I’ve ordered my proof copy of my next volume of Hike with Me. I spent the Thanksgiving long weekend working on one of the most important components – the photos.

I took over 2000 photos over the course of that solo trip, but it would be impossible to include them all. I enlisted my husband as a helper and, together, we looked at every single one and chose about 200 for inclusion in the book.

That was the easy part.

The hard part was the process of placing the photos. First, I had to open a Gimp file, chosen based on whether I was doing a single vertical picture, a single horizontal or a double horizontal. Then, in that file, I opened the image files as layers, re-sized, scaled or cropped them depending on the picture. Next, I inserted a text box in the file for captions for each image. Next, I saved the file, and then exported the image to a jpg file. And then, at last, I could insert the photo into the Word document where I wanted it to live.

Pictures for a blog are so much easier!

So easy, here’s a pika!

After completing that process for every scenery picture, I then tracked down my new equipment for this year and took portraits of that. Those photos were cropped out of their backgrounds, and then inserted as a layer into a smaller Gimp file where I added a caption. This is a departure from last year, when I inserted equipment pictures into their own full pages with reference markers rather than captions.

I did take some time off from this intensive labor to go to the gym. I rode a stationary bike on Friday, went climbing and running on Sunday. Managing stress with exercise is important. But I probably could have used more.

It is a wonderful feeling to relive my solo trip through reading what I’ve written and looking at the pictures that I took. But in creating this book, I want everything to be the best that I can make it. I want to provide an experience that gives readers some of the same senses of awe and fear and humor that I felt out there. And I put a lot of pressure on myself not only to do that, but to work to a deadline of having my book ready for Christmas.

And, barring something going horribly wrong, it will be. And it will be my best.

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