Katarina Takahashi discovered her love of photography in flower gardens.
Living in Washington, D.C., at the time, she would spend hours exploring gardens and taking macro photographs of the beautiful blooms. On her first date with her eventual husband, Yoshiyuki, they explored the U.S. Botanic Garden and he taught her how to use a DSLR camera.
The walks through parks and gardens became hikes to Sugarloaf Mountain and Great Falls, then outside of Maryland to Virginia. Eventually, the pair took on sections of the Appalachian Trail, exploring further and further from home in New Jersey and New York.
Takahashi and her husband moved to Colorado a couple of years ago and now call Longmont home.
“Hiking brought us out here,” she said. “From Arlington, Virginia, the commute was upwards of two hours to go hiking or camping. The Boulder area has so many trails within less than an hour, we knew it was where we wanted to be.”During that transition to the Front Range, Takahashi’s photography began to shift from flowers to trails and Colorado’s big, bold landscapes. She features her photography on her website, Takahashi Outdoors, along with a growing guide to hikes and trails across the state.
Each entry is detailed, with photographs and trail descriptions.
“I started because I wanted to help other people find local trails,” Takahashi said. “I think the photos are important because I always wish I could have a better sense of place on new hikes.”
Her new home state has plenty of appetite for discovering new hikes.
Approximately 92% of Coloradans recreate at least every few weeks or as often as four times a week, according to the 2019-2023 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan published in 2018. Walking was the most popular activity both statewide and regionally, with hiking/backpacking coming in second, according to the plan, which is created every five years by Colorado Parks and Wildlife in “collaboration with a wide range of partners to provide a shared vision for the future of Colorado’s outdoors.”Colorado locales such as Denver, Boulder and Durango frequently appear on lists of cities with the best outdoor accessibility. REI’s Hiking Project lists nearly 2,000 trails in the Colorado Front Range encompassing publicly held lands across local, state and federal lands. The density of trails, even with resources like Hiking Project, American Hiking Society, and AllTrails, can make it difficult to navigate. Takahashi’s blog provides links to those sites as well, when applicable, but adds a personal touch.
She plans to stay in Colorado for the indefinite future, having just bought a house with her husband in Longmont. Takahashi has had to make some adjustments to her hiking plans though, as the couple is expecting in just a few months. She’s already decided on the next focus of her guide: pregnancy hiking.
“We went from doing regular 8- and 10-mile hikes to seeking the shorter, more gentle ones,” she said. “It’s a good opportunity to explore the shorter, more accessible and family friendly hikes.”
The Takahashis chose Longmont as their base of operations for family and adventure. Eventually, Takahashi said she wants to explore great day hikes within a few hours’ drive. She has plans to spotlight places in eastern Colorado, like Pawnee National Grasslands or Paint Mines Interpretive Park.
The Takahashis won’t be camping or backpacking anytime soon though.
“Only short hikes for now,” she laughed. “I don’t want to go camping with this big pregnant belly.”
To follow more of her adventures, check out the Takahashi Outdoors website or her micro-blogging on Twitter: @TKHSHIOutdoors.