Grandma Gatewood’s Walk by Ben Montgomery

Emma Rowena (Caldwell) Gatewood, known as Grandma Gatewood was an American ultra-light hiking pioneer.

After a difficult life as a farm wife, mother of eleven children, and victim of domestic violence, she became famous as the first solo female thru-hiker of the 2,168-mile (3,489 km) Appalachian Trail (A.T.) in 1955 at the age of 67.

She subsequently became the first person (male or female) to hike the A.T. three times …

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.


Thru-Hiker Clara “Redfeather” Hughes

In Canada, Clara Hughes is a household name.

A legend, she won multiple Olympic medals in both Summer and Winter Games — 6 medals total. The only person ever to have won multiple medals in both.

BUT she met her husband, Peter Guzman, on the AT.

And went on to become a legendary thru-hiker.

#122 | Fancy Feast + Hot Ones (Hiker Trash Edition) Backpacker Radio

In today's episode of Backpacker Radio presented by The Trek, we open the show with a Hiker Trash edition of "Hot Ones", where Chaunce and Badger are grilled by Elise while eating incredibly hot wings. Tears, fear, and slamming beers ensues. We also feature our most impromptu interview to date with our new pal, Fancy Feast. Fancy Feast just wrapped a thru-hike of the Colorado Trail, after having her SOBO PCT plans thwarted by California's fires. In addition to giving us the unenviable story of finding Badger's dirty socks, she shares her experiences of working a variety of conservation jobs, including her time at the Green Mountain Club, and quite possibly the funniest trail name origin story we've ever heard. We wrap the show with a triple crown of the most beautiful spaces we've seen while backpacking, a quick n dirty gear review on the Platypus QuickDraw, and some listener feedback on period underwear.   Minus33: Head to and use code “21backpacker15” for 15% off your order Enlightened Equipment: Save 10% off of Enlightened Equipment’s Stock Revelation Quilt or Torrid Jacket with code “thetrek10” here  Organifi discount code: Use code “backpacker” at for 20% off your purchase ZBiotics: Use code “trek10” at [divider] Interview with Fancy Feast Fancy Feast's Instagram Time stamps & Questions 00:04:40 – QOTD: Do people attempting an FKT take the time to bury their poop? 00:06:30 – Backpacker Team Hot Ones 00:07:23 – How is everyone’s spice tolerance?  00:09:05 – Chaunce, what’s the longest you have gone without a shower? 00:11:00 – Zach, are there any big adventure plans with Leo?  00:12:20 – Chaunce, if you could co-host with someone other than Zach, who would you pick? 00:12:42 – Zach, if you could co-host with someone other than Chaunce, who would you pick? 00:14:03 – Can you name the first 10 episodes of Backpacker Radio in order?  00:18:11 – Zach, do you and Chaunce ever argue over creative differences? If so, when?  00:21:10 – Chaunce, what annoys you the most about Zach? 00:23:03 – Zach, can you explain this Tweet: “We imitate dog stretches and sexual positions, but not their affinity for goose shit. Seems arbitrary to me.” What inspired that? 00:24:23 – Chaunce, are there any episodes you wish you could erase?  00:27:29 – What’s the most annoying thru-hiking cliche?  00:31:34 – Chaunce, are you single?  00:32:07 – Zach, what was the last thing you lied to Jenna about?  00:33:39 – Chaunce, do you know what the Vas Deferens are? The seminal vesicles? The corona?  00:38:21 – Zach, can you sing “Walking Slow” by Animal Years? 00:40:11 – What’s the worst Leave No Trace error you’ve made?  00:43:13 – Out of all the guests on the show, are there any that you’d never want to hike with or have back on the show?  00:44:50 – Chaunce and Zach, will either of you triple crown?  00:49:10 – Introducing Fancy Feast 00:50:26 – Backstory of Zach’s sock search  00:53:22 – When did you finish the Colorado Trail?  00:53:39 – Give us your backpacking resume 00:57:06 – What was it like to work for the Green Mountain Club?  00:57:12 – Walk us through your job  00:58:00 – How do you go about educating other hikers?  00:58:43 – How did you handle poop stirring tasks?  00:58:57 – What do you stir the waste with?  00:59:43 – How many total privies have you stirred?  01:01:14 – What is the difference between the privies?  01:01:51 – Do you wear a N95 mask when doing those tasks?  01:02:02 – Have you ever gotten poop soup on you? 01:03:13 – What happens after the composting process begins?  01:03:34 – Where does the new soil get distributed?  01:04:34 – Do you have any advice for others looking for a similar job?  01:05:46 – Anything else on the hiking resume?  01:07:00 – What is it like to be told you need to get off trail vs. when you make the decision yourself?  01:10:05 – When you switched to the Sierra, was it a strategic decision?  01:10:48 – Did you hike the CT with other PCT hikers? 01:13:04 – What was the journey like getting from the PCT to the CT? 01:15:58 – What’s the Southwest Conservation Corp?  01:16:35 – What are some examples of the work?  01:18:00 – How did you end up getting into conservation work?  01:19:33 – Give us your pitch on why trail maintenance is rewarding  01:22:52 – How many compliments do you get on your hat?  01:23:20 – How did you find out about Zach’s socks?  01:24:04 – Did you have trouble finding them? 01:24:48 – What was appealing about the sock hunt?  01:26:44 – What hike is next?  01:27:28 – Do you have to worry about snow?  01:29:04 – What knowledge do you need to have about cows?  01:30:26 – Is this a paid role? 01:30:36 – Is there an adventure planned for after ski bumming?  01:31:29 – If you went back on the conservation end of the spectrum, do you have a dream conservation job?  01:32:15 – How did you get the name Fancy Feast?  01:34:58 – Did it taste like it smells?  01:35:24 – Have you eaten cat food since?  01:36:45 – As a listener, what is something you’ve always wanted to say to the hosts?  01:37:45 – Was it a conscious decision to not wear makeup on an episode where you’re sweating?  01:38:14 – How does the studio compare to your expectations?  01:38:56 – What was your least favorite episode?  01:39:20 – What do you do to save money?  01:40:29 – What was your favorite episode?  01:42:49 – Anything else you’d like to convey, Fancy Feast?     SEGMENTS Hot Ones Bet  Trek Propaganda  Triple Crown of the best backpacking views  Gross or Not Gross If you don't wash thrifted clothes before you wear them Mail Bag  5 Star Review [divider] Check out our sound guy @Paulybooyshallcross. Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes (and please leave us a review)!  Find us on Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Play. Support us on Patreon to get bonus content. Advertise on Backpacker Radio Follow The Trek, Chaunce, Badger, and  Trail Correspondents on Instagram. Follow The Trek and Chaunce on YouTube. Follow Backpacker Radio on Tik Tok.  A super big thank you to our Chuck Norris Award winner(s) from Patreon: Andrew, Ausen McDaniel, Jason Lawrence, Christopher Marshburn, Sawyer Products, Brad and Blair (Thirteen Adventures), Brent Stenberg, Patrick Cianciolo, Brandon Spilker and Matt Soukup. A big thank you to our Cinnamon Connection Champions from Patreon: Cynthia Voth,, Emily Brown, Mitchell, Dcnerdlet, Jeff LaFranier, Peter Ellenberg, Jacob Northrup, Peter Leven, TraskVT, Lindsay Sparks, Liz Seger and Lisa Douglas.
  1. #122 | Fancy Feast + Hot Ones (Hiker Trash Edition)
  2. #121 | Nicole Antoinette 2.0
  3. #120 | Social Media x Backpacking
  4. #119 | Lauren & Henri de la Vega: The Triple Crown Power Couple
  5. #118 | Girl Stuff 2.0 – Backcountry Hygiene, Trail Horniness, Favorite Apparel, and More

Father of the FKT – Buzz Burrell

The poster boy for Fastest Known Times is Kílian Jornet Burgada.

As I post, Kilian holds the fastest known time for the ascent and descent of MatterhornMont BlancDenali and perhaps Everest.

But it’s  Buzz Burrell who really popularized the concept, co-founding with Peter Bakwin and Jeff Schuler.

Buzz Burrell

Those three run the site on a voluntary basis.  And it’s a ton of work.

Buzz himself had been racing routes for decades. He set the FKT on the Colorado Trail in 1999.  The FKT on John Muir in 2000. 

This interview with Buzz will fill you with respect.  Buzz co-hosts his own audio show called the FKT Podcast

41. Thru-Hiking Secrets with Halfway Anywhere Out and Back

Before Mac of Halfway Anywhere thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 2013, he struggled to find useful information about the trail. Sure, he read anecdotal thru-hiking accounts. But what worked for one person might not work for him. Mac wanted data. So after completing the trail that year, Mac started a PCT survey to gather that data for himself. The results both somewhat dismayed him while at the same time, proved quite useful. For example, one of Mac’s many findings suggested that hikers wildly underestimate how much a thru-hike costs. In fact, underestimating thru-hike finances proves to be one of the primary reasons people abandon their hike.After Mac thru-hiked the Continental Divide Trail in 2017, he started a survey for that trail as well. Surprising to many, the CDT mostly sticks to well-defined trail. But unlike other long trails, the CDT provides numerous “alternates” that hikers can take to supplement or supplant the official route. Mac was able to get surprising figures about these "alternates" as well as tons of other useful data for future CDT thru-hikers. On today's episode of Out and Back, Mac weaves his eight years of survey data together with his first hand observations to illuminate how the PCT and CDT have evolved over the past decade. Hint: he doesn’t think it’s all been for the better. He also dishes out his controversial view of trail angels and trail magic. Plus, Mac explains why he hates the word “tramly” (aka “trail family). Finally, you may have noticed the elephant in the room: Mac has not thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail and does not conduct an AT survey. In fact, Mac swears he will never hike the east’s longest trail. He explains why he feels this way…and of course…Shanty will try and change Mac's mind about it…A self-proclaimed random guy on the internet, Mac has no proven validity to his findings. But he’s here to help prospective thru-hikers actually glean information that will be useful in their monumental undertaking. Mac may not be a scientist, but he thinks with the precision of one, constantly trying to refine and improve the surveys with each iteration. If you’re planning on thru-hiking the PCT or the CDT next year, sign up to take the survey when it becomes available. Comb through the vast PCT and CDT survey data on Mac’s website, Halfway Anywhere. You’ll also find all types of useful insight and analysis, including gear guides for both the PCT and CDT. Sign up for Mac’s newsletter, and follow Mac’s adventures on Instagram. Make sure to check out the Out and Back podcast page on Instagram, too!And remember, podcast listeners get a Discount on a Gaia GPS Membership!
  1. 41. Thru-Hiking Secrets with Halfway Anywhere
  2. 40. Backcountry Coffee with the Pros
  3. 39. Mike Clelland – Owls and UFOs
  4. 38. She Dreams of Alpine, Allison Boyle
  5. 37. Life With Fire (Amanda Monthei)

Barney (Scout) Mann’s Pacific Crest Trail book

In Journeys North, legendary trail angel, thru hiker, and former PCTA board chair Scout spins compelling tales of hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail in 2007 as they walk from Mexico to Canada.

That year terrible snow storms rocked the Canadian border starting the last days in September.

Barney (Scout) Mann hiked with wife Sandy (Frodo) Mann, and recounts fascinating stories of others they traveled alongside that season.

For me, Blazer was the most interesting.

The book is unusual.  Not your standard step-by-step trail journal.

Instead the time line jumps forward and back along the trail, using PCT anecdotes to illustrate bigger life lessons.

If asked to recommend just one book on the PCT, Journeys North would be it.  The best starting point for a hiker considering it. 

Other excellent and inspiring reads include:


Barney Scout Mann has hiked the Appalachian, Pacific Crest, and Continental Divide Trails. He has been board chair of the Pacific Crest Trail Association and is president of the Partnership for the National Trails System. Mann has been recognized with a Lowell Thomas Journalism Award and is the coauthor of The Pacific Crest Trail: Exploring America’s Wilderness Trail and author of The Continental Divide Trail: Exploring America’s Ridgeline Trail. He and his wife, Sandy, live in San Diego and have hosted more than 7,000 PCT hikers. Visit him online at



super hiker Mary Cochenour

Tune in to this week’s episode of the Out and Back podcast as Mary tells a thrilling tale about her early days as a wilderness ranger in the Lake Tahoe Basin.

Hear about her first night spent alone in the wilderness and what happened months later when she discovered that a man had been following her around the backcountry. …

Mary … is the Out and Back podcast producer and a writer and editor at Gaia GPS.

When she is not in the office, Mary works as a guide for Andrew Skurka Adventures in wild places around the west, like Rocky Mountain National Park, Yosemite, and the Brooks Range in Alaska. …

Click through to listen to the story online:

Solo Backpacking with a Stalker

The American Perimeter Trail

Planned is a a 12,000-mile loop of existing trails, roads, and off-trail travel.

Something like this.

Rue McKenrick, a triple crown veteran, walked away from his home in Bend.  And is inventing the route as he goes along.

When COVID-19 hit, Rue kept hiking — but

no longer resupplied in towns, relying on a 7 day resupply box which was sent to remote post offices. I utilized lesser known trails and continued up the east coast on the avoiding the popular, but closed Appalachian trail. …”

It’s a work in progress.

Click through for details:

I learned of this project via the Out and Back podcast interview – episode 10 – Rue McKenrick and the American Perimeter Trail

Andrew Skurka interview

Andrew Skurka is without question one of the most accomplished hikers in history.  A legend.

  • Alaska-Yukon Expedition (6 months, 4,700 miles),
  • Great Western Loop (7 months, 6,875 miles), and the
  • Sea-to-Sea Route (11 months, 7,775 miles).

He’s run a 2:28 marathon, as well.

The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide: Tools & Tips to Hit the Trail, was published by National Geographic – over 125,000 copies sold.

Today he and his team lead people to exciting destinations, teaching skills along the way: planning, gear, fitness, food, navigation, responding to emergencies, etc.

In a recent podcast interview Andrew explains why he still prefers map and compass, using electronics as a back-up.  And you have to believe him since it was sponsored by the Gaia GPS app.

Click PLAY or listen to it clicking through via Twitter.