Storyteller | Hiker

Nancy has three passions: Writing Stories, Telling Stories & Backpacking. Her stories range from fairy tales to folklore, myths and legends and, of course, her varied backpacking exploits across America. She has developed and performed numerous storytelling presentations including “Tales from the Trail,” based on her thru-hikes of the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. No matter what age you happen to be, Nancy has a story just for you.

Storytelling Performances

Tales from the Trail

These stories and other anecdotes from the journey are combined with the unpacking of items from her backpack as volunteers help her ‘set up camp.’ One listener said, “You feel you hiked the trail and never left your seat.” The program includes two 10-minute DVD’s of photos from the hike as the audience enters and leaves. Since her A.T. journey, she has also hiked the Pacific Crest Trail and plans to hike/bike the Mountain-To-Sea trail.

The Pacific Crest Trail

Her stories reflect the trials, challenges, and magical moments on this once in a lifetime adventure, stories such as, “No Water” “The Knife’s Edge” and “I’m Going Home!” Nancy describes the unusual and dangerous poodle dog bush and its impact on their hike. Through audience participation, Nancy reenacts an amusing scenario to deal with this necessary but confounding plant.

The audience is treated to a short video of Nancy’s entire journey, created from short snippets cobbled together and set to music. “Two Thousand Miles in Twenty Minutes,” is entertaining and adds a visual component to her tales.

“That was amazing…weaving of the animals, the stories, loved the way she used her hands…The stories were the perfect choice and then the video even more brought to life what had been told.” — Lee Lyons

Grandma Gatewood

I didn’t know about Grandma Gatewood when I did the A.T.. Yet, while reading Montgomery’s account I recognized places which I had also trekked, like the moss-covered peak in Maine, which I believe to be Mt. Carlo. While climbing Mt. Carlo, Emma realized she had missed the shelter and was upset with herself, but found a peaceful place on top to spend the night. Having climbed that peak myself, I am able to tell her story in her words and through my eyes. I am honored to portray this astonishing woman and her story through Grandma Gatewood Returns.

A little bit about Nancy Reeder

Reading The Long Walk by Slavomir Rawicz in high school fueled my adventurous spirit, leading many years later to my accomplishments as a long-distance hiker, spending months backpacking in the wild. After high school, I graduated from West Chester State University with my B.A. degree in education going on to work with elementary students often using story to enhance concepts. Twenty-five years later it was time for a change; pursue my dream as a storyteller attending East Tennessee State University where I earned a master’s degree. Along the way I attended the Whole Language Umbrella Conferences in Winnipeg, San Diego, and other cities, and taught a workshop for educators at the Imaginative Education Institute at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. Life circumstances took me to Ocracoke Island off the Outer Banks of North Carolina, then onto the mountains in the western part of the state where I joined the Highlands Community Theater group, directing How the Other Half Loves, by Alan Ayckbourn, and acting in Parallel Lives and other productions.

My storytelling performances spring directly from my own experiences, or subjects related to them, like my motor scooter journey in Thailand; swimming with dolphins in the Bimini Sea; traveling across Haiti on a rickety bus; hiking up the 14,500-foot Mt. Whitney, and climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia. If I’m not hiking or telling stories, you might find me sitting at a vegetarian café, teaching ESL in South Korea, riding the California Zephyr train from San Francisco to Chicago, sipping a green tea Frappuccino at Starbucks, or watching my favorite movie Beverly Hills Cop for about the thirty-seventh time.

"Six sets of eyes staring back…"

(Tales from the Trail Performance)

Nancy's 2009 Appalachian Hike

Nancy's 2010 Appalachian Hike