About

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take our breath away." - Anonymous

While I’m normally not the type to adorn my phone’s case with a “skin” to make it more colorful, interesting, or thought-provoking, when I ran across the above quote I impulsively clicked “buy”. I’m happy to have found the perfect daily mantra both while hiking and in the front-country.

Here are 2 moments, out of many, that took my breath away in 2013, when I became a long distance backpacker on the Appalachian Trail (AT):

Springer Mt, GA - southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail; March 14, 2013

Springer Mt, GA – southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail; March 14, 2013 

Mt Katahdin, ME - northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail;  October 1, 2013
Mt Katahdin, ME – northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail; October 1, 2013

So who is Pathfinder?

I’ve always liked my first name, and a big part of that was that it is seemingly so unique – I can count on 1 hand the number of other “Renee”s I’ve met over the years.  In long distance backpacking there is also the well-loved tradition of having a unique trail name bestowed upon you, this time not of your parents’ whim but rather your fellow hikers, your community. It’s amazing for me to recall the moment on the AT that I realized I was utterly comfortable responding as “Pathfinder” instead of “Renee”.

Inevitably everyone asks the story of your trail name, so it seems fitting to describe the beginning of my Pathfinder story in my “about” page:    At the end of August 2011, I acquired my trail name on an orienteering cross-country backpacking course in the gorgeous southern San Juan Mts near Pagosa Springs, CO – of which almost the entire trip consisted of breath-taking moments.   The rest of the group observed me seeking and searching out the best animal traces and paths to get through the maze of gamble oak and jumping cactus, and the rest, as they say, is history!   Pathfinder was born.

What you can find here:

This site is dedicated to hiking trip reports, including daily blog entries from my long distance hikes on long trails like the AT and Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), local day hike reports for Northeast Ohio, and reports for shorter backpacking trips outside of the midwest, most within the wonderful National Park System.  I also discuss gear, logistics, and trip planning as I love the planning process!

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