Two-Heel Drive pairs my insatiable hunger to hike with my inexplicable urge to blog. I started my first blog long before the term existed; two or three blogs later I was in my mid-40s, hopelessly out of shape with a beer gut that would’ve done Tony Soprano proud. Then I moved to a little place in the hills east of San Jose, California, in the summer of 2004 and started walking around the neighborhood. One mile led to another, and one pound after another melted away.

By the autumn of 2005 I had hiked off more than 35 pounds and gotten back into Levis I hadn’t worn in 20 years. So it was high time to start another blog. Two-Heel Drive is the result.

I hiked just about everywhere worth hiking in the San Francisco Bay Area until the summer of 2009, when I moved to North Carolina and started working my way down a long list of must-trek trails. Two-Heel Drive chronicles all those hikes, plus the links, knowledge and cool people I’ve met along the way.

I have more than blisters and pretty pictures to show for all this. How my hiking blog paid off:

  • When I worked at the San Jose Mercury News, I wrote a twice-monthly hiking column in the weekly Eye entertainment section from the spring of 2007 through the summer of 2008. (All columns archived here).
  • In the summer of 2009, EveryTrail.com hired me to write dozens of smart-phone travel guides.
  • From October of 2009 to January 2011, I was assistant editor at Trailspace.com, the Backcountry Gear Guide.

Two-Heel Drive has taken many forms. At first it was a general-interest hiking blog; then I refocused it on the Bay Area, and after that I refocused it again on my weekly North Carolina hikes. Those remain a staple, with pictures, descriptions and vital links.

If you have a hiking blog you’d like to tell the world about, feel free to post a comment — it’s a good way to get the word out.

How I pay for all this: A hiking blog is a cheap hobby, but’s it’s not free. All the hosting fees and hourlong drives to trailheads add up, so I have affiliate deals with REI.com, Backcountry.com and a few other retailers. If you click on one of their links and buy something, I get a little commission, typically between 4 and 10 percent. If you don’t like it and return it, they revoke the commission, so I have no incentive to link to crap you won’t keep. I won’t put my name behind anything I haven’t either a) tried myself or b) researched to my satisfaction that it’s worth a look.

Frankly I’d rather muse about the wonders of nature and the glories of walking upright as our species has done for 100,000 years, but the gear content helps pay the freight.