a conversation with the earth guidebooks + inspiration + insight

Opinionated Hikers

Kathy and Craig Copeland are the opinionated hikers. Together, they've hiked more than 40,000 kilometers worldwide and devoted their lives to creating uniquely compelling guidebooks. They own and run hikingcamping.com, an independent, creativity-driven publishing company.

"Hiking guidebooks typically withhold judgment about which trails are truly worth hiking, which are not, and why," says Kathy.

"As a result, they fail to guide most readers, who have very limited time for hiking: perhaps only a few weekends each summer.

"This indiscriminating approach is also why most hiking guidebooks are so tedious. They're timid, feeble, oblivious to readers' intelligence."

"Publishers have allowed hiking guidebooks to languish as an inferior subspecies of literature," Craig elaborates. "They think accuracy is the only criterion for this genre. So the most inspiring landscapes on Earth are poorly represented by some of the most boring books ever written.

"As the opinionated hikers, we're changing that. Hiking guidebooks can be literary and visual art. They should at least make a brave attempt to reflect the beauty, wonder, exhilaration and spiritual awareness that presumably moved the authors to want to write these books in the first place."

Every hikingcamping.com guidebook is written by the opinionated hikers and therefore distinctly opinionated, but only one is subtitled The Opinionated Hiking Guide. It's the Copelands' first book: the provocatively titled Don't Waste Your Time in the Canadian Rockies. Originally published in 1994, it's now in its sixth edition.

To learn about the Copelands' other unique books or to check out their useful and stimulating blog, visit http://www.hikingcamping.com, the home of the opinionated hikers.

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