Frommer’s contacted me a couple of years ago because the venerable company wanted to bring out a new line of guidebooks oriented to the traveling hiker. The notion was to combine the best trails in a beautiful area with advice about food, lodging, transportation and itineraries.

A terrific idea! I had for many years written about hiking for magazines and a weekly hiking column in the Los Angeles Times Travel section and was excited about the opportunity to share my expertise with traveling hikers from across the country and around the world. I agreed to consult with Frommer’s editors about the design and format of the series of books, as well as write introductory material about packing and planning and so on that would be valuable for all the books in the series.

The guidebook format created by The Trailmaster and Frommer’s editors included:

• 60 of the best hikes for every ability level, maps and step-by-step directions
• Planning information for everything from hour-long escapes to week-long itineraries
• A full-color wildlife viewing guide to help identify what you’ll see in the region
• Accommodation and dining recommendations located close to the trail

I also signed on to write Frommer’s Best Hiking Trips in Northern California. Other guides commissioned for the series covered British Columbia, Hawaii and Scotland.

The easiest part about writing the Northern California guide was selecting the trails. So many “best hiking trips” to share! And I enjoyed putting together weekly itineraries for the traveling hiker on tour in the various regions of Northern California.

More challenging to me was making a selection of accommodations and places to eat in the towns and cities near the hiking trips. Sure I’ve made my share of food and lodging recommendations over the years, but never before in such numbers. Fortunately, Frommer’s excels in this area and together we selected some great places to eat and sleep in all price ranges.

My book and the others in the “Frommer’s Best Hiking Trips” series got a good reception and I’m convinced that increasing numbers of travelers will choose hiking-oriented vacations.