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refreeman
08-06-2007, 10:19
I enjoy reading trail journals. I am also impressed that hikers take the time and energy while hiking to record their experiences. Of course, a hikerís commitment to their trail journal varies greatly. Hence my question:

Whose online trail journal is the best you ever read and your favorite? :)

I ask more in the spirit of apprenticing the hikerís effort in producing a great trail journal and less in the spirit of competition. The trail journal doesnít have to be current or in progress to be mentioned. My current favorite is 2007 SOBO, Hammock Engineerís. He writes quite a lot each entry, giving a great impression of his experience. By the way Hammock Engineer is a WhiteBlaze member as many of you know.

Hereís a link to his trail journal.:clap
http://www.trailjournals.com/nater/

There are lots of trail journals, so everyone pointing out the ones they like would make the best use trail journal reading time.
Whose online trail journal is the best you ever read and your favorite?

Frolicking Dinosaurs
08-06-2007, 10:30
I like the 2005 journal of Troll, Anchor and Oblivious. (http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?trailname=3002)

Hammock Engineer is one of my friends and I am enjoying his journal as well. I am also following Certain's journal (http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?trailname=4316) (Michele on this site)this year and enjoying it.

GatorGump's journal (http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?trailname=5412) from this year is a lot of laughs, but it isn't as much of a treatment of the experience of a trail hike as a comic look at the trail world.

mrc237
08-06-2007, 10:55
My own, the one I keep in my head! ;)

Mags
08-06-2007, 11:04
The 1983 AT journal "THEN THE HAIL CAME" is still my favorite:
http://www.skwc.com/exile/Hail-nf.html

burger
08-06-2007, 13:21
I have two all-time favorites. Break-a-Leg's 2005 NOBO (http://trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=85682) (she didn't finish the trail) was terrific--really funny and well-written.

And BirdLegs' NOBO (http://trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=171492) hike this year has been a great read, also. She's high-brow and low-brow at the same time. It makes the journal really diverse.

I'm a really picky reader--I've browsed through hundreds and hundreds of journals over the year, but these two definitely stand out.

Midway Sam
08-06-2007, 13:25
The 1983 AT journal "THEN THE HAIL CAME" is still my favorite:
http://www.skwc.com/exile/Hail-nf.html

Thanks Mags for the reminder! I started reading Then the hail came a while back and got sidetracked. I had totally forgotten about it.

Newb
08-06-2007, 13:26
I have two all-time favorites. Break-a-Leg's 2005 NOBO (http://trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=85682) (she didn't finish the trail) was terrific--really funny and well-written.

And BirdLegs' NOBO (http://trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=171492) hike this year has been a great read, also. She's high-brow and low-brow at the same time. It makes the journal really diverse.

I'm a really picky reader--I've browsed through hundreds and hundreds of journals over the year, but these two definitely stand out.

Birdleg's journal is getting a bit racy..apparently the NoBos are hiking "au natural" these days. Oh my.

twosticks
08-06-2007, 14:02
The 1983 AT journal "THEN THE HAIL CAME" is still my favorite:
http://www.skwc.com/exile/Hail-nf.html

I've read that and I agree. It's a very good read. Did you read the after part? By the look of his website, it looks like he's doing good and has made it past the "rocks" of life.

rhjanes
08-06-2007, 14:07
Birdleg's journal is getting a bit racy..apparently the NoBos are hiking "au natural" these days. Oh my.
and no photo's.......... :-?

DItto on all of the above journals. All great ones.

bulldog49
08-06-2007, 14:36
I really enjoyed Red Dane's journal last year. This year I've been following Uncle Tom.

John B
08-06-2007, 15:12
I'll have to say that Trine Jensen's 2006 journal was the one that I like the most. She never had a bad word to say about anyone or anything, and was always cheerful no matter what the situation.
www.trailjournals.com/reddane (http://www.trailjournals.com/reddane)

Overflow's journals was incredibly funny. At the beginning, I would have bet $100 that she wouldn't have made it past Neel's Gap, but she was able to laugh at herself and keep a great attitude, such that by the time she made it through the Smokies, I knew she'd go all the way.
www.trailjournals.com/ChristieK (http://www.trailjournals.com/ChristieK)

I logged in everyday just to see if there were updates on them.

Jim Adams
08-06-2007, 18:17
Trine Jensen's journal is a very inspiring read. Always picks me up.

geek

Jim Adams
08-06-2007, 18:19
Also 42 from 2006. Her descriptions of her final days on the trail and her Katahdin climb are so reflective that they brought tears to my eyes.

geek

Mags
08-06-2007, 18:35
Also 42 from 2006. H


She is a very good friend of mine. She is as cool in real life as she is on her journal. If you read her early entries she makes a reference to Coach Mags. ;)

She may be starting a job with Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado as a youth coordinator. Hope she gets the job... She'd be awewsome at it!

Flinx
08-06-2007, 18:36
I really enjoyed this Scottish guy's ( flying scotsman) 2003 AT Journal...he had lots of heart! Funny guy too...made a lot of friends :)

http://trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=26692

Tipper
08-06-2007, 18:59
Mark "Postcard" Hughes'. All of his AT trips (on trailjournals.com) and his aborted PCT trip this year. Lots of wonderful original art and 'artfully' crafted words.

Topcat
08-06-2007, 19:39
I really liked the journals in 2004 especially Dharma's http://trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=49448
and Lonesome Dove's
http://trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=52769
I think the fact that they had so many pictures of people in their journals attracted me to these journals.

Jim Adams
08-06-2007, 19:49
Mags,
I met her on St. Patricks Day at Low Gap shelter and got to talk with her awhile. What an incredible woman.

geek

Lilred
08-06-2007, 23:08
http://www.2000milehike.com/

I agree with mags on "Then the hail came" Excellent!! Another good one from '83 was "All in one Roll" by Gonzo. If I remember right, I got to Then the Hail Came from Gonzo's journal.

SawnieRobertson
08-06-2007, 23:12
Back in 1998 I found Magaroni's journal to be very helpful. It seemed to me that he did everything just right, especially carrying a watermelon to the top.

Then along came Belcher. That woman was outrageous, and I could be heard reading it (silently) because of my sudden bursts of peels of laughter, snickers, etc.

I liked them all, and then there got to be so many. And with so many, there was the inevitable growth in numbers of journalists who would leave the trail and even those who would just lose interest in writing. I started finding myself disappointed too often.

Of course, Right Turn was kind. He hurt himself right off before we'd gone too many miles. That was, in a way, a kindness.

BUT the one I like the most is my own, deficient as it is. Somehow or another Kahley found it after WF had destroyed it. I lost all those encouraging notes from people, but I got back the daily account of what all had happened. I don't read it often, but, when I do, I remember why I love the trail.--Kinnickinic

Mags
08-07-2007, 10:57
Mags,
I met her on St. Patricks Day at Low Gap shelter and got to talk with her awhile.


I should be seeing her tonight. Small hiker world as I like to say....

Mags
08-07-2007, 11:03
http://www.2000milehike.com/

I agree with mags on "Then the hail came" Excellent!! Another good one from '83 was "All in one Roll" by Gonzo. If I remember right, I got to Then the Hail Came from Gonzo's journal.

And Gonzo's journal is on the "THEN THE HAIL CAME" site... Yep..Gonzo's journal is another good one.

What I like about these journals form the pre-Internet era is that despite the differences in equipment, a different trail experience (less people, less well known trail), etc. is that the core of thru-hiking is still the same: To experience months in the woods, to see what is over the horizon, "to walk, to see and to see what you see".

Puts in perspective all our little arguements at times. No matter what may happen it the evolution of our long-distance hiking lifestyle, the core will never change. Being able to spend so much time in the mountains will always be a sublime gift.

scope
08-07-2007, 11:22
Then The Hail Came is great, but is book-length. That can be a good thing. A lot of journals are that long and bore me to death after a while, but this one is a really good read.

I like Gatorgump's journal for its brevity. Granted, some journals are too short, like "good hiking today, I'm camping in a nice spot" - but his is nearly always entertaining while saying something at the same time.

RockStar
08-07-2007, 12:17
So overall, what do you guys look for in a good journal. I plan to keep one and not just for myself. For one, others journals, especially females, have given me so much courage and knowledge that I feel I should pay it fwd. And for another, I like keeping a journal to remember the details of my failings and successes. So keeping a written record is both for personal and public gain. I have read a lot of journals and know what I like but, my taste is very eclectic.

What MAIN things give you that satisfying feeling when reading a Journal?

*Heres to hoping you don't say proper spelling, punctuation, and grammer. Gulp*

John B
08-07-2007, 12:31
Having spent more time reading journals that I should, I'll take a stab at this.

First you need to decide your target audience. If you're writing the journal for yourself as a record of your hike and are merely allowing others to read along over your shoulder, so to speak, then you can write it in whatever way you want.

But if you're writing to describe to others what the trail is like and what you're experiencing, then I think that you should keep in mind what parts of others' journals are most interesting to you.

Too often I've found journals to be little more than a collection of names ("...Stayed at a shelter last night and Dog Food, Moron, and Trail Bear were here...") and inside jokes that only the writer and those mentioned will understand. IMO, most journals fall into this group and are almost interchangable.

The journals that I've found to be most interesting relate trail experiences and lessons learned in a way that those sitting at our computers reading along can learn from and enjoy.

Too, journals can be a great source of info for those planning a hike, so data on resupply, good/bad water sources, etc is helpful.

Finally, a gear review AFTER the hike is finished is great. I've noticed that people rarely finish their hike with the gear they started with, and a description/review of good/bad gear is very helpful.

That's my .02.

Mags
08-07-2007, 12:55
Avoid the "I ate cherry pop tart" type journals. Write not only about what you are seeing on the trail, but what you are experiencing inside too.

Very few journals talk about the rich world inside..a very important part of the journey IMO.

Gear reviews and resupply info? I honestly think that info is best left for websites and forums that specialize in that type of information. I like the journals I read to be more personal. As always, YMMV.

RockStar
08-07-2007, 13:19
I agree with both of you. I don't care what I eat, unless it is humerously grotesque or humorously delightful. And I sure as heck can't remember how old I am most of the time much less everyones Trail Name. I like Nate's Journal reference to ppl he meets. Unless they play a significant part in his day he just refers to them in general terms.

Also, I LOVE gear but, if I am bored writing it, I know you will be bored reading it and that is a waste of both our times. However, When I LIKE something a LOT, usually b/c it has proved most beneficial, I'll mention so.


Then the Hail Came is my favorite journal. I appreciate brutal and humerous honesty. I also am a sucker for properly embelished truth.