Reverse order

Episode 1: The John Muir Trail

In Episode 1 (the inaugural episode) of the N2Backpacking podcast series, I speak with Glenn and Susan about their adventures on the John Muir Trail (JMT) in 2006.  The Helmet and Doughgirl talk about their preparations, planning, logistics, gear and favorite stops on the John Muir Trail which traverses a portion of the High Sierra in Northern California.

Episode 2: The Foothills Trail (Gorges Section)

In Episode 2, John (aka The Kidd) talks about the Gorges Section of the Foothills Trail in western North Carolina and northwestern South Carolina.  In this phone interview, The Kidd talks about our  2001  Foothills Trail hike (and the 10th anniversary of the trip) which took us through a 45 mile section of the 76 mile trail over the course of three days in the Spring of 2001.

Episode 3: Ease In To Backpacking

In Episode 3, Steve (aka White Lightening) talks about how he migrated from camping in his youth, to hiking with kids in his 30’s, and eventually wilderness backpacking as he reached his 40’s.

Episode 4: The Chilkoot Trail

Chilkoot Trail

In Episode 4, Roger (aka The Camel) speaks about The Chilkoot Trail which is a 33 mile route that starts in Dyea, Alaska (near Skagway) and ends at Lake Bennett, British Columbia.

Episode 5: The Chattooga River Trail

In Episode 5, Ken (aka The Weasel) discusses his experiences on the Chattooga River Trail which is a nearly forty mile route that borders the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia and follows the banks of the Chattooga National Wild And Scenic River from Burrell’s Ford to US 76.

GPS units v's Smartphone apps

I have used both stand-alone GPS units and Smartphone apps on the trail and have yet to resolve which is better. For short day hikes – the Smartphone apps win hands down for convenience and their instant access to trail databases from companies like the North Face. But in the backcountry? I tend to agree with this assessment by Backpacker Magazine gear editor, Kristin Hostetter:

Episode 6: 90's Backpacking

In Episode 6, Kirk (aka SoulGlo) and John (aka Hawkeye) talk about their introduction to backpacking in the early 1990’s. In the show, we discuss trips to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and hikes from Newfound Gap to Ice Water Springs Shelter, Charlie’s Bunion, Peck’s Corner Shelter, Mt. LeConte, n2backpacking.com/hikes/north-carolina and Kephart Shelter. Kirk’s fear of bears is quickly diverted to fear off the aggressive Smoky Mountain shelter mouse and he offers some strategies for dealing with them.

The Most Influential Backpackers Of All Time

Appalachian Trail Plaque of Earl Shaffer

Has it ever been debated on who are the most influential hikers of all time (Top 5)? With the creation of the A.T. Museum, I know there was discussion about the most influential Appalachian Trail backpackers of all time (ie. Earl Shaffer), but what about in general?

I’d argue that Earl Shaffer makes that cut for pioneering the first “official” thru-hike, but what about someone like “Flyin’ Brian” Robinson who became the first hiker to conquer hiking’s Triple Crown in a ca

Episode 7: Global Backpacker

In Episode 7, Phillip (aka the World Wide Wanderer) talks about growing up with his family on military bases around the world and his post-college travels around the globe. The interview offers insight in to places like Nepal’s Annapurna Circuit, Peru’s Machu Pichu, Greece’s Samaria Gorge, and Egypt’s Mount Sinai (the pilgrimage site of St. Catherine Monastery).

Letting Rebel Go: Saying Goodbye To Man's Best Friend

Scattering Rebel's Ashes

I miss my dog – not that I don’t have a new one, but I can’t forget my old one. It was 18 months ago, when Rebel sat outside the door watching me pack for a hike to The Perch in North Georgia. He died within ten days of that trip, and I vividly recall (and photographed) him sitting by my shop door – barking as if to join me. Arthritis kept him from the trail in his later years, but he never gave up hope that I might take him along.

I have a new dog now, and he too has taken to the trail – as all dogs do. Boone made the hike to the Perch last fall much as Rebel did five years earlier. He had a great time, and I enjoyed having Boone with me. But Rebel is never far from my mind. He’s still with me in spirit. He still hikes with me every trip. Gone – but not forgotten as they say.

We all must move on at some point, and I decided the time had come. So on what would have been Rebel’s 14th birthday, my wife, kids and I scattered his ashes on a grave site that we set-up in the backyard. Beneath it were buried some of his possesions: a personalized water dish (made by my wife in pottery class), his tennis balls, a blue bottle of old arthritis medicine, his toothbrush, an old stuffed toy, etc. I put them there one year after he died in November 2011. Boone and the kids stood nearby, but my wife and I were the only ones to fully appreciate the moment.

It has always been our plan to scatter Rebel’s ashes on the trail. So, I saved some for the second anniversary of his death. I have a photo of Rebel taken on the trail in November 2002 where he appears to descend from the sky. That is the spot for his final resting place. Thi

Episode 8: Father Figure

In Episode 8, I speak with my father about how he introduced me to the outdoors and how he served up a steady dose of hiking, camping, and fishing before I reached elementary school.  We talk about the early years, of catching my first fish, of car camping in Ohio, and about the Appalachian Trail – where he joined me for a few days in June during  my 1994 thru-hike.

Episode 9: Crocker Mountains (P1)

In Episode 9, Jim (aka Country Club) and Roger (aka The Camel) talk about our recent hike along the Appalachian Trail near Stratton, Maine. This is the first of a two part series that recaps our October 2012 backpacking trip in New England.

Episode 10: Crocker Mountains (P2)

In Episode 10, Brett (aka Therm Rider) talks about our recent hike along the Appalachian Trail near Stratton, Maine.  This is the second of a two part series that recaps our October 2012 backpacking trip in New England.

Episode 11: Wild Turkey

In Episode 11, Katie (aka Wild Turkey) talks about her ventures in to the wilderness – hiking and backpacking with both friends and family in the Southeast.  Topics include the weather and its impact on the experience, the gear you need for the Trail, and hiking with infants and young children.

Episode 12: Trail Work

In Episode 12, I speak with Amy (aka Mrs. Weasel) in a Banner Elk interview about her experiences on the trail. These include hiking, backpacking, and volunteering along the Appalachian, Benton MacKaye, and Pine Mountain Trails in Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia.

Episode 13: The Appalachian Trail

In Episode 13, KC (aka 30-Pack) details his 2012 thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail that began at Springer Mountain in March and ended nearly 2,200 miles later at Mount Katahdin in September.

Why You Should Be Using a Layered Clothing System

The Base Layer

This is the layer you wear next to your skin. It helps to keep you dry by absorbing moisture and moving it away from your skin. This means that the right base layer will keep you cool in warm weather and warm in cold weather. Wool or synthetic materials are generally used for the base layer, as cotton retains moisture and loses warmth.  Synthetic materials tend to be less expensive than wool, but many feel that wool insulates better. You should wear base layers in which ever activity you engage in as there are different thicknesses available for different temperatures or climates.

The Mid Layer

The mid layer is an insulation layer that helps protect you from the cold. It essentially traps a layer of air, which keeps you warm. If the weather you are hiking or backpacking through is particularly harsh, it means that you can add more layers to keep yourself warmer, and remove them to cool yourself down. A mid layer should be insulating, but breathable too so it allows sweat to escape. Generally mid layers are fleece jackets that zip in to an outer shell layer. Fleece is available in three different weights, so you can wear the appropriate weight for the weather.

  • Lightweight or 100 weight for high aerobic activity or mild climates
  • Midweight or 200 weight for moderate activity or climates
  • Heavyweight or 300 weight for low activity or very cold climates

The Outer Layer

This for protection against the weather. Your outer shell should be waterproof and windproof to shield you against wind and any precipitation. Ideally th

Why You Should Be Using a Layered Clothing System

Bear Grylls - What do you get out of backpacking?

“Question: What do you get out of backpacking personally and with your family?”

“Answer: It gives you that all-precisous sense of freedom and self-determination, and that rare chance to escape the noise of the city and reconnect with who you really are.  Time alone, unhurried, is rare nowadays – don't underestimate what it can

Backpacker Magazine recently ran a survival issue where they featured Bear Grylls throughout the October 2012 issue.  I admit to watching many of Bear's Man v's Wild series and to finding it entertaining.  But something that he said in the interview struck me, and really rings true in the wilderness.  The backcountry really does have a way of breaking you down and revealing the “real you”.  Here's the exact quote….

Episode 14: Ultimate Summer Road Trip (Ox)

In Episode 14, Steve (aka The Ox) and I do an in-studio interview about a 38 day cross-country road trip that took place in the summer of 1998.  We spent most of the tour in the western United States and Canada (Alberta and British Columbia) where we went backpacking and fishing in the Rockies, Cascades, and on the coast of the Pacific Northwest.

The Ultimate Summer Roadtrip - Part Two (Coming Soon)


In the meantime, check out “The Ultimate Summer Roadtrip – Part One” if you haven’t already.  

Had a chance to record a podcast with Mackie recently for “The Ultimate Summer Roadtrip – Part Two”.  

Episode #16: Long Trail Podcast Taping - One-Room Schoolhouse, Barton Vermont


His schoolhouse was built in 1858 and decommissioned in the 1960’s.  It still has the original 

chalk boards inside.  Feeling adventureous?  Ask him for a tour of the attic or the basement!  

The front yard is ripe for a pick-up football game which Glenn and my kids enjoyed before the show.  


Here’s Glenn (aka The Helmet) in his blue Clemson shirt at the taping of Episode #16 of The Long Trail 

Episode 15: Ultimate Summer Road Trip (Mackie)

In Episode 15, Mackie and I sit down to discuss a 65 day and 17,000 mile cross-country road trip that went down in the summer of 1996.  On the journey, we hiked sections of the Appalachian, Continental, and Pacific Crest National Scenic Trails and visited some treasured American wilderness including Isle Royal, Glacier, Mt. Ranier, Redwoods, Yosemite, and Grand Canyon National Park.

Episode 16: The Long Trail

In Episode 16, Glenn (aka The Helmet) and I do a live interview from his historic 1858 schoolhouse in Barton, Vermont.  The topic is the 272 mile Long Trail which in 1930 was the first major long distance trail to be completed in the United States and it set the standard for the other major long distance hiking trails in America.

Episode 17: Embrace The Brutality (CDT)

In Episode 17, Jester and I speak via phone about his 2013 DVD release  “Embrace The Brutality” which documents his 3100 mile thru-hike on the Continental Divide Trail.

Episode 18: The Triple Crown

In Episode 18, Troubadour recounts his quest for the Triple Crown:  Thru-hiking The Appalachian Trail (in 1994), The Continental Divide Trail (in 2002), and The Pacific Crest Trail (in 1999).

N2Backpacking Podcast - 10,000 and counting...

N2B Podcasts 2-21-14 10,000th Show

Episode 19: The Pacific Crest Trail (Bonus)

In Episode 19, I speak with Thirty-Pack about his recent thru-hike on the 2,663 Pacific Crest Trail.  This is the bonus material from the initial interview, so make sure you listen to Episode #20 first.

Episode 20: The Pacific Crest Trail

In Episode 20, Thirty-Pack talks about his 2013 thru-hike on the 2,663 mile Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).  Over six months, he hiked 420,880 feet of elevation walking from Mexico to Canada along the western mountains of the U.S. This after he completed the Appalachian Trail on the East Coast in 2012 (see Episode #13).  Will the Continental Divide Trail and coveted Triple Crown follow in 2014?  Listen and find out.

Episode 21: Great Smoky Mountain National Park

In Episode 21, JD (aka Trail Hard) tells us about his passion for hiking and backpacking in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park – the most visited national park in the United States.

Episode 22: Extra Walk In The Woods

In Episode 22, Ken (aka “The Weasel”) and I discuss 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.

Thru-Hiking Tips From Legendary A.T. Hiker - Warren Doyle

Just found some vintage footy from this legend in the A.T. Thru-Hiking community. I saw him speak at Trail Days many years ago and actually purchased this 1993 Lynne Whelden “How To” video right before I hit the Trail

Episode 23: Hard Way Home

In Episode 23, Kori “Rocket” Feener talks about her recently released film Hard Way Home which documents her personal journey on the ~ 2200 mile Appalachian Trail in 2012.

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.

Red Rock Casino Brings Together Quality Casino Gaming and Excellent Outdoor Adventures


This often creates a bit of tension when it comes time to plan the annual family vacation. You want to go on an outdoor adventure, but your family wants to relax in a high-class hotel. Luckily, a new brand of casino might be just what you need.

Casinos in Vegas have always been known for their versatility. There are casinos that offer just about every kind of experience imaginable in Vegas, but they’re now facing some stiff competition – not just from fellow casinos in the area, but also from their competitors online. Since the launching of Intercasino in 1996, online gambling has been at an all-time high, with casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, owners of the Las Vegas Sands Corp., declaring all-out war against online casinos. In an effort to stand out, casinos have further diversified their offerings, going from simple “casinos” and “casino hotels” to “casino resorts”.

There is, perhaps, no better example of the perfect casino resort than the Red Rock Casino in Las Vegas. While the casino does have some great games, perfect for every kind of gambler, it also offers some superior outdoor adventures, including but not limited to morning horseback rides, river raft adventures, rock climbing, and of course, gorgeous hiking trails. There are both guided hikes and hikes that you can take on your own, with some leading to beautiful hot sp

Red Rock Casino Brings Together Quality Casino Gaming and Excellent Outdoor Adventures The next great adventure might be in Vegas!

Episode 24B: Rookie Mistakes (B101)

In Episode 24, we satisfy a listener request for a show on backcountry basics.  Recorded at a remote campsite on the Chattooga River, I speak with Therm Rider and The Camel about some of our rookie mistakes in the backcountry and smart things that we’ve done since our first ventures in to the wilderness.

A Thru-Hiker Looks At 20


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 quite 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

      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:

N2Backpacking Podcast – Episode 53, Part 2 With Photos And Video

Episode 56: Camino de Santiago

In Episode 56, 3 Dub (aka the World Wide Wanderer) returns to the show to tell us about his spring hike on the 477 mile Camino de Santiago through the countries of France and Spain.  You might recall that Phillip spent 7 months hiking northbound or “NOBO” on the Appalachian Trail last summer and that we spoke in Episode #51 only a few days before his departure to Europe to hike the Camino.

Episode 57: Rim-To-Rim-To-Rim

In Episode 57, Rand tells us about his recent Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim hike through the Grand Canyon in Arizona. This spring he hiked the 42 mile route in 12 hours starting at the South Rim at sunrise, tagging the North Rim by noon, and returning to his starting point near The Yavapai Lodge by sunset – logging more than 20K feet of elevation change while on the trail.

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