Anniversary Of My First Hiking Journal

It was 17 years ago today that I “published” my first hiking journal.

I had accompanied two friends, “Dream Weaver” and “Week Knees” to hike the AT in Connecticut. We were spending our first night there in a church basement, getting ready for the next day, when one of them joked that I should “write down everything that happened.”

It was in that moment that my journaling career began. I found paper and pencil and began to record our adventure. As soon as I returned from that trip I sat down at my computer and typed everything in a Word document. I emailed it to my friends on May 13, 1999. My writing was still pretty rough in those days. I’ve decided not to go back and clean it up. You can read it here.

I would discover that converting my hiking trips to the written word had an incredible impact on me. Not only did it bring my hikes to life for everyone else, but it began to make something that I had already loved even better. Pouring myself into my writing also helped me deal with a painful divorce that I was going through.

It was a short time later that another friend mentioned that I should start a web site. Soon afterward, Dane’s Place was born.

Each time I went hiking I uploaded my journal and shared it with the world (the world at that time was about 7 friends and 12 family members). Eventually, I added an informational page about the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail, which now averages about 30 views per day.

In time, I began to add some theological papers that I had written. I would later learn that two of these papers would become required reading in a theology class somewhere, and that a professor would catch someone plagiarizing me on one occasion (I was asked to remove my work from the public sector, but I refused).

I continued to blog (though it wasn’t called blogging then) and my website grew. Eventually, I took the frightening plunge and released my first book. This was followed by a second, and a Youtube channel was added.

Where all of this is going (if anyplace at all), I don’t know. I really don’t have any designs other than continue writing, hiking, blogging, and enjoying the life that I have been blessed to live.

And to all my friends and family who have been reading my writing for the past 17 years – THANK YOU! I absolutely would not have done it without your support. Your responses have meant more to me than you could ever know.





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