These are a collection of non thru-hike posts. For thru-hiking posts select the trail above.
Great Divide Trail: Chown to the Snow
Posted on: Sunday September 12, 2021 Hiking Great Divide Trail
Mist hangs low over the river in the morning. We cross the Chown what feels like a hundred times. Our feet freeze to painful stumps in the cold water. There’s just enough time between fords for them to warm to pins and needles before freezing again. Chown Glacier hangs in the end of the valley, feeding the rushing water. It calves for us, sending down a spray of snow and ice.
Great Divide Trail: Section F and a Major Tent Mishap
Posted on: Monday September 6, 2021 Great Divide Trail Hiking
We wake up at 11pm, rain dripping on our faces. Which is a problem, considering we’re inside our tent. We investigate by flashlight. Rain is seeping through our rain fly, splashing on our bug net, then falling through to us. Our sleeping bags are already wet, but there’s not much we can do.
Great Divide Trail: Banff to Field
Posted on: Monday August 2, 2021 Great Divide Trail Hiking
I feel awful leaving Banff in the morning. Keith and Leslie have been amazing and have taken such good care of us, but I’ve lost the ability to sleep in town. Lack of sleep makes me nauseated and I gag my way up the trail. I can feel the smoke today too and my chest is tight. I struggle up to Egypt lake, where we’re distracted by a helicopter flying low. Jaded from Assiniboine, where tourists fly in, I make a comment that as much as I don’t want it to be a rescue, I hope it’s not a flight seeing trip.
Great Divide Trail: Section B Beat Down and Section C Cruising
Posted on: Thursday July 29, 2021 Hiking Great Divide Trail
Safe haven B&B lives up to its name. Our hosts feed us and shuttle us around town, even to the brewery. Two other thru hikers are there for our first night and we’re excited to meet them. We’ve been following their Altra footprints for days. It’s nice to put a face to the tracks. We compare schedules and figure out we’ll share a few campsites after Banff. We’ll have friends for a section!
How to Train for a Thru-Hike
Posted on: Tuesday May 18, 2021 Hiking Great Divide Trail
Right before the Continental Divide Trail and the Appalachian Trail, I joked that I was on a strict training regimen, mostly consisting of eating ice cream and drinking beer. Skinny and tired from back-to-back thru-hikes, I was more worried about regaining lost pounds than maintaining my trail legs.
Dehydrated Dinner time
Posted on: Wednesday May 5, 2021 Hiking Great Divide Trail Tips
The entire house smells like onions. My eyes are watering while I write this. I just spent thirty minutes chopping as many onions as I could to fill the dehydrator. We have boxes of granola bars and trail mix piled up in the corner. Our cupboards are full of candy we’re not allowed to eat for two months. It’s resupply box prep time.
Five Year Anniversary
Posted on: Wednesday April 21, 2021 Hiking Stories Pacific Crest Trail
Five years ago today, I stood at the southern terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail, trying to choke down tears. Getting to a place in your life where you can thru-hike can be as much work as actually completing the trail, and this hike had involved years of dreaming. It didn’t hit me until I was actually at the monument that my dream was about to become a reality. Now all I had to do was walk to Canada. Hiking seemed easy in comparison to putting my life on hold for five months.
My Least Favourite Thru-Hiking Chore
Posted on: Tuesday April 13, 2021 Hiking Great Divide Trail
In 2016, I applied for a PCT permit during the second round of applications. I didn’t bother with the first round, since I was sitting on a beach in Puerto Rico and I was reasonably sure that it wouldn’t fill up. I got my first choice of date. I would have been able to get my second choice too, and my third.
Posted on: Wednesday March 24, 2021 Hiking Stories Winter
It’s a different world in Frontenac from our hike two weeks ago. The snow has melted, leaving a thin sliver of ice running down the trail. Shake’nBake and I swap our snowshoes for microspikes. My bag is full and heavy- not with food for once, but instead with all the layers I’d normally wear over my t-shirt. It’s too warm for even a sweater.
Posted on: Tuesday March 9, 2021 Hiking Stories Winter
It’s dark when we reach the crown land at the edge of Algonquin Park. No worries, we have headlamps. We strap on our snowshoes and head to our summer spot on the edge of a gravel pit. Wind whips the treetops above, and the snow blows up, powder glittering in the beam of my headlamp. It’s only -10c, but the windchill bites through every layer I own. By the time we’ve stamped down our sleeping area, my fingers are numb.
Don't Be a Dummy: Do a Dummy Check!
Posted on: Wednesday March 3, 2021 Hiking Tips Stories
It may sound obvious to check behind you for forgotten items, but so many hikers learn the importance of the dummy check the hard way. Learn from our mistakes, and you’ll never have to replace lost gear.
Minus 22 Degrees: Crown Land Winter Camping
Posted on: Wednesday February 24, 2021 Hiking Winter
About an hour after we leave the car, my jaw unclenches and my shoulders drop. I feel the tension start to burn away, like early morning mist. It’s been a long month and a half stuck in lockdown, unable to leave the house. But now we can camp again. It doesn’t matter that the forecast is bitterly cold, or that no one has packed down the trails. We’re finally outside, where we belong.
Want to Go for a Walk? Tips for Thru-Hiking with Dogs
Posted on: Saturday February 6, 2021 Tips Long Trail Hiking
Chester and I thru-hiked Vermont’s Long Trail in 2019. Chester is a nine pound Biewer Terrier: hardly your typical trail dog. But every day on the trail was the best day of his life.
Solo Thru-Hiking Gear List
Posted on: Wednesday January 27, 2021 Pacific Crest Trail Continental Divide Trail Appalachian Trail Long Trail Gear Lists Hiking
This is my go-to thru-hiking gear. I carried a lot of this gear on the Long Trail, Appalachian Trail and Continental Divide Trail. I did use different gear on the Pacific Crest Trail, but the gear I carry now is definitely an upgrade.
How I got my trail name - Fun Size
Posted on: Sunday January 24, 2021 Hiking Pacific Crest Trail Stories
Almost every thru-hiker ends up with a trail name. Trail names are little nicknames, normally based on something unique about each hiker. Do something stupid and you’ll find it quickly becomes your trail name. It took me two hundred miles to get mine, but it was worth waiting for. I’ve kept my trail name for all of my thru-hikes, and it’s become as much a part of me as my real name.
The Huemul Circuit
Posted on: Friday January 26, 2018 patagonia Hiking
The Huemul Circuit may be the best short hike I’ve ever done. Featuring zip line river crossings, a glacial traverse, high passes and a commanding view of the southern Patagonia ice field, it’s just challenging enough to be fun.
Posted on: Thursday January 18, 2018 patagonia Hiking
We score a deal on car rental in Punta Arenas from our waiter, so we drive south. Flat plains are filled with guanaco, which look like skinny llama. We hop a ferry and then we are on Isla de tierra del fuego. A few more hours and we have an uneventful border crossing into Argentina.
To the Ends of the Earth- Cabo Froward, Patagonia
Posted on: Monday January 15, 2018 patagonia Hiking
The sea surges to my knees as I wade around the slippery rocks. The salt stings a thousand tiny cuts on my legs. The wind throws fistfulls of rain in my face. You are made up of mostly water, I remind myself. This is your element.