Not Your Size 6 Hiker

A few weeks ago a good friend of mine, photographer Stacey L. Rhoades, reached out to me with a unique request. She is currently on a 50-state trip throughout the United States to celebrate her 50th year of life.

She is first and foremost a photographer, but she is also a storyteller, albeit one who doesn’t enjoy writing. She asked me whether I would write the stories she shares throughout the trip. Because I love Stacey’s photography, believe in her mission and love to write, I agreed.

Here is one of her recent blog posts:


When I was in Hawaii, I had a number of fantastic hiking days. On one of the days, I found two longer hikes to take – one was six miles; the other just over four. Then, after hiking a total of 10.2 miles, I snorkeled in the ocean for over an hour. It was absolutely amazing!

While I was trekking, I had all kinds of ideas and thoughts. One had to do with the stereotypic, active, outdoorsy woman: she is quite young, size 6 or smaller, hiking, camping and having all kinds of cool adventures.

As I hiked, it struck me: beautiful women come in ALL sizes! I am definitely NOT your average size 6 hiking, outdoorsy woman! I am your WAY above average size woman who loves the outdoors! I may not hike there as fast as “Ms-Size-6” but I am on a mission to make it as far as “6” does!


This is to serve as an encouragement to those who, like me, are well above a size 6! You can do it! Get outside! Start walking! You don’t have to put your life on hold because of your weight! You are stronger than you think you are! Set a fun goal! I did a strenuous exercise regimen for six months prior to this trip of a lifetime just to get in shape. The rewards are huge: now I can hike where I want to hike and walk for miles on the seashore – basically do what I want to do! Life is too short to postpone living! Your weight is just a number!


Stacey has so much more to share. Please continue to read her challenging story here and see her exquisite photography at You can also follower her on Facebook at Rhoades Traveled and on Instagram @rhoades.traveled.

© Julia Penner-Zook, 2017


50 Word Stories: Wood God Goodbyes.

Careless disregard numbs the soul.

Richard M. Ankers

His bones, the creaking of the branches, he shivers a mantle of leaves; the shush is deafening. A last sunrise, for the mechanicals approach, he soaks in the dewdrop day. From acorn to behemoth, sheltered to shelterer, he has seen it all, or thought he had.
The chainsaw cuts…goodbye.

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