After completing the Triple Crown at 76 and writing Old Lady on the Trail, I didn’t stop hiking or writing. I am now 79 and have walked on the American Discovery Trail (ADT) from the Atlantic Ocean to Nebraska and wrote another book: Aren’t You Afraid? It is available on Amazon in Kindle or paperback. Come along with me to camp in the shadow of a pregnant camel, make new friends from strangers, and discover America. Along the way I reflect on fear and leaving fear behind: fear of strangers, fear while walking solo, fear of asking for what I need, fear of the unknown. On this walk half-way across America, as I leave fears behind, perhaps you will see ways to overcome your own.
This should come out on Amazon tomorrow after noon, Friday, September 11
79-Year-Old Mary, Triple Crown Long-Distance Hiker, Hikes Again.
Travel with Mary on this heart-warming trek across the United States. You’ll camp in the shadow of a pregnant camel, chat with several Old Boys’ Coffee Clubs, meet a man the hard way (when he knocks down her tent in the middle of the night), slog through trails of overgrown brambles, and experience the deep and lasting joy of making new friends and meeting old fans. (At one point, even the cops show up.)
On this journey, God laughs at Mary, and she laughs back. Maybe you’ll laugh, too.
Routinely, Mary takes two long hikes of 300-500 miles-a-year. She started the American Discovery Trail (ADT) in the middle, decided she liked it, and added more. These hikes were only half her yearly long-distance hikes, but they make a worthwhile story of the first half of America, the people she discovered, and how she grappled with fear and unfear—her fear and the fears other people felt for her—as she hiked alone from 2015 through 2019.
As Mary hikes, she addresses tough issues: fear of other people, fear of strangers, fear of asking for what she needs, fear of anyone different, and fear of the unknown.
This book is for day hikers and backpackers anywhere along the middle of America and for anyone who’d like to walk there. It’s also for hikers looking for a challenge after the National Scenic Trails or for anyone who wants a different kind of trail. In addition to hikers, this book will delight everyone who wants to leave their fears behind, everyone who likes to armchair-hike.
Come along with Mary for a walk half-way across America, as she overcomes her fears,
and you might see ways to overcome yours.
My second book, Aren’t you Afraid, should be available on September 11th.
Hiking Presentation about Old Lady on the Trail, hiking the Triple Crown at 76. December 4, 2019 at Peninsula Wilderness Club, VFW Post 4992, 9981 Central Valley Road, Bremerton, WA 98311. 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm.
Come see the pictures that weren’t in the book. The club will have a meeting at 7:00 and an intermission 7:30 – 7:45 when books will be sold to those who want them. The presentation, Hiking the Triple Crown at 76, will begin at 7:45. It should be a fun evening and is open to the public.
Because I do long distance hiking and must ask people for things, going past what is my true, introverted self, I have a multitude of stories and incredible, wonderful experiences of the generosity of the people I have met.
I have lost count a bit. But from Cape Henlopen, Delaware to Omaha, Nebraska, 4 years’ worth of spring hikes, having to ask for places to stay most nights, for water, for places to use a bathroom, I have only been turned down about 30 or so times over 4 years. That’s 30 or so nos vs more than 500 or so yeses. And some of those no times had good reasons. Renters are often hesitant to host me as they do not own the property. Twice I have knocked on doors where the guy who answered was on house arrest and he was afraid he would get in trouble with his parole officer. I have also had lots of invitations inside to spare bedrooms, welcome showers and dinners. I have come to expect that every night will work out somehow and I’ll just have another great story to tell. It doesn’t always work out the way I wish or think it should. But it seems to always works out.
Near Chicago, a family who let me stay in their outbuilding, as the forecast was for rain, said as we shared dinner, “But we hear every day on the news about murders in Chicago.” That made me ponder “What makes news news?” It really isn’t that it is blood and gore. I am at least a little newsworthy just because I am the oldest person (that I know of) to have walked the Triple Crown of long-distance hiking. What makes news news is that it is unusual. Yeah, we see bad stuff on the news on TV or the internet. But what makes something news, is that it is the unusual. A journalist I met in Iowa this year said that is what one learns in basic journalism class. I was kinda proud of myself for thinking it up myself. I guess it wasn’t an original idea, though it was original to me. But it is an important idea to remember.
The usual is meeting wonderful people and seeing beautiful sights. The unusual does happen. Something bad could happen on any trail. I could die or be injured. But I have had so many wonderful experiences and met so many wonderful people. I would hope that you and I can remember, often the things we fear, although possible, are not likely to happen. And even if they do, we are not alone.
Psalm 23:4 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. For thou art with me.”
I don’t think nothing bad could ever happen to me. Bad stuff happens. But my life and yours are held by God’s promises by what I like to think of as scripture bookends: 23rd Psalm on one end and Romans 8:38 on the other.
“For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
It is possible I may not return from some adventure. It is possible I might not make it home tonight. After all – we do all die sometime, although I would rather not hurry the process.
In ultimate terms, I choose to trust the God who holds me in life and in death. I will try to be mindful of that embrace in wilderness, through raindrops on leaves, sunrises, creepy crawly critters, in relationships with two legged critters, on roads and through towns and cities, in noisy traffic and the silence of night.
And life will be good. Thanks be to God.