Dug this photo out of my scanned image archives and couldn’t help but smile. Here’s my sister Susan (with the hood on) and Sally (with the hood off) on the Cave of the Winds tour at Niagara Falls, a memory from road-tripping across Ontario with them in the early 90s.
On that journey, we discovered the Three Sisters Islands on the American side of the falls. Exploration ensued, as it would for the rest of our immersion into the outdoors of Ontario, all the way north to the Bruce Peninsula, with stops to hike the Elora Gorge and along the Mad River Gorge in Collingwood on what turned out to be a national holiday for hiking. Everywhere we turned, fall color painted the Niagara Escarpment as we followed it from the Niagara River to Lake Huron. It was the first I’d heard or learned of the Bruce Trail, a long distance trail I long to do someday.
Three Sisters is a book, a memoir, I’ve had in my heart for more than a decade, since we lost our dear sister Sue to cancer. I’m finally ready to write it now.
An enthusiastic and comprehensive look at hiking trails throughout the Sunshine State, Florida Hikes! offers its visitors more than 1,200 pages of content to guide them to a breath of fresh air in the great outdoors.
“Six years ago, I started sharing my knowledge of Florida’s outdoors online,” said Friend, “creating a blog that documented places I was hiking for guidebook research. Since then, finding, exploring, and sharing new hiking trails has become an integral part of my life.”
Friend launched the new FloridaHikes.com on November 30. Visual and map-based navigation make it easy to find trails that fit your personal interest. Extensive details – including step-by-step narratives, special instructions for hikers, maps, and mileage charts – are a key part of the website.
“The Florida Hikes website keeps getting better and better!,” said Kevin Mims, VISIT FLORIDA Outdoors & Nature Insider. “You won’t find a more comprehensive place for Florida hiking information, and I love how easy it is to find trails of every type.”
Visitors to the website can subscribe to the Hike-A-Week, a weekly column providing a detailed hike writeup via email, and the Florida Hikes eNews, a Friday recap of content additions to the site and trail-related events around Florida.
“I want to give everyone in Florida the tools to live a healthier life by just stepping outdoors and taking a hike,” said Friend. “Especially in our current economy, hiking is the least expensive way to bond with your family, clear your head, and keep yourself heart-healthy.”
The award-winning author of 25 books – including ten books on hiking in Florida, with another one on the way from Menasha Ridge Press – Friend is the chair of the Society of American Travel Writers Freelance Council, a member of the Florida Outdoor Writers Association, and sits on the Board of Directors of Friends of Florida State Parks. She lives in Sanford.
For more information, visit www.floridahikes.com
In the distance, it isn’t obvious. A simple gash across the landscape, a ribbon of earth in a wave of green and gold vegetation. Yet that undulating ribbon is as deep and majestic as the distant mountains, an 800-foot-deep gash into a volcanic plateau, humbling in its grandeur.
I’m delighted to announce that 50 Hikes in Central Florida is available for download from Kindle. It’s the first of my books to be distributed electronically, and as many of you have asked about electronic editions over the years, it’s finally come to pass. Download one today!
“Where history comes alive!” The tagline is splashed across a brochure on my desk, one of many I’ve revisited in the past week while going through my notes as I write my latest Explorer’s Guide. It’s a common phrase I see in marketing historic sites, just like “Step back in time.”
I prefer to see – and write – more concrete statements, and a little humor is always fun. Say “Serving sailors since 1869,” or “When your grandfather got that gleam in his eye…”
Do you have any zombie-killing examples to share?
I never expected the blue. Living in a land where ice comes in shades of white and off-gray, the brilliant blues and violets of Glacier Grey were startling, invigorating. The lake itself a silver-gray mirror with a surface brushed roughly by the wind, dotted with chunks of glowing blue. Our journey, from Zodiac to tour boat and back again, was one of the roughest of my life, awash in giant waves and hurricane-force blasts off the ice field. But the blue, the blue, made it all worthwhile. This corner of Torres Del Paine National Park in Chile will always occupy a corner of my soul, lit in blue.
As the Internet evolves, the ways in which it is used as a communication medium keep expanding. Remember the excitement when websites first appeared, a new publication medium come to life? Then blogging became the topic of the day, built on tools providing individuals with a way to offer their own news, syndicating their content with little fuss and allowing their readers to comment back on it. Blogging was the first form of social media, where technology enabled the sharing of content as a conversation.
By connecting people to people, social networking takes that relationship a step further, refreshing the sense of community that too often has been lost in our busy lives. Read more >>