Category Archives: long distance hiking

Bly Gap, North Carolina – January 31, 2015


This is a video of a January 31, 2015 backpacking trip to Bly Gap, North Carolina which is located just past the Georgia-North Carolina State line on the Appalachian Trail.  It was the first time I'd been here in 20 years and it was great to be back.  Northbound thru-hikers love this place because it marks the completion of the first of fourteen States on the A.T.  

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 only designated areas, no dogs in to the park, etc).

Bissell states, and I agree, that this problem will only get worse with the release of Wild and Walk In The Woods in the next twelve months, and with the popularity and Internet accessibility of Appalachian Trail documentaries that generate additional interest in thru-hiking.

Let's all hope that Baxter State Park gets federal funding to expand their operations, because there's no better place to finish (or start) an Appalachian Trail thru-hike than at Mt. Katahdin in the Park.

Episode 25: Flip Flop Flippin'

Flip Flop Flippin

In Episode 25 of the N2Backpacking podcast series, I speak with Scott “Squatch” Herriott about his three part series Flip Flop Flippin'.  The films were shot on the Appalachian Trail during the summers of 2011, 2012, and 2014 and they follow the thru-hiker community as they make their way along the nearly 2200 mile trail.

In the show, “Squatch” talks about his first ventures in to the wilderness, some of the thru-hikers and trail angels that he met on the A.T., and his experience as a filmmaker in the backcountry.  His skills as a stand-up comedian come across in his videos and on the podcast.  So I am sure that you will enjoy both.


For more information on Squatch and his films, click here!  For the audio interview click below.

Subject: Flip Flop Flippin'

Interviewees:  Scott “Squatch” Herriott
Interview Date: 
November 21. 2014
Download Now: 
Flip Flop Flippin' (WMA format 55.1 Meg);
Flip Flop Flippin'  (MP3 format 75.7 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.

Episode 23: Hard Way Home



In Episode 23 of the N2Backpacking podcast series, I speak with Kori “Rocket” Feener about her recently released film Hard Way Home which documents her personal journey on the ~ 2200 mile Appalachian Trail in 2012.  

In the movie, Kori talks about her physical and emotional struggles on the A.T., the healing powers of long distance hiking, and what it’s like to film and produce a film while hiking the Appalachian Trail.  She also gives us some insight in to the film industry and talks about her recent trips to various film festivals in the U.S.

For more information on Kori and her film, click here!  For the audio interview click below.

Subject: Hard Way Home (via the Appalachian Trail)
Interviewees:  Kori “Rocket” Fenner
Interview Date: 
September 29. 2014
Download Now: 
Hard Way Home (WMA format 45.2 Meg);
Hard Way Home (MP3 format 60.0 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.



#7 Listen to music

Just read an article at Appalachian Trials on “9 Things A Former Thru-Hiker Wishes She Had Known Before Hitting The Trail“.  And what was on the list?   My personal favorite….

#7 Listen to music:

” It will help keep you positive in the present as you hike and afterwards the music you listened to will become a time machine back to exact moments on the trail. You may not know the place or even the state but the song will bring back a perfectly rendered memory. “

Many go in to the woods to leave technology behind.  I work in technology, and I promise you that when I go in to the woods there’s nothing more that I want to do than leave technology behind.

But when you are hiking ~ 2200 miles to Maine – it’s a long, long way to walk.  Yes, music helps – believe me.  Actually, everything helps – hiking in silence, listening to the birds, talking with a day-hiker or fellow thru-hiker, and  ….. even listening to music for an hour or two.  (It’s an 8-12 hour thru-hiking day, you get that.)

So this week, I’ve been listening to cassette tapes that a group of friends made me for my hike in 1994.  I summited Mt. Katahdin 20 years ago this October, and the music does bring me back – as the article states.  There truly is a soundtrack to a thru-hike (and your life.)  And yes … all the memories do come flooding back.

Even if it originated on cassettee tapes that were played on a yellow waterprooof Walkman.   On a thru-hike … the music does matter, maybe not today – but tomorrow.



Episode 22: Walk In The Woods, Life As An Extra

Walk In The Woods

In Episode 22 of the N2Backpacking podcast series, I speak with Ken aka “The Weasel” about our experience as extras in the soon to be released movie Walk In The Woods.   It is based on the best-selling 1998 book by Bill Bryson, and stars Robert Redford and Nick Nolte – both who were on set for our scene in the movie which was filmed at Stone Mountain Park near Atlanta, Georgia.

Ken and I record the podcast 2 years to the day of an  interview we did on the Chattooga River Trail (Episode #5).  We talk about what it takes to get the casting call, discuss life on the set, review some scenes from the movie, and talk about the impact this Hollywood production may have on the Appalachian Trail and other long distance hiking trails in the future.    

Want a shot at your 15 seconds of fame?  Hurry, because they are wrapping up production of Walk In The Woods in June.  But you can follow this link to CL Casting to see the Atlanta casting calls that remain.

Subject: Walk In The Woods, Life As An Extra
Interviewees:  Ken (aka The Weasel)
Interview Date: June 10, 2014
Runtime: 1:09:40
Download Now: Walk In The Woods (WMA format 50.3 Meg);
Walk In The Woods (MP3 format 66.8 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.


From movie set to backcountry set, a Walk In The Woods on the Appalachian Trail

You may have heard that Walk In The Woods is filming now in the Atlanta area, and Friday I was cast as an extra in a bunkroom scene with actors Robert Redford and Nick Nolte.  True to the book, it was set at Rainbow Springs, N.C. after an April snowstorm.  Needless to say, I had the Appalachian Trail on the brain and talked two friends in to a hike this weekend on the Trail.  Took my backpack straight from the set, and arrived at Hightower Gap on the A.T. on a beautiful spring day.

We had sunshine and cool temps with mountain breezes all day and climbed ~500 feet to the shelter with leaves just beginning to break out on the trees.


Campsites are plentiful at the shelter, but with kids in tow – we opted to camp on the ridge at the junction with a blue blazed side trail.  The bonus – many hikers passed by and had interesting stories to tell.


After setting up camp, we walked down to the shelter to chat with some of the other backpackers.  Two were hiking to Damascus, VA but we only ran in to one thru-hiker this trip who intentionally waited until late in the season to start and miss the masses.


Then back to the campsite where the dog relaxed …


And the kids entertained themselves with making bows and arrows…


A great night in general and a beautiful evening in the backcountry – with a spring sunset through the trees and stars and a cresent moon lighting the sky.  No wonder we stayed up until after 1am.  


Hopefully, Walk In The Woods captures this kind of Spring magic on the Trail.  And from what I've seen so far … it will.



And the monsoons came. A tale from Good Friday…

The kid's were out of school for Good Friday recently, so we took them backpacking on the Appalachian Trail near Tray Mountain.  Here they are at Tray Gap about a mile from the summit.

Even the dog was having a great time at Tray Gap and went straight for a mega muddle puddle at the cross-roads.  Three 4×4 Jeeps did the same and entertained the kids before we hit the Trail.  All got a good smattering of mud as you can see below…  Uh, I gotta sleep with that? 

We considered camping closer to Tray Mountain Shelter (where I slept during my thru-hike – 20 years to the day), but with inclement weather coming in opted for a campsite South on the A.T. with this view back to Tray Mountain.

We had about an hour to get our tents set-up, but the wind and heavy rain came as predicted.  So off we went to Helen, GA for dinner – we might as well dine in comfort!


True to the Bavarian tourist theme, you can get a bratwurst and beer in this town.  And we did…beats cooking in the rain, eh.

Then back to our oasis in the monsoon.  Fortunately, Ken gathered and covered wood in advance of the storm.  Damn that fire feels nice!  

But will the kids make it through the night??  I'll let you guess on that one.

20 years ago today, I left Springer Mountain in North Georgia…

20 years ago today, I left Springer Mountain in North Georgia for a ~2200 mile hike on the Appalachian Trail. Met these two guys (Bull and The Red Rainman) the night before at Amicalola Falls State Park and climbed 8.1 miles to the start of the Trail where we snapped this pic. It's the journey – not the destination. True on the A.T. and true in life…