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Introducing HIKE EVERY CITY
A new Mind The Moss urban hiking series
Dear Moss People,
Now that we’re emerging from the dark depths of a weird, muggy winter, it’s time to shock our systems with new jaunts and rambles that re-awaken the senses. And this April, I’m kicking off the first installment of a special project which gets at the heart of what MIND THE MOSS is about—experiencing the joy of hiking in surprising places.
Cities are among the most overlooked yet opportune hiking venues. Last winter, I saw the great potential of urban hiking when visiting San Francisco and hiking the 17-mile Crosstown Trail—a life-changing adventure that I wrote about in two segments. That epic hike from Candlestick Point to Land’s End took place on a trail that grassroots volunteers “built” by connecting park paths and streets to form a sumptuous hiking route through some of the city’s most dazzling natural and built environments. This DIY model of trail-building is what several of us here in Boston used to create the Walking City Trail, which snakes 27 miles from the Neponset River to Bunker Hill.
The beauty of urban trail-building, summed up by Crosstown Trail co-creator Bob Siegel, is that thousands of urban trails already exist! They’re hidden beneath the pathways and sidewalks of urban areas, waiting to be “brought to the surface,” mapped, and hiked. And this year, I’m going to demonstrate this accessible and scalable trail-making model with HIKE EVERY CITY—an urban hiking tour series.
For my first Hike Every City urban hiking tour, I’ll be visiting Philadelphia, New York, New York, and Providence to take an urban hike along a trail of my own design in each city. How were these DIY trails designed? By looking at a map of each city, picking a series of parks to hike through, finding ways to walk from one park to the next via streets, stairs, tunnels, you name it….and giving each trail a fun name. With the help of apps like AllTrails, which function as Google Maps for trails, it’s never been easier to map an urban hiking route this way: whether you’re visiting a city or living in one. And that’s what I aim to demonstrate here. Many of us can do this!
So what does this mean for Mind The Moss? Between May 7th and May 21st, the newsletter will host a series of trail diaries for Hike Every City, in which I’ll chronicle each of my urban hikes. I’ll describe what I experienced on each trail, and I’ll include a map of every trail, so that you can follow my footsteps or build your own urban trail, if you find yourself in any of these cities later this year. There’s a precedent for this. Last November, I wrote about a DIY urban trail out in Seattle that I mapped and hiked while visiting friends. To date, that post is one of the most shared and read posts in Mind The Moss history. And the idea for Hike Every City has been marinating since then.
If you’d like to support this special series, then please consider subscribing today and availing yourself of the total package of Mind The Moss perks (weekly hiking stories, podcasts, and customized hike ideas for your next New England trip.)
In any event, it’s been a long, strange trip already and this spring, as the northeast begins to thaw and come back to life, things around here are going to get even more fragrant, colorful, and decadent.
See you out there,