“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” - Henry David Thoreau

I remember reading Thoreau as a teenage literature fanatic and feeling mesmerized by the idea of living in solitude off the land as he did at Walden Pond. As I grew older and more acquainted with the conveniences of the modern world, I sort of forgot all about Thoreau and his transcendent views of nature, sustainability, the good of man. That is… until about five years ago, when I re-discovered a love for the wilderness.

One day a friend asked me to go hiking with her and from there she asked me if I’d like to go on a backpacking trip with her. I had never been backpacking, didn’t own a hiking backpack, and had only been camping a handful of times in my entire life. It sounded like a challenge… and I’ve always loved a good challenge. 

I remember loving walking in the woods as a kid. I’ve always enjoyed being outside, staying active, playing sports (especially ones played outdoors like golf, tennis, biking, and kayaking), and testing my limitations. But backpacking… or even hiking as a ‘sport’ wasn’t something I’d given much consideration.

Once I started hiking, I quickly remembered how much I relish in the  peaceful warmth of it all. It’s simple, quiet… uncomplicated. All things I look for in my daily life. 

What I didn’t anticipate about this new hobby though, was how challenging it can sometimes be. Some terrain is tricky. Sometimes endurance is required for long up-hills. Sometimes it’s really hot, sometimes really cold. It was all a bit of a rush. Many of the elements of sports that I love – challenging myself, working hard, setting goals – paired with the serenity of nature, gave me something I was quickly falling for. A new love. Adventure, tranquility, persistence. It was thrilling!

Since that first spring re-discovering a love for nature and going on my first big backpacking excursion, I’ve developed a passion for finding new places to explore. Right now I’m focused on day hikes around the midwest but I hope to branch out soon to more scenic areas of the country. 

The Trail Watching Website Project

I’ve now been on three backpacking trips and countless day hikes around the midwestern United States. Recently, I challenged myself to hike all 24 Indiana state parks – you can read more about that on the State Parks Project page. I created this website as a fun personal project to document and track all these little adventures I take. I plan to continue its development and add more content as I expand my hiking boot print across the U.S.  This website was designed and developed by me and most of the photography on this site was taken by me. 

But what else do I do besides hike?

Who am I when I’m not hiking? I’m a marketing professional with many years of experience in graphic design and website development as well as professional writing and project management. I spent a good amount of my career working in the web dev industry which allowed a flexible schedule for me to be the primary care giver for my boys. After a couple relocations, I now live in Lafayette, IN and work for Purdue University (my alma mater) doing marketing and communications for the College of Engineering’s recruiting office.

More importantly, I’m a mom to two boys ages 19 and 16 and have been married to my husband, Walt, for 22 years. In addition to hiking, I love music of (almost) all kinds, watching sports, and reading (or listening to) non-fiction biographies and interesting stories.