Episode 30: Camino de Santiago

  In Episode 30, we welcome Scott "Squatch" Herriott back to the show to discuss his film Wayfaring and his jaunt along the Camino de Santiago (or Way of St. James).  The trail starts in France and ends near the coast of Spain and was one of the most important Christian pilgrimages during the Middle Ages. Starting in 1985, modern day hikers have increasingly followed the path - with over 200,000 "pilgrims" hiking the route each of the last few years.  In the podcast, Squatch talks about his adventures on the ~518 mile trail and offers up some suggestions for prospective thru-hikers. For more information on Squatch and his films, click here!  And watch out for his latest release,  72 Days In Iceland, which will be … [Read more...]

Return Of The Dana!

In the mid-90', Dana Design was the backpack for thru-hikers on the Appalachian Trail.  I liked mine so much that I bought a second one two years after my thru-hike despite the steep price of $400+And Dana Gleason, founder of his namesake Dana Designs, has returned to the market!  After selling his company and watching a series of outdoor companies fumble with a once dominant brand - Dana is back (and so is the Terraplane).The U.S. Military and U.S. Forest Service "hot shot" fire-fighting crews have been the beneficiary of Dana's skills over the last few years - but the packs are once again available to the public.  There is a great article about this at GearJunkie.com, and hopefully I can land a … [Read more...]

Preparing for your next hike? Don’t forget these apps!

Hiking is a great physical and leisure activity that can be enjoyed by people of varying fitness levels. Statista documented there is currently 34.38 million active hikers in the U.S. alone, demonstrating the popularity of this outdoor activity as a pastime. But whether you are an experienced hiker that has an impeccable sense of direction and dependable instincts, there are still several mobile apps that you should consider downloading before your next adventure. Smartphones are the compasses of the 21st century. Owners and operators of mobile casino brand PocketFruity revealed that there were one billion smartphone users by the end of 2012, a number that’s said to surpass the two billion mark in 2016. The explosion in smartphone … [Read more...]

Episode 27: Superwoman

 In Episode 27 of the N2Backpacking podcast series, I speak with Niki Rellon.  You think you're tough?  Well she just might have you beat!  Niki's sports pursuits include professional kickboxing, ski instructing, cross-country cycling, thru-hiking, and currently a six month journey on the Appalachian Trail.  Did I mention that she is doing it on one leg?  Well now you know.In the podcast, Niki talks about her first ventures in to the outdoors, her hike of the Pacific Crest Trail, and the event that changed her life - a 60' fall that nearly ended her life (and made her an amputee).  Niki is now a week in to her A.T. thru-hike and took time from a rest area in North Georgia to speak with us. … [Read more...]

REI Alpharetta – Over 800 people waiting in line at 10am

REI opened their 5th store in the Atlanta metro area today in Alpharetta, GA and clearly their marketing folks have figured it out.  There were over 800 people waiting in line at 10am when the doors opened.  Yeah .... people love free stuff, and REI delivered.  The first 200 in the door received a water bottle with a $25-100 gift card inside.   I opted to head back to work rather than line up as shopper #804.  How in the world did so many people get off work mid-morning on a Friday anyway?      … [Read more...]

A Thru-Hiker Looks At 20

It’s been 20 years since I thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail.  There’s no doubt, it was a different Trail back then – fewer thru-hikers, no cell phones, and no websites to research the A.T. prior to heading out.  Thru-hikers today are better informed, better connected, and significantly better prepared than when I hiked in 1994.  That said, here are some tips for the Class of 2015 as you start the A.T. this Spring:     Create, then ditch your itinerary. It’s fun to plan an itinerary and anticipate where you will be during your thru-hike. You should do it - but don’t live by it.  Schedules are for the workingman.  I had the most fun on the Trail when I ditched my itinerary and rolled with the Trail … [Read more...]

Walk In The Woods premieres to mixed reviews

Walk In The Woods premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this week to mixed reviews.  Here's a sampling...The Guardian"Plenty of silly little incidents ensue along the way, with lots of jokes about advancing years. Most of these episodes are far too low-stakes to carry a movie and the bigger picture, about two men past their prime trying to figure out what to do in their dotage, is handled far too simply to have real impact. The result is something that is just fine. It’s pleasant enough to watch, but by no means riveting or revolutionary."Hollywood Reporter"A delightful journey with fine star turns by Redford and Nolte that should prove a good draw for finicky older audiences." New  York Post"Tame … [Read more...]

Leaving Las Vegas ….

There is nothing better than escaping a trade show in Las Vegas for the backcountry and fresh air of Zion National Park. After a 3 hour drive Fuller and I arrive in Springdale, UT and stay a short distance from the park. Our first mission is to hike the Hidden Canyon Trail. We climb 850 feet and link up with a steel chain that guides us around a cliff with an insanely sharp drop off.  It is at this point that I remember that I might have a slight fear of heights.And to make things more interesting, we round a corner and see the Trail covered in ice.  Hmmm - better hold on to that chain!     I try not to look down - because damn it's a long way to the valley floor.  Get me off this … [Read more...]

Baxter State Park Needs Federal Funding, And Soon!

There are four times the number of Appalachian Trail thru-hikers hiking and camping in Baxter State Park than there were 20 years ago - when I did my hike.  According to Jensen Bissell, Director of Baxter State Park, this is straining resources.   "From the perspective of Baxter Park, we are concerned that the use of Baxter Park is nearing or has surpassed an acceptable limit for the facilities and effort available from the Park to accomodate A.T. hikers"    A letter to ATC Executive Director, Ron Tiptop, lays out the current issues - many of which focus on thru-hikers that overwhelm park resources and occasionally don't follow the rules of Baxter Park (ie. no public consumption of alchohol or drugs, camping … [Read more...]

Thru-Hiking Tips From Legendary A.T. Hiker – Warren Doyle

Just found some vintage footy from this legend in the A.T. Thru-Hiking community.  I saw him speak at Trail Days many years ago and actually purchased this 1993 Lynne Whelden "How-To"  video right before I hit the Trail.   … [Read more...]