Introducing “Quick and Dirty Hiking Guides”

Quick & Dirty Hiking Guide authors (L to R) – Cam “Swami” Honan and Paul “Mags” Magnanti (photo courtesty of Teresa Martinez – CDTC)

On July 22, 2017, Paul “Mags” Magnanti and I became hiking guidebook authors (woohoo!). Specifically we released the first two books in the Quick and Dirty Hiking Guide series. They are titled, 12 Classic Hikes in Colorado and 12 Classic Long Distance Hikes in the US.

In keeping with our “Quick and Dirty” philosophy, the books are not meant to be step-by-step guides for hiking the respective paths or routes. Rather they provide aspirants with the basic trip planning information they will need in order to experience a wonderful trail or area. Maps, guidebooks and online resources are all listed, along with tips on resupply, side trips, what to take, when to go and how to get there. Additionally, the Colorado book also contains a series of health and safety articles, regarding lightning, altitude, bear and critter concerns and tips for hiking and camping in the snow.

Both books are currently for sale in Kindle format on Amazon, and each one will set you back US$6.99. Without further ado, here’s a brief synopsis of the first (but hopefully not the last) Quick and Dirty Hiking Guides:

12 Classic Hikes in Colorado

Colorado. The name conjures up images of rugged mountains, alpine lakes and outdoor experiences like no other. But where to go in the Rocky Mountain State?

In 12 Classic Hikes in Colorado, Mags and I have put together a diverse compilation of rambles, including family friendly trips, challenging multi-day backpacks and even a sprinkling of day hikes. In addition to numerous options in the iconic Rockies, we also describe routes and trails in some of the state’s lesser known regions, such as the starkly beautiful High Plains, and the red rock delight that is Colorado’s Canyon Country.

Trails and routes covered in the book include the Pawnee – Buchanan Loop in Indian Peaks Wilderness, the petroglyph-laden Picture Canyon in Comanche National Grassland, a lung-busting day hike to Chiefs Head Peak in Rocky Mountain NP, and a thorough overview of the Colorado Trail, a 490 mile backcountry classic from Durango to Denver.

12 Classic Hikes in Colorado cover shot – View from Chiefs Head Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park (photo by Pmags).

12 Classic Long Distance Hikes in the US

The second Q & D guide contains a varied collection of long distance hikes, covering a wide range of environments, distances and difficulty levels. From the Appalachian mountains to the High Sierra, and from the salt flats of Death Valley to the swamps of Florida; something to pique the interest of most backpackers, from relative newbies to experienced vets.

Some of the trails and routes we have selected are well known. Others not so much. All twelve have been done by either Paul Mags, myself or both of us between 1999 and 2016. We’ve refrained from assigning our selections any type of ranking; how can you compare the jaw-dropping grandeur of high alpine regions to the stillness and timeless quality of the desert? Quite simply you can’t. To use an analogy particularly close to my co-author’s heart: “It would be like comparing a rich and creamy stout to a crisp and refreshing Pale Ale.

The treks featured in 12 Classic Long Distance Hikes in the US are as follows:

– Pacific Northwest Trail (1200 miles)
– Wonderland Trail (93 miles)
– Sierra High Route (195 miles)
– Lowest to Highest Route (135 miles)
– Southwestern Horseshoe (1,782 miles)
– Uinta Highline Trail (96 miles)
– Ouachita Trail (223 miles)
– Superior Hiking Trail (310 miles)
– Florida Trail (1300 miles)
– Bartram Trail (116 miles)
– Benton Mackaye Trail (288 miles)
– The Long Trail (273 miles)

12 Classic Long Distance Hikes in the US  cover photo – Joshua “Bobcat” Stacy on the Lowest to Highest Route, CA.

Questions & Answers

Isn’t a lot of this information already available for free on your websites?

Yes, much of it is scattered throughout our sites. However, in the Q & D guides it is all consolidated in the one easy to access package. Plus, there is also a good deal of additional material that doesn’t appear on or The Hiking Life.

Will you be coming out with Q & D paperback versions?

At the present time there are no plans to publish in paperback. In putting together these guides, we wanted to create an affordable one-stop shop planning resource, that will save folks a lot of time and effort scouring the internet. As such, each featured hike contains a number of useful links to maps, guidebooks and other resources.

Do you and Mags always dress in matching outfits?

Pretty much. Note also that we are both wearing Brooks Cascadias and Point 6 socks in the photo featured above. Sometimes even friends and family can’t tell us apart.  😉


Introducing “Quick and Dirty Hiking Guides” — 13 Comments

  1. Very nice, both are on their way to my tablet. Knowing you and Mags I imagine that they will be as entertaining as they are informative

  2. Would love the 12 long distance hikes one. Bummer it’s not in paperback but I understand. I don’t really know what Kindle format means. Can I download it on an iPad?

  3. Cannot wait to read these. They should be hugely entertaining. Ordering now!!!
    On a side note…as an expert in this area, do I detect a hint of one or two cases of being “folicly challenged” in that photo?

  4. I like. Hopefully I stumble upon a nice mid September beginning of October hike in your 12 classics we can squeeze in. Cheers

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