image: who are the best writers among hiking bloggers?

One thing I noticed while building my Top 10 list: Great writing is hardly a requirement of great blogging (though it certainly helps to be pretty good).

Here’s an example of great hiking writing, from the BigOutside blog.

I’m slogging up a long ramp of beach-like sand toward Cox Col, an off-trail pass sitting a few ticks over 13,000 feet in California’s John Muir Wilderness.

What makes it great?

  • Strong, precise verbs: We all know what “slogging” is like: suffering your way up a slope.
  • Vivid adjectives: “beach-like” sand — you know, unlike the sand of the Sahara.
  • Careful word choice: it’s not “just over” 13,000 feet, it’s “a few ticks.”

OK, so this writer’s not the next Hemingway, but he’s got a firm grasp of how the best get it done.

So, who are the best writers among your favorite hiking and camping bloggers? I’m not talking about the ability to accurately instruct how to pitch a tarp in a thunderstorm — you have to be good to do that accurately, and being great would probably get in your way (you’d want to describe the 17 frustrations of getting it wrong when your reader wants one simple, declarative sentence about getting it right).

There’s more to great writing than savvy word choice. Sometimes it’s a matter of being able to find a great story and put it into words. The Cold Splinters blog does that all the time.

A lot of excellent hiking writing is happening on the Trish, Alex and Sage blog. The story’s compelling: a hiking mom whose 5-year-old daughter has climbed all 48 of the highest peaks in New Hampshire. Talk about no child left indoors. The videos are worth a look, too.

Who else is doing great writing out there? Leave a link in the comments.