About the Author



My name is Todd Nystrom (pronounced NICE-strum) a.k.a. “Todd the Hiker.”  First and foremost I am a Christian, a follower of our dear Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  I live with my wife Leah in suburban Cincinnati, Ohio.  We have two grown and married children, a daughter, Heather and her husband Shaun who have blessed us with three grandchildren, Luke, Grace, and James, and a son, David and his wife Felicia who have blessed us another grandchild, Patrick.  As empty nesters and avid hikers, we can often be found in our free time exploring new places to hike and enjoying the incredible beauty of God’s magnificent creation.

Grandpa (Pap) and Luke hiking at Germantown MetroPark, Germantown, Ohio (photo by Leah Nystrom).

I grew up in a Christian home knowing the blessing of having a father and mother who faithfully served the Lord.  Through the ups and downs of life, many prayers, and with the help of the Holy Spirit, I continue to grow in my Christian walk.  I am a member and elder at North Cincinnati Community Church (PCA) in Mason, Ohio, and am also an avid outdoorsman who loves hiking, camping and photography.  I gained my appreciation for the outdoors at an early age, learning to hunt and fish with my father, and enjoying many summertime camping trips with my family in Michigan’s rugged Upper Peninsula.

Photos from UP 003A much younger Todd the Hiker with a 36 inch, 13 pound northern pike caught on Greenwood Reservoir in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

It took many years before I realized the possibility of connecting my love of Christ with my love of hiking and the outdoors; and, in 2009, inspired by our head pastor’s sermon on Mark 6:31, titled “Finding Time in the Margin,” I decided to start a hiking fellowship ministry in our church.  And now, several times each year, I plan and lead group day hiking trips to many great outdoor locations within a few hour’s drive of Cincinnati.  Also, since 2011, I have been blessed to lead an outdoor adventure camp teaching children wilderness safety, basic first aid, and map and compass skills. This camp is part of our church’s larger summer youth ministry program, called MVP Camp.  In addition to my outdoor related ministries, I have also taught adult Sunday school classes and assisted my wife in teaching our church’s 3 & 4 year old Sunday school class since 2005.  I am certified in basic first aid/CPR/AED, wilderness first aid, and basic wilderness survival skills, all skills which I have fortunately never needed to draw upon (except for the occasional adhesive bandage) in any of our individual or group outdoor adventures.

In early 2015 I experienced a couple of encouraging developments which have significantly extended my online presence, having been selected as a brand ambassador for two well known outdoor brands, Ultimate Survival Technologies and Rocky S2V.  Being a brand ambassador means I get to test and promote their gear, which I see as quite an honor, but it also provides an incredible opportunity to reach a much larger audience than I have in the past.  I have already seen this play out in a number of different but very real ways, the most significant being all of the people I have met through my online activities who share my love of the outdoors and, more importantly, a love for serving the Lord while enjoying the beauty of His amazing creation!

I am not a professional pastor with formal seminary training, but I have had some basic theological training which is required to serve as a deacon or elder in our church.  Most of all, though, I have a passion for serving Christ through outdoor ministry, a lifetime of personal experience in the outdoors, and a love for reading and studying the Bible and all things theological, as well as anything related to hiking and the outdoors!  I have a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Michigan State University and a master’s degree in research & development management from the Air Force Institute of Technology.  In my professional career I served 10 years as an officer in the USAF and since 1997 have worked as an engineer and software program manager at a major, Fortune 500 company in the Cincinnati area.

Through this blog I hope to share my love of Christ as expressed through my service in various forms of outdoor ministry.  I also hope that by reading this blog you will be inspired to get outdoors more and enjoy the amazing beauty of God’s great creation, but most importantly that you would feel a desire to serve our Lord and Savior in your own unique way.  Thanks for visiting my site!

Now, get outdoors, stay safe, and happy trails!!

Yours in Christ,
Todd D. Nystrom a.k.a. “Todd the Hiker”


IMG_7972This is a photo of Leah and me enjoying the beauty and magnificence of God’s amazing creation in Glacier National Park (August 2012).  Our God is truly an awesome God!!!!

© Todd D. Nystrom and Todd the Hiker, 2013-2017.


29 thoughts on “About the Author

  1. Todd, thank you for your informative site and and the glory you give to God for His creation! We have enjoyed camping in RRG over the past five years with our young and growing family. We’ve usually gone down over long weekends and like to try to attend church on Sunday, but haven’t been all that encouraged with what we’ve found. We attend a Reformed Baptist church in Ohio, and PCA or OPC would be great too, but I haven’t found anything reformed leaning near RRG. I’m wondering if you have any suggestions for churches near the Red River Gorge area?

    • Paul,

      You are quite welcome! I am glad you find my site informative and giving glory to God for his creation is what got me started out here in the blogosphere.

      As for reformed leaning churches near Red River Gorge, the choices are very limited. There is at least one SBC church in Stanton (Emmanuel Baptist Church (SBC) – 745 W College Ave, Stanton, KY 40380) which based on their website (https://ebcstanton.org/welcome/) looks quite solid, but I have no personal experience with them. There may be other options in Ervine or Mt. Sterling, but they are much further than Stanton.

      The three closest PCA churces are Trinity Church PCA in Richmond, KY and Tates Creek Presbyterian and Christ Covenant Presbyterian in Lexington, KY but again farther than you are probably looking for. A search of the OPC church directory shows only one church in Kentucky that is nowhere near RRG.

      Hopefully this is helpful!

      In Him,
      “Todd the Hiker”

      • Todd,

        Thanks for the details. We have attended EBC several times in the past. It was the best we could find online as well.

        Keep up the good work on the website and God bless!

  2. Love hearing about other outspoken Christians who share similar passions. Stumbled across your site while researching trip ideas for RRG coming up in a couple of weeks. Thanks for your write ups.
    I’m looking forward to introducing a fellow sailor to backpacking.

    • Thanks for stopping by, it is always great to connect with other Christians who enjoy God’s amazing creation! I hope you have a great trip and that your friend enjoys backpacking and RRG!

  3. Hello Todd,
    I came across your blog by googling hiking Caesar’s Creek lake. I love to hike and Caesars Creek is my primary hiking spot since it’s so close to home (Lebanon). I enjoyed reading your blog and we have a little in common; Christian, hiking, and USAF (retired MSgt). I love to be out on the trail and having that peaceful time with God (and occasionally human companions).
    God bless you brother.
    Kevin Nicholas

    • Perhaps we’ll run into each other up at Caesar Creek sometime, my wife and I hike there often, also because of the proximity to home. We were just up there last week with two of our grandkids for a short hike.
      God bless you, as well, brother!

  4. Hi – Could you email me about the possible use of one of your Caesar’s Creek photos in the Waynesville Band Community Calendar? Thanks! Amy

  5. Todd, my name is Ashley Gillihan and I (with two other friends) own Hike With God, Inc. (check us out at HikewithGod.com). We love hiking and decided to start a hiking apparel business that was designed to incite people to connect hiking with God. Would love to chat with you about ways to connect as we share similar interests in the outdoor and God. My email address is hikewithgod.com

  6. Stupendous site! Todd, I am a professional photographer and plan on shooting the Milky Way from Sky Bridge this evening (1-2 AM). Besides Sky Bridge, are there any other trails or location(s) that have a very good view and face south? Appreciate your time and any feedback.

    • Thanks Jeff! I assume major off trail hikes would be out as those would be impossible without good maps and would also be difficult to describe here in a comment. That said, one good south facing, short, and easy trail is Chimney Rock which has a great open south facing view.

  7. Good Morning Todd. Just wanted to say I linked your map of the Indian Staircase route in my page on the Red River Gorge’s Cloud Splitter in summitpost.org. It is by far the best I have come across. Thanks!

  8. Thanks for the blog and info, Todd. I’m taking my family down to the Gorge in mid April to backpack. This has been helpful. I was curious about water. Do you pack it in or filter it from streams? I have a Katadyn Basecamp gravity filter. Will that work, or will I need a pump filter? Any advice would be great. Thanks!

    • Nate, we have done both, pack water in and resupply from the streams. In April you will have no problem with dry, seasonal streams. A gravity filter will work just fine as all the streams should be running very full in mid April, especially after all the snow they’ve had down there.

      The primary thing to consider in the pack vs. filter decision is whether your route will take you down in the valleys where the streams are, or keep you completely up on the ridges. When we’ve camped at some of our favorite spots up on the ridges, it has been a pretty good hike (1-2 miles round trip) to fetch water.

      April is a great time down there with all the spring blossoms, we just might see you there. Enjoy!!

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