Happy 5th Birthday ladyonarock.com!

I stand in awe

Pretty exciting that Lady on a Rock adventure blog has been around 5 years tomorrow. This month marks the celebration of my first blog entry. Five years old is very ancient in blog years.

When I started this journey, there were few woman hiking bloggers. Now, it has become common for women to write online about their experiences. Very exciting.

Also, at the beginning, few bloggers used their “real” name online. The social media craze was just starting to accelerate. The iPhone produced poor quality video and photos compared to now. Uploading photos to a blog post from the iPhone was slow and tedious. Just posting a few photos with cell service took a long time. And more importantly hiking solo, as a woman, was not common place.

I owe a large part of the blog’s success to you my readers. Because of your questions, suggestions, and thoughtful words I often go further, get outside more, and persevere on days I am tired, dirty, and hurting. But I think the biggest pleasure is meeting so many of you online. This blog has introduced me to smart, interesting, and genuinely great folks. Some of you I have hiked with, ate dinner with, or have stayed at my home. Thank you for sharing your stories, your struggles, and lives. A few of you have followed me from my very first post. Pretty crazy to think about. I thank you all for that.
I am not much of a numbers and fine detail person, BUT I do love looking at the big picture. I thought it would be interesting to share a bit from the beginning, 5 years ago.

Readers, you have followed along with me…

on countless mountain tops
trekking through California and Oregon on the PCT
across the country of Scotland
on camping trips with grandkids
hiking multiple times on the John Muir Trail
evolving into lighter weight gear
as my kids and family have grown
transitioning to gluten-free food on the trail
hiking Colorado and Wyoming on the CDT
on a plethora of day hikes and climbs in several states
in the creation of tHInK outsidE outdoor classes for kids
on backpacking trips galore
with my endless love of gear and just getting outside.

Firsts…

  • First blog entry, “Why Didn’t I think of this Before” – January 29, 2010
  • First trail photos were all taken and uploaded from an iPhone 3 powered with a small Surge Solar Charger and no spell check back then.
  • First blog comment, my daughter Emily, on “To My Daughter: A Woman’s Hiking Blog
    “You make me cry, I love you too, and am SO proud to call you my mom, friend, and teacher, and am honored and humbled to have something so monumental dedicated to me! I’m so excited to follow your upcoming adventure more closely this summer via this blog! I admire your drive, dedication and free spirit! You ROCK! “BE SAFE, make good decisions, remember your please and thank yous,” AND HAVE FUN 😉 Love you!”
  • First hiking gear list “2010 PCT Gear
  • First food post, “Let the Packing Begin
  • First “Annual Day Zero Pacific Crest Trail Kick Off” ADZPCTKO
  • Three firsts: First post from the trail, first photo of myself from my iPhone, and first day hiking solo EVER, “June 12 – Surprises
  • First gear review, “The North Face Women’s Stretch Diad Jacket – My Take
  • First hiker I met on the trail – “Tomer from Israel
  • First comment from a total stranger,it was a shock, from “eArThworm, “Enjoying your blog immensely. I’m sure you’ll soon learn that ‘water CACHE’ is the correct spelling. :-))”
  • First famous quote was posted on “Gas and the PCT
    “I knew that if you look after the ounces the pounds look after themselves”
    Colin Fletcher, The Thousand Mile Summer

Fun Facts…

  • Who is this Lady on a Rock anyway? From blog entry “June 28 – Lady on a Rock
    “This is the location of Lady on a Rock (north of Muir Pass on the JMT). You see it is not me, but a woman I met briefly at this location on the trail a couple of years ago. She was resting on a rock and I stopped to talk with her a bit. She told me she was a retired flight attendant from Chicago and had been hiking sections for a few years to complete the entire Pacific Crest Trail and she was solo. She even said that her family jokes that if she dies before it is completed they will have to carry her ashes to finish the trail. WELL, just this small moment in time with this lady on a rock gave me the courage and inspiration that I too could do it. So here I am. Thank you Lady on a Rock! This is a pic of the approximate location and of course the only rock I could find that was visible (frozen Wanda Lake is in the distance). So cool.”
    Update: Through a friend of Wired and Facebook, last year I connected with Marilyn, the real life Lady on a Rock. She continues to hike and enjoy the outdoors. Now that is pretty neat!
    My Lady on a Rock
  • The day I got my trail name, Rockin’ “Trail Names at Last
  • Most all time popular page on Lady on a Rock “Gear Lists and Yearly Favorites
  • Posts with the highest hits,  “2013 Continental Divide Trail Gear List” and “Joshua Tree National Park Loop Backpack
  • Most popular videos on You Tube, “Life on the PCT 2012 – Just for Fun“, “John Muir Trail 2012
  • Lady on a Rock has been viewed by 176 countries (there are 196, I googled it).
  • Top emailed questions by readers: something about photos (my camera and photo editing) and gear.
  • My favorite post: Anything from the trail, they are raw and take everything I’ve got to write while super tired in a tent. I treasure those memories the most.
  • Majority of blog posts on this site have been written on trail, in a tent and posted when cell service is available.
Happy happy birthday Lady on a Rock! Wishing you many more birthdays to come.

26 Comments

  1. Congrats! Hopefully this is just the beginning.

  2. Five years??? Wow! I can’t believe I have been reading about your adventures that long. Hope there will be many more “birthdays”!

    • You my dear mother-in-law have been a most dependable and encouraging fan along the way. This says a lot. You have patiently encouraged me through my solo and dangerous escapades. You were one of my first to comment on the blog, “So that’s where my grandson was this week. Those flowers were exquisite. What fun. Guess it’s too hard a trip for John and me.”

  3. Rockin’, love that five years have passed so soon. And that you are totally living out your dream. I am so impressed and for a Lady on a Rock, you are a badass for sure! And I do mean that in all respect and admiration. I always find that when I have a blog post from you my day is a little brighter and my need to get out a little stronger. I just couldn’t be blessed with any more and I’m sure that many of those who follow you feel the same. -All God’s best to you and your family and can’t wait to see what is coming up this year.

    • Seriously Warren what in the heck am I supposed to say, faithful one? I especially take the term “Badass” as the highest of compliments. You came to my blog through Wired. So thank you Wired for that. I believe your first comment on this blog was “Rockin’, loved the video. I’m glad that Wired met and mentioned you. I’ve been really blessed by your blog and all you’ve done. Keep it up, it’s blessing us all out here. Lord knows we need some releif from the daily grind. Rock on.”

      • Yes, you should take it as the highest compliment because that is just exactly what it is. -It is so lovely to see how the Lord guides us in our journeys and causes our connections to be so amazing. I am truly thankful for you, you Lady on a Rock. So, Rock on!

  4. Congratulations and happy birthday, Rockin’! Wow, 5 years! You have lit the world on fire in those few years. I love your energy and ability to write and post about your hikes. Thank you.

    • Yellowstone you have been there right from the start. Through your comments, we ended up meeting at the ADZPCTKO and then became part of your PCT adventure. Hope to hike with you soon! I believe your first comment was “Love your journal! Well written, and I’m re-hiking those parts of the trail as you describe them. Thanks!”

  5. y2kmarathon

    Congratulations on another milestone! And thank you so much for sharing your many adventures with me and the online community these many years. You and Wired keep my backpacking dreams alive.

    What tools are you using these days to write your blog? What do you use to edit (crop/etc) and import your photos into the blog? Other tips?

    • Glad to hear from you. We do need those folks in our lives to keep us motivated. Wired does that for me, although she would say the opposite. That is true friendship.

      You have just asked one of my favorite questions. I am always changing things up. The camera that I love the most right now is my new Panasonic LX7 (I just replaced my LX5) combined with the Toshiba Flash wi fi card. I am also using a gopro3 for stills. I use the WordPress app to write blog entries with photos on trail. The apps I like for editing right now on my iPhone are Snapseed and the Instagram filters. I am starting to play with the PHotogene app. On my computer, I have a Mac and use aperture. The auto enhance works great and sometimes I boost up the exposure a bit and lighten the shadows. I have quite a few presets, but don’t use them very often. I upload everything to Flickr (Flickr resizes them for me), then embed photos into the site from there. Note: this is what I do but I am very sure many folks would disagree with my workflow.

      • If most of your posts were to be made from the trail (not in front of your Mac), would you choose again to use WordPress and its iPhone app? (I have a memory about Wired having hassles posting high res pics — needing help from her sister to manually dink around with each image’s HTML attributes?). How do you get your pics posted from the trail to display so well?

        • Ahhh you have just entered the WordPress vs. Blogger debate. Wired’s blog is through Blogger. She has done an amazing job of a work around to post better quality photos on posts from the trail through her very dedicated sister. And yes I would choose WordPress, however, the app has a long way to go and is far from where I would like it to be. Actually when I first started blogging the WordPress app did a better job. Weird huh? I heard they are coming out with a better version. Time will tell.

  6. Yay! for five years blogging about your adventures! It has been fun to follow along; thanks for sharing them all with us.

    • Lynda is a fellow teacher that has almost inspired me to take my kids on an overnight trip. Thank you Lynda for sharing your stories and life. Here is your first comment I believe: “After reading about your tHInK outsidE class a few years ago, I was inspired to begin teaching an outdoor education curriculum for a small homeschool co-op my family is a part of. We meet for monthly hikes through the year and are covering many of the topics you mentioned in this post, including addressing a different Leave No Trace principle each month. We’re preparing for a 16-mile overnight trek in March on a section of the Florida Trail near our home. The students (and their parents!) are excited. It’s not the PCT (I grew up in Northern Ca.) but we’re getting outside and everyone is so eager to learn. Thanks for sharing your passion with us!”

  7. Congratulations!

    • My dear faithful Janet, that I so want to meet and hike with soon. You have commented on almost all my posts since 2011. WOW is all I can say. I just love when I receive a comment from you when I am about to say “What am I doing out here alone?” Then there is Janet. Thank you. Here is your first comment on Deberm and Defoil, I believe: “Interesting. Why was the trail littered with such grotesque debris? Is it because the highway is nearby?

  8. Congrats! You are a relatively “recent” discovery to me but i love reading your posts past and,present! Well done!

  9. Rockin’:

    Congratulations on your fifth anniversary. It’s a major milestone in the blogosphere and it’s no surprise that you’ve attracted many loyal followers. Like the most interesting man in the world says, “I don’t always follow blogs, but when I do, I always enjoy ladyonarock.com.”

    Best wishes for your continued success.

    • Hello Michael, Thank you for sharing your thoughts especially on the desert sections, your expertise. Your first comment I believe even regarded water, “I’ve only been off-corridor once and it really opened my eyes to the lonely beauty of the GC. Your route looks like a beast due to water issues. Hopefully the weather won’t be too hot. Be safe and keep us posted.”

  10. Always enjoy your travels and beautiful photos ! Can’t believe it has been five years already ! Congrats !!! Come up and visit and I will buy the celebratory champagne

  11. Congratulations on your 5 year anniversary with Word Press !! I love your blogs and photos and look forward to many years to come..

    • Hello Brian, Thank you for your comments and encouraging words. I believe one of your first comments on this blog was “A life well-lived is one spent embracing uncertainty and finding a balance between risk, skill and trust.” How true.

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