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Skurka looking for expedition ideas
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Andrew Skurka
(askurka) - F
Skurka looking for expedition ideas on 12/29/2007 23:36:36 MST Print View

Hey all -

Since I finished up my hike in early-November I've been struggling to determine "What's Next," so I'm reaching out for help in generating some ideas.

There are two categories for trip ideas: 2008, and 2009. Because of time constraints, trips in 2008 will have to be shorter and smaller (it takes me about a year to plan the BIG ones), anything in the range of 1-8 weeks; for 2009, use your wildest imagination -- I'm game for anything. Limited financial resources need to be a consideration in 2008, less so in 2009 (since I'll have more time to line up funding).

As far as trip objectives, trip ideas need to fulfill at least one of the following criteria: they should be a learning experience (in terms of skills, travel style, team dynamics, location, etc.) for me; they should be enjoyable, i.e. either truly "fun" or "sickly masochistic"; they should further the environmental/lifestyle messages that I began talking more about during my last hike; and they should be on the cutting edge of human endurance and wilderness/adventure travel.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Skurka looking for expedition ideas on 12/30/2007 09:43:40 MST Print View

El Camino Inca?

Edited by jcolten on 12/30/2007 09:44:25 MST.

Ryan Faulkner
(ryanf) - F

Locale: Mid atlantic, No. Cal
Re: Skurka looking for expedition ideas on 12/30/2007 09:51:41 MST Print View


something off trail...

speed record attempt? plenty of trails to pick from. I got the feeling when you were hiking the california section of the PCT, you were trying to get a sense if you could break the record, considering you compared your pace to hornton's.
not too far off.

2008 badwater ultra? 135 miles, death valley to mt. whitney.

If you are up for something different, an Ironman, depending on how good of a swimmer you are.

Eastern continental trail? the last of the 3 super long distance hiking trail networks I know of. (sea to sea, great western loop, eastern continental trail)
heck, there is a triple crown, and a mini triple crown, you could be the first to complete this... great/grand/long/extreme triple. someone would have to find a good adjective to put in front of "triple crown"

i have had this idea for the extreme triple crown, for a while, just never had a reason to talk about it, and since you are the only person to have completed the C2C, and GWL, Seems like you should be the one to first complete it

Edited by ryanf on 12/30/2007 10:05:28 MST.

Joe Geib
(joegeib) - F

Locale: Delaware & Lehigh Valleys
Unfinished Business? on 12/30/2007 10:02:07 MST Print View


How about another attempt at the "Failed Hikes" you list on your website (LT Yo-Yo, CT Unsupported, etc.)?

Also, how about the Newfoundland section of the IAT? Or perhaps an unsupported Cohos Trail in NH (it's pretty rural up there)?

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: Unfinished Business? on 12/30/2007 12:44:48 MST Print View

2008 -I second the CT Unsupported.

Your pace was amazing the first 4 days and if planned on that pace, you could carry less weight with less of a possibility of getting injured.
Nothing is more satisfying than finishing unfinished business.

2009 I would love to see you go after Horton’s PCT record, but if I were you, and was planning this I would rather go some where you haven't been before.

Could you reply to this to say wither or not you want to try something new or not.

(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Expedition Ideas on 12/30/2007 13:55:48 MST Print View

Ultra-light to the South Pole?

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: Skurka looking for expedition ideas on 12/30/2007 15:24:44 MST Print View

Why not export your UL diplomacy and do the GTO Challenge or one of the European trail system to challenge your equipment/approach to those traditional trails? Now that you're Adventurer of the Year, you gotta expand your horizons!

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Skurka looking for expedition ideas on 12/30/2007 16:11:41 MST Print View

Andy -

Take your Ice Box skills up to the Arrowhead 135 in 2009.

An off season thru-hike on any long trail would be interesting.

You said it yourself that first attempts at U.S. trails are about done with so Europe, Asia, Africa, et al are all possibilities.

I'm in agreement with others when they suggest finishing a formerly started goal.

- Sam

Edited by sharalds on 12/30/2007 16:16:18 MST.

Carol Crooker
(cmcrooker) - MLife

Locale: Desert Southwest, USA
Packraft on 12/30/2007 16:26:39 MST Print View

With a folding bike and a packraft you could go anywhere.

Ryan Faulkner
(ryanf) - F

Locale: Mid atlantic, No. Cal
Re: Skurka looking for expedition ideas on 12/30/2007 16:36:12 MST Print View

international ideas...

a friend of mine gave me some maps of the canadian rockies up in british colombia and alberta a few weeks ago. I would like to explore some of this areas in the next few years myself

maps at of jasper and banff national parks. they have decent trail system, im sure you could piece together a great trek.
from looking at pictures of this area, it looks fairly spectacular.

there is also the Pennine Way in great britan. 270-mile walk that will take you from the Peak District National Park along the Pennine ridge through the Yorkshire Dales, up into Northumberland, across the Cheviots, setting you down in the Scottish Borders.

check Justin Lichters website, I think he has done some hiking in new zeland/ australia, there are some hikers on this forum that could tell you more about that area than I can

patagonia, alan dixon has done some hiking down there, probably lots of options. including a summit of aconcagua. highest mountain in south america, and not to technical of a climb

Edited by ryanf on 12/30/2007 16:38:08 MST.

Andrew Skurka
(askurka) - F
Re: Packraft on 12/30/2007 16:40:48 MST Print View

Good responses so far.

Let me guide the discussion more...

- I'm essentially done with ultra long-distance hiking in the Lower 48. I have not hiked through the Deep South, Mid-West, or the coastlines, but those could all be smaller trips, or a good long trip to do when someone new is tagging along.

- I no longer view records for speed or unsupported distances as valid trip ideas on their own. They have to serve a larger purpose, as both did on my GWL hike. So things like a PCT speed record, as much as I'm confident that I could break it in a traditional thru-hiker style, is not high on the list; ditto for the unsupported CT, though that one is slightly more appealing becuase it'd only be a 10-day gig.

- Be creative. Doing a hike that others have done before -- or that many people have done before -- or that seems really easy, provides no "hook" for me. The winning idea is one that will hit me in the face and immediately my life will have purpose again.

- Carol is on to something with her packraft and bike comment. I'm all for expanding my travel styles; it's okay to do something besides walking.

Douglas Johnson
(Sponge) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Everest on 12/30/2007 17:01:37 MST Print View

You should climb Everest (Alpine Style of course). There is a lot of environmenal pull due to the overabundance of climbers every year (overuse?) who leave trash, oxygen bottles, etc. Also, from a humanitarian standpoint, the Tibetan/Chinese saga could use more light shed upon it.

I think that would make for a worthwhile trip, potentially out of your comfort zone a bit.

Margaret Snyder
(jetcash) - F

Locale: Southern Arizona
Ideas for Andy on 12/30/2007 17:09:44 MST Print View

What about hiking with kids? There's a serious problem in this country with kids never being exposed to the wilderness and childhood obesity. 10-15 year olds would probably think you're really cool and want to go for a walk with you or help you plan something.

Andrew Skurka
(askurka) - F
Hmm... on 12/30/2007 17:15:33 MST Print View

Jetcash - Your idea has my mind turning, good thinking. Absolutely agree with the concern. Do you forsee a loosely run long-distance hike (BTW, how long should it be?) or would I have to work through a NOLS-like group for liability and curriculum issues?

Andrew Skurka
(askurka) - F
El Camino Inca on 12/30/2007 17:19:15 MST Print View

Anyone know how much of this route still exists? The only popular part of it seems to be Macho Picho (sp). Any other options for traversing the spine of South America, e.g. bushwhacking, cross-country travel, hiking trails, etc?

Joshua Knapp
(Joshjknapp) - F

Locale: Northern Mn, Superior Hiking Trail
Desert southwest with Packraft on 12/30/2007 17:19:28 MST Print View

I'm envisioning a loop in southern utah using canyon and river systems. Possibly a loop hike using part or all of the hayduke trail

mark henley
(flash582) - F
I don't know about anyone else on 12/30/2007 17:52:25 MST Print View

But you'd be my personal hero if you could find a route to hike across Texas!

We have everything from the big piney woods (the Big Piney Forest is larger than all the forests of New England put together), Bayou's, ranch land, farm land, mountains, rivers, lakes, etc .... but not a lot of public lands.

Just a thought ....

Paul Luther
(eredluin) - M

Locale: Northeast
Re: I don't know about anyone else on 12/30/2007 18:11:00 MST Print View

This might seem "far out", but what about the Silk Road?

Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Working with kids and/or international ideas on 12/30/2007 18:16:39 MST Print View


how about sticking to your theme of long distance, but combine it with kids. This would be something for 2009, though you should get some experience in 08 working with them...bit different to adults.

You could do a long distance walk-something a bit newish or whatever, but have pairs of kids along with you for a couple of days at a time. They would have to apply from around the US/world, and be selected. Age would need to be 14-18. Preferably they would already need to have some hiking skills and a base level of fitness. You could hold some training trips in 2008-possibly in combination with an organisation like outward bound, or NOLS, etc.

When it comes to the walk, plan it so that days are shorter than your average, but still a challenge for the teenagers. Its wholey dependent on terrain, but say 15-20 miles per day, and have them along for two, maybe three days.

Supply and train them with UL gear, etc.

You wouldn't have to have teenagers with you for all legs of the trip-and on these legs you could make the pace up if you wanted to. But yeah, pace shouldn't be an issue.

If you want international ideas...why not head to Australia? Doing the length of our Great Divide could be a serious challenge for you, considering the different climate (and climates on that trip), vegetation, gear requirements, water requirements, remoteness, etc. There would be alot of off-track work aswell. We also have some long distance trails in Australia like the Bibbillum track in SW Western Australia (~900km), the Heysen Trail here in SA (~1100km-the longest walking only trail in Aus), and the Alpine Track in Victoria and NSW (~600km).

We also have plenty of wilderness areas that have never been crossed...I won't list them, they are literally endless, and often involve deserts. When it comes to going bushwalking in Australia you tend not to think so much about trails but rather going off track. (unless you are a newbie).

Have fun deciding!


Margaret Snyder
(jetcash) - F

Locale: Southern Arizona
Re: Hmm... on 12/30/2007 18:19:24 MST Print View

What about a school to school regional hike where you could give assemblies? Maybe with a safe hiking clinic with kids from that school on an afternoon or Saturday after your talk. That way you wouldn't be responsible for taking kids into the wilderness for extended periods and have to deal with liability. A national long trail could be your highway with stopoffs along the way. The city kids are the ones who would really benefit, so maybe sections on the AT or PCT near urban/suburban centers would be good starts.