Episode 35: Most Influential Backpackers?

In Episode 35, we discuss the most influential hikers and backpackers of all time as we sit by a campfire in North Georgia on an autumn night with coyotes running wild in the background.  First, a shout out to the trail conferences, clubs, maintainers, ridge-runners, trail angels, and financial benefactors to Trail – because you are collectively more important than any individual for your contributions.  But tonight we review some of the names that came up the most frequently in hiking and backpacking forums when we posted the question to the trail community.

On the show, we discuss those who influenced us personally to get on the Trail. Then we review some of the well known hikers, backpackers, and long-distance thru-hikers that were mentioned as “influential” to the hiking and backpacking community and planted the seed for all of us – to “Get On The Trail”. We promise you a few surprises, and no doubt plenty of controversy. So listen in and let us know who we missed.

Subject: The Most Influential Hikers And Backpackers Of All Time
Interviewees: PokyBo, BeerRun, World Wide Wanderer
Interview Date: September 30, 2016
Runtime: 36:15

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  1. john parker says:

    I listened to this and didn’t hear Andrew Skurka, Ryan Jordan, Henry Shires and several others mentioned. Possibly it was the way you framed the question but these guys have had as much impact as Ray Jardine! or mebbe even more. And of course Grandma Gatewood!

    • BirdShooter says:

      We did discuss Grandma Gatewood, but the names you mention didn’t show up in the hiking/backpacking forums as much as the others. I agree that Skurka, Jordan, and Shires all aided the long distance and lightweight hiking mindset and deserve a nod. We’ll likely give a shout out to some of these folks in a future show – as there’s been plenty of feedback on the topic. Thanks for reaching out.

  2. john Baranowski says:

    I enjoyed your blog about Grandma Gatewood. When I was a Boy Scout in 1955 hiking the AT near Front Royal Virginia I shared a shelter with Grandma Gatewood. At that time the shelters had bunks with springs on top of them and she slept on the bare springs. She carried a feed sac with just a few things in it. One thing she carried was a small hand gun and she made it well known that she had it in her sac. We talked for a few hours before bed time and she told us (there were 4 Boy Scouts) she stopped at selected houses along the trail to have her meals. She had a sore ankle and walked with a limp.

    I really enjoy your pod cast but I wish you wouldn’t put too much emphasis on beer drinking. There are a whole lot of us who do not drink and enjoy nature at it’s best. I have been hiking for 45 years and have enjoyed being in nature with a lot of good people. Try my blog at http:/christianhiker@blogspot.com. I am just an occasional blogger not nearly as pro as you.

    • BirdShooter says:

      Grandma Gatewood is a special lady and certainly an inspiration for many of the thru-hikers that followed. If you haven’t read Ben Montgomery’s book yet (Grandma Gatewood’s Walk) I highly recommend it. It sounds like she had numerous encounters with youth on the Trail and seems to have made a lasting impression on most of them.

      We have been known to kick back a few brews around the campfire, but the bulk of these shows are not recorded in the backcountry – so if you sample the entire series I think you’ll find that is not our focus. Thanks for the feedback and best wishes.

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