To hike the CDT or not hike the CDT. That is the question on the minds of The Ravens. After completing the PCT in 2015, we assumed a typical routine life waited for us upon our return home. Papa Raven would get a job, Mama Raven would be a mom and Bling and Little Crow would go to school. This would be our life until the kids graduated from college and Papa Raven retires. Being a software engineer in San Diego, California, we had no idea how difficult it would be to find employment.  We asked someone, who requested a resume, how many have they received for that specific job? His response was nearly three hundred from all over the country and they are still receiving more applications. It has been a stressful period . . . too stressful. Maddening is what I call it. Waiting and waiting for something to come along and never does. After such a long period of time looking, with no luck, one kind of gives up.  We have imaged all the possible reasons why Papa Raven has not gotten a job yet: too old, unemployed too long, over skilled, under skilled. Papa Raven genuinely enjoys programming. It is what he has done for over twenty five years. Nonetheless, perhaps the traditional life we once had, is not the path we are supposed to follow anymore? Is there something else we are meant to do? If so, what is it?

So here we are with no commitments to a job to tie us down and living off of our retirement. If we were financially situated, we would be completely content with the rest of our lives hanging out together and never going back into the rat race. But that is not our situation, income is necessary. Additionally, there is great satisfaction in work, in doing something you love, and providing a life and security for one’s self and family. The idea of another long thru hike only existed in the far off future when Papa Raven retired. Cautiously, we are wondering if that far off dream is instead right now before us. All common sense says “no” to another long trail. In fact, the list seems to be a mile long why we should not hike, while the list why we should hike is short . . . but powerful. Staying right here in the situation we are in, with no prospects, is eating away not only the nerves but also the soul. Through the thick, gray, haze of fear and uncertainty, it is difficult to see clearly what our family is supposed to do. We literally need someone to reach down and physically point us in one direction or another. There are four of us to consider, not just Mama and Papa Raven. What is best for all?

A break away from the quagmire of our life is needed. The pull of the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) is strong. Great ideas come from taking long walks and being surrounded by natures loving kindness. Perhaps the economy will be better and a job will come more easily after we return? There are those who will understand the lure of a long trail calling and encouraging us. However, there will be those (especially family) who will consider us to be irresponsible with our decision. There are many “what if’s” to wade through regarding this decision. Is there not a reason for a burning desire in the heart to do something. Could it be a higher source directing us in a way? Is it ever wrong to follow one’s dreams? After all, there is no telling where it may lead!

Mama Raven, January 2017

P.S. The Ravens plan right now is to continue with the job search as we prepare for the CDT. If job comes along, we know what path we are to take. If there is no prospect of a job, we will take a little walk on the Continental Divide Trail.


Trinity Alps, CA, Aug 2006


Bling’s (5) first trip carrying a pack. 55 miles around the Three Sisters, OR, Aug 2007


Little Crow (4) – 64 mile loop around the Yosemite high country. Aug 2009


Bling (7) – 64 mile loop around the Yosemite high country. Aug 2009


Guitar Lake below Mt. Whitney. JMT – July 2012


Little Crow (7), Papa Raven, Bling (10). The end of the JMT, Yosemite Valley. July 2012

Longing for the Trail

How I long for the trail!  The heart and soul are profoundly effected by the pristine beauty and grandeur of it all.  As we hiked along, so many times I lifted my arms up to the sky as if I was spreading my wings to fly.  The power and majesty of nature, can bring a tear to the eye as the heart and soul are bathed in the beauty.  As I walked along, I kept trying to figure out what exactly in nature affects the soul so deeply?  Is there something more to it than mere beauty that touches the human heart so profoundly.  Could there be a message in the trees, rivers, mountains, birds, and wind for us if we listened close enough.  Is this what a world of kindness and compassion feels like?

Mama Raven, December 2016



Why is Being Home so Difficult?

I do not want to be here.  Right here is my home where I dream of the trail.  Returning home, after a long thru hike, is by far the most difficult task of the adventure.  It can be dismal.  After months of hiking,  a new person emerges from their old shell.   Unfortunately, the rest of the world is the same.  Upon reemergence to regular life, one tries desperately to hold on to their “new self” and rise above the day to day chaos and strife.  Little by little, life’s burdens get heavier and heavier.  Slowly, the real world smothers the life out of this new person.  After living such a beautiful and peaceful life on the trail, being home is too complicated, too busy, and it goes against all the common sense of what life is supposed to be.  I put my head down on my pillow each night, and visions of the two foot wide path that was our home for six months frolics in my head.  I yearn for the dirt we walked on, the water that surrounded us and the trees that towered above our heads.  I miss that never ending big blue sky and all the little life forms of nature we encountered every day.  Each new sunrise that greeted us in the morning and sunset that we went to bed with, became my dearest friend.  We grew deeply connected to the earth as each mile passed by.  I realized that humans and the earth are entwined deeply with one another.  We come from the same source with each individual having an important role to play.  The tiny microscopic fungi growing on a dead and decaying tree is just as important and beautiful as the tallest tree in the forest.  Eliminate the smallest aspect and all falls apart.  We humans are no different.  Because of the unique path of each individual, no one is more important than another.  Each person has their own individual lessons to learn.  With this in mind, each deserves not to be judged.  Instead, they need to be embraced with respect and kindness for the job they must do.  That is the way of a thru hiker.

Mama Raven, November 2016