Archive for the ‘Intent’ Category

Getting back on the trail

May 20th, 2011

Well, after two years being off the trail and getting voted out of the Nathan Cummings I thought it was high time to do some hiking again. I got off the Appalatian Trail 6 June 2009 and will start walking where I left off 1 June 2011. I hope to do a ~450 mile section from Harpers Ferry, WV to the Amtrak Station in NY.


Halfway 795.2

May 15th, 2009

May 15. Two months since I started hiking. And my scheduled arrival date for Harpers Ferry. Unfortunately I’m still about 215 miles from Harpers Ferry. With my adjusted hiking rate I wouldn’t be finishing till about August 20, four days before my classes start at ASU. The bad news: I am no longer thruhiking the Appalachian Trail, but hoping to half and half it. The good news: I’ll be back in Boston for a week or two in early June, I’ll be teaching my own 3D design course at ASU, and I’m heading back to Damascus today For Trail Days! All in all I think this will work out for the best, my money and patience for mountains are getting low anyway.

The other night I camped alone in the vicinity of a stray bear cub. Can you see my friend deer?

Reason #8

March 15th, 2009


While it is yet to be decided whether or not I will be given the opportunity to study sustainable design, any honest pursuit into the field requires to time spent out doors. I’m not saying you have to spend months in a tent, but you should know how to shit in the woods. How can a conservationalist work to save something they have not lived in and built a personal relationship with? I think a lot of the modern ethical dilemas stem from the distance between humans and the where and how of the issues, be it the meat industry, the environment, or whatever.

In the words of HDT, “I went into the woods because I wished to live deliberately.” I go into the woods to experience that which I feel so compelled to protect.

Reason #7

March 5th, 2009


This is the poorest reason to embark on hiking the Appalachian trail, especially when one wants to meditate, and I am most ashamed about it.

I feel like I have no control over my life. Maybe everyone feels that way, but I feel over the last two years ( since returning from India really) I have been throwing myself against a brick wall. I’ve sent out over 100 cover letters and over 20 residency proposal and have not had anything positive come out of either endevour besides a brief internship and a temp job. I couldn’t even get a job at starbucks. So in a bizarre way I feel trapped, almost forced into hiking the trail. I don’t know what else to do, what else to try. This is also why I’m going to grad school, and I was so scared I’d be blocked out of that, too. Of course I wanted to work at an architecture or design firm for a year or two first, but no dice. I am so tired of people telling me “no”.

So I walk. Because I want to. Because I have to. And because no one can tell me I can’t.

Reason #6

March 5th, 2009


It takes 4 – 6 months to hike the trail, free time one usually doesn’t have. But seeing as how I’ve been haunted by unemployment, the economy is in the shitter, and I’ve got grad school in the fall, I figured now was as good a time as ever. Grad school actually makes me a bit jittery since I’ll have to finish hiking much closer to the four month end of the spectrum, and I do not want to feel rushed, or like I am missing something.

It’s also on my list of things to do before I’m 30,and hey, I’m not 30.


February 25th, 2009

So I was talking to someone the other day about the hike and we both brought up the idea of sponsorship along the trail.  I have never heard of anyone hiking the Appalachian Trail for a fundraising cause, but don’t people have walks for all kinds of different things?  So I was wondering if anyone knew of an organization that might be interested in something like this.  I’m not sure exactly how it work work, and I’m almost out of time to organize something like this myself, but I think it would be really cool to have, say, and American Cancer Society flag on my pack and for get people to sponsor me per mile, or only on completion of the trail or something and give all the proceeds to the ACS.  Thoughts?

Reason #5

February 23rd, 2009



It’s true, I’ve been slacking on my meditations, since the summer really.  I went to a wonderful place in Portland a few times called Maitripa, where you can actually get a Degree in Meditation.  But barely every other week.  I’ve been wanting to do a longer meditation for some time now, and was looking at the Green Gulch Zen Center out in California about a year ago.  they do great three month farming / meditation retreats.  I did a shorter Zen retreat in Cambridge, and man, Zen is tough.  So maybe it’s good I never did the program at Green Gulch.  (As an aside, Tassajara, a sister center to Green Gulch, has has one of the best cookcooks I’ve ever used, Tassajara Cooking.  If you live on the West Coast, it’s usually pretty easy to find in used bookstores.)  I really wanted to do the November Course at Kopan Monastery in Nepal, which would be a perfect continuation of my experience at Tushita.  Unfortunately, getting to Nepal can be tricky, and very very costly.


So then I was thinking maybe I can turn hiking the Appalachian Trail into an extended meditation retreat.  Walking is often performed as a type of meditation in both the Tibetan and Zen traditions, and I will be hiking mostly in isolation.  The purpose of any meditation is to simply be aware of what you are doing and your surroundings.  I think it would be amazing to be aware of every step along that trail.


I realize there is a certain inherent conflict between wanting to finish the hike and meditating; meditation is not about accomplishing anything, while hiking is.  Well kind of, hiking is also about hiking, so maybe it will work out.

Reason #4

February 22nd, 2009

It’s harder to hit a moving target.

Reason #3

February 20th, 2009

Appalachia is awesome!


When I was at RISD I spent a lot of time studying the history and culture of the Appalachians through English courses and a furniture department independent study, which resulted in the following instruments.  The Appalachians have a unique Scotch-Irish heritage that runs the length of the mountains.  Most of the Scots that settled this area made a rather long stop in Ireland first.  In an attempt to clear more land for them selves, and civilize the Irish, the British sent many Scottish Families over to Ireland.  Colonizing Ireland, however, did not go quite according to plan, and suddenly there were all these Scotts in Ireland that didn’t want to be there, that the Irish didn’t want there, and that the British wouldn’t let come home.  So many of them came to America and made the Appalachian Mountains their new home.  In response to this mixed heritage and loss of homeland I made this Banjo and Dulcimer, both of which are uniquely Appalachian instruments. 




So naturally I think it will be great to spend some time on these mountains, and hey, maybe I’ll even get to meet someone who can actually play one of these bad boys.

Reason #2

February 16th, 2009

Mountain Top Mining.


As we speak the Appalachians are dramatically changing shape and appearance due to an enthusiastic new mining approach that literally takes the tops right off the mountains.  Besides destroying the scenery of the oldest mountain range in the world, this form of coal mining has great environmental repercussions for plants, animals, and local residents.  And coal isn’t exactly the cleanest form of energy we have available to us.  Since the damage increases daily, I’d rather hike the trail sooner rather than later, as the effects of the mining becomre more noticeable.  


You can read and hear more about this kind of mining at NPR.


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