Last summer Murphy Scholars Lauren Berry and Marni Younger ’22 hiked 240 miles over 23 days, completing the John Muir Trail with their fellow Hendrix classmate Hailey Johnston ’22.  

Berry, Younger, and Johnston hiked through the most remote parts of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California, disconnected from technology and completely self-sufficient, carrying all the food and supplies necessary for their trek in backpacks. 

Inspired by nature writers like John Muir, whose stories prompted readers’ interest in conservation, Berry wrote daily, aiming to capture the unique ecological and environmental qualities of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in her writing.  

“The whole experience feels like a dream. We carried journals with us, documenting our days and working on our nature writing skills. Some nights, journaling was hard. There were evenings that the only thought I could conjure up was ‘my feet hurt.’ But now, that journal is my prized possession,” Berry said. 

Berry and Younger utilized their Murphy Scholar Travel Funds for the journey, and this Hendrix-Murphy Cocurricular Project also carried Odyssey Special Projects (SP) credit. 

“Not many people have the resources to make trips like this a possibility, and I was so blessed to be there, doing what I love the most,” Berry said.