I’m not much of a hiker, although I aspire to be. It’s the joint pain that kind of dampens the whole endeavor. But not to fear, I recently met another writer who has written hiking books and this one on Tacoma looks great. Most of them look like something I could do.
I’ll let Allen Cox tell you a little about the book and his writing.
How long have you been writing?
Allen: I’ve been writing as a freelancer for nonfiction markets for about four years. Before that, I did a lot of business writing in a former marketing career, and I’ve written two novels, both still unpublished.
What prompted you to start writing?
Allen: Travel prompted me to start writing, first in my fiction and now in travel, food and wine writing. There are so many aspects to travel that it offers nearly an infinite palette of topics and angles for a writer.
With a title, “Best Easy Day Hikes,” what was your criterion for “easy?” How did you decide on “best?”
Allen: Since the book is part of a series, the publisher came up with the title, and my editor set the criterion for easy: “No death marches.” That meant short to moderate distances and no extreme elevation gain. Choosing the best hikes was entirely up to me; I was born and raised in Tacoma, so I already had a list of favorites.
Have you experienced all the hikes you wrote about in this book?
Allen: Yes, I did every hike in the book with a GPS device, a notepad and pen.
Which one of the hikes is your favorite?
Allen: That’s a tough choice. I guess my personal favorite is the “Glacier View Wilderness Area: Puyallup Trail #248 to Goat Lake (near Mt. Rainier).” Mountain wilderness hikes are rarely classified as easy, but this one covers some dazzling sub-alpine terrain; most of the elevation gain is in the car on the drive to the trailhead.
You’ve listed “canine compatibility” for each hike. Do you hike with a dog?
Allen: No, I’m a cat person and they hate hiking. But many hikers do take their dogs along on the trail. I wanted this book to inform them which trails are officially dog friendly.
The book is small and light. Was it designed that way on purpose?
Allen: It was designed to be easy to stuff into a pack, pocket or glove compartment. The publisher determined the book’s maximum number of pages for that reason.
How long did it take you to write this book?
Allen: Including my research on the trail, about three months.
Which hike would you recommend for a real beginner?
Allen: Actually, any hike in the book would be perfect for a beginner. Each hike offers different points of interest with relatively little physical exertion. I’d suggest an urban hike, perhaps the first one listed – the Ruston Way Waterfront in Tacoma.
Some of hikes listed aren’t really in Tacoma. How were those chosen?
Allen: If a hike is not in Tacoma, the trailhead is within roughly 1.5 hours from the center of the city. That way, if you live in Tacoma, each hike is easily accessible without putting a lot of mileage on the car.
To read more about Allen’s work and his books, visit www.allencox.org.