The Sway of Carolina Pines

The Sway of Carolina Pines

Trees: wise, sturdy, stoic. I have always loved trees—individually and for the forest they form collectively. These slender pines seem to be on a race to reach the sun, or at least the Carolina blue sky, with their piney tufts topping each barked pole and shading the ground below. But on a recent hike through…

Alleghanian Orogeny

Alleghanian Orogeny

Alleghanian Orogeny sounds like a concept that belongs in a sex self-help book. But actually, it’s a geological term to describe what occurred over a billion years ago in central Virginia when the ground smashed together until rolls and ridges formed the Blue Ridge Mountains. Today, those mountains harbor wildlife, prop up sunrises and sunsets,…

Hiking the Battlefield

Hiking the Battlefield

I don’t understand war. I never have and likely never will. After this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week of war in Ukraine, I found myself drawn to the Manassas Battlefield. I don’t know what I sought—answers, perspective, hope. So, I walked among the cannons, the historical kiosks, the statues, the wide-open fields, and…

Cairns of Chautauqua

Cairns of Chautauqua

For me, hiking has always been a form of meditation in motion. Breathing in the fresh air, stretching my legs, decompressing my thoughts, letting go of stress, taking in the gifts of nature. On a hike back in 2018 in the Chautauqua Park, outside of Boulder, Colorado, I enjoyed all of these benefits of my…

The Idle Island of Daufuskie

The Idle Island of Daufuskie

I am fascinated by isolated places and the people who call those places home. What draws them there? And what makes them stay? One remote island I visited recently has a literary connection. Daufuskie Island, South Carolina, is the actual setting of Pat Conroy’s 1972 memoir The Water is Wide (in which the island is…

Fire on the Horizon

Fire on the Horizon

The view from High Knob Fire Tower is worth the hike—with or without fires. Miles and miles of horizon, hills, and heaven, all under a canopy of clouds that drift in and out of relevance. I hiked this trail with my sister and her family in May this year. The verdant brush with hopeful buds…