So Montana, huh? Aren’t you scared of Grizzly Bears out there.

Nope. Read Stephen Herrero’s classic book, Bear Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance. It contains everything you need to know. The short story: bear attacks are extremely, extremely (I mean extremely) rare and between climate change and the impending removal of endangered species protections, they have much more to fear from us. Once you finish Herrero, go read Doug Peacock’s Grizzly Years.

But you hike alone. Isn’t that risky?

I can only quote the late Colin Fletcher, who responded best to this eminently bizarre concern:

[I]f you judge safety to be the paramount consideration in life you should never, under any circumstances, go on long hikes alone. Don’t take short hikes alone, either – or, for that matter, go anywhere alone. And avoid at all costs such foolhardy activities as driving, falling in love, or inhaling air that is almost certainly riddled with deadly germs. Wear wool next to the skin. Insure every good and chattel you possess against every conceivable contingency the future might bring, even if the premiums half-cripple the present. Never cross an intersection against a red light, even when you can see all roads are clear for miles. And never, of course, explore the guts of an idea that seems as if it might threaten one of your more cherished beliefs. In your wisdom you will probably live to be a ripe old age. But you may discover, just before you die, that you have been dead for a long, long time.

Why do you destroy fire rings?

Because nothing irritates me more than people either too ignorant or just plain inconsiderate to follow Leave No Trace principles—and I’ll destroy the evidence if others refuse to do it themselves. If I had my way, wilderness would be off-limits to anyone who hasn’t passed a basic course in ecology and environmental preservation. The woods are not your personal garbage dump and if you do make a mess, clean that shit up.

What does hiking have to do with your dissertation?

Uh, not much. But it’s good for my sanity.

Are you on social media?

Yep, right here.

Where can I read some of your academic writing?

Head over to my professional page: petersen-overton.com

How is your research going?


I thought you live in NYC. So by hiking you just mean a stroll through Central Park, right?

No actually. There are many decent hiking options. Besides a number of accessible day hikes, the city isn’t far from the Appalachian Trail and the Long Path actually starts on the New Jersey side of the George Washington Bridge. Even if you stay within the city limits, you have a ranges of choices. Hop on public transportation and you’ll soon find yourself in the woods without too much effort. The Bronx has a number of fairly good loop trails, as does the Greenbelt in Staten Island. Venturing a bit further out, the Metro-North Harlem line literally stops right on the Appalachian Trail every Saturday and Sunday (see my header pic). Besides that, the Manitou and Breakneck Ridge stations are also designed mainly for hiker access. See New York City Day Hiking for more detailed info. Also, I can’t recommend The New York Walk Book highly enough.

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