NORMAN — Norman resident Jim Robinson said the day he started hiking, he understood John Denver’s famous lyrics about coming home to a place he’d never been before.
“The home I found is a trail … almost any trail,” Robinson said.
Robinson started hiking four years ago at age 64.
“I had been walking,” he said. “I could walk six or eight miles.”
An early riser, Robinson started walking local neighborhoods and Sutton Wilderness with his dog. A neighbor told him about day hikes that Backwoods Norman in Robinson Crossing Shopping Center hosts monthly. He signed up and started making friends and learning hiking basics.
Coming to something late in life was not new to Robinson. He started law school at age 42 and launched a second career as a patent attorney. His academic background in chemistry allowed for that specialized application, but his choice of indoor, cerebral careers did not prepare him for the thrill of exertion and the exhilaration of outdoor explorations.
Robinson’s first major adventure was hiking the Grand Canyon rim to rim. He had only been hiking for five months and had never spent the night out backpacking prior to that trip.
“I prepared for that by walking every morning with my pack on,” he said.
He used a guide service for the Grand Canyon trip, which he recommends for newbie hikers. However, that was the last time he used a guide service. Shortly after the Grand Canyon trip, he retired from law practice.
“I didn’t retire from something,” he said. “I retired to something. I looked at it as just another transition.”
Now he had time to explore his newfound hobby. He took a part-time job at Backwoods, where he got paid to learn more about his outdoor passion.
Fascinated by the writings of John Muir, Robinson became interested in hiking the John Muir Trail, which runs through the Sierra Nevada mountain range and passes from Yosemite National Park to the summit of Mount Whitney.