Amy started camping when she was six months old and is indebted to her parents for her lifelong love of nature. Her first backpacking trip was an 11 day family trip in 1973 to the Sierra Nevada. She got a B.S. in forest ecology and earned a living working in software development. In addition to hiking, she loves family, friends, birds, and newly discovered pickleball.
James took his first overnight backpacking trip in summer camp when he was about 10. At age sixteen, during a family trip to the western National Parks, he climbed the Grand Teton on an Exum Guides trip. Hooked on the mountain west and after many trips out there during college, he ended up moving to California in 1973 and has stayed ever since. He earned a BA at Antioch College and an MFA at Stanford University.
He is now retired after a 35-year career working as an engineer at IDEO. In addition to hiking, he is an avid birder, reader, and enjoys puttering in his shop.
Where we go
We live in the San Francisco Bay Area and have taken many dozens of backpacking trips within 75 miles of home, including many using public transit. We love living here, and think there is no better city in the world for backpackers. We are proud of some of the Bay Area routes we have pieced together and excited to share them with others.
We have taken many dozens of 7-11 day wilderness backpacking trips in the U.S, the vast majority in our two favorite parts of the world: the Colorado Plateau in southern Utah; and the southern Sierra Nevada range in California. This includes lots of off-trail hiking, and class 2 and 3 passes, peaks, and canyons.
In 2002 we started thru-hiking mid-distance trails (250-800 miles) in both the U.S. and overseas. These are very different in nature from wilderness trips, and we enjoy both types very much. We have taken about 25 trips of this length.
Hiking, biking, canoeing
This site is about our human powered travels. We are primarily hikers, but have taken one long canoe trip and three dirt road bike trips, including the 2800 mile Great Divide Mountain Bike Route.
Most of the trips we have taken are suitable for fit people with good camping, navigation and route-finding skills. We are not thrill-seekers or “adventure travelers”; our goal is not to test our limits or push boundaries. We love being outdoors and the process of hiking.
We have been serious birdwatchers for decades and finding, identifying, and observing birds is an important part of all of our trips. We have taken many trips for the purpose of finding new birds and those trips are not covered in this website.
Our per person base pack weight (everything except food, water, and the things we always wear) is between 11 and 13 pounds, depending on the hike. We think we are good role models for traditional hikers who are curious about carrying a lighter load. We obsess about every ounce, but we don’t compromise on comfort, convenience, or function.
Fund-raising for non-profit land conservation groups
When you shop using these links to Amazon, Backcountry, CampSaver, Darn Tough, Hyperlite Mountain Gear, Moosejaw, Mountain Gear, OMCGear, Patagonia, REI, Summit Hut, or ULA we receive a 4-10% commission which we donate to land conservation groups. In 2017 we donated all of our affiliate revenue ($266) to Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and Grand Canyon Trust. Read our Code of Ethics.