Le Mejie, from Plateau d'Emparis, French Alps
Kathy and Craig Copeland are dedicated to each other, and to hiking, in that order. Their second date was a 32-km (20-mile) dayhike in Arizona. Since then they haven't stopped for long.
They've trekked through much of the world's vertical topography, including the Himalayas, Patagonian Andes, Pyrenees, Swiss and French Alps, Scottish Highlands, Dolomites, Sierra Nevada, North Cascades, Colorado Rockies, New Zealand, and canyons of the American Southwest. In 1989, they moved from the U.S. to Canada, so they could live near the Canadian Rockies—the range that inspired the first of their refreshingly unconventional guidebooks.
While living in Vancouver, British Columbia, they explored the Coast Mountains and the North Cascades, then wrote hiking guidebooks on each of those ranges. Later, while living in a cabin on Kootenay Lake (between B.C.'s Purcell and Selkirk mountains), they researched and wrote two more hiking guidebooks: one on the Kootenays, the other on the premier trails of southern B.C.
Kathy and Craig have since returned to the Canadian Rockies and now live in Canmore, Alberta. Their desire to hike, however, keeps them travelling constantly. For example, they migrate each spring and fall to the high-desert canyon country of southern Utah. Their guidebook on that sensual, other-worldly landscape is especially stimulating.
But Kathy and Craig agree: no matter how arduous the trail, or how severe the conditions, hiking is the easiest of the many tasks necessary to create a guidebook. What they find most challenging is having to sit. They spend twice as much time at their computers—writing, organizing, editing, checking facts, rewriting, re-organizing, re-editing, re-checking facts—as they do on the trail.
The result is worth it. Kathy and Craig's colourful writing, opinionated commentary, and enthusiasm for the joys of hiking make their guidebooks uniquely helpful and compelling.