Walk into the grass and remove your shoes. Feel the cool earth through the leaves of grass and the warmth of the sun on your face as you close your eyes to listen. Let go for 8-15 minutes. Repeat frequently.

Reconnecting with the natural world is simple. Make it a point to start today, right now even.

Stepping away from your busyness, even for just a few moments, can create powerful outcomes.

Roughly 3 years ago in March of 2011, I took an afternoon to reconnect on a short hike. This hike has led me to hundreds of miles on the trail since, including the opportunity to backpack the 290-mile Allegheny Trail last fall. Below is the most interesting 1-minute from my trip, which I share in hopes to engage your imagination about what is possible when you begin to reconnect with the natural world.

“A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world.” – Paul Dudley White

One Minute Allegheny Trail Story

12 September 2013 12:21 PM
Mongahnela National Forest, WV

I stopped on the trail and listened as a military jet roared by overhead. In the past thirteen minutes, I had already heard nine such jets fly over. So looking up, I tried in vain to make out the tenth jet through the clouds.

Having just left my final resupply point on the Allegheny Trail and heading towards an area with uncertain water sources, my pack weighed in at its trip maximum – 38 pounds, 12 of which were food and 10 of which were water. Between the pack weight, the roar of a jet reverberating in my ear, and my neck craned upwards looking for planes, I was distracted.

Other than the jets far overhead, the hours since leaving town had been eerily quiet. I had observed only a single creature – a spike buck who offered a series of 12 snorts as he struggled to pinpoint my location from across the hollow. The wind was mostly calm. The stream I crossed moved at an imperceptibly slow pace, almost if it tried to disguise the fact that it flowed at all.

A dense understory growth of rhododendron thickets surrounded the trail where the sound of the tenth jet had brought me to a stop. I had just come around a turn before stopping and from here the trail continued straight ahead for 30 feet before twisting sharply to the left, where I could see roughly 25 more feet of the trail before the dark green rhododendron leaves fully obscured it from sight.

In an instant the forest’s stillness was shattered. Even though time seemed to enter slow motion, my brain raced to interpret and still felt like it was grasping for something just out of reach.

As my mind caught the realization something was approaching fast, I saw my first glimpse of a deer flying towards me down the trail. The young doe was approximately the same size as the spike buck I’d seen minutes before but something was clearly terribly wrong in her world at present.

Her legs were fully extended out in the front and in the back in a diving full-tilt sprint. When her hooves got to the ground, she was digging and pushing with absolutely everything she had. Her effort had her neck real low to the ground, eyes bulging from her face in a panic-stricken, full-alarm, desperation for survival.

Awestruck, I called out “OH! … DEER!” as my mind raced to catch up to reality.

My thoughts screamed, ‘Why are you running towards me??’

I was seriously baffled. ‘Shouldn’t she be running away from me if I frightened it? That’s what usually happens when you jump a deer… Why is it running straight at me?’

The deer was headed my direction on the trail but really she was headed straight down the trail from where the path had entered sight towards the trail’s sharp bend, which that lay only 30 feet from me. As she reached this point, in only an instant, I think she sort of saw me and opted to keep as far away as possible. Still digging and pulling for everything she had, rather than bank sharp to the right towards me, she just skidded a little and tilted off to the left onto a deer path or simply through a minor clearing of the rhododendrons.

Coming right up behind her came the explanation for it all.

In her slightest instant of hesitation at the bend, her pursuer had closed the gap on her to a matter of 8 or 9 feet.

The coyote on her trail had its ears perked up and was dialed in with laser precision on the deer. He had no panic in his face.

The coyote was lean and grey with white down his chest and underbody. He was 75-50% of the deer’s size but due to the different body shapes, it was hard to tell exactly. His movements seemed effortless even in the intensity of pursuit.

His demeanor was that of pure predatory focus. Nothing else in the forest existed. His only concern was about killing that deer and eating it.

When the deer had skidded and suddenly crashed into the woods, the coyote saw me and immediately eased to a stop. The chase was off. He turned and loped off the trail like you would expect a dog to lope across a yard, only slightly faster.

The coyote moved through woods to the top of the hill about 50 yards away and stopped. Crouching to peer better through the rhododendron cover, I saw the coyote atop the hill look around and at me surveying the scene for danger.

To this brief pause, I answered in my artificially-deepened, stern, animal-commanding voice, “Hey….Hey….Hey.”

I saw him dart out of sight down the back side of the hill and was left with the sound of my heart beat and silence in the forest.


“We see that everything in Nature called destruction must be creation, –a change from beauty to beauty.” – John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra, August 21, 1869

Story by Brett Anderson, Originally published at

2013 October Quotes

2013 September Quotes

Six Inspiring Quotes:

UBQ Destruction
Photo: Allegheny Trail Footbridge over Anthony Creek, WV, USA, September 2013 by Brett Anderson
Quote Text: “We see that everything in Nature called destruction must be creation, – a change from beauty to beauty.” – John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra
Quote Source: My First Summer in the Sierra by John Muir, Date: 21 August 1869

UBQ Lead
Photo: Mt. Hood, OR, USA, September 2012 by Brett Anderson
Quote Text: “You don’t lead by telling others what to do. You lead by dominating your own pain, working harder than everyone else and setting an example so high that others are inspired to follow.” – Sam Davies
Quoted Source:, What is Leadership Really?

UBQ Kindness
Photo: Virginia Bluebells in Bloom, VA, USA, March 2013 by Brett Anderson
Quote Text: “‘Kindness’ covers all of my political beliefs.” – Roger Ebert
Quoted Via:

UBQ Bukowski
Photo: Crescet Moon Pre-Dawn near the Northern Terminus of the Allegheny Trail, PA, USA, September 2013 by Brett Anderson
Quote Text: “Find what you love and let it kill you.” – Charles Bukowski
Quoted Via:, Find What You Love

UBQ Sweetness
Photo: Apple Orchard Falls, VA, USA, June 2013 by Brett Anderson
Quote Text: “It’s so hard to forget pain, but it’s even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace.” – Chuck Palahniuk, Diary
Quoted Via:, Quotes from Chuck Palahniuk

UBQ Gifts
Photo: Pre-Dawn from the Shoulder of Mt. Hood, OR, USA, September 2012 by Brett Anderson
Quote Text: “Don’t make stuff because you want to make money. It will never make you enough money. Don’t make stuff because you want to get famous, because you will never feel famous enough. Make gifts for people. And work hard on making those gifts in hope that those people will notice. Maybe they will notice how hard you worked and maybe they won’t. And if they don’t notice, I know it’s frustrating. But ultimately that doesn’t change anything because your responsibility is not to the people you’re making the gift for but to the gift itself.” – John Green
Quoted Via:


Source:, 2013 September Photo Quotes

2013 August Quotations

Links to each quote source, or the source I am quoting it via, will open in a new browser tab. If you want even more quotes, check out my archive of monthly quote curations.

  1. “Pastimes, depending on what they are, can either greatly empower us individually and collectively, or forever inhibit our development and progress as human beings and as a society. Watching sports, vegetating behind the TV in general, consuming alcohol, going shopping, and watching Hollywood movies are all examples of activities that no matter how long you do them, will never yield opportunities or spur personal development on any level, physically or intellectually…. Conversely, playing sports as a community, making movies, writing, woodworking, gardening, brewing alcohol, and nearly anything at all that is productive or encourages positive social interaction and health provides us with endless opportunities.” – Tony Cartalucci
  2. “When I have an idea, I turn down the flame, as if it were a little alcohol stove, as low as it will go. Then it explodes and that is my idea.” – Ernest Hemingway
  3. “Harmony within creates harmony without.” – Sandra Ingerman
  4. “For average working folks, America was becoming a puzzle. Who was buying these two-hundred-dollar copper saucepans, anyway? And how was everyone paying for these BMW’s? Were people shrewd or just stupefyingly irresponsible?” – Daniel Suarez, Daemon
  5. “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” -Greek Proverb
  6. “In pursuit of knowledge, every day something is added. In the practice of the Tao, every day something is dropped.” – Laozi, Tao Te Ching
  7. “Truth is simple…. Truth is old…. Truth is obvious…. There is no trick.” – Sam Davies
  8. “I have two doctors—my left leg and my right.” – George Trevelyan
  9. “We’ve been given more freedom than any people in the history of the world, and we’re selling it back one monthly payment at a time.” – Adam Baker
  10. “The progression of today’s college student is to jettison every interest except one, and, within that one, to continually narrow the focus, learning more and more about less and less. This, despite the evidence all around us of the interconnectedness of things.” – Liz Coleman
  11. “Good writing is good thinking expressed clearly.” – Mark Morgan Ford
  12. “To develop the creative attitude, analyze and focus on the wanted SOLUTION; seek out and fill your mind with the FACTS; write down ideas, both sensible and seemingly wild; let the facts and ideas simmer in your mind; evaluate, recheck, settle on the creative ideas.” – Bruce Lee
  13. “Keeping your sales presentation simple is extremely important. For each complication in your offer, your effectiveness drops dramatically.” – Joseph Sugarman, Triggers
  14. “We are happy when we have family, we are happy when we have friends and almost all the other things we think make us happy are actually just ways of getting more family and friends.” – Dan Gilbert
  15. “We were naturally born to move. Look at the human structure. I think it’s repressive not to move, and you can certainly see the tolls taken on our society. Im­mo­bil­ity is worse than mo­bil­ity.” – Dean Karnazes
  16. “What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” – John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America
  17. “Quite often the flood of history is undammed or diverted by the character and actions of one man.” – Pat Frank, Alas Babylon
  18. “If you do a job where someone tells you exactly what to do, he will find someone cheaper than you to do it. And yet our schools are churning out kids who are stuck looking for jobs where the boss tells them exactly what to do. Do you see the disconnect here? Every year, we churn out millions of workers who are trained to do 1925-style labor.” – Seth Godin
  19. “If you don’t underestimate me, I won’t underestimate you.” – Bob Dylan
  20. “People do it every day. They talk to themselves…. They see themselves as they’d like to be. They don’t have the courage you have, to just run with it.” – Tyler Durden (Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk)
  21. “Human beings were not meant to sit in little cubicles staring at computer screens all day, filling out useless forms and listening to eight different bosses drone on about mission statements!” – Peter Gibbons (Office Space)
  22. “Nations are like people. When they grow old and rich and fat they get conservative. They exhaust their energy trying to keep things the way they are-and that’s against nature.” – Mark Bragg (Alas Babylon by Pat Frank)
  23. “If you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” – William Morris, “The Beauty of Life,” 1880

2013 July Quotations

Links to each quote source, or the source I am quoting it via, will open in a new browser tab. If you want even more quotes, check out my archive of monthly quote curations.

  1. “Just bread and water and delightful toil is all I need.” – John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra, July 7, 1869
  2. “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo da Vinci
  3. “True wilderness isn’t really a place where you have ‘wahoo moments’ or a place where you seek refuge; you know, to get away from things. Big wilderness is a place where you come to get humbled.” – Andrew Skurka
  4. “Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is.” – Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and The Sea
  5. “As for poverty, no one need be ashamed to admit it, the real shame is in not taking practical measures to escape from it.” – Pericles
  6. “I hope everybody could get rich and famous and have everything they ever dreamed of, so they will know that it’s not the answer.” – Jim Carrey
  7. “Fall in love with the process, not the result.” – Mark Manson
  8. “Manage your energy, not your time.” – Tony Schwartz
  9. “If what I say resonates with you, it is merely because we are both branches of the same tree.” – WB Yeats
  10. “If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.” – Frank A. Clark
  11. “We all have the ability inside of us to whatever we want, whenever we want. We just have to stand up and be willing to do it.” – Russel Brunson
  12. “If you don’t have answers to your problems after a four-hour run, you ain’t getting them.” – Christopher McDougall, Born to Run
  13. “On Labor Day and Memorial Day weekends we travel for miles on these roads without seeing another vehicle, then cross a federal highway and look at cars strung bumper to bumper to the horizon. Scowling faces inside. Kids crying in the back seat. I keep wishing there were some way to tell them something but they scowl and appear to be in a hurry, and there isn’t…” – Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
  14. “If you want total security, go to prison. There you’re fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking… is freedom.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
  15. “Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.” – Napoleon Hill
  16. “The sole cause of man’s unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room.” – Blaise Pascal
  17. “Out of the ­10,000 news stories you may have read in the last 12 months, did even one allow you to make a better decision about a serious matter in your life?” – Rolf Dobelli
  18. “One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.” – Jack Kerouac
  19. “Contrary to what people may say, there’s no upper limit to stupidity.” – Stephen Colbert
  20. “You cannot be an attractive and life-changing presence to some people without being a joke or an embarrassment to others. You simply can’t. You have to be controversial to succeed.” – Mark Manson
  21. “Every time you write code or introduce third-party services, you are introducing the possibility of failure into your system.” – Ted Dziuba
  22. ‘”If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start.” – Charles Bukowski, Roll the Dice
  23. “If you’re not learning, you’re wasting your time.” – Pharell Williams
  24. “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” – Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
  25. “Nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future.” – Chris McCandless
  26. “There is no expert. You are the expert.” – Jawed Karim (co-founder of YouTube)

Wild Knowledge

“Like a tree that grows stronger with more branches and roots, you need to find more and more ways to be inspired.” – Yiannis Kouros

The knowledge on this site comes from an array of sources. My goal in seeking out these sources of knowledge has been to elevate my understanding via the wisdom of those who have come before me. By standing upon the intellectual shoulders of others, I am better positioned to arrive at truth when I embark on my own trail studies.

This list recounts the pursuits of wild knowledge that I have made. Sources are listed in chronological order of completion with the newest items being added to the top.


  • 2527 trail miles
  • Completed the entire Appalachian Trail
  • One Straw Revolution by Mansuiba Fukuoka
  • Last American Man by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
  • Running with the Kenyans by Adharanand Finn
  • Eat and Run by Scott Jurek



  • 400 trail miles
  • Canoeing with the Cree by Eric Severeid
  • Eiger Dreams by John Krakauer
  • The Mindful Carnivore: A Vegetarian’s Hunt for Sustenance by Tovar Cerulli
  • Nesika Backapcking Seminar, Trails Club of Oregon, Multnomah Falls, OR
  • Vagabonding by Ralph Potts
  • Once a Runner by John Parker Jr.
  • Born to Run by Chris McDougall
  • Into Thin Air by John Krakauer
  • White Fang by Jack London
  • Green Hills of Africa by Ernest Hemingway
  • A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
  • Through the Brazilian Wilderness by Theodore Roosevelt
  • Call of The Wild by Jack London
  • Into the Wild by John Krakauer



  • Eagle Scout, 2004
  • Phlimont 100-mile Trek, 2004
  • Atikokan Back Country Canoe Trek, 2002


  • Kamana I Naturalist Program, The Wilderness Awareness School, Duvall, WA
  • The Remarkable Trees of Virginia by Nancy Hugo

2013 June Quotes

Links to each quote source, or the source I am quoting it via, will open in a new browser tab. If you want even more quotes, check out my archive of monthly quote curations.

  1. “Nine times out of ten, sitting around strategizing is just a form of procrastination.” – Paul Graham
  2. “The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.” – Muriel Rukeyser
  3. “Focus on the process not the result.” – Anton Krupicka
  4. “It is commonly the case with technologies that you can get the best insight about how they work by watching them fail.” – Neal Stephenson
  5. “The best way to know life is to love many things.” – Vincent Van Gogh
  6. “Voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust
  7. “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” – Henry D. Thoreau, Walden
  8. “Having our dreams shattered really is nothing compared to what many others have suffered. I have come to believe that coming true is not the only purpose of a dream. Its most important purpose is to get us in touch with where dreams come from, where passion comes from, where happiness comes from. Even a shattered dream can do that for you.” – Lisa Bu
  9. “I care to live only to entice people to look at Nature’s loveliness.” – John Muir
  10. “Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Everyday, I walk myself into a state of well-being & walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it. But by sitting still, & the more one sits still, the closer one comes to feeling ill. Thus if one just keeps on walking, everything will be all right.” – Søren Kierkegaard
  11. “No way was I going to allow myself to settle into an ordinary life because it was the easy thing to do.” – David Miller, AWOL on the Appalachian Trail

2013 May Quotes

Links to each quote source, or the source I am quoting it via, will open in a new browser tab. If you want even more quotes, check out my archive of monthly quote curations.

  1. “Exhilarated with the mountain air, I feel like shouting this morning with excess of wild animal joy.” – John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra, July 9, 1869
  2. “Genius is wisdom and youth.” – Edgar Lee Masters, Spoon River Anthology
  3. “Success comes in spurts.” – Craig Ballantyne
  4. “Like a tree that grows stronger with more branches and roots, you need to find more and more ways to be inspired.” – Yiannis Kouros
  5. “You can ignore reality, but you can’t ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.” – Ayn Rand
  6. “Of all the animals, the boy is the most unmanageable.” – Plato
  7. “Any time you want to change yourself, you are going to have to dismantle the reasoning your mind constructed to justify your past behaviors.” – Mark Manson
  8. “I would rather watch a sunset than TV.” – Jennifer Pharr Davis, Becoming Odyssa
  9. “This is your life, and it’s ending one minute at a time.” – Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club (More quotes from Chuck Palahniuk)
  10. “If it comes easy, if it doesn’t require extraordinary effort, you’re not pushing hard enough: It’s supposed to hurt like hell.” – Dean Karnazes, Ultramarathon Man
  11. “I am satisfied … I see, dance, laugh, sing.” – Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
  12. “… it’s better to work highly focused for short periods of time, with breaks in between, than to be partially focused for long periods of time. Think of it as a sprint, rather than a marathon. You can push yourself to your limits for short periods of time, so long as you have a clear stopping point. And after a rest, you can sprint again.” -Tony Schwartz
  13. “The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature.” – Marcus Aurelius
  14. “The kingdom of God is within you” – Jesus (Luke 17:21)
  15. “All of this is a classic, textbook response. When governments are in trouble, they try to control everything. But these measures never work… they only make things worse.” – Simon Black
  16. “The forests are our lungs outside of our bodies, just as the sun is our hearts outside of our bodies.” – Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace Is Every Step (More Quotes from Thich Nhat Hanh)
  17. “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on Earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” – Thomas Jefferson
  18. “Venture far, never stop.” – Jure Brkinjac
  19. “I was surrounded by life and beauty. My soul was content, and my life felt full.” – Jennifer Pharr Davis, Called Again
  20. “If you don’t want bubbles to burst, don’t blow them up in the first place because all bubbles burst.” – Peter Schiff
  21. “Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.” – Thoreau* (*Possibly misattributed)
  22. “NOW is forever. Now is the only moment that ever matters… This is the only place where original creation leads to true abundance.” – Tania Gabrielle
  23. “She had been running for so long after something outside herself that she had never seen herself.” – Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace Is Every Step (More Quotes from Thich Nhat Hanh)
  24. “Create your own standard and then surpass it.” – Mark Manson
  25. “I always choose new goals, it inspires me to try something that I think may be impossible.” – Yiannis Kouros
  26. “Every step along the way, getting rid of what I didn’t absolutely need was painful, but at no point did I ever miss anything once it was gone. Ever.” – Mark Manson on minimalism
  27. “Most good startup ideas seem a little crazy; if they were obviously good ideas, someone would have done them already.” – Paul Graham
  28. “Your success is your responsibility. Start acting like it.” – Brett Anderson
  29. “It is good for a man to keep himself in such condition that he can do ten miles on short notice.” – Alfred Barron, Foot Notes, Or, Walking as a Fine Art, 1875.

If you’ve made it this far, you could probably use more quotes. Try the archive of monthly quote curations or quoted individual pages.

Hasta Luego,


“I do not believe in these protracted good-bys any more than I do in long engagements, so I will just say simple farewell and Godspeed, reader, and leave you now to your own devices.” – Ernest Hemingway, Torrents of Spring

Quotes from John Muir

Quotes from My First Summer in the Sierra

“How rich our inheritance in these blessed mountains. ” – John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra

“Exhilarated with the mountain air, I feel like shouting this morning with excess of wild animal joy.” – John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra, July 9, 1869

“We are now in the mountains and they are in us, kindling enthusiasm. Making every nerve quiver. Filling every pore and cell of us.” – John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra

“Blessed indeed should be every pilgrim in these holy mountains.” – John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra, July 12, 1869

Quotes from Stickeen

“What a psalm the storm was singing.” – John Muir, Stickeen

“There is nothing like work for toning down excessive fear or joy.” – John Muir, Stickeen

For more check out my monthly quote curations or quoted individual pages.

Quotes from Chuck Palahniuk

Quotes from Fight Club:

“A moment was the most you could ever expect from perfection.” – Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

“The things you used to own, now they own you.” – Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

“This is your life, and it’s ending one minute at a time.” – Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

“Advertising has these people chasing cars and clothes they don’t need. Generations have been working in jobs they hate, just so they can buy what they don’t really need.” – Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

“We are the middle children of history, raised by television to beleive that someday we’ll be millionaires and movie stars and rock stars, but we won’t.” – Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

“No fear. No distractions. The ability to let that which does not matter truly slide.” – Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

“On a large enough time line, the survival rate for everyone will drop to zero.” – Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

“It’s so hard to forget pain, but it’s even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace.” – Chuck Palahniuk, Diary

For more check out my monthly quote curations or quoted individual pages.