Celebrating a Vision

Jenny Siegfried

It’s impossible to imagine my life without dirt under my feet, or my hands frantically scrambling to mix the perfect colors of paint to capture the setting sun over the mountains. As an outdoor painter, avid hiker, and trail runner (and trail meander-er), exploring our natural lands has become an integral part of my personality. Because of this, my role within the larger Appalachian Trail ecosystem is one of a very enthusiastic contributor and cheerleader. Whether it’s working to build stone stairs or brushing back foliage as a volunteer on one of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Trail crews, or as an artist striving to share the beauty of the Trail with those who have yet to discover it, the metaphorical trailhead where I begin all my A.T. journeys is a place of profound love and deep support for this incredible Trail.

My very first steps onto a trail and into the outdoor world were those I took on the A.T., first climbing to the summit of Bear Mountain in New York, and then running along the ridgelines in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The A.T. is quite literally where I found my place in the outdoors — and found a more fully complete version of myself. For this, I will always be an unwavering champion of this precious Trail.

For me, the A.T. holds the potential of deep discovery in nature, in one’s self, and within an amazing community of hikers and Trail enthusiasts. It represents an infinite range of sights, experiences, and emotions that create a space for everyone to take their own first steps in their own unique ways.

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