In Footprint of a Heart, Shayla Paradeis, whose trail name is Kiddo, ventures off the path of musical theater at age 21 and moves from Manhattan to Montana. Trading tap shoes for hiking boots, she sculpts a life outdoors as a long-distance hiker. By age 34, she walked over 18,000 miles between 4-month treks known as thru-hikes and thousands of joyful miles running across the land of her dreams, Glacier National Park. All without a smart phone.
Kiddo shares the trailside moments of five long journeys, including barren deserts, windy ridges above tree line, ocean tides in estuaries, narrow spaces between the painted lines of highways and guardrails, and countless peaks, passes, meadows, and valleys. Her ventures take her through swarms of bugs, knee-deep mud, every kind of precipitation imaginable, and the threat of rattlesnakes, bears, charging bulls, and one angry mama turkey.
It's the unmeasurable that truly makes it special. As her journeys transpire, she learns that counting miles can be as toxic as expectations around body-image or money. The need to connect is the true north. With an openness taught through the trees, she experiences a fulfillment she never dreamed possible. Trails are no longer a thing to do, they're a place to be.
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