Normalcy. Remember what that felt like? I’d very nearly forgotten myself. The 4th of July has come and gone and the heart of summer is finally here. But it’s not just any summer. Here in the U.S., it feels like we’re slowly tiptoeing our way out into the light, emerging from a state of pseudo-hibernation. A summer where we remind ourselves what summers past felt like—those long before we knew how a pandemic would change them.
Me? In a few short weeks, removed from time with family that has breezed past far too quickly, I’ll be back out where I belong: together with Ace, seeing the natural world on foot. Here’s the rundown of recent happenings and what’s in store...
Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of reprising my talk about hiking the Triple Crown for an audience of subscribers to Ulysses, the app I use to write and publish Stone and Sky. In case you missed it, a recording is available on the newly created Stone and Sky YouTube channel here.
Coming up on July 17th at 11am Eastern, I’ll be giving a new talk called In the Land of Dust and Fire: Hiking the American West. Focusing on three trails that traverse some of the greatest scenery of the West—the John Muir, Tahoe Rim, and Wonderland trails—I’ll be sharing both my experiences thru-hiking them as well as some thoughts on the threads that define and connect them. Friendly faces—and hecklers!—are always welcome, so please join me for an hour of your Saturday if you’d like to learn more. The talk is free, open to everyone, and registration is available here.
Website Update: New Comment System
One motivator that often propels me to think more deeply on long hikes is an unsung one: your comments. Coming into a resupply stop and reading so many words of encouragement and readers’ own reflections on wilderness and life is—without a doubt—one of the most rewarding parts of every hike. Responding to those comments isn’t an obligation—it’s therapeutic.
There’s just one problem: no one ever knew when I did respond and changing that behavior is by far the most commonly requested feature I hear. Well, the wait is over. Earlier this week, I pushed live a small but powerful update that breathes some modernity into the comment system on Stone and Sky. Front and center among the improvements: by default, all new comments will automatically trigger an email subscription to replies. Once confirmed, you’ll get an email any time there’s a reply to your comment and users control if and when they want to opt-out. In case there are any bumps along the way, please reach out to me via email.
Last, but not least, here’s the calendar of upcoming hikes that are on tap for this summer and fall:
Late July: Adirondack 46ers
In 2017, my Mom and I together finished a journey that, for me, had begun 25 years earlier: climbing all 46 of the Adirondack High Peaks. Now, it’s Ace’s turn. 42 down, 4 to go.
August: Vermont’s Long Trail
19 years removed from my very first long distance hike, I’m returning to the scene of the crime. 272 miles of ruggedness along the spine of Vermont from Massachusetts to Canada, the way hiking used to be.
Late August: Continental Divide Trail through Glacier National Park
Remember this post from the CDT last year? Buried in there was a painful, gnawing detail about our thru-hike: that the pandemic had forced the closure of the trail through Glacier National Park. Time to right that wrong, alongside our friends Beardoh & Sweet Pea.
September: John Muir Trail
Since we’ll be together for the official end of the CDT, why not jump in the car from Glacier and head to California’s High Sierra for a return engagement with the JMT that we’d first hiked back in 2015? 211 miles of pure backpacking bliss.
October/November: Arizona Trail
To wrap up the hiking season, the AZT will be a first for both Ace and I in a part of the country we’ve been anxious to spend more time. Running 800 miles north/south across the state of Arizona, from Utah to Mexico, we can’t wait to see for ourselves all of the spectacular scenery that we’ve heard so much about it.
See you on the trail!