Forgiveness Walks Programs: Two-Year Hiking Lifestyle

The Regina Reiter Personal Empowerment through Hiking Program


This is a document to present the vision of Regina Reiter for a program of personal and professional empowerment that is built on and magnified through the generative[1] qualities of Nature.  The objectives of the program will be delivered through a 24 month long-distance hiking and self-development discipline.   Participants will acquire and enhance hiking skills while discovering and opening themselves up to the fulfillment of their life’s purpose. Each one, upon accepting the invitation to participate in the Program, will begin a journey of support as they “walk into their dreams.”  People who have completed wilderness walks of this magnitude report that they feel good about themselves, connected to Nature and to other people; they report a deepened sense of community and a desire to give back.  Hikers on the trail have described their experience to Regina as a transfer of identity; entry into another world; accomplishment; a heartfelt sense that this is something pretty special[2].  They talk about “trail magic”–small, unexpected, remarkable events that lift a hiker’s spirits and inspire awe or gratitude.  It comes in two forms: The magic created by Nature, and the magic created by the kindness of strangers.[3]  This is the stuff that fuels transformation for individuals and that subsequently gets expressed in a life of service[4].


This program is for both veteran and novice hikers who aspire to a committed relationship with the out of doors.  It can take the beginner from his or her initial experience as a Nature enthusiast; through the sometimes arduous journey of self discipline and physical preparedness to humbled acceptance; and finally to the expansive, dynamic, exhilarating moment of accomplishment!


The Program calendar starts in December.  The long hikes occur in the four month period late June through late October.  Throughout the Program calendar, participants will be trained and coached in matters that are both pertinent to hiking and applicable in daily living.


For example, gear is any equipment, as clothing, tools, etc used for a special task.  Hiking requires certain gear.  So, too, for the special challenges of life specialized tools are required. Our relationship to our gear has a direct and immediate influence on our bearings, capacity to perform, and facility with producing intended results.


Regina Reiter will engage the methodologies of her Forgiveness Walks[5] coaching practice to touch, to nudge, to facilitate transformation in program participants.   Professional development strategies carefully crafted to resonate with the hiking discipline will be incorporated into the off-season cache of virtual coaching, workshops, and trainings.  Subject matter will include fitness, nutrition, logistics, relationships, time, money, and more.  Also within the intervals between the long hikes, there will be a series of small-group hikes—Hiking with a Purpose.  Each of these practice outings is designed with increasing rigor and duration, starting with an overnight hike and building up to a 10-day trek as preparation for the long walks.  The off-seasons will take participants from the reluctance of “I can’t do this!” to full preparedness leading to the exhilarating satisfaction of accomplishment!



Of the major long-distance trails in the US, there are four that offer at least 2000 miles of foot paths.  They are the Pacific Crest Trail, 2,650 miles from Southern California to the Canadian border; the Continental Divide Trail, 3,100 miles along the spine of the continent from Mexico to Canada; the Appalachian Trail (affectionately known as the A.T.), 2,150 miles from Georgia to Maine; and the North Country Scenic Trail, 4,000 miles between New York and central North Dakota. Other long trails include the Long Trail in Vermont, in existence since 1921; the Benton MacKaye Trail, 288-miles long named for the visionary of the A.T.; and Minnesota’s Superior Hiking Trail that wends its way 250 miles across the Sawtooth Mountains overlooking Lake Superior.[6]

The A.T. is the trail that provides the best options and alternatives for the Regina Reiter Personal Empowerment through Hiking Program.  It goes through fourteen states along the crests and valleys of the Appalachian mountain range from the southern terminus at Springer Mountain, Georgia, to its northern terminus at Katahdin, Maine.  It’s estimated that 2-3 million people visit the Trail every year and about 1,800–2,000 attempt to “thru-hike” the Trail. The A.T. was completed in 1937 and is a unit of the National Park System. It is managed by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, in a unique partnership with public and private sector agencies and organizations that include, the National Park Service (NPS), the USDA Forest Service (USFS), an array of state agencies, private corporations, thousands of volunteers, 33 local Trail-maintaining clubs, and others.[7]

Mission and Vision

There is union in the purpose articulated by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy with that of Regina Reiter.  The mission of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy is to preserve and manage the Appalachian Trail – ensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow, and for centuries to come. Its vision is to connect the human spirit with Nature—preserving the delicate majesty of the Trail as a haven for all to enjoy.  The Conservancy is committed to nurture and protect this sacred space through education and inspiration, striving to create an ever-expanding community of doers and dreamers, and working to ensure that tomorrow’s generations will experience the same mesmerizing beauty that is here today. [8]

Regina Reiter’s personal mission embraces that of the Conservancy and extends it into the world by giving it expression through the many enthusiasts who will come to experience the A.T. through her Program.

My mission is to use my talents and unparalleled skills for creating multidisciplinary, transformational Nature encounters to express my unbounded joy in my friendship with Mother Earth and to entice others to come outside and rediscover their own Earth sustenance.  This inspires a new Earth Economy of abundance, prosperity, and sustainability.

 Regina Reiter, 2009


The Program

The Program is a 24-month engagement, with the high point of each year being a four-month hike along the Appalachian Trail.  The Program also accommodates short term or section-hikers who will join at designated pre-planned access points. 


The pre-hike portion of the Program starts in December and will run through the commencement of the long hike in late June.  Activities are designed to prepare participants for the hiking event, engaging them in the self-development curriculum that will be further expressed on the Trail and over the course of the 24-month Program.  Modules will include intensive coaching and training. The magic of the Program emerges out of a carefully crafted tri-l­ateral approach to personal empowerment: 


Personal Development.

This Program combines the health and psychological benefits of walking in Nature with the powerful tools of Radical Forgiveness[9] for personal transformation.  According to Regina Reiter, walking in Nature awakens our senses and arouses our connection with our Higher Self. It enlivens our bodies and uses both sides of our brain. In this enlivened state, we’re likely to have subconscious thoughts rise up for consideration.   Nature walkers have more energy; improved relationships with themselves and others, and freedom from emotional baggage accumulated in the past.  And they also have better results in creating what they want in life.[10] These are the results that participants get using the gear and tools of Regina Reiter’s Forgiveness Walks coaching curriculum. 


One of the unique elements of the Program is the purposeful exploration of our relationship to the earth and the heavens.  It produces insights that contribute to our goals for personal growth.  Program activities in this category are designed to discover the bridge between the earth and the heavens, to reveal for each participant that we are the bridge. This spiritual experience resonates differently for each person. The program facilitates its exploration through art, singing, and journaling. 

Professional Development

Modules will be introduced that specifically address professional development and participants’ professional and social goals in life.  They may include visioning, organizational skill development, time management, effective communication, team building, and more.  The work is built on principles and practices of heart-centered business activity. 


Physical Development


According to the Step by Step Guidebook for Hiking published by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy[11], hikers should expect the Trail to be a test, both physically and mentally. Part of the joy of hiking the AT is learning to deal with and overcome its challenges, to feel resilient and self-sufficient in a wild, rough place that has few of the amenities of civilized life.   Because most hikes start at the foot of a mountain, the first and last few miles of any hike are often the toughest.  Ascents challenge your wind; descents challenge your knees and feet.  Being in shape and having a good mental attitude go hand in hand.  Even the best-made plans can be ruined if a person is not in a position to enjoy where his or her physical efforts have taken them.  


Training opportunities that address these rigors of hiking are included in the Program calendar.  Hikers need to get used to their boots and equipment and learn what and how to assemble their back packs.  Participants will work up to carrying a full pack gradually.  Leg strengthening and aerobic training exercises are included.  Participants will apply the principles of good nutrition that they learn in the Program.


Endorsements and Partnerships

Alliances with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association, Institute of Radical Forgiveness, other organizations with an express commitment to long distance hiking, and possibly area colleges/universities have the potential to strengthen the Program and facilitate its delivery.


Design and Operations

The actual design and implementation plan of the Program will be developed in collaboration with Partners and service providers/contractors that are aligned with the vision, mission, and objectives of the Program.


Regina Reiter, Program Creator

Ms. Reiter is qualified to bring this Program to fruition and to serve the many, many enthusiasts whose lives will be touched by the opportunity to grow through her leadership.  Her resume is appended to this document.  Just a few highlights about Regina Reiter, she

  • § Has been a long distance through-hiker since 2007–the Appalachian Trail in 2007, the Pacific Crest Trail in 2008, and the Benton MacKaye Trail three times 2009-10.
  • § Serves as an Appalachian Trail Conservancy Ridgerunner.
  • § Worked as a naturalist at summer camps for children and youth in Kentucky, Virginia, Indiana, Georgia, and Ohio.
  • § Organized an adult education program titled How to Share Nature with Toddlers.
  • § Directed a non-profit organization; job functions included the roles of teacher, naturalist, and chief administrator. She wrote the teachers manual and conducted staff training.
  • § Currently a community resource person in the areas of painting and Nature for home schools.


In her own words, Regina Reiter answers the question, “Why do I hike?”

So, I can turn to Earth in contemplation of her beauty.  So, I can dedicate my life to walking the trails of Nature, and inviting others to come out there with me. My life may be as simple as that–to hike and let everything else follow that. That’s what I want to learn, to experience.  The more I learn it, the more I can share that with others. What an amazing world this might be if a common occupation was to contemplate the beauty of Earth!  What if lots of people actually organized their lives around hiking?

I aim to find out what happens if at least one of us organizes her life around hiking.  More hiking, less accumulating “stuff”.  More hiking, more exercise, more deep meditation, more sensory delight.

May I then truly possess the sense of wonder and humility.


In earnest regard for the passionate work of others who invest themselves and their love of Nature in the work of caring for fellow-hikers, Regina Reiter continuously seeks to align the Regina Reiter Personal Empowerment through Hiking Program around the stated values of the Appalachian Tail Conservancy and around those of similarly motivated organizations. The Values of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy are appended to this document.

[1] Having the power to produce or originate. Funk and Wagnalls Standard Desk Dictionary

[2] As told to Regina Reiter in interviews with long distance hikers who have completed a long


[4] Devotion to giving selflessly as a moral standard; may be demonstrated by obedience (as to God)/humility and the doing of good works








[9] Leading edge technology created by therapist Colin Tipping for personal and spiritual growth



[11] Step by Step: An Introduction to Walking the Appalachian Trail, Staff of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, available on the Appalachian Trail Conservancy website at

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