A peek inside my “Hike Passport”

A fact about me is that I’m a documenter at heart (as if having a personal blog didn’t give that away), and an absolute sucker for a fun on-paper memorykeeping project (once upon a time, I spent five years running a memorykeeping blog, and working on the creative teams of the biggest brands in the business). I love a well-designed and well-crafted paper product, and all the cute little shit that can go along with it. Like my adorable mini stapler that looks like a whale.

LOOK AT HER! SHE’S SO CUTE! 🐳

An overhead view of a light pink stapler, neon green mini date stamp, small stack of 3x4 color photos, and a sage green "Hike Passport" book arranged atop a wood surface.

Memorykeeping was a big part of my life for a long time. I’ve been out of the habit and the business for a few years now, and I miss it. I keep trying to get back in the groove with it, and I keep missing the mark, taking on ambitious projects that overwhelm me into freezing and walking away. So. I decided to try this very simple, low-stakes project instead.

I used a Hike Passport from Letterfolk. Letterfolk has a whole series of these “passports” covering a bunch of different activities, not just hiking. In the “Hike” one, there’s room to document 20 hikes, with some extra pages of fluff in the back. Each of the 20 documenting spreads has a templated page on the left and a dot-grid page on the right.

The templated page on the left has space to document details like the date, trail, location, distance, who you hiked with, the gear you brought, the weather you encountered, types of terrain, snacks you ate, how busy the trail was, how difficult the trail was, how long it took you to complete, and a few more. You can do whatever you want on the dot-grid page. I used it to include a photo from and the date of each hike. You could use it to sketch a scene from the hike, or journal about it. Or to preserve a pass, or piece of the trail map, or some other ephemera (wrapper from a snack?). Or a combination of those things, the sky’s the limit!

A close-up of the inside of Letterfolk's "Hike Passport," open to a blank spread. 

On the left, a templated page to record the hike's details. The fields are titled: Hike #, Date, Trail, Location, Distance, I Hike With..., Season, Gear Brought, Elevation, Nature Observed, Terrain, Weather Encountered, Trail Traffic, Hiking Snacks, Difficulty Level, Favorite Moment, Duration, When I Finished I Felt..., [blank]/10, Hike it Again? 

On the right, a blank dot-grid page.

Usually, I print my photos at home (I use an Epson PM-400. I’ve had it for almost a decade. I love it. Definitely recommend). For this project, I printed my photos through Persnickety Prints. Their website is a little janky, but their quality and service is unmatched. I’ve used them for select memorykeeping projects for almost a decade.

Here’s a look at a few of my completed (“completed”) pages. I don’t fill out each field every time, just the details that I kept track of and that feel relevant to me for that particular hike. And I never use the “When I Finished I Felt…” field the way it’s intended to be used. I always put extra notes about the hike there.

Hike #2 this year, Wahkeena Falls Loop/Multnomah Falls:

A close-up of the inside of Letterfolk's "Hike Passport," open to a spread documenting my second hike of the year.

On the left, I've recorded the following details about the hike:

Trail: Wahkeena Falls Loops (started @ Multnomah Falls); 

Location: The Gorge (OR); 

Distance: 6.1 mi; 

I Hiked With: myself; Season: (I circled the tulip to indicate "spring"); 

Gear Brought: standard day pack; 

Elevation: 1,751 feet of gain; 

Nature Observed: So. Many. Waterfalls. Views of the Gorge; 

Terrain: dirt, water, mud; 

Weather Encountered: Sun; 

Trail Traffic: 2/6; 

Hiking Snacks: None; 

Difficulty Level: 1/6; 

When I Finished I Felt...: impromptu hike. didn't know the loop existed till I arrived. pizza afterward.

On the right, a color 3x4 photo of Multnomah Falls stapled to the page, and the date of the hike (April 24, 2022) stamped in black ink beneath the photo.

Hike #7, Dog Mountain:

A close-up of the inside of Letterfolk's "Hike Passport," open to a spread documenting my seventh hike of the year.

On the left, I've recorded the following details about the hike:

Trail: Dog Mountain; 

Location: The Gorge (OR); 

Distance: 6.1 mi; 

I Hiked With: myself; 

Season: (I circled the tulip to indicate "spring"); 

Gear Brought: standard day pack; 

Elevation: 2,837 feet of gain; 

Nature Observed: Wildflowers, trees, views of the Gorge.; 

Terrain: dirt, rocks; 

Weather Encountered: Sun, partly cloudy; 

Trail Traffic: 6/6; 

Hiking Snacks: Welch's (fruit snacks); 

Difficulty Level: 3/6; 

Duration: 2:58;

When I Finished I Felt...: way too fucking crowded. lungs and legs the whole way. brutal. loved.

On the right, a color 3x4 photo of me standing facing the camera, with views of the Columbia River and tree-lined mountains in the background, stapled to the page, and the date of the hike (May 20, 2022) stamped in black ink beneath the photo.

And hike #9, Elk Mountain/King’s Mountain Loop:

A close-up of the inside of Letterfolk's "Hike Passport," open to a spread documenting my ninth hike of the year.

On the left, I've recorded the following details about the hike:

Trail: Elk Mountain/King's Mountain Loop - DNF; 

Location: Tillamook State Forest; 

Distance: 12.0 mi; 

Season: (I circled the tulip to indicate "spring"); 

Gear Brought: Osprey daypack, waterproof gloves, trekking poles, rain jacket.; 

Elevation: 2,920 feet of gain; 

Nature Observed: Trees, baby waterfalls, a river (creek?), so many slugs.; 

Terrain: dirt, rocks; 

Weather Encountered: cloudy, partly cloudy, rain; 

Trail Traffic: 1/6; 

Hiking Snacks: granola bars, applesauce, dried apples, gum;

Duration: 5:26;

When I Finished I Felt...: turned back just before 2nd summit. inclement weather and OCD episode. took wrong trail up. LOL oops.

On the right, a color 3x4 photo of me squatting and facing the camera, with views of the tree-lined mountains in the background, stapled to the page, and the date of the hike (May 28, 2022) stamped in black ink beneath the photo.

This little book is not a practical thing to bring with you on the trail. It *is* a fun and creative thing to do to commemorate your time on the trail. I think it’s a particularly great project for people who are new to memorykeeping, or returning after a break. Memorykeeping can be super overwhelming. This is a great project because it’s formulaic and simple. And because it doesn’t require a ton of supplies (date stamp and stapler not required), it’s a relatively affordable one, too.

*

Supplies:

Hike Passport: Letterfolk, $14.95 total. $10 for the “Passport” and $4.95 for shipping.

Stapler: Ellepi Klivia 97, $25-ish. You can find this on Amazon, but please consider supporting your local paper goods shop or craft store. If your local shop doesn’t carry Ellepi, try Little Otsu or Porchlight. Fun fact: Ellepi is a four-person Italy-based team, and they make all of their products by hand.

Date stamp: Miseyo, $11.99 plus shipping. I don’t remember what I paid for this total. I’ve had it for a while. Soz!

Photos: Persnickety Prints, prices vary. I paid $13.85 for these nine 3×4 photos—$4.86 for the photos (which included an up-charge because I went with the white border) and $8.99 for shipping, which: kind of yikes, I know. But also, the total cost was within my budget and I wanted to, so I did. For what it’s worth, their standard shipping (the default option) is incredibly fast and has never taken anywhere near 7-10 days to arrive, which makes that $8.99 feel like a better value than if the photos took forever to arrive.

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