"The tradesman, the attorney comes out of the din and craft of the street and sees the sky, the woods, and is a man again."
- Henry David Thoreau
Americans flock to Europe for walking tours from inn to inn on long established trails. They hike the Alps or Southern France, explore the British Isles at two miles an hour, or pilgrimage through Northern Spain to Santiago de Compostela, stopping each night at a hostel or inn. Northern California also offers dozens of multi-day treks from inn to inn. This site describes walks along the wild Pacific Coast, through the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains, in the Cascades and through the parklands around the San Francisco Bay. Each day ends with a comfortable bed, a glass of wine, a good meal and maybe even a hot tub. You'll stay in interesting places: a B&B perched on the cliffs above the crashing waves of the Pacific, a resort on the shore of a Sierra lake, an historic hotel in a coastal village where you can explore the pubs and restaurants, a hostel in a national park, or even a retreat center that soothes the soul. The multi-day hiker knows a special joy of hiking through the wilderness. The tensions of the work-a-day world melt away. The mind slows as the miles pass, and your focus shifts to the sights, smells and sounds of nature. The hiker goes not only into the woods, but deeper into himself. A walk in the wilderness is the antidote to the fast pace of modern life. Leave the car behind, hike for a few days, and you have the time to process the to-do-list and plan the work that needs to be done when the hike is over, but also the time to daydream, to tell a companion a story that might take three days to complete, to contemplate, to meditate. If a pilgrimage is a walk to a sacred site, then perhaps nature's wild places are our cathedrals, and every hike in the wilderness is a pilgrimage both to a place and into one's heart. Travel light. A twelve pound daypack with a book, lunch and a change of clothes should do it. Is ten miles a long hike? Not if you have all day. The sun shines for fifteen hours on mid-summer days in Northern California. How about fifteen miles? No problem. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before you set out. Choose a comfortable pace. Stop to rest and read by a woodland stream. Have a swim in a Sierra lake. Take nap in the shade of a buckeye. You will still arrive in time for happy hour. Each chapter in this series describes a great Northern California hike. Some of the hikes can take a week, but many can be enjoyed in a weekend. Some are challenging, but many are perfect for the casual hiker. At the end of each chapter you will find details of the route and information about places to stay. Use these to plan your walks. Read the whole chapter to get a flavor of the countryside; meet some of its denizens, both two and four legged; learn a bit of its history; and visit villages, inns and restaurants along the way. Each chapter has a map, and many include alternate hikes in the same region. So, strap on your hiking boots and load up your daypack. Leave the car behind, and explore some of the most beautiful wilderness in the world. Click here
to purchase trail guides for $4.99. Take a walkabout Northern California – hiking from inn to inn.