Month: January 2017

If you’d like to follow the presentation live on Facebook, just click on the link below, which will take you to my profile page. This will also allow you to access the presentation when I post it later that afternoon.

Steve’s Facebook page

Steven Cullen was a section hiker who I met on my first day on the trail. We clicked straight away and he continued to follow my, and other, blogs once he finished his week-long section hike. I thought it might be helpful to include a section hiker in the podcast and, though I met many, he was my first thought. In our interview, we talk about the differences between section and thru-hikers, with Steve making some perceptive, and funny, observations. He is one of the group of hikers who may one day take the life-changing step to thru-hike but, as you’ll hear, he’ll be a section hiker for the time being. Steven can be reached at He will be happy to offer advice if anybody reaches out to him.

Jessa continues her preparations for her March 23 start date. She shares her latest update, with, of all things, health insurance being a concern. What I loved about this update was that Jessa is feeling accountable to the show, which is giving her some discipline in getting done the things she needs to achieve. We still need more entries for Jessa’s trail name. I’ll be sharing them all with her a week before she sets out. Remember, the prize for your choice being the one chosen is both volumes of my book on the A.T from my 2014 thru-hike. Keep the entries coming to Indeed, anything you want to share about the show should be sent to that address.

Our third interview was with Aaron Martray, the owner of Katabatic Gear. When I hiked the A.T. in 2014, I took the Palisade 30 quilt with me. It is STILL the “Editor’s Choice” on the invaluable, three years later. I found it to be both light and incredibly warm. It even helped me survive a seven-degree night in the Smokies. It wasn’t cheap but worth every cent. If you’d like to find out more about the Palisade 30 or any other Katabatic Gear bag, just email Aaron at, or call him on 303-984-4189. If you want to read the review on the quilt, click here.

You’ll probably notice that “If I Did It Again” is missing this week. This is partly because there are three interviews, but mainly because I’ve run out of stuff I’d change were I ever to slog my way up the eastern side of the country again. However, I’m sure one or two of my listeners will have their own pet peeves about the trail. Please don’t keep it to yourself. Email me and I’ll share your gripes with everybody.

Happy Trails!!

Patrick Bredlau had a truly life-changing experience on the trail. His candor at his spiritual epiphany was touching, while his encounter with a man hiding from his past seemed to provide a counter-point. Following his hike, he has given talks about the trail and exhibited pictures from his journey. Some of these photographs are on show at the Illinois State Museum. The museum also sells his book and 50% of the royalties from those sales are donated to the museum.

Other ways to get the book include his website,, where you can buy the book directly from Patrick or, of course, Amazon.

If you’d like to contact Patrick, you can email him at or find him on his Facebook page, where you’ll find his speaking engagements on his event calendar. The pictures below are one of Patrick at the top of a cold Mt. Washington, a copy of his book cover, and one of the two of us just before the end, in Maine. We both look very reflective.


I’d still like to hear from you with a trail name for Jessa, more “If I did it again” ideas, and any other suggestions you may have for the show. The more we can interact with each other, the better the show will be.

See you all next week.


James Claiborne was a fellow member of the Class of 2014. I only met him a few times, though once, memorably, at the Curly Maple Shelter, just outside Erwin, TN. He was with the self-styled team of No Parents, No Bedtime, with Hawkeye, True Story, Science Tooth, and James, or Buchanan, himself. Their joy at being on the trail was infectious, with the team sticking together, in one iteration or another, for about 1,900 miles. They took time off the trail together, they camped together and, for a lot of the time, they hiked together. From left to right, No Parents, No Bedtime are James (Buchanan), True Story, Hawkeye, and Science Tooth. I still can’t get over the fact that these crazy hikers did this. By the look of the picture, nor can they.

You can find James on Facebook by clicking here, and you can email him directly at

Jessa Hackman gives her first update in this week’s episode, with her choice of footwear her main focus. Jessa is still hoping to be named by our listeners, with a prize of the print versions of my books, My Appalachian Trial I: Three Weddings and a Sabbatical and My Appalachian Trial II: Creaking Geezer, Hidden Flagon for the winner.

Please don’t forget to rate the show on iTunes and leave a review; it really helps and I appreciate the effort. To make it easier, click here, and you’ll be taken straight to the podcast on iTunes. Thanks!!



In this first episode of 2017, I’m introducing Jessa Hackman, our very own member of the Class of 2017 thru-hikers. She is from Madison, Wisconsin, is 25 years-of-age and has just qualified as a lawyer. The picture below is of Jessa at her graduation with her grandfather, the man Jessa credits with her decision to go to law school in the first place.

Jessa contacted me to get a copy of Grizz’s logistics spreadsheet from Episode #6 and I reached out to her in the hope that she would share her preparations for the hike, as well as give us regular shorter updates from the trail when she starts on March 23. With a bit of luck, we’ll be following her all the way to Katahdin, sometime in August. In this first interview, Jessa tells us her concerns for the trip as well as recounting her current preparations. She is aware of the rite of passage that will result in a trail name but is open to suggestions from our podcast listeners, so please email me with any of your ideas. Jessa has just started a blog that you may wish to follow. You can find it here. If you’d like to contact her directly, she is happy to share her email address,

Given the fact that this initial interview was shorter than some others, I’ve included the first of an intermittent series of product reviews. This is based upon the things that I took with me and starts with an interview with Henry Shires, of Tarptent. During our conversation, I refer to a setup video for the tent. Click here for that. I’m sure that you can see why it was so attractive to me. Henry provided me with great customer service, so if you have any questions, I urge you to get in touch with him here.