LONG DISTANCE HIKER/POET/ACTIVIST
Hi! I'm JeanMarie Gossard, trail name PS (Pooter Scooter). After a career in social justice campaigns, I fell in love with thru-hiking as a way to recenter, recover from burnout, soul search and pour some creativity out into the world. I now have over 12,000 miles on 11 long distance trails under my belt, and have completed 9 thru-hikes.
My dream is to walk, write poetry and inspire other women and folks of all genders to discover what they're capable of.
NEW ENGLAND TRAIL
ICE AGE TRAIL
PACIFIC CREST TRAIL
CONTINENTAL DIVIDE TRAIL (3/4THS)
What if our ancestors were in the clouds
ghost walkers circling snowed summits
calling us forward to even higher peaks?
I don’t usually think of you out here, but today,
after climbing a mountain full of my fear –
as I scurry down to safety
I miss you - remember
your excited eyes two inches from my photographs,
your curious traveler’s heart, interested, eager.
Then I look up – another snowcapped mountain -
I want to see myself the way you do
stronger than we were ever told.
It’s funny how fear pollinates our cells
without our permission
pouring doubt into crevices
we only recognize once they explode,
shatter into tiny pieces,
return us to the knowing underneath.
Pacific Crest Trail 2019
I wake to the sound of water falling over rock,
to speckled moonlight on canvas,
unzip my tent to bright white on wet leaves. It is midnight.
I wrote another midnight poem once. A love poem.
Wondering if our guarded dances
would break open in the direction of each other.
They never did.
Now my days are filled with mountain dancing
my nights, soft sleep wrapped in down.
Learning to sing my soul’s song.
Each step I am falling in love again,
each step I am breaking open.
Appalachian Trail 2017
Sierra – April 25th 2019 (Highest Snow Year On Record)
What if I went into these mountains,
the ones they write books about –
what if I went in, in the quiet cold, when their sleepy eyed
slopes are draped in crystal armor, before they are
stomped awake by summer’s many footprints.
Now, even the good-natured ferry driver is dozing under fleece blankets
and the pristine blue he ferries across is a white glassed lake,
shipwrecked branches from snow floods blessing its shores.
The white crystals are endless and sometimes blinding.
Every ounce of energy is needed
to walk over these old sacred mountains,
stand on passes 13,000 feet high.
There are no voices on the wind,
no people from the world over gathered around fire,
no children laughing –
only my thinned breathing and the spitting of snowballs as they break loose,
slipping and falling, gathering more flakes as they roll
in a desperate attempt to stick back to the mountain or burst off instead.
I dig my two-inch spikes into the crusty snow, each muscle, joint, tendon taut,
each cell alive, knock-kneed against the proximity of its own death.
Nothing to do but crawl on my knees across the altar of my awe.
Nothing to do but take the next step.
Pacific Crest Trail 2019
INTERVIEWS AND FEATURED SPEAKING
THE LOVE SAYS PODCAST
How might we and the world change and transform when we listen to what love says. Conversations on love with Elizabeth Johnson.
THE ADVENTURE SUMMIT
JeanMarie Gossard shares tales from the 12,000+ miles of long-distance trails she's hiked in the last few years, including her yearlong walk of the PCT and 3/4ths of the CDT in one of the highest snowfall years on record. From surprise animal encounters to cutting steps in 13,000ft passes, her stories are full of light-hearted realizations, heartfelt truths and the power of fear, bliss and breaking trail to show us who we are and what we're capable of.
ICE AGE TRAIL ALLIANCE
JeanMarie spoke of her 1,200 mile thru-hike of the Ice Age Trail at the Ice Age Trail Alliance's 'TrailTessa Happy Hour" for women who want to get out into the outdoors.
AIKIDO IN FREDERICKSBURG
'Tales from the Trails' was the title of JeanMarie Gossard's hour long presentation on her 12,000+ miles of long-distance hikes.