Writer-teacher takes 50 hikes

Gary Linehan, The Union Democrat

Former Sonora resident Matt Johanson, now a high school teacher in Castro Valley,has written his fourth book, "Yosemite Adventures: 50 Spectacular Hikes, Climbs and Winter Treks."

It is a 256-page, full-color guidebook for adventurers of all skill levels published by Triumph Books. It is priced at $19.95 in paperback, available online at www.yosemitebook.com .

The new book includes five categories of activities - winter treks, hiking, backpacking, mountain climbing and rock climbing. Among these are details of climbing El Capitan, Clouds Rest, Mount Lyell, Lembert Dome and other Yosemite landmarks, as well as less visited paths and peaks.

Also included are more than 50 maps and 100 color photos, mostly taken by the author.

"Yosemite Adventures" is aimed at all skill levels, from first-time visitors to experienced Yosemite enthusiasts.

The foreword is written by national climbing champion Hans Florine, who has 30 years of experience climbing in Yosemite National Park.

"There is a wealth of knowledge in this book," Florine states. "You are in good hands letting Matt choose some great paths for you to take on your next visit."

Marty McDonnell, a Tuolumne River guide and member of the California Outdoors Hall of Fame, added, "This book answers how to create an awesome Yosemite bucket list."

Johanson said a friend, Cliff DeYoung, introduced him to rock climbing in 1994, making the book the culmination of 20 years of work.

"I'm thrilled to have actually fulfilled it," he said.

He noted that he personally completed each hike in the book.

"Every single one of them," he said, "most of them more than once."

Asked to name his favorite hike, he responded, "They're all my favorite, I would say. The reason I chose them is because I enjoyed them. I tried to achieve a variety of difficulties, including options for those who want more of a challenge."

Johanson, 43, is a former Union Democrat reporter who has been teaching journalism, government and U.S. history at Castro Valley High School high school for the past 16 years.

His previous books include "Yosemite Epics: Tales of Adventure from America's Greatest Playground," "San Francisco Giants: Where Have You Gone?" and "Game of My Life: San Franciso Giants."

"My years in Tuolumne County were a life-changing experience, even though I only stayed a few years," he said. "I met some wonderful people, had terrific experiences and developed a passion for the outdoors."

He said he loves visiting the Sierra Nevada but does not get to the area as often as he would like.

"Definitely not enough during the school year," he said. "In the summer I try to get there every couple of weeks."

The Union Democrat
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