Walkabout California

Hiking Inn to Inn

Walkabout California in the Media

California Trail Blazers Interview: Author Tom Courtney

BY 

The first time I heard about Tom Courtney’s book “Walkabout Malibu to Mexico” was after I had completed my own walk on the Camino De Santiago in Spain. This type of walk is where you stay in a hotel at night, have a good meal for lunch and dinner but are still hiking dozens of miles during the day. It is popular in Europe but not as much in the United States. Tom is setting out to change that by creating long hikes that you can do as a whole or in pieces and that end each night with a nice meal and hotel. He has a book for hiking along the coast from Malibu to Mexico and one for Northern California as well. I got a chance to catch up with Tom to talk about these books and about why he is trying to bring this unique adventure to California.

Continue reading at: 

http://californiathroughmylens.com/tom-courtney-interview


Wandering Educators

By Penny Sadler

Do you love walking, getting outdoors and exploring nature? There's no better place to do so than in California. Known for its perfect climate and beautiful geography, being outdoors in California is a way of life.

California is also known for beaches and some of the most beautiful coastline in the country. 

Continue reading at: http://www.wanderingeducators.com


Orange County Register

Walking the Southern California coast by Nicole Gregory

If you want peace and quiet, spectacular views, good food and some exercise on your next vacation – well, look no farther than your own backyard.

Hiking from Newport Beach to San Clemente

This moderate, four-day jaunt includes some of the most alluring swimming and surfing beaches in the world, as well as rugged rocky shores under steep cliffs that you will share with seabirds, seals and dolphins. You'll visit lively classic beach towns, step back in time in the beautifully restored cabins of Crystal Cove, and savor the fine cuisine and arts scene of Laguna Beach. Explore at 2 miles an hour, hiking inn to inn.

Itinerary:

Day 1: Newport Beach to Crystal Cove State Park – 7.2 miles

Day 2: Crystal Cove State Park to Laguna Beach – 4.6 miles

Day 3: Laguna Beach to Dana Point – 9.5 miles

Day 4: Dana Point to San Clemente Pier – 6 miles

Total distance:

27.3 miles

From "Walkabout Malibu to Mexico: Hiking Inn to Inn on the Southern California Coast" (Walkabout California Press, 2014) by Tom Courtney


Hiking from Oceanside to La Jolla

An easy, three-day walk along a beautiful stretch of San Diego County. You will join scores of beach lovers on lively, popular strands, then hike long, quiet and secluded beaches. Visit three fun seaside towns with great dining and entertainment. Savor a stroll along miles of pristine beach under the 300-foot cliffs of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. Hike the rugged bluffs of La Jolla Peninsula.

Itinerary:

Day 1: Oceanside Marina to South Carlsbad State

Beach – 7.7 miles

Day 2: South Carlsbad State Beach to Del Mar – 11.9 miles

Day 3: Del Mar to

La Jolla – 8.4 miles

Total distance:

28 miles

From "Walkabout Malibu to Mexico: Hiking Inn to Inn on the Southern California Coast" (Walkabout California Press, 2014) by Tom Courtney

Tom Courtney makes a compelling case for why a short, or long, hike along the Southern California coastline provides an ideal vacation: “Sublime swimming beaches, rugged rocky shores with surprisingly abundant wildlife, inviting seaside villages, great dining and delightful inns.” You can do this as a one-day outing or as a five-day adventure. Courtney has done both, and enjoyed every minute.

And he wants to spread the joy. In his new book, “Walkabout Malibu to Mexico: Hiking Inn to Inn on the Southern California Coast” (Walkabout California Press, 2014), he provides detailed itineraries, trail maps, photos of what you’ll see, recommendations for places to eat, inns and hotels, prices and contact information for hikes along the coasts of Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties.

And take note: Late summer and fall hikes, he says, give you whole stretches of beach to yourself. We caught up with the retired UC Berkeley professor recently to ask how he came to write his book.

Q. What was your inspiration to write “Walkabout Malibu to Mexico”?

A.The thing that inspired me was the beauty of the Southern California coastal landscape: the swimming beaches, the long stretches of rugged isolated coastline and lots of wildlife – for instance, the harbor seals and sea lions. Hiking from inn to inn in Europe is very common, but I want to tell people in Southern California – and the world – to come to the California coast for a vacation.

Q. Did you do these hikes all on one trip or over several months?

A. I did them over a couple of years. At the end of each chapter I explain how to get to the trailheads – sometimes by car, but also by bus and train.

Q. Do you have a favorite coastal hike?

A.The hike along the Malibu coast was the most challenging, but it also had the most dramatic scenery. I loved the hike from Newport Beach to San Clemente – some sections were wild and rugged, and you need to boulder, but there was beautiful wildlife. In some stretches for a mile or two you have the beach all to yourself.

Q. Who hiked with you?

A.I did most of it with my wife, but also friends joined us. They matched my pace, which is very slow. I learned to just savor it as I went along, stopping to look at tide pools. I guess we went at about 2 miles an hour. If you’ve got a day to do a 12-mile hike, you can sleep in, have a leisurely breakfast and set out at a moderate pace.

It’s single-tasking – a contrast to most of our lives. You have one thing to do: hike and enjoy yourself. At the end of the day, you’re ready for a rest in a comfortable bed and a good meal.

 


San Jose Mercury News

Story by Jackie Burrell October 15, 2014

We've all heard about travel adventures that take happy hikers traipsing from inn to inn across England's Lake District or the Swiss Alps. But Tom Courtney has translated that idea to showcase terrain considerably closer to home. In his 2011 book, "Walkabout Northern California" (Wilderness Press), the Oakland writer, former UC Berkeley instructor and avid hiker traced a series of enticing itineraries across the northern half of our Golden State, with 12 inn-to-inn treks across beaches, bluffs and mountain meadows.

Now he's venturing south with his new "Walkabout Malibu to Mexico" (Walkabout California Press, $16.95, 246 pages). The book offers a variety of self-guided, multiple-day treks, including a 32-mile, three-day exploration of the Malibu coast that takes you from Leo Carrillo State Beach to the Santa Monica Pier, with detours to splash in the waves, discover a Chumash village and cavort on a beachside Ferris wheel. Hotel Del more your style? A five-day hike takes you from La Jolla through Coronado Island and onward to the Mexican border, with kite surfers and fish tacos along the way. Each plan includes maps, stops and strategies, as well as lodging and dining suggestions. It's a winner.


Walkabout in the New York Times

A New Guide to California Hiking

By DIANE DANIEL SEPTEMBER 25, 2014

Heading to the beach in Southern California? Leave the freeways behind and start walking — that’s the recommendation of the author and hiker Tom Courtney.

In “Walkabout Malibu to Mexico: Hiking Inn to Inn on the Southern California Coast,” the retired nonprofit financial management consultant and teacher details seven inn-to-inn hikes covering the coastline of Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego Counties, 200 continuous miles ending at the Mexican border.

The three-day, 38-mile Santa Monica to Santa Catalina option, for instance, begins at the bustling Santa Monica Pier and concludes at circus-like Venice Beach, with a series of classic seaside towns in between, including Manhattan, Hermosa and Redondo.

Along the way, walkers can follow the Seascape Trail hugging the cliffs to Point Vincente, home to a historic lighthouse and interpretive center and considered a prime spot to view migrating gray whales.

A less populated option is the guidebook’s sole one-day offering, San Clemente to Oceanside, a hearty 23.8-mile trek that passes miles of undeveloped beaches, including Trestles, considered to be Southern California’s best surfing area.

The longest outing is a five-day, 31.8-mile journey from La Jolla to the southern terminus of the state, where hikers encounter rocky coastlines, swimming beaches, upscale towns, working-class villages and wildlife preserves.

Mr. Courtney, who lives in Oakland, Calif., suggests restaurants along the way and concludes each hike description with a list of places to stay, from budget to deluxe.

He also provides a detailed packing list and advises hikers to tote no more than a 15-pound day pack. Since Courtney has published his first guidebook in 2011, “Walkabout Northern California,” he has run an online forum where hikers can trade information, post updates, and share photographs.


An Interview with the Sacramento Bee

Walkabout vacations, popular in Europe, gain a foothold in California

Published: Sunday, Sep. 15, 2013 - 12:00 am
Last Modified: Sunday, Sep. 15, 2013 - 12:18 am

Atop Wolf Ridge on a clear day in the Marin Headlands several years ago, Tom Courtney paused to take in the view. Hikers always stop there, mostly to gawk at the Pacific Ocean to the west and Mount Tamalpais to the north, but also to catch their breath after a steep climb.

But Courtney had other reasons for peering pensively into the distance that day. Once, years before, he had a completed multiday hike in the Cotswolds in west-central England, hoofing it from inn to inn as part of a pastime Europeans call “walkabouts.”

So, as he gazed beyond verdant Tennessee Valley and over Mount Tam’s foothills, he wondered whether it was possible — logistically, not athletically — to string together a “walkabout” from Rodeo Beach to Point Reyes without resorting to pitching a tent and camping. Nothing wrong with roughing it, of course, but occasionally a guy likes to soak his weary feet in a hot tub, sip a fine merlot alongside a juicy steak, and sleep in high-thread-count sheets along the way.

“The Cotswolds were so fun,” the retired UC Berkeley professor recalled, “walking country lanes, stopping each night at a village and staying at a country inn, hanging out at the pub eating fish and chips and meeting the locals. It’s something I always thought about.”

Upon returning home after that Marin Headlands trek, Courtney unfolded some maps and played connect the trails, figuring out where along the way hotels, inns or bed-and-breakfast places were located without too much of a detour.

Let’s see, the Miwok connects to the Coastal, which leads to Muir Beach and the Pelican Inn. Then the Coastal connects to the Dipsea into Stinson Beach, where hotels are plentiful. Then, on Day Three, a walk through town connects with Willow Camp Trail, which connects with Bourne, which connects with the Audobon Canyon Loop, which leads to a milelong walk on Highway 1 to Bolinas. Day Four, the Ridge Trail connects with Bolema, which connects with Olema Valley, which connects with the Rift Zone Trail into the burg of Olema.

Four days, 38 miles, four inns.

Easily done.

Not that Courtney didn’t encounter a few logistical hurdles, the biggest being how to return to the starting point at the Headlands without retracing steps. He hit upon the idea of taking a Marin County transit bus from Olema to Sausalito, then a 20-buck cab ride back to Rodeo Beach.

The other walkabout workaround question: What about luggage?

Unlike in European walkabouts — most notably, the Cotswolds and Camino de Santiago — where valets transport your bags and gear while you step lightly with just water and basic provisions, no such organized schlepping exists stateside. Courtney’s solution: travel light with a 15-pound pack with one change of clothes, minimal toiletries, with water and food.

He put theory into practice a few months later when he and wife, Heidi, made the trek, enjoying the slow, but relentlessly forward, progress from inn to inn, chuckling at the reaction from an innkeeper checking out their dusty personages at the front desk.

“She had us fill out the form and when it got to our license plate and make of car, we said, ‘No car,’” Courtney recalled. “She did a double-take and said, ‘Then how’d you arrive?’”

B&Bs along the path

If Courtney, 65, has his way, the sight of B&B guests with scuffed hiking boots and well-worn backpacks will become commonplace.

Since that initial walkabout along the Marin coast, Courtney has sussed out numerous connect-the-trails routes with inns throughout Northern California. His multiday hikes span the region — Lassen Volcanic National , the Tahoe peaks, Emigrant Trail in the eastern Sierra, and a seaside journey from San Francisco to Half Moon Bay. In 2011, Wilderness Press published his guidebook, “Walkabout Northern California: Hiking Inn to Inn” ($16.95, 224 pages) and next year will release a sequel on walkabouts in Southern California.

Someday, Courtney hopes, the United States will boast the same type of structured walkabout tours that are common in Europe. Until then, those wanting to tour California by foot will have to be flexible and improvise, be content with getting by on less during a walkabout than European counterparts do. Either that, or revert to old-school ways and camp out under the stars.

“Americans have been going overseas to do these hikes, and a lot of people are surprised that you can do them right here,” he said. “I have no idea how many (walkabout hikers) there are in California, but I know thousands have bought the book, and I hear from innkeepers that more people are arriving by foot. Maybe they aren’t so surprised anymore. I mean, what can be better than to hike with only a 15-pound day pack and then have a nice dinner and a drink?”

At the Bear Valley Inn in Olema, owner Amanda Eichstaedt offers a 15 percent discount to guests who arrive via foot or bicycle. She says they account for about 10 percent of her business.

“We offer it because we think there are valid alternatives to automobiles and driving,” she said. “We’re fortunate to have our inn where it’s accessible to a culmination of trailheads. We had one couple stay here who walked here for their 30th wedding anniversary from Pacifica. They figured out the route themselves and took the bus back. It gives people a different way to think about travel.”

Diane and Ron Stell, avid hikers from Elk Grove, describe themselves as “light hikers” who aren’t really keen on camping.

“One great thing is,” Ron said, “you see the country a lot differently on your feet than when you are in a car. That, and not having to set up a tent and cook in the wild and (deal with) mosquitos and West Nile virus — all that great stuff.”

What’s needed, said walkabout veteran Lil Dauria of Lincoln, is a sense of adventure and the ability to keep the schedule flexible. Last year, she and a friend embarked on a three-day walkabout from San Francisco to Half Moon Bay as a “training walk” for the Camino de Santiago in Spain. They enjoyed walking south along the shoreline from Ocean Beach but ran into a detour in the form of high tide.

“We had to walk through Daly City,” she said, “then follow trails back down into Pacifica. You adjust. In Pacifica, we didn’t pack a lunch. Just water and some snacks. We stopped in a coffee shop to get breakfast on our way (south) and they had quiche. The waitress said, ‘Oh, I have to get it out of the freezer,’ and we said, ‘You know, just give us the frozen quiche. It’ll thaw.’ And when we got up to the mountains later in the day, the quiche was ready.”

Take your time

Time slows on a walkabout, veterans say. Courtney says some neophytes believe you have to traverse the trails as swiftly as possible and worry that many of the walkabouts in the book (distance ranges from 15 to 45 miles) are too tough for them. But he points out that in summer and early fall, increased daylight make hiking at a leisurely pace not only doable, but preferable.

“If I told you we’re going on a 10-mile hike, you might be tired after three or four hours before you went home,” he said. “But if I tell you that you have all day with nothing to do but walk, you can sleep in in the morning, eat a leisurely breakfast, stop along the trail to read a book or have a picnic and you’re still going to arrive (at the inn) in time for happy hour.”

Still, it takes a modicum of fitness to hike 40-plus miles in three or four days. Some walkabouts are more strenuous than others. Tahoe and the Emigrant Trail have high elevations, the Lost Coast and Mount Tamalpais steep climbs.

Scott Jordan, 63, a retired district court judge in Reno, has completed six walkabouts, three in the rugged Sierra Nevada, and says this is not a vacation option for those whose idea of a workout is walking from their beach chair to the cabana bar for another margarita.

“Let’s use the Donner Pass (walkabout) as an example,” he said, referring to the three-day trek on the Pacific Crest Trail from Donner Pass to Squaw Valley, then Alpine Meadows and into Tahoe City. “There are a couple of hard stretches. You walk down to Squaw and spend the night, but then you’ve got to walk back up the next morning. That’s hard. Especially in the Sierra hikes, there’s a tremendous altitude change.

“But it’s more doable than it normally would be for a lot of people who would have to carry a heavy backpack.”

Traveling light on walkabouts is an issue for some, Courtney said. A day pack can fit only so much gear, clothing and provisions, so choose wisely, he said. Courtney recommends one extra set of clothes, with an “overshirt” for warmth and “nice enough for dinner at a restaurant,” a light rain jacket, first aid gear, water and snacks.

“Only what’s essential,” he said. “This is an issue of debate in my household — what is essential on the list. But by only carrying 15 pounds, you get to the end of the day and your shoulders aren’t tried. You may not even realize you have a day pack on. It’s a pleasant way to travel.”

Delight the locals

Plus, it’s a conversation-starter. Once, when Courtney walked into Smiley’s Bar in Bolinas after a full day on the trail, the bartenders and locals were quite interested in his mode of transportation.

“They were engaged in a lively debate about the merits of (walkabouts),” he said. “Nobody there had been out on those trails.”

Part of the fun, Courtney added, comes from absorbing the local color on and off the trail. At Smiley’s, for instance, he listened to a rousing concert by a band consisting of three ukeleles and an electric bass. At the New Albion River Inn on the Mendocino coast, there are 75 choices of Scotch from which to imbibe. At the Caples Lake Resort, off Highway 88 in the eastern Sierra, you can rub shoulders with hard-core fishermen. On the Marin walkabout, one option is staying at the Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, where you can meditate with monks and then “maybe walk down to the Pelican Inn to get a pint of Bass Ale before going back to the zen center.”

Using hiking as your main mode of vacation transport may come off as wacky to barflies and couch potatoes, but Courtney says it can spur something deeply rooted in our being.

“We are a walking species,” he said. “We left Africa by foot and walked to new places. Until only the last couple hundred years, if you wanted to leave your village, you had to walk long distances. It’s just part of our DNA to take a long walk.”

  


An Interview with the Burlingame Library

Interview with Tom Courtney author of Walkabout Northern California

In his presentation, Tom describes twelve "walkabouts" along the wild Pacific Coast, through the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains, in the Cascades, and through the parklands around the San Francisco Bay.  Each "walkabout" ends with a comfortable bed, a glass of wine, a good meal, and maybe even a hot tub in one of the area's great local Inns.

We caught up with Tom, while he was out on the trail, to ask him a few questions about himself and his walkabouts.

LIBRARY: What inspired you most to start your walkabouts? Did you travel much before "keeping it local?"

TOM COURTNEY: I’ve always hiked and backpacked, but my first hike from inn-to-inn was in the Cotswalds. Rambling through the English countryside with only a daypack, I stopped each night at a village inn and enjoyed good food and company at a local pub. 

Years later I stood on Wolf Ridge in the Marin Headland. Looking north, I saw the vast Pacific, Mt. Tam, and green hills. I wondered, could I hike all the way to Pt. Reyes? Could I stay at inns along the way? A month later my wife, Heidi, and I were on the trail, hiking 38 miles from the Headlands to Pt. Reyes along some of the most beautiful coastline in the world, staying in delightful inns and B&Bs in interesting coastal towns, dining on fresh seafood and local produce. I was hooked. Before that adventure ended, I was planning other inn-to-inn hikes in Northern California.

LIBRARY: Of all the places you mention in your book, which one is your personal favorite and why? Is there a special Inn or location that you love to visit?

TOM COURTNEY: There are a dozen self-guided inn-to-inn hikes in Walkabout Northern California – Hiking Inn to Inn along the coast and through the Sierra and Southern Cascades. I can’t pick one favorite, but here are few very special inns. 

The Albion River Inn on the Mendocino Coast – perched on bluffs overlooking the ocean and river, it has simple and elegant rooms, lush gardens, and a fantastic restaurant. 

Drakesbad Guest Ranch in Lassen Volcanic Nation Park – after a hearty dinner, you can float in the pool fed by hot springs and gaze at the star filled sky. 

Pt. Reyes Hostel – stay in a dorm or a private room and explore the beautiful coast and estuaries along Drakes Bay.

LIBRARY: What would you say are the biggest benefits to your choice of routes? Any obstacles we should watch out for?

TOM COURTNEY: Northern Californians are fortunate to have so much preserved wilderness and open space with hiking trails. A hike from inn-to-inn is an opportunity to leave the car behind and take a multi-day, multi-destination vacation carrying only a light daypack, stopping each evening for a delicious meal, a hot shower, and a comfortable bed. 

I managed to get a bit lost on many of these walkabouts, but the book gives detailed directions, so I hope that will not be a problem for others.

LIBRARY: You have quite an impressive website to support the walkabout community - are there any stories that stand out from people who have posted on your site?

TOM COURTNEY: We started WalkaboutCalifornia.com in 2009. It has become a destination for people to share stories of their inn-to-inn hiking adventures and to ask questions. After the book was published, I gave myself a present and hiked the Camino de Santiago, the ancient pilgrimage route through Northern Spain, and I blogged along the way. This brought people to the site from all over the world who love hiking from inn-to-inn.

LIBRARY: What areas are you currently exploring? What new guides can we look forward to reading?

TOM COURTNEY: I am just finishing up a new book, Walkabout - Malibu to Mexico: Hiking Inn to Inn on the Southern California Coast. It hikes 200 miles of sunny shoreline from North Los Angeles County to the Mexico border, ending each day at an inn or B&B. This is a land of expansive swimming beaches, rugged rocky coastline, fun seaside towns, delightful inns, and surprisingly abundant wildlife. The book is divided into seven chapters, each a one to five day inn-to-inn hike. It is scheduled to be published by Wilderness Press in 2014. A guide to the first hike in the book along the Malibu Coast is available on our website, WalkaboutCalifornia.com.

 


A Book Review by Bay Nature

Walkabout Northern California: Hiking Inn to Inn


Reviewed by Sue Rosenthal — published October 01, 2011

By Tom Courtney, Wilderness Press, 2011, 234 pages, $16.95.

Imagine hiking from inn to inn carrying only a day pack, following a beautiful trail with a nice meal and room at its end. The Alps or the south of France? Perhaps. But you could also be in Northern California: Think Point Reyes or Monterey Bay.

Avid hiker Tom Courtney, inspired to extend a Marin Headlands hike all the way to Olema, traversed 38 miles in four days. That first "walkabout" led to many more, and Courtney describes 12 of them in Walkabout Northern California. Ranging from easy coastal strolls to strenuous mountain treks, these inn-to-inn hikes involve walking 14 to 56 miles over two to five days. Courtney's engaging descriptions include natural and human history and stories of quirky locals. He also provides route information, lodging recommendations, trailhead directions, sources for trail maps, and tips on gear and safety.

Although the walking part is free, these walkabouts are not always designed for thrift; lodging sometimes runs $200 or more per night (though Courtney includes cheaper options like hostels when available). Instead of frugality, the book offers rich experience: car-free rambles rewarded with creature comforts--perfect for aging backpackers, carbon-conscious travelers, and anyone interested in slowing down to appreciate nature and hospitality.

Bay Nature Contributing Editor Sue Rosenthal is active in the California Native Plant Society and Friends of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden.

 


Walkabout California is a Sunset Magazine Editor's Pick

 


A Review from the San Francisco Examiner

Hiking inn to inn: Best of both worlds

If you like to hike and enjoy spending a day on the trail, then no doubt you have run into situations where you wish you could continue on, but you have run out of time or energy. There are some answers to your dilemma. One possibility would be to spend the night camping. Tom Courtney, author of the newly released Walkabout Northern California – Hiking Inn to Inn, has another, more comfortable, scenario. He writes, “Leave the car behind, explore stunning wilderness, and end each day with a comfortable bed, a glass of wine, a good meal, and maybe even a soak in a hot springs.”

In Walkabout Northern California, Courtney describes twelve multi-day, multi-destination Northern California vacations with hikes that range from 5-15 miles a day. Some of the walks are leisurely; some are strenuous. Some of the evenings’ meals will be taken in a pub, some in gourmet establishments. It’s guaranteed that you will sleep well whether your lodging is in a cottage with woodstove or an historic inn with 300-count linens.


Hikers who want to explore in greater depth such incredibly beautiful places as the Marin Coast, Monterey Bay, and Lassen National Park, will enjoy Courtney’s book. It’s a handy guide to the routes you’ll be taking and he enriches your journey as he describes the natural and cultural history of the land.

Courtney, who has been touring the Bay Area, is giving one more presentation this month.  On Thursday, August 17, 2011, 7:00 p.m., he’ll be giving a digital presentation of walkabouts from the Marin Headlands to Point Reyes National Seashore, on the Mendocino Coast, and on part of the Emigrant Trail in the Sierra.The event will be at the REI Concord store, 1975 Diamond Blvd Ste B100. (The Willows Shopping Center), Concord, CA 94520. Phone: (925) 825-9400

Reservations for the free event are required, click here. Seats will be held until the start time.  Seating may be available at the door, even if registration is closed. You’ll get the details on how to plan your trip  – including what gear to bring in your daypack  and hear about great places to stay.

Tom Courtney's website, has more to share on where to hike inn-to-inn here and abroad.

 


Review in the Contra Costa Times
Seeking Guidance: 'Walkabout Northern California'

 By Ann Tatko-Peterson

 
"Walkabout Northern California: Hiking Inn to Inn" by Tom Courtney ($16.95, Wilderness Press, 233 pages)

In Europe, walkabouts are not a novel concept. Hikers of all levels traverse the extensive network of trails that connect inns and hostels from city to city and even country to country, turning hiking into a multiday, multidestination vacation.

On a hike in his own backyard, Tom Courtney of Oakland wondered how far he could take a hike that started in the Marin Headlands. Studying maps, he eventually devised a four-day hike that would cover 38 miles and stays in four coastal villages en route to Point Reyes.

Walkabout California, complete with a website (www.WalkaboutCalifornia.com), was born. And now comes a guide that brings readers both Courtney's savvy knowledge and firsthand experience of exploring 400 miles of California wilderness. Different from other hiking guides, this one provides readers with everything they need to turn their adventure into a true walkabout.

Courtney vividly details 10 possible walkabouts, starting off with his inaugural Marin Coast journey from the Marin Headlands to Point Reyes. He charts day-to-day hiking itineraries for each, covers the basics for transportation and provides a list of lodging options. He also weaves in suggestions for things to do and restaurants to visit along the way.

He essentially takes care of all the trip planning. Even hikers not interested in a multiday outing would find Courtney's suggestions worthwhile for day trips.

It's a practical guide but also rich in detail. Courtney allows readers to see deep inside the wilderness of each hiking segment. He brings it to life, tempting all those who love the outdoors to see it for themselves.

The black-and-white photos don't do the landscape justice. Then again, maybe that's by design, just another way to lure readers into taking a walkabout themselves.

 


Walkabout California is Featured in Sunset Magazine:

 


Sunset originally wrote a short but sweet article about Walkabout California:


"Hike Inn to Inn
It seems like such a simple idea: Start off on a hike and go until you find a cozy inn. Next morning, do it again. But who actually does that? Tom Courtney did. He did it in Marin and on the Mendocino Coast. More important, he took along a pen, then came home, wrote up his trail notes and inn recommendations - laid out the whole plan - and posted them on his website for anyone with $5 to print out and stuff into a day pack. So, what's your excuse now? walkaboutcalifornia.com - Lisa Trottier"


One of our favorite sources of hiking info, Weekend Sherpa, wrote about Walkabout California:


Hiking Inn Style

Does your ideal multi-day hike end with a good meal, a glass of wine, and a comfortable bed? Check out Walkabout California, an itinerary planning site for hikers who want to travel light and stay at inns along the way. Father and daughter hiking dynamos Tom and Emily Courtney were inspired by Europe's flair for inn-to-inn walking vacations, so they created Walkabout for the California crowd—featuring plans and maps for some of state's best inn-to-inn treks. Routes include a four-day trip along the Marin coast—from the Headlands to Point Reyes, with overnights at charmers like the Pelican Inn and the Olema Inn, where arriving just in time for happy hour is part of the agenda. All inn for a good time! TIP: Walkabout California also offers inn-to-inn hike itineraries in the Sierras, Lassen Park, and the Mendocino Coast. For more information, visit www.walkaboutcalifornia.com. Itineraries cost $5 per download.


A Genuine Recommendation from Apartment Therapy

The Little River Inn in Mendocino, photographed by Tom Courtney...
imagine coming upon this sight at the end of a long day's hike!
In our household we love to hike, but one of us (psst—it's my husband) doesn't love the hassle of backpacking and would rather sleep in a warm bed than a cold tent. Inn-to-inn hiking trips seem like the perfect compromise, don't they? You wake up in your comfy room, eat a delicious breakfast, set off for the day through the beautiful wilds, and make it to the next lodging in time for cocktails. This type of traveling is fairly common in Europe, but not as popular here in the States. Fortunately, Tom and Emily Courtney, a clever dad-and-daughter pair, have recognized that Northern California is perfect for inn-to-inn escapes, and they've developed itineraries to assist willing hikers...

Tennessee Cove, a stop on the Marin Coast Walkabout
It might seem daunting to plan an inn-to-inn trip yourself, but the Courtneys offer detailed itineraries, complete with trail notes, suggested stops, lodging recommendations, and the like. All of the current available guides are for hikes in Northern California, including Lassen Volcanic National Park, the Mendocino Area, and Monterey Bay. How to choose?? The PDF itineraries are available for download at Walkabout California for $5 apiece. The site also hosts community forums where those who've done inn-to-inn hikes can describe their trips and offer helpful advice. Walkabout California is featured in this month's Sunset, as well as in this week's edition of the fabulous Weekend Sherpa.
(Images: Tom Courtney)

 

 


The crew at Ideal Bite shared a green living tip on Walkabout California:


"Walking Tour - Walk of (No) Shame The Bite:
You've done the head down, makeup smeared, high heels in the hand thing. Erase the memory with a different walk: some fresh air and some of NorCal's most breathtaking foot trails (and assurance that a cozy inn awaits you when your dogs start barkin') with Walkabout California's downloadable PDF guides. They list vitals like trail difficulty, which end points have hot tubs, local flora and fauna (like the photo worthy Tiburon Mariposa Lily), and packing lists for adventures from 4 nights to 1 night (stand).
Why Care?: Hiking from inn to inn is great exercise (hello, supercalves) and is much more Earth-friendly than driving or even public transportation. And let's get real - the cred earning potential is tops. You can plan an adventure for up to 4 days (and end up in point Reyes) but we started small with a 1 day/1 night hike in the Marin Headlands.
Wanna Try: Walkabout California. Digital trail guides, $5/trail."


shout out in Grist:



"Walkabout California: The benefits of a carbon-free vacation
This is my cousin Tom’s idea of a vacation: He takes a bus across the Golden Gate Bridge to Rodeo Beach. He’s wearing hiking boots, jeans, and a windbreaker. He carries a small backpack, volume of John Muir inside. And a sandwich. He hikes up the Coastal trail to Wolf Ridge, bundled against the morning fog, then down to Tennessee beach. Seagulls caw and whirl. Sandwich, book, nap on the beach to the sound of crashing waves on California’s north coast. Stretches, shakes the sand out of his hair, hikes over the ridge to Pirate’s Cove, then down to Muir Beach. Checks into the Pelican Inn. Has a cold Lagunitas Lager and reads a few pages of Muir, soaking in the clawfoot tub. Down to dinner, then a nightcap with locals. Really, Jerry Garcia used to play here? And you filled in on harmonica? Nip of night air and impossible stars before turning in. And that’s just day one. There are three more days until Olema. A carbon-free vacation sounds pretty good, don’t it? He’s got tips, trail maps, and community here."

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