Time & Date: Tuesday, December 6, 2016 @ 7:30 PM (Social hours and free beer for members at 6:30)
Directions: From Highway 101 at Santa Rosa go west on Highway 12 to Stony Point Road Exit. Go straight from the middle lane at the light onto Occidental Road. The Round Table Pizza is on the right just down the road.
After three years of a desk job by day and a dizzying flurry of interpersonal activity by night, Janel realized that she needed to simplify, go within, challenge her body, and spend time in nature as a 30th birthday present to herself. She read “Wild,” a memoir about Cheryl Strayed’s solo journey on the Pacific Crest Trail, and decided to give it a go on the other side of the continent! Although Janel is a Bay Area native, she chose to through-hike the Appalachian Trail—stretching 2,187 miles from Georgia to Maine—because of the prevalence of water and shelters, the proximity of “trail towns,” and because she lived for two years in central Virginia.
Given the popularity of starting an AT hike northbound from Georgia in the spring — thousands of hopefuls start at the southern terminus at Springer Mountain, Georgia, between March and April — Janel decided to avoid the crowds and do an alternative through-hike to maximize her alone time in nature. She did a “flip-flop” (i.e. starting in the middle of the trail and heading one direction, then “flipping” back to finish the other half), which allowed her to both start and end the hike in Virginia near her former home at the Twin 0aks intentional community.
In this presentation, Janel will talk about her experiences doing a non-traditional through-hike; overcoming the physical discomfort and monotony of hiking 20 miles a day; through-hiker culture; what the terrain is like in the American South versus the Northeast; and what it was like for an extrovert who had barely backpacked before to spend almost 6 months on her own in the mountains!
Janel Healy is a writer and adventurer from Los Altos, California who is driven by an insatiable curiosity about the resilience of both natural systems and the human spirit. After four years studying Communications at the University of Southern California, she spent much of her 20s exploring—from singing on cruise ships to working on organic farms in Australia to living on communes to doing a long distance hike. Before hiking the Appalachian Trail this year, she spent three years as the Communications Director for the 0ccidental Arts & Ecology Center in western Sonoma County.