Rex Nye: The Man Behind GJHikes.com
Originally published in the Winter 18-19 issue of SPOKE+BLOSSOM.
In case any of his two million readers were wondering, one guy actually hiked every single one of the 1,500-plus trails on gjhikes.com, just so he could help others out with their adventure plans.
Rex Nye is a full-time database administrator at St. Mary’s Hospital, and he goes hiking every weekend. Finding out the hard way that trails were three or four miles longer than an expensive guidebook said, in 2009 Nye set out to create a better resource for hikers.
“I thought it was a shame that people paid good money for information that was inaccurate,” Nye says. “I thought people deserved better. I just wanted it to be — kind of in the spirit of the internet — everything free! So that’s the way it is.”
Each article includes photos, a detailed description of the terrain, careful directions in places where it would be easy to make wrong turns, and maps that Nye creates with a GPX tracker. “When I hike in an area, I like to make sure I do every trail there so I can make a map that has everything on it. I like it to be complete,” he says.
Because he stops every 50 to 100 feet to take photos and notes, Nye jokes that he’s no fun to hike with. Still, his family — including Letha, his wife of 43 years; their kids; and their grandkids — have accompanied him on hundreds of hikes.
“The whole idea is to give people a good idea of what they’re getting into so they can be prepared,” Nye says. Having led his three sons and their scout troops on countless adventures, he knows a thing or two about planning.
Readers from all over the world e-mail Nye questions and notes of gratitude. A couple even asked him which Western Slope city they should relocate to. “I told them that I live in Grand Junction, and it’s a good hub,” Nye says. “It has a lot more to offer, with desert hiking and forest hiking. That particular couple just moved here in November.”
Stay tuned … Nye is always adding new trails and has a few e-books in the works, too.