Earlier today, Tom Mangan of Two-Heel Drive challenged hiking bloggers to “review and profile a great hiking blog you discovered in the past month.” For me, this one’s easy… why it’s Tom’s site itself. Unlike my neophyte month-long foray into the joy of trail reporting, Tom has been at it for five years with his well-known and well-followed Two-Heel Drive. Most recently Tom has been sharing his experiences on the trails of North Carolina, but that barely scratches the surface. To understand the genesis of Tom’s love of all things outdoors, a little bio is in order.
Tom is a writer by education and training, and a writer with passion. That, along with persistence, helps explain Tom’s success and endurance in the environment of niche blogging. He knows how to place his readers at the scene of his latest outdoor adventure. After going to work for the San Jose Mercury News in Silicon Valley in 1999, Tom started Two-Heel Drive in 2006 as he says, “despite persistent evidence that bloggers rarely hike, and hikers rarely blog.” It only made sense to detail his excursions in and around the San Francisco Bay Area, including the Diablo Range, the Santa Cruz Mountains, and the Marin Range. Over the years Tom expanded outward with reports about the Pacific Crest Trail, the west coast’s equivalent of the Appalachian Trail.
I first became aware of Two-Heel Drive about a month ago when I stumbled upon Tom’s excellent piece about the 10 Essentials for Happy Hiking. I liked the way this was done, because it wasn’t just another warning about safety precautions to take before you hike, and along the trail. Instead, I liked the tone of comfort, and happiness. I don’t know about you, but that’s why I hike, because I am a happy person who enjoys hiking very much. I also found some great tips from Tom and his readers about blister prevention, compass basics, and trail mix, among many others in the information section titled Hike Hacker. I can never learn enough to make my hiking experiences even more pleasurable, and safe.
Tom relocated to North Carolina in 2009, and has been sharing his experiences on the trails of the Piedmont and the Blue Ridge ever since. Tom has a profound interest in conservation, something very near and dear to my own heart. I dream that generations of hikers 500 years from now can enjoy the same beauty and tranquility that we do today. It is only right for us to leave that legacy for those who succeed us. Tom is also very busy on Twitter and Facebook… you will find him all over the Internet. If you’re new to hiking, and you’re new to blogging about hiking like me, then Two-Heel Drive, Tom Mangan’s site for hikers, campers and nature cravers is a great bookmark for daily reference.