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...]

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 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...]

Episode 39: Hiking News 2016 (Grand Canyon)

In Episode 39, Therm Rider and I do a live winter show from the Yavapai Lodge at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.  After a day hiking on the Arizona and Rim Trails, we kick back a cold one and discuss some of the major hiking news events of 2016. In the show, Therm Rider and I recap and debate some of the U.S. news events that were heavily publicized in the outdoor community last year - including epic fails with drones, lost lives from selfies, and wildlife issues and encounters.  … [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" … [Read more...]

Showers Bring Waterfalls And Flowers For Our Summer Backpacking Trip To Panthertown Valley

Panthertown Valley is one of my favorite hiking spots in North Carolina. It is located near Cashiers, NC in the western section of the State and was purchased by the Nature Conservancy from Duke Power in 1989. Panthertown is now part of the Nantahala National Forest and has been growing rapidly in popularity - especially over the last ten years. Schoolhouse Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls in Panthertown. When we first visited Panthertown in 2001, there was only the occasional … [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 … [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 … [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 … [Read more...]