The Launch of a Dream: Life, Love, Mystics, Adventure and the Road Less Traveled in a podcast?




“A journey of 2,000 miles begins with an episode of insanity.”
I read this pithy proverb somewhere recently and whole-heartedly concur. There are few things I want more in life right now than to do a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. Unfortunately, for all my love of spontaneity, I’m also a realist. It’s a mortgage that’s keeping me from that dream and it truly would require an episode of insanity to ignore that fact. I can’t deny, however, that it’s perfectionism keeping me from a dream of another kind.
Perfectionism is a terrible, terrible trait. I battle it daily. It’s latest manifestation is in my “failure to launch.” No, I left home years ago. Another kind of launch. A year or so ago a seed of an idea formed, gestated and grew until I knew had to do something about it. The idea was for a pod-cast; a sort of audio journal that would invite others along as I explored this path that has lead me beyond the walls of the institutional church and into the wilderness…literally…into the woods.As I dreamed, I discovered fellow travelers on my journey. Topping a long list are Thoreau, Muir and Annie Dillard. Their writing served to encourage me along the way. I’ve also discovered a company of others who are even now walking the same trail. Maybe you’re one of those.
I quickly found that creating a pod-cast was not nearly so simple as I’d imagined. I was constantly realizing that I needed to teach myself to use yet another piece of software and never quite content with the end product. Even now I’m dissatisfied with my Word-press site and struggle to make even minor changes. I tell you this as a sort of disclaimer. If I continue to tweek until it’s “perfect” it’ll never launch.
I often hear seasoned AT thru-hikers give aspiring thru-hikers a piece of advice: Don’t put your hike off until you’re ready…or you’ll never go. Just go for it. Nothing wrong with preparation but the little things you haven’t worked out will work themselves out along the way. Good advice. Here’s my episode of insanity! I’m going for it! I invite you into my mess, flaws and all, and hope you’ll enjoy the journey as this thing grows and evolves. It is most certainly not yet what I hope it will become but I think it’ll be fun to watch the transformation. Disclaimer out of the way, who should subscribe (It’s free, by the way!) to All Who Wander?


– You have a hankering for adventure

– You hike, backpack or want to

– You enjoy discussing the finer points of noodles vs. trail-bars

– You enjoy (or have at least heard of) Thoreau, Muir, or Annie Dillard

– You find something dark and squishy in your sleeping bag and test it to see if it is edible. (Thanks to for this one!)

– You’re disillusioned with the institutional church

– You’ve discovered what appears to be bear poop containing small

bells and smelling of pepper and wonder if you should be concerned.

– You have a long commute.

– You stand in long lines

– You enjoy making fun of my goofy, white-trash southern accent

– You want to help a 44 year old man leave his day-job and thru-hike the 2, 175 mile Appalachian Trail!*



*Most websites feature ads. On our site you’ll find “ads” that are actually affiliate links. We make a little money every time you link to one of our hand-picked affiliates such as Amazon, REI, or Mountain Life. We make even more if you buy something from them! We chose these because we love, trust and buy from them regularly ourselves.



What’ll it be like?

My hope is that the pod-cast will become a mixed bag of “audio-hike” field recordings, discussions about gear, conversations with artists, writers, musicians and everyday people like you and I who are discovering what it is to walk with God outside the box of institutional religion…exploring the “thin places”, dreaming of what could be, and talking about people, books, films and music that have helped us along this path.

What can I do?

Listen. Enjoy. Tell someone. Give us a review in the I-Tunes store. Patronize our affiliates. Post a link to an All Who Wander pod-cast or blog by clicking on the facebook button at the bottom of each post. Become a fan of All Who Wander on facebook. Join the conversation by posting a comment at Let us know what you think or what you might find helpful. Tell us if you know of someone who’d make an interesting guest on the show. (Maybe that’s you!) We really, really look forward to hearing from you!



Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.                                        -Jeremiah 6:16.
“Not all those who wander are lost.”                                                                  -JRR Tolkien


Rim of the Gap Part 1

Rim of the Gap Part 1

Saturday evening Jo returned home sunburned from spending the day at the lake with some friends. While he was finishing up a bath I asked him how tired he was. He said, “It depends on what you wanna do.” I said, “Cut grass.” “I’m exhausted,” he replied. “How ’bout an overnight hike on Rim of the Gap?” (Rim of the Gap is a very strenuous 4.3 mile trail at Jones Gap.) “Let’s go!” We’ve primitive camped for 20 years but this would be the first time that we carried everything we’d need on our backs and hiked 2 hours up a steep ascent to do so. So we threw a few items in our packs, intentionally leaving out the 8 man tent for obvious reasons. We decided to spend the night in our recently purchased “travel hammocks” and sleeping bags. By the way… our sleeping bags? Way too big for backpacking. After a quick stop for trail bars, nuts and water we arrived in the Jones Gap parking lot at 7:10 pm. As we were walking toward the registration box I had a nauseating revelation. I had suddenly remembered some very important information. You’re supposed to pre-register for camping. I ran to the office and unbelievably it was open. I walked in, hands in the air, bemoaning my blunder. Elliot, one of the guys working there, said “Let me see what I can find.” After running through our options he found an available site 2 hours up the trail on Pinnacle Pass, the very place I’d hoped we could camp. A man makes his plans…thank God, He determines our steps. So with a newly purchased map and an admonition from a very accommodating Elliot to hurry to the site, we busted it up the trail which ascends about 1,000 feet in about a mile. It wasn’t very long and we found ourselves hiking under the cover of night with only my headlamp lighting the way. It was beautiful and, Jo thought, a little creepy. Suffice it to say that blaze colors look striking similar and reasonably rare at nightfall. We struggled to find our way at several junctures. But after stumbling past our trail several times we tied our hammocks up and prepared to sleep like babies. Unfortunately due in large part to out hammocks there was precious little sleeping to be had. First, they were too small, un-bearably uncomfortable and extremely prone to flip. Then factor in the bugs. There were the flying bugs: mosquitoes, gnats, “no-see-ums” and who knows what else. Then there were the ants who discovered they could leap off the tree and slide down the sloping ends of the hammock to make landfall on either feet or head respectively. I smashed well over a dozen ants and one spider directly on my forehead. Jo sustained over 32 bites of some sort just on his left arm. Did you know that the crickets (I guess that’s what they were) never stop their noisemaking as long as it’s dark? And they were really loud. Eventually we unzipped our sleeping bags (which were too hot anyway) and hid beneath them giving us at least some protection. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that while we were setting up our hammocks something nearby howled…then warbled on the end…then did it again…and again. It was almost otherwordly. After spending the night waiting for dawn, I finally got out of my hammock (for the 19th time) snapped a few pics of Jo and started packing up. We were on the trail heading back to Rim of the Gap by 6:30 or so.
For some reason Jo likes to be in front so I usually let him lead. This morning, for some reason, he’s behind me and 10 minutes into our hike (We’re on the John Sloan Connector) he stops and whispers, “Bear, bear, BEAR!” By the time I figure out where he’s pointing all I see are rustling bushes. Jo was given an amazing gift; he saw two bear cubs playing. Amazing. I know what you’re thinking, “How cute.” Yes, cute…but…we’ve read a bit about bears. Our black bear is very non-aggressive toward humans unless…yeah, you get between mother and her cubs. She’s not concerned with your intentions and no amount of explaining or apologizing will do. You’re a threat to her family and quite possibly a tasty meal. So we froze…for like 10 minutes. We heard what sounded like a large bear like critter moving through the foliage…so we waited, (Jo had his camera out of course.) and waited and waited some more. Obviously we survived so Bear tip 1? No sudden moooooovements! 2 hours later I hear laughter bubble up unexplainably from Jo’s chest. when I asked “What?” He replied, with a big ol’ smile plastered on his face, “I saw two bear cubs.” The Gifting Giver is so good.