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What would be your ultimate backpacking adventure?
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Ryan Grayson
What would be your ultimate backpacking adventure? on 09/17/2013 19:51:45 MDT Print View

After hiking the AT in 2011, I got the hiking bug. I hiked another 1,000 miles of various trails in 2012 including the JMT, WT, and LT. This year is all about saving money for 2014. I've been planning on hiking the PCT, but now I'm thinking of taking a couple years off for one amazing backpacking adventure (or perhaps hopping around to multiple long trails). I've considered mixing in cycling trips and kayaking trips as well. I need to narrow down my choices and start planning. So, I was just curious, what would you do?

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
My ultimate adventure on 09/17/2013 20:22:20 MDT Print View

How about a packrafting/hiking trip somewhere in Alaska? Depending on how much money you have I'd consider a "warm up trip" in the northern Rockies or just a couple days in Alaska. You could work the kinks out of your system then go back for a big trip.

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
Dream trip on 09/17/2013 21:53:31 MDT Print View

I'd love to go back and do a long trip through the Sourhern Alps and Fjordland areas of the South Island, NZ. Amazing scenery, variable weather, and lots of opportunities for remote walking once you get off the Great Walks trails.

Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: What would be your ultimate backpacking adventure? on 09/17/2013 22:09:38 MDT Print View

Like to work my way up from a week and go for a week plus around the Wonderland trail, Tahoe Rim, Wind River Range, and similar areas. Then maybe do some foreign hikes (Switzerland and NZ), then maybe the long trails. Thought about waiting until my late 50's, getting a second civilian retirement, ... but after slipping/nursing a knee sprain for the last 2 months, it may be time to take a little time off as some things (like knees) don't improve with age.

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: What would be your ultimate backpacking adventure? on 09/17/2013 22:14:27 MDT Print View

I'd like to trek the Westfjords and the Laugavegur trail of Iceland. GR10 is on my bucket list too.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: What would be your ultimate backpacking adventure? on 09/17/2013 22:18:23 MDT Print View

One that doesn't end.

Phillip Tatti

Locale: Adirondacks
Two choices for me on 09/17/2013 23:42:26 MDT Print View

Himalayas or Alps

Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
re: Ultimate Adventure on 09/18/2013 08:12:09 MDT Print View

I used to think it would be the PCT or another long trail. More and more though, I've really come to respect people who follow their passions and come up with their own routes. Like this guy:
5000 mile canoe trek

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: My ultimate adventure on 09/18/2013 11:13:04 MDT Print View

>"How about a packrafting/hiking trip somewhere in Alaska?"

Luke: It's been done (not a reason to not do it again) by BPL's own Erin Erin McKittrick, her husband and two kids:

I'll let you do laundry and feed you sourdough waffles, too, if you came by like they did.

Pre-kids, they did a 4,000-mile trip from Seattle to the Aleutians and she wrote a book about that as well: A Long Trek Home: 4,000 Miles by Boot, Raft, and Ski

Jill Fredston's approach is to stick to the water more (but camping on land):

She does more miles, over 20,000 so far, but all in reverse (she's rowing, so facing backwards).

Edited to add: If you wanted to come to Alaska and use the Necky double kayak Jill converted to a rowing shell / 3-month food hauler, I could probably arrange that. Everyone up here is pretty darn supportive of cool trips (perhaps because we see so many people (local and tourists) doing really routine, boring things despite all the opportunities to really amazing trips).

Edited by DavidinKenai on 09/18/2013 16:16:29 MDT.

Ryan Grayson
Thank You! on 09/24/2013 10:54:41 MDT Print View

Thanks for all your input. I have a route planned out that is huge to say the least. It has multiple legs, starting with the Pacific Crest Trail, then I'll be cycling south into Mexico. Might go further south to Central America, might not. Depends how I feel at that point. If I still have the health and money when I return to the US border. I'll be hiking the AZT to Hayduke Trail to CDT then either go the PNW trail back to the PCT, or start the next leg of the trip, kayaking the entire Missouri River.

Hope I stay healthy and have enough money. I might take time off in between to work, rest, and heal if necessary.

Daniel Collins
(Diablo-V) - M

Locale: Orlando FL
Ultimate adventure on 09/24/2013 21:35:19 MDT Print View

To follow the path of the two characters in "The man who would be king".
Wearing a Freemasons pendant ......

Reginald Donaldson
(worth) - MLife

Locale: Wind River Range
Eskers on 09/24/2013 23:08:00 MDT Print View

From the Northwest Territories to Nunavut, all 800 kilometers, on the Thelon esker.

Steven Davis

Locale: SF Bay Area
Re: What would be your ultimate backpacking adventure? on 09/25/2013 01:32:08 MDT Print View

how do you have the free time and money to do that??? :P

Richard May
(richardmay) - M

Locale: Swamplands.
Panama's 'Camino Real' on 09/25/2013 06:28:16 MDT Print View

Right now I'm working towards doing Panama's 'Camino Real'. It's the old Spanish land route to carry gold and goods between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean.

The little bit of research I've done indicates that a few tour companies will take you, carry your stuff, cook for you, etc. In other words, take out all the fun and charge for it. :S

I'll have to find another way. I don't mind going with a guide or small group. I just don't want to go on a five star expedition.

Edited by richardmay on 09/25/2013 06:32:03 MDT.

Ryan Grayson
Re: Re: What would be your ultimate backpacking adventure? on 09/25/2013 15:55:57 MDT Print View

I have time because I don't have a wife or children. As great as that might be, it really does open up your schedule. I also have no interest in building a career, so I don't waste any time with it. I have the money, not because I make a lot, but because I live very cheaply on and off the trail. I don't own much of anything. I don't date. I have roommates, so only pay $100 a week for my living expenses.

It costs about a dollar per mile to hike a long trail, so if I think of buying something I don't need, I think of the miles I could hike instead. When I'm in a town, rather than spend $80 for a hotel, I'll just find a free inconspicuous place to sleep: parks, baseball field dugouts, behind abandoned buildings. I'd rather hike another 80 miles than have one night in a hotel.

I've used to get free places to stay also. And I've had people invite me into their homes without me asking. They like hearing the stories and being a part of your adventure. Fellow travelers have invited me to sleep on the floor of their hotel, and once someone offered to buy me and my friend a room at a hotel and a steak dinner (nothing creepy, he just gave us a hitch after I finished hiking the AT and handed us $150 to celebrate.) I used to turn down stuff like that, but I know how good it makes me feel to give someone something, so now I just take it and tell them how much I appreciate it.

Also, when you have the time and you live out of a backpack, you can hitch wherever you want to go, for free of course.

To me being rich is all about having more than you need. I've never been motivated to make a lot of money. I find it a lot easier and a lot more rewarding to just need less.

I'm going to see if I can continue to reduce my expenses while traveling. When I've gained more experience, I'll post about it at

just Justin Whitson
Re: Re: What would be your ultimate backpacking adventure? on 09/25/2013 20:44:16 MDT Print View

"One that doesn't end."

Like Mamma always use to say, be careful of what you wish for, just might come true.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Re: Re: What would be your ultimate backpacking adventure? on 09/26/2013 10:21:32 MDT Print View

Ryan Grayson, I want to marry you......

Edited by Jenmitol on 09/26/2013 10:22:02 MDT.

Dean L
(AldoLeopold) - F

Locale: Great Lakes
The SW Road Trip on 09/26/2013 11:41:59 MDT Print View

A month long excursion to the Four Corners area. Some multi nighters, some day hikes, long drives to Toroweap or up the Kaiparowits Plateau. Zion, Grand Gulch, Dark Canyon, Arches etc. Throw in a river trip and few nights relaxing in Durango or Moab.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Re: Marriage on 09/26/2013 13:20:25 MDT Print View

He doesn't date...

Larry De La Briandais
(Hitech) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Re: Re: Marriage on 09/26/2013 14:13:48 MDT Print View

Do you have to date to get married?!? ;^)

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re: Re: Re: What would be your ultimate backpacking adventure? on 09/26/2013 14:36:53 MDT Print View

>"Ryan Grayson, I want to marry you......"

I knew a woman who always said if there was someone she thought she wanted to marry, she'd hike the AT with him. She figured anything and everything would come up on such a trip, you'd see them at their best, and at their worst. So, if they were still talking to each other 2,200 miles later, she'd have found and thoroughly vetted the right guy for her.

>"Do you have to date to get married?!? ;^)"

Not in some cultures.

dave p
(hipass) - F

Locale: Los Angeles
thank you ryan for inspiration on 09/29/2013 12:14:37 MDT Print View

i dont have a career or children and am living comfortably and thats my problem.Time is flying by but i am just working and saving.In the 90s when i made a good living in the stock market,i could and would get up and go whenever i wanted to,on big road trips to the 4 corners or colorado.I guess the biggest problem now is do i dump my apt. and have no known home to return to when i get sick of travelling?I probably need to just jump and live by the seat of my pants and live a little.

I want to explore italy,turkey/mideast and the karakoram valley in n pakistan.I dont know if i should do all these destinations in 1 giant trip or seperate ones.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: thank you ryan for inspiration on 09/29/2013 15:43:16 MDT Print View

"I want to explore italy,turkey/mideast and the karakoram valley in n pakistan.I dont know if i should do all these destinations in 1 giant trip or seperate ones."

If I were you, I'd do some serious research and give the idea even more serious consideration before going just about anywhere in Pakistan these days. The natives are restless, and Americans are seriously at risk when traveling there, particularly in areas where the central government's writ is tenuous at best. The Taliban don't pay much attention to national borders, nor do they differentiate between American civilians and our military.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Re: What would be your ultimate backpacking adventure? on 09/29/2013 16:28:12 MDT Print View

For a single extended BPing trip I would seriously look at a PCT/CDT loop. I think Skurka did this, Great western loop. I have looked at his route down south but there have been a number of hikers such as Dirtmonger that have strung together some pretty cool routes.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
New Zealand on 10/02/2013 00:13:29 MDT Print View

A 3 month North and South Islands trip would be my ultimate.

It would have to also include North Island sea kayaking and South Island skiing and deer hunting.

OK, make it 4 months

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: What would be your ultimate backpacking adventure? on 10/14/2013 21:05:42 MDT Print View

The Desert Trail.

Never heard of it until BPL member Buck Nelson became the first person to thru hike it.

McDowell Crook
(mcdcrook) - M

Locale: Southeast
trails on 11/07/2013 08:26:42 MST Print View

I found this list of long-distance trails informative:

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
So many trails on 11/07/2013 11:38:32 MST Print View

"For a single extended BPing trip I would seriously look at a PCT/CDT loop."

I think that very very (very) few people would be able and WANT to hike all of that as a single trip. The pieces sum to nearly 7000 miles of backpacking. Doing a 2000+ trip in one year is plenty and enough for me. Of the two pieces that I've done of this loop (PCT and CDT) I really wasn't inclined to walk anymore for that year when I finished, particularly after the CDT. (The AT, by contrast, after a few weeks off I went to Europe and was happy to hike a few hundred more miles there in the same year).

I might eventually hike all of the Great Western Loop pieces; certainly the 1200 mile PNW trail calls to me, and is pretty close to where I live. But do just one piece of this to get a sense for Skurka's accomplishment (and note that he's still the only one to do the loop in a single year). It's a whole lot more than "just" a yo-yo.

"Ultimate" backpacking adventure --- there are so very many. I quite like hiking in Europe and hope to do more. The Te Araroa in NZ sounds great, or alternatively stitching together trail pieces there. The Trans-Canada trail is hopefully going to be fully connected by 2017. I have a friend who's doing the Annapurna circuit next year, I think, and that's no doubt spectacular. I'd like to get into Patagonia and sort of wallow in that. So very much to see and do.

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
THe gift of time on 11/07/2013 13:38:07 MST Print View

If I was gifted with a year of time, enough money in the bank and (this is the tough one) did not have to start over yet again working my way up at a job (the wife would esp appreciate that!!! :) ), I would not do one grand adventure but a series of mini-adventures. Cherry pick trails and routes for the best time of the year. Come back home for a month or so [1] and then set out again.

January or so? I'd backcountry ski every day or close to it. When I was unemployed a few winters ago, it is without exaggeration to say I was on skis probably 20+ days out of 30 during winter. It may not have been all day affairs (3 hrs perhaps at time), but it was skiing. Nordic backcountry or backcountry tele. I was in the best shape of my life, too. Cardio, core, upper and lower body. Balance. Large and small muscle groups. Plus it is beautiful and fun!!!

Which brings us to:

Starting in mid Feb or early March, I would "thru-ski" the 300 mile long Catamount Trail in Vermont. Always wanted to do it. Logistics (esp camping) may be interesting at times, but what a way to see New England in the winter!

Short rest and then:

early-ish to mid-April: A southwest desert trail. The Hayduke, AZT or GET would all be worthy jaunts. The AZT for the beauty of Arizona, The GET for the wonderfully easy logistics or the HDT for the sheer uniqueness of the Colorado Plateau. Decisions. Decisions.

And in May and June, I would focus on local hikes and work on my climbing more. Enjoy my town and haunt the brew pubs after post-hikes and climbing. :)

In July, time to squeeze in the High Sierra Route.

Early August? Time to hike the Great Divide Trail along the Canadian Rockies ~700 miles of some of the most scenic, stunning and awesome mountains I've ever seen.

Finish by mid-September at the very latest (and hope it does not snow ;) )and go back to my very patient wife.

Spend a month again enjoying the local area as the CO Rockies in late fall is cool, crisp and wonderful.

And in mid October or so, I'd do the Allegheny Trail just as the leaves are hitting their peak foliage. The Eastern hardwood forests are awesomely beautiful in the Fall, and I've always wanted to do this obscure trail. At 300 miles long, a nice two week journey for me.

And in November? It is car camping season in the southwest. Short days, but less people in the BLM area, national parks and national monuments. Makes for long nights in camp..perfect for what I call "base camp" car camping. Make long day hikes, come back to camp and snuggle in the ridiculously large and warm sleeping bags we have. This would be after a delicious meal we cooked on the Coleman stove. Naturally we'll see it on our camp chair in our out-of-the way primitive campsite some where off a dirt road in Utah. We'd enjoy the brilliant night sky above while sipping on a hot drink with "splash of something extra". Mrs Mags likes these types of trips and I've grown to enjoy them myself in the very late fall/early winter.

And in December? A little skiing while I get ready to start another job.

Maybe it is my age, enjoy my community or the fact that I've done some reasonably large adventures earlier in life, but the mini-adventures and cherry picking the best seasons to do them in really appeal to me at this point in my life.

[1] I actually enjoy where I live. Would not want to be away too long. See above about the wife part. ;)

Edited by PaulMags on 11/08/2013 06:32:06 MST.

Ozzy McKinney
(PorcupinePhobia) - F

Locale: PNW
nice Paul! on 11/08/2013 06:11:11 MST Print View

Well thought out Paul. Sounds like you have thought about it a time or two!

I'll be leaving for the AT at the end of April. While this isn't my "Ultimate" backpacking adventure, I'm going for it because it is logistically/financially feasible for me at this point, and I need to get out and do something big.

More and more I feel like just "doing" is more important than all the little details. I think it is easy to fall into the "someday" trap, and it ends up being "never".

In my work, I see a lot of people who go from totally healthy to hospice in a matter of weeks, usually after being blindsided by cancer. Nobody ever says "I wish I would have worked more overtime" or "I wish I could pay off my car". It's usually "I've never been to Europe" or "I wanted to see the Himalaya". And the older folks, who have lived a long time and made plenty of mistakes, they always tell you to go for it, take chances. I think a very small number of people truly live life without regret, but it's something worth thinking about. The whole "You'll regret what you didn't do, not what you did do" sort of thing.

I think I'm just rambling now. But it's been on my mind a lot lately.

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
What would be your ultimate backpacking adventure? on 11/08/2013 06:52:43 MST Print View

>>Well thought out Paul. Sounds like you have thought about it a time or two!

More than I wish to admit. ;)

I look at my German in-laws with their copious amount of vacation time (and sick time. Whats that again??? ) that they can take with in large chunks, and I am frankly jealous.

In the past, I'd save up money, quit work and take 7-8 months off total.

Then I'd start over again.

I've done the "grad student life-style" as I call it: Room mates, everything in a storage locker, etc.

Worked for me at the time, but (at least for me) it does get to be a lifestyle that does grow tiring after a bit. Maybe that is why I don't want or need the ultimate adventure at this point, but rather a flexible lifestyle that allows a balance between paying the bills, making sure I am not selling apples on the side of the street at 75 yo, but also getting more than the standard time off found in most places.

As mentioned before, in the next two or three years I hope to be like a good friend of mine who works in an in-demand field, works 7-8 months a year and then plays for 4-6 months.

We'll see. :)

Edited by PaulMags on 11/08/2013 06:55:11 MST.

. .
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: (...)
... on 11/08/2013 11:15:20 MST Print View


Edited by RogerDodger on 06/23/2015 10:40:43 MDT.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: What would be your ultimate backpacking adventure? on 11/08/2013 11:27:17 MST Print View

Walking the entire length of the Big Sur from the ocean to the base of the black cone, crossing over to the other fork and following it back.

I also want to walk the length of the Little Sur river, walking up to the window at the headwaters, crossing over the ridge (past kandlbinder) and dropping down into the south fork.

Steve Meier
(smeier) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
On to Machu Piccu on 11/08/2013 12:01:53 MST Print View

I just knocked off #1 on my bucket list, summiting Kilimanjaro in September. What a great ride that was. I'll need to post some pics.

Next on my life list is Machu Piccu with my wife and also Everest base camp. After that, NZ and something in Europe...

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
Re: What would be your ultimate backpacking adventure? on 11/08/2013 21:15:12 MST Print View

Purely backpacking? Easy.

My "ultimate" backpacking adventure would be The Vagabond Loop- Arizona Trail, Hayduke Trail, Colorado Trail, and Grand Enchantment Trail.