What is hikertrash?

When Daniel “Ratatouille” Hepokoski first contacted me because he was interested in covering the topic of “hikertrash” on his new podcast series, Trailside Radio, I was happy to oblige…trying to define hikertrash for those who aren’t hikers can sometimes be a confusing discussion. Yes, it makes sense why we self identify as dirty on a long distance trail, but Ratatouille, like others I’ve spoken to over the years, wasn’t sure he wanted to call himself trash.

Thus the podcast. What is hikertrash?

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Ratatouille will be getting on his first long distance trail, the PCT, in a few weeks, and will be attempting to continue this podcast series; an ambitious but exciting proposition. When he asked me why someone would want to call themselves hikertrash, I suggested he hike for a month and then we revisit the issue.

Take a listen to the Trailside Radio podcast:

Thanks for listening!

To expand on the podcast a bit, here are some photos detailing more about my hikertrash origin story:

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My first screen: a curtain stapled onto a picture frame from goodwill.

My first designs included bikes and a kayak for Kirk, ever the water lover.

The first designs included mostly bikes. Did I mention I love bikes?

Back in 2009 on Lint's second thru-hike of the PCT I printed my first "hikertrash" on his pack when he passed through Bend.

Back in 2009 on Lint‘s second thru-hike of the PCT I printed my first “hikertrash” on his pack when he passed through Bend.

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Kirk helped me build a screen printing press out of 95% recycled materials for 2014’s PCT Days.

Now we make a variety of products in a rainbow of colors.

Now we make a variety of products in a rainbow of colors.

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and TEMPORARY tattoos! (I love temporary tattoos)

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Hikertrash has had a good first year…2 trips to the OR Show and hikers wore our hats on the triple crown trails. Dude!

Brian and I continue to come up with new designs

Brian and I continue to come up with new designs (this one will be available soon!)

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and I’ll be gathering more design ideas on the CDT in a few short weeks

As I said, getting dirty on the trail is the big equalizer. we are all hikertrash.

Thank YOU!

Wow, the CDTC fundraiser we put on last week was a great success! We filled the seats and raised over $1,300 for the trail. I’m grateful for friends, co-workers, and everyone who was just plain curious about these crazy people who quit their jobs to go hike across the country…again and again and again. And for all my sponsors and supporters for donating some amazing items to the raffle, thank you!

But don’t take my word for it, here some some pics (courtesy of Robert Curzon):

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Tons of items were donated to the raffle

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This ladies package was really popular! Jewelry by Bronwen Jewelry, Sierra Sage products, Go Macro bars, Salazon Chocolate, a Purple Rain Skirt & Pro Knot card.

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Our breakfast raffle bundle had coffee & hazelnuts from Strictly Organic, Breakfast oatmeal/cereal from Straw Propeller, mugs from Stanley & a CDTC shirt!

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And the prizes keep getting better, $100 to Desperado, Stanley flask & more…

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I put everything in giant zip locks, because zip locks are GOLD on a trail!

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Patagonia @ Bend was very welcoming and let us use their beautiful store for the talk.

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I shared a bit about why I hike.

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And invited Kim (SOL), Sage & Mary (Speedstick) to tell stories from their CDT hikes.

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I shared all the gear that I’ll be taking on the trail.

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Even the bug condom!

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Raffle time!

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This little pup really wanted to win the Ruffwear dog bed.

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Grady (Fun Size) won the Stanley lunch box, I expect to see him carry that on the CDT this year…

So much fun, now for the hike!!!

Screw it, I’m gonna ski Colorado if I have to

The major hurdle for northbound thru-hikers on the CDT pivots on snow levels in Southern Colorado. This is a major point of stress, and rightly so. Stories of thigh-deep post-holing for miles (a veritable swimming pool of spring snow) may sound sweet if you are a skier, but as a backpacker intent on making it to Canada before NEW snow falls on THOSE mountains, anything that slows your pace down to 1 mile an hour deserves the panic. Just ask anyone intent on heading out on the CDT what their snow plan is, and see the wild look that comes into their eyes. It’s a real fear.

My good friend Speedstick had EPIC snow in 2011, her stories made me think...

My good friend Speedstick had EPIC snow in 2011, her stories made me think…

Since moving to Bend, and taking up several new outdoor sports, backcountry touring has been one of the most enjoyable ways Kirk and I spend time outside. We’re not talking about skiing sick lines off of Broken Top or South Sister, but traveling long distances over snow. Really, it’s backpacking…in winter.

Here we are camping on LaConte Crater (think the volcanic cone on the PCT right at South Sister) in JULY 2011.

Here we are camping on LaConte Crater (…think the volcanic cone on the PCT right by South Sister) in JULY one year.

2010 was a low snow year...my pack was much heaver as we hiked half way into Tilly Jane hut on the east side of Mt. Hood.

2010 was a low snow year…we hiked half way into Tilly Jane hut on the east side of Mt. Hood before the skis went on.

So Kirk and I got to thinking after hearing our friend’s horror stories (or lack there-of because they skipped around the heavy snow sections) about these “spring skiing” conditions on the CDT. Spring skiing is some of the best skiing out there! The snow pack is relatively stable, the air warm, the sky blue, and the snow slushy in the mornings, icy at night. I feel pretty comfortable in those conditions.

And then Kirk, ever the searcher of cool experiences and amazing adventures, commented that he had seen shoe bindings made for polar expeditions that would probably work if I wanted to ski some of Colorado. What!!?!

OF COURSE I WANT TO TRY THAT.

Needless to say I liked his idea, and we decided that some old Atomic Rainier metal-edge touring skis that he had were light, and would work well for the job.

So now to make the binding.

Now please don’t think I’m any sort of McGyver type here. This is all Kirk. I would still be in snowshoes if it wasn’t for this man. He can make anything, and I think we are a pretty damn good team.

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He started with a cardboard template.

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Now for the webbing and such…

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Yep, yep, a little more this way…back an inch…

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Now for the plastic.

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Ok, yep, this is coming together.

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Let add the shoe!

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Damn, that Oboz Luna looks good in there, oh and hey, nice socks!

Things came together over the past 4 months. Some of that time was spent sitting on the couch talking about the idea of how great these would be if they worked, but for practicality, I was eager to try them, could this really work?

Cut to this weekend.

Kirk finished up the bindings  on Saturday and mounted them on the Atomics. We headed to Dutchman Sno Park for another amazingly clear “spring” day in Central Oregon.

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First ski!

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I hiked in a ways before putting the skis on (you know…simulating real world conditions!!) Really, how will these skis carry on the back of my pack?? Verdict: very well indeed. The two skis together weigh just over 4 pounds.

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STOKE!

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I discover my limiting factor will be the strength of my ankles.

All in all a great first run. We started to ski into some more varied terrain, but after falling a few times it sunk in: I was not in my plastic touring boots, I was in low-top trail shoes (no ankle support).  I think these shoes will be perfect if I have a deep snowy section of less than a week. If it happens that there is a blizzard Armageddon in Colorado between now and June, and I think I’ll need the skis more than a week or two, I would get high-top hiking boots instead for the extra ankle support. That, however, is unlikely.

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Kirk went for it though. Whenever we are out touring he’s always climbing to get in some short runs.

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Oh! Maybe some air?

On the ski back we took off layers and again bemoaned the fact that this was the winter that winter didn’t happen, all the while pretty happy to soak up the warm sun on a beautiful day.

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Ahhhh, life.

And here’s a short video I put together of the ski.

Rucking it up

I spent last weekend at the ALDHA-West Ruck in Cascade Locks. What’s a ruck you ask? It’s on of those German words we’ve appropriated that means backpacking. Although Urban Dictionary tells me it’s a fight, a rugby term, and some other much less inspiring definitions.

Anyway, it was a blast. There were old friends, quite a few hikers who will be on the CDT this year, and I had a chance to sell a bunch of hikertrash stuff.

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We love our Purple Rain Adventure Skirts! Oh and Mont-bell put in a good showing among the thru-hikers too. Me, Jill, Focus & Allgood (Focus will be on the CDT too this year, I hope we get to meet up at some point!)

These guys. It was great to catch up with SoFar & Lint.

These guys. It was great to catch up with SoFar & Lint.

Hikertrash did really well…

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We were trying to look like hikertrash here. Focus & Justa bought our new hat. I had a lot of fun designing this one, should be available for sale in the next month or so in our store.

Six Moon Designs also unveiled their answer for the bankrupt GoLite's very popular Chrome Dome. This is the Silver Shadow (guess who designed the logo!!)

Six Moon Designs also unveiled their answer for the bankrupt GoLite’s very popular Chrome Dome. This is the Silver Shadow (guess who designed the logo!!). This too will be available in the next month or two.

Oh man, every since we worked together as metal roofers one rainy January in Portland I have missed these two. Love these guys.

Oh man, every since we worked together as metal roofers one rainy January in Portland I have missed these two. Love these guys. Metal roofing in January? I wouldn’t recommend it.

So lots of catching up with friends, bolstering my business with new sales, and above all else, getting FREAKING EXCITED to hike the CDT.

Soon.

Continental Divide Trail Coalition Fundraiser in Bend March 12

After the great suggestion from Brenda and Candace at Nevado Mountain Adventures, I’ve decided to hold a fundraiser for the Continental Divide Trail Coalition in Bend before I leave for the hike.

Join me and three other bad-ass local ladies who have already thru-hiked the CDT at Patagonia @ Bend, 1000 NW Wall St., on Thursday, March 12 at 7pm to learn more about the trail, raise funds for the Continental Divide Trail Coalition, enter the gear raffle, and drink free beer. (Below is the press release)

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As the Continental Divide Trail Coalition’s first Trail Ambassador, Renee will share the story of the organization’s mission to complete and protect America’s wildest and most remote long distance trail along the backbone of the Continental Divide. Learn about the youngest and longest of the “Triple Crown” trails: a path that stretches from Mexico to Canada and passes through New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. The trail isn’t complete, so in addition to raising awareness of the incredibly scenic and difficult endeavor of thru-hiking (completing the entire trail in one trip), she will raise money for the Coalition’s efforts through a gear raffle.

Enjoy free beer and hear stories from three local women who have already thru-hiked the CDT: Sage Clegg, Mary Moynihan, and Kim Geisreiter. Sage was the first woman to have completed the Triple Crown (Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and Continental Divide Trail) in 18 months; Mary was the only women to successfully complete a north-bound thru-hike of the CDT in 2011, a year with some of the highest snow levels in recent history; and Kim not only completed a south-bound CDT hike in 2011, but will be thru-hiking the trail again this year north-bound.

The CDT will be Renee’s 8th long-distance backpacking trail, and she will not only talk about what it means to hike the trail in one trip, (long waterless stretches, high snow levels, grizzly territory) but will have a “show and tell” with the gear she will be carrying, including some unique homemade items.

Come support America’s longest backpacking trail and learn more about the intrepid folks who hike it.

The raffle will include items from: Hikertrash, Purple Rain Adventure Skirts, Namaspa Yoga & Massage, The Trail Show, Lava Love, Silipint,Oregon Natural Desert Association, Oboz Footwear, TurboPUP, GoMacro Macrobars, Point6, STANLEY, Embrace the Brutality: A Continental Divide Trail Adventure, squatchfilms.com, Cairn, Hikertrash: Life on the Pacific Crest Trail, Nevado Mountain Adventures, Bronwen Jewelry, Pizza Mondo and more.

Having Fun on a Thru-Hike

One of the reasons I keep coming back to long distance backpacking is the pure enjoyment of it all. Sure there is pain, and dirt and a fair amount of suffering, but there is a lot of fun.

When experiences are as intense as thru-hiking can be, you learn a lot about your fellow hikers in those times. Seeing a person’s true colors leads to deep connections that often span years between hikes, and often those most memorable times include a lot of laughter.

Friends, and very funny guys, Squatch and Jester are great at putting those ridiculous moments on film. You should check out Squatch’s series, Walk, Still Walking, Even More Walking and Walked. He caught me on film in Even More Walking at the Hiker Heaven hostel in 2006…while he was interviewing me he was also deploying a fart machine.

Jester’s series Wizards of the PCT and Embrace the Brutality are freaking hilarious, for anyone looking to learn about the non-serious side of thru-hiking, check out these two guys’ movies.

Having fun can include carrying ridiculous things (you gotta find out what the Wizard is in Jester’s movie). I won a whoopie cushion in a raffle at the PCT kick-off in 2006 and carried it for most of the trail.

Why? Cause.

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Mags deemed my whoopie cushion not useless, so I carried it.

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Yep, still have it on the Oregon/California border, 1700 miles later.

Oh yeah, did I mentioned that I shaved my head prior to hiking the PCT? I had a going away party where for every $5 someone donated to my hiking fund, they could take some scissors to my hair. At the end of the night we shaved it all off and also shaved “PCT” into the back of my head (my friends cut enough of my hair off that I was able to buy the digital camera I took on the trail that year!). That lead to lots more shaving that night…

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Why not? Lint did it too.

So one of the best parts of the PCT for me was meeting my dear friend NEMO. That girl knows how to have fun. Along the hike she taught me how to knit.

Really, knitting is a pretty good hobby to have on a long trail. Yarn doesn’t weigh much, and you can make useful things like hats for hikers while you walk!

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We would knit on all the passes in the Sierra.

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I finished my first hat at VVR for my AT hiking friend little g (he later wore it on his PCT hike!)

Before long we had a whole crew of hikers knitting. We started calling ourselves the High Alpine Knitting Club...here we are on Donohue Pass.

Before long we had a whole crew of hikers knitting. We started calling ourselves the High Alpine Knitting Club…here we are on Donohue Pass.

And then there was the sword. When we got to Ashland, NEMO and I decided to see a Shakespeare play (Ashland is well known for their Shakespeare Festival each year). Well, it just so happened that NEMO found a lightweight sword that she had to give me. (My trail name is She-ra after all, Princess of the Power).

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I decided to knight her on the street in Ashland. (Yes, those really were our hiking clothes, we would hit up thrift stores along the trail for new duds when our old ones were wearing out)

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And I carried that sword to Canada.

The point of all this (oh man, I have so many more stories!) is to have fun on your hike. Sometimes the seriousness of day-to-day life doesn’t allow for ridiculous antics that you can get up to on a long trail.

Life is far too short to be so serious.

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Donna Saufley got in on the shaving action in 2006 too.

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Bama & NEMO at Hiker Town. Not quite sure what’s going on there.

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Calf tats courtesy of NEMO

Hike Your Own Hike

As my friend Paige and I were catching up at happy hour this week, I found myself explaining “Hike Your Own Hike,” and we both thought it applies pretty well to almost every aspect of life. As freelance graphic designers, both of us often wonder how our work compares to others, are we charging enough, are we meeting other’s expectations?? Instead we decided to stop comparing ourselves to others and just Hike Our Own Hike…Live Your Own Life. It’s brilliant!

The obvious connotation refers to the different hiking styles you will see on the long trails. I like to think the phrase originated on the Appalachian Trail where there is trail 100% of the way, and when hikers deviate from following the white blazes that mark the way they are often labeled “Not True to the Thru.” And then you can counter with Hike Your Own Hike.

There can be a lot of judgement in long distance backpacking. It ranges from what gear you carry, if you hike every mile of the trail, and what food you consume to how dirty you let yourself get. Come on people. There is no one way. Just because someone carries a certain pack or eats mostly Ramen noodles doesn’t mean their way is any less valid than another.

I like to remember Grandma Gatewood, the first female to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail in 1955 at age 67. She wore Keds shoes and carried a home-made duffle bag instead of a backpack. Did she finish the trail? Yep. Did she thru-hike it again in 1960 and 1963? Yep. Is your ultralight pack more comfortable than her duffle bag? Probably, but it doesn’t make her hike any less of a hike than yours.

Hike Your Own Hike is about tolerance. It’s about recognizing our differences and being ok with that.

I’m not sure that I’ll post my pack list before I go, or even weigh my base weight. It doesn’t really matter. I’m carrying stuff that makes me comfortable in the backcountry, and if that’s a base weight of 5 pounds or 25 pounds, that’s my choice to make.

And the CDT is quite liberating too. There is no one trail, in fact, there are often at least 3 trails you can choose from. Every map set available has alternates, and sometimes those alternates are the same, and sometimes not. There is no True to the Thru on the CDT, and that’s exactly what I’m looking forward to. Everyone hikes a different CDT. It’s yours. Make it what you will!

Training for a Thru-hike

When people ask me how I train to hike a long trail, my first response is, “by eating everything I can.” Then I laugh. But it’s kind of true.

Really? You are going to put that into your body? Well, yeah, sometimes...

Really? You are going to put that into your body? Well, yeah, sometimes…

During a typical 20-30 mile day on the trail most hikers burn around 6,000 calories a day, an amount that is impossible to carry no matter how much peanut butter, olive oil, or chocolate you have in your pack. By the end of a 5-6 month long hike many thrus look like mere shadows of their former selves, as often the body starts consuming muscle once it has burned off all the fat reserves.

Now for women, this isn’t always the case. Our womanly figures like to preserve the baby-making ability, and will hoard the fat/muscle more than our male counterparts. I’ve heard some women say they didn’t lose any weight during a hike, which can come as a surprise to them.

I’ve typically slimmed down quite a bit over the duration of a long trail, but then again, my preparations have included consuming as much cake, beer, and cheetos as possible.

I find an amazing cache of trail magic at Rainy Pass, mile 2,593 on the PCT. At this point you really can eat whatever you want.

I found an amazing cache of trail magic at Rainy Pass, mile 2,593 on the PCT. At this point you really can eat whatever you want.

This year I’m doing things a little differently. While I probably won’t say no to a pint of IPA from one of our local breweries in Bend, I am keeping up a regular fitness routine, and I do want to eat more nutritious food on the trail.

Over three years ago I started attending the Namaspa yoga studio in Bend that specializes in Baptiste Yoga, an incredibly challenging yoga discipline, that has transformed my body from regular 2-3 sessions a week. I have never been as strong as I am now.

Now this is a full-body strong, not the typical strong that results from 2,000 miles, a condition we like to call the T-Rex syndrome. The T-Rex is a hiker that has tree-trunks for legs, someone who can climb thousands of feet without labored breathing, but can’t throw a rock past the closest tree. Think T-Rex: all leg and no arm.

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Oh I hear hikers say they are going to keep their core & arms strong through daily sit-ups and push-ups. But really? At the end of your typical 28 mile day in the mountains it’s all you can do to lift your spoon to your mouth before falling asleep in your Ramen noodles. We expend so much energy during the day it’s unusual for the idealistic fitness routines to last past the first week of a hike.

So this year I’m starting the trail stronger than ever before (thanks to yoga) and also with a steady program of weekend warrioring. Kirk and I usually get out of town as soon as we can on Friday or early Saturday morning to ski, hike, packraft, raft, bike or any of the other 100’s of activities close to Bend.

Last weekend we went packrafting. This is my patented don't swallow any of the cow-dung water move.

Last weekend we went packrafting. This is my patented don’t swallow any of the cow-dung water move.

I’m hoping this will make the first month on the trail a little less painful than my previous 7 thru-hikes, but you never know. I’m 37 this time around, and age has a way of throwing aches & pains your way in body parts that you never knew existed.

But really…hiking all day every day is really hard to train for. The first few weeks will suck and your body will hurt, I’ll try to spare you too much whining when I start hiking north!

Oh feet. That's a whole other issue the first few weeks on the trail.

Oh feet. That’s a whole other issue the first few weeks on the trail.

Winter OR Show (Part 3) Gear

I could probably write 5 more posts on all that went down at the OR Show, but lets just cut to the chase…what cool gear did I find?? In addition to the Woolrich blankets I covered last time, the Triple Crown made an appearance in the sock realm as well. IMG_20150125_104733 Point6 socks out of Steamboat Springs is making socks for thru-hikers. That’s right. Well, they are making socks for all athletes, but I came across this quote while I was writing up a blog post for Six Moon Designs by Drew Williams, operations chief with Point6:  “Thru hikers commit to a multi-month series of struggles, frustrations, and gorgeous sunsets, most of which play out on their feet. We’re excited to design socks that stand up to the trials of the trail. Our co-branding efforts this year speak to our duty to help maintain these corridors and our commitment to those who use and trust our socks.”

Why is this exciting to me? Well beyond the obvious awesomeness of the socks, this is a company that recognizes thru-hikers are not only a sock-buying member of the outdoor market, but that they are making a product that can stand up to what we thru-hikers can do to a pair. IMG_20150122_170620 I also had a great time meeting Point6 Managing Director Skip Rapp. We bonded over war-stories of outdoor adventures, and since the CDT is so close to Steamboat Springs (and a planned mail drop), I now have a new friend to go visit when I get there, and might even tour the Point6 office!

Now I wasn’t that familiar with the brand until the show, but the founders, Patty and Peter Duke (yep founders of Smartwool) started this new company a number of years ago, and it has a really cool story. Why is it named Point6? It refers to 98.6° F, the body’s optimal temperature and the temperature stabilizing properties inherent to the merino wool used in their sock. Definitely a company worth investigating for your sock needs. And look at the awesome Triple Crown socks they made (with 25% of proceeds going back to the trail organizations!)

Next up: Sierra Sage Organics. Not only did this booth entice me with their sunscreen, arnica, and bug spray (all natural and organic!) but when they saw from my badge that I was with the Continental Divide Trail Coalition Jen and her crew lit up. Sierra Sage is a mother-daughter business with strong ties to the outdoor life. Jen, the herbalist and organic farmer; and Jodi, the business woman and health psychologist; teamed up with mom Kathy, a biologist and teacher, to make this lovely line of organic skin care products.

Since the show I’ve been using the Green Goo, a powerful blend of organic herbs that can help fight infection while reducing pain and inflammation (what!?! – just what every thru-hiker needs!), the Arnica (for sore anything, and it smells really nice), and the lip balm with sunscreen. I can’t wait to try bug spray (made withWitch Hazel – deet free, citronella free, chemical free and oil free) and the sunscreen (all natural too of course). I’ve tried to become much more aware of what goes in and on my body in the past few years, and I am stoked to use these products on the trail this year. 20150128_083000 Yes I just got done saying I’ve been paying more attention to what I’m putting in my body, and that does include bacon from time to time. 20150121_111024 Darn Tough was giving out these maple-flavored ice cream cones sprinkled in BACON! I limited myself to one a day, but the same can’t be said for some other thru-hikers I know…

Here’s a bit of awesomeness from Mountainsmith & Salazon Chocolate: both are supporters of the CDTC and in addition to Salazon giving us delicious Triple Crown Chocolate bars to sell to raise money for the trail (and sample of course…my favorite is the AT bar which is filled with gooey caramel & sprinkled with sea salt!), Mountainsmith let us set up shop at their booth for a while. 20150122_095709 Mountainsmith held a happy hour for us on Thursday where proceeds from these sweet beer coolers went to the CDTC, and we had A LOT of fun slinging this on the floor of the show (POD was our hot ticket). 10842277_10153178638482214_9216387105171512936_o Then these tasty bars caught my eye, first with their beautiful packaging.

Photo courtesy of Another Hungry Vegan

Photo courtesy of Another Hungry Vegan

I’m a sucker for good design, and after meeting Payton at the GoMacro booth and gushing a little bit about their packaging, I heard they were up for a design award! Cool!

Well, the company is much deeper than their attractive marketing: these vegan, organic, and macrobiotic bars were founded by another family (I do have a soft spot for small family-owned businesses). After a nasty encounter with cancer, founder Amelia Kirchoff decided to forgoe drugs and instead convert to a macrobiotic way of life and let food and clean living heal her body. It worked, and their little farm in Eastern Wisconsin became GoMacro. I grew up in Wisconsin not too far from their farm in Viola, and I love that connection too.

I will be carrying GoMacro on the CDT this year. A large bar is 250 calories, same as a snickers! Guess which one will get me further down the trail?

I could go on and on about all I saw at the show, but I think I’ll leave you with a few more photos that hopefully sum up the experience:

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Jabba (The Real Hiking Viking) was interviewed on OR Live.

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Teresa & I jumped in the giant sleeping bag Sierra Designs had set up.

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And even made it into the OR Show publication, OR Daily!

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Swami & Allgood share their trail tips on air…

And to top off a great week, we all got to star in The Trail Show! Episode #32 (part B) is now live; tune in and hear me tell a riveting story about my bearamone problem on the PCT.

Winter OR Show (Part 2) Getting Funky

I arrived at the airport in Salt Lake City to find a truck filled with hikers fresh from the Gossamer Gear hike in Moab. Bobcat, Swami, Snorkle and Jabba had all been together for days, and by the jokes and insults flying I could tell they had fun. It wasn’t long before I was pulled into the fold and we laughed and giggled our way through the night…but early to bed for we all had a big first day of the OR Show.

What my pack looked like. Love the rainbow of hikertrash hats we have.

Taste the rainbow. hikertrash hats in my pack, oh yeah.

We all gathered at the Woolrich booth on Wednesday to ooo and aaa at the beautiful blankets they made to support our long trails. It’s an incredibly generous gesture as 100% of the proceeds of the limited edition blankets sold during the show went to the three trail organizations: Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Pacific Crest Trail Association, and Continental Divide Trail Coalition.

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Beeeeutiful!

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I had to buy the CDT blanket of course. I’ll eventually get the others too!

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The attention to detail was incredible.

I was also stoked to see the t-shirt I designed for the recent CDTC Indiegogo campaign: The Next 32 Miles.

I "trashed" up Amy McCormic, from the Appalachain Trail Conservancy (see the new shirt!)

I “trashed” up Amy McCormick, from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (see the new shirt!)

The rest of the day was a blur of color and free snack samples…and the show proper ended in a happy hour for the three trail alliances at the Woolrich booth. A well known fact about the Outdoor Retailer show: they maintain the close relationship between adventure pursuits and booze. Many many happy hours happen throughout the duration of the show (and almost all raise money for a chosen non-profit through the sale of cool mugs or some kind of schwag). The thru-hikers flocked to the booth (it may have also been the free food) and we all had a blast.

While traditionally the long distance hiking community attracts about .01% of the attention of the outdoor industry, this year seemed to be an exception; more hikers than ever attended the show, and companies actually were recognizing what an incredible thing it is to walk across the country.

It was quite thrilling to go to dinner with the executive and development directors of the AT, PCT & CTC that night, and I had fun meeting Zach, the founder of Appalachian Trials, later at the OR Industry party.

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Hikertrash getting funky.

An incredible first day of the show, and just a hint at the goodness to come.