Walking Home

reveries of an amateur long-distance hiker

About Walking Home | Walking

August 19th, 2015



“Walking Home” initially calls up directionality and even purposiveness–a space must be traversed in order to arrive, ostensibly at a living place or some state of mind. But walking can also be a home; one can be at home while walking. Long-distance hikers always find themselves wavering between those two states–transition and immediacy. I grew up in the mountains of Virginia, spending most of my childhood outside, and a lot of it in the woods. I did camp a good bit over the years and made several week-long trips, but did not start long-distance until 2011 when my son Bennett and I hiked the first 500 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Over the next two summers we completed all 2165 miles, summiting Katadhin August 12, 2013. I’ve also had the chance for some short treks in the Italian Dolomites, Croatia, New Zealand, in 2014 I hiked the English Pennine Way, in 2015 New Zealand’s Te Araroa, and in 2016 the Annapurna and Helambu Circuits in Nepal, climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, walked the Camino Santiago (Camino Frances), the Trans-Swiss Trail, and Iceland’s Laugavegur Trek. This blog is an attempt to document some walks I am or will soon be taking. Having read many of the classic books by great walkers and taught classes at Georgia Tech on the literature of walking, I puzzle about how to articulate a walk and hope to experiment with form a bit here. Let me also emphasize that, in addition to being an amateur hiker, I’m an even more amateur biologist, geologist, and botanist. The advantage of writing in the field without resources (books are too heavy for ultralight, and there are minimal opportunities to check something through the Internet) is that these will be speculative articulations of what I am seeing and of course will be replete with mistakes. So, it’s a blog by an amateur hiker and a speculative naturalist.



  • Phillip Upton says on: August 20, 2015 at 1:18 am


    I want to put my niece in touch with you. She has hiked the App. Trail and the Pacific Rim trail.

  • Steve Oddi says on: August 20, 2015 at 2:27 am


    Hugh, I am envious of you for making the commitment to take these difficult journeys. and equally envious of you having the time to do so, before getting too old to make it. One of these days, I could see me venturing along a mountain pass in unfamiliar territory, with many miles behind me, just enjoying the scenery, and thinking about stuff. I would have to be retired, or I could not give it the necessary attention, due to feeling the need to check in periodically with the office. I hope my knees hold out long enough to get there.

    In the mean time, enjoy yourself and don’t do anything stupid. Oddi

  • Bud schmeling says on: August 20, 2015 at 5:04 am


    Great idea, Major. Can’t wait to read it. It’s been far too long. Clearly, you are well and thriving. I feel the same. I’d like to catch up. Let’s see if we can’t make that happen. Also, I’d love you to peruse our magazine. Send an address and I’ll get some issues to you. Until then. All the very best,

  • Shivakant says on: August 20, 2015 at 8:10 am


    Hugh, this is inspirational. Looking forward to reading all your future blogs.

  • Jim Warren says on: September 15, 2015 at 3:35 pm


    T. Hugh,

    This is great! If you get a chance, read Robert Macfarlane, especially his book “The Old Ways” about walking paths in Britain.

    I’m proud of you!


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