Every week we get a number of nominations for Hiker of the Week. So many we occasionally have more than one per week. And with good reason. People love to hike and they love fellow hikers. This week we featured Rick Horwat, hardcore winter hiker with a passion for the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail (LHHT). Rick has hiked several times with a friend of mine; Dane “Sherpa” Cramer, as have I. So sticking with our LHHT theme for this week we have decided to also feature Dane as the Hiker of the Week.
During my own trip with Dane, what I enjoyed the most was our conversations about life, backpacking, our faith in Jesus and telling others about Him. Which is one key factor that brought Dane and Rick together, but that’s another story for another time. It’s a common bond we have with each other and one we’re passionate about aside from hiking.
Dane began backpacking in the early 90s. He was invited on a trip by a few friends. He borrowed all of his equipment and had no idea what to expect. He enjoyed it, but it wasn’t until he did his first section of the Appalachian Trail that he became smitten by it. The allure of being on the trail struck hard. Soon, he cut himself loose from his friends, who had introduced him to hiking, and began going solo. The solitude fit him perfectly and the physical demands and discomforts of being on the trail became welcomed challenges.
After a few backpacking trips, Dane began to publish journal-styled trip reports for his friends. Someone recommended publishing them on the web and so he set up a website. In time, his website began to include details and updates about the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail, where he would spend a great deal of his hiking time. This page alone draws 30-40 hits each day.
The next most natural step was to take his love for backpacking and writing to the next level. In 2007, Dane published his first book: Romancing the Trail: Six Days Atop Laurel Ridge. A few years later Dane blended his Christian faith with backpacking and wrote a fictional piece: The Nephilim: A Monster Among Us. Both are available on Amazon and have enjoyed good reviews.
Although still enjoying to write about his experiences, Dane has taken up an interest in using the camera lens as a way to share. On his most recent trip, Dane carried nearly 5 lbs of camera equipment and batteries to produce his latest video: 5 Days, 4 Nights, 70 Miles.
Our previous post features that video Dane produced. You can watch it here: 5 Days, 4 Nights, 70 Miles