EPISODE 96: ABOVE THE ASHES (P1)

In Episode 96, Kevin Conley is back on the show after a six year hiatus to tells us about his last few years as a wildland firefighter, his subsequent battle with mental illness, and his 3500 mile ride across the country to beat it. This journey helped Kevin overcome one of the darkest moments of his life which he details in his recently published book “Above The Ashes” - a powerful memoir of his journey with dog Rocky. We last spoke with Kevin in 2016 after his thru-hikes on the … [Read more...]

THE JOLLY ROGER

Birdshooter-Country Club-The Camel

Two of my backpacking friends had milestone birthdays in 2021, and we had grand plans to celebrate on distant mountains in the western U.S.  But after numerous attempts to synchronize schedules, we settled on a road trip to The Camel's mountain house near Hays, N.C. to celebrate his 60th.  Here we are pulling into his driveway after a long drive from Atlanta. The Camel had neighbors over when we arrived.  So we had a few beverages with them and enjoyed the sunset from the back … [Read more...]

EPISODE 84: THE SHIKOKU PILGRIMAGE

In Episode 84, Paul Barach tells us about his 750 mile and 42 day backpacking trip on the Shikoku Pilgrimage in Japan.  In the show, Paul shares the history of this religious Buddhist route, talks about hiking in traditional pilgrim clothing, and shares some of the challenges that he faced - including heat, hunger, injuries, and infections. You can check out Paul's book "Fighting Monks & Burning Mountains" for all the details, or listen to this interesting discussion about a little … [Read more...]

THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL @ 25 YEARS

It's been 25 years since I set out to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail.  Time has moved exponentially since then, and I now appreciate that there are a few pivotal years in your life. 1994 was the year for me. In the winter of 1994 I lived in Chicago.  I moved to Illinois from North Carolina and as a 20 something enjoyed the conveniences of this large city - walking to restaurants, bars, friend's houses, and taking the short train rides to Cubs and Bears games.    … [Read more...]

TOUGH TIMES & SASSAFRAS MOUNTAIN

Russell Bridge Trailhead 9-15-01

There was a period nearly 20 years ago when times were tough.  Airlines stopped flying, people stopped working, and the media spouted doom and gloom on cable TV for 24 hours a day.  It was 9/11/01 and my first impulse was to get to the wilderness.  So when the weekend came - that is exactly what we did.  Here we are at the Chattooga River trailhead in 2001. Tough times are here again – albeit in a very different scenario.  Stay at home orders are in place, schools are … [Read more...]

EPISODE 72: RIGHT ON TREK

In Episode 72, Victoria Livschitz tells us about "Right On Trek", a website to help hikers and backpackers plan their multi-day backpacking trips.  Victoria did her first thru-hike on the John Muir Trail only a few years ago but has since embraced the sport and logged recent ventures into Patagonia and the Grand Canyon. She joins the show this evening to tell us about her introduction to backpacking, how it changed her life, and why the serial entrepreneur was motivated to create other tools … [Read more...]

BEST HIKING PLACES IN THE UNITED STATES

Hiking is often considered to be a source of healthy exercise, both for the mind and the body. As we hike through the rough terrains, the uphill trails and the obstacles of mother nature, we exert physical exercise on our body, but at the same time, it's also about wandering the beauty of this earth and uncovering this beauty in various places where one might not expect to find it. Discovering the earth is the base human desire, it is simply something we're all born with. While spending some … [Read more...]

EPISODE 65: DREAM JOB

In Episode 65, Johnny Malloy tells us about his passion for hiking and backpacking and how it led to a 30+ year career as a guidebook author. Johnny graduated from the University of Tennessee in the 80's with an economics degree but decided to never work a 9-5 job. He is now an accomplished outdoor writer and columnist with over 70 camping, fishing, hiking, and padding guidebooks to his credit - covering 26 States in the U.S. with many in the heart of Dixie. We recently met at Trail Days … [Read more...]

EPISODE 62B: BACKPACKER FEUD

In Episode 62, we discuss a dozen ways to die in the backcountry - based on an article published in Backpacker magazine and recently updated on their online website. In the show, Beer Run and Therm Rider join me for a "Backpacker Feud" (patterned after the TV game show) to name the top ten killers in the backcountry. Not to make light of the top dangers in the wilderness ... but they are worth knowing and you'll most certainly be surprised by what is NOT on the list. This podcast was … [Read more...]

THE BEST PACKS FOR BACKPACKING

We spend a lot of time recommending to each other the best hikes to head out on. When we do it, we give a lot of advice about things to see and do on the walk. We talk about the difficulty of the terrain, and the scenery to look out for on the way. We point out all the landmarks that will help us stay on track, and all the great places to eat or drink when we’re stopping for refreshments. We might even impart a little wisdom on the best gear to take along for the journey; what kind of clothing … [Read more...]