Hi, CleverHiker!

I decided to throw together this site to give you access to some information about myself and provide you with the samples and my resume. I was very excited to learn that you are seeking to expand your group of contributors, and I would love the opportunity to introduce myself to you and believe I would be a great fit for your crew. Please feel free to contact me with any questions. For more examples of my writings, photography, and outdoor and exploration expertise peruse my webpage here, elevationchanges.com, or go straight to my post archive, and be sure to check out my cartographic portfolio (especially the Trail and Feature Maps section) for examples of my trail maps, guide writing elements, and other technical writings.

Visit my GAIA GPS user account to see some of the explorations I've been up to and the prolific and extensive nature of my time spent out on the trails. I've been lucky to spend much of my life out on the trails and in the wild places.

Thank you for visiting!

Biography: James Wilson

Originally from the marshes and farmlands of coastal Maryland, James Wilson fell for the mountains of southeast Arizona and the Sierras in California on birding explorations— a love which further drew him north to the coastal landscape and ancient forests of southeast Alaska for years of trail construction and maintenance work with the Forest Service. Eventually he found himself outside of Portland, Oregon, a nexus for adventure with extraordinary access to a seemingly inexhaustible richness of coastal expanses, waterfalls, rivers, lakes, forests, glaciers, deserts, lava flows, and mountaintops to explore.

criterionMarch2023 (16)

There he has honed his skills as a hiker, explorer, backpacker, trail runner and photographer. Blending a passion for data collection, chronicling the outdoor landscape and an education in Geographic Information Systems, he turned his efforts towards cartography and now produces maps and guides that seek to provide visitors with useful, accurate, and easily interpretable representations of the wilderness. He loves sharing the wonder and delight of the natural world with others and values his role in enhancing the experience and guiding others to feel more confident, safe, and enthralled by the wilderness magic in their own adventures.

Video Introduction:


(click resume image below to download as PDF)

A sample gear review:

Altra Trail Gaiters

One of the best praises I can speak for a piece of gear is if you don’t pay it much notice until you don’t have it, and then you miss it terribly. On a recent hike, I neglected to bring my pair of Altra Trail Gaiters, and didn’t think much of it until observing I was stopping every few miles to empty tree needles, small stones, and miscellaneous debris out of my shoes, an occurrence that is normally rare for me— because I consistently pair my trail runners with these gaiters.


The Altra Trail Gaiters are as simple a gaiter as can be found, weighing in at only 1.3 ounces with a reinforced fabric tab holding a metal hook in the front for latching onto shoelaces, and a lightweight, durable and yet breathable material that rises up, surrounding and protecting the ankle. It’s a soft fabric that is comfortable and barely noticed against the skin. A Velcro tab on the rear secures onto the heel of your shoes. They are designed to work seamlessly with Altra trail runners, most of which have their own Velcro tabs built in, but the gaiters come with an additional sticky-backed tab of Velcro that can be stuck onto the heel of any shoe to utilize the gaiter.

Unlike many bulkier gaiters, the Altra Trail Gaiters lack any method of securing under the foot, which eliminates the potential for snags or abrasions from a strap across the sole while moving speedily across varied terrain. The slightly stretchy fabric allows for freedom of movement, and being so lightweight, they don’t require the extra point of contact to keep them secure as they hug nicely to the ankle.


The gaiters are constructed in two sizes, Small (Men’s shoe size 7-9.5 or Women’s 5-11) and Large (Men’s 10-14 or Women’s 12), so if you fall on the edge of the ranges, they may feel less secure or tighter.


One downside is that the 82% nylon, 18% spandex fabric construction tends to hold onto foot odors very well, so hikers using them daily on long trips will want to consider giving them the occasional backcountry washing. Luckily, they don’t retain water and dry out extremely fast, a benefit for when crossing mountain streams.

In testing the gaiters, I’ve rotated through two pairs, the oldest of which are now over six years old with several thousand miles of use. Despite some frayed stitching and a bit less stretch around the ankles, they still perform as intended, keeping me focused on the trail, and not on annoying bits of debris filling up my footbed.


Altra Trail Gaiters retail at $25.00 and are available in four colors from Altra.

A selection of some of my favorite photos:

criterionMarch2023 (19)

Thanks, and Happy Trails! - James