Uncovering Washington's Trails with Craig Romano: Hiking, Running, and Writing
For Craig Romano, exploring the trails of Washington State wasn't just a passion - it was his way of inspiring others to discover the great outdoors. Little did he know his guidebooks would take readers on a journey that not only revealed the beauty of nature, but also uncovered stories of historical and ecological importance. What new wonders will Craig uncover on his next exploration?
I hike everything I write about, nothing secondhand. I'm out there on the trail gathering information. - Craig Romano
My special guest is Craig Romano
Craig Romano, a prolific writer and outdoor enthusiast, has dedicated his life to exploring the vast beauty of Washington State. As an accomplished author, he has published numerous guidebooks on hiking trails in the region. Craig's passion for the outdoors is matched only by his rigorous research and attention to detail, ensuring that his guidebooks provide accurate and up-to-date information for fellow outdoor lovers. When he's not pounding the trails, Craig is also an accomplished runner, aiming to complete a marathon in every state.
This is Craig Romano's story:
Craig Romano's passion for hiking and trail running in Washington State led him to the painstaking process of creating detailed guidebooks for others to enjoy the great outdoors. He begins by meticulously planning his itinerary to maximize his time on the trails. Traveling light and equipped with only essential gear, Craig covers long distances, often hiking 20 miles a day, to gather firsthand information about every trail he writes about. Braving harsh weather and challenging terrain, he photographs the scenic beauty of the trails and jots down vital information in his trusty notepad. Craig's commitment to accuracy and attention to detail, combined with his ability to evoke emotion through his writing, make his guidebooks stand out as more than just a collection of trail information; they are experiences that inspire readers to venture out and explore the great outdoors.
In this episode, you will be able to:
Discover Romano's unique approach to creating hiking guidebooks for Washington State.
Learn how to juggle writing, family, and personal fitness goals for a well-rounded life. Grasp the significance of physical activity and outdoor exploration for better mental wellness. Recognize the benefits of embracing diversity, risk-taking, and learning from failure in your life. Apply successful social media and marketing strategies for authors to grow your online community.
Hiking and Researching for Guidebooks
The process of hiking and researching for guidebooks requires a delicate balance of enthusiasm, attention to detail, and an appreciation for the outdoor environment. Successful guidebook authors must adapt to new experiences and be willing to expand their knowledge beyond their comfort zone. It is essential for authors to approach every location with curiosity and apply meticulous research methods to ensure their information is accurate and intriguing. Craig Romano, while discussing his research process in the podcast, mentioned the importance of thoroughly investigating each hike to create engaging, accurate, and informative guidebooks that inspire readers to explore further. His dedication to researching each hike and providing relevant details has undoubtedly contributed to the success of his guidebooks and his credibility as a knowledgeable resource for adventurers.
The resources mentioned in this episode are:
Check out Craig Romano's latest book, Day Hiking Central Cascades: Second Edition, published by Mountaineer Press.
Visit Craig Romano's blog for more information, hiking stories, and updates on his running goals.
Sign up to receive a hike a week from Craig's other site Hike of the Week.
Visit the Washington Trail Association's website for trail reports and information on new trails.Explore the trails mentioned in this episode, such as those in the Skagit Valley, Plane, and Wenatchee foothills.
Plan a visit to Stehekin, a remote location featured in Craig's book, accessible only by boat, plane, or hiking.
Consider participating in a marathon, half marathon, or trail run in your area or travel to experience new locations.
Follow Craig Romano's example by taking notes, photographs, and using GPS tracking when hiking or running to record your experiences.If you're interested in photography, consider investing in lightweight camera gear to capture the beauty of your hikes and runs.
Connect with Craig Romano on social media to stay updated on his hiking, running, and writing adventures.
Timestamped summary of this episode:
00:00:05 - Introduction: Host Scott Cowan welcomes Craig Romano to the show and introduces the podcast as a casual conversation with interesting people living in or from Washington State.
00:02:05 - Running Marathons: Craig discusses his goal to run a marathon in every state and his experience running marathons across the country. He mentions the boom in marathons and how it has led to more events in smaller communities.
00:07:52 - Writing a Book: Craig talks about the process of writing his latest book, the second edition of Day Hiking Central Cascades. He explains how he decides which trails to cover and how he plans out his itinerary for research, including car camping and working with a hiking partner.
00:13:35 - Planning Research: Craig details his research process, including gathering information from maps and trail reports and hiking every trail he includes in his books. He also discusses how he plans out his research schedule based on snow levels, river crossings, and other factors.
00:15:12 - Hiking and Researching for Guidebooks: Craig Romano shares his process for researching and writing guidebooks. He hikes every trail, takes notes, photographs, and uses GPS to match his information with trusted sources. He also discusses the gear he uses for photography and note-taking.
00:16:16 - Photography Gear and Electronic Equipment: Romano explains that he uses a Galaxy 22 phone for photography because he travels light, but he has used big fancy camera equipment for certain projects. He also discusses the importance of keeping electronic gear dry during bad weather or river crossings.
00:19:49 - Writing Process for Guidebooks: Craig discusses his writing process for guidebooks. He starts with accurate driving directions to the trailhead and includes important information like whether dogs are allowed and if the hike is good for children. He also tries to make each hike description more than just a list of points by including descriptive language and emphasizing the experience.
00:23:01 - Time Management and Prolific Writing: Romano talks about his time management and how he is able to be so prolific in his writing. He mentions his Type A personality and goal orientation, as well as batching tasks and maximizing his time. He also notes that he has other commitments like family and book tours.
00:27:18 - Overcoming Challenges and Seizing Opportunities: Craig discusses how he approaches life with the mindset that there is so much to do and see, and he wants to seize as many opportunities as possible. He shares his recent challenges with an autoimmune disorder and turning 60, but he remains grateful for his ability to still do the things he loves.
00:29:26 - Struggles with Age: Craig discusses his struggles with turning 60 and feeling like he hasn't achieved as much as others his age. He talks about wanting to be productive and fully functioning for the next two decades.
00:31:26 - Bicoastal Living: Craig talks about being bicoastal and loving both New England and the Northwest. He explains how he moved to Washington to get his head straight and how his career developed there.
00:34:15 - Diversity of Culture and Experience: Romano emphasizes the importance of embracing the diversity of culture and experiences in different regions of the United States. He encourages people to step outside of their comfort zones and try new things.
00:37:10 - Coffee Preferences: Craig shares his love for Dunkin' Donuts coffee and how he drinks it hot with a little cream. He also talks about trying different coffee roasts and brands depending on where he is.
00:42:01 - Overcoming Crisis: Craig talks about how he came to Washington to get his head straight after going through a crisis. He emphasizes the importance of taking risks and failing in order to learn and grow.
00:43:54 - The Importance of Experiences and Meeting People: Craig emphasizes the importance of experiences and meeting people while traveling. He believes that these experiences intensify one's life and create lasting memories.
00:45:28 - Hiking and Exploring Washington State: Having hiked and explored Washington State thoroughly, Craig is now looking to explore new places and states, including revisiting some of the places he hasn't been to in years.
00:46:53 - Climbing Mount Rainier: Despite having hiked every trail in Mount Rainier National Park, Craig has never climbed Mount Rainier. He is considering climbing it with his son because it's an iconic hike and a new experience.
00:49:35 - The Feeling of Seeing Your First Book in Public: Craig compares seeing his first book in public to giving birth to a child. He felt an immense amount of pride and ownership over his creation.
00:54:15 - The Importance of Book Promotion and Community Involvement: Craig emphasizes the importance of book promotion and community involvement. Being an author is not just about writing books but also about being an active participant in the communities and organizations related to one's writing.
00:58:23 - Using Facebook to Market Yourself: Craig Romano talks about how he has used Facebook to market himself as an author and build a diverse community of readers who share a love for the outdoors. He emphasizes the importance of creating a community and not just using Facebook as a direct marketing campaign.
01:00:44 - TikTok and Social Media: Craig shares his opinion on TikTok and why he chooses not to use it due to concerns about data privacy. He also discusses his recent decision to join Instagram to reach a younger demographic and expand his audience.
01:04:44 - Hike of the Week: Learn how Craig got started with Hike of the Week, a website that promotes his books and offers seasonal hiking recommendations. He explains how he uses the website to entice readers to purchase his books and stay engaged with his content.
01:09:29 - Embracing Change in the Outdoors: Craig Romano discusses the changing landscape of outdoor recreation and the challenges of accommodating diverse perspectives and interests. He emphasizes the importance of embracing change and welcoming new hikers and outdoors enthusiasts, while also acknowledging the need for responsible and ethical practices on public lands.
01:11:40 - Gatekeeping in the Outdoors: Craig shares his thoughts on gatekeeping in the outdoors and the need for inclusivity and accessibility for all. He emphasizes that public lands belong to everyone, not just those who live nearby, and encourages a welcoming and supportive attitude towards all hikers and outdoor enthusiasts.
01:13:49 - Evolution of Hiking Organizations: Romano discusses the evolution of hiking organizations, from elitist clubs to more welcoming and diverse groups. He encourages hiking groups to be more inclusive and embrace diversity to attract new members.
01:15:25 - Cake or Pie? Craig reveals his preference for pie over cake, citing its fruit content as a healthier option. However, he admits to having a weakness for chocolate and always carries chocolate-covered espresso beans on his hikes.
01:17:04 - Craig Romano's Upcoming Books: Learn about Craig's upcoming publications, including a second edition of his Columbia River Gorge hiking guide, an urban trail guide to Vancouver, BC, and a statewide rail trail book that covers hiking and cycling. He encourages listeners to support their local bookstores and attend his talks.
01:19:10 - Follow Craig Romano: Craig directs listeners to his website, Facebook page, and online retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble to purchase his books. He also invites listeners to attend his upcoming talks in various Washington cities.
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