Category Archives: long distance hiking

Episode 42: Most Significant Backcountry Gear Of All Time?

In Episode 42, we discuss a March 2017 article that appeared in Outside Magazine titled “The 40 Most Significant Tools & Toys Ever Designed”.  In honor of the magazine's 40th anniversary, the editors choose 40 products that “stood out for their sheer inventiveness” and their general impact on the outdoor community.

Tonight we sit fireside on the South Carolina side of the Chattooga River and debate the merits of some items on the list.  Our group rarely reaches a consensus on each product – which makes for an entertaining show and guarantees that we'll do a follow-up episode in the future to expand on the list.

So listen in and tell us what gear Outside missed.  And while you are at it … enjoy the fire cracking in the foreground and the Chattooga River flowing in the background as we talk about the Most Significant Backcountry Gear Of All Time!

Subject: Most Significant Backcountry Gear Of All Time?

Interviewee: BeerRun, PokeyBo, Therm Rider
Interview Date: April 13, 2017
Runtime: 1:15:13
[hide for=”all” exclude=”administrator”]Download Now: Most Significant Backcountry Gear Of All Time? (WMA format 72.6 Meg);
Most Significant Backcountry Gear Of All Time? (MP3 format 72.3 Meg)[/hide]


[product id=”37482″]

3W – Thru-Hiker Rendevous

I have a friend hiking the Appalachian Trail this year and his schedule (and some inclement weather) had him take a zero day in Gatlinburg, TN which gave us an opportunity to catch up with him last weekend.  Here is the World Wide Wanderer (aka 3W) relaxing on the balcony of the LeConte View Motel.

He shared some photos and video from the Trail and detailed his first three weeks on the A.T.  We absorbed it like a sponge, then offered to buy him dinner – a gesture that no thru-hiker would refuse (and he didn't).

Then we headed out to walk the streets of Gatlingburg.  Any thru-hiker will tell you that the town is culture shock after hiking in the backcountry.  Plus … there was a conference in town this weekend – which meant the streets were packed with people.

But the road was not.  There was a 10K scheduled to start at 10pm, and the roads were nearly empty.  So we headed to the balcony of a Mexican restaurant to watch the run.  But then … the rains came

The storm did not bode well for the runners, and the race was eventually cancelled.  And it did not bode well for the thru-hikers either.  Many planned to take another zero day in town and wait out the storms.  So our plan to hike with 3W on the A.T. was a bust.  We called an audible, took a group pic, and resolved to drive Southeast in the morning (minus 3W).

Oddly, the Chattooga River near Mountain Rest, S.C. had avoided most of the storms and it was sunny when we arrived – just as the weatherman predicted.

So we shouldered our packs and hit the Chattooga River Trail – hiking upstream and northbound to a campsite that the Camel and I last visited in 2001.

After backpacking two hours, we found a nice site on the river.  It wasn't the one we were shooting for, but was worthy enough.  Unfortunately, I didn't have my fishing pole because there is some great water here for trout.

But the rains that plagued the thru-hikers in the Smokies did eventually find us.  The storm started at 9pm and continued through the afternoon on Sunday.  Good thing we had the Kelty tarp pitched tonight to give us a place to hang out.

Yet we salvaged the trip and had a chance to serve some Trail Magic to a buddy in the process.  So a successful venture in my book.  Go 3W Go!  Here he is at Amicalola Falls State Park to start his thru-hike on March 26th.

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 available for streaming (and on DVD) this February.  In the last ten minutes of the show, Squatch provides a preview and also hints at his next great adventure.  Click below for the audio interview.

Subject: Wayfaring
Interviewees:  Scott “Squatch” Herriott
Interview Date:  
January 15. 2016
Download Now: 
Wayfaring (WMA format 38.6 Meg);
Wayfaring  (MP3 format 103.9 Meg)

You can follow or subscribe to this podcast if you click here (via Blubrry, Facebook, Google+, iGoogle, iTunes, RSS, Twitter, Stitcher, Yahoo, Zune). Or click this link for a complete list of N2Backpacking podcasts.

Walk In The Woods pre-screening in Midtown Atlanta

Walk In The Woods pre-screening in Midtown Atlanta last night with Ken “The Weasel” Knight.

Walk In The Woods Pre-Screening

No VIP passes for us but thankfully we did get seats. And Amy Knight earned them after her work on the Konnarock crew doing Appalachian Trail work for a week this (and last) summer in Virginia. Those are the real heroes of the A.T. – the volunteers that build and manage it.

Walk In The Woods Movie Theater

The movie is in theaters Labor Day weekend – based on the book by Bill Bryson. Ken/I are in the first 20 minutes, and the lesson here is that you can spend 20 hours on set as an extra and get 4.6 seconds of screen time – if you are lucky.

Walk In The Woods JPG-crop

So watch for us in the “deep background” and don’t quit your day job!

Episode 28: The Benton MacKaye Trail


In Episode 28, Sprinkles and NoKey tell us about their ultimate thru-hiking summer – walking 1400 miles on four major trails on the East Coast – including the Benton MacKaye, Finger Lakes, Northville-Placid and Long Trails.

Forewarning, we spend the majority of the podcast discussing their 20 day, ~290 mile hike on the Benton MacKaye Trail – a great alternative to the Appalachian Trail in the South – but there's lots of great tips on backpacking and thru-hiking in general.

So listen in – and when the mobs of thru-hikers hit the Trail next year after the movies Wild and Walk In The Woods motivate the masses… you now have some great alternatives to the A.T. and P.C.T.!

Subject: The Benton MacKaye Trail

Interviewees:  Jen (Sprinkles)  and Patrick (NoKey)
Interview Date: 
July 21, 2015
Download Now:
The Benton MacKaye Trail  (WMA format 53.5 Meg);
The Benton MacKaye Trail (MP3 format 66.0 Meg)

Follow Sprinkles and NoKey here.  Or click this link to learn more about the Benton MacKaye Trail.

And you can follow or subscribe to this podcast if you click here (via Blubrry, Facebook, Google+, iGoogle, iTunes, RSS, Twitter, Stitcher, Yahoo, Zune). Or click this link for a complete list of N2Backpacking podcasts.

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.  Click below for her inspirational story, or click this link to follow her on Facebook.

Subject: Superwoman

Interviewees:  Niki Rellon
Interview Date: 
March 27, 2015
Download Now: 
Superwoman  (WMA format 32.2 Meg);
Superwoman (MP3 format 44.8 Meg)

You can follow or subscribe to this podcast if you click here (via Blubrry, Facebook, Google+, iGoogle, iTunes, RSS, Twitter, Stitcher, Yahoo, Zune). Or click this link for a complete list of N2Backpacking podcasts.

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:


The First White Blaze On The Appalachian Trail – April 11, 1994

  1. 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 (and not against it).
  1. It’s the journey not the destination:  Take your time and enjoy it.  There aren’t many thru-hikers that finish and wish they went faster.  If you generally enjoy being on the Trail, you are far more likely to finish it.  Besides, many of you will be back in the 40+ hour/week grind soon enough.  Cherish your thru-hike while you have it.  You may not get this chance again or for quiet some time (although I hope you do).
  1. Don’t let the extreme thru-hikers ruin your experience. Don’t let anyone ruin your experience, this is your trip.  Hike your own hike.
  1. Keep a journal: Your mind will fade, trust me, and you will want to remember where you were on [insert date] on your thru-hike.  In the 20 years since my thru-hike, there isn’t a single month that goes by where I don’t look at my journal.
  1. Take lots of photos (or videos): No one was shooting video in 1994 when I hiked, but we did take 35mm pictures and I’m glad we did.  Photos (and video) capture many things your journal does not – what you are wearing, eating, doing, etc.  Many of these things are lost in a journal and over time.
  1. Swap photos (or videos) with other thru-hikers: Your Trail buddies may bring a different perspective to the thru-hike in the pictures they take, angles they shoot, moments they capture, etc.  They may also take a lot of pictures of you during the hike.  That’s something you can’t easily do on your own.
  1. Be grateful to those who provide services on the trail. You are setting a legacy for the future.
  1. Don’t forget those who made this possible. Thank every volunteer you meet. Pitch in when and where you can (now or later). The A.T. exists because of the Trail maintainers and they can’t be thanked enough for it.
  1. Mix a few hours of music into your hike each day. It will become the soundtrack of your thru-hike, and 20 years from now those songs will bring back memories just like your journal, photos, or videos.
  1. Know that this experience may haunt you for the rest of your life (in a good way): So embrace it.  The reality is that the trappings of life (jobs, mortgage, car payments, kid expenses, etc.) will find you soon enough.  Those things aren’t necessarily bad, but they make doing a second thru-hike a challenge.  This is truly your time – when you have the freedom to take every day at your pace and to answer only to the Trail.  So make the most of it.

Episode 26: Blind Courage

In Episode 26 of the N2Backpacking podcast series, I speak with Director Clint Ross who is hard at work with Producer Paula O'Neal on the film adaptation of the book Blind Courage, which is based on the 1990 Appalachian Trail thru-hike of Bill Irwin – the first legally blind hiker to complete the entire Trail within a single year.

In the show, Clint discusses the first draft of the screenplay, the trailer, and the upcoming plans to film the movie.  He also give us some personal insight in to Bill Irwin and how he overcame alcohol and tobacco addiction through faith in God and by heeding the call to hike the A.T.

For more information or to follow the making of this film, click here.  For the audio interview click below.

Subject: Blind Courage

Interviewees:  Clint Ross
Interview Date: 
February 25, 2015
Download Now: 
Blind Courage – The Bill Irwin Film (WMA format 68.2 Meg);
Blind Courage – The Bill Irwin Film  (MP3 format 49.2 Meg)

You can follow or subscribe to this podcast if you click here (via Blubrry, Facebook, Google+, iGoogle, iTunes, RSS, Twitter, Stitcher, Yahoo, Zune). Or click this link for a complete list of N2Backpacking podcasts.