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Skurka looking for expedition ideas
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Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: Skurka looking for expedition ideas on 12/30/2007 18:32:22 MST Print View

Its nothing huge, but you said you haven't done much Midwest hiking so I thought I'd throw it out there. The Ozark Trail is currently around 230 miles and has only been thru-hiked by one person. I'm planning one this coming Spring, as is another person. If you would like to get a sense of what hiking for us Midwesterners is like I would highly recommend the OT.

Ozark Trail site


Paul Luther
(eredluin) - M

Locale: Northeast
Re: Re: Skurka looking for expedition ideas on 12/30/2007 18:45:44 MST Print View

What about doing the GDT with a possible extension beyond Jasper. Just a thought.

Kevin Clayton
(kclayton) - F

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Re: Re: Re: Skurka looking for expedition ideas on 12/30/2007 18:51:06 MST Print View

Barrow Alaska to Cape Horn.

Ryan Klym
(breaks) - F

Locale: Flat Ohio
Helping Kids and Dodging Kangaroos on 12/30/2007 19:23:03 MST Print View


I cannot help but to think about the movie "Whitewater Summer" with Kevin Bacon after reading Jetcash's comment!

Seriously though, that would be a great idea to help out the kids! From listening to your podcasts, you seem like you'd do well with them! There might be an opportunity for you to work with the Boy Scouts and they could cover you from a liability perspective.

The last pack of Scouts and leader I saw out was in Shawnee State Forest, along the ADT/NCT...and they definitely needed help!

As for long-distance thoughts, you could do the Bibbulmun, Bicentennial, and Alpine trails in Australia. I think that adds up to about 5000 km. You may even be able to call that the "Triple-unduh"! I believe the Bibbulmun is about 1000km and has survived 2 or 3 major reroutes due to logging and mining. I know those are shared concerns for all of us here, but definitely something that aligns with your cause on the GWL.

Good luck and Happy New Year to all!!

Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Re: Helping Kids and Dodging Kangaroos on 12/30/2007 19:43:59 MST Print View


isn't the Bicentennial a horse trail? I've heard its not that exciting as a result, mainly all roads. Mind you the Heysen Trail sometimes falls into that trap a bit too.

How complete is the trans-canada trail? That sounds like the mother of all trails...and it might be complete enough to do it in 2009.

Bicentennial trail is 5330km long. Bibbilum is 900. Alpine is 600. Add the ~1100km (by my calculations) Heysen Trail, and the Overland track in Tas (~80-i cant remember, i only think of it in terms of days). And you have a pretty good "crown". Given that the HT you cant walk in summer or fire-danger season, things would be pretty interesting trying to fit in the Bicentennial trail...though with Skurka's talent it could likely be done in about 4 or 5 months. I reckon someone could do the HT unsupported in one hit, in 20-24 days. Overland track i would just do and enjoy it in about 8 days (easy), and do some side trips to peaks-pretty speccy. They have the overland track race each year, which i think the record is somewhere around 8 hours. But thats a trail you definitely want to enjoy.

Joe Geib
(joegeib) - F

Locale: Delaware & Lehigh Valleys
Re: Kids on 12/30/2007 20:21:46 MST Print View


Maybe doing a school tour or something, with outreach towards children. Maybe even working with Richard Luov, to help "save our children of nature-deficit disorder".

Edited by joegeib on 12/30/2007 20:22:29 MST.

Ryan Faulkner
(ryanf) - F

Locale: Mid atlantic, No. Cal
Re: Kids on 12/30/2007 20:38:33 MST Print View

I am 15 years old, the last few years I have learned alot about ultralight backpacking, and have done my share of long distance backpacking without resupply, dialed in my gearlist fairly completely, have had no problems averaging 25-30+ miles on the trail, and have some big plans for the future when it comes to thru-hiking.

I have enjoyed reviewing many of Andy's trips, and have used them in planning for many of my own trips, and future goals.

I would love to accompany Skurka if he does chose to go this route with his '09 expedition. there is alot I could learn from him, even after years of obsessing over ultralight gear and the outdoors, I have never had a thru-hike experience.

'08 however, Im doing my own ~270 mile 10 day CDT segment with my dad

Jeremy Cleaveland
(jeremy11) - F

Locale: Exploring San Juan talus
random ideas on 12/30/2007 20:47:42 MST Print View

run as many ultramarathons as you can, but walking right out your front door and hiking to get to them. The Hardrock 100 comes to mind since it is right up the road from me, and really nuts.

Do you have much rock climbing or mountaineering interest?

a trek along the coast of Greenland, with a packraft.

The Northwest passage, on foot and packraft.

Climb as many 13,000ft or more peaks in a week/month/however long as you can, without vehicle support. Wind Rivers or San Juans. The more obscure and/or technical the peaks the better.

Follow Ernest Shackleton's path from Elephant Island to South Georgia Island, (800 ocean miles) and traverse the length of the island (107 mountain miles)

Ryan Klym
(breaks) - F

Locale: Flat Ohio
On the Bicentennial... on 12/30/2007 20:57:20 MST Print View


You're right on the Bicentennial being a horse/bike trail. I think the appeal there would be the distance and conquering some of the longest published trails in Australia. Agree with your statement on the "crown".

After thinking about this a bit more, although it would be a very significant trip, it doesn't seem right for Andy.

I'm going to talk about him like he's not here for a second. For his 2008 trips, there's honestly a ton of trails he could bang out in North America to keep him busy.

But for 2009 -- if you think about his accomplishments and progressions, it's probably not appealing to simply do a long trail system simply because "it's there". I don't think the old "why do you climb a mountain?" rhetoric works in his case anymore. To me, he needs something the typical hiker with 9 months off generally couldn't (or wouldn't) do.

I can think of trail systems in Switzerland, the UK (he could probably walk the UK in 2 weeks), and Italy that would be interesting to see, but not necessarily a challenge nor a reason to be; simple just a few trails to walk.

So I need to think about this. Where can we get him that most people have never thought about, without over complicating the trip due to language and shipping barriers (mail resupply from the US probably not feasible for an international trip thanks to Customs)? Maybe we should ask Bear Grylls? Haha.

I'll post more soon. Have some ideas on this I need to flesh out.

Andrew Skurka
(askurka) - F
Re: On the Bicentennial... on 12/30/2007 22:12:47 MST Print View

Ryan -

You have identified the issue perfectly. I really have no interest in doing something that others can easily do, unless it sets me up for a later trip that nobody else can do. I think part of 2008 must be devoted to setting myself up for a 2009 trip, i.e. if I'm going to traverse an Australian desert, I think it'd be in my interest to get there this year in order to experience it some first.

Regarding the teen outreach hike, let's keep talking about this, as I think it's a very interesting idea. There couldn't be a better partner than Richard Louv, and I think this would have tremendous media potential, which could really help to further the messages, e.g. students in schools that I can't get to are likely to hear about it. I'm not sure I would want to devote a super-long length of time to this project, but I could definitely see a 2-3 month stretch of walking or biking from school to school.

Jon Rhoderick
(hotrhoddudeguy) - F - M

Locale: New England
China? on 12/30/2007 22:38:52 MST Print View

Given the need for the growing country's environmental problems China may be an interesting trip for your concerns, Andrew. Plus I heard they have some long wall or fence or something...

Andrew Skurka
(askurka) - F
Re: China? on 12/30/2007 22:45:19 MST Print View

This has been mentioned before, I think by one of my friends. Any idea on how the gov't would react to a Westerner who is traveling there specifically to raise the issue of significant environmental degradation caused by unchecked economic growth?

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
re Pennine Way on 12/30/2007 22:57:49 MST Print View

> 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.

Yes, it's a nice trip, but the weather is VERY different from America. Like the Inuit with snow, the Poms have many words for bad weather and precipitation - and justifiably so. You would need a very different range of gear from the tarps and UL windshirts of America.

Douglas Johnson
(Sponge) - MLife

Locale: PNW
China on 12/30/2007 23:13:27 MST Print View

China is weaksauce! How about Pakistan? Lots of rugged terrain to traverse over there. Only a marginal chance you'd be taken hostage, and you could pass on your message to a much larger geopolitically charged crowd...

Seriously though, how about throwing in the Mongolian steppe into your China adventure? A lot of "firsts" out there.

Or, you could head to Angola, Brazil, or Sudan/Darfur to raise awareness of the atrocities taking place in the name of oil dependance. Might be a bit bleak for an inspiring trip though!

(I like the kid idea as well)

Tony Beasley
(tbeasley) - MLife

Locale: Pigeon House Mt from the Castle
Re: On the Bicentennial on 12/31/2007 01:28:55 MST Print View

There is a variation the Bicentennial trail that is very challenging and that is to walk the Great Divide watershed from Western Victoria to Cape York (6700 km) it uses some of the Bicentennial trail tracks and has lots of serious bushwhacking. It has been done before.

Some other challenging walks in Tasmania are the West Coast walk it takes 28 days to walk 165 km, there are no tracks or sign of people just coastal wilderness.

Probably the ultimate Tasmanian wilderness challenge is to walk through the South West Wilderness I have read that in some areas you can travel as much as 500meters a day.


Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Re: Re: China? on 12/31/2007 01:53:10 MST Print View

"Any idea on how the gov't would react to a Westerner who is traveling there specifically to raise the issue of significant environmental degradation caused by unchecked economic growth?"

They would react negatively. You would never get a visa and even if you did, you'd never get to do anything they were unhappy with. The environment's an extremely touchy issue on its own, and then more so because of the way it feeds into other political issues such as the disparity in economic development between provinces and the way local party functionaries are corruptly stealing land and resources from local people. If you raised the environmental problems caused by their use of coal you'd end up discussing the death rate of the prisoners who do a lot of the coal digging. None of these are issues they'd want aired in the year they're holding the Olympics.

Ryan Klym
(breaks) - F

Locale: Flat Ohio
Working with Teens on 12/31/2007 07:39:52 MST Print View

Well Andy, you mentioned you have not done much in the Deep South, so maybe this would be an opportunity for you. You could consider starting in Florida on the Florida Trail then hike up to its terminus, stopping at schools along the way.

Then you could consider biking from the FT northern terminus up to the southern terminus of the Natchez Trace trail and take it to Nashville. That would be a a decent length trek. Or you could flip it and probably find a decent option to packraft down the Mississippi for the final section of the Natchez.

Like mentioned, partnering with Louv and a group like Keep America Beautiful could help get your story out. In addition, by targeting cities along that route, you could certainly get in touch with the state education boards, location school boards, Boy Scout troops, etc. I am sure they would be happy to help. From a brief glance at the maps, you could visit Nashville, Jackson, Natchez, Pensacola, Jacksonville, and Orlando without terrible effort.

Hiking, rafting, biking, and helping kids all in one trip. And not to mention, you wouldn't have to deal with your water freezing ;)

Just a thought...

Forrest G McCarthy
(forrestmccarthy) - MLife

Locale: Planet Earth
The Long Walk on 12/31/2007 09:40:33 MST Print View

A mega walk across Asia (the largest continent) would be the ultimate adventure/challenge. A cultural element would add a lot to the trip. Somebody mentioned the Silk Road. Walking the length of the Himalaya is another possibility. Or how about a reenactment of The Long Walk: A true Story of A Trek to Freedom.

An environmental crusade is admirable. However, as Arapiles (?), mentioned a political agenda would make traveling and obtaining Visas difficult. You could write a book afterwards. Regardless, spending a year traveling across Asia, on foot, would challenge any Westerner’s pre-conceived views on population, culture, environment, politics, etc.,. It would be a fantastic cultural and spiritual journey as much as a physical one.

Curt Peterson
(curtpeterson) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
North-South U.S. Route on 12/31/2007 09:47:53 MST Print View


I think it's important to stay in North America if your goal is the light-footprint lifestyle, climate change awareness, etc. We're certainly in the most need of the wake up call at this point. Doing a trip in the UK - or anywhere in Europe - is preaching to the choir.

It seems to me the "missing" piece from your collection is a true North-South trip of the U.S. I'm not sure if it's been done - I'm not aware of it - or if it's even possible, but a trip from the northern limits of Alaska to the southern border would be amazing. It would certainly highlight global climate change since the impact is pretty obvious up there from what I hear. Might shed a neat perspective on Arctic drilling and resource extraction, too.

I'm thinking an Alaska/BC/Washington/Oregon/California route. You've hiked coast to coast East-West. The North-South would be pretty amazing. Might be too impossible, however, without air support and ridiculous logistics. And it would redefine looooong.

Seems like it's one of the last uncompleted "lines" left in North America, though. Regardless what you choose, I'm sure we'll all have fun living vicariously through you. The podcasts were great - very much appreciated!


Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: Skurka looking for expedition ideas on 12/31/2007 17:28:37 MST Print View

Here is something crazy but different outside of the US.

Starting in Singapore with a Packraft rigged with a small sail work your way around the Indonesian Islands.

Go across to Malaysia, over and through Indonesia all the way back around to Singapore.

You would only, (maybe) have to hire a boat for one 60 mile section but the rest are short and there are only a few that are around 20 miles.