As we write this, our story “Fifteen great hikes (practically) in your own backyard” is number one on the Desert Companion website’s “most viewed” list. That story is six years old — it ran in April 2011.
Our readers, it seems, love to hike.
That story is a classic Desert Companion service piece — it’s comprehensive, authoritative (well, mostly, as we’ll see), grounded in a desire to share the best of this region, and lots of fun to read, all while telling readers where to go. If you preferred a not-so-strenuous stroll with a tincture of history, we sent you to the railroad tunnels near Boulder City. If you fancied a night trot, we introduced you to Henderson’s River Mountains loop trail. If you sought a bit of a challenge, we dispatched you Frenchman’s Mountain for a steep, eight-mile round trip. It’s the template we’ve used for more than a few get-out-there stories over the years. (That formula was so classic, in fact, that we sequeled it in 2015 with “More hikes in your own backyard.” If it ain’t broke, etc.)
Most years, we devote the March issue to some aspect of the outdoors — hiking, of course, but also suburban walking, environmentalism, sports, rock climbing, food and, last year, even fashion. Nor do we limit our outdoor enthusiasms to one-twelfth of a year. We typically showcase top hikes in our annual Best of the City issues, nature photos crop up in our annual Photo Contest, and we cover the environment more or less continuously.
A love of being outside has been in Desert Companion’s DNA since the magazine evolved from KNPR’s Almanac 10 years ago — our first cover story was “The Really Great Outdoors” — and is consistent with what then-president Lamar Marchese described as a publication “still faithful to the almanac tradition of providing useful information in an easily readable way.”
That’s what we do, all right. Almost always. Almost. Since we can laugh at our own foibles, we do cherish the gentle-wince-inducing story told by a former KNPR staffer who, carrying her copy of DC into the hills, trying — vainly, it turns out — to follow our (apparently confusing) directions to a trail, encountered a hiking couple carrying their copy of the magazine, enjoying the same predicament. Ha! File that under “Desert Companion regrets the error.”
Thankfully, that’s a rarity. Judging from our upbeat reader feedback and the “most viewed” list, we’re fulfilling our mission to show you that Southern Nevada has a natural beauty worth enjoying, sharing and protecting.
As Editor Andrew Kiraly — not the type to indulge in grandiose, hyperventilating, all-caps overstatement — put it in 2015, “If I were the type to indulge in grandiose, hyperventilating, all-caps overstatement, I’d say we got a full-on NATURAL WONDERS RENAISSANCE going on up in here.”
And so we do. Now, get out there — it’s your backyard, after all.