David and Phebe Novic became the owners of The Warming House, an outdoor outfitting store in Estes Park, Colorado in 1983. Both being former educators, they found teaching people to hike and buy the proper gear an enjoyable experience. David always said, “Teachers make great retailers. When people come in and actually ask for help and want to be taught, we fall all over ourselves.”
After hiking in Colorado and spending 11 years traveling to Nepal and many parts of Europe, they discovered long-distance hiking “inn to inn-style” on a trip across England. Here was a great opportunity for walkers who didnt want a backpacking experience, but loved to hike and travel.
In 2003, they began Footpaths Of The World, introducing Americans to the joys of long-distance walking – an established favorite way of traveling by the Europeans.
In January of 2005 they put together a long-distance route from Estes Park to Allenspark primarily for fun and for an article for The Estes Park News. “It was supposed to just be a concept about how a long-distance hiking trail would look here,” said Phebe. As lodging is always an important part of the experience, she met with the B&B association in Estes Park where the idea caught on immediately. “Before I knew it they were saying- forget the article, let’s do it.”
Today the newly established Walter Tishma Way, hiking and snowshoeing trips in Colorado, and several overseas trips are offered by Footpaths as guided or self-guided trips. There is also information on other routes around the world as well as plenty of gear and packing tips to help you get ready and to pack light. With 28 years of experience in the outdoor and travel industry, they know how it’s done.