“Wild,” a Book Review

After hiking 1,000+ miles of the Appalachian Trail (from the Smokies of North Carolina to the corn fields of Pennsylvania), I finally allowed myself the chance to read Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I had been putting this off, not wanting another woman's long-distance hike to muddy my own, until a friend let me borrow her … Continue reading “Wild,” a Book Review

Walking Away from the Green Tunnel Still Singing to Bears

When I hit 500 miles last year I knew it'd be my last night on the trail if the next day was beautiful. I spotted a fox running through a blueberry patch on my way to camp, which I took as a sign it was time to leave -- one of my favorite passages of … Continue reading Walking Away from the Green Tunnel Still Singing to Bears

Hiking Like A Woman, Part II

Last year I wrote about several women who are tough as nails, hiking the Appalachian Trail through rain and pain (read Part I here). This year I'm blown away by how many women are on the trail, and how little sexism I've witnessed compared to last year's alpha male surplus. They're thru-hiking in every bubble and … Continue reading Hiking Like A Woman, Part II

Self-Reliance and Interdependence in the Woods

I'm 700 miles into the Appalachian Trail (you can catch up on the journey here, here and here), and this year I've found some truly wonderful friends that have helped me get through rain and pain. I came out here last year and this year solo, looking to discover my "self" at the outer limits of my abilities, and … Continue reading Self-Reliance and Interdependence in the Woods

Music as Thinking: Going Back to the Trail with William James

Coming back to New York City after hiking 500 miles in "the green tunnel" of the Appalachian Trail was extremely difficult. I was cranky even at my best, and felt guilty for having been out of touch with my loved ones for so long. It was as if we had been in Narnia, Moose would say, … Continue reading Music as Thinking: Going Back to the Trail with William James

Hiking Like a Woman

Twenty-five percent of thru-hikers on the Appalachian Trail are women, and, let me tell you, these are hardcore women who take after the Mary Rowlandsons and Hannah Dustans of America. Before I reached the 100-mile mark, however, I had already heard several hikers use the phrase, "I'm going to take this mountain like a man," … Continue reading Hiking Like a Woman

“Leave No Trace”: When American Transcendentalism Leads to Wilderness Preservation

Having hiked over 500 miles of the Appalachian Trail this summer, dutifully carrying a copy of Thoreau's writings with me, there are certain habits I've cultivated with a now-ingrained daily routine that I'll take with me off the trail. The "Leave No Trace" policy of American hiker culture is what keeps the Appalachian Trail special for everyone … Continue reading “Leave No Trace”: When American Transcendentalism Leads to Wilderness Preservation

Losing a Wild Soundscape 

Hiking the Appalachian Trail this summer has been a musical experience beyond anything I could have predicted. I've now hiked over 300 miles along the state line of North Carolina and Tennessee, arriving in Virginia yesterday just in time for the shocking gun-like echo of fireworks. Before I get to that, let me share with … Continue reading Losing a Wild Soundscape 

A Week on the Appalachian Trail Reading Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau writes in "Walking," that every walk is a crusade, and declares sauntering an art. I set out this summer to hike about 1,000 miles of the Appalachian Trail, bringing a copy of Thoreau's A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers with me for the first 100 miles. I've spent more of … Continue reading A Week on the Appalachian Trail Reading Thoreau