Trail Reflections – 50 Years of Hiking and Backpacking

The visionaries, the dreamers, the doers of our remarkable treasures (our National Scenic Trails) are mostly gone now. But one remains with us – Jim Kern, founder of the Florida Scenic Trail. Here in his own words, you’ll read this amazing, heartwarming account – how one man has made the world a better place for all of us. Nimblewill Nomad (town name, Eb Eberhart), author of Ten Million Steps, a record of his hike from the FL Keys to Cap Gaspé, Québec
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ST. AUGUSTINE, FL - After a first miserable hike with his brother in the Great Smoky Mountains in 1961, something changed in Jim as he discovered his sense of adventure and what wilderness had to offer. The life that unfolded included hikes around the world, from the Appalachian Trail to New Zealand’s Milford Tract and from the Pacific Crest Trail to the snow-capped Himalayas in remote Bhutan. Curl up by the fireplace and join Jim as he roams around the world with a backpack, camera, nonstop curiosity, and a zest for exploration.

Jim also founded the Florida Trail Association (FTA) in 1966, co-founded the American Hiking Society (AHS) in 1976, and founded Big City Mountaineers (BCM) in 1980. Jim won a Lifetime Achievement Award from the FTA in 2005, the AHS Glenn Seaborg award in 2003, and the highest recognition for Outdoor Recreation from the U.S. Department of Interior in 1978.

The book is filled with related achievements. It chronicles 50 years of outdoor adventures and pays tribute to the many people who shaped organized hiking as we know it today.

Over 30 years ago, Jim Kern, urged on by Bill Kemsley, founding editor and publisher of Backpacker Magazine, and the other founding members of the American Hiking Society, spearheaded a hike across America. Known as HikaNation, it energized the hiking community as 7,000 people joined the hikers in crossing the Oakland Bay Bridge on the first leg of this remarkable trek. They accomplished their ambitious goal in 14 months and made history when participants reached Washington, D.C. A letter of commendation from President Ronald Reagan awaited them.

More recently, Jim created the Hiker’s Grand Slam (HGS), the four best hikes in America, and the World Grand Slam, the four best hikes around the world. HGS isn’t off the ground yet, but Jim’s working on it…