Hi! My trail name is Tree Hugger, and I’m thru-hiking the AT after a 32 year wait. I first learned about the AT during Spring Break of my Sophomore year in college. My college sweetheart and I spent a week in the Smokies, and we ran across some hitchhiking thru-hikers. That’s when I learned about the trail and determined to someday complete it. Well, life intervened, and my path veered away from the trail for some time. I married and raised three amazing kids, but never stopped dreaming about completing the AT. I started backpacking again once the kids were grown, and got into the best shape of my life with the help of a personal trainer and a lot of hard work. Then, in November of 2018, I took a bad fall while night hiking up to a remote spot in the Hoosier National Forest. I suffered multiple physical injuries, including a pretty nasty TBI that required almost three full years to recover from. But with the great support of my friends and family, a team of medical professionals (particularly one extraordinary functional neurologist), I regained enough cognitive ability and balance to backpack again. I entreated my superintendent (I’m a high school teacher) to grant me a Leave of Absence to hike the AT while I’m still able (who knows what the future holds?), and my request was granted. I spend all year teaching my students to “seize the day,” to reach for their biggest goals, and to live out their dreams. It was time to practice what I preach, and so here I am on the AT. It really is a dream come true for me. It’s been difficult and challenging and uncomfortable, and really, what more could anyone ask for?
Fifty or so years ago, to bring water to the kitchen building and the men's and women's shower houses, water pipes were run underground at the
Enjoy my mental meanderings: To the tune of “North to Alaska” Way up north (North to Damascus)Way up north (North to Damascus)Way up north
Take those boots off, baby. Because I came into this adventure sans YouTube, it has been a truly organic experience for me. The lion’s
Oh, my. Every time I think I’ve hit the prettiest stretch of trail, I turn a corner and discover something even more beautiful, stunning, and/or
“No one is more grateful than a hungry hiker,” said the nice man feeding us this morning when asked why he was sharing this particular “Trail Magic”
The award for Most Sportsmanlike Behavior in the Thru-Hiking category goes to the two gentlemen who kept their eyes forward while I was using the
“Tom Sawyer’s Gang” is alive and well—in case you were worried. I’m known as Tree Hugger on the Appalachian Trail, and I’m a little over a month