I was raised in Warwick, New York, a town that sits five miles from the Appalachian Trail(AT). I didn’t grow up a hiker and it wouldn’t be until the years away at college that I’d come to know of the AT’s stature. After graduating from the Art Institute of Boston with a BFA in Graphic Design, I decided to postpone the obligatory route in which my life was headed. Instead, I left for the Appalachian Trail—solo. Having never backpacked and having only camped in my parent’s backyard, it was quite the endeavor.

I hiked the Appalachian Trail, a length of 2,175 miles, in just over four months. This was a huge accomplishment, especially because I was a complete rookie when I first started out. But as the miles accumulated, I became comfortable with the walk, both physically and mentally. Then, while backpacking through New Hampshire’s beautiful White Mountains, I had a thought. It pertained to the next goal: to complete the Pacific Crest Trail(PCT) from Mexico to Canada. That following spring I left for the PCT’s southern terminus and five months later, I touched the Canada border, completing the trail’s 2,650-mile length. During that time, I had been inspired by the intoxicating beauty of the mountains and wilderness of the west. Shortly after, I’d move to these mountains—first to Mount Shasta, California, and then to Oregon.

And of course, the inevitable question awaited: Where should I hike next? And the answer: The Continental Divide Trail(CDT). The CDT represented the third leg of the Triple Crown, an achievement recognized by completing the lengths of the Appalachian, Pacific Crest and Continental Divide Trails. In 2011, according to the American Long Distance Hiking Association-West, only 100 people had completed the Triple Crown since they began tracking it in 1994; of those, less than a fifth were women and only a handful attempted the trip solo. Completing the CDT has become one of the most profound things in my life. It’s like a child I suppose, held very dear and unconditionally loved. Yet at the same time, amongst all that love, the 133-day hike was incredibly challenging. But alas, it has left an impression on me, and one that guides my thoughts, decisions and dreams to this day.

Having resided in Oregon for the last five years, there are countless trails, rivers and adventures out the back door. But the allure of the long trail always calls. In addition to the Triple Crown, I have also hiked a vast majority of New Zealand’s Te Araroa. Driven for adventure, I flew across the world and hiked southward from Cape Reinga to Bluff. I spent four months backpacking New Zealand’s 1,800-mile trail, in addition to sightseeing upon the coasts, fjords, glaciers and the quaint charm of rural townships.

Now, once again residing in Oregon, I have completed and now published a book called Married to the Trail. I am incredibly proud to see my story unfold in the hands of you, dear readers. It wasn’t always easy writing it, just as it wasn’t always easy hiking it. And of course, I am still drawn to the allure of the long trail. In fact, I’m dreaming of one now.