“Please take that hike out of your book. It’s a secret few people know about. I want to keep it that way.”
We rarely receive a request to excise a particular trip from one of our hiking guidebooks, but when we do, that’s the thrust of the argument: Someone wants to keep their “secret route” all to themselves.
We understand their desire for solitude, because we prize it too. And we recognize that publishing a description of a trail or route will likely increase the number of people who hike it.
We also believe hiking makes people better people: healthier, happier, calmer, saner. The more of us who go hiking, the better off we’ll all be. And one of the best ways to encourage more people to go hiking is to spread the word about trails and routes that are particularly rewarding.
So we’re comfortable spreading the word.
Still, the “secrets” we’ve “revealed” in our books are, in fact, not secrets. All were known before we published our descriptions of them. Granted, some were not widely known, but neither were they unknown. We’re simply giving a few more people the confidence to attempt them.
For every little-known hike described in one of our books, there are many we’ve chosen not to publicize. These truly are secrets. Some were suggested to us by our hiking buddies. Others we sussed out by trial and error.
If you want to covet genuine “hiking secrets,” you can. All you need is a topo map, a compass, the skill to use them, and the will to explore and discover. Be aware, of course, that you’ll occasionally expend a lot of energy to no avail.
Usually, what prompts us to study a topo map is a canyon, ridge, or peak that catches our attention while we’re driving. We glimpse a potential route leading to a compelling goal. By scrutinizing the map, we learn whether or not the route might “go.” If we think it’ll go, we agree to come back and try it someday.
That’s what we did last week, when we finally attempted ????????? Ridge. We noticed it years ago. It’s northeast of ???????? Ridge (Trip ??, page ??, Where Locals Hike in the Canadian Rockies). Trails briefly probe the canyons on both sides of ???????? Ridge. The ridge itself is trail-less, but the crest has always intrigued us.
Now that we’ve hiked ???????? Ridge, we can tell you our opinion of it and offer directions that will help you hike it. But we won’t. We’ll leave it a secret.*
But thousands more secrets await you in the Canadian Rockies. We hope you make time to ferret out a few this summer.
*Oh, alright. We’ll give you a visual hint. Here’s a photo revealing the crest of ???????? Ridge.