Friday, October 12, 2018

Rugged Access for All - Overview

Rugged Access for All is the working title for our book project under contract with Rowman & Littlefield. 90,000 words are due to the publisher on November 1, 2019. One question we've been asked is about the book's content.

There are thousands of hiking books on the market (and we own hundreds) that cover just about every topic: guides, reference, how-to, memoirs, best sellers, books made into movies, narrative non-fiction, hiking with families, hiking with babies, and even a few are written about accessible trails.

The only thing missing is a book written for families who have a member that uses an all-terrain jog stroller for toddlers and families with a child or adult in a wheelchair who use special mobility chairs designed for trails that don't meet ADA requirements.

With Rugged Access for All, we intend to fill this gap considering there are millions of families in the United States that fall within this all-terrain jog stroller and mobility chair category. Pushiking (One person pushing another in an all-terrain jog stroller or mobility chair while hiking) is the word we like to call our hobby. 

Rugged Access for All will be a mixture of trail guidebook w/pictures and maps, how-to for those just starting out, and a little narrative non-fiction mixed in to make the book a little more personal.

Even though Kellisa has traveled and hiked in all 50 United States, we didn't hike those trails with the intention of writing a guidebook. Therefore, we will be heading back out across the United States to find the best rugged trails for wheels to include in the book. From mountains to oceans to deserts to swamps to forests to canyons...the United States offers just about every kind of wilderness experience you can imagine. The trails will range from easy to extreme and everything in between. Some trails will be short, while others will be long. We might even backpack a few. We'll hike in all four seasons and in all weather conditions. At the end, we hope to include a little bit of everything our beautiful country has to offer those who want to get out and pushike!

Monday, October 8, 2018

Harney Peak

South Dakota

October 2006 

Highpoint Elevation: 7,242 feet
Elevation Gain on Hike: 1,550 feet
Round Trip Hiking Distance: 6 miles

After summiting North Dakota, I drove south towards Harney Peak, the highest point in South Dakota. I decided to take a detour to see The Devils Tower. I decided to go for an evening hike and noticed a couple of climbers high on their route. They ended up spending the night on the side of Devils Tower while I had a comfortable evening spent in my tent in the shadow of the famous rock formation.

The following day, I enjoyed a couple roadside waterfalls on my drive to the trailhead for Harney Peak. The hike to the summit tower was uneventful, yet beautiful as the trail weaved around and over countless boulders and rock spires. The views from the top were endless, including the backside of the rocks that were carved in the shape of four United States Presidents. 

After, my third highpoint in three days, I spent my last couple of hours sightseeing. I drove the Needles Highway, passed through Custer State Park, and ended my day with a quick trip through Badlands National Park.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Eagle Mountain


October 2006

Highpoint Elevation: 2,301 feet
Elevation Gain on Hike: 650 feet
Round Trip Hiking Distance: 6 miles

My itinerary called for flights from Jacksonville, FL to Minneapolis to Duluth after work, but my second segment was canceled and rebooked for the following morning. I was on a tight time frame with a lot of miles to cover, both driving and hiking and I couldn't afford flight delays. I changed my rental car reservation to start in Minneapolis instead of Duluth and despite the late evening hour, I started my drive north. I stopped just short of Duluth around 2am to sleep in the car at a rest stop. It's been 12 years, but for some reason I did not have a hotel reservation for that night. The cold woke me up several times and I used the car's heat to warm myself. Despite the lack of sleep, the cold made it easy to get an early start on my drive to the highpoint of Minnesota. Along the way, I enjoyed the sun rising above Lake Superior and I stopped at several roadside waterfalls. 

Saturday, October 6, 2018

White Butte

North Dakota

October 2006

Highpoint Elevation: 3,506 feet
Elevation Gain on Hike: 406 feet
Round Trip Hiking Distance: 2 miles

12 years ago...I had the opportunity to get away on a solo hiking trip for a few days. Back in 2006, I only hiked a few short trails with Kellisa and had no idea what the future would hold for us. Kellisa spent from her birth (May 23, 1999) through early 2006 as a very medically fragile child with only a few outdoor adventures. I had been afraid to leave Kellisa for such a selfish trip, but finally felt comfortable enough to recharge my batteries on a quick trip to reach the highpoints of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

I had the entire trail to myself on White Butte except for one prairie rattlesnake that was blocking the path. The snake was not afraid of me or at all intimidated by my presence. I even tried unsuccessfully to use my trekking poles to convince the snake to move. I really didn't want to go off trail in the high grasses where I was convinced even more snakes lurked, but I had no choice if I wanted to continue.