What If?

January 31, 2018

My Super Blue Blood Moon experience today filled my senses with awe and my soul with awakening! A few days ago I realized that the view I would get from my employee housing here at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park would limit my experience to just the beginning of the totality phase of the eclipse. “That’s not good enough!” I declared. As a creator of fulfillment (in difference to a settler for whatever comes), I asked, “Where can I go to get the fullest eclipse experience? I need to be able to see the horizon!” Where better to see the western horizon than the west coast!

I proposed to my partner, John, “How about if we camp on Tuesday night at one of our State Beaches? That way, we could get to see the most of the eclipse!” To my surprise, at least to the surprise of my Old Story that “John never wants to do my ideas” he said “Sure. That sounds good!”

The timing was perfect because Tuesday and Wednesday are our days off. I complicated things, however, by agreeing to do programs at the Visitor Center on both Tuesday morning and Wednesday evening. (Would someone please remind me next time I schedule my month that even though I love doing programs, skipping days off is a great way to burn out!) Anyway, we arrived at our campsite at San Elijo State Beach, about two hours from home, just after dark, with the almost full moon beaming down on us. We took a walk on the beach in the bright moonlight and set the alarm for 3:30 a.m.

To my delight, I could see the beginning of the partial eclipse through the van window! I could take my time getting up out of the warm covers and heading back out to the beach. At 4:00 a.m. we grabbed our lawn chairs and returned to the beach. That’s when the feeling that this, indeed, could be a moment of completion and new beginning, stirred for me. As we walked in the soft red dark of the total eclipse, I stretched into boldly communicating my sense that this moment could provide a “new light” on our relationship.

You might recall that last week I wrote of our 10th anniversary of completing the Appalachian Trail and how it was marked by John declaring that he thought breaking up was our best strategy for going forward. All week, in true Satori fashion, I noticed the beliefs that were coming up. I played a Satori Game that invited me to stop feeding my Old Story of fear of closeness, being invisible, and keeping my light to myself.

“John,” I said, as we picked our way across the smooth stones in the sand, “I want to start being more open with you about how I’m really feeling and what I’m thinking and doing. I want to let you in on what I’m doing in my business and to put energy into creating a summer occupation that really does fulfill both of us!” You see, earlier that morning we had a strained conversation about what John wants to do this summer. The result was a brand new Visioning Brainstorm Map of all the ideas that we had. He has some pretty exciting ideas! I realized that there really are several alternatives to my idea of returning to Virginia for another season of Ridgerunning, which John isn’t thrilled about.

As the moonlight returned, I had a palpable feeling that my new beginning could truly start now! My boldness, openness, and authentic sharing actually felt pretty good. The “cleansed and resurfaced” moon was a metaphor for my own overshadowing and refreshing of behaviors and beliefs.

I would like to report that everything has gone smoothly and we are both now talking freely, creatively, and joyfully about bold, fresh choices and that would be false. We did keep talking most of the day, with one bout of tenseness when he accused me of stifling his expression of feelings. I was able to sincerely listen, affirming my commitment to visioning a mutually fulfilling summer.

My celebration of this amazing moon event climaxed with a lighthearted program with 57 visitors for the purpose of watching the magnificent moon rise! The moon’s confident, fresh countenace illuminated my soul with my clear purpose of enticing others to come outside and feel their connection with Earth and Spirit. Many participants thanked me for a fun and informative event. “I loved listening to you!” one woman said.

I’m up late, still buzzing from the inner stirring from this dance with the Moon!

What I’m taking into my sleep – if I can get to sleep – is

“What if this boldness, clarity, and fresh illumination can light up a thrilling adventure? What if this summer can truly be the summer that I magnify the dream I conceived ten years ago when I finished not just the Appalachian Trail but the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) as well? What if my declaration to earn my living hiking that spurred me on at the northern terminus of the PCT is ready to take on a fresh glow this summer?”

One of John’s ideas is to return to the Pacific Crest Trail and walk the northern half. What if I co-created that with him? What if everything I’ve done in the past nine years to build Forgiveness Walks could be unleashed and offered to generate the funds and the community to support this walk? What if it’s time to fulfill a new version of “hiking for my living?” That thought thrills me, like the returning light of the Moon. What if I let this light shine?

Personal Forgivenesswalk

December 18, 2017

I admit, I didn’t publish yesterday’s post until today after sleeping on it. I was not willing to be that vulnerable, to show up stuck in my S.T.O.R.Y. (Sustained Tale Of Repressed Yearning).

Well, as journeys through a Radical Forgiveness transformation go, I have moved another step along and can now recognize the value of yesterday’s upset. I was experiencing the first of the five phases of Radical Forgiveness: Telling the S.T.O.R.Y. and having it witnessed and validated.

I told my story to my Creative Business Studio group, and got it validated. “I’ve been there, Keep taking your baby steps and soon you’ll fly.” My coach got to maintain my designated role for her as “insufficiently supportive in exactly the way I want” and added a heart to my post.  And today, I’m also willing to tell you, faithful reader, my S.T.O.R.Y.

That’s because I have already moved on to further steps. Actually, today I’m experiencing the Third Phase – Flip the Energy Drain Switch with Willingness. (If you read closely, you can see that I was already alluding to that in yesterday’s post with my “What if” questions).

What about the Second Phase? Well, that was there, too, although I didn’t specify it. That’s Feel the Feelings. Usually that’s the most challenging for me, except for feeling angry and blaming. This time, I actually noticed that I was allowing the sadness come up. As I pushed my grandson in his stroller through my pre-divorce neighborhood, tears trickled. (Hey! Trickling tears are pretty good for me, an expert at stuffing feelings.)

So, let’s move on then shall we?

Phase Three is being willing to see there’s perfection in the situation. Well, I’m open to the idea that there are other ways to see the situation. Maybe my family role, my relationships, my business could be viewed differently. Sure. Why not?

And now, on to Phase Four: Invent a New S.T.O.R.Y. (Spiritual Truth Of the Real You, meaning me, of course, but the word is STORY, not STORM!).

I see that yesterday I was already dabbling in that too with my “What ifs”.

So, there you have it. What’s next is Phase Five: Integrating the Shift. For this story, that’s sharing this little drama with you for your entertainment.  And, this time, I’m going to take a bigger step and expand it even more! 

I’m going to invite you to join me in applying these five phases of Radical Forgiveness in your own journey. That’s what I really want to be doing. I want to share, teach, model, and coach courageous heartsingers to use these tools as we create a world of conscious creators! 

My best way to do that right now is to create custom coaching relationships with people who want a practical, easy, effective way to turn upsets into blessings and get unstuck from the daily emotional mire.

If that’s you, reply to this email and we’ll get started! 

  • Spontaneous
  • Delightfully affordable
  • Immediately pertinent
  • Surprisingly freeing

Hey! This is fun! I think I just turned my trouble into a blessing.

In joy,


Today’s Beliefs

December 17, 2017

My role in my family is unclear. I’m making this up as I go. I am a lone grandmother. I miss John Reiter just because he should be with me because we were married. I miss the security of our former finances. We could be traveling and visiting grandchildren as retirees. But that’s a fantasy because he wants to work and not be with me because of who I am and never should have married me, so we are both lone grandparents. Besides, it’s not my business to know what he’s thinking unless he wants to tell me.  I wish I had stood up for myself and our marriage more staunchly, but then I wouldn’t have done my fulfilling walks and felt loved and done my fulfilling jobs. We would have divorced anyway. My lessons in this lifetime are about shame, sexuality, personal responsibility, among others.
Forgivenesswalks is waiting for me to step up and do the work. I feel alone in that too. No one else is doing forgivenesswalks right now although there are a few women who might be attracted to sharing it. 

 How could my experience in Creative Business Studio be more fulfilling and work in my current life?

What would my life look and feel like if I could easily blend family with forgivenesswalks and I was feeling whole and complete in my work and relationships?  What if I didn’t yearn for partnership, collaboration, balance, meaning, clear plans, all the qualities I judge lacking? What if I were truly independent, had easily changing energy and focus, flexible needs and the ability to flow in whatever situation occurred? What if money flowed easily in my life and I could work in and on forgivenesswalks whenever it was easy, in spontaneous bursts, and what if it worked through spontaneous, day-to-day, stream of consciousness posts and emails which helped people so much they happily sent me money for my coaching, mainly in regular monthly payments that all added up to $3412 a month? What if I could be wherever I wanted, with family or hiking or resting or doing nature programs, with transportation, meals, accommodations easily provided and paid for?  What if could dedicate as little as couple of hours each day creating, writing, communicating to generate clients and have delightfully scheduled walks, hikes, retreats, workshops, circles during easily fulfilled times? What if various coaches’ programs felt in sync, inexpensive, and delightfully collaborative and creative, like I was really in a community of supportive businesspeople who collaborated with forgivenesswalks? What would that look like? 
Am I willing to have a life like that 

New Chapter

June 1, 2017

Together again. I perceive that my words are often upsetting, bothersome, misconstrued, prying, or other versions of disconnecting. 

Back together again. My perception is that it’s important to say as little as possible about a lot of things! Plans, politics, feelings, money, perspectives, hyperbole. 

Is it possible to be freely expressive without worrying if he’ll misunderstand, have a charge, not want to talk about it, or any of the other versions of separation?

I notice that I am thinking that it’s not, which is why I’m sitting here writing this rather than talking as we set off on our drive to Virginia!

Imperfection Accepted

December 15, 2017

What if I have a project for watching the sunrise every day, or sending a weekly blogpost, or painting every day for thirty days, or walking the Appalachian Trail?

What if I miss a day of sun watching or painting or skip a week of posting or take a day off walking? 

Does that negate my success or mean that I failed? 

Does it matter if I have a valid excuse for skipping a turn? How about if I had set up the project with parameters for skipping? 

So, I went outside and watched the sunrise for 60 consecutive days, and on Day 61,  I slept through it. My reason, my excuse, my choice was that I had traveled east to a different time zone, so sunrise was three hours earlier than my body’s rhythm had developed. I needed the rest.  I did feel a little sad, a little diminished in accomplishment. Then, I decided to let myself off my made up hook. I decided that I could love myself anyway and accept this imperfection in my plan. 

What if I let myself off the hook for other imperfect accomplishments in my life, like days of rest on a long distance walk, days with no painting in my thirty-Day project, a blog free week in five months of weekly posts. That seems just fine. I can accept myself having done that. 

Now, I’m wondering if letting myself off the hook of self-hate could be done for even egregious inconsistencies like skipping a day of my marriage, or taking a day off work, or a day off breathing? Well, the breathing one is taken care of, right? But, suppose I could let go of self-hate for my divorce. Maybe even that project could be ongoing yet inconsistent.

I’ll ponder that!

What are your thoughts and wisdom about this?

Divorce Feelings Journey

November 27th, 2017
Witness an unfolding journey of my heart:


November 25, 2017

“Love to all today. I  celebrate your family fullness in my heart.” What I did not send to my adult kids today. 

I feel unworthy to share this sentiment and all the turmoil of my heart as my children gather with their dad’s family for a cousin’s wedding. The feeling of separation and exclusion is not new. Heart connection  was always tenuous with the inlaws, and twenty-five years into the marriage, exclusion was clearly stated. At that time, I legally had the right to be there. Ten years later, divorce just makes it official. Exclusion is now proper and justified.
But, I still feel sad, as I did while still legally included.  

The Radical Forgiveness tools guide me to “love myself having these feelings and know that when I am ready I can choose peace.” 

Well, today I do feel sad, and I feel unworthy to share my true feelings with my family, and even with my partner. What I believe is that my family doesn’t want my drama and my partner doesn’t resonate with my feelings about family. Since I actually have no right nor ability to project my beliefs into the minds of others, I must conclude that these beliefs are mine. 

What if I project love, oneness, compassion, fullness? I resist that, and yet I’m willing to try it out, pretend that a new belief  is another option.

I’ll let you know how it goes!


Later on November 25, 2017

I felt my feelings. Cried a bit. Kept silent while allowing others to mingle freely. I would not have gone to the party anyway because I am committed to the job I’m doing out here in California. I let it be ok to be here, open to the idea that I don’t know how Spirit is guiding me in this event. “I am open to the idea that this is happening not so much to me as for me.”

Shift Happens

November 26, 2017

My son posted a video of my grandson at the family venue, innocent and cute. It was easy to feel acknowledged, included, connected to them in that moment.

Later, I received an email from my ex-husband that is a miracle! He had written the first cordial sentence he has shared since our divorce on April 9, 2013.

“Yes it was a lovely event. Lots of Skardas and two mischievous babies.”

A breakthrough, in my opinion, for the man who had declared that after our divorce it would be as if he never knew me. I graciously acknowledge this miracle of the heart!


November 27th, 2017

I acknowledge and celebrate this transformative journey. “I now see that what was occurring was exactly what my soul created for my spiritual growth and I am now grateful for this situation.” 

In joy,


Thanks, Louise Hay

August 30, 2017

Louise Hay passed away today. Her work gave language and acceptance to self-love as a path to loving others. It was my sister, Claudia, who first shared Louise’s words with me. I remember taking the cassette tape into bed and listening, with amused astonishment, to that deep, soothing voice enticing me to be grateful for every little thing in my life. At the time, it actually seemed a bit silly to be thankful for the morning light, and for my body’s basic functions, and for water, and breathing. Her visualization of walking to the ocean of abundance to scoop up goodness, asking, “What are you using, a teaspoon?!!” really jarred me. Aghast, I noticed that I was! 

Her book of affirmations, You Can Heal Your Life, has helped me pinpoint symptom-specific beliefs countless times! What a novel – and challenging- idea, that symptoms and diseases are physical manifestations of limiting beliefs! It seemed incredulous in theory, but neither could I  deny the accuracy of her alphabetical list of conditions paired with beliefs! So, I used it, setting aside my need to have scientific proof before acting as if this body-mind connection were true.

For me, Louise Hay’s way has been a helpful precursor and complement to Colin Tipping’s Radical Forgiveness, the practice which has made room for seeming miracles and shifts in my life!

I’ve noticed that the reports of Louise Hay’s passing have all used words like, “passed,” and “left her body” and not “she died”. That seems fitting for a great teacher who gave us the language of Love in terms of everything being Energy! Surely, she is still here in another form. I am imagining that she, and what she brought to humanity, is now even more available to us in her non-physical form. May we magnify her gift by embodying her words, her ideas, her legacy!

“Every experience I have is perfect for my growth.”

-Louise Hay

High Country Week

Notice and Wonder
August 3, 2017


My Ridgerunning walk this week focused on what’s called the High Country of the Mt Rogers Recreation Area in Virginia.  My first night out on Thursday, I camped at a spot I’ve had my eye on while I walked through there other weeks. It’s on Stone Mountain, just south of “The Scales”, an open, grassy field where cattle ranchers would weigh and sell their cattle before driving them down the mountain. The story goes that they realized that the cattle weighed more before they made the descent to town! Now, The Scales is a favorite car camping spot.  I prefer to walk a mile south on the Appalachian Trail, up Stone Mountain, to camp.  There, the grassy, and bushy bald stretches for a mile with expansive views. The low vegetation is broken by groups of short trees, bonsai-like stands of beech trees, just 5″ in diameter and fifteen feet tall. They create inviting rooms of shade, where the wild ponies can cool off.  I walked away from the trail a couple hundred yards and set up my tarp under a sprawling oak tree in a patch of grass.  In the morning, the view across The Scales and the valley below inspired me to take time to do a quick watercolor sketch of  the distant Wilburn Ridge, where the trail would wind its way south.

One of the programs I do during my winters at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is called Notice and Wonder.  It’s based on the three prompts that naturalist, John Muir Laws teaches. He encourages teachers to take their students outside and practice journaling in Nature, making notes and drawings of what they notice, what they wonder, and what their object reminds them of.  This past winter, I used my weekly program to motivate my own regular journaling. On Friday morning, this week, that Wilburn Ridge scene caught my attention for a session of Notice and Wonder!  Here’s what I came up with:20170804_075955

Notice and Wonder is not so much about making a beautiful picture but about spending time with a scene to integrate the shapes, colors, and details of something I observe in Nature!  I noticed that the coniferous trees stood out individually on the skyline. I noticed the various shades of green. I noticed the unique and specific shape of the ridgeline. Recording it would help me remember and internalize the shape of that mountain!  I wondered if I would be able to recognize each of the points I observed when I walked there later that day.

Paying attention to the mountain in that way did, indeed, make it become a more deeply experienced and memorable relationship! Now, in my mind’s eye, I can see the Wilburn Ridge, even after I’ve left it!

Crew Work
August 5, 2017

Today, I joined the volunteer trail crew from the Mt Rogers Appalachian Trail Club to build a fence. Stephen, from the Forest Service, the partner agency for this section, had brought the needed supplies and tools up in a truck. In three hours our crew of nine, with no boss, just cooperation – and luck – tore down the dilapidated fence and replaced it with a new wooden fence and metal gate. I had a fun and satisfying time of volunteerism and cooperation. That’s how the Appalachian Trail works!20170805_131944

Resonance on the Trail
August 7, 2017

On Monday, my last day of the week on trail left me a few hours to walk alone – in the rain! I reveled in the beauty of the trail and let my thoughts drift to imagining a fully developed and full-time Forgiveness Walks fantasy.

The business is thriving, with a team of assistants to help with online marketing, program implementation, and logistics. Women come regularly for custom coaching throughout the year, and on-trail programs, including a walk of the Appalachian Trail, uniquely focusing on creating fulfilling walks for each client. What’s unique and wonderful about Forgiveness Walks is that our focus on fulfillment in deference to accomplishment provides the creative space for each woman to delve deeply into her own heart’s singing. This listening shapes her relationship with Nature, the Appalachian Trail, and whatever venue provides the best canvas for her personal creation.

I walked for a couple of hours in this revery, reaching Old Orchard Shelter just as the rain let loose in perfect time to take a break in the dry shelter. Two women were there as well. One greeted me with “Beautiful day, isn’t it?” And she was serious!

Over the next hour the three of us chatted, getting to know each other – easily like hikers do! Amy’s story resonated with mine as soul sisters choosing fulfillment over expectation, letting go of unfulfilling relationships during the course of our thru-hikes. April, too, has divorced and teaches young children to recognize, acknowledge, and move through their feelings. These women understand Forgiveness Walks! Amy, too, knows her walking and breathing rhythm that makes climbing mountains easy! April talks about giving children space to “have their feelings” without rancor, special attention, or admonition.

The rain abates, we exchange contacts, and I walk on to my car parked a mile and a half away, my week’s walk complete. Affirmation that Forgiveness Walks resonates in the world lightens my steps. Its timing is guided by the Universe, allowing me to hold it gently with trust in its unfolding.



Solo Time Wanes
August 8, 2017

Next week marks my last solo week at the Ridgerunning job. John, having completed his project of climbing four state high points out west, bagging him all 48 of the lower-48 state high points, is on his way back. The ones he did between July 11 and August 7 were Mt. Hood in Oregon, Ganett Peak in Wyoming, Mt. Rainier in Washington, and Granite Peak in Montana.  It was a major accomplishment and scheduling surprise for him to get to do all four of them during the month!  I am very excited for him, knowing that he really wanted to complete this project.  I have mixed feelings about getting back together, though!  I’ve realized over the past year, now that we’re actually living together and not just hiking, that I tend to discount my personal preferences, defer my passions, and take a back seat to his choices when we are together. Being solo this month gave me unfettered opportunity and space to pay attention to my own choices without interference from someone else. For the month, anyway, I really enjoyed it!

I noticed that I’ve been making up a S.T.O.R.Y. (my acronym from Radical Forgiveness for a Sustained Tale of Repressed Yearning) about my assumptions about how my relationship with John has to be!  What’s really bothering me is that I see some of the same characteristics that I developed in my marriage with John Reiter!  First of all, this makes me see clearly that I am the one who is creating this as my reality, so I’m the one who needs to change it. In fact, what I now know about relationships is that none of this has much to do with him. The troubles originate with me!  That means that it’s my responsibility and my opportunity to choose a different way of being!  But what options do I have???

Satori Means Awakening

That’s the quandary that woke me up this morning!  I decided to start my day off with a game of Satori, the Radical Forgiveness board game, to give me new vocabulary and ideas to address that question.  As always, the game was a perfect fit for the story I was acting out!

Before I drew any of the cards to start the game, I wrote out the S.T.O.R.Y. that I was bringing to this game.  Here are the basics:

My story is that I fear John’s return. I have thoroughly enjoyed my solo time, being at Konnarock Trail Camp and on the trail solo. I have enjoyed doing my choices of activities – resting, watching the political scene, writing posts, working on forgivenesswalks, playing Satori. I believe that when John is with  me I must choose to do those things solo or drop my interests and do his choices. So, then I wonder what partnering provides except an inconvenient unpleasant choice! What do we have to do together that outweighs or includes my personal choices? Can I have both?  Can I feel ok with separate interests?  I assume that partnering means relinquishing my interests and choosing his. Is there another way?

Here’s what the game brought!

First, the Event card I picked read Someone betrayed you big time.
perfect for the story I was telling!” I thought.

Second, the Context card I picked read: Career!
“Perfect, again! I want to choose my career with my partner!”
I laughed.

The game unfolded, as usual, with cards and moves that helped give language and possibilities to a different view of the situation that I could choose if I wanted.  Here are the cards I picked as I moved my piece through the transformational spiral:


  •  I am invisible and hardly ever noticed.
  • I am not worthy of money.
  • I just don’t look good.
  • I simply cannot trust myself.

These beliefs certainly fed my S.T.O.R.Y.  Then, the turns took me to the New Story gateway.

My New Stories:

  • I have everything I want now.  I am a powerful manifester.
  • I am the luckiest person alive. I am so grateful.

I could certainly see, as I reached Satori, the place of Awakening to a New Story, that there could be other ways of seeing my situation. I affirmed in the Gateway to Surrender that I have released my attachment to my Old Story and I refuse to put any more energy into it.  The game helped me get words for new possibilities that I can focus on if I choose!



Empty Space 

July 26, 2017

Raise your hand if you have stuff in a storage unit! Today, I get to celebrate that my rented storage space is empty! 

I admit, I can’t claim complete victory over storage because my stuff has actually just been relocated to storage in my son’s new residence in Ohio, but this is a step. He is using some of the household items that were stored.

I enjoyed poring through one of the boxes that was filled with artwork and writings from my sons’ youth. I got to feel a range of emotions as I fingered each piece and stirred memories of their making.

And now my physical presence in Buena Vista, Virginia, is gone. I’ll always feel connected with this small town on the Appalachian Trail because it was my home for the six summers I worked here as AT ridgerunner. When I sold my house after my divorce in 2013, this was the place that made most sense to store the stuff I couldn’t part with. 

Today, I close the door on the empty Unit #71 with gratitude that it safely contained my precious things for four years. Thanks to my son, Simon, for offering me space in his home! 

In joy,



Grayson Highlands,VA

July 25, 2017

Is “connection” something that comes to us or something we choose to acknowledge? When the woman walking with me this week said, “I know I’m connected to God, but I just don’t feel it!  Maybe when I feel that connection, I’ll feel more confident out here.”

As I walked th.IMG_20170721_123315rough the magnificent forest, then out into an open field, I pondered her quandary. “What if we are connected, no matter what, and at any moment we can say, ‘this is what being connected feels like at this moment?'” I wondered out loud. I invited her to walk for the next twenty minutes reflecting on the notion that being connected is constant and foundational.  Simply noticing how that feels is the feeling of connection at that moment. I believe that we can choose to ignore, deny, or deepen that connection whenever we want.

Having said that, I realized that there are many specific connections I can feel while walking the trail. There’s connection to the Earth and the support of the ground. There’s connection to the air, with it’s wind, weather, heat and cold. There’s connection to plants, reflecting on the various qualities of growth that resonate with my emotional, spiritual, and physical growth and metabolism. There’s connection with other people, how our journeys cross, coincide, compare, contrast, or not. The list could be quite long, and a long walk allows for leisurely reflection on the idea of connection.

This quandary was one of many that Diana brought to me as we walked our 26 miles together. Here are a few others:

Pacing, I realized, while coaching her with my Meet the Mountains Technique to easily ascend each mountain, is not only a helpful skill and practice, it’s essential for a joyful walk of a long trail.  Discovering our own body’s rhythm of breathing and stepping that supports us to walk up any slope tirelessly, I’m convinced is the foremost skill to master before considering walking any appreciable distance on the Appalachian Trail.

Unless one has an acceptance and ease with climbing, and descending, mountains, a walk of the AT would be grueling every day!  By contrast, developing from within a physical rhythm, just like perfect timing in an engine, that we can sustain throughout the day regardless of the terrain, makes going up mountains, walking on level ground, or descending mountains a joy. If we’re not struggling for breath, burdened by a heavy pack, or straining our muscles every time the trail ascends, we can pay attention to our surroundings!

Gear. Diana also helped me appreciate the value of scrutinizing every single piece of gear, choosing the smallest, lightest, and fewest versions of items I carry with me!  I know that I started where she was when she came with me this week, following the advice of an outfitter salesperson and investing the smallest amount of cash possible.  I remember my first backpack trip when I thought I needed a roll of masking tape. I have no idea why. I just remember being glad that we had mistakenly taken a longer way to our first campsite, happily discovering that we were close enough to our car to dump a bunch of unnecessary items, including the tape, the next morning!

That’s why I was glad that I had planned her first night out to be a single one, with a night off the trail before we went out for another night.  That gave her the chance to reevaluate choices, leave a few things behind and find smaller bottles for toiletries. She helped me remember that it took me many short trips to pare down, try different things, replace heavy things with lighter ones, and sew some of my own gear to settle on the reliable and repeatable pack of gear that I now carry, fifteen years and 10,000+ miles later.  I still don’t know that I would have invested early on in the best quality, lightest weight gear that I carry now!  It makes a big difference in my enjoyment, though!

Thanks, Diana, for walking with  me to remind me of what it’s like to be a new hiker. I was there once, too!  Keep walking, and learning, and adjusting! Stay aware of connections – and come back again soon!

In joy,