Author, speaker, photographer and avid hiker Jeff Ryan was born and raised in Maine. His love of the outdoors was instilled by his parents, who often took him boating along the Maine coast.
As an adult, Jeff adopted hiking as his favored mode of exploration. In 1983, he went on his first long-distance hike, a 6-month adventure on the Pacific Crest Trail (see photo above).
Upon his return to Maine from the PCT, Jeff kept right on trekking. He and a hiking partner climbed Maine’s highest 50 mountains in one year. He then began “section hiking” the Appalachian Trail with his friend Wayne Cyr in 1985 (a journey that would take 28 years to complete and culminated in his first book, Appalachian Odyssey: A 28-year hike on America’s trail, published by Down East Books in 2016).
During his research for Appalachian Odyssey, he became interested in the history of the AT, in particular, the two larger than life personalities most responsible for the Trail’s existence. This led to his second book, Blazing Ahead: Benton MacKaye, Myron Avery and the Rivalry that Built the Appalachian Trail, published in 2017 by Appalachian Mountain Club Books). He continues to write about hiking adventures in an ever-expanding collection of books including Hermit: The Mysterious Life of Jim Whyte, released in 2019..
When he isn’t writing, researching, hiking or speaking at various venues, Jeff travels North America in his vintage 1985 VW camper.
|1983||Pacific Crest Trail|
|1985 – 1986||Highest 50 Mountains in Maine|
|1985 – 2013||Appalachian Trail|
|1986 – 1990||Long Trail (VT)|
|1991||Trans-Maine Expedition (ME)|
|1991*, 1995||Taconic Crest Trail (NY,MA,VT)|
|1993||Wapack Trail (NH)|
|1995||Sunapee-Manadnock Trail (NH)|
|1995||New Zealand (hiking and cycling)|
|2008, 2013||North-South Trail (RI)|
|2001*, 2005||Midstate Trail (MA)|
|2015 – 2018||New England Trail (CT,MA, NH)|
|2018||Tuscarora Trail Sections (VA.WV)|
|2019||Tuscarora Trail Sections (VA)|
*Did multiple sections of same trail in years marked with asterisk.