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We All Have a Story

October 11, 2017 - Larry Claypool
What’s your story?

We all have a story. Some like to keep that story close to their heart. Others are still writing that story.

Ginny McKinney doesn’t mind sharing her story with others. She did that with me last week during the Camp Like a Girl event at Beaver Creek State Park campground. See my article on Page 4 of the October Ohio Valley Outdoor Times or this website.

Sharing parts of our life history in conversation is done for a few different reasons. For McKinney it’s been part of the grieving process after her husband of several years died suddenly of a heart attack in 2013. McKinney said she couldn’t sit still and weep in her sorrows. She had to take action.

She did that. First by taking a three-month camping trip — by herself — in the mountains of Colorado. And several months later, after getting things in order — sort of — she purchased a bigger camper and pickup truck to “hit the road”. For two years! By herself! She tells the story that she crisscrossed the United States, hitting campground after campground, town after town working on what she would later call her “passport to joy”, in reference to a book she read about the women’s adventure camping group called Sisters on the Fly.

McKinney has shared her story with many people while sitting by a campfire in countless zip codes. Her two-year traveling stint alone expired in 2016, but she continues to blaze a trail in her 30-foot Starcraft Launch Ultra Lite travel trailer. She also shares her activities — daily — online, via her personal blog on Facebook under the name of Marshmallow Ranch. (That’s another story.)

While sharing her daily thoughts and activities online McKinney also pours her heart out to the audience — nearly 6,000 followers on Facebook and many more on her website blog ‘Marshmallow Ranch’ — as part of her own healing process. Many of her “followers” interact with her about personal experiences of their own, and McKinney responds to every comment. It’s her responsibility, she says.

Being responsible, and active, on social media has offered an interesting boost to McKinney’s popularity, if you will, among many women, campers or not.

The attention, and McKinney’s story, has not gone unnoticed. She’s been signed on by a large literary management company to share her story (either through a book or even a movie). McKinney is finalizing the book about her life and experiences. She hopes to get a publishing deal soon. McKinney also been interviewed by the New York Times and Fox News of New York, she’s committed to writing several regular blogs on multiple websites, been featured on Go (including many podcasts), has done many guest speaker engagements on various topics, has spoken at numerous events and more.

McKinney said some of the blogs and speaking engagements pay money, but others do not. For that, she continues on — travelling the country, speaking to many and continues her journey to “joy”.

McKinney said the story behind her ‘Marshmallow Ranch’ blog and Facebook name comes from a small home business she started in Colorado, not too long before her husband died. McKinney was crafting jewelry from spoons and maps in her home studio called, Marshmallow Ranch. “It was a catchy name, and people wonder what it is, so I kept it,” said McKinney.

Read more about McKinney on her Facebook page, website (, Sisters on the Fly website blog called Getting Bolder and Girl Camper podcast with friend Janine Pettit on Facebook.


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Blog Photos

Ginny McKinney, of Macfarlan, WV does a little fly casting in Beaver Creek at Beaver Creek State Park during a recent Camp Like a Girl event. McKinney travels the country in her 30’ Starcraft Launch Ultra Lite travel trailer. Photo by Larry Claypool