EMS Hiking Blogger Takes a Big Step Forward: Dan Szczesny’s Book Deal
When we launched this blog in March, 2011 our goal was to create a place where EMS employees, customers, and partners could share their knowledge and experiences in one place. One of those customers is Dan Szczesny, the associate publisher of The Hippo Press, who has written several detailed reviews of hiking trails throughout New Hampshire.
Last week, Dan received word that his concept for a hiking guide book/memoir/travelogue has been picked up by Bondcliff Books of Littleton, NH, a regional publisher that specializes in books about The White Mountains. While the 48 4,000 footers are the most well-known and sought after New Hampshire mountains, the 52 With a View are a collection of “shorter but in some cases more difficult climbs, all with fine and open views at the summit.” Compiled in 1990 by The Over The Hill Hikers, the list includes notable peaks such as Chocorua, Cardigan, Middle Sister, and Kearsage to name just a few.
Tentatively titled The Adventures of Buffalo and Tough Cookie, Dan’s book will provide a peak-by-peak trail guide to help hikers learn about and explore each mountain while chronicling the adventures of a seasoned middle-aged climber and an energetic fourth grader. Dan is the veteran hiker and Janelle is the energetic fourth grader, who last year moved in across the street from Dan and his wife Meena. As the naturally curious Janelle got to know Dan and Meena, she became interested in the hiking adventures they enjoy every chance they get. After a few easy day hikes, Dan and Meena took Janelle up Mount Kearsage and a peak bagger was born.
“Seeing her atop that summit, the first time she’d ever hiiked a large mountain, it was clear she’d found her passion,” Dan explains. More summits followed and then earlier this year, Dan and Janelle started talking about the 52 With a View. “It seemed natural for us to climb this together. But of course, though our adventure is designed to eventually produce a trail guide, there’s so much more to the experience of getting to know and bond with a child through the outdoors. She’s opened my eyes to the micro-outdoors. We spend hours analyzing scat, or picking berries. (We’ve decided our spirit animal for this adventure is the Leopard slug since we seem to see so many of them!) The views are important, the summit is fun to reach, but the journey, both through the mountains and our own personal journey, has come to mean so much more to us.”
Caring and enthusiastic people like Dan and Meena are a big reason why (according to the Outdoor Industry Association) 2010 was the first time in several years that youth participation in outdoor sports did not decline. If we want kids to put down their smart phones and turn off their XBoxes, it’s up to us show them what’s out there. That’s exactly what Dan and Meena have done with Janelle and 20 peaks later, every trip is better than the last: “After reaching the pinnacle of my hiking career, Everest Base Camp, I couldn’t imagine hiking a 2,000 foot mountain to be interesting anymore. But Janelle’s changed that, and together we’re learning so much about NH and about each other and about ourselves,” Dan says.
Perhaps the coolest thing about Dan’s upcoming book is the fact that he and Janelle are less than halfway through their adventure and will be giving us an exclusive look at how their story comes together. Check out their progress at www.52withaview.com and look for an update from Dan soon!