About Cindy Ross

cindy header page

 Author |  Speaker


New Ringgold, Pennsylvania | cindyrosstraveler@gmail.com

For the past few 40 years, Cindy Ross has found peace, happiness, and a sublime sense of contentment while walking and cycling the endless trails that are sewn into the fabric of the North American continent. She had her formal education in Fine Arts Painting, attending the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. Cindy has crossed the 2100-mile Appalachian Trail as a single woman penning and illustrating her first book, A Woman’s Journey on the Appalachian Trail, which has been in print for over 30 years and has become a hiking classic. Then she tackled the 2600-mile Pacific Crest Trail through the Sierra and Cascade Mountains with her husband, Todd Gladfelter and wrote and illustrated, Journey on the Crest. (The Mountaineers Books)

Her 6th  book, Scraping Heaven- A Family’s Journey Along the Continental Divide (McGraw-Hill) is the rousing adventure of a family’s incredible five-summer, 3100-mile trek over the rooftop of North America. They used llamas as kid carriers for their children, Sierra and Bryce, and as packers to carry supplies and diapers across the Rocky Mountains. The entire journey took 5 summers, hiking 500 miles a shot. The last stretch through New Mexico is all desert, so they traded their llamas in for tandem mountain bikes and pulled trailers full of 100 pounds of gear for the last 650 miles down to the Mexican border. Completing this third national scenic trail earned her and Todd, the coveted title of Triple Crown Hikers.

Cindy’s 7th book, The World Is Our Classroom: How One Family Used Nature and Travel to Shape an Extraordinary Education (Skyhorse Publishing, NYC- September, 2018) is on how she alternatively raised educated her children. It is illustrated by her son, Bryce Gladfelter. (www.brycegladfelterillustration.com)

One of Cindy’s passions is spreading the word on how important the natural world plays in educating our children, and how to get them outdoors. Cindy hopes to share her expertise gleaned from 26 years of mothering as a writer, an outdoor adventurer and a home-school facilitator, through presentations and workshops. She can also relay the nuts and bolts information on how to help starting parents get their families outdoors but also reach higher goals of outdoor adventuring and take a more active part in the education of their children.

In  2021,  Cindy’s had two new books released.  The Log Cabin Years- One Couple Builds a Home from Scratch and Creates a Life, Skyhorse Publishing, NYC, with 60 line illustrations created by Cindy. This manuscript was originally written thirty years ago but was recently published because of its timeliness with the sustainability movement and society’s renewed interest in simple living.

The Log Cabin Years is the inspiring story of how award-winning author Cindy Ross and her husband, artist Todd Gladfelter—a young couple totally inexperienced in construction—built a log home using raw trees and without the use of power, how they recycled and used salvage to supplement their materials, and how the home went on to become a living, breathing part of their lives together.

With a perfect mix of memoir and practical information, The Log Cabin Years explores the ways the couple not only developed their building skills but defined the values and virtues by which they would continue to live—self-confidence, freedom, and independence. As the cabin walls grew, so, too, did Cindy and Todd—as individuals and as partners. Building a home forced the couple to learn to argue constructively, communicate openly, and work within the parameters of each person’s unique personality. The Log Cabin Years is a great example of how two people can learn to work together through difficult times, both mental and physical.

For their efforts, they were able to build, and then live in, a beautiful home—debt free.

From hosting Appalachian Trail hikers to offering a sanctuary for recovering veterans, from providing a place to homeschool and teach their children to launching Todd’s very successful career as a chainsaw carving artist, the cabin has given back, fostering creativity, learning, and healing.

Building your own home has long been an American dream. The desire and need to live more sustainably has seeped into all aspects of our lives. The Log Cabin Years will speak to all people who wish to live a more sustainable life, empower themselves, build relationships, learn skills, and perhaps create a hand-built home of their own.

In April 2021, Walking Toward Peace- Veterans Healing on America’s Trails, The Mountaineers Books, Seattle, was released. The veterans’ portraits were created by her son, Bryce Gladfelter.

Walking Toward Peace shares the intimate stories of veterans who, post-deployment, have wrestled with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Through a process called “ecotherapy,” spending time in nature to promote healing and mental health, they have found new tools to deal with issues that have resulted from combat experiences: survivor’s guilt, nightmares, lack of trust, depression, hypervigilance, thoughts of suicide, and lack of purpose. Some veterans profiled here have gone to extremes, spending months on long-distance expeditions, like hiking the 3,100-mile Continental Divide Trail or canoeing the 2,320-mile Mississippi River. For many others, however, brief excursions in the outdoors offer an opportunity for healing. Author Cindy Ross examines current research and perspectives of professional therapists and provides information on organizations devoted to healing veterans in the outdoors. Each featured veteran is depicted in an illustrated portrait.

Veterans share their stories, frequently as they sit by a campfire, describing wartime traumas and their present lives. Through their collective voices what becomes clear is that anyone suffering from any form of PTSD may discover the powerful comfort and healing that can be found in the outdoors.

Cindy and Her family

Cindy lives near the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania with her husband, Todd in a log home they built themselves from raw trees. They grow much of their own food on their rural property.

As a family, besides the Continental Divide Trail, they have traveled to Asia, Africa, South America, and Europe hiking, cycling and paddling and have traveled extensively throughout the US.

Besides Cindy’s nine published books, she has written over 1,000 magazine articles for such national magazines as Outside, Backpacker, Paddler, Gray’s Sporting Journal, Outdoor Life, Canoe & Kayak, Adventure Cyclist, Sailing, Wooden Boat, Scouting, Native Peoples, etc. Travel stories in newspapers include The LA Times, The San Francisco Examiner, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, The Toronto Star, The Christian Science Monitor, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, etc.

Cindy has appeared on Philadelphia’s NBC “The 10 Show;” Philadelphia’s ABC “Sunday Live”; NYC’s CBS News “Up to the Minute;” NYC’s Channel 11Warner Bros., “The Morning News,” and Denver’s CBS. Her family and llamas were featured on a half-hour show on Animal Planet, called “Pet Story.”

On Black Friday, 2022 ,Todd suffered a tragic accident. He fell off a low roof but broke his neck and had a C3-5 incomplete spinal cord injury, making him a quadriplegic. For the past year, the couple has been doing intensive therapy to get Todd walking again and the use of his both hands. Cindy will be writing a book about the long Road to Recovery. You can support their efforts at






26 thoughts on “About Cindy Ross Leave a comment

  1. Thanks Monica dear- after not hearing from you in maybe 35-40 yrs it’s been a great pleasure to reconnect. Hopefully, I can give that South American cheek of yours a kiss in person someday!

  2. How fortunate I was to find your inspirational writings scroll across my newsfeed this morning, Cindy. As I drink my AM coffee, I am always seeking reading material to give me that wakeup feeling of having learned something new at the beginning of my new day of life. Well, with that said, reading about you and your past 30 years, has me filled with such joy and admiration. You were always the pioneer classmate that strove to stay on your own path. Little did you know how much I appreciated your lifestyle until now. I am beyond words today to recognize you as the one classmate who continued to explore and climb to the heights of experiencing life to the fullest. I am so very proud of you and what you represent. I look forward to your next piece of writing as I wakeup over my morning coffee. You are such an inspiration and amazing woman. I will be thinking of you all day today! Cindy, you really made my day!!!!

    1. Eileen,
      thank you so much for your support. You know, I sit at my little desk in my little house, after I walk in the woods and get inspired to write something and share it- and oyu never know if anyone reads it or even cares- but the purpose is to just get it out- and mAYBE someone will connect and get it and feel the same way about something in life- as a writer- we just strive so hard to connect- that’s what my parents always taught me and St Catherine’s – the love- feeling like family- letting each other know that you are there- that we are not alone-so thank my dear- i hope i see your smiling face again soon ! and thanks so much for taking the time to write- i really appreciate it.

  3. Just finished reading A Hiker’s Companion and i want to say thanks for the tips and the inspiration, you’ve given me something to shoot for 🙂

    1. Thanks Andra- hard to find a copy of that book (used on Amazon) but I guess wisdom is wisdom over the years- Thanks for sharing and hopefully the info there can save you some hardship and make hiking a tad easier!

  4. Cindy, this has got to be the most impressive “About” page I’ve ever read! Your JOURNEY ON THE CREST was the first book I ever read about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, and you’ve been inspiring me ever since! SCRAPING HEAVEN is next on my list, especially since Porter and I have the Continental Divide in our sights.

  5. Hi Cindy: Just found this while browsing “travel writer” sights. My home-schooling kids need to read it, but they’re “in the throes” themselves–homeschooling, managing 114 rental units, raising diabetes alert dogs, raising 3 potential pentathalon-competing kids. They remind me of you!
    Bill and I are well–we just completed biking the 190 miles of Outer Banks. (Met a woman on the ferry who was going to bike the Santiago de Compostela next week!) We’re leaving soon for two back-to-back hiking trips—Lake Country in England, then the Cotswalds.
    We’ll be in Frisco all summer. If you’re EVER in the Rockies, be sure to call—or better yet, e-mail me at keltywoman@nc.rr.com.
    I still do 1-2 Geiger trips a year—I’m about to bag it all, though, as conditions are soooooo bare-bones these days that it’s not much fun. And writing for zilch is a pain in the butt! It was all fun while it lasted—Now I’m writing personal stuff now and enjoying the freedom to do it when I want—-like today. I have self-published two books of personal essays—working on a third. THey’re on Amazon—and I get a royalty check of 18.00 once in awhile! I laughed out loud of your mention of the same thing!
    I’d LOVE to hear from you. Where are S and B? What’s your next travel adventure?
    All best to you and yours. xoxoxox Carolyn Schwartz

  6. Dear Cindy,

    I just want to say hello and thank you for the inspiration!

    I was given A Woman’s Journey before I set out on my own AT adventure. I thoroughly enjoyed it and reread it after completing the trail. Incidentally, I met my now husband on the AT, also a Todd! I read Journey On The Crest before we set out on the PCT. Todd and I completed that amazing trail. And, of course, I read Scraping Heaven before setting out on the CDT. We made it only half way before succumbing to injury. We then took a pit stop in Boston and had a little boy. Who knows, maybe we’ll tackle the remaining miles as a family! I just saw you post on the ALDHA FB page and made it to your blog to see that you are soon to publish a book on homeschooling and the outdoors! I am seriously considering homeschooling our child and it seems you are providing the next chapter with your new book! I really want my child to be outside as much as possible! I can’t wait to read what you have to say.

    At any rate, I’m excited to read more of your adventures. Thanks for sharing them!


    Haidee (Cruiser)

    1. what a great history- thanks for following all these years and it has added up to a ton of years, huh? Yep, kids change things but they don’t have to keep us away from the trail or any adventure. DON’T STAY HOME! I must kick myself in the butt and get that book out there- too busy having fun living life to chain myself to my computer but I must. Thank you for all the kind words. You can find a ton of material on my blog under “Book Blog” category- I post excerpts from my unpunished book to help convince you to homeschool!

  7. Just read your book A Woman’s Journey and it seems like a wake-up call! I really want to do some of the trail and spend a night or two and possibly the whole trail someday!

  8. Met you when you we were both younger. Say, 1978 on AT, the two girls from Reading Pa.
    Glad you are still chasing adventure !

  9. Cindy,
    Do you remember me? Jackie Morfesis, art student at Kutztown University. I have your first book. Love looking at all the wonderful work you are doing through all these years. Thank you for your support of the earth, of the environment, and of humanity,

    Jackie Morfesis
    Charleston, SC

  10. My dad built his own log cabin when I was a kid and I remember taking foot-long nails in for show and tell in the second-grade. I have some amazing memories thanks to Dad’s homesteading dreams. It’s wonderful to find kindred spirits out there. Keep sharing your journey!

  11. I have been sorting through accumulated books for the past week. And discovered I have a copy of A Woman’s Journey. I bought it when it was first published and always loved the outdoors; hoping some day to hike the AT. Here I am at 70 years old and I’ve too many health issues to Thru hike the AT now. However , my oldest granddaughter thru hiked the AT last year and I was able to help provide her with support and encouragement. And now I can’t wait to share your first book with her and introducing us both to your other books. My daughter homeschools my grandchildren and they make being outside a priority. Nice to what has happened to you after first reading your book in 1982.

  12. Hi, Cindy,

    Jean and I are socially isolating here in Ohio with our Librarian daughter, Sara. We enjoyed your books and are still “making it” here .

    It is good to see you are still around. I still remember when you called the SCS office about getting a sewage permit and I “sneaked over the line” to see if I could help.

    Norman And Jean Churchill.

    1. hey Norm- great to hear from you- In Jan I have a new book coming out that you are in (altho not your name!) “The Log Cabin Years- One Couple Builds a Home from Scratch and Creates a Life,” Skyhorse Pub, NYC. I wrote and illustrated it 30 yrs ago- about building a marriage while building a home. Will have an open house here in April- will invite you so you can see how it turned out! send e-mail cindyrosstraveler@gmail.com

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