Cris Hazzard Hiking Guy

About Hiking Guy (aka Cris Hazzard)

I’m Hiking Guy, aka Cris Hazzard. I like to get outdoors, walk, and then write about it. It wasn’t always like that though.

As a kid, I played outside like everyone else in my generation. I didn’t have an especially outdoorsy childhood experience. We rode BMX bikes around, got into trouble, and then tried to get out of it. As a teenager and “young adult” I was an elite bike racer. Like Lance Armstrong, without the doping and bullying.

Then I graduated college. And life happened. And by life, I mean work. As the years went on, my fitness level went down, as did my health and happiness. Thousands of hours in front of computer screens started to take their toll.

When life zigged, I zagged, and decided to take a survival course. I went into the woods with nothing but a knife, the clothes on my back, and an open mind. I learned that I could live off the land. I had a blast. I felt renewed, connected, and energized. I realized that a connection with nature was vital to my happiness and well being.

cris hazzard survival
Practicing building a scout pit shelter that I learned at survival school.

If you look at it objectively, humans have been around for about 200,000 years. That’s 200,000 years of being outside, intimately connected with the earth, sun, and stars. The culture of staring at screens all day has been around for about 20 years. So for 99.9999% of our existence, our DNA was wired to do something else than what it does now.

Getting back to “real” life, I went back to work, but made getting outside on a regular basis a priority. Hiking and camping was the perfect way to keep my connection with nature alive. And it provided a nice low-impact workout with lots of fresh air and vitamin D. I noticed that I was much happier. Hiking every weekend provided a healthy way to balance out my life.

I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.
— Henery David Thoreau

Why HikingGuy.com?

My goal for this website is to make hiking simple, easy, and safe. Too many people look at the outdoors as a danger zone of killer bears, hypothermia, and blisters.

My hike directions make your time on the trail simple and straightforward by giving you images of every turn. This let’s you mentally visualize what the hike will be like, and remove any uncertainty that may cause fear.

I also review the essential hiking gear that will keep you safe and happy on the trail.  Along with gear reviews are tips and techniques on how to hike. Knowledge is power amigos.

My hope is that as more that people enjoy the outdoors, the more they’ll share that joy, and the more happy people they’ll be in the world. And from that will come respect, care, and stewardship of the earth.

Here’s How to Get Started

It’s pretty simple. Just go for a walk in nature. If you don’t have wilderness nearby, find a park. If you want some beginner’s tips on how to hike, read this article on how to get started.

Another great resource is the 52 Hike Challenge website. The idea is simple. Go for a hike every week and see how it changes you. They’re good people.

HikingGuy Q&A

People ask me questions. Here are some answers.

What boot/backpack/GPS/whatever do you use?

I have a full list of my gear here.

What’s your favorite place to hike?

I love hiking in Switzerland. In 1997 I lived there for a year and did a ton of hikes. I hope to revisit them and post them on the site.

These days I love hiking anywhere in San Bernardino National Forest, with Cucamonga Peak and Ontario Peak being my favorites.

a fun trail outside of Luzerne Switzerland
A fun trail I did outside of Luzerne, Switzerland.

What’s your least favorite place to hike?

Well, I don’t have a specific place, but I really hate hiking anywhere with crowds. So this means the popular hikes. I love hiking alone with my thoughts or with a select friend or two. When I do hikes that are popular, I do them at sunrise to avoid the crowds.

What’s the hardest hike you’ve ever done?

I’ve done some pretty intense hikes in New Zealand after rains where I was shin-deep 12 inches of mud with every step. That was really hard. I don’t have those hikes on the blog. You don’t need to do them.

In recent history, I’d say Cactus to Clouds, followed by Mt Whitney

Have you ever gotten lost hiking?

Thousands of times. I use a GPS watch with a GPX track loaded, printed directions, a map, and GaiaGPS (with offline maps on my iPhone) to make sure that getting lost simply means turning around and retracing my steps. If I get into real trouble, I carry a satellite text message device and an emergency GPS beacon.

What is “total ascent” in the hike info?

Just knowing the highest elevation on a hike doesn’t give you a good sense of how much total climbing there is. Often trails have a lot of up and down along the way. “Total ascent” is the total amount of climbing that you’ll do on the hike. The figure I have is a rough approximation based on the route. There are a lot of variables involved in the calculation. I calculate the figure by removing any abnormalities in my recorded GPX file, and then apply a 8m vertical elevation threshold. This article on GPSVisualizer does a good job of explaining it all.

What outdoors school did you go to?

I went to Tom Brown’s Tracker School. Tom Brown has a bit of a cult-like following, which I’m not really into. But the class is solid and you will learn a lot. Tom Brown has written some great narratives and outdoor guides.

Do you also go backpacking?

I haven’t done any long trips like the AT or PCT (yet!), but I do occasionally do 2-4 day trips. Have a good trip that I should check out? Let me know about it.

How did you start your website?

I started with a WordPress theme and started sharing. As time went on, I evolved the website based on your feedback into what it is now.

Is this your full time job?

No, I’m a partner at a digital marketing agency, Sanborn. We do websites, social media, video, and all things interactive. Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn (and just write a note so I know you’re not some random spammer).

How long does it take to write a post?

Usually it takes anywhere from 20 to 80 hours, depending on how long it is. I write it, let it sit, then go back and proof read it. Gear reviews take a long time.

What about guest blogging?

I’m not currently accepting posts by guest bloggers, but I will do guest blog on other sites.

Will you write an article for my publication? Can I quote you for an article?

Yes, yes, yes, and yes. I have appeared in publications as diverse as the LA Times, Chowhound, and Pelican Hill Magazine. I’m happy to assist in your research or pen an article.

I only review what I use and like. I choose my gear by doing research on REI, Amazon, and other blogs. I don’t post reviews for gear that doesn’t meet the cut.

Will you review product X?

I will only recommend gear, brands, and services that I personally use and love.

Can I link to your site?

Please do! Links to HikingGuy.com are great. Copying content is not. If you want to quote my content, it’s licensed under a Creative Commons license. You simply have to attribute HikingGuy.com as the source and link back to the site.

How do I stay in touch with updates?