Leonard M. Adkins-The Habitual Hiker

"Amidst the greens and the blues of the forest is where I belong and am at the height of my contentment with life."

The University of North Carolina Press announces the release of the newest book by Leonard M. Adkins!

Hiking and Traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway: The Only Guide You Will Ever Need, Including GPS, Detailed Maps, and More is the only guidebook to provide a detailed description of every official National Park Service trail along the parkway. In addition, if it is a trail and it touches the parkway, it is also in the book—including public pathways on national park, state park, national forest, municipal, and private lands. Maps are provided for easy navigation, and official parkway trailheads have GPS coordinates. Included are the scores of miles of the Appalachian Trail that parallel the parkway, and points where the Mountains to Sea Trail comes in contact with the roadway. As he has done with all of the trails in each of his hiking guidebooks, Leonard walked every one of the more than 130 official parkway trails with a surveyor's measuring wheel to insure distance and description accuracy.

However, true to its title, the book is more than just trails. Descriptions are given for every overlook, including elevation. There's an elevation change chart for bicyclists, minimum tunnel heights for RV travelers, and sightseeing information for nearby towns. In addition, there are details about developed and backcountry campsites, rest rooms, water fountains, dining and lodging, picnic areas, a roadside bloom calendar, parkway milepoints, history of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Parkway, advice and precautions, and an overview of regulations and ranger offices.

The book is available from local and online bookstores, but if you purchase it through this website Leonard will donate a portion of the proceeds to the FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge Parkway, which assists in maintaining and enhancing the beauty of the scenic roadway.



Leonard M. Adkins, profiled by Backpacker magazine, and referred to as “The Habitual Hiker,” has hiked more than 19,000 miles exploring the backcountry areas of the U.S., Canada, Europe, and the Caribbean. Almost every hiking season finds him on some new and exciting adventure. He has hiked the full length of the Appalachian Trail five times (click the Hiking GA to ME button above to read reports from the fifth journey), traversed the Continental Divide from Canada to Mexico, followed the Pacific Northwest Trail through Montana, Idaho, and Washington, and walked Canada’s Great Divide Trail. Other long-distance journeys include Vermont’s Long Trail, West Virginia’s Allegheny Trail, and the Ozark Highlands Trail in Arkansas. His adventures in Europe include a trek of the Pyrenees High Route from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean along the border of France and Spain and an exploration of Iceland’s interior.

The off-season is spent writing books and articles. Leonard’s words and photographs have appeared in Islands, Caribbean Travel and Life, Blue Ridge Outdoors, Backpacker, Colorado Daily, Mid-Atlantic Country, Charleston Gazette, and other newspapers, magazines, and websites. He is currently the hiking columnist for Blue Ridge Country and is the hiking blogger for richmondoutdoors.com (click the link in the left column).

Leonard is the author of 17 books on the outdoors, nature, and travel, and his Wildflowers of the Appalachian Trail (photographers Joe and Monica Cook) received the National Outdoor Book Award, ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year Award, and a Virginia Literary Award nomination. The Appalachian Trail: A Visitor’s Companion was honored by the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation with a Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Award.

Leonard is not just a writer; he takes an active part in all of the books he produces. He walked all of the trails he writes about in his hiking guides with a surveyor’s measuring wheel to insure accurate mileage and descriptions. For his travel books Maryland: An Explorer’s Guide, West Virginia: An Explorer's Guide, and Adventure Guide to Virginia, he visited all of the places he describes: bed & breakfasts, restaurants, historic sites, museums, golf courses, bookstores, antique shops, amusement parks, beaches, hiking, biking, canoeing, kayaking, rafting, and more.

Jobs as an Assistant Director for George Mason University’s Outdoor Education Center and interpreter for the Virginia State Parks system helped increase his knowledge of the outdoors. He has been a ridgerunner and an Appalachian Trail Natural Heritage Monitor-aiding the AT Conservancy and National Park Service in overseeing the welfare of rare and endangered plants-served on the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club's Board of Directors, maintained a section of the Appalachian Trail, and was an editor for the Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association's newsletter and is currently a field editor for the Thru-Hiker's Companion.

Recently, the Habitual Hiker has been sharing his love of the outdoors by presenting multimedia programs (please click Presentations above) to an array of audiences. Judging by comments from university students, civic organizations, scout troops, outdoor outfitting customers, naturalists, poets, and armchair travelers, Leonard’s programs have entertained, delighted, and informed. Be it tropical islands, snowcapped peaks, emerald forests, or stark desert tracts, the presentations speak to the inner soul of each of us, reminding us of the peace, contentment, and joy only to be found in the freedom of traveling the natural world on foot.

“Best program of its type I’ve ever seen.”
--Allen Ginsberg, National Poetry Award

“Great show! We had well over 300 enthralled and entertained listeners.”
--L.L. Bean Public Clinic Program

“Best Saturday night entertainment and speaker we’ve ever had.”
West Virginia Writers’ Conference

“The only question the students and I have is: When can you come back?”
--Salisbury University

“People did not just hear and see your program; they experienced the trail with you.”
--Chesterfield County, VA, Winter Lecture Series

“To call this presentation inspiring just doesn’t seem to do it justice. As one young audience member stated ‘I always knew I wanted to hike the AT, I just didn’t realize (until now) that I want to start tomorrow.’ Be ready to put on your hiking boots! ”
--Henrico Adventure Series



Along with his thru-hiking wife, Laurie “The Umbrella Lady,” Leonard currently lives in Virginia.

Contact Leonard if you need an expert for your next article or book, a speaker for a conference or meeting, or just want to “talk trail.”

NOTE:
Leonard has recently received several honors. His book, “Wildflowers of the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains,” was nominated for the Virginia Literary Award, and he has been accepted into the Society of American Travel Writers.

In December, Leonard received the West Virginia Division of Tourism's Stars of the Industry Award for his article "New River Gorge Trails" in Blue Ridge Country Magazine, and in October he received the Award of Merit from the International Regional Magazine Association for his work on the column.

In June, the series of articles he wrote and photographs he took during his hike of the Appalachian Trail (hit the GA-ME button above to read them) received a number of awards from the Society of American Travel Writers (www.satw.org) Atlantic/​Caribbbean Chapter's Writing and Photography Contest. In August, Leonard and the series of articles received a Lifestyle Columnist award from the West Virginia Press Association.






This site and all articles, content, and photographs are copyrighted material. Copyright 2014 by Leonard M. Adkins, www.habitualhiker.com. No content from this website may be reproduced in any form in any media without the express written permission of the author.

Leonard's Books

BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY
As the title says, the only guide you will need to explore America's most visited national park!
WEST VIRGINIA
”We specialize in West Virginia books and books written by West Virginia authors and this is the most thorough guide for exploring the state that I have seen." Trans Allegheny Bookstore
Discover hidden secrets in addition to the well-known destinations
THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL
No longer do you have to lug dozens of guidebooks into the field with you. The Appalachian Trail: A Visitor's Companion is all you need. Winner of the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation's Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Award.
Take you to the very best the Appalachian Trail has to offer
MARYLAND
"Adkins' insightful assesments are right on the mark...the historical references and insider's tips made me want to pack my luggage immediately!" Connie Yingling Maryland Office of Tourism Development
"Leonard Adkins has written the essential guide for hiking in Maryland. From the waterfalls of western Maryland to the islands off the coast, Adkins covers the best of the Old Line State." Victoria and Frank Logue, authors of The Appalachian Trail Backpacker
VIRGINIA
“Good introduction to the classic hikes... everyone will benefit from the interesting natural details.”
--Outdoor Traveler
WILDFLOWERS
Wildflowers of the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains:

“Adkins’ insights are as stunning and beautiful as the wildflowers themselves. Each detailed description reveals Adkins’ lifelong immersion in the Southern Appalachian landscape. It’s a precise, practical, and powerful guide for novices and experts alike.” Blue Ridge Outdoors

  Wildflowers of the Appalachian Trail: Winner of National Outdoor Book Award; ForeWord’s Book of the Year; Virginia Literary Award Nomination