Month: May 2017

Sarah Williams is a true force of nature. Her goal is to inspire women and girls to think beyond the boundaries of their previously limited lives, and she has earned her recognition as a true leader in her community. To challenge herself further, she is attempting a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail from June 2017 and hoping to complete that challenge in 100 days. Her defiant self-belief and powerful determination lead her to challenge others to test themselves.

Sarah quit her well-paid City of London job to pursue her dreams and spent 18 months traveling the world, climbing Kilimanjaro in Africa and hiking around South America among her many adventures. She can be contacted in many ways and through many platforms, all of which will appear at the bottom of these notes, after her second photograph.

Jessa / Attie has come to something of a crossroads in her hike. We met at Trail Days and she seemed to have made up her mind that perhaps a thru-hike wasn’t for her. A couple of days later, she was back hiking, relishing the trail once more and happy with her decision. She’ll make the final decision on Memorial Day. Before that happens, though, we got the chance of a picture together for the first time.

By the way, I mention my bear sighting in the show. Here is the YouTube link as promised.

Back to Sarah and the many ways to contact her.

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You can listen to the Tough Girl Podcast on the go via iTunes, Soundcloud & Stitcher!

If you can’t get hold of Sarah through all those choices, you’re not really trying!!

Thanks so much to everybody for their continued support for the show. Please tell your friends and share the links that you see on Facebook with your own network.

Byron Church has had his sights set on the Appalachian Trail since he read Bill Bryson’s book in High School, nearly two decades ago. Section by section, he has completed more than 2,000 miles of the trail and will be finishing this year. As all section hikers do, Byron has had to earn his hiking legs every year. He reached out to me to tell his story as he is soon to set out for his final leg later this year.


You can follow Byron on his blog, and contact him at




In this week’s Fear and Loathing on the Appalachian Trail, I caught up again with Steve Walker, or Big Bird. Steve was forced off the trail last year and has returned to complete his mission. He’s currently slogging his way through Pennsylvania’s rock and you can hear that in his voice! Steve’s has one of the more thorough video logs, so follow him on YouTube if you want to share his journey towards Katahdin.


Attie had a big decision to make this week. She has struggled with homesickness and needed to take a week’s break before she made up her mind what to do.


Thanks to all for your support, via email, reviews or through my book sales. I’d also like to thank those of you who have signed up to be patrons on Patreon, though you’ll notice that nothing has been debited from you. It was me; I messed up my Patreon entry. I’ll be trying to resolve it soon. The joys of technology in your 60s!!

John Vonhof should be everybody’s best friend. For years, he has been tending the feet of the people who most abuse them—hikers and runners. His experience as an ultra-runner led him to a life-long interest in the treatment of feet, and he understands what we do wrong and how we can correct it. I, along with many of my fellow hikers, completely ignored my feet on the trail. They hurt, my toenails dropped off one by one, and I lost feeling in my toes for about four or five months after I finished. I had no idea how I should treat them and I’ll certainly be taking some of the precautions that John shares with us for my upcoming hikes later this year. If you’d like to learn more about the very simple steps you can take to protect these most valuable of assets, click on this link to John’s Amazon page. You can also check out his blog, on his website, John also has his own podcast, Writers Authors On Fire.


Jessa has hit something of a wall. She has been doing really well to this point and has at last encountered an inevitable downturn. How she copes with this will be the catalyst for her success, or her failure, in completing her hike. We can only wish her well. She’ll be sharing her thoughts further in her blog post later today.

Thanks again to those of you supporting me on Patreon. Also, your support for my two Appalachian Trail books continues to keep them in the Top 20 Camping books on Amazon. Thanks once more.

This week, I’m interviewing Ron Tipton, a man who has spent his entire adult life in conservation and the environment. He hiked the trail in 1978, yet it isn’t his hike that we’re going to discuss in any detail. When Ron completed his thru-hike, he had already determined that this was a life and a career that he wanted to pursue. He has spent more than 40 years of his career as an advocate for public land preservation and national park protection. He became the President and CEO of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy in 2013.

Visit the ATC’s website, It is full of great information about the trail and I confess that it was a great education for me. I read the strategic plan and really understood the rationale behind it. Ron and his team at the ATC are simply planning for the future of OUR trail. For that, we should all be eternally grateful. You can email them at, or call them on 304-535-6331. You can even find Ron on LinkedIn. In case you were wondering, the handsome young dude with the wild beard below is young Ron.

Jessa’s backpack woes continued this week, with the resolution to her problem waistband still elusive. She seems to face these problems with a smile and a shrug. Hopefully, she’ll get the matter resolved in Damascus.

If you’d like to see what an utter ARSE I made of myself at Laurel Falls, click here. Be warned, it isn’t pretty. I appear after about 11 seconds. The falls are pretty though, aren’t they?

If you like what we’re producing for you on the show, please consider supporting us at I’m planning on adding a couple of new shows after my hiking this year, so any help with this is much appreciated.