Updating materials and meeting the author who started it all...

    REI always has some really interesting opportunities in the classes and talks they offer. I recently attended a talk and slide show about the best hiking and camping in Illinois and Missouri, with authors John Schirle (author of The Best in Tent Camping: Illinois: A Guide for Car Campers Who Hate RVs, Concrete Slabs, and Loud Portable Stereos) and Steve Henry, who I have mentioned and referenced on this blog probably a hundred times, author of the book that got it all started for me, 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of St. Louis: Including Sullivan, Potosi, and Farmington (as well as a book about tent camping in Missouri and mountain biking in the Ozarks).

    While it may sound somewhat ridiculous to be excited to meet Steve Henry, I really, really was. I am the kind of person who gets excited about meeting authors in general-- I am a reading nerd, and books play a huge part in my life. Hiking is a strangely recent thing in my life. While I've always since childhood been obsessed with the idea of nature, living in it, and climbing mountains (I wanted to be Heidi when I was 4 years old, even though I never climbed ANY mountains), actually getting out and hiking was a rare occurence.   I graduated from college over 4 years ago, and about 40 pounds heavier than I am now. Hiking started a change for me. I didn't do it to lose weight, but it helped keep me active, gave me peace of mind and an escape from the work week, a place where my brain could finally relax and wander and stop worrying. The book helped me start easy and slowly start to challenge myself more and more.

Needless to say, both authors were really interesting and informative. I bought two books (pictures posted below (both books put out by Menasha Ridge Press), and hope to use them both a LOT (even though I haven't been hiking in awhile, whoops).  I met Mr. Henry after the lecture so he could sign my NEW updated copy of 60 Hikes, which I've been meaning to buy for awhile. He was very friendly and I told him about this blog and how much the book had helped me in my hiking experiences. He seemed very interested and willing to let me ramble, and even said he may have crossed this blog a couple times while researching the last edition for the book, because it sounded really familiar to him!!!!! While maybe he was just being kind, if that is true, that would be SO AWESOME.

Yes, I geek out sometimes.

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