New “Day Hikes in Santa Fe Area” now available!

By Teresa Seamster, Northern New Mexico Group chair

We did it! The Northern New Mexico Group has published the eighth edition of our popular Day Hikes in the Santa Fe Area. And this is not your grandfather’s guidebook.

The eighth edition contains 410 pages, 68 hike descriptions that, counting all the options and variations provided, cover more than 125 individual day hikes, 71 maps including two in color, and 95 black-and-white photographs, most of which are new to this edition. The retail price is $19.95. Sierra Club members can receive a discount by contacting the Northern Group directly.

“What is most obviously new is the color cover,” said Aku, project coordinator and chair of the Hiking Book 8th Edition Committee, “but I think our readers will notice how hard we worked to broaden the scope, sweat the details, and organize the content inside the book. Generations of hikers in northern New Mexico have relied on our guidebook, so we didn’t want to let them down with this eighth edition.”

Edition 8 began at a meeting in January 2015, called to consider what to do as our supply of the seventh edition was dwindling. “We decided that more than enough had changed on the ground to justify a new edition, and there were opportunities to expand the number of hikes covered,” Aku explained. “If we were going to publish a new edition, we wanted to do it right.”

The Eighth Edition Committee set lofty goals: to retain the accuracy and tone of previous editions, thoroughly update the continuing content, expand the number of hikes, produce a pleasing design and layout, and, of course, to deliver as useful a guide to as wide a range of hikers as possible. So a group of 20 dedicated hikers, writers, proofreaders and editors got to work. 

“Little did we realize that such a thoroughly updated and expanded book would require 18 months of intensive work by our volunteers to hike the hikes, research, write the descriptions, collect the photographs, draw the maps, edit, do the graphic design and layout, and proofread everything over and over again at every stage,” Aku noted. “Eight months alone over last winter and spring were consumed with maps and layout, both of which were done online.”

“If there is one single thing that I take the most pride in from contributing to this book, it is this,” said Northern Group treasurer Jim Baker, who took the lead for the graphic design and layout. “All of the writing, editing, field work, cartography, photography, graphic art, design, and production for this book were done by Sierra Club volunteers. The only party to receive a paycheck on this project was the company that did the printing.”

“There is an old joke that a camel is a horse built by a committee,” Jim continued. “But despite the complexity of the undertaking, and thanks to the skills and dedication of our Sierra Club volunteers, I think the eighth edition is no camel; it’s a thoroughbred horse.”

Jim gave as a specific example the maps in the new book. “While running his Travel Bug business full-time, Greg Ohlsen produced maps that are at once accurate, easily understood by the reader, and just plain gorgeous,” Jim said. “When I placed his maps in the book layout, I felt like the curator at a museum hanging works of art for an exhibition.”

The first edition of Day Hikes in the Santa Fe Area was published in 1981. Sales proved so strong that, after less than a year, the Northern Group did a second printing. Its ongoing popularity with hikers of northern New Mexico has sustained a run of seven editions. The eighth edition is gratefully dedicated to Norma McCallan and Norbert Sperling — “Two who made possible editions 1 through 7.”

The cover notes that sales of Day Hikes support the Northern New Mexico Group of the Sierra Club and our grassroots efforts to protect wild lands and creatures in and around Santa Fe and New Mexico.

To launch the eighth edition, we are hosting hospitality tables at the following times and retail locations:

The book is available at such local vendors as Travel Bug, Collected Works and REI.

We are grateful to these and other vendors that have sold our guidebook for many years. Thank you also to the incredibly hard-working members of the book committee: Norbert Sperlich, Greg Ohlsen, Helen Huntley, Alan Shapiro, Janet Peacock, Teresa Seamster, Roberts French, Bogdan Mihaila, Kathleen Burch, Christina Selby, Ingrid Vollenhofer, Daisy Levine, Heather Karlson, Robert Reifel, Rose Allen, Jean Dewert, Lester Drapela, and Aku & Jim!

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