Two years ago I was called to attend the Trail Dames Summit at Western North Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC.
It's a bi-annual conference for women who hike and it's full of hikers of all skills there to learn more, share and empower each other.
I'm not sure why I felt called to go. I could have just gone hiking, instead. By myself.
Without the stress of being an introvert in a sea of unfamiliar faces.
Thankfully, I chose to embrace the discomfort and answer the call.
Looking back, it's not being melodramatic to say that the Trail Dames Summit of 2016 changed my life in several ways.
- I heard Carla "Zipper" Robertson talk about her decision to hike the AT even though it wasn't a dream her husband shared with her. My story exactly! Nine months later I was on the trail, without my husband, but with his full, unmitigated support all the way to Maine.
- I started a daily sketching habit thanks to a Nature Journaling clinic I attended where the teacher, Carole Pivarnik, mentioned in passing that she dedicated a full year to daily sketching. It took me a while, but I finally stole her idea in November 2017 and I'm looking forward to turning my AT finale into a nomadic artist's residency when I get back on the trail in June.
- I found my tribe, and they all helped me continue to say yes to my callings, including sharing about pilgrimage and intentional hiking; sketching; long distance hiking as a thing I do on a regular basis; saying no to things that no longer fit.
That's why I'm beside myself this week because I just learned that I will join the cast of clinicians at this year's Trail Dames Summit!
I'll be leading not one, but two sessions.
The first is a workshop called: Intentional Hiking: A Practical Guide to Modern Pilgrimage through Long Distance Hiking.
So, yeah...talking about my thing and sharing tips for turning your hike into a spiritual experience.
The second is a movement class called Yoga For Hikers. It's a stretching and yoga class where I share how to use the items in your pack to keep people limber and flexible for the hike....bandanna, sleeping bag in stuff sack, etc.
I'm totally stoked to be part of this life-changing gathering and in the company of some incredible, bad-ass trail women.
The Summit is July 13-15 at WNC in Cullowhee, NC. Mountains, y'all! There will be hiking and gear talk and lots of chances to learn and share.
Is it calling to you? If so, you can register here and prepare to have the apples shaken loose from your tree.