About Me


I grew up romping in the woods of Oregon. My curiosity for plants and insect led me to graduate school where I studied evolutionary biology and the genetics of speciation.

I set off on my first long-distance hike on the Pacific Crest Trail in 2014. A stress fracture forced me off the trail at Tuolumne Meadows but I healed and got back on the trail to complete another 560 miles. In 2016, I returned to section hike Washington and Oregon. The PCT taught me what it means to find success.

After my PCT experience, I wanted to help others connect with nature. So I pursued my dream of becoming a park ranger. I got my start by joining AmeriCorps and serving two years with Montana State Parks and though a SCA position at Arches National Park.

Currently, I live and work in SE Utah.


My writing featured on other sites:

     Pacific Crest Trail Association-   It's not all about the thru-hike: A Walking Meditation
     Pacific Crest Trailside Reader- Cougar!
     Gossamer Gear-   Skills and Techniques for the Arizona Trail
     Gossamer Gear-   Joan's Sierra Gear List
     Gossamer Gear-   Easy Foot Care for Hiking

My favorite posts...
      How to have a successful hike - the biggest lesson I learned on the PCT
      About that dream you have- life lessons
      The Thing about Montana - what it feels like to hike solo in Montana
      Backpacking Solo
      Trail Dames Beginner Backpacking Trip - what teaching backpacking skills means to me
      No New Gear - a year-long experiment  
      Three Months of Two Miles - appreciating the trail outside your backdoor 
Most popular posts...

     Umbrella rigging - how to attach your hiking umbrella to your pack
     Beginner's Guide to Going Stoveless - backpacking without a stove
     Stress fractures- a guide for backpackers
     Gear Review for the PCT- pack, hydration system, stoveless kitchen, electronics, etc. 

Disclaimer: This blog reflects my personal opinions and not the views of the National Park Service or any of my other past or current employers. 

8 comments:

  1. Well it's pretty much snowing in Oregon, where on the PCT did you do your training hike in the rain? PCTJim

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  2. Hi PCTJim- Ah, sorry I didn't make the location of the training hike more clear- I just edited it. :) I'm still in Georgia, so I do my training hikes to get ready for a PCT hike in 2014 around here in GA for now. Enjoy that snow out there in Oregon!

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  3. Have an amazing journey Joan and don't forget (especially on those days when you're asking yourself why the hell you're doing this) that our more-than-human community will always show you exactly what you need to learn in that moment. Nature is amazing that way, and I know you understand this.

    ~Michele "Certain"

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    1. Wise advice, Michele. Thanks so much for the encouragement and the reminder to trust that I can keep learning by being open even through the difficulties. It's sometimes so easy to loose sight of that, but I'll do my best to keep that perspective. :)

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  4. Geez, Joan, you went through Utah but didn't visit me -- after I followed your blog all summer. Sigh!

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    1. Watch out! I'm still unemployed and couch-surfing- might be going back through Utah again...

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  5. Hey Joan,
    What are you doing in Kentucky?
    You haven't posted in a while and I'm suffering withdrawal symptoms.
    I left my home town of London Ky, 41 years ago for the upstate of SC and never looked back.
    I hope to see you in this neck of the woods again some day.

    Swampfox

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    1. Hi Swampfox! Sorry for the late reply. I was working at Mammoth Cave over the summer. I got pretty close to London, KY when I went out to the Natural Arch Scenic Area, Cumberland Falls, and the Beaver Creek Wilderness. Nice to see the rhododendrons and mountain laurel in bloom. I was sorry I didn't make it to GA/SC this summer but hopefully some other time!

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