Ah, it’s springtime. The days are getting longer, and many people are getting ready to dust off the old hiking boots and hit the trail.
But what if you don’t know where to go hiking or you’re tired of doing the same hike you have done a dozen times before and are looking for someplace new? Don’t worry. Author Robert Stone of Los Osos has you covered.
Stone just published the third edition of his book “Day Hikes around San Luis Obispo.” It features 156 hikes throughout the county and as far afield as Big Sur and Pinnacles National Park.
The third edition has been updated to include new trails such as Point Buchon Trail and trails in Harmony Headlands State Park.
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The book is available at Amazon.com and various local bookstores and outdoor shops.
It is easy to use. There is a brief description of each hike, detailed instructions on how to find the trailhead and tips about how to hike the trail. A map accompanies most hikes as well as useful facts such as the distance of the trail, how long it takes to hike it and whether dogs are allowed.
The difficulty of each hike is rated from easy to very strenuous. Most of the hikes are rated easy to moderate.
That’s on purpose, Stone said. He wanted to make the book usable to as many people as possible.
“A lot of people don’t want to go on long hikes,” he said. “The book is intended for the mother with kids or the college student out for a fun day on the trail.” One of the amazing things about San Luis Obispo County is the diversity of hiking options — everything from coastal bluffs to volcanic morros. Stone said he selected the hikes to include in the book with the goal of giving readers a good sampling of that diversity.
The book is meticulously researched. Stone has done all of the hikes in the book and his description of each hike is full of useful information about what to expect on the trail.
As the book’s name implies, it includes hikes that are close enough to San Luis Obispo to be reachable with a couple of hours driving time. The farthest hikes are on the Carrizo Plain and in the Figueroa Mountain Recreation Area in Santa Barbara County.
Does Stone have a favorite hike? Yes, lots of them.
“I have a lot of favorite hikes for different reasons,” he said. “When you are walking along the coastal bluffs, it’s different than walking in a forest or up Reservoir Canyon. They each evoke different emotions.”
Stone is a prolific hiking writer. This is his 20th self-published hiking guide. Most are about trails in California, but he has also written about trails in Arizona, Montana and Wyoming.
Stone spends half of the year in Los Osos and the other half in Red Lodge, Mont. For more information about him, visit his website at http://www.dayhikebooks.com.