Cindy Ross

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Click Cindy’s photo to go to her travel writing blog

Cindy Ross had her formal education at Indiana University of PA and Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia in Fine Arts- Painting. She is a long-distance hiker, writer, author, educator and artist.  She through-hiked the entire 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail and the 2,600-mile Pacific Crest Trail as a single woman, and later, married with kids, the 3,100-mile Continental Divide Trail, making her a Triple Crowner.

Out of her nine  published books, she writes of her adventures in A Woman’s Journey on the Appalachian Trail, Journey on the Crest, and Scraping Heaven– A Family’s Journey Along the Continental Divide.  She has also made a career speaking publicly about her travels and alternatively raising and educating their two children, Sierra and Bryce. It is the subject of her 8th book, The World is Our Classroom- How One Family Used Nature & Travel to Shape and Extraordinary Education, Skyhorse Publishing, NYC.
In addition to hiking, Cindy has visited 65 countries as a cyclist and paddler, which she writes about in newspaper and magazine articles published across the country.

Cindy has been an educator for most of her life, teaching backpacking and journal writing at local colleges, as well as facilitating her children’s homeschooling career.

She and her husband Todd Gladfelter built their own log home from scratch and live a simple lifestyle close to the earth.  As experts in self-sufficiency, they have grown their own organic food raised chickens, goats, llamas and steer provided workshops on Voluntary Simplicity at the college level

They also ran a hostel on the Appalachian Trail as part of the Volunteers in the National Parks program and maintain a section of the AT through the local hiking club.

Cindy has been the Director of River House PA, a 501c3 non profit, which takes veterans into nature to heal. Her 9th book entitled, Walking Toward Peace- Veterans Healing on America’s Trails, was released April 2021 with The Mountaineers Books, Seattle. It traces the personal and deeply moving stories of 25 veterans who mostly hike (long distance and short) as well as paddle rivers and mountain bike trails, to help heal from their trauma. 

8 thoughts on “Cindy Ross”

  1. Cindy,
    Enjoying reading your post and website about Riverhouse PA. A great dream.
    Question: I’ve been working with MN/IA Conservation Corps youth from time to time building log trail shelters. Could you give me a call at your convenience – 218.365.2126. Looking for the usual height of the entrance opening on Adirondack Shelters, considering accessibility and weather protection. I realize there are many versions of the shelter.
    Keep up all the good work you do.
    Ron Brodigan

    1. hello sweet log building teacher, changer of lives, i will have the log building/chainsaw carving expert of the family here give you a call- miss you and would love to see your handsome face again soon -xxoo cindy

  2. I love what you guys are doing. I have used the outdoors as my therapy for the past 5 years and find myself ahead of my peers in PTSD coping. Thank you for creating such a wonderful organization.

  3. Dear Cindy,

    By the grace of God, I found your website. I just bought a ticket to see you Tuesday night at the Ijams in Knoxville, TN. I am a disabled veteran with PTSD, which was actually complex & chronic PTSD. I love your life story. I need help. I would love to know if I could come to be a part of a VA group event. I want to heal more through nature and experience it with a group. I have not been able to find one where I live. I look forward to seeing you and hearing your story at Ijams.

    Warm Regards,


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