As a college student in the mid 1990s I got my first regular access to the internet. It didn’t take long for me to realize that the internet was more then just a new piece of software, but a new way to communicate with others and find and form communities and relationships. Back then we didn’t have Facebook or Twitter — or really even web sites at all — the communities I found were in mailing lists like the very active forum for hikers that centered around the Appalachian Trail, at-l.
Out of those interactions came my desire to share online and as the web grew into a place for regular people to share more static and permanent information I registered my first domain name – hikenj.net. Over the course of a few iterations it became a site that highlighted some of the hiking areas in my home state of New Jersey, including parts of the AT via photos, links to other resources and info on guidebooks.
Over time I got busy with other interests and the site became a bit of a ghost. Since I hadn’t been paying attention to it, like so many other old web sites, the domain registration expired and was soon snapped up by a domain parking ad serving shell of a site.
Picking Up Again
In the last couple of years, as my interests in photographing and hiking have both picked back up I’ve found myself again doing what I had once done on that site and highlighting and sharing information about the hiking areas I visit though other services such as Flickr group forums as well as my own New Jersey Destinations collection.
About a year ago I was feeling a little nostalgic and thought it would be nice to have the old domain back, looked it up and saw it was in some registration limbo period. Not wanting to lose it I did a little research on aftermarket domain name services and signed up with Snap Names and put a ‘bid’ on it. It didn’t seem to get released as expected and I forgot about the process. That is until yesterday when I received an email stating that the domain I had been watching was now mine [again].
After some DNS updates, hosting adjustments, and digging through some project archives from 1999 and 2000 on my backup disks the last incarnation of hikenj.net lives again at its original address. Not much of a site by todays blog-wiki-geocoded-community-driven standards, but I think it has a certain HTML 3.2 charm to it. Not sure what the future holds for it — the ideas to bring it into this century have begun forming but the realities of time and focus quickly sink in. If a redesign does come in the future I’ve made sure that the site in its current form and code will always have a home at archive.hikenj.net.