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.

#105 | Miss Janet, Legendary AT Trail Angel Backpacker Radio

In today's episode of Backpacker Radio presented by The Trek, we are joined by legendary Appalachian Trail trail angel, Miss Janet.  We learn about how cute boys was her gateway back to the trail in the 70s, the history of how people learned about and communicated around the trail, and why she's dedicated so much of her life to helping AT hikers.  We also touch on some hot button issues surrounding the trail, including when trail magic crosses the line, the impact of partying on the trail, and what she sees as a solution to the abundance of trash in some of the more popular areas. We wrap the show with a triple crown of bad farts, Chaunce and I answer some listener questions, and who do you think you are? I am!   OnX discount code: Use code: "Backpackerradio20" for 20% off at Gossamer Gear discount code: Use code "POOPSTORY" to save 15% off your cart at Reel toilet paper discount code: Use code "BACKPACKER" to save 25% at Picky Bars discount code: Use code "BACKPACKER" for 20% off $25 Picky Bars. [divider] Interview with Miss Janet Instagram QOTD: What has been your best trail magic experience? Are fish worth it?  00:16:21 – Pop Quiz – what year did Miss Janet and Badger meet?  00:17:05 – Can you tell me about your upbringing and the confluence of getting involved with the AT?  00:18:22 – Why were you afraid of the first hiker you saw on the AT?  00:19:55 – Do you remember what year it was the first time you met an AT hiker?  00:22:50 – What interesting things happened on the AT in 1985? 00:26:38 – Is your mom still in Erwin today? Is she still part of the AT experience?  00:29:36 – What happens in between you being introduced to the AT and you opening  your own hostel? 00:32:30 – So you were surprised by the sheer amount of hikers when you moved back to Erwin? 00:36:14 – When you started your hostel were there enough hikers to support two hostels?  00:40:35 – What year did you start your hostel? 00:41:08 – How did people know which hostel to go to in the late 90’s? 00:42:48 – Why were you banned from the email list? 00:47:56 – How many people drop out by the time they hit Mountain Crossing? 00:50:58 – What are people’s reasoning for not registering with the ATC? 00:54:55 – How do you calculate how many people are vlogging their AT hike?  00:55:41 – Have you noticed that people are starting early and earlier every year?  00:57:27 – Would you advocate for a daily cap on the AT like the PCT?  01:01:03 – Can you talk about that photograph that came out last year with all the trash on Max Patch? 01:02:02 – Are there efforts made by trail angels to relay the importance of LNT? 01:04:58 – Don’t leave out styrofoam coolers if you aren’t coming back for them. 01:07:14 – What are your thoughts on the difference between trail magic and hiker feeds?  01:14:06 – Have you noticed that at every major road crossing there’s so much trail magic that hikers have come to just expect it?  01:17:37 – Have you noticed thru-hiker entitlement as time has gone on? 01:23:43 – How would you define the AT experience? 01:26:30 – How would you define what an AT thru-hike looks like?  01:35:31 – is there any consistent theme to the gap between what people are expecting and what they end up actually experiencing?  01:40:42 – How often do you end up being the AT therapist? 01:43:40 -How often do you think hikers get off because they are bored? 01:47:10 – Can you bridge the gap between Miss Janet’s hostel and the Miss Janet that trail angels up and down the AT? 01:49:30 – How much of the trail had you hiked prior to that?  01:54:15 – Would you trade your hiking style for making it all the way to Katadhin?   01:55:58 – How did you go from hostels to doing traveling trail angeling?  01:58:00 – What is it about the trail that keeps you coming back? What is it that you love about the people and culture?  02:09:17 – Where can people find Miss Janet?  Instagram SEGMENTS Trek Propaganda  AT Killer James Jordan Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity Trail Profile: How to Hike the 96-Mile Lone Star Hiking Trail by Katie Houston Triple Crown of Bad Farts Listener Q&A 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. Follow The Trek, Chaunce, Badger, and  Trail Correspondents on Instagram. Follow The Trek and Chaunce on YouTube. A super big thank you to our Chuck Norris Award winner(s) from Patreon: Jason Lawrence, Austen McDaniel, Andrew, Christopher Marshburn, S11N, Sawyer Products, Brad and Blair (Thirteen Adventures), and Cameron Brown. A big thank you to our Cinnamon Connection Champions from Patreon: Cynthia Voth, Brandon Spilker, Emily Brown, Jeffrey Miller, Mitchell, Zoe Jenkins, Dcnerdlet, Jeff LaFranier, Mark Snook, Peter Ellenberg, Thomas Fullmer, Jacob Northrup, Peter Leven, TraskVT and Lindsay Sparks. 
  1. #105 | Miss Janet, Legendary AT Trail Angel
  2. #104 | Ben Crawford on Thru-Hiking the AT with a Family of 8
  3. #103 | How to Train for a Thru-Hike ft. Dr. Freeborn Mondello
  4. #102 | Clara Hughes, Olympian and Thru-Hiker
  5. #101 | Emily Ford on Thru-Hiking the Ice Age Trail in Winter

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

31. The Packraft Handbook with Luc Mehl Out and Back

Learn more about Luc Mehl and his Alaskan adventures on his website. Follow him on Instagram. And pick up a copy of “The Packraft Handbook” to get the best tips for staying safe on moving water. Pre-orders are available now and will be shipped in June.Finally, make sure to check out the Out and Back Instagram Page.Remember, podcast listeners get a Discount on a Gaia GPS Membership!
  1. 31. The Packraft Handbook with Luc Mehl
  2. 30. The Pacific Crest Trail with Barney "Scout" Mann
  3. 29. Vasu Sojitra
  4. 28. Backcountry Fitness
  5. 27. Adrian Ballinger

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.







Out There: A Voice from the Wild by Chris Townsend

Chris Townsend (born 1949) is the hiking author who’s influenced me most.

He’s written over 20 books, including Cicerone guidebooks,  and countless articles

I started with High Summer: Backpacking The Canadian Rockies (1989).

He’s most famous for The Backpacker’s Handbook.

But If you’ve never read Chris Townsend, I’d recommend you start with Out There: A Voice from the Wild. I recently read the Kindle edition while hiking on Vancouver Island.

Chris reflects back on the takeaways from all those trips.

Drawing from more than forty years of experience as an outdoorsman, and probably the world’s best known long distance walker who also writes, Chris Townsend describes the landscapes and wildlife, the walkers and climbers, and the authors who have influenced him in this lucid and beautiful book.

Writing from his home in the heart of the Cairngorms he discusses the wild, its importance to civilisation and how we cannot do without it.