What Am I Looking At?

Good question.

Oldmanoutdoors.net is a website/blog that will provide information, and hopefully a little entertainment, about being active in the outdoors. While based in the Cincinnati area, the site will chronicle outdoor based adventures throughout the United States and Canada. With any luck, the site will encourage you to shut off your computer (because you’ll want to go outside; not because the writing is awful).

Rough Landing copy

The man who puts the old in Oldmanoutdoors.net is Jim Rahtz. Jim is the retired Deputy Director of the Hamilton County Park District, but also has worn other hats such as bartender, zipline guide, personal trainer, kayak instructor and sidewalk inspector; all the great jobs. As a freelance writer and photographer, Jim’s work has appeared in national publications such as Camping Life, Paddler (canoe/kayak mag, in case you were wondering), Boundary Waters Journal and Sports Illustrated.

Two of his books, The Achievable Epic: Thru-Hiking the Colorado Trail and A Short Book on the Long Trail, received the Outstanding Media Achievement award from the Outdoor Writers of Ohio conference. In addition, photographs from his trips have been named Best Series of Photos by the same organization.

Jim (me) will be using these pages to show you great places to visit and things to do in the outdoors regardless of whether you are actually old or not. (I mainly figured it would be a website name I couldn’t outgrow. I hope you enjoy my tales.)

You can contact me by leaving a comment below or through email at Jim@oldmanoutdoors.net

La Plata Mountains

8 thoughts on “What Am I Looking At?”

  1. I heard you speak at winter fest at Wright State Univ. and bought your book about the CT. I finally had time to read it today on a flight from CVG to LAX to visit family. I enjoyed it greatly and found your web page and will, I’m sure find it enjoyable as well.

  2. Hi Jim,

    I stumbled upon your site after reading a piece your wrote that recently showed up on “The Trek” which I follow on Facebook.

    I’m so glad I found your site for a couple of reasons. One, I live in Cincinnati and have really enjoyed reading your descriptions of hikes in SW Ohio. Two, I have limited backpacking experience (last trip 20 years ago), but, at the age of 57, I’m giving thought to getting back on the trail. Truthfully, I have doubts on whether or not this is something to re-undertake at my age,

    Thanks for sharing your adventures.

    1. Dennis,
      Thanks for the nice words, glad you enjoy the site.

      For me, age has definitely slowed me down, but I still enjoy getting out and backpacking. Going shorter distances or taking easier trails has not been a bad thing at all.

      If you are interested in trying a trip, but don’t want to commit to buying a lot of equipment right away, I’m aware that Great Miami Outfitters near Dayton rents some of the items you’d need.

      There’s a local group, Cincy Backpackers, that arranges trips at all different levels. It might be a good way for you to “get your feet wet” again. They’re at: https://www.meetup.com/CincinnatiBackpackers/

      Good luck with your adventures, whatever you decide to pursue.

  3. Hi Jim,

    I heard you speak last night at RRT in Milford on the Tahoe Rim Trail. Very enjoyable. Unfortunately, I had to scoot immediately after the presentation and wasn’t able to introduce myself. Thank you for taking the time to write about your adventures and then finding even more time to give these types of presentations. Perhaps I’ll see you on the trail one day!


  4. Hi!
    I am a California native looking to move into the Cleveland, Ohio area. Growing up with access to the Sierras has made me nervous moving to the Midwest since I love high elevation gain hikes. It’s difficult to find where hiking opportunities are within a reasonable driving distance, let’s say 4 hours, where I can access a bit more elevation gain and strenuous hiking conditions than what are available in Ohio. My ideal day hike would be something in the 15 mile range with 4k elevation gain. Is there anything like that within driving distance, or am I out of luck?

    I appreciate your help! Thank you and hike on!

    1. Ellen,
      Yea, I’ve hiked several hundred miles in the Sierras and there’s nothing like them. Unfortunately, there’s nothing even remotely like them in Ohio. I hiked 12 miles today on what’s considered a relatively rugged trail near Dayton and had a total elevation gain of 1,300 feet. The most strenuous hiking I’ve encountered in Ohio would be the backpack trail in Shawnee State Forest. The area is called “the Little Smokies” and the trail lives up to the name. You may get close to a 4k gain over 15 miles there, but it won’t be in one massive gain. You’ll go up and down 250-300 feet over and over again, but the climbs should be steep enough for almost anyone.
      Another option within your 4 hour drive limit from Cleveland might be the Laurel Highlands in western Pennsylvania. Look at the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail starting in Ohiopyle State Park.

      While there’s no big mountain hiking in Ohio, there is quite a bit of beautiful rolling topography throughout the state to enjoy. When deciding on the move, don’t forget that in Ohio, you won’t have to worry about major forest fires or earthquakes. Also, while the weather can be lousy at times, the trails are not snowed in all winter like in the Sierras. There’s good and bad at either location. Good luck with your decision!

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