Author and Hiker Jeff Ryan grew up in Maine, where a lifelong appreciation for the outdoors is practically assured.
His first hike of consequence was a summer camp counselor led 16-mile day-hike when Jeff was 11 years old — an event that left permanent impressions (magnificent views are worth the effort, several miles of road walking on pavement, not so much).
Jeff spent countless hours as a youth exploring the Maine woods on foot and snowshoes (his preferred winter footwear). Spending his collegiate years in Wisconsin, however, proved to be the accelerant that fueled adventures to Denver, the Smokey Mountains and Pictured Rocks National Seashore. Most important, the friendships made at Ripon College led to his first long distance hike in 1983 — 6+ months on the Pacific Crest Trail.
Upon his return to Maine from the PCT, Jeff kept right on hiking. He and a hiking partner climbed Maine’s highest 50 mountains in one year. During this stint, he also began “section hiking” the Appalachian Trail in 1985 with another hiking partner (a journey that also culminated in his first book Appalachian Odyssey: A 28-year Hike on the Appalachian Trail.
Jeff has also hiked an impressive list of shorter trails including Vermont’s Long Trail, Rhode Island’s North-South Trail and the Midstate Trail, Mattacomet-Monadnock Trail and Taconic Crest Trail in Massachusetts. In 1990, he traversed Maine south to north by bicycle, foot and canoe—a 500 plus mile trip he and a friend completed in 24 days.
In between trips, Jeff is a dedicated writer and voracious reader. When he’s not in a tent, he sleeps in a real bed in the Portland, Maine area. If you’d like to reach Jeff, you may email him here.