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Hiking Tri-Valley Trails One Page at a Time

Livermore authors provide field guide to more than 60 hikes in the Tri-Valley region.

In the past, when I’ve been looking for new hikes, the Internet was really my only go-to resource. I would sort through the digital muck, and usually end up trying to decipher electronic maps on my computer screen in hopes that I could map out a suitable route.

A few months ago this inefficient method of planning came to a halt, as I came in possession of a tool which made my life as a hiker much easier. "Tri-Valley Trails," a book co-authored by longtime Livermore residents, Jacky Poulsen and Nancy Rodrigue. The book has been a huge time-saver for me, and revealed unknown (to me at least)  features of parks that I have visited numerous times. 

Apparently I wasn’t the only one to discover this great hiking tool, because the book has become an instant hit in the East Bay. Boasting only two months of sales before the end of the year, Tri-Valley Trails became the bestseller at in Pleasanton for 2010. And when I went to purchase it from in Danville back in December it was sold out with a waiting list of more than two dozen people.

Needless to say, this book that outlines more than 60 hikes is popular for good reason.

I recently sat down with the authors of Tri-Valley Trails to find out a little bit about these two avid hikers and their book.

Poulsen and Rodrigue have been enjoying their newfound quasi-celebrity status within the Tri-Valley. Most of all, they are happy to be the inspiration behind many locals getting out and exploring our regional parks.

“This book was never about money, it was written with locals in mind to reveal great hiking spots that many people don’t know about,” Poulsen told me.

You won’t find long, flowery descriptions of regional parks in "Tri-Valley Trails." Instead, there is a short synopsis on features of each area and hike, but the meat of the information is practical. It’s all about getting you out on the trail; from there you can witness fauna and flora on your own. Getting out on the trail is the hardest step, and the book looks to simplify that problem.

Both authors understand this dilemma. Though they'd been nature lovers since childhood, Poulsen and Rodrigue didn’t start hiking until later in life. This is one reason they believe everyone has it in them to be a hiker.

Rodrigue stressed that it’s all about setting that first foot on the trail. She said it’s important to start off easy and adjust your hikes to your fitness level. This will make for a more enjoyable start when embarking on hiking as a new activity.    

One nice feature of the book that makes this possible is a difficulty rating for each hike.  Start out with some hikes that are rated flat. From there you can work up to moderate and severe hikes.

Another point Rodrigue wanted to make was the importance of getting your kids out on the trails at a young age. While it’s good for their fitness, it also instills a love of nature and the outdoors. "Tri-Valley Trails" outlines several hikes that are perfect for children, many to unique destinations that will get kids excited.

A tip from both women was to recruit a friend to hike with you. It’s always easier to start a new activity when you have some support. Pouslen and Rodrigue belong to a hiking group called the Hillhikers, a network of like-minded people that get out on the trails frequently.

Really though, all you need is a little determination to get started. Owning a copy of "Tri-Valley Trails" can handle the rest as far as logistics go.

For someone like me, who frequents most of the parks in the area, "Tri-Valley Trails" has simplified my approach to outdoor excursions. For the casual or beginning hiker, this book will have a substantial and lasting impact on your life. It will get you outdoors and exploring the beautiful land in our midst.

Extremely busy at the moment, Poulsen and Rodrigue said they have no plans for a second edition or another book. They did not rule out the possibility though, saying that there is still a ton of material that could be added to "Tri-Valley Trails." New trails are being adding constantly to the vast East Bay Regional Park system and ideas are churning in the authors' minds. For now though, exploring all the hikes "Tri-Valley Trails" features will provide months, if not years of enjoyment.

Where Tri-Valley Trails can be purchased:

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