backpacking, hiking and thru-hiking

The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.

Emily Dickinson

Backpacking and long distance thru-hiking is not always blissful. It takes hard work, dedication and determination to stay the course when walking, tramping or trekking. But like life, the rewards are sweet for those willing to put one foot in front of the other.

My smiling avatar sitting in her lotus position was named in a contest by my followers “Anita Hike.”

Throughout my hiking career, my feet have moved me forward on six continents, in the United States, England, France, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Pakistan, New Zealand and South Africa. Check the dropdown menu above for specific hike diaries and gear lists.

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On a 17-mile urban trail, I discover hidden greenways, mosaicked stairs, wooded ravines and stunning views.
Regrets are not something to avoid, because they can spur us to live more fully – especially on trail.
A wee bit of luxury in a 2-ounce pillow makes all the difference on Blissful's recent Arizona Trail hike.
As the wind builds into a sandstorm, I finish the Arizona Trail at the border under the brooding Vermillion Cliffs.
The trail is an engineering marvel taking me steeply up through red cliffs all alone to the North Rim.
Hiking into the canyon on the Kaibab Trail is one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life.
Another long day up and down through ponderosa and dust with the first glimpse of the Grand Canyon.
Sam drives me past Mount Humphreys to Babbitt Lake and it’s an easy day through ranchland to a perfect camp
I walk into Flagstaff with bed bug infested gear, but help is not forthcoming. Still, I manage.
It’s a long day but the trail gets easier and drier with only a glimpse of views.
Mud, snow, a beer before 10 am and a wrong turn make for a fun hiking day.
It’s a long slog through sticky mud but ends in a surprise.
The trail is rocky and steep to the rim right into deep snow drifts then mud.
The storm cleared the air and I walk under the colorful rim on red rock with big clouds overhead.
It’s mostly easy trail but filled with hard-to-walk-on rocks all the way to a shortcut and a ‘zero.’
The views are huge and unspoiled, so remote and almost overwhelming.
The trail winds around deep canyons to stay high with snow, wildflowers, gnats, gorgeous water and a stunning sunset.
I begin the Mazatzals on a gorgeous day, ‘cruisey’ and beautiful as I try to push through before snow.
Sleeping on the grass is a bad idea and I puncture my mattress, but serendipity leads to a replacement.
A road walk leads to beautiful Boulder Canyon and sleeping with frogs.
It’s a steep flower-laden climb to Four Peaks and a spectacular balcony walk.
The final day in the Superstitions is very hard on steep, loose rock but with astounding views.
It’s a tough up and down hike through the Superstition Mountains shared with new friends.
I skip the low desert in the interest of time and move onto the mountains where the wildflowers are abundant.
Oracle Ridge is an absolute slog up and down rock-filled hills but ends with a trail angel.
It’s an enormous ascent to Summerhaven through a magical stone forest.
A surprise up tires me before heading into some of the most spectacular scenery yet.