Job Advice Please

January 21, 2018

Summer is coming! Every year for the past seven years, the ATC offers me a ridgerunning job!  I love that job! It’s work I enjoy doing and feel good at, and the venue is the absolute best for me. It’s in the dream job category of getting paid to do something I love doing. Here’s the catch, though. As the years go on, I want to add another description to the “what I love doing” category.  I want to add, “supporting, inspiring, coaching others to create radiantly fulfilling walks” to my list of job duties. read more

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.  read more

2000 Miler Anniversary

November 15, 2017

What would I feel when I crossed that road, meeting the spot where I had left the trail two years before? When I got there I could celebrate having walked all 2,175 miles of the Appalachian Trail. The spot lacked the drama of Mt. Katahdin or Springer Mountain, the geographic endpoints of the trail. My completion point was the crossing of VA state route 624, near Catawba. There’s no sign or plaque, no natural landmark or feature. Just white blazes on both sides indicating that the trail continues in both directions. read more

Late Bloomers

August 27, 2017

This week’s walk took me and John on a traverse of our entire ridgerunning seciton. We walked from Partnership Shelter to Damascus, VA on the Appalachian Trail. This is the section that we have taken turns walking since April 24th. The flowers have made a noticeable transition from spring to late summer species! I captured just a few of the crisp, colorful blooms that delighted me this week.

Here’s a link to the album of Late Bloomers:

https://goo.gl/photos/tVyNDMczKUk5TJ2S6 read more

Majesty Transforming

August 24, 2017

What caught my eye on my walk this week through the Grayson Highlands, VA in the Mount Rogers Reccreation Area were decomposing tree trunks. I first noticed one on my ascent up Balsam Mountain, the actual mountain one climbs to reach Mt Rogers, the high point of Virginia. I took a photo of an array of wood planks that reminded me of a hand of cards, spread out on a table.

As I walked, many more trunks stood out, each with a story to tell of a once majestic tree melting into the soil. Their patterns, colors, and shapes were mesmerizing.  The closer I looked, the more intricacies I saw. Soon, I had a collection of photos, which, of course, only suggest the complicated, delicate, yet rugged transformation of these forest creatures. Enjoy my photo album – then go out and find majesty transforming on your own walks! read more

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. read more

Raingear Success

July 28, 2017

Rain pelted down outside Thomas Knob Shelter, high on the ridge near Mt. Rogers, VA.  Redhat, my companion for the week, and I sat happy and dry in the shelter at one o’clock in the afternoon!

That’s pretty early in the day to settle in camp, but the continuing rain, predicted to persist until 11 p.m., made the dry shelter quite attractive!

We stayed. Redhat had changed into her dry clothes. Long johns and a shirt, plus a “puffy jacket” comprised her carefully stashed dry wardrobe. She also had a pair of dry socks. Everything she had worn for our five-mile walk in the rain was wet. She hung it out on various nails and hooks around the shelter, reveling in our luxury of space being the only ones there. read more

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. read more

Connection


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. read more