about us

Over the years the art of rambling has been lost, but is a craft we have embraced to a level of expertise. We have named our journal ‘Trail Ramblers’ as both excepted definitions of the word ramble seem to be an apt fit:

1. walk for pleasure.
2. talk or write at length in a confused or inconsequential way.

Over the next several postings I’m sure we will introduce who we are and what we do and all of those formalities but for this inaugural post I thought it fitting to ‘ramble’ about the philosophy we share on why we are creating this journal.

We have both always enjoyed athletic endeavors and the outdoors and this last spring (2013) we saw fit to try to combine those qualities in the form of hiking. If you know either of us you also are aware of our penchant to pontificate to no end on nearly any subject so solitude in the great outdoors affords us the opportunity to exercise this gift/curse. I don’t suppose there are many subjects we don’t at least have an opinion on and while we share many world views and governing principals we certainly don’t always agree on every nuance. This, for us, has been a blessing in our friendship in that we are able to challenge each other on what we believe and why we believe it as well as improve our ability to articulate these opinions.

We share similar personalities but come from different backgrounds and experiences and this will probably show through in this blog. I would venture to say that a great deal of my contributions will be of an analytical nature in the form of gear lists and reviews, trip planning and preparation, and critique and observation of our experiences while Brandon (being an artist and educator) will certainly contribute a great deal of beauty and eloquence in the forms of drawing, poetry, and general reflection. Our goal in doing this is to express our selves in multiple mediums so expect to see written word (of course) as well as video, photo, painting/drawing, and even the occasional spread sheet. I feel like this should make for a balanced approach for anyone who takes (or wastes) their time following along.

We invite you to learn from our mistakes and be entertained by our experiences. We claim to have no expertise in hiking and in fact plan to use this journal as a window of transparency into the fact that reality is quite the opposite. As with most things we plan to grow as we learn and reserve the right to completely change gears on even our most dogmatic views.

Brandon Briscoe is an artist and educator in Kansas City, Missouri. He is married to Eva and has two kids, Shepherd and Clementine.

Though not raised an outdoors man, his grandfather was a transcendentalist English professor who instilled in him a love for nature as a reflection of the bigness of God, the smallness of man and the union of the two. His desire to hike is tribute to this.

“The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward sense are still truly adjusted to each other; who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood. His intercourse with heaven and earth becomes part of his daily food. In the presence of nature, a wild delight runs through the man in spite of real sorrows…” – Ralph Waldo Emerson Nature & Walking


Joe Medlin is an IT professional raised in the KC area now raising his own family. As one of five siblings in a blended family trips to local trails were not an uncommon activity with the advantage of being both free and appropriate for all ages.

With his wife Lauren and children Ella (6) and Wesley (3) hiking has become a favorite family activity for all. The wonder and freedom of running free on a dirt path discovering leaves and berries and pointing out the colors and sounds appeals to everyone. The opportunity to slow down and appreciate life, nature, and one another is a priceless gift regardless of the challenges that come along with each trip.

The desire to push one’s mind and body as well as see things one must ‘earn the right’ to see are the motivations that Joe finds in hiking. The idea of traveling further and packing lighter to improve efficiency all the while discovering nature and beauty. This allows for the nearly obsessive nature of analyzing choices (in gear and preparation) and the creative freedom of simply walking in the woods to blend in perfect harmony.

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.” – John Muir

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