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Take A Hike

Franklin’s Diane “Sticks” Harsha Chronicles Her Journey Over the Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail meanders some 2,200 miles across 14 states from Georgia to Maine. Its allure is legendary.

Diane “Sticks” Harsha was captivated by the AT after reading about it in the early 2000s. “I felt like I wanted some sort of challenging outdoor activity that wasn’t too extreme,” she said. “I was intrigued and thought, ‘How hard can it be?’”

The downtown Franklin resident and FBI special agent hit the trail for the first time in 2005. “I tried it for a weekend and absolutely fell in love with the physical challenge, the beauty of nature and the trail community,” she says.

It became her goal to hike the trail in its entirety. And she did it, step-by-step. Over 13 years. “Reaching the end was something of a gut punch,” she says. “It was a beautiful day and it brought tears to my eyes, but I thought, ‘What do I do next?’”

What came next was a revealing and amusing book about her experience. Sticks And Stones:How To Hike The Appalachian Trail In Thirteen Years is filled with tales of joy, spirituality and terror that she encountered, as well as insight into how her life experiences prepared her for the journey.

Sticks And Stones: How To Hike The Appalachian Trail In Thirteen Years is available online at