Rob Caldwell’s Maine-based TV news magazine “207” (named after Maine’s one and only area code) interviewed me at my kitchen table two weeks ago. Rob’s program will feature a conversation we had about adventures, walking for months on end at a time, and being awarded the Triple Crown of Hiking.
The interview will air in two parts : November 24 & 25th—part 1 on Monday, part 2 on Tuesday. Catch it at 7:00 p.m. on channel 6 in Portland and channel 2 in Bangor. It will also be posted in the 207 section of www.WCSH6.com .
Rob told me to, “Tell everyone you’ve ever met. We want even people on hiking trails who are fifty miles away from the nearest TV to watch.”
The big event on the shore of Sturgeon Lake in Minnesota was a huge success. My travel from Maine was originally scheduled in order for me to work in the vendor area at Don Kevilus’ Four Dog Stove booth.
I worked the Four Dog Stove booth in 2011 at Trail Days in Damascus, Virginia, where twenty thousand hikers converged at the Appalachian Trail’s biggest weekend event. It’s fun being front and center at a major event where there are so many people who are excited about getting out in the woods and trails and walking for day, weeks, and even months at a time.
The days were all sunny, the night cold but not frigid, and the sleeping was delicious, or was that deciduous? Lots of trees nearby, just like back at home in Maine.
We are here at the Midwest Winter camping Skills Symposium.
Here is a video journal from Four Dog Stove that captures the energy and the experience of the weekend’s festivities.
And the link for the schedule–> See the wide variety of workshops and seminars presented at this event.
I was Saturday’s Keynote Presenter
Here’s my biography, with a pic of me walking white winter in Acadia National park: Thomas Jamrog has been backpacking, riding mountain bikes, and living in the outdoors for close to 50 years. Tom maintains his popular blog: Living Large While Walking The Big Trail, and Tom’s Trailjournals have amassed close to one million web visits. Tom is a member of the Iron Butt Association, a long-distance motorcycling community whose basic entry requirement is to ride 1,000 miles in one day. Tom rides mountain bikes year round in Maine. For one calendar year, Tom commuted 32 miles a day to work, on a bicycle, through the winter. Tom’s winter camping experiences have recently expanded to include winter fat-tire biking.From 2007 to 2013, Tom backpacked over 8,000 miles in the United States. On October 24, 2014 The American Long Distance Hiking Association-West awarded Tom the Triple Crown of Hiking, for having completed continuous through hikes of the Appalachian, Pacific Crest, and Continental Divide Trails, joining a relatively small club of 200 people who have received the award to date. Tom has completed winter walking trips in Canada and conducts yearly trips in Maine, where he has lived with his wife, Marcia, for the past 40 years.Tom Jamrog
This was the topic for my presentation:
Winter Walking the West: Preparing and Adapting to Snow Travel in the High Sierras and Rocky Mountains–Tom Jamrog has recently completed 400 miles of walking on snow and ice over the High Sierra in California and several hundred miles above 10,000 feet in Colorado. He will discuss his physical and mental preparation and how he adapted the skills learned from traditional “Winterwalking” in New England and Northern Canada to succeed in being awarded the Triple Crown of Hiking.
I also made some new friends.
I was camped right next door to Kevin and Beth Kinney, who are making a very respectable go at it sewing super well-designed winter outer ware from traditional textiles like cotton and fur. We’re talking Empire Canvas Works.
At the Four Dog Stove booth, we provided some table space for Ben’s Backwoods. I liked hanging with Ben Piersma and am reading through his authoritative blog right now. His bio reads: “Ben’s full time job is testing, researching, and selling tools and outdoor goods for life in the north woods. He uses hand tools like axes, hand-saws, and knives daily for fishing, hunting, foraging, self reliance, and primitive bushcraft. His goods can be found at Bensbackwoods.com
Did you know that that residents of other states can be licensed as Registered Maine Guides. I enjoyed talking trail and skills with Scott Oeth, from Minnesota, who had passed all the testing requirements for the Maine Guide license last year. Scott’s blog is tops, and full of interesting outdoor angles.
I was impressed with the camaraderie here. For example, Don Kivelus invited Ben to set up a his Ben’s Backwoods goods table at Don’s Four Dog Stove booth, making for many grand choices on one long table full of shiny metal , or polished wooden stuff. These two guys are in effect direct competitors, supplying the bushcraft public with a number of the same items, but sometimes work together, like this. I also know that both Ben and Don live in the sticks, and at least Don has an actual farmstead, with animals running around a wide expanse of Minnesota. Don prefers cutting and hauling his firewood with some of the five mules he tends on the back forty. He sometimes posts pics of mules plowing up a field, not something you see everyday, even way out in rural areas where tractors rule. Any product these two guys consider to sell is first used, abused, and sometimes refused before it goes up for sale. A true American business experience, a rare occurrence these days.
In the next few weeks, I plan to post a few Four Dog Stove Youtube videos related to this event and also highlight some of the products I am evaluating that I picked up out in Minnesota. Stay tuned.
I opened the beat-up padded envelope that just came in my mailbox and was blown away to finally see this physical object in my hands. I’m in a club of 230 individuals world wide !
The American Long Distance Hiking Association-West sent me a congratulatory letter with three statistics:
“On a single day in May 2012, more people summited Mt. Everest than have hiked the Triple Crown.
More people have circumnavigated the earth than have hiked the Triple Crown.
More people have been in space than have hiked the Triple Crown.”
I didn’t do it alone.
My deepest appreciation goes out to Dick Wizard, Train, General Lee, Paddy-O, my wife Auntie Mame, my mother Isabel, my brother Roy, my son Lincoln and his fiancée Stephanie , Don Kivelus ( Four Dog Stove) and my Trailjournal transcribers Jan Munroe (v8), and John Clark (Tenzing). Special thanks to all the other hikers who helped me ( it’s an impossibly long list to do justice to) , my faithful Traijournal readers, and all the individuals , past and present, who worked or are working to make our National Scenic Trails a reality that anyone can step onto and return to our ancestral purpose in the grand forests, deserts, mountains, and plains that grace the United States of America.
Every once in a while, Nick Kristof, prizewinning journalist takes a long hike, and it’s national news. This time it’s 145 miles in Oregon on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). Kristof’s article calls to mind one of the most piercing quotes of all time, from the Grand Wanderer.
“However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault finder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poorhouse. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as from the rich man’s abode; the snow melts before its door as early in the spring. ” -Thoreau
In 2010, on this exact date, I was 1544 miles into hiking the PCT, and in Etna California, about 100 miles south of entering Oregon.
I just received a repost of a June 24, 2010 Trail Journal entry from Dreams. Dreams hooked up with MeGaTex for a few days as we all were backpacking through the Sierra on our 2010 Pacific Crest Trail thru hikes. This part of the PCT is not much for solo travel, and is where even seasoned hikers who prefer to walk the trail alone often find themselves teaming up with other hikers for situations just like this one!
I agree that this was the scariest and most dangerous water crossing on the whole PCT. I still have mild PTSD that lingers on, still triggered by the unique deep bass roar of these overflowing streams and watercourses.
So, enjoy the following report from a day way back back in 2010. Thanks, Dreams !
At first I thought it was a misprint- 1,000,000 feet of elevation gain? That’s only 189.4 miles of uphills. I thought it was more!
I’ve been thinking about walking on the Applalchian Trail again this season, soon. For readers who poo-poo the difficulty of hiking the AT, here’s a mess of facts from Whiteblaze. The AT is tough. There are 286.6 miles of AT in Maine, with an average of 242 feet per mile of gain and loss. The article from Whiteblaze hot-linked above blew my mind. The author took all the USGS 7.5 minute topographic maps for the entire trail and actually counted the contour lines the trail crosses, going both up and down. New Hampshire is the hilliest, followed by Georgia, which might surprise some.
While Maine’s state average is not #1, one must consider that doing the AT in Maine is not a uniform task. The Northbound gain is 59,000 feet. The 151 mile eastern most portion of the state is more moderate ( 5,200 average for that first four sections) , while the 50 mile portion from the New Hampshire state line to Rangley is a brutal 18,800 feet, and is the toughest part of the whole Trail.
Order a set of Yogi’s for the Triple Crowner in your life!
The best writing about long-distance hiking is coming right at you from Carrot Quinn. She’s back at it again this season a fresh new attempt at completing the Pacific Crest Trail.
I laughed out loud at the first line of this post.
I encourage you to follow her. 630 other readers are already enjoying this ride, which will be exciting, funny, and shocking. She’s posting daily pics on Instagram this time, accessed at the bottom of her blog posts.
While re-reading my Trailjournal from my 2010 thru hike of the Pacific Crest Trail, I started looking around the Web for anyone starting out early this year. Blondie’s all set to go, and is posting on |Blondie Hikes. I stumbled upon her remarkable post about a unprepared hiker-wannabee who might have died if not for Blondie’s help.
Hauser Canyon is a location that one passes through on the PCT . It is located at about the 15 miles north from the US/Mexico border in California.
Apparently Blondie was day hiking the 21 mile segment that most hikers complete on their first day on the PCT. Hikers try to make the 21 in a day because there is so little water in that section, punctuated with heavy border patrol that would invite a look-see wakeup from Agents if they detected a tent up in that section. If you make the 21 miles you arrive at Lake Morena State Park, a safe haven.
Knowledgeable trail angels have suggested that this will be a record year for PCT thru hiker attempts. “1,000 people on the trail this year” is popping up. Hopefully there is some sense out there, Some say it’s the Wild effect, thanks to Cheryl Strayed’s best selling book about hiking a portion of the PCT in 1995. Here’s my review of the book.
Occasionally I repost material written by others that I feel a connection with. Carrot Quinn has given us one of the best post-thru hike accounts of how it feels to stop walking after exercising 12 hours a day, for day after day, and months at a time.
I experienced some of this post hike depression in 2007 after I completed the AT. I was better after the 2010 PCT hike, and am almost back on track after completing the CDT this past September. I do have a great place to live, and a family and friends that love me.
It still feels feels selfish when I whine after being on “vacation” for 5-6 months a year, but thru hiking was definitely not a vacation. My MeGaTex buddies and I used to joke about how nice it would be to just be able to “camp” and walk a bit each day, but we were generally asleep after boiling up a pot of food, and staring at the campfire until the tiredness took us away into the darkness.
I’m reblogging a “report” of what appears to have taken considerable time and has good data. I was surprised that the completion numbers were this low, and like the concept of the composite “typical hiker”. This is interesting for any long distance hiker.