Special Photo. Lilburn resident Douglas Boyle started a blog about hiking called Urban Baboon. So far the blog has 131 posts and more than 7,000 pictures for outdoor experiences in Georgia, all of which Boyle has tested and traveled.
The Urban Baboon did not wander out of the jungle. The Urban Baboon does not amble along the streets of our cities. Actually, the Urban Baboon doesn't even exist except as the name of a website.
It all started at Thanksgiving five years ago when Lilburn resident Douglas Boyle and his girlfriend were discussing their life together and she pointed out, "We never do things I want to do."
Boyle had to think about that for a moment. "She likes to hike and camp. I was not in any kind of shape for that, so everything we did together, things I liked to do, just made us fatter," he said.
Boyle bought a book on hiking and started to at least think about living a healthier lifestyle. A few weeks later his brother from Chicago visited and asked if they could climb Stone Mountain together.
"I walked it and it killed me," Boyle said. "But I made a bet that in one year I could race him up Stone Mountain."
So Boyle started walking. A lot. And he started to do something else. He started taking pictures of his hikes and posting them on Facebook.
"Even on my first hike I discovered there was no good spot to find information on good hiking trails. I majored in philosophy and am good at library research, but I still had a hard time finding out what I needed to know."
But he kept searching, partly because of his brother's urging.
"My brother is a teacher and is always looking for low budget vacations. After our Stone Mountain climb, he started visiting more often. He wanted to do the tourist stuff and we discovered that a lot of what we have in Georgia is really neat. Through our hikes, I was making my brother happy and also impressing my girlfriend with the weight I was losing."
He eventually moved from Facebook to blogger and put a counter on his page. He was amazed at how many people visited, seeking information about the great outdoors.
He wanted to give his blog a name and needed some input.
"I was at my friend Dan Tanturro's house. Dan's a chef and kept telling me we should start a magazine about Atlanta. I told him about my idea for a website and we started just throwing out dumb words. We wanted something catchy that people would remember. Then Urban Baboon just came to me. You hear it once and remember it."
So far Urban Baboon has 131 posts and more than 7,000 pictures for outdoor experiences in Georgia, all of which Boyle has tested and traveled. He estimates from walking to writing he puts 10 hours into each post. He writes in a conversational style and includes detailed descriptions, peppered with a good degree of his own philosophical comments.
If your significant other suggests you take a hike or if fitness is just part of your philosophy, check out www.urbanbaboon.com
Susan Larson is a writer who lives in Lilburn and loves hiking. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.