Becoming a parent changes everyone’s life, but Cindy Ross realized her impending motherhood might end her career.
Ross of New Ringgold, Schuylkill County had made a living guiding hikers and writing about her adventures outdoors.
But while talking to a gathering of long-distance hikers and realizing that none of them were parents, she thought her sojourns were ending, at least for a while.
When her daughter was born, she and her husband, Todd Gladfelter, tried camping and were pleased to see how comfortable their daughter felt sitting on pine needles instead of carpeting and adjusted to being outside.
A bicycle trip of 165 miles across Pennsylvania worked out fine, too.
But when their son was born, a realization set in during a day hike that included a steep climb.
Taxed from carrying their children on their backs, they had to give up the day’s hike and thought they had to surrender any plans of walking with their children on longer journeys.
How they managed to travel 3,100 miles foot with their children from Canada to Mexico might be the least important part of the story that Ross tells in her new book, her seventh, “The World is Our Classroom.”
She and Gladfelter learned to teach their children, who are now grown, about science and less quantifiable subjects such as creative thinking by using their outdoors as their school house.
Ross will relate her experiences during a talk and book signing on Oct. 10 at 7 p.m. at the White Haven Public Library.
The Western Pocono chapter of Trout Unlimited and the Carbon County Environmental Education Center sponsor her talk.
Ross says nature feeds creativity. Her family’s travels helped their children look for ways to live sustainably with nature and people of other cultures.
By the way, when walking across the United States, Ross and Gladfelter enlisted llamas to carry their children and supplies, and they took five summers to complete the trip.
After that, they continued their travels to other continents.