Parkite shares her love of outdoor trails with a new blog
ParkCityHikes.com went live in August
Anna Pillman loves to hike.
“It’s a passion, but almost an obsession,” said the 24-year-old Parkite, laughing. “I think about hiking all the time.”
Her love for hitting the trails spurred her to create her online blog, ParkCityHikes.com, a website that features photos, statistics, difficulty rankings and Pillman’s personal take on hikes in Park City, Salt Lake City and around the world.
“I’ve been thinking about doing this for a little while,” Pillman said. “I was always telling my friends about hiking and giving tips to people. So I thought this would be a good way to share my passion with more people and continue to push myself and try out new trails.”
The goal of the blog, which went live in August, is to inspire people to spend more time exploring, according to Pillman.
“I write honest descriptions, tips and include photos so all levels of hikers can decide what trails would appeal to them,” she said.
Pillman prepares to write the blogs during her hikes.
“I take a lot of photos,” she said. “Any time I come to a sign at the fork of a trail, I will take a photo, and then I can go back through my photos to remind myself of any little details that I can add. I also have a Fitbit that I use to record the statistics.”
The photos also help Pillman stay on track.
“Sometimes I get lost, and I use the photos to help me give people information so they don’t get lost like I do,” she said. “I don’t want to lead anyone astray.”
To decide what hike to write about, Pillman came up with a system that involves a list and her computer.
“For the past couple of years I’ve been making hike lists on pieces of paper and putting them up on the wall so I can use it to set goals for myself,” she said.
The list, which can have up to 50 hikes, is the result of Pillman’s own research.
“I talk with other hikers to learn about new or different trails, and then I go online and visit different forums and other hike posts,” she said. “When I find a cool hike, I will find out as much about it as I can, and if I find I want to do it, it will make the list.”
Once a hike makes the list, Pilman commits.
“I just have to do it,” she said. “There’s not turning back.”
One of Pillman’s favorite hikes is the Wasatch Crest Trail that runs from Guardsman Pass to the top of Pinebrook.
“That is one that I will do at least once a year,” she said. “You walk above all of Park City. It’s so high. Desolation Lake is on that trail and it’s a great place to take a break, and I will do it on weekdays and barely see anyone.”
Another favorite is Beartrap Fork, which is a more direct way to get to Desolation Lake from Big Cottonwood Canyon.
“It’s steep, but not too long,” she said. “Like the Crest, the trail is very quiet.”
She also enjoys Shadow Lake and Murdock Peak that are respectively accessible from Park City Mountain Resort.
“It’s fun to see what the trails you ski on look like in the summer,” she said.
Pillman’s favorite hard hike is Lone Peak.
“I did that last summer, and it was the hardest one I’ve ever done,” she said. “But it’s 6,000 feet in elevation, and the views are amazing. It feels like you’re on top of the world.”
One of Pillman’s personal hiking goals is to reach the highest points in each of all 50 states, over the next 10 years.
“I started with and did Utah with Kings Peak, so this year I want to do Idaho’s highest, Borah Peak,” she said.
In preparing for the hiking season, Pillman follows the snowmelt as she works up to embark on long hikes each year.
“I’ve been starting to hike now, and while it’s still muddy and snowy on the higher trails, it’s drier on the lower trails,” she said. “So, I will hit those trails and try to go faster and further. Then I’ll work on the higher ones as they dry out.”
Although ParkCityHikes.com is in its early stages, Pillman constantly thinks of ways to expand it.
“I’m looking forward to adding tips about equipment and other things to make it more of a resource that can build community,” she said. “We’re so lucky to live in a place that has a world-class trail system, and so many incredible areas that are right outside our door or within a short driving distance.”
The blog already has some followers, and some have reached out to Pillman through comments.
“People have told me that they have discovered some of their favorite hikes from my website, and it’s so cool to know that something I’ve done has helped and inspired people,” she said.
Pillman began hitting the trails while she was a student at Park City High School.
“I did some hiking then, but, you know, high schoolers really aren’t into things like that very much,” she said with a laugh. “Then I started getting into it more when I was in college, when I wasn’t playing tennis in high school any more. I began to realize how much I loved hiking, and that became my primary activity and exercise.”
For information about Pillman’s blog, visit ParkCityHikes.com.
• Hydration-compatible backpack with a sternum and waist strap
• Hydration reservoirs
• Small water filters for short hikes where there is a water supply
• Full-sized pump filter for long backpacking excursions that have water supplies
• Sturdy hiking shoes with arch supports for short hikes
• Water-resistant leather hiking boots for long backpacking trips
• At least two pairs of wool socks in case the trail runs through streams or snow. Blisters develop quicker when the hiker is walking in wet socks
• Light-weight, water-resistant windbreaker when hiking in the spring
• A hat that keeps the sun off the face
• GPS phone
• Nutrition bars and energy gels
• Sweet and savory snacks that include fresh and dried fruit, nuts, crackers and cheese, wraps with veggies, humus or nut-based spreads, homemade burritos
• Bear spray
• Small first-aid kit with sterile wipes, bandages, super glue for bigger cuts and pain medicine for shorter hikes
• Large first-aid kit with allergy medicines, pain medicine, sterile wipes, bandages, wraps for sprains, super glue for bigger cuts, duct tape, matches, lighter and topical ointment
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