Still Hiking Naked

Throughout the twenty years I plodded along with the writing of my memoir, Hiking Naked: A Quaker Woman’s Search for Balance, I couldn’t have anticipated the events of the world during the years since the book’s release by Homebound Publications in 2017. Like many memoirs, mine is a story of seeking clarity about vocation, loss, and creating a simpler life. 

Knocked off my feet after twenty years in public health nursing, I quit my job and convinced my husband and our thirteen-year-old twin son and daughter to move to Stehekin, a remote mountain village in Washington State’s North Cascades. Jerry and the kids sought adventure; I yearned for the quiet and respite of this community of eighty-five residents accessible only by boat, float plane, or hiking. Hiking Naked chronicles my journey through questions about work and calling as well as how I coped with ordering groceries by mail, black bears outside the kitchen window, a forest fire that threatened the valley, and a flood that left me and my family stranded for three days.

“For anyone yearning to change the way they live and work, Hiking Naked offers one woman’s experience of following God’s guidance and her own deepest wisdom, even in the midst of uncertainty and loss.”  

Eileen FlanaganRenewable: One Woman’s Search for Simplicity, Faithfulness, and Hope

I also was knocked off my feet when “Library Journal” gave Hiking Naked a starred review.

This past year-and-a-half, though, I’ve wondered about the book’s relevance in the face of a global pandemic. As COVID-19 has persisted, I’m aware people are seeking clarity and comfort around the themes I explored in Hiking Naked. Some have, perhaps, felt their own sense of nakedness in their search. 

“In candid, lyrical prose, Iris Graville offers a story of optimism in the midst of disillusionment.” 

Melissa HartWild Within: How Rescuing Owls Inspired a Family 

Many others are burned out, especially caregivers. This feeling was a significant element in my search, and I’ve learned from readers it can happen to anyone, at any time. 

“Iris writes with directness and honesty about her journey of self-reinvention. The snowy peaks sparkle around her, and her prose sparkles too, with accuracy, honesty, and a warm, willing heart.” 

David Oates What We Love Will Save Us

I hope, as Brent Bill so kindly wrote in a review, that Hiking Naked continues to be a source of support as many of us face challenges and uncertainty. 

“I am grateful for Iris Graville’s naked memoir …such revealing stories as herein contained provide light and hope―both much needed in a time such as ours.”

J. Brent Bill, Holy Silence: The Gift of Quaker Spirituality

While the events of the past two years occurred twenty-five years before the crossroads I wrote about in Hiking Naked, I hope my seeking will offer some bit of solace to readers today. The memoir is available wherever books and e-books are sold, as well as through the Homebound online store. You can read a chapter here or click below. 

or listen to an excerpt from the audiobook (narrated by Violet Phillips) here to see if it speaks to you.

Ready to buy?

How are you faring during these times? What books or other writings are sustaining and supporting you?


  1. Speaking of perspective…I don’t know about sustenance, but I am finding inspiration in my own broadening of empathy beyond those who share my backgrounds and experience in The Yellow House, by Sarah Broom: a memoir and history of a family, a mother, and a house, in the part of New Orleans that tourists never see. Thank you for the question! And congratulations on more public encouragement for your own naked hiking.

    1. Thanks, Gretchen. The Yellow House sounds like a good one. One source of sustenance for me is the way you’re broadening your perspective. I know there’s more work for me to do, too.Thankfully, the voices of writers from different backgrounds are being heard more.

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