Like most people, I didn’t grow up hiking or camping. But in December 2004, in Samarra, Iraq, I found myself recovering from shrapnel wounds and with access to the Internet while I healed enough to be medevac-ed out of the country.. It was on the internet that I first heard about the then-unofficial Pacific Northwest Trail (PNT), which was just a proposed route from the continental divide in Montana to the tip of the Olympic Peninsula in my home state of Washington. I had plenty of time at the base’s Internet cafe to mentally escape my physical situation by researching and planning a PNT thru-hike as soon as I could get out of Iraq and out of the Army. Within weeks of my discharge the next spring I found myself at the amtrak station in East Glacier, Montana, with no backpacking experience, too much brand-new stuff in my brand-new pack, and more than a thousand lonely miles between me and the Pacific Ocean. The experience of crossing those incredibly diverse landscapes, day after day, for an entire summer, and in almost total solitude, transformed me utterly and completely. Thirteen years later, I am still profoundly grateful for the healing, friendships and inspiration I find in the wild places of this special corner of the world. With my designs I try to relate the beauty I’ve seen to others, hoping to nurture a closer relationship with the places that have nurtured me. These days I share the trail with my dog Rocky, who likes frolicking in alpine snow drifts, and I print in my home in Olympia, Washington.
Also I think that if you ever have the opportunity to do a long distance hike, you should, no matter how scary or difficult it seems. And I think that we all should foster such opportunities for ourselves and others.