Mark's passion for nature is so clearly evident from all the hard work he has put into creating this amazing resource for hiking in the Appalachians and beyond. He has been able to share his love for nature with so many others through this site, his lectures at park nature centers, and his other projects in the works! His energy is contagious, and he has inspired so many to join him in exploring the beauty of the Southeast and the concurrent peace and exhilaration that hiking fosters. His gorgeous photographs express his strong connection to the natural world around him and inspirit others to join him in his mission to explore, protect, revel, and immerse in the beauty of nature!
I've been using Mark's trail reports for a couple years now, and his is definitely the best collection I've found for Georgia. Not only does he provide remarkable detail and clarity in his directions, he also includes great photos that show you what to expect along the way. Though there are other good hiking guides for Georgia available online, Mark's is probably the most comprehensive, and includes difficult and little known hikes that very rarely get a trail report. To me, that is the best thing about his site--if I'm planning a long hike, there is a good chance he has a report for it. And when I run out of ideas, I can always find an interesting walk I haven't done yet by browsing his site. Having had the pleasure to hike with Mark, I can say that he is very passionate about what he does and puts a ton of effort into it. I'm very thankful for all the waterfalls, vistas and other unknown spots he has shown or taken me to. Once again, Hiking the Appalachians and Beyond is the best resource on the internet for Georgia hikers, and certainly one of the best for the Southeast. And it's likely to just get better.
I met this amazing young man at Unicoi State Park where he delivered a hiking presentation. I had been following his FB posts and utilizing the Hiking the Appalachians and Beyond trail reports for months prior. I'm still in awe of this young man's age. The level of detail, accuracy and knowledge that Mark puts into his trail reports is unprecedented. Frequent solo hikers like myself require all the detail we can get before venturing out. Mark covers all the bases. Anxiously anticipating the release of his first book as well as the future mobile APP that I know he'll bless us with at some point!
As the admin of a growing Facebook hiking group, Mark's website is one of the few I recommend to people asking questions on where to hike across Georgia and the southeast. Mark has a vast and growing catalog of hikes on his site covering most of the southeastern United States from off-trail, on-trail, long and short, to waterfalls and vistas. This site has something for any style of hiker. He often leads you to sights that few other bloggers and even book authors take you. I've hiked with Mark on multiple occasions. His attention to detail and research for a hike really comes through in his writing. Not only is the writing detailed and accurate, but his ever improving photography and videography is spotlighted on his blog as well. Well done, and I hope to continue to follow your work for years to come!
Genius is truly an understatement to describe Mark and what he does! Over the past few months as I have corresponded with Mark, followed his writings and trail reports, and then been able to get to know him personally, I have found him to be an exceptionally intelligent, extremely gifted and innovative young man, far beyond his years and his peers. When I first found out his age, I can honestly say, I was floored! His skills at writing, trail knowledge and attention to detail are truly astonishing! Then to come and find out that he created this incredible, much needed website at age 13… well, that is remarkable! This website provides such a wonderful public service to so many people, by helping them to get out and experience many of the amazing natural wonders that God has created. By the things Mark has discovered and his subsequent reporting, I have in turn been able to bless many people in my ministry with his discoveries. As you can see, the Lord is already using Mark in great ways to serve and bless others, but I am confident that HE has an even greater future ahead for this young man! Thank you Mark and God bless you for your passion, your leadership and all that you do!
I have been a fan of Mark’s blog since he started it many years ago. My wife and I have hiked many of the hikes that Mark detailed on his blog and we could not of done it without all the great info he provides. When we are looking for a new hike to do, Mark's website is a valuable resource that I rely on. His website is my favorite hiking blog. Thanks Mark and good luck in your many adventures in the future.
There are many people out there who are doing nature photography and trail reports, but few have ever approached both fields with the quality that Mark Oleg does. Mark's site is a must-consult for anyone making a trip into areas he frequents. The information is always professionally and thoughtfully presented, and the quality of the in-depth information he presents is a testament to his dedication as a nature enthusiast and also an ability to research that is thorough and innovative. One thing Mark deserves tremendous credit for is the way he always outlines only publicly accessible routes to natural locations that people have commonly trespassed over private land to get to, showcasing tremendous research and dedication. Mark's reports are not just a blow by blow account of hikes to popular locations, he makes a point to showcase side trails to lesser-known highlights. One can be assured that when utilizing one of Mark's guides they will not encounter the dreaded occasion where one gets home from a difficult hike a long way from home, only to find out that they just missed something incredible just a short walk away. I look forward to Mark's trip reports not just because they are interesting reads, but because hikers who have developed physical limitations like myself will not find themselves in a situation greater than their capabilities, since Mark always gives a good description of the difficulty of every trail and side excursion along the way. This is a great resource for hikers all over the Southeast.
This website has some great information. I've recently been going to some of the off the beaten track waterfalls in northeast Georgia. Mark's directions have proven very helpful. His work is detailed, accurate and easy to follow. I appreciate the waypoints and the tracks included with each hike. Those are particularly helpful for off-trail work. Mark should be commended for the quality of the work here. Highly recommended.
Thanks for the great resource, Mark! Your trail reports are excellent and very detailed and your photography has really improved over the past couple of years. You have given me a lot of new ideas on where to hike - both on trail and off. I really look forward to hiking with you one day.
Mark is the “go to” resource for all things outdoors. His information on trails, points of interests, waterfalls etc. are of incredible value to anyone seeking a great adventure outdoors. His trail and route information are always accurate, concise, and easy to follow. If current conditions change, he’s extremely quick to obtain factual information, providing updates to his users to ensure there are no lost folks wondering in the woods aimlessly. His photography provides yet a greater level of detail that’s not only helpful, but beautiful to view. His knowledge, experience, and maturity would lead you to believe he’s an experienced 40-year-old full time hiker. Imagine my surprise to learn this wonderful young man is only in his teens!! Incredible work and highly valuable. Keep up the excellent work Mark!!
I've been friends with this young man for three years plus. It has been rewarding to observe the way in which Mark has grown and progressed in many areas. He has heeded my advice and befriended numerous knowledgeable outdoors persons. He has gleaned and made use of every pearl of wisdom he has been given. He has also surrounded himself with quality friends who are like minded. He has availed himself of every morsel of advice and help given. It is rare to find a youngster who has the wisdom and clarity to do so. I have never witnessed it before. I have noted the improvements in his writing, exploring, direction giving. He has progressed from hiking on the trails to knowing how to read a topographical map, understand it, and find various features on his own. I did not learn to do that until I was up in my thirties! He is always willing to share knowledge and pass along excellent information with others as well as asking it of others. A true give and take scenario. He is not my son, but I'd claim him in a minute if I could get by with it. His blog is a growing resource as is his online hiking group. Very proud to call this young gentleman a friend. He has maturity and wisdom beyond his years. Little did I know three years ago who this fellow would grow to be, but I see great things for him in the future.
I read every single one of Mark's postings. They are among--if not the best-- of all the "hiking info" sites I read. The way he breaks down each hike with a summary, details, pics, duration, mileage, etc. His summaries of the hikes he has made are incredibly well-written and thorough. Most importantly, he will prevent you from getting into something (i.e. a hiking adventure) that is over your head if you're realistic about your own abilities. I save every one of his postings to my OneNote pages for easy reference. There's not much I can say to Mark other than THANK YOU! and KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!
I'm an avid hiker and photographer. I really enjoy consulting Mark's website for ideas and before I tackle a new trail. I can always learn a few things that I should check out before I go that I might otherwise miss. I also enjoy seeing the rapid progression of Mark's formidable skills behind the camera. To be able to not only read about a trail, but see beautiful pictures of it beforehand is really useful and enjoyable.
I first started reading many blogs and detail trail reports from the Internet written by Mark in the early stages of my hiking career. Each of them provided excellent reports and gave me great detail on what I was going to encounter. Great job Mark on all that you do and keep up the great info that you give to others.
I've been using Mark's website for not only the in depth description and photography but his opinions on the trails I find invaluable!!! Also on a personal note I've discussed and used his advice on a camera to buy to enhance my own adventures. I'm confident I'll be using him for advice on learning photography as well. Thank you for all your help Mark.
I have followed Mark’s blog since he was fourteen years old, initially I was astounded that “a kid” of fourteen was producing such well written, well researched, precise, and interesting material. I hike and adventure a great deal and Mark’s blog has introduced me to many hikes that I have done, as well as put a great many more on my “to do list”. I look forward to every email! I have found his directions very well written, easy to follow, and always spot on, no guessing. Further, he typically blogs about “my kind of hikes” scenic waterfalls, views, etc. with many unique locations. He’s obviously very ambitious, reporting on his hiking experiences, many of which are day long commitments, frequently. Hiking the Appalachians is my favorite hiking blog! Thanks so much, and please, keep up the good work!
There's a never-ending supply of blogs, trail reports, and other info out there in the hiking community, but I've come to rely on Mark's blog as one that is accurate, reliable, void of unnecessary hype, and useful. This isn't the pseudo-verifiable, selfie-filled hiking reports that one might find on "The Outbound Collective" or similar sites. He documents the hike thoroughly and adds landmarks and other details that are relevant for hikers and photographers alike. When he has pointed out destinations that offer "some of the best views in the area," I have not been disappointed. All in all, an outstanding resource!
Mark is an amazing guy who has such a talent and dedication to the hiking community in Georgia and beyond. Mark continually adds new and interesting information that directly enriches others' lives. Mark's writing is fantastic and thorough in detail. His willingness to share information has taken me to new remote places in the wild including my top two views in Georgia. Anyone interested in our region should check out Mark's work.
This young man has created one of the most important blogs for anyone who enjoys hiking and getting outdoors in the southeast United States, and started it as a fifteen-year-old. I presume he was not even able to drive at the time. His writing is extensive, covers many states, is well-researched and thoughtfully written, includes photographs and shows a maturity and community mindedness well beyond his years. I know that at some point, he will probably turn his attention to other things as he progresses into adulthood, but when he leaves this blog behind, it will create a void that will be hard to replace. In the meantime, I am saving as many of his posts relevant to my area (TN) that I can for future reference. I have to assume he will be very successful in whatever he does, and I'm grateful for what he has done for the outdoor in hiking communities of the southeast United States so far.
I first started reading Mark's articles posted on the Facebook group Mountains of GA, N.C,. and TENN. The quality of Mark's works were very professional, so I had him pictured in my mind as someone who had been writing 30 or 40 years. Then I learned that he was only 13 years old at the time. I said right away here is the next top outdoors writer. A couple of months ago I got to meet Mark and his father at Unicoi State Park, near Helen, GA. Mark is my favorite writer and just as soon as he publishes a book I am going to buy a copy.
Hey Mark I just had to leave a comment and say thank you! The information you have provided over the course of time has given me the confidence to go explore many areas I would not have due to limited information! Your hike overviews are always spot on and detailed. Best source of intel on the internet for our area! Thank you!
The blog writings of Mark Oleg demonstrate passion, first-hand knowledge, and integrity. Mark not only hikes on-trail, but is equally at home bushwhacking. His articles lend a refreshingly humble, youthful perspective. The accompanying photos are most enlightening. Mark is already very well on his way to being a very fine outdoorsman. I wish him all the best in his collegiate pursuits. ~ Dr. Susan Kindall, Greenville, SC
Mark, your blog entries have been very helpful and entertaining. They have really helped me plan my first time trips to new locations.
Mark, your attention to details is a valuble resource in my search for waterfalls in North Georgia and North Carolina. I’m an avid photographer and have used your site many times to guide me to the many falls I have photographed. Thanks for your dedication and passion for the work you do..
Mark, yours is the best resource I've yet encountered for hiking in the SE. Your consistent format, detail, commentary, and opinions are extremely professional and well documented and serve as a great planning resource as well as a great in-the-moment tool. I am extremely impressed with your work and grateful that you have made it available to "the masses".
I really appreciate your website, photos and videos as well! I enjoy the detailed hiking reports and maps. You have always been so helpful in areas that I may not be so familiar with outside of my state, you have lead me on countless journeys and keep up the great work and hiking, thanks again!
Hi, Mark! I love your webpage! Because of you, I’ve been able to go and see some of the most beautiful sites that North Georgia has to offer! Things most people don’t venture to see! The way you describe everything and step by step directions are just fantastic! I really like the fact that you seek out and find off trail hiking with much to see and isolated places. That’s my kind of hiking! Your downloadable waypoints are right on point. Very helpful. So thankful that you put in all the time and effort that you do to make sure folks can safely and legally get to these isolated destinations. Keep on truckin’, young man!