I don’t know where I’m going, but I promise it won’t be boring.
– David Bowie

Let’s face it, not every moment in life is blissful, but when you’re a hiker, things are just that much better.

Alison Young, the blissful hiker, at age 13 taking in the views in Yosemite.

Me with a Farrah Fawcett/Dorothy Hammill look at age 13. Once I put my Treetorns on Yosemite trails, I was forever hooked on hiking.

I lead a double life of two intense joys: as a classical music DJ at American Public Media and as a long-distance backpacker. Walking has always been my passion, my solace and my truest love. These two come together regularly, like in my earliest memory of singing while looking down at my feet carrying me along a sidewalk. Likewise, when we moved from the New York suburbs to the New Hampshire countryside – and having just learned to whistle – I was often lost for hours exploring the woods and fields. Though it wasn’t until my dad took me to Yosemite when I was thirteen and I played my flute on top of Half Dome, that I realized just how far my feet could take me.

I have hiked trails long and short, and have found my love growing only deeper over the years. While I don’t know the number of miles I have walked because I walk every day to and from work – and just about everywhere else as I’ve made walking a complete part of my life. That is why I try to put my feet on some spectacular spots in the world as often as I can. Here are a few stats:

The longest all at one time? 450 miles on the spine of the French Alps.

The shortest “thru-hike?” 70 miles on Minnesota’s Border Route Trail.

The most beautiful? The John Muir Trail in the California Sierras.

The most bad ass? Definitely the unmarked Drakensberg Traverse in South Africa/Lesotho.

The scariest? The Paria Canyon with its fifteen miles of slot canyon hiked solo in winter.

Where would I go back right now if I could quit my job? Certainly, the Karakorum in Pakistan.

Anything else you’d like to know? Follow the blog and drop me a line to tell me what you’re walking. Maybe we can meet some day.

Finally, this fall, I’ll head to New Zealand for my first long trail, the Te Araroa. At over 1,800 miles, it has required I take a leave-of-absence from work for total immersion in five months of walking. Stay tuned for both written and audio updates.

Happy trails!

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