How to Start Your Appalachian Trail Walk

I’ve walked the AT twice, plus another 2,000 miles working as an ATC ridgerunner for seven seasons.. How did I start all this? By locating the nearest trailhead to my home and setting foot on the trail. that one hour let me hear my call to the trail “If I just keep walking, I can get all the way to Maine!”

Next step: a half day walk with my husband, exchanging the car key in the middle. Over the next four years, we built up to a full month on the trail, two trips per year, from over night to three nights, a week, two weeks. There are landmark steps, I think: read more

Deepening Practices

June 9,

In everything I do, I strive for deepening my sensory and spiritual experience. I’m pretty sure you do too!

I’ve picked up on some techniques from John Muir Laws (his real name!) through his Laws Guide to Nature Journaling. Two years ago, I launched a program at the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Visitor Center to provide a platform to practice what I’m learning.

Notice and Wonder is now a frequent listing in the Park’s Interpretive Schedule. In it, I offer five simple techniques to read more

Important Details

A dreaming Pacific Crest Trail hiker posed this question in a women’s hiking forum: “When & where will you start? how long have you been planning? Would you share some of your plans/knowlege… I’m so nervous I feel I will leave some important detail out.”
She’s touching on one of the Five Essentials in the Guiding Star for Radiant Hiking, and that’s TIMING. Timing is essential in many aspects of our fulfilling walks. When we consider our hike in our life, the timing in the seasons, the timing of each section, in our daily pace, and even in the timing of each step, we can fashion a walk that builds from the inside out, one that takes outer shape from our inner intention. Our hike becomes an expression of our purpose and our physical and spiritual rhythm. read more

Heartsinging Pace

I’ve weighed in on a thread started by a mom concerned that her daughter is discouraged on her Appalachian Trail hike. I found out that she’s walked over 200 miles in her first two weeks on the trail, starting in early March on Springer Mountain, Georgia. Here’s my response:
If that’s her heartsinging pace, then bravo. As a ridgerunner, listening to hundreds of hikers, I discovered that the happy, fulfilled hikers were those who found a personal pace that came from within, matching their own body’s comfort with their walk’s purpose. The unhappy, worn out ones were pushing themselves to “make miles” according to some formula they had heard from outside. The hike became something they felt forced  to do, and many had something else they’d rather be doing. I believe there’s an inner purpose and pace that evokes a fulfilling, energizing, heartsinging walk! May hers be so! #singingheartwalk read more

What Affirmations Do

I’ve been using a set of affirmations that at first are all about what I want to receive from an imaginary partner. Surprisingly, what’s happening is that I’m the one BECOMING what I want to see in him and realizing that there are things to change in myself to RECEIVE a partner like that!