Larapinta Day 3

Day 3, Bonds Gap to Jay Creek

No reception between Bonds to Jay Creek.

Passed three groups.

  1. Five men in their thirties hiking the trail from Mt Sonder to Alice in 7 days with roughly 18-20kg and one food drop.
  2. Two girls in their twenties hiking from Mt Sonder to Alice in 21 days.
  3. Ann older couple hiking from Mt Sonder to Alice in 14 days. A little grumpy. They recommended to do the pound walk at Ormiston.

Saw wild cows and bulls that escaped the bigger cattle yards. Apparently, the rangers can’t be bothered putting resources together to get rid of them, but you can see the damage they are doing we should be expecting these in sections 2, 3 & 4.

People we have met at Jay Creek Shelter:

  • A young couple, a guy who couldn’t fathom ultra-hikers and their gears. He was quite offended that his hiking system was outdated. His partner (female American) had just finished her PHD and hiked the AT 1997. The guy recommended that we have a zero day at Ormiston and not to camp at Standley Chasm because it’s crowded with tourist and RV campers. They took a zero day and a half here at Jay Creek in a tent just a little way away from the shelter we’re in. He also mentioned what blanket rice was, you boil for 15 minutes, and then wrap the pot in your sleeping bag for it to continue to cook but also warm your bed. We thought it was a euphemism…
  • Met a guy, ‘Speedy’ Dave, who is a gear freak like me, suggested the following content. He is hiking Alice to MT Sonder with two women, carries 14kg with a bivvy, completes a section a day for 2 weeks, lives in Perth and section hiked the Bibbulmun trail, and hopes to attempt the PCT. He has two kids 5 and 7. Darwin in the trail was what reignited his interest in hiking. Update: we have come across many hikers who have met speedy Dave with a couple of theories of their own about him hiking with two women.
    1. The women were sick of hiking with him, so they slowed down.
    2. Sorry Dave, he is actually a douche bag. (He isn’t he is very lovely).

Speedy Dave Recommendations:

Jay Creek Campsite

  • Shelter with two platforms and USB charging ports in food cub board
  • Two large rainwater tanks (left water tank was polluted)
  • One outdoor toilet

One standalone raised platform

View this post on Instagram

(Posting continued after a two week delay!) Larapinta trail, NT. Day 3, Bonds Gap to Jay Creek No reception between Bond to Jay Creek. Saw wild cows and bulls that escaped the bigger cattle yards. Apparently we should be expecting these in sections 2,3 & 4. People we have met at Jay Creek Shelter 1. A young couple, a guy who couldn’t fathom ultra hikers and their gears. He was quite being offended that his hiking system was outdated and his partner (female American) who just finished her PHD and hiked the AT 1997. The guy recommended that we have a zero day at Ormiston and not to camp at Standley Chasm because it’s crowded with tourist and RV campers. They took a Zero day and a half here at Jay Creek in a tent just a little ways away from the shelter we’re in. He also mentioned what blanket rice was, you boil rice for 15 minutes, and then wrap the pot in your sleeping bag for it to continue to cook but also warm your bed. We thought it was a euphemism… 2. Met another guy, ‘Speedy’ Dave, who averages 5km per hour. He is a gear freak like me, suggested content listed below. He is hiking Alice to MT Sonder with two women (Janet and Sharon, hiking friends). He carries 14kg Osprey expos (48litre) with a sea to summit bivvy. Their itinerary is to complete a section a day for 2 weeks. He lives in Perth and section hikes the Bibbulmun trail and hopes to attempt the PCT. ‘Darwin on the trail’ was what resparked his interest in hiking. * Birkely marathons Netflix * JohnZ YouTube * Darwin ontrail bivvy Jay Creek Campsite * Shelter with two platforms and USB charging ports in food cub board * two large rain water tanks (left water tank was polluted) * one outdoor toilet * one standalone raised platform #darwinonthetrail #shedeviltrekers #larapinta #larapintatrail #hikingaustralia #hiking #backpacking #thruhiking #endtoend #E2E #AliceSprings #SDTLarapinta2018 #ANUMC #OAUSLarapinta2018 #OAUSblog @shedeviltrekkers

A post shared by Jay • OAUS (@oaus.blog) on

Larapinta Day 2

Day 2 – 9th Aug, Wallaby Gap to Bonds Gap

Left at 9:10am for a long walk.

Simone and Yushu saw a rock wallaby at Wallaby Gap.

Breakfast was cold soaked oats, a fresh banana and berocca. Strapping to minimise the blisters, only time will tell if this fails or not.

The landscape to Simpson Gorge was well shaded with beautiful orange and white hues. Surprising amount of colourful plants.

We had 4G reception from Alice Springs until Scorpion Pool. Got a chance to make video calls during the hike to share the views.

Did Scorpion Pool side trail, we found that it was more like a puddle then pool and no scorpions. There must be more to the story here….

Met two guys from the royal lifesaving service carrying 30kgs from Mt Sonder with one food drop. Not sure how long they were hiking for but apparently one of the guys nearly broke down on Brinkley Bluff with 28kg pushing his limit. They were going the distance as well maybe 12-14 days?

Past two other men hiking from Mt Sonder don’t remember much about them.

Arrived at Simpson Gap by lunchtime, checked out the Hotspot reception extenders though they didn’t seem to work.

I highly recommend the side trail to Simpson Gap, beautiful rocky areas surrounding the river bed and waterhole.

Simpson Gap Campsite

  • Shelter with two platforms and 4x Solar USB charging ports in food cupboard
  • Two large rainwater tanks
  • One outdoor toilet

Decided to continue to Bonds Gap as we felt fit and energetic enough to keep move on after checking out the Gap’s waterhole.

Camp Bond Gap, a dry river bed and water source was the gap itself where you had to climb part of it to access to water source properly. Using the Cnoc 2litle squeeze bladder and Hydroblu filter (it took over an hour to fill 9 litres of water!). There was no choice as there was particles and mosquitoes’ eggs in the water. #treatyourwaterproperly

Outcome of today: I am sunburnt on the right cheek and neck due to the angle of the sun.

Cold soaking lunch worked a treat at Simpson’s Gap, so I did the same for dinner and tomorrow’s lunch and breaky.

Trish’s Tyvek – eBay Tyvek from Dalesford, Victoria

Larapinta Day 1

Day 1 – 8th Aug, Alice Springs YHA to Wallaby Gap

Wallaby Gap Campsite

  • Shelter with seats on the edges
  • One large rainwater tank
  • One outdoor toilet
  • Two separate raised platforms

Exposed, hot and high ascents (at the time).

The first ascent exposed the vast lands and ridges in the far distance on our left. We saw the beginnings of this beautiful Trail. The hike was tough as expected for our first day fully loaded with five days of food. Our packs weighed between 16-17kg. A few times we stopped under the limited shade around us hoping for some reprieve from the sun.

Wallaby Gap campsite had two raised metal platforms, Yushu and I dumped our packs on one while the others set theirs down in a more shaded area.

Near to the end of our first day hiking Trish began struggling. She was experiencing heat exhaustion from having her back brace on and limited shade. I assisted Trish to settle in at Wallaby Gap Campsite. After having her lay down in the shade, we encouraged her to drink more water containing hydro lite, a basic first aid practice. We set up her bed next to Simone and gave her space to recover. By this time, she was dry retching and was experiencing dizziness. After seeking shade and taking some of her layers off she was able to settle and later, eat. There was a moment during her experience where she thought she would not continue the hike if she were to continue feeling awful.

We hung out packs on metal makeshift hooks in the gazebo. Had our dinner and other promptly went to bed exhausted from day one’s effort.

I took the opportunity to boil some water with a bit of soap and head round to the toilets to bath myself with a chuck’s cloth, always a good idea for down their cleanliness.

Cowboy camping is awesome watching the stars on raised beds. You could still hear cars, cows, and planes in the distance.

Sustainable lifestyle

Recently, I have been on a journey to live a more sustainable lifestyle and reducing my carbon footprint. Inspired after reading books like Dark emu by Bruce Pascoe, Homo Sapiens and Homo Dues by Yuval Noah Harari and the Ethical Butcher by Reed Berlin. Watching Cooked by Michael Pollan and Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret.

I’m slowly changing my diet to be more of an ethical omnivore limiting my meat consumption to meats that have a smaller carbon footprint like Kangaroo, Wallaby, Crocodile, Tasmanian Possum, free range chickens and eggs from farmers I know.  I also try to eat more of a vegetarian diet and eat meat less, kind of 80/20 ratio.

I’m trying to drive less and cycle more, investing in an all rounder bike that you will start to see on my instagram as I incorporate bike packing into my adventures.

Focus on Ecotourism, I lead hikes for a local mountaineering club, and when I go on holidays I support local business and explore the area and local for ethical tour guides.

I’m in the process of setting up my own veggie garden but also supporting my apartment complex community garden. I am composting a lot more and have an arrange with the local community for people to use my compost bin which is collected for a community compost group on a monthly basis.

I’ve also limiting my plastic waste consumption at home using bulk food sources, reusable bags, brown paper bags for veggies. I found that I am struggling the most with it comes to packing food for hiking. So I’m looking at better solutions for food storage without impacting food hygiene and safe food consumptions as I dehydrate my own food.

The fight to be more environmentally and ethically conscious :

  • Shop for seasonal local produce
  • Shop of environmental and ethical meats – invasive species, kangaroo, crocodile, possum
  • Go on ecotourism hiking, supporting countries that live only on tourism
  • Invest in ethical/environmental products – is the company sourcing and supporting ethical, and sustainable products, who are they supporting politically
  • Buy second hand – clothing and furniture
  • Grow/make your own
  • Volunteer RFS (environment), Youth at risk in LGBTI communities
  • Respect and support indigenous culture

ANUMC Led Snowshoe trip

Trip plan: Tate to Anton ANUMC (mountaineering club)

This overnight snowshoe trip focuses on exploring the high peaks of the Snowy Mountains between Mt Tate and Mt Anton. Weather permitting, it offers sweeping views, breath-taking in their immensity, across snow mantled mountains, deep valleys and the distant plains.  Starting at Guthega Village the route crosses the Snowy River at Guthega Dam and ascends to Guthega Trig (1859m), a strenuous climb of about 280m over 1.6km through scattered stands of snow gums. Passing beyond the tree line onto the exposed wind-swept slopes of the high mountains, the climb becomes gentler heading north to the crest of the Great Dividing Range at Consett Stephen Pass (~1900m) and from there to the summit of Mt Tate (2068m), the highest elevation of the trip. A further 5km of walking along the crest of the range, passing over or around Mann Bluff (2005m) and Mt Anderson (1997m), will bring us to Mt Anton (2010m). From Mt Anton a 400m descent over 3km takes us to the Snowy River which we will cross at the Illawong swing bridge. After a relatively gentle 3km level walk parallel to the Snowy River we’ll be back at Guthega Village. Total distance about 20km with about 1000m vertical.

Trip Leader: Mika

Featured photo by Mika Kontiainen

Status update the night before:

It’s currently snowing in the mountains and will continue to do so through to late Saturday. It could be windy on Saturday afternoon, but Sunday looks likely to clear to a mostly fine day.  The overnight temperature where we will be camping is likely to approach -10C.  I’ll provide further weather updates as we get closer to departure.

———————————————————————————————————————–

The trip started with a 2-hour delay with students scrambling to get last minute alpine gear and snow tyres at Jindabyne village centre. Where we expected to have lunch out on the snow of Guthega trig, we ended up eating at the Guthega Village centre.

We set out on our snowshoe trip properly after lunch, 12:30 walking across the bridge and up towards Guthega trig on fresh snow from the night before.

As we got to the top of the ridge we are fortunate to briefly see the sweeping views before the visibility started to drop. This would be what our group leader Mika would call Type 1 fun.

This trip, we were grateful for trip leaders that communicated with us to explain what’s going on with the conditions. No matter much many times you check and read the weather in the alpines before the trip begins, mother nature is still going throw you a curve ball, the forecast was we were expecting the weather to settle in the afternoon as we set up camp.

Hiking past the tree line, on to exposed wind swept slopes where on a normal day you would get some wind what we experienced passing through was strong blinding gusts of wind blow snow into your exposed faces scratching as the wind starts to numb your cheeks.  This would be what Mika calls Type 2 fun…

It was 3pm, the agreed time to start finding a camp spot. The problem was that we had limited visibility and were experiencing strong winds; the group started to show signs of stress. Huddling together as the trip leader and his second in charge attempt to find a sheltered area from the wind but it was no use the weather was making it hard and some of the members were starting to get very cold, numb fingers and toes (a risk of frost bite in these conditions).

Unfortunately, the tail end of the front was stronger and slower than expected.

The trip leader had to reassess the camping situation and advised that we need to hike back where there was no wind. That meant, hiking past the worse wind channels back to the tree lines of Guthega trig point. It was there we made the decision 5pm where it was worth setting up camp or just hike back to the cars.

It was a big decision where the group was divided in staying and leaving. The trip leader made the decision for us to go back to the cars. Have a beer, a warm dinner and accept that this trip would not be a camping weekend, it was a lesson learnt on what mother nature throws at us even when you try to prepare for every scenario.

On the drive home, we looked up the weather conditions and found out that about 3pm Saturday, with the winds NW at 69km/h, gusting at 82km/h and an apparent temperature of -19C.

 

Things you learn from a trip like this as both a trip leader and an aspiring trip leader. It is braver in knowing when to call off a trip that has lost its fun and has a high-risk safety issue. Not matter what you do to prepare yourself and others for a hike, weather can and will change. You need to make the decision because the group is relying on your trip leader for guidance, if they cannot decide someone needs to step up and make the decision for them.

Instagram photos: Set 1, Set 2

 

 

Charlottes Pass to Mt Kosciuszko

In January, my friend Shell and I hiked the Main Range at Kosciuszko National Park. It was my friend’s first attempt at self-sustained hiking-camping and I was there as I had previous experience.

We registered at the Jindabyne Visitors Centre and hired a personal life beacon (PLB).  The rangers at the centre warned us of a cold front closing in that evening. We decided to continue, but with caution and contingency plans in mind.

We parked at Charlotte Pass, and there a ranger approached us.  He (She?) advised us that track to Blue Lake via the Snowy River  became impassable from the previous night’s heavy rainfall. With the ranger’s help we took an alternative route; backtracking towards Wilkinson’s Creek, passing Seaman’s Hut, which we could use if things turned bad.

For three hours we hired before reaching the hut.  Upon entering the hut, we met a group of dishevelled men stoking the fire to dry their clothes.  They had camped their from the night before, beginning their hike at 9pm and were caught in the downpour.  They were not prepared as most wore only running gear with nothing for the rain. The group have been friends for nearly twenty years and catch up annually to hike.  As unprepared as they were, they needed to make their way back, even if their clothes were damp. Shell and I told them of the ranger at the base of the mountain, if they needed the help.

Across the valley, you could see the low-laying clouds roll down the hills and across the track in thick blankets.  Shell said it was like the scenes from Game of Thrones, when the white walkers attack. Laughing, we kept joking about white walkers.

The hike was an easy 8km flat path to Mouth Kosciuszko, stopping frequently to snap photos of the spectacular views the National Park offered.

We were approached by rangers and the police if we had seen a group of young women wearing summer clothing during our walk.  We told them we hadn’t, but would keep an eye for them. It is common on nature reserves where extreme conditions occur and some travellers have not given enough research or preparation.  And when this happens, they need to be rescued.

After summiting the highest peak, Shell and I headed back down to Wilkinson’s Creek to find a place set up camp.  We found a beautiful location that overlooked the river, with large rocks to shelter the tents from the strong winds.  But after some dinner, the weather deteriorated. Shell agreed that we should make for Seaman’s hut. As we packed down our camp, the wind increased (later reported to be seventy kilometres per hour), then rain poured down, then hail, and then snow.  When we were about halfway there, a thick fog smothered us, and we were only able to see two metres in front of us.

At last light, we reached the hut.  We quickly built a fire in the draughty stove and hung everything up to dry.  We tried to sleep, but the wind howled through through the night, rattling windows and doors and screaming through the wood burner chimney.

The next morning, we could see snow on the doors and windows.  Exhausted from the stressful night, and finding the day in a snowstorm, we returned to car, instead of risking completing the circuit.

We we returned to the Visitor’s Centre to return the PLB, we heard that another group of hikers were rescued after their tents failed in the storm.

In the end, it didn’t go as planned, but Shell got some camping experience and I learned a new way to build a fire in draughty conditions. And we got to see some beautiful country with good company.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

New year, New goals

Last year, I learnt a lot about activity moderation and self-care. Where by the end of last year I took on an overwhelming amount of activities, which I filled every second of my free time before, after work and on weekends. My mind and body suffered, and it took me months to recover from just how much strain I put on myself.

This year, the focus will be on activities that are relaxing, flexible and provide positive personal growth and mental health. The list below, highlights outdoor recreation activities and leadership skills I will be working towards. This provides both physical, mental and personal growth.

#1 – Taekwondo on hold

I am a red belt going into brown belt in WTF Taekwondo, but I have lost my motivation distracted by so many other activities I want to do this year. I would not be able to focus on the work required to perfecting forms and techniques. For now, I will be delaying my return.

#2 – Exploration hikes

Since completing the arduous Nattai River, Russells Needle exploration, I have been initiated into more arduous and technical hiking with the club. An exciting personal achievement, and a step towards mountaineering.

*Field Report to be provided for mentioned trip

#3 – Lead an overnight hike

My hiking mentors believe, I’m at a level where I can start leading my own hikes with the club. There are a few skills I need to practice, and courses I want to do that will help my confidence in leading.

My plan is to utilize this website as a lead hiker’s portfolio and field journal of my experiences. Which gives potential attendees of the future hikes a chance of getting to know me and my skillset before engaging in a trip with me.

#4 – Rock climbing and bouldering

I bought shoes, harness and helmet with full intentions in expanding my climbing experience from indoor to outdoor. This works out for both climbing and abseiling canyoning trips that I want to do in future.

The plan is to get to a medium to hard level of climbing/bouldering indoor so that my technique is refined before joining the Canberra Climbing association for outdoor climbing. I will be starting bouldering during January, whilst I wait to get my Belay pass for ANUMC climbing wall for orientation week in February.

#5 – Overnight bike packing and camping

I will need time to save money before I upgrade my current flat bar commuter. I’m looking at Fuji touring 2018 – Specialized Diverge for future road touring. Destination will be Launceston to Hobart 10-day trip for 2019.

#6 – 4 Day Survival Course by the Australian Survival Instructors (ASI)

I will hopefully be attending a comprehensive survival course that incorporates foraging, hunting and primitive shelter building into a four-day course. I love all things relating to outdoor recreation and bush craft is high on the list.

I have attended the Stay Alive – essential skills for survival, a basic hiking survival course by Brian Newton through Australian School of Mountaineering (ASM). He and his brother were the founders of Australian Survival Instructor (ASI).

Learning to survive and thrive in the woods with limited modern tools has been on my wishlist after rereading a childhood series of books called Hatchet by Gary Paulson recently. Over the years, I’ve been watching, reading books and articles by Ray Mears, Paul Kirtley, MCQbushcraft and the Queensland base youtube channel Primitive Technology.

#7 – Larapinta trail June/August 2018

I intend to hike the Larapinta trail this year, potentially with the She Devil crew whom I hiked with for the Overland track.

See Upcoming trips – for Larapinta trip

#8 – Certificate for Outdoor Recreation

I have considered getting certification, this is a future aspiration and I’m just looking at local and online courses right now. This may be something I take on this year or next.

#9 – Remote First Aid

I am currently certified in Basic First aid, I will be getting certified in Remote First aid this year specifically for hiking and Rural firefighting. Safety and Preparedness is my priority when out adventuring.

#10 – Village Firefighting certification RFS

This year, I will be completing my Village Firefighting course for RFS. This is to increase my skillset in the brigade, more experience and knowledge is number one in firefighting and preparedness.

This list will have items crossed off once completed and new items added one through the first half of the year. I love making lists and crossing them off. 😊

Leveling up to mountain goat hiking

I hike with a local club which helps me with area familiarisation.

This time last year, I requested to join a hard hike, that is off trail, rock scramble and long 20 km days. The lead hiker declined my request because I was inexperienced but today I had enough experience to join. BOOM!

This is thanks to hiking with my mentor and doing the Overland track in Tasmania.

Personal note: create Achievement badges for outdoor recreation.

Day Four to Five Windermere hut to New Pelion hut Overland Track 2017

Sponsors: Macpac.au, Strive food (Tassie), Safelaces, Moxigear, Hothands

The Trek: 64km over 7 days, 20kg pack, hut to hut through the rain, wind and snow.

Everyone relaxed in the warmth of Windemere hut, playing music and enjoying drinks as we watched the snow fall outside. Limited sleeping areas in this hut, our group were not so lucky finding a platform to sleep on having half sleeping on the floor, those that were able to sleep on platforms crammed in as many people. A platform for two was shared by the three smallest, and another was shared by two more.

The hike to New Pelion hut was a difficult 14.2km hike through the lowest part, Frog Flats to the 720m above sea level. Though the constant climbing over roots and watching your step is a constant challenge. The change of scenery was dramatic, from the open snowed covered moors, into a dense snow and moss-covered forest which changed into a very wet humid rainforest area. For many in our group this was the hardest of the hikes, mentally.

Arriving to the largest of the huts with a wide veranda that went around the entire hut, surrounded by wildlife with a view the snow-covered Mount Ossa was a treat. With a large hut comes noise in the eating area, there were quite a few people in this hut but no one slept on floors as some groups skipped this hut and went straight to Kia Ora.
The next morning to the group continued on to Pelion Gap where the She Devils agreed it was a ‘great idea’ to do a female empowerment pose topless in an open heavily snow-covered area whilst it was in fact snowing. (Helloo cover photos!)

Jane was the sensible member that took the photo. Go on you, Jane.

Social Media:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/974531519319368/
https://www.facebook.com/shedeviltrekkers/
https://www.instagram.com/shedeviltrekkers/
https://shedeviltrekkers.wordpress.com

Audio Books!

Recently I have enjoyed listening to Audible’s audio books for hiking related tales. I have provided a list of the books I have enjoyed so far further inspiring me to get out and explore.

Mainly the tales revolved around the PCT and AT, I wish to hike these trails but once hike at a time!

  • Wild by Cheryl Strayed
    • In 1995, A powerful, blazingly honest memoir: the story of an 1100-mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe and built her back up again. At 22, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. After her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State – alone. She had no experience as a long-distance hiker, and the trail was little more than an idea: vague, outlandish, and full of promise. But it was a promise of piecing together a life that had come undone. Strayed faces rattlesnakes and bears, intense heat and record snowfalls, and both the beauty and intense loneliness of the trail.
  • AWOL on the Appalachian Trail by David Miller
    • In 2003, software engineer David Miller left his job, family, and friends to hike 2,172 miles of the Appalachian Trail. AWOL on the Appalachian Trail is Miller’s account of this thru-hike from Georgia to Maine. Listeners are treated to rich descriptions of the Appalachian Mountains, the isolation and reverie, the inspiration that fueled his quest, and the rewards of taking a less conventional path through life. While this book abounds with introspection and perseverance, it also provides useful passages about hiking gear and planning. This is not merely a travel guide; it is a beautifully written and highly personal view into one man’s journey and the insights gained by abandoning what is comfortable and routine.
  • Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart: An Adventure on the Pacific Crest Trail by Carrot Quinn
    • It’s 2013, Carrot Quinn fears that she’s become addicted to the Internet. The city makes her numb, and she’s having trouble connecting with others. In a desperate move, she breaks away from everything to walk 2,660 miles from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail. It will be her first long-distance hike.In the desert of Southern California, Carrot faces many challenges, both physical and emotional: pain, injury, blisters, aching cold and searing heat, dehydration, exhaustion, loneliness. In the wilderness she happens upon and becomes close with an eclectic group of strangers – people she wouldn’t have chanced to meet in the “regular world” but who are brought together, here on the trail, by their one common goal: to make it to Canada before the snow flies.
  • Where’s the Next Shelter? Written by: Gary Sizer
    • In 2014, Where’s the Next Shelter? is the true story of three travelers on the Appalachian Trail, a 2,000-mile hike that stretches from Georgia to Maine, told from the perspective of Gary Sizer, a seasoned backpacker and former marine who quickly finds himself humbled by the endeavor. He teams up with Megan, a sassy college grad whose indomitable spirit eclipses her lack of experience; and Lemmy, a cartoonist from overseas whose off-kilter commentary on the wonders and frustrations of the trail keeps everyone laughing.
      Sprawling through the woods and towns of the Appalachian Mountains, the trail carries the trio through real and fanciful ups and downs ranging from hilarious to perilous. Much more than an orderly account of mountaintops and meals, this book is an adventure about friends figuring things out as they go. It’s about screwups and solutions, awe and inspiration.
      If you long for the horizon or to sleep under the stars, then come along for the hike of a lifetime. All you have to do is take the first step.
  • Thousand-Miler by Melanie Radzicki McManus
    • In 36 thrilling days, Melanie Radzicki McManus hiked 1,100 miles around Wisconsin, landing her in the elite group of Ice Age Trail thru-hikers known as the Thousand-Milers. In prose that’s alternately harrowing and humorous, Thousand-Miler takes you with her through Wisconsin’s forests, prairies, wetlands, and farms, past the geologic wonders carved by long-ago glaciers, and into the neighborhood bars and gathering places of far-flung small towns. Follow along as she worries about wildlife encounters, wonders if her injured feet will ever recover, and searches for an elusive fellow hiker known as Papa Bear. Woven throughout her account are details of the history of the still-developing Ice Age Trail – one of just 11 National Scenic Trails – and helpful insight and strategies for undertaking a successful thru-hike.

      In addition to chronicling McManus’s hike, Thousand-Miler also includes the little-told story of the Ice Age Trail’s first-ever thru-hiker Jim Staudacher, an account of the record-breaking thru-run of ultrarunner Jason Dorgan, the experiences of a young combat veteran who embarked on her thru-hike as a way to ease back into civilian life, and other fascinating tales from the trail.

  • A Walk in the Woods By Bill Bryson
    • The Appalachian Trail covers 14 states and over 2,000 miles, snaking through some of the most spectacular landscapes in America. Reluctant adventurer Bryson recounts his gruelling hike along the longest continuous footpath in the world.