Hiking Naked is a blend of Cheryl Strayed’s Wild and Henry David Thoreau’s Walden that chronicles Iris’s spiritual search for meaningful work. Burnout was only a textbook term when Iris became a registered nurse. Twenty years into her nursing career, though, her zeal wavered under the weight of the county health department’s unrelenting stream of high-risk pregnant women and communicable disease outbreaks.
When down-sizing eliminated her supervisory position, Iris was knocked off her feet. She quit the job she’d been transferred to and convinced her husband and their thirteen-year-old twin son and daughter to move to a remote village in Washington’s North Cascades. The community’s name, Stehekin, is a Salish word that means “the way through.” Iris’s family sought adventure; she yearned for solitude to wrestle with doubts about the work she’d felt called to. Along the way, she faced unexpected challenges: a forest fire that threatened the valley, a flood that left her and her family stranded for three days, a friend’s suicide. Ultimately, Iris found there her own “way through.”
Iris’s essay, “Seeking Clearness with Work Transitions,” recounts the beginnings of her search for balance. You can read the essay or listen to Iris read it in the February 2015 issue of Friends Journal.
You can read Chapter 1, “Hiking Naked,” here.
“Library Journal” Gives Hiking Naked a Starred Review
Praise for Hiking Naked
“This memoir is chockfull of heartfelt reflection and lyrical prose, wisdom and grace, humor and humility. It is a pure delight to read.” Ana Maria Spagna, Potluck: Community on the Edge of Wilderness and The Luckiest Scar on Earth
“Narrated with candor and compassion, Hiking Naked reveals as much about marriage, family, and community, as it does about the meaning of vocation.” Scott Russell Sanders, A Private History of Awe
“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 Flanagan, Renewable: One Woman’s Search for Simplicity, Faithfulness, and Hope
“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, The Heron Place and What We Love Will Save Us
“In candid, lyrical prose, Iris Graville offers a story of optimism in the midst of disillusionment. Her courageous spirit and unforgettable experiences may just inspire you to embark upon an adventure of your own.” Melissa Hart, Wild Within: How Rescuing Owls Inspired a Family and Gringa: A Contradictory Girlhood
“Reading this calm, contemplative, and altogether lovely book is a bit like taking a long walk in the North Cascades on a late Spring day when the subalpine forest is starting to wake up, and you can sense sap rising in the trees. It is on such a hike that you can look into yourself and maybe hear a still, small voice. Listen to it.” Mark Rozema, Road Trip (2016 Washington State Book Award for memoir)
“An engaging story of a woman who had the courage to notice and follow a leading, even when it seemed an impossible thing. Hiking Naked shows us the possibilities that appear if we take the risk.” Margery Post Abbott, To Be Broken and Tender: A Quaker Theology for Today