Ethan Gallogly, PhD, has been a leader in the Sierra Club, the Cal Hiking and Outdoors Society (CHAOS) at UC Berkeley, and the Outdoors Club of Southern California. His boots have covered countless miles, including the John Muir Trail, the High Sierra Trail, the Oregon Section of the Pacific Crest Trail, and the Theodore Solomons Trail. He is a reviewer for several Wilderness Press guides and has read nearly every book on the history of the Sierra Nevada. His debut novel, “The Trail,” was praised by Kirkus and the Midwest Book Review, is a consistent bestseller on Amazon, and was recently named a Next Gen Indie Book Award Finalist. Ethan believes that “time out, is really time in.” He lives in Davis, California, with his wife and family.
What are your areas of Outdoor Communication?
I’m at my best telling stories, a skill I’ve honed around the fire as an outdoors leader and in the classroom as a professor. Most recently, I’ve put this to paper with the publication of my award-winning novel, “The Trail.” It’s a tale of two unlikely hikers and how nature helps us find what’s missing in our lives. The story is set on the John Muir Trail, with a historic subtheme about the trail’s origins. “The Trail” was recently named a Next Gen Indie Finalist and is an Amazon bestseller.
What drew you to the field?
After moving to California, a friend and I took a trip to Yosemite and I was blown away by the scenery — the majesty of the rocks, the alpenglow on the granite. The two of us decided to take a day hike to the top of Yosemite Falls. Knowing nothing about what a three-thousand-foot climb meant, we naively thought this would be an “easy” three-mile stroll. We only made it a quarter of the way. Yosemite inspired me. I read everything I could about backpacking, got myself outfitted, and returned, climbing Half Dome and two waterfalls on my first backpacking trip. I was smitten.
In the years that followed, I took many trips into the Sierra and became a backpacking leader, sharing my love of wilderness with others.
What enticed you to join OWAA?
Several outdoors writers and I rented a booth at the LA Festival of Books. Each of us had a different publisher and we needed an umbrella organization to represent us. OWAA was perfect, so we reached out and joined. We soon discovered what a great organization OWAA is for networking and building professional connections.
What is your favorite outdoor activity and how did you get into it?
My favorite outdoor activity is backpacking. While day hikes are nice, in the back of your mind there’s always that nagging voice about everything left to do when you get home. When you’re backpacking, it’s different. You’ll be spending the night in the wilderness, so aside from finding water and a good campsite, there’s nothing pressing — your mind is free to expand into the wilderness around you. It’s even better on a long trip, where hiking becomes akin to meditation. Hiking and camping are my reset button. They’re how I refresh my soul.
What are you currently working on?
I’ve been researching background material for a semi-historic tale set on the Camino de Santiago, but this has been put on hold because of the pandemic. I also have a unique idea for a story set on the Appalachian Trail, but my next big adventure will probably be the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). Meanwhile, I’ve been splitting my time between teaching and marketing of “The Trail.”
What have you gained from your OWAA membership?
I’ve been amazed at the number of networking opportunities that joining OWAA has afforded me. I’m really looking forward to attending meetings and conventions as well.
What is one piece of advice you’d give to a fellow outdoor writer?
The most important advice I can give is to love what you do and write things you can put your heart into — those are the ones that will shine. After finishing your best draft, work with an editor. Don’t be afraid to toss whole sections of your work on the cutting room floor — that was the hardest lesson for me. Be prepared to spend at least as much time revising as you did writing. As Thoreau once wrote a friend, “Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short.”
Follow Ethan Gallogly at: www.ethangallogly.com
“The Trail” is distributed by Ingram Books and available on all major retail platforms, such as:
Amazon.com at: www.amazon.com/Trail-novel-Ethan-Gallogly/dp/1737419203
OWAA membership benefits
OWAA provides resources to help our members flourish as outdoor communicators and establish themselves as industry leaders. We create opportunities to make valuable industry and personal connections, sharpen professional skills, showcase work and gain access to in-demand educational resources and mentorship opportunities. Individual member benefits include: