Vancouver, BC (November 30, 2010) – Hiking guidebook authors and founders Kathy and Craig Copeland have hiked more than 48,280 kilometres together—a distance greater than the circumference of the Earth. They embark on another ambitious journey this week, a literary one, when bookstores, outdoor shops and online retailers nationwide begin selling the Copelands’ latest title: Heading Outdoors Eventually Leads Within, created with long-time collaborators Subplot Design Inc.


The day after Kathy and Craig met, they hiked 32 kilometres alone together in the Arizona desert. In the 30 years since, they’ve shared a devotion to exploring wildlands worldwide. Much of that distance is documented in the fifteen hiking guidebooks they’ve written and published. Their guidebooks are unique, offering lively, opinionated commentary in addition to the requisite facts, but they’ve never departed from the guidebook genre. Until now.


Heading Outdoors Eventually Leads Within draws on the Copelands’ nomadic existence. It’s filled with photographs from their on-foot odyssey to witness much of the world’s grandest scenery, particularly the Canadian Rockies, New Zealand, and Utah canyon country. Accompanying the photos are brief passages: incisive observations and soulful thoughts about hiking, wilderness, humankind’s relationship with nature, and life in general.


“We’ve taken the hiking guidebook about as far as it can go as an expressive medium,” reflects Kathy Copeland, “but we’ve been compelled to go deeper, to dwell on the ideas and images, unencumbered by the directions.”


Marrying these elements required them to invent something that is neither strictly an art photography book, nor a dedicated poetry book, nor a meaningless coffee table book.


“We’ve swung between excitement and anxiety,” adds Craig. “Excitement that the book isn’t just a new direction for us, but that others will recognize it as unique. Anxiety that the book doesn’t easily slot into a category. While crying out for a fresh category, it also spans existing categories, so booksellers might not know what to do with it. Still, we’re confident anyone who loves an outdoor activity, or has an affinity for nature, or is spiritually inclined will respond to it when they see it.”


“That’s because this book celebrates the truly adventurous life,” concludes Kathy, “which isn’t merely vigourous, it’s also contemplative. I think people sense the ultimate vista isn’t outward, it’s inward, and they’ll appreciate a book that validates their instincts.”


Heading Outdoors Eventually Leads Within is a 96-page, hard-cover, full-colour trek through the wilderness the Copelands know and love. From full-page landscape panoramas, to macro-closeups of wildflowers and rock faces, the book illuminates both the physical and metaphysical. The writing varies from prose to poetry, from pointed insight to gentle diatribe. All with heart. And always with a smile.


“This is a path we’ve been very excited to be on with Kathy and Craig,” says Subplot Design Inc. partner and Creative Director, Matthew Clark. “After 12 years of working with them principally on hiking guidebook covers, this was our opportunity to bring a very different story to life and tell it throughout an entire book.”


The title, “Heading Outdoors Eventually Leads Within”, is the source of the design concept. It is first expressed on the cover where the words themselves contain an image of the wilderness. The words literally frame a photograph, and the photo informs the words.


The inside spreads strike a balance, showing equal respect for the writing and photography, allowing neither to dominate. The design of each spread is unique, serving to sharpen the intent of that particular image/passage combination and strengthen its impact. It would have been easy to over-design this book, imposing flamboyant typography on it, or to under-design it by mimicking traditional poetry books where black serif type on white paper does nothing to clarify the meaning of a poem.


A dynamic layout and textured colour panels throughout signal this is no ordinary book. It is not ungrounded poetry. It is not effects-laden photography. It is not overwrought design. It is earthy, vital, and intimate.


“It was critical to us that, as the designers, we not be the book’s loudest voice,” adds Clark. “We tried to ‘stay out of the way’ rather than be an obvious presence. Our goal was to set a pace for the book, give it an overall sense of flow, so readers can experience the entire book as a continuous, cover-to-cover journey, as well as open it randomly and find a single spread that engages them.”


The resulting book is an achievement of which Subplot and the Copelands are very proud. Initial reaction from retail buyers was so enthusiastic that the release has been fast-tracked to reach store shelves for the holiday season.


You can find Heading Outdoors Eventually Leads Within at Indigo Chapters stores as well as other independent bookshops and outdoor stores during the next two weeks. Online buyers who visit now can purchase the book for delivery before Christmas.


About HikingCamping publishes unique guidebooks—literate, entertaining, opinionated— that ensure you make the most of your precious time outdoors. Our titles cover spectacular wildlands worldwide. We also publish beautiful, stimulating books that inspire hikers who are also seekers to find in wilderness not just beauty but illumination.


About Subplot Design Inc.

Subplot Design Inc. is a leading brand design firm with international experience in creating category-defining corporate and consumer brands. We specialize in powerful ideas that build intelligent, relevant, stand-out brands and communications in what has become an increasingly competitive marketplace. From our Vancouver, BC owned and operated offices, we do this with breakthrough creative brand design including Logomarks + Identity, Brand Packaging, Product Design, Print Communications, Annual Reports, and Retail Identities + Environments.