Only half of those who start the 2,175-mile A.T. trek make it to Harper’s Ferry, W.Va., and only half of those reach Katahdin. Most never even make it out of Georgia. Randy Motz and his wife, Georgia Harris, spent five years preparing themselves physically, mentally, and financially for their 2006 thru-hike. They trained, tested gear,…

Read More

Care Bear and Growler’s Excellent AdventureIn 2008, two recent college grads who had never been backpacking attempted to thru-hike the A.T. Brandon “Care Bear” Winters and Drew “Growler” Alexander spent 97 days in the wilderness, made it all the way from Georgia to Vermont, and hiked more than 1,600 miles before an injury and hiking…

Read More

Winton Porter owns Mountain Crossings, an outfitter and hostel strategically placed 31 miles from the southern terminus at the Walasi-Yi Center in North Georgia. By the time thru-hikers reach Porter’s doorstep, most of them realize they have no idea what they’re doing and turn to Porter for help. Porter and his staff sort through and…

Read More

It is the most honored and storied footpath in the world. It stretches 2,175 miles from Georgia to Maine, and some people hike it from end to end. Shelters along the trail allow you to sleep and commune with mice. But that’s about all that most people know about the Appalachian Trail. BRO’s Massive and…

Read More

Grow up and realize that everything is not always fun. Some days, your hands get cold breaking ice to repair the hydroelectric system, or your hands get blistered from hoeing the garden weeds. It’s not a push-button, instant-success world, despite how many Americans currently live. We’re addicted to feel-good fun stuff, but that’s not reality.…

Read More

Justin Padgett is founder and executive director of Landmark Learning, a training center for outdoor educators based in Cullowhee, N.C. Padgett is an experienced backcountry trip leader certified in everything from swiftwater rescue to wilderness emergency medicine. My wife hates camping because she’s scared of bears. i keep telling her bears are the last thing…

Read More

Shenandoah Mountain is a 75-mile long mountain that forms the border of the famous Shenandoah Valley. 115,000 acres of roadless areas on the mountain are being nominated by environmental and recreational groups for a potential National Scenic Area. The proposed Shenandoah Mountain National Scenic Area offers a network of 150 miles of hiking, equestrian, and…

Read More

Gear closet over-floweth? Don’t hoard your old gear, recycle it. Backpacks: The American Birding Association collects used backpacks and distributes them to scientists all over the country. americanbirding.org. Bikes: Bikes for the World is a D.C.-based nonprofit that gives used bicycles new life by refurbishing and delivering unwanted bikes to people in developing countries. bikesfortheworld.org.…

Read More

48% Useless Those who think they require GPS in the woods sell them-selves short. Navigating in the wild is not rocket science. Even when one comes upon unfamiliar ground, any decent map and a $2 com-pass can get you out of a jam. If a person studies just a few rudimentary survival skills, you can…

Read More