Going Over the Mountain is a gorgeous tale of finding strength—and peace—in the mountains, and of raising girls to do the same. It’s a reflection on entering the woods as a follower, a solo traveler, a parent, and in community, for anyone who’s turned to the trail for comfort, or dreams of trying someday.

—Blair Braverman, adventurer and author of Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube: Chasing Fear and Finding Home in the Great White North


In Going Over the Mountain, Chris Woodside evocatively weaves vignettes from her intrepid decades on the trail—as a young woman finding her footing, then as a mother leading her daughters, and, finally, as a solo hiker aware of her own strength. In unspooling the lessons she’s learned from the mountains, Woodside offers an inspiring story about finding one’s way, both as a woman and in the wilderness. This book will make you want to cancel your week plans and pack your backpack.

Erica Berry, author of Wolfish: Wolf, Self, and the Stories We Tell About Fear

With strong writing and a stack of true and compelling episodes, Christine Woodside takes her readers along on the progress of her mountain life from teen to wife, to mother, and the liberating triumph of her one-on-one solos.  This deeply insightful memoir is wise and funny, easy to pick up, and impossible to put down.

—Laura Waterman, climber and author of Losing the Garden: The Story of a Marriage

I knew from her columns in Appalachia that Chris Woodside used word-magic, and here she uses it in a longer forum. Whether she is writing about her love for an old cooking pot or for camping in a storm with her daughters, reading T.S. Eliot’s poetry on the Appalachian Trail or racing to climb each New England state’s highest mountain in 48 hours, her life among the mountains reminds us eloquently that life devoted to these places will save us.

—Elissa Ely, writer for the Boston Globe, WBUR, and Appalachia


As a kid, I was a follower. I rarely had a sense of where I was on a trail except to tag along and for years looked for agency in the wrong places, like dance class. Then, in my early twenties I began my outdoors journey in earnest, soon falling in love with the mountains.

Over the course of a tearful Appalachian Trail thru-hike and a few thousand more miles, I pledged I would teach my two daughters the resilience that I had gained too slowly… and so took them on a seven-year quest full of debacles, danger, and laughs.

Another decade on, I decided I needed to explore alone for a while to discover every facet of myself and my relationship to the world. The rough-hewn, grubby feminism that developed over the course of this personal and professional time in these wild places changed me, and maybe my daughters, forever.


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