The American Perimeter Thread

December 2020

Welcome to the first issue of the American Perimeter Trail Conference monthly newsletter: The American Perimeter Thread. Each month we will feature updates from Rue, Leilah, Dani, and other contributors.

Meet the Team

Rue McKenrick

Rue is executive director, hiker, designer, creator and founder of the American Perimeter Trail Conference. He began the first scouting hike in July 2019, and is currently home preparing to return to the trail in 2021.

Leilah Grace

Leilah Grace is the coordinator of the American Perimeter Trail Conference. She manages most of the duties of the project to allow Rue to focus on hiking. Leilah is a single mom to 4 kids, pediatric physical therapist, and in her spare time also writes for All Women All Trails.
read more from Leilah >>


Dani is the Media and Public relations manager for the American Perimeter Trail Conference. She arranges interviews, reaches out media outlets, and assists Leilah in managing the project. Dani is a single mom to twin girls.
read more from Dani >>

Updates and Stories

The American Perimeter Trail is not just a trail but it is also a conservation corridor, a lovely day hike, a trail community, a dream, a mission, and a lifestyle.  Most of all, The APT is our birthright.  It is our right to join with each other and collaborate.  It’s our right to dream of a better world and pursue that course until its end.  It’s our right to breathe in air and drink water that does not make us ill. It is our right to perpetuate an inclusive society that fosters the happiness and health of our flora and fauna (humans are fauna too). The more I examine our rights I see that they are closely connected to our responsibilities. Every year millions of people around the world endure their humanity by their efforts to leave the world better than they found it. We, collectively, pick up trash, maintain trails, assist the injured or sick, protect wildlife, financially contribute, take walks, and ensure accessibility to those who cannot walk. The act of walking itself is an allegory of freedom. “Walking”, or taking the next step, is not literal in my mind. Walking is a metaphor for one who is moving forward through life’s challenges. Historically, it is easy to identify how the simple act of gathering and walking has changed the course of many societies and cultures.  When we seek refuge and escape, we walk. When we join and unite to express our collective conscious, we walk. When we seek to stretch our legs and open our hearts, we walk. When we suffer from mental illness and emotional fatigue, we walk. When we celebrate diversity, we walk. When we return from war, we walk. When we are diagnosed with a terminal illness, we walk.  When we lose a loved one or a relationship, we walk.  When we are out of ideas or are on the cusp of a major breakthrough, we walk.  When we go on a pilgrimage or retreat, we walk. And when none of us can walk, we carry each other. We ensure our human birthrights for everyone.  The birthright that we are all created equal and deserve equal access to commune with nature and each other. We “walk”.

One year ago I trekked through the snow storms of the Southern Rockies.  It became increasingly apparent to me that this journey, of creating The APT, was going to require a beautifully dynamic Community. Congratulations, if you are reading this you can count yourself one among many.  You my friends are the future, the realized promise of a better world.  I am so honored to be a part of this magnificent drama unfolding before my eyes. What was once a slow and steady process is increasingly growing speed and momentum. What I was able to accomplish on my own through weeks of work is now accomplished in days with the help of all of you, and yes of course Leilah and Dani. Over the years I have often read and reviewed the writings and documents associated or produced by other trail and conservation organizations.  Have you often wondered what it was like to attend The Appalachian Trail or Pacific Crest Trail Conference?  No more need to wonder what history was like for we have an opportunity to step right into it at the present moment with the creation of the APT. This is surely a once in a lifetime opportunity and all of you are among the founding members.

The APT Project will be providing many opportunities to contribute and participate. We offer all kinds of merchandise that publicly displays your support for the APT. Also APT merchandise serves as an excellent  icebreaker and conversation starter. I know many of you have already had this experience. We are constantly creating new content for you to enjoy weekly. The APT is constantly in contact with various media outlets so you may learn more about the vision and mission going forward.  We are hosting walks, photo contests, and a community facebook page so that you may all communicate and share with each other.

This is truly an unprecedented time to be alive.  The Earth and are neighbors are calling to our hearts like no other  time in history.  We yearn for our connection to the land and to each other but we find ourselves in trying times. In this dark night of the soul may we be the dim light blazing the way.


Check out Rue's latest blog post for Backpacking Routes about creating the APT.

Happy Hiking Cat

Sean answers the phone and cordially greets me. He acknowledges me by name immediately and doesn’t play the, I have caller id but I am going to pretend as if I don’t know who this is on the line.  Right away he begins to tell me about how much of an inspiration my backpacking and The APT Project is.  I am not sure if I understand but I continue on as if I do.  He begins to tell me about some of his childhood and development as an Artist. I think to myself, how grateful that Sean is not turning this into a sales pitch.  I want to learn about Sean as a human being not as a two-dimensional billboard.  We are a family at the APT Project and who you are is just as important as what you do and there is room for all of us.  I  am supposed to be interviewing, but Sean is so inviting that I find myself doing most of the talking. This is where I realize that Sean is a creative problem solver that relies heavily on listening. Instead of selling me products he is listening to the problem I need solved and then suggesting solutions.

Sean Jenkins is the Owner and Founder of Happy Cat Print & Design.  Work is one way we typically identify ourselves in the West and for so many of us it says so little about our person.  My view of Sean is as an Artist, a Husband, and a Father.  I ask for him to share some of his origin story.  “My father put a broken camera in my hand and that was it,” Sean reminisces.  He shares with me how his talents and interest didn’t come out of the blue. He was always interested in art and that has been fostered by his family.  With joy he speaks of his time on South Street, Philadelphia and Delaware Technical College.  He and his colleagues were granted a studio on South Street in collaboration with Arts on South. I learn more about what inspires him, what makes him tick.  Sean identifies how he and I and the APT have common goals and motives.  “I love creating something bigger than myself and watching it grow.”  Sean tells me about the many years he taught at Del Tech.  As a Professor, he taught many aspects of art studies and of course Photography.  I can just hear the fondness in his voice as he speaks about these seasons of his life.  I learn about his wife Meish, and her devotion to Art and Architecture. He tells me about Persephone, his spirited young daughter.  Our conversation turns to the merits of Abstract Expressionism and the APT’s unconventional approach to design.  Sean explains that his experience with his work is very tactile.  Yes, he has managerial, sales, and the many responsibilities of running a business. In addition to all of this, he is very hands-on with his projects.  For instance check out the handmade keepsakes he crafted and wood burned by hand.  

The APT had an issue with filling an order for hats. Leilah Grace reached out to Sean to see if he could manage the backlog. Leilah, in time, had more ideas and sought out Happy Cat & Design to come up with some solutions. Since then many of you have enjoyed a myriad of designs brought to you by Happy Cat through the APT Store.  Why does the APTP sell merchandise? Because you asked for it, it’s a lot of fun, and the proceeds go to help with APT expenses.  In a world full of disconnect and cold corporate structuring we at the APTP are honored to engage with people. Yes real People! Not the automated, I am going to lose my mind if I get put on hold one more time by this recorded voice Alexa wanna be.  Instead, in this dark night may we all be the “bringer of light” as Persephone and as joyous as a Happy Cat.  Thank you everyone for welcoming Happy Cat Print & Design.

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