What is this?

This is Ben Goes Hiking, a blog about a man named Ben, who goes hiking.

Can you tell me more?

Surely the title is self-explanatory.

Ben Massey is an IT product manager and nerd in Vancouver, British Columbia. He’s male, 30-something, and could stand to lose 40 pounds. He wears bifocals and usually has a beard. In short he looks the very model of the modern computer dork, because he is. And like many dorks, in his spare time when not cramming more books into his apartment, he enjoys hiking. Multi-day backpacking trips and day hikes, dragging his beer belly into the mountains or down the beach, and crawling under a nylon fly and enjoying the hell out of himself.

This is the website where he writes about that.

What sort of exciting stories of outdoor expertise can we expect?

You’re at the wrong shop for outdoor expertise! Your humble author, alas, is just a guy.

Most of us are “just a guy,” though. Genetically given average gifts, inclined towards comfort, a little too fond of the Blue Buck and the pancakes. Exercise sometimes, but not as often as we should. It can make the idea of (say) doing the West Coast Trail seem very distant, one of those life-long dreams that deep down you think you’ll never get to because you never work towards it.

The thing is, though, backpacking is literally what humans have evolved to do. Go long distances carrying their goods on their back. As a species we spent hundreds of thousands of years doing just that as hunter-gatherers, and the ones who were good at it survived and reproduced and led to you. No matter how much time we waste writing PHP, our bodies physically crave at least a sanitized modern version of that. It’s literally in our blood, and if the massive crowds flooding into parks every year are any indication, lots of us are realizing that. Ordinary people go hiking. You need a certain basic level of physical fitness, sure, but the easiest way to get it is to hike into it. Just hike! Just be an ordinary guy and go hike!

This is not a hardcore blog for those who live life to the edge. We don’t cut down toothbrushes. We don’t have a Lighterpack. We have never bought anything from Z-Packs. We’ve heard of cuben fibre, and that it’s not supposed to be called that anymore, but don’t remember the new term and refuse to look it up.

Then what exactly is on this website?

The highlight of the site is the adventure stories, where I go off someplace in the front- or backcountry, hopefully for a few days, and write thousands of words about it. These are nine-parts diary, one part trail report. They are very shabbily edited, designed more than anything so that the author can re-read them five years after the hike and remember the good times he had. They are, emphatically, the kind of thing you will like if you like that kind of thing, but if you’re thinking of doing one of the trails I’ve written about, they might have useful information.

You can also browse the map of adventures, which is a fun way to follow the geography of some of the things I do. Each hiking post includes photos, GPS track, elevations, everything to make the hike real short of carrying you on my back.

I do occasionally discuss general backpacking topics like gear, public policy, and all the things people pad out their hiking blogs with when they’re too busy working to actually go hiking. Luckily, as this is such an aggressively personal blog aimed so explicitly at the author himself, he feels no pressure to post content on the regular and is therefore free to only write about such things when he cares about them.