I hope fellow hikers and general readers will check out Sierra. It’s available from any bookstore and is also available from Amazon, in book or Kindle format.

If you click on the link here, you have many options. Thank you!      http://www.turnerpublishing.com/books/detail/sierra

Available October 2016

Available now.

My Second Hiking Thriller–Mayhem along the Pacific Crest Trail

Available October 2016

Awol thriller-Available Oct 2016

This blog is about hiking, so it makes sense to me to introduce you to my newest Awol hiking thriller, Sierra. But first, I should back up a bit and tell you how these novels all started.

How does a retired Coca-Cola salesman living a quiet life near Boston, Massachusetts become an author of thrillers?  It all started in 2003 when I hiked the Appalachian Trail after taking an early retirement at age 60.  As I walked alone one day, I began to wonder “what if…?” and conjured up a serial killer loose on the trail, stalking other hikers. He collides with a Gulf War vet with PTSD who calls himself  “AWOL.”  That scenario became The Trail, my first novel published last year by Turner Publishing.  It’s doing well and has made Boston’s South Shore top-ten fiction listings several times.

This month, Sierra, the second novel in the series, releases. Sierra pits “Awol” against a drug cartel on the Pacific Crest Trail – which I’ve also hiked. I’m now working on the third novel in the series, set on the Continental Divide Trail. And I’m still hiking.

I hope my blog followers will check out Sierra. It’s available (as is The Trail) from bookstores as well as Amazon and other outlets. I’d love to hear from you about the novel. Thank you, and happy trails!

UntitledMA31117610-0015TheTrailcover4-30-15

The Pacific Crest Trail

new-background.jpg

Crater Lake-Oregon

Crater Lake-Oregon

For awesome beauty and majesty, nothing I’ve hiked compares to the Pacific Crest Trail. Parts of other trails may be as scenic, but for long stretches, such as the PCT’s course through Yosemite, it is, for me, incomparable. All these pictures are from my PCT hike and there were scores of others I could have picked that were just as impressive.

Crater Lake in Oregon is a keeper. Of course all the High Sierra is magnificent. Even the simple act of crossing the Bridge of the Gods, which connects Oregon to Washington is awesome on a nice day. As one walks the PCT over this bridge, just look down at the mighty Columbia River below. You’ll see paddle steamers, sails, and para-sails.

I’ll admit the southern most portion of the PCT is dry and forbidding, but even here the trail is different. I’ll never forget looking up at a panoramic night sky when I camped near the Anza-Borrego desert. I was puzzled by what looked like a large cloud looming over me. Until I realized it was the Milky Way!

Put the Pacific Crest Trail on your bucket list. And remember, you can do it in sections. You don’t have to thru-hike it. Happy trails!

why hike      sierra lake      raging river     sierra brook

My Second Hiking Thriller–Mayhem along the Pacific Crest Trail

Available October 2016

Awol thriller-Available Oct 2016

This blog is about hiking, so it makes sense to me to introduce you to my newest Awol hiking thriller, Sierra. But first, I should back up a bit and tell you how these novels all started.

How does a retired Coca-Cola salesman living a quiet life near Boston, Massachusetts become an author of thrillers?  It all started in 2003 when I hiked the Appalachian Trail after taking an early retirement at age 60.  As I walked alone one day, I began to wonder “what if…?” and conjured up a serial killer loose on the trail, stalking other hikers. He collides with a Gulf War vet with PTSD who calls himself  “AWOL.”  That scenario became The Trail, my first novel published last year by Turner Publishing.  It’s doing well and has made Boston’s South Shore top-ten fiction listings several times.

This month, Sierra, the second novel in the series, releases. Sierra pits “Awol” against a drug cartel on the Pacific Crest Trail – which I’ve also hiked. I’m now working on the third novel in the series, set on the Continental Divide Trail. And I’m still hiking.

I hope my blog followers will check out Sierra. It’s available (as is The Trail) from bookstores as well as Amazon and other outlets. I’d love to hear from you about the novel. Thank you, and happy trails!

UntitledMA31117610-0015TheTrailcover4-30-15

Tip: Before an extended hike, do a shakedown with all your equipment.

IMG_0187

Before leaving on an extended hike, do yourself a favor–take a multi-night shakedown hike with all your equipment.

Unless you hike overnight several times a year, don’t try to wing it. And if you have new equipment, give it a test run. Set up your tent under trail conditions and sleep in it. The best way to make sure that you will sleep comfortably, is to test your pad and bag, and your sleep wear, on an overnight. Fire up that stove, whether it’s old or new. If you bought a new GPS unit, now is the time to learn how to use it.

During shakedown, you can organize your pack and gear the way you want it, so you’ll be ready to roll when you go on that long hike. You will be able to act quickly when the weather turns. You will be surprised at what you learn on a shakedown hike. Why doesn’t this food taste right? Should I bring seasoning? Is this water filter going to work, or do I want another option? How could I forget my packets of hot-chocolate? Yikes–I didn’t bring band-aids! I can never find my head lamp. I’m always losing my map.

You get the idea; it’s better to get the kinks worked out ahead of time. Or would you rather look confused and befuddled in front of your kids, the guys, your significant other?

Happy trails!         

Trail Angels and Trail Magic

Water Cache--Pacific Crest Trail

Water Cache–Pacific Crest Trail

Hats off to all Trail Angels and to any other good souls who make Trail Magic.

As defined by Michele Ray in her book, How to Hike the A.T., a trail angel is a person who does kind things for hikers, such as offering them shelter, food, or water. Trail magic is comprised of the serendipitous, silent acts of kindness performed by trail angels.

hoker trail magic

Trail Magic performed by a Trail Angel

Trail Magic can be an exhilarating experience. Imagine yourself tired, cranky, and beat up from the trail. Most of all you are thirsty. You’re low on water and what water you have is warm. All of a sudden, you see a piece of cardboard fastened to a tree. ICE COLD DRINKS STRAIGHT AHEAD ON RIGHT! it says. Really? Can this be true? Sure enough, there’s a cooler stashed beneath a pine just off the trail. You swing up the lid and packed in ice are Mountain Dews, Cokes, Gatorades—bottled ice water!

Yes, there are such grand and considerate people in our land. On the Pacific Crest Trail, trail angels regularly stock caches of bottled water in gallons along the desert boundary. These people are so dependable that their water caches are listed in the trail guides. They may be volunteers from hiking clubs, who take turns, but whoever you are, please know that we hikers appreciate it.

At an Appalachian Trail junction near the town of Andover, Maine, an old man sat on a stump with a basket of fruit beside him. An apple never tasted so good. This trail angel told me he came to the same spot several times a week during thru-hiker season. He had peaches, pears, and plums, besides apples.

Talk about trail angels. The picnic photo is from the top of Beauty Spot, a bald in North Carolina, right on the A.T. The three ladies on the left are trail angels. They drove a van, piled with food, to the top and shared with thru-hikers all day. The occasion? Easter Sunday, 2003! Need I say more.

What trail angel or trail magic experience can you share?

Trail Angels--Appalachian Trail

Trail Angels–Appalachian Trail

Mt. Washington: A grand but treacherous mountain.

Cog Railway--Mt. Washington

Cog Railway–Mt. Washington

correct 4

Mt. Washington, in New Hampshire, holds the record for the second highest wind speed ever recorded: 231 mph!

The May 2011 issue of Backpacker magazine gives these statistics about the mountain for the continental U.S. Coldest year-round average temperature (27.2 degrees F), most subfreezing days per year (242), most days per year in heavy clouds (244), and highest annual rainfall (101.9 inches).

The article goes on to say: Mt. Washington lies at a convergence of storm paths coming from the south Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Pacific Northwest. Add the mountain’s north-south orientation (which blocks moderating west winds), and you get a recipe for perfect storms year-round.

You must be prepared when you climb this grand but treacherous mountain. The picture was taken on a cold summit in August, but we had clear views which is rare. When I hiked over the summit on my A.T. thru-hike in ’03, I couldn’t see a thing as I squinted from cairn to cairn in a stinging rain.

The four of us in the picture decided the hike up was enough and took the mountain’s Cog Railway down from the summit.

(The photo in the Mt. Washington hyperlink was taken by Roger Albright.)

HY-OH: Hike Your Own Hike

Hiking the A.T.

Mt. Katahdin-Maine

English: The Franconia Ridge, a section of the...

HY-OH is a long-distance hiker’s mantra. It stands for Hike Your Own Hike, and here’s how it comes about.

You meet some fellow thru-hikers on the trail and start hiking together every day. One day your fellow hikers want to go into town early. They see a yellow-blazed trail that cuts some time off the official white-blazed trail. You object, but they sell you on their idea. Mistake. Hike your own hike.

Perhaps you want to learn more about flora in the region and wish to take more time examining wildflowers. The others are impatient and puzzled by this. So what! Hike your own hike.

You pair off with the hiker you enjoy being with most. One day he says, “I’ve never been to NYC. Man, that’s one place I’ve gotta see. Can you show me around when we get near that area?” The last thing you have in mind is a congested metropolis. Be careful–hike your own hike.

You’ve made a committment to yourself to complete this thru-hike. Your thru-hike. You like these guys you tramp with. One of them may become a close friend in the years ahead. But you are destined to fail in your quest, if you hike some other person’s hike and not your own. If you have a bit slower pace and struggle to keep up, you will hike yourself into injury. If you miss out on what you had planned to see or do, you will regret it later and may become disillusioned in the rough days ahead. HY-OH. Hike your own hike.

FromDellcomputer10May11710That’s the Canadian border terminus of the PCT in the picture.