Alpine County’s history and recreation preserved in book form |

Alpine County’s history and recreation preserved in book form

by Andy Bourelle

He was a writer.

She was a graphic designer.

Together, they had hiked nearly every trail in the region.

That’s pretty much the story behind “Alpine Trailblazer,” a just-published book about outdoor recreation in Alpine County.

With their home tucked away in a forest near Markleeville, Jerry and Janine Sprout have been hiking Alpine County trails for more than 20 years. The decision to write a book about the best places to hike, ski, mountain bike, kayak and fish happened only recently.

“It took us 20 years to do, but we finally did it working seven days a week for three months,” Jerry said.

Recreation is a big part of California’s least-populated county. And the Sprouts would like to keep it that way.

“We hope by promoting the book we’re preserving the community,” Jerry said. “We’re promoting preservation.”

In addition to detailing more than 300 hikes, 27 kayaking or rafting trips, 32 cross country trails, 39 mountain bike trails and 57 fishing spots, the book is also a source for regional history. Six driving routes are outlined, which talk about Alpine County’s history: The Pony Express route, Emigrant Trail, Snowshoe Thompson’s tracks, Washoe Indian sites, Basque tree carvings and more. The book includes activities at Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park.

In the early 1990s, the Sprouts were tired of the daily 8 a.m.-to-5 p.m. jobs. She quit her job for the Nevada Department of Museums and History; he quit his job working with delinquent juveniles for Right of Passage. She did freelance graphic design; he did freelance writing.

An earlier version of “Alpine Trailblazer” came out years ago and quickly sold out. And they always planned on writing a more complete version. This winter, while staying in Portland, they did just that. They published it themselves, and the book came out May 1.

What’s next for the couple?

They are thinking about writing more manuals. Like with Alpine County, they’ll be focusing on other places they are very familiar with. There next project is a “Kauai Trailblazer.” Then maybe an urban hiking guide for the West Coast. Then maybe an urban hiking guide for Paris.

In the immediate future, however, they are doing two things for sure.

First, they are promoting their current book and – hopefully – enjoying its continued success.

“We have no idea if we’ll end up with a bunch of doorstops and Christmas gifts for a long time,” Jerry said. “But it’s going pretty well so far, and it hasn’t been out a week.”

The second surety is that the Sprouts – who usually hike more than 200 miles a year – will be blazing Alpine County trails this summer.

“We hope to do a lot of hiking this year,” Janine said. “That’s what we do.”


Title: “Alpine Trailblazer”

Authors: Jerry and Janine Sprout

Description: 6 by 9 inches, soft bound, 192 pages

Cost: $14.95

Information: (530) 694-2740

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