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New Guidebook Series, Close to Home

Posted by Jessi Loerch at Feb 02, 2017 02:35 PM |
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A new set of guidebooks and a young son have given guidebook author Craig Romano a fresh perspective.

A new set of guidebooks and a young son have given guidebook author Craig Romano a fresh perspective.

Craig Romano and his wife, Heather, have been taking their son Giovanni, hiking since he was tiny. He recently went on his 100th hike, shortly before his second birthday. Photo courtesy Craig Romano

by Jessi Loerch

Craig Romano took his son, Giovanni, on his first hike on Christmas morning two years ago. Giovanni was 11-days old and they took a 1-mile stroll at Little Mountain in Mount Vernon.

Craig Romano is a prolific guidebook author. Since having his son, he’s still hiking more than 1,200 miles a year. Having a child hasn’t changed that, but it has added a new dimension to his love for the outdoors and his dedication to living an active life. He’s raising Giovanni to have that same love and deep connection to the outdoors.

Urban Trails Series

Urban Trails: Kitsap was published in the fall and is available at bookstores and online. Craig plans to write seven books in the urban series. The other books will focus on trails around Olympia, Everett, Seattle, Tacoma, Bellevue  and Bellingham.

Craig hopes they encourage a wide range of hikers, from new hikers just getting started to seasoned hikers looking for an after-work or off -season hike. Nearly half the hikes in each book are accessible by bus.

“Urban parks are so important, especially as we become more and more urbanized, we have to have parks where the people are,” Craig says. “We have to have greenbelts and safe bike paths. Puget Sound is a special environment and we’re losing a lot of it. We need to protect these last spots on the Sound. Wilderness shouldn’t just be some place that’s remote. We should have places protected right here.”

Now, when he hikes with Giovanni, Craig has a new focus. Twenty-mile days are no longer the goal—it’s more important to ensure his son has a good time.

“It’s funny,” says Craig. “My hiking life hasn’t changed much since he was born. Where it has changed is that I’ve taken more time to incorporate taking my boy out.”

Recently, Craig has been able to incorporate Giovanni into more of his hiking research than he would normally be able to. He’s working on a series of urban trail guidebooks, and bringing Giovanni on those trails is much easier than taking him into the backcountry.

“The urban trails have been great,” Craig says. “It’s been ideal that this whole series launched right when I had him. It’s perfect. I can work with him on this book. It was one of those things where everything fell into place.”

Since the birth of their son, Craig and his wife, Heather, have been careful to look out for each other’s need to get outside. For Craig, that’s time to get in those 20-mile days or trips on trails too rough for Giovanni. For Heather, it’s time for long bike rides.

With a toddler, Craig and Heather aren’t able to take epic hikes together. But they’ve been creative to get out as a family. They recently took a 52-mile family bike trip on the Chehalis Western Trail while Craig did research for the Urban Trails: Olympia book.

Finding time to write has also required creativity. Craig writes at home, and he has learned that an active toddler expecting his attention isn’t great for his productivity. For a recent deadline, Heather took Giovanni to the Oregon coast so Craig could put his head down and write furiously.

And when Craig’s out in the field, researching, Giovanni and Heather come along whenever possible.

“This is his normal,” Craig says. “It’s the only life he knows. We’ve been doing this from the get-go. We’re definitely raising him with experiences, not things. We want him to really appreciate the natural world and get the most out of it. And, of course, we want him giving back to it, too.”

Since that first hike on Christmas morning two years ago, Giovanni has been on more than 100 hikes. Giovanni seems to enjoy being in the trailer or on Craig’s back in a backpack. Craig makes sure to pause and give Giovanni time to wander around and really engage with the outdoor places they explore. Sometimes, Craig says, that means shifting his mindset.

“The scenery doesn’t matter. Just being out in the woods and seeing squirrels and running water and anything small. Those types of things are going to be more important than vistas. Vistas don’t matter to [small children],” he says. “For someone who likes to do 20-mile days, I have to realize when I’m taking him out that it’s going to be all day for 6 miles.”

This article originally appeared in the Jan+Feb 2017 issue of Washington Trails Magazine. Support trails as a member of WTA to get your one-year subscription to the magazine.

Comments

Nicely written and an interesting article!

GREAT photo of Craig and Giovanni!

Posted by:


Bob and Barb on Feb 03, 2017 11:33 AM

"Just being out in the woods..."

That sums it up for me. I can spend all day just exploring the woods!
Kids are a great reminder that it's not just the destination, but the journey. Enjoy it!

Posted by:


mato on Feb 24, 2017 09:00 AM