Susan Alcorn’s Backpacking & Hiking Tales and Tips, July 2021

Susan Alcorn’s Backpacking & Hiking Tales and Tips, #265 July 2021


Wishing you a happy and safe 4th of July!!!

#1. Yosemite’s new climbing exhibits — read more
#2. “Hiking the Appalachian Trail: A Beginner’s Guide” by Karen Berger
#3. Amanda Schaffer, the Pilgrim Pouch, and Susan Alcorn’s interview
#4. Six Moon’s description of trail on Mt. St. Helens
#5. We are changing newsletter hosts
#6. Lightning risk ratings
#7. Pilgrim Gathering — reminder
#8. John Ladd presents
#9. The ALDHA-West Gathering to be Virtual in 2021

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Susan Alcorn’s Backpacking & Hiking Tales and Tips, April 2021

Prime Hiking Season is HERE!
Indian Warrior
Question for you hikers out there: Why is everyone exhausted on April 1? 
Because we just finished a 31-day March. (Thank you, I guess,
In case you wondered, there wasn’t a March issue of this newsletter; I needed the extra time for hiking in order to see the wildflowers emerging. Don’t miss out on this prime hiking season!
1Treeline reviews and backpacking gear list
2. Grand to Grand Ultra
3. Anish’s podcast on her newest book, Mud, Rocks, Blazes. Interviewed by Jennifer Pharr Davis
4. Film screening and Q&A of Wesley “Crusher” Trimble’s short film, “Within Weakness.” 
5. New edition Sierra South by Elizabeth Wenk  
6. Ivar reports from Santiago weekly’ the March 22nd report had hopeful news.
7. Marcy del Clements new book of poetry and prose about Appalachia.
8. Regional: California: Tom Courtney suggests a California Walkabout
9. Regional: Northern California: Envision ‘The Great Redwood Trail’ 
10. Regional: SF Bay Area: Bay Trail: Osprey and the Lone Tree Point Bridge Installation.
11. Regional: SF Bay Area Ridge Trail: Ridge to Bridges. 

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Susan Alcorn’s Backpacking & Hiking Tales & Tips, February 2021

Susan Alcorn’s Backpacking & Hiking Tales and Tips, February 2021


  1. Camino news
  2. ALDHA-Virtual RUCKS
  3. Bear “Attack” in the Trinity Alps, CA
  4. Thru hikers’ medical guide
  5. Safety plea from the father of 2020 PCT fatality
  6. Grizzlies or humans? The 1,200 Pacific Northwest Trail
  7. Andrew Skurka offers guided backpacking trips
  8. “Anish” and Mud, Rocks, Blazes
  9. Heading for Yosemite soon?

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Walk, Hike, Saunter is Now Available!

Walk, Hike,Saunter is Now Available…
Long-distance hiker Susan Alcorn introduces you to 32 experienced outdoors women who consider hiking to be an essential part of their lives.  Their stories are told with honesty, insight and humor. They share their wisdom and proven tips to inspire women and men of all ages.

The women, all 45 and older and in the prime of their lives, are superstars—shining examples of the richness that hiking can bring to our lives. All told, they have hiked tens of thousands of miles.

The Contributors
The list of contributors is sort of a Who’s Who in the hiking world:  
Inga Aksamit, Barbara Anderson, Beebe ‘Jack from Ireland’ Bahrami, Jan ‘Pooh Bear’ Barlow, Jane Blanchard, Carolyn ‘Ravensong’ Burkhart, Judy Chovan, Emilie ‘Dirty Emilie’ Cortes, Lynne ‘Sparkly Manaña’ Davidson, Marion ‘llamalady’ Davison, Mary E. ‘Pastor Mary’ Davison, Laurie Ferris, Lorie ‘Veggie’ Florence, Laurel (Ibbotson) ‘Happy Feet’ Foot, Nancy ‘Why Not?’ Huber, Naomi ‘The Punisher’ Hudetz, Sandy ‘Frodo’ Mann, Jan ‘Jaunting Jan’ McEwen, Karen ‘Butterscotch’ Najarian, Sylvia ‘amaWalker’ Nilsen, Marcia ‘GottaWalk’ Powers, Nancy Reynolds, Lisa Robinson, Dami Roelse, Donna ‘L-Rod’ Saufley, Patricia Schaffarczyk, Diane ‘Piper’ Soini, Diane Spicer, Jane Toro, Elsye ‘Wandering Chardonnay’ Walker, Katie Williams, Sue ‘Leapfrog’ Williams.

The women hikers represent a range of interests. Some are into long-distance hiking and have earned awards for their accomplishments. Others include trail volunteers or trail angels who have spent considerable time giving back to the hiking community. 

A common theme running through Walk, Hike, Saunter is that there are many paths to incorporating hiking into your life. Whether hiking is one of many things that you enjoy doing, or whether you find it such an passion that you don’t mind living out of your car in order to pursue it—you can reap the rewards of exploring the world on foot. As you immerse yourself in nature, enjoy new vistas, and perhaps experience interesting cultures, you’ll improve your health and fitness and enrich your life.

Walk, Heal, Saunter is now available in paperback on Amazon, and on Kindle. Your favorite bookstore can order it for you through Ingram distributors. ISBN-13: 978-0936034072. 

French tourism and pilgrim walks

French tourism and pilgrim walks

It was a strange feeling to be at a press luncheon in San Francisco—an event hosted by tourist offices of the region of Aquitaine and the city of Bordeaux, France. I felt like a fish out of water. Ralph and I have been to France many times, but don’t fly premier class or 5-star hotels. We generally stay in small hotels, gites (B & B’s), gîtes d’étapes (hostels), pensions, and spare bedrooms in private homes.

Lock for lovers on Paris bridge

We carry backpacks rather than matched pieces of luggage, and we buy only a few souvenirs rather than go on extensive shopping sprees. The biggest difference between our vacations in France and that of most tourists, however, is that we spend the majority of our time hiking—usually a couple of hundred miles—along one of the French Grande Randonnée (GR) routes. 

Eyes glazing over

As I talked to the hosts at the San Francisco event, I watched as their eyes glazed over as I tried to explain my mode of travel. I’m not a good enough salesperson to sell most people on the notion of long-distance hiking, but I am pretty good at describing where they might enjoy hiking if they are already of the mindset to go. In this case, the vendors of tours for oenophiles (wine connoisseurs) and of accommodations on the beaches of Biarritz were probably more interested in talking to well-heeled tourists than to one who often wears trail runners or boots. 

Not that anyone was rude (they weren’t) and don’t think for a moment that I think that the French are the only people who look at long-distance hikers askance. I often feel like “a stranger in a strange land” here. When I am around “regular” people here at home, I often sense that they don’t “get it.” Why would anyone deliberately walk rather than ride? Couch surf rather than stay in a hotel? and so forth. Even my mother always thought that what I do is a strange obsession (but is probably happy that it keeps me out of trouble.) Luckily, we have many friends and acquaintances that hike and can lend support for our mutual addiction. 

Love French cuisine

At this particular lunch, we enjoyed good wines, a fine and creamy mushroom soup, a delightful filet mignon, and Crème caramel for dessert. Even though I wasn’t representative of who French tourism most likely wants to reach, I was happy to spend my early afternoon studying the maps of Aquitaine looking up the towns that we have visited on a couple of our French hikes. I was also delighted to be treated to wine and food that reminded me of the dozens of delectable meals that I have had while on the French pilgrimage trails.

Vive la France!

As always, French tourism, thank you for your hospitality here and abroad!

Note: Our Camino routes completed in France: LePuy route starting back in Geneva, SW (GR65), Arles, and soon—the last 130 miles of the Vezelay.