Trail Zealot

Colorado hiking, Appalachian Trail thru-hiking, and more...

Why TRAIL ZEALOT?

If I'm interested in something, I approach it with passion and energy. I've loved hiking ever since I found it as a latecomer. I've become a bit fanatical about its benefits and what it can do for people. Hiking is my religion. This website is the evangelistic arm of my hiking enterprise.

What are you doing here?

I want Colorado's aspiring hikers to become familiar with our state's plethora of hiking and camping choices. Trying to find the perfect hike in Colorado's Front Range can be very frustrating. The sheer number of options is overwhelming, and it's surprisingly easy to pick a hike that just isn't what you're looking for. Call me spoiled, but I don't think we should have to put up with sub-par hiking experiences in a state that offers so much variety. Personally, I hate the feeling of finishing up a precious weekend hike, and having that nagging feeling that I would have enjoyed something else much, much more.

I remember what it was like trying to find suitable hikes in Colorado as a newcomer. It felt impossible to synthesize all the information. What areas were good for hiking? I would often find myself in a network of trails that was geared towards other activities. For example, I'd be jonesing for a shady, quiet hike. So I'd open up my laptop and research nearby hiking for an hour, before throwing my hands up and picking a trail that looked okay. I'd end up baking in the sun on a treeless Jefferson County trail, buzzed every few seconds by mountain bikers bombing down hills. I now have developed an arsenal of resources to figure out new hikes. Even with my personal knowledge of the area, I still mess up and end up with a lame outing from time to time. That's alright with me now; going on a less-than-perfect hike means I'm exploring enough to step outside my comfort zone. But I don't want you to have to explore if you don't want to! You have precious little free time, I'd imagine.

I might not yet have an answer for how to find myself new exciting hikes. But I can at least leverage my own experiences to help others. I write trip reports to describe some of my more exciting or adventurous undertakings. I document everything I know about local trailheads and scenic hikes. I provide gear advice, so you can feel confident you are taking just the right amount of stuff on your hike, not too much or too little for the occasion.

Long story short, I want to remove some of the unnecessary uncertainty that has plagued my hike planning. I don't, however, think that uncertainty is a bad thing for outdoor recreation overall. Quite the opposite: sitting with and working through uncertainty has been one of the most rewarding parts about venturing to distant parts of the state. I just think you should have the resources to understand popular day hikes before heading out. And I think you should feel empowered to plan your own adventures like I have!

Who...are YOU?

Let’s start with the present. I live in Boulder, Colorado with my girlfriend and my little Australian Shepherd. I left graduate school near the end of 2017, and I felt pretty groundless. I wasn’t really sure where I was going, but I knew I couldn’t go backwards. A few things got me through this difficult time: reading more than I ever had, listening to human-interest podcasts (hello "Reply All"), and hiking. These activities taught me to calm the rough seas of my mind. I didn’t really make a conscious choice to start hiking like crazy, it just made sense and I found myself doing it more and more. Being so close to Boulder’s insane network of trails has afforded me the opportunity to hike A LOT. It was during this lull in my life that I was finally able to take inventory of what mattered to me, and to see a path forward. A thoughtful diet of books and long contemplative hiking got me out. So now I’m flipping things around, and pouring myself into writing about hiking. It feels really good.

Questions or feedback?

Seriously, drop me a line. I mean it. If there's anything you'd like to say to me or ask me, please don't hold back! I'm the only person who has worked on this project so far. More eyeballs and brains are a great thing. If you have a question about hiking, anything at all, I'll do my best to answer it. I might integrate my response into the website too, which only makes it better.