Mount-Hike Updates:


We are inspired to bring you Ray’s progress monthly as he makes his pilgrimage from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Mount Katahdin, Maine.

August 1st | July 6th | June 10th | March 31st | March 9th

August 1st, 2017 - On August 1st, Ray left the beautiful state of Vermont and began his march toward the ominous White Mountains of New Hampshire (Milestone 4). He has completed 1,727 miles and has only 442 left to go. We are proud of Ray! Please help us celebrate him, by supporting his fundraising effort.

Ray remarks, “The days are exhausting, but challenging in that I try to find different ways to entertain myself. I have a part that loves to give political speeches and yesterday it wanted me to run for president. Then I have a ‘cartoon’ part that keeps writing and depicting trail cartoons which often make me laugh. Last night, I was camping by myself in a wilderness area and was awakened by a coyote’s call. It took a lot of effort to hold my scared parts so that I could get back to sleep, but it was a real confidence building experience. It all helps the nine-hour days of solitary hiking go by. At times, I can’t believe I’m almost home.”

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July 6, 2017 – With ten states and 1,467 miles under his belt, Ray is now at the New York/New Jersey state line, grasping sight of the remaining 733 miles and four states ahead. At this juncture, he reports struggling to stay in the present moment, remarking, “I have to work on my parts that are sick of climbing mountains, tiptoeing over slippery rocks, and now being eaten alive by ‘stealth bomber mosquitos’.”

As a result of the extra needed assurance to his parts, healing progress of his parts became lucid through a rewrite of a recurring dream he had for years. Ray shares, "I am at the end of a 4-year program in graduate school realizing I have always avoided one of the required courses (English) and the professor/advisor who teaches it and the denial that by not taking this class that I wasn't going to graduate. However, a few nights ago in this dream, I finally went to the professor, fessed up to what I had done (the avoidance and denial) and we worked it out. She passed me in the course I never took and signed the papers so I could graduate. I woke up smiling and knowing that somehow, the "inadequate and insecure" parts of me have made progress in healing somewhere along the AT.”

Ray spent a weekend recently with his grandchildren and family and went to their place rather than dragging them onto the trail. “I lost 30 miles of the hike but gained more connection with my family. Yesterday my grandson and I started texting. Now, it feels almost like he's here on the hike with me,” Ray shares enthusiastically. He looks forward to the IFS Community Hike and Fundraiser Event July 14-16 in Manchester, VT and hopes to see you there! If you’d like to join him, please contact Sally Plone at for details and to RSVP.

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June 10, 2017 – Several days ago, Ray officially crossed the halfway point of his journey (Milestone Two—1,023 miles). Today, he is currently at mile 1,130 in Allentown, Pennsylvania. A few venturesome people have joined him for stretches along the trail.

With three milestones and less than half the miles remaining, Ray’s spirits are high, due to your support and the daily inner dialogues that has transpired along the trail. He reports sensing a much calmer inner system; his parts have become very collaborative and most have been gifted with their own trail names. These part’s specific trail names have dramatically reduced any stress that he at one time felt. Below is Ray’s reflection at nearing this milestone.

“Today I crossed the 1,000-mile line. As I reflect on it, this mark is not nearly as important as my progress of becoming a part of the hike and the wilderness. Hiking is an interesting way to view nature, it's like watching a movie. It was hard to feel like there was an accomplishment because I had been climbing a series of difficult mountains they call "the roller coaster." So, I have given up goals and accomplishments. I found that goals lead to suffering, whether due to the striving of or the not reaching of the goal.

I'm most in Self when I'm in the moment. My daily practice, which has come to work nicely, consists of each morning after all preparations are made and after a short meditation, I begin my trek for the day. I hike straight through, drinking and eating while hiking and stop only to filter water from streams, to take in everything that is beautiful and often to take a picture. Today, I saw my first turtle on the path and took a break to say “hello” and to take his picture.

As for my parts—As I have become more at home with the wildlife and less triggered by adversities, I am becoming more aware at how other hikers trigger me. Most of it comes from my own projections of how slow and clumsy a part sees myself. I have a part that felt shame whenever someone passed me (which happens a lot). I spent many weeks working with that part, and so, now that part has agreed to take the trail name, "Already Passed." It feels so much better now and I find I am much more-friendly with the faster hikers, having connected with Already Passed.

I guess, too, the 1000-mile mark reminds me that this experience of a lifetime is almost over. I miss it already and the thousand miles that are gone.” ~ Ray Mount

Help the Foundation meet our $22,000 goal by supporting Ray’s inner journey along the 2,200-mile trail.

Also, join Ray for a special Community Hike Fundraising Event in New Hampshire, July date to be released soon. See details in the box below.

IFS Community Hike with Ray—Fundraising Event

When: July dates to be released soon (either weekend of July 15-16 or 22-23).

Why: Experience “a-day-in-the-life” of an Appalachian Trail hiker with your IFS community, get to know more about your own parts that come up along the trail, impart moral support for Ray (and his parts), and donate to this community-member inspired fundraiser for the Foundation for Self Leadership.

What: Meet on Saturday at 10 am, hike different courses of the trail and then gather together at a central location for a BBQ and group parts process. On Sunday, hike a half-day stretch of the trail and gather with the group for process about parts and the hike. Discover your own specific “trail name” along the way. Options to tent, cabin, or B&B nearby.

Where: A portion of the Appalachian Trail to be released soon (depending upon date, somewhere in New Hampshire).

RSVP: By ASAP to Ray, at


Three ways to sponsor Ray and support the Foundation include:

  1. One-time donation – immediate contribution
  2. Contributions for each milestone he reaches – as a pledge (see below
  3. Contributions per mile he completes – as a pledge (e.g.,. $0.50 - $2 per mile)

(Each option will take you to a different website to complete your gift. Please bear this in mind as you make your decision. If making a pledge, we will contact you when Ray reaches the end of the trail.)


Together, we can reach our goal with the following pledges:

Per mile: $0.10/mile (15 people) | $.50/mile (4 people) | $1.00/mile (2 people)

Per month: $10/month (24 people) | $20/month (15 people) | $100/month (5 people)

Per milestone: $10/milestone (26 people) | $15/milestone (15 people) | $25/milestone (10 people)

Make your pledge today.


Remaining Milestones—

Milestone 3: Bear Mountain, New York: Mile 1,400 is a key milestone because at that point, my grandchildren are looking forward to joining me for a weekend on the trail.

Milestone 4: The Whites Mountains and Mount Washington: The White Mountains begin at mile 1,795 with Mount Moosilauke and ends with Mount Moriah at mile 1,885.

Milestone 5: Mount Katahdin Finish: The trail concludes at about mile 2,189.

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On March 31, 2017, Ray Mount, also known on the trail as Mountain Music, reached his first Milestone – mile marker 275. Ray reports that the word on the trail is that at this point nearly half of the planned thru-hikers have dropped out as a result of harsh conditions, body injuries, and solitude. He says that isolation in the wilderness requires one to have some comfort with being alone with one’s thoughts. For those inexperienced with tending to their inner worlds, likely firefighters jump in to backtrack on the game plan. This is where Ray will excel, compared to other hikers, as he works with his parts each step of the way. Congratulations, Ray! Your IFS community is with you!

Help the Foundation meet our $22,000 goal by supporting Ray’s inner journey along the 2,200-mile trail.

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As of March 9, 2017, Ray has hiked in fifty miles! Thanks to your pledges in support of Ray, we have reached $1,100.

Thank you for supporting Ray and the Foundation.

We are grateful for Ray’s endeavor to support the Foundation as he supports his parts on this epic pilgrimage.

AppalachianTrail Beginning


“My Motivation Part knows I’m more likely to finish if the reasons for all this effort are beyond myself, and if I can do it in connection with others who are with me in some way.” ~ Ray Mount