366 days of hiking: Former Colorado resident to share his year-long hiking stories at local coffee shop
When M. John Fayhee hiked every single day for a year, he had no intentions of writing a book about his journey. Six years later, that book is published and Fayhee will be taking it on the road through western Colorado for 15 readings, including one in Steamboat Springs.
At 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Fayhee will read from and sign copies of his book, “A Long Tangent: Musings by an old man & his young dog hiking every day for a year,” at Off The Beaten Path Bookstore and Cafe.
He will share stories of run-ins with rattlesnakes, the time his dog, Casey, went blind for two weeks and how he navigated hiking each day while maintaining both a social life and keeping up with his day job as a writer.
“The overriding themes of this book, first and foremost it deals with the subject of getting old,” Fayhee said. “I’m a baby boomer, we were never supposed to get old. We were always supposed to be young … The other overriding theme is the relationship between a man and his dog. It’s a very dog-centric book.”
Fayhee had two rules for his expedition. The first of which was that each hike had to last at least one hour, but the vast majority were much longer. The second was each hike had to take place in the forest and walks around town did not count.
The majority of Fayhee’s hikes took place in New Mexico’s Gila National Forest, but he also spent a lot of time in both Colorado and Arizona. When all was said and done, Fayhee hiked an estimated 1,200 trail miles over 366 days.
Down the road a friend encouraged him to write a book about his experience and after pulling notes together and revisiting old memories, he strung together 200,000 words which was eventually whittled down to 95,000 and officially published last week.
“I did not do the year-long hike with the idea of writing a book,” Fayhee said. “I did it because I just wanted to do something that was physically challenging and would absorb my attention for a while. It was a little unique because when you’re a professional writer, you walk down the sidewalk and you’re trying to think of stuff to write about. With this, I didn’t want to sully the experience with thinking what I’m going to write about today and tomorrow.”
Fayhee spent many years as a journalist in various Colorado mountain towns and even helped relaunch the Mountain Gazette magazine in 2000. This will be a “home field book tour” for Fayhee who will be doing additional readings in Aspen, Carbondale, Leadville, Lake George, Frisco, Crested Butte, Fruita, Durango, Moab and Telluride.
“We’re going to see a lot of old friends and be up there during leaf changing season,” Fayhee said. “It’s going to be great and we’re definitely looking forward to Steamboat. We have spent quite a bit of time there.”
To reach Tom Skulski, call 970-871-4240, email tskulski@SteamboatPilot.com.
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