With the warm weather finally upon us (I hope), many of you who like to hike, bike, kayak, canoe or just take a walk are lacing up sneakers and walking shoes.
For those interested in trying some new places, I’d like to introduce two gentlemen who do it all — Roger Fulton and Michael Carpenter.
Fulton is a retired state police captain who spends his winters hiking and biking through Florida and his summers seeking new trails throughout New York. Carpenter is an Adirondack Community College professor who likes to explore off-road places.
They’ve authored a group of books about outings with plenty of information. Their Common Man series now totals 31 books and destinations.
Before you say you’re not interested in hard-core hikes or power-walks up steep mountain trails, etc., you should know that these books are designed for people who enjoy being outside. They’re also great for those who might be a little older, out of shape or who like to have the grandkids and/or dogs with them.
The authors admit they like the outdoors, but don’t want to sweat a lot, so they’ve also designed these books for those who don’t have a lot of time to a take a long hike. If you’re looking for places you and your family can go and enjoy each other’s company, the surroundings and just being outdoors, the books show where and how to do it.
The series includes 15 outings in the Lake George/Saratoga region, five in the Thousand Islands region, one in Vermont, two in the Finger Lakes area and eight in Florida for snowbirds. The Lake George/Saratoga Region book includes 75 short hike trails, 50 flat-water kayak/canoe trips (25 in Lake George and 25 in Saratoga). Both areas each discuss 25 bike trails.
The beginning of each of these books contains information to help prepare for trips, including items that should be taken and a chapter called “Tips for Staying Found or Tips for Not Getting Lost,” which I believe should always be read before heading out.
There are directions on how to get to each hike, bike or water trip, where to park and what type of facilities are available, what the walking surface and elevations will be, various sites of interest and GPS coordinates. And after each activitiy, there’s a sheet for logging the trip date, weather conditions, companions, interesting observations and general notes.
Another feature I found to be very useful is the physical design of the book. Similar to a spiral binding found on a steno pad, it is pocket size, 33⁄4 inches wide by 71⁄2 long, and fits conveniently into a pocket or pack.
These books are designed for everyone, not just outdoors men/women. After reviewing several of the Common Man books, I’m confident that anyone can plan and execute a family day in the outdoors using the directions found in these books. For more information and to order a book, go to www.commonmanbooks.com or call (866) 793-0555.
While on their website, take a look at their “Safe in the Woods” book. It’s 100 pages of tips, techniques and advice for safety and survival in the outdoors.