How Long-Distance Backpacking Changes Your Relationship with the Outdoors

Some Dirty Details

Colleen Goldhorn


The trail has taught me so much. I feel way more comfortable in my ability to hold my own in the wilderness, and way more “in tune” with how my body reacts to certain things. I have always been passionate about conservative, but since becoming actively involved in the trail community conservation and protection of our wild spaces has been one of my major concerns in political and social aspects. I now more regularly volunteer outdoor conservation events, and also strive to encourage more “new comers” to experience the trail and wilderness in general.

I joined my local AT club and am doing trail maintenance on our section this year! I also will be giving trail magic.

Thin Mint

My thru hike was a return to the way I was as a child, rambling around. I may as well have peeled off the veneer of well-polished city girl to return to the woods, where I was happy. I view the outdoors as a place where I can just be myself, unapologetically.

I did trail magic at Woody Gap last November, and also donated to the ATC and a few hiker’s GoFundMe fundraising drives.


For a long time after completing the AT, I honestly didn’t want to hike. I’ve always loved the outdoors and still did, but day hikes just felt pointless. That’s changed now, I’m back to craving to be outdoors all the time. After dinner almost every night I go on a long walk with Limbo. We never did that before. The outdoors just feels more like home than a little apartment now.

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