Writing Samples


Pastoral Paradise (pdf)
The Appalachian Trail has always captured the American landscape, from forests to farms. Its route, woven through mostly rural communities since it was first built in the 1930s has evolved, and so have many of the communities, growing with the pace of our time. Other communities, like Bland County, have managed to retain the quintessential experience of agricultural America. (A.T. Journeys, Mar-Apr. 2013)

Appalachian Ambiance (pdf)
Flush with high peaks, waterfalls, and mist rising from the valleys in early mornings, western North Carolina is poised to welcome Appalachian Trail enthusiasts from across the country…(A.T. Journeys, Sept-Oct 2012)

Open Invitation (pdf)
A mile from where the Trail crosses U.S. Route 11 in central Virginia, one walks into the unique downtown of Troutville and steps back in time. It’s easy to image that this is the type of place Earl Shaffer or Gene Epsy would have experienced on one of the earliest thru-hikes of the Trail. (A.T. Journeys, May-June 2012)

The Valley’s Friendly City (pdf)
Every hiker knows that simplicity is good for the soul. The draw of the Trail is a streamlined way to experience the world. Friendly encounters on the Trail, like a passing greeting or a supportive hiking group, often enrich a walk in the woods. It’s as if the friendly nature of the Trail and the simplicity found there have spilled down the Blue Ridge and pooled in the Shenandoah Valley, in Harrisonburg, Virginia. (A.T. Journeys, Nov-Dec. 2011)

Outdoor Adventure & Nature

A Matter of Taste (pdf)
Hikers, notoriously, never stop thinking or talking about food. The borderline obsession is generally proportional to the distance of their hike. Regardless if it’s a day hike or a 250-mile-plus backpacking trip, food matters. (A.T. Journeys, Mar-Apr 2013)

Appalachian Crayfish (pdf)
I eased my bottle into the spring-fed pool and quickly recoiled at the sight of crustacean in my Appalachian waters. The crawdad scuttled backward and out of sight, and I dunked my bottle as I marveled at my newfound discovery. (A.T. Journeys, May-June 2012)

Old Growth Symbiosis (pdf)
It takes a focused eye to spot lungwort in a healthy, vibrant, mixed hardwood forest wearing it’s bright summer green. To be on the lookout for lungwort, Josh Kelly, field biologist with Western North Carolina Alliance, suggests hikers notice the diversity of tree size and ages since that variety is characteristic of old growth forests, the right type of environment for lungwort. (A.T. Journeys, Jan-Feb 2013)



A Clear View of History (pdf)
Angels Rest, an Appalachian Trail overlook, may have had a special role in ousting the Union forces, including two future U.S. Presidents, from their occupation of Pearisburg, Virginia during the Civil War. (A.T. Journeys, Jan-Feb. 2012)


Human Interest

A Business Built on Heart (pdf)
The Jesuit House of Prayer shut its doors in 2007. The buildings sat empty for five years until February when long-time Hot Springs residents Pete and Karen Nagle purchased, renovated and reopened the property as Laughing Heart Lodge. (The News-Record & Sentinel, Sept. 26, 2012)

It Takes Guts to Ride the Shortbus (pdf)
It takes courage to strap into a harness and fly through the treetops on a zip line. It takes nerve to whitewater raft the Nantahala River. It takes strength to hike the distance to Grassy Ridge on the Appalachian Trail. It takes chutzpah to dip into the chilly waters of a mountain creek. And it takes guts to be different.


Conservation & Sustainability

Preserving Our Forests from the Top Down (pdf)
Dogwood Alliance relies on big corporations to make commitments so that together they can protect southern forests from the ground up. Dogwood Alliance starts with a strategy of public pressure campaigns to turn bad business practices into corporate policies that favor forest protection. (The Laurel of Asheville, Nov. 2012)

The Power of Voice (pdf)
Anna Sherrill stood in front of a group of IT professionals with their sandwiches and leftovers spread out before them, and she offered them an escape. She proposed hikes on the A.T., bike riding the Virginia Creeper, and float trips on the Clench river, among other ideas that are available any time for recreation and renewal in southwest Virginia. (A.T. Journeys, Nov-Dec 2012)


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