- Paperback: 212 pages
- Publisher: Rocket City Books (December 5, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0990354776
- ISBN-13: 978-0990354772
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 64 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #856,774 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Captain Blue on the Blue Blazes: The First Solo Thru-Hike of Ohio's 1,444 Mile Buckeye Trail Paperback – December 5, 2017
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Jim Zehringer, Director of Ohio Department of Natural Resouces
Let me start out by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed the book and would recommend that it be available at all of our state park gift shops. I really enjoyed the history lessons that you conveyed about each area. For example, I never knew about the distance fact on water flow about New Bremen or the counterfeit house on the Ohio River. I could go on and on. I was also very interested in the condition of the trail at various sections and in seeing how we can improve areas of our state parks that involves the BT. Since coming to DNR in 2011, we have made trail head signage, safety, confidence markers, and restrooms, a top priority. I would be curious on getting your feedback on how we’re doing. I appreciate your passion for the outdoors and you would have made a fine Naturalist or Park Ranger.
Patty Carro, Freelance Writer, Novelist
Ohio's Buckeye Trail winds across 1,444 miles of dirt and bike paths, city streets, rural roads, forests and pastures – all ostensibly marked by painted "blue blazes" to guide the way. Unlike the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails on the east and west coasts, respectively, which meander vertically from end to end, the Buckeye Trail is a loop approximating the perimeter of Ohio. If you start in Dayton, for instance, you can plan a hike that finishes in Dayton. That is exactly what wilderness adventurer Andy Niekamp did over 88 challenging days in the spring of 2011. In so doing, he became the first to complete a solo thru-hike of the Buckeye Trail at its current length of 1,444 miles. What's more, "Captain Blue," as he is known on the trail, chronicled his daily progress via a blog that eventually became a 196-page book: Captain Blue on the Blue Blazes. It is a marvelous account of one man's journey.
Irene Szabo, North Star Magazine Editor
Dayton's Andy Niekamp launched his 2011 hike anyway, even though, as most of our readers know, a trail that forms a complete circle of Ohio must necessarily include a lot of flat land in the north and a lot of civilization, too. But don't we also know that it utilizes numerous state parks and segments of the hilly Wayne National Forest? And readers of these pages have seen that long historic canal routes up and down each side of the state offer many miles of trail, too. I myself am a bit of a canal geek, so have enjoyed reconstructed canal locks near Napoleon on the west side of the state, and at the north end of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park on the east side and more canalside trail in the Zoar area. And anything historic pleases me; after all, it was near the Miami and Erie Canal in Defiance that Joan Young and I sampled a pork brains sandwich in an old Prohibition-era speakeasy. As Andy himself says, "The Buckeye Trail … is about discovering Ohio."
About the Author
Andy "Captain Blue" Niekamp has been a wilderness adventurer for more than 25 years. This IT professional, turned long-distance hiker has logged over 14,000 miles in more than 30 different states coast-to-coast including 9,500 miles on the Appalachian Trail. Hiking is Andy's passion and his acclaimed "fountain of youth." He has hiked the entire Appalachian Trail end-to-end four times. While more than 10,000 have completed the Appalachian Trail at least one time, fewer than 12 people worldwide have reported completing the Appalachian Trail four times. His other long-distance trails include: the Colorado Trail, Vermont's Long Trail, Minnesota's Superior Hiking Trail, Kentucky's Sheltowee Trace, Arkansas' Ozark Highlands Trail, the Ohio To Erie Trail, and Bartram Trail. Andy is founder and Chief Adventure Officer of Outdoor Adventure Connection, a backcountry guide service based in Dayton, Ohio. Andy has guided hundreds of people on backpacking trips that focus on backcountry skills, education, confidence, and Leave No Trace techniques. His company's motto is Live, Learn and Love Adventure. Andy is the founder and organizer of Dayton Hikers, a hiking Meetup group. Under Andy's direction, the Dayton Hikers group has grown to the largest and most active outdoor recreation club in Dayton, Ohio. He, with the help of forty event planners, leads hikes, organizes events, and plans gatherings and presentations for its 4,000+ members. When he's not hiking, Andy volunteers for Five Rivers MetroParks, the Buckeye Trail Association and Kentucky State Parks. He holds an undergraduate degree in Management Information Systems and a Master of Business Administration. He is a life member of the Buckeye Trail Association. Andy is a popular presenter and motivational speaker. He is a sought-after resource for his experience, knowledge and expertise as a backcountry, long-distance hiker and skills as an educator/trainer. His goal is to inspire others to get exercise, make friends, explore nature, live a healthier lifestyle and make their community a better place to live!
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Or that the longest loop trail in the country is entirely in Ohio?
Captain Blue does - he’ll tell you that, and more. This book is written by an Appalachian Trail hiker who, after completing his 4th hike of the entire AT, decided he was in a rut. Being a native son of Ohio, he decided to hike the entire Buckeye Trail in one 90-day trip. Along the way he discovered weather (heat, mud, rain, snow, cold), Ohio’s lesser known landmarks, love, and more trail magic than he knew existed.
This book has quiet humor, and irony; Andy shares his love of Ohio, his family, and the generosity of strangers. And, best of all, everything in it actually happened to him (no need to amplify details.) No high drama, but an accurate exposition of the emotional highs, and the emotional depths, that all long-distance hikers (and occasionally, us short-distance backpackers) experience when our only job is to walk, and we carry all our worldly possessions on our backs, on purpose.
I highly recommend this low-intensity, totally honest account of one man’s journey on the Buckeye Trail.