Maxine Nelson realized early on a true passion for writing. A memoir is in the works for publication in the near future. Currently she writes about her passions for all kinds of music, the performing arts, and local events in her area.

I found one of her articles on hiking and was pleased when she completed an outdoor interview with me. Her tales of hiking to explore nature and find serenity amongst the temples in the mountains of Japan and South Korea are spell binding. Connect with Maxine Nelson on Twitter.

1.) How and where were you introduced to the outdoors?

When I lived in Japan as a child going to Mt. Takao on school holidays, which is within the Tokyo metropolitan area. It is densely wooded with well-marked numbered hiking trails. That was my introduction to hiking.

2.) What has been your favourite outdoor recreations area?

The areas in Japan, and South Korea, where there are temples and shrines, usually in the mountains. It is so peaceful, serene, and quiet. You literally are communing with nature while hiking.

3.) Please share an outdoor story related to one of the above areas.

It was during the New Year’s holiday in Japan I went to the island of Miyajima, where the famous red floating tori (gate to a shrine) has been photographed countless times in books, travel posters, and other travel literature. There is a hiking trail that leads up to the top of the mountain on the island. I wanted to see the view from the top. Along the way I encountered someone banging on a gong. I went inside the shrine or temple to see what was going on. Lo and behold there was a priest in the middle of some ceremony. Whenever I’ve gone hiking in the past these temples are always so quiet and empty. It was startling to see someone there for a change.

4.) Have you ever experienced a wilderness medical emergency or been lost in the wilderness? If so please describe this adventu re and any lessons learned.

Thankfully no, I tend to hike where it isn’t so remote. I wouldn’t call myself an adventurous hiker.

5.) Can you share any unique encounters with wild animals?

I’ve seen some scurry about, but for the most part I only hike where a lot of people seem to come through on a daily basis. When you hike in and around temples and shrines, such as in Japan and South Korea, I always feel very safe and secure.

6.) If not previously mentioned, have you ever completed a thru-hike or multi-day backpacking trip and what nuggets of wisdom did you glean from it?

I went with a group to hike/climb Mt. Fuji during its climbing season in the month of July (and ends in late August). Most of us in the group did not make it to the top of the summit to see the sun rise. It was raining a lot. They discourage climbers not to go out when it rains, because the trails and rocks are very slippery. However, we did get to see the sun rise par tially and it was a glorious sight. What nuggets of wisdom I learned was to persevere and “make it work” like Tim Gunn always says on the reality TV show “Project Runway”.
7.) What is your favourite outdoor website?

LL Bean, they are the best and cater perfectly to my needs.

8.) What is your favourite outdoor hiking gear store?

LL Bean (when in Maine) and Bill Jackson Shop-Adventure in Pinellas Park, Florida.