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400 mile hike in MInn. beginning tomorro w!
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“This came out of a BackpackingLight article...Andrew Skurka is beginning this trip in Jay Cooke SP on the new Section of the SHT to Duluth. Then he plans to use snowmobile trails to Two Harbors where he'll again be on the SHT. From there he'll join the Border Route Trail and just west of Gunflint Lake he join the Kek to Snow Bank Lake and then hike the 20 road miles to Ely. He's leaving tomorrow expecting really cold weather...unless things change, it's not going to be near as cold as he's expecting!”
“Who is he, what is this trek all about, and is it really 400 miles? Perhaps this is to celebrate the new section of trail to Duluth. Whatever, how 'bout some links. I'm feeling too lazy and tired to look it up myself. Thanks.”
“Ultralight in the Icebox
I just realized that you can't read the entire article if you're not a member...and I'm not going to cut and paste a copywritten article...sorry...:( I'm just a tease...BAD Mata!
last edited: 1/03/07 6:28:15 PM”
“Thanks. 16 pounds and estimating an average of 5 degrees F. for January in northern Minnesota sounds like pushing the envelope. But I suspect that he can pull out in less than one day, if necessary.
With his "Resupplying and Town Stops" I'm really not too impressed. One should be able to go three weeks without any such events. However, the 20 mpd rate is a great clip to maintain in the snow. What are his alternative plans in case he hits any good storms?
last edited: 1/03/07 6:51:03 PM”
“He didn't appear to have any...he did write that he may spend the night at any or all of the towns where he maildropped supplies...they would be Two Harbors, Silver Bay, Grand Marais, and Gunflint Lake. Since we always live outside on our winter trips and live in sleeping bags when not actually hiking his clothing choices would not be mine...he may be encountering more wet weather than he's expecting...still, it should be an interesting experiment...since most of his stuff is Golite I imagine they are sponsering him...”
To Build a Fire
“Low temperatures in January in northern Minnesota can and do get down to 30 to 40 below zero. One injury, or falling threw some ice into the water, and survival becomes in doubt.
I would not backpack alone there any great distance in the wintertime.”
“Without going through and reading everything on this guy (and only going on what is being said by our members here), sounds like this guy is asking for it.
This idea comes across like something a thrill seeker would do. 20 miles a day in snow; I don't know about that.
While I agree fully with prosecutors post, I hope he does make it, if he still intends on going through with it. Hopefully, he doesn't go Jack Torrance.
“I'm not going to cut and paste a copywritten article
why the hell not?
skurka is the guy who did the c2c trek back in o4-05. he hiked the full length of the IAT and the NCT, and patched together road-walking, cross-country trekking, and other trails to hike from the atlantic to the pacific in about a years time. the dude is a stud, and a nice guy to boot”
“He is a nice guy, and a very experienced hiker. On his C2C hike he was in the upper midwest in mid-winter, so he does know what to expect and how to handle it.
As to nowslimmer's comment about three weeks between resupply - few experienced long distance hikers do that unless absolutely necessary. Most long distance hikers try not to go more than a week between resupplies. Food simply weighs too much. At two or more pounds a day, it is hard to do fast miles when you are carrying 40 lbs of food, on top of gear. Besides, you need the calories you get in town and the mental and physical break. The only time it is necessary to do more than a week between resupplies is if you are way out in the back of beyond - northern Canada, Greenland, parts of Alaska, etc. In the continental US it really isn't necessary or desirable.”
“skurka kicks flyin brians ass, btw, but gets much less press
“and who cares??”
“we do, troll. it IS a backpacking board, as well as a troll and fuego board”
“Ginny - Reading your lines and his plans, this is nothing but a show! I don't consider backpacking to be a race. I feel that it is something to be enjoyed. Of course, I no longer have any choice. And Ramons, grits, peanut butter and bread do not need to weigh 2-pounds per day. It appears that he will hold up and/or pull out at the first set-back.
I would be more impressed if he started with 70 pounds, took longer and handled several big storms, all without resupplies and nights in towns. His trip sounds more like day-hiking!
This reminds me of a hiker I met in the Smokies. He was trying to hike all the trails in GSMNP and was doing three that day. He was on his second trail of the day, which was my first and only trail for that day. I asked him how he enjoyed those beautiful, fall colors against that great blue sky. He looked at me and said, "Huh?" He had not seen a thing. He was totally disgusting to me. Our interests were very different. That was when I decided that my goal was not to hike all the trails in GSMNP, but to spent at least one overnight at each backcountry campsite and shelter in the Park. I have six to go out of 104, but I am in no hurry. Some I have stayed at for 30 or 40 nights. The goal is only a conversation thing and reaching it is unimportant. I go to enjoy myself, to have fun. So, again, I say, this guy is merely putting on a show! It's OK, to each his own.
BTW, prior to trying backpacking, I have camped and hiked in the Arrow Head Country during winter in the snow. There will not be too many hours of daylight up there during January.
last edited: 1/04/07 1:58:13 PM”
"we do, troll. it IS a backpacking board, as well as a troll and fuego board"Well said! I agree.”
Everyone hikes their own hike
“NS, if you do a search here on Andrew Skurka, there was a thread following his progress last year when he did the C2C route, the first person to ever do it BTW. His main purpose for doing all this is to get some attention on trails that could use more attention, funding, TLC, and use. The NCT runs within miles of my parents' farm, and they had never even heard of it even though they are very active, outdoorsy people who frequently hike and canoe.”
“NS - I'm not into speed hiking, but I know several people who do enjoy pushing themselves to their limits, for fun or fleeting fame. HYOH. If it makes them happy, more power to them. I don't get impressed at the speed hikers, but neither do I condemn them for trying to push the limit of what is possible - for them. I do admire Andrew for being the first to hike the C2C. It is something I wanted to do, but I'm not willing to hike the kind of daily mileage necessary to do it in one year.
Ramen won't do for the kind of hiking Andrew is attempting. Winter travel requires calories, lots of calories, simply to keep warm. Doing big miles requires a lot more calories. Snow travel takes even more energy. When we do a long hike, the longer we are out, the more calories we eat - and the more weight we need to carry. On a weekend we can get by on one pound of food a day. After two or three weeks, the amount we eat doubles. After a few months, we can't carry enough food. My husband ends up looking like a skeleton. If we don't increase the calories, he starts losing muscle -- which could end the hike. So we carry and eat a lot of food - 2 lbs a day isn't unusual.
Carrying a 70 lb pack in this day and age isn't admirable - it's stupid. It says you really don't know what you're doing. It also says that you don't value your joints much. The more weight you're carrying, the more you're risking destroying knees and ankles. Hike today with a 70 lb pack and you won't be likely to be hiking 10 years from now. Andrew has the experience to go light - but still survive. Most repeat long distance hikers have learned to lighten their loads - or they don't keep on hiking.
I carry about half the weight I did when I started backpacking, and my pack is still too heavy. I enjoy a few luxuries - like a book and a change of clothes. But I don't hike 14 hours a day either. If all you're doing is hiking, you don't need extra clothes, entertainment, etc. All you need is a place to sleep and food. And enjoying that 14 hours of hiking requires that your pack be light.”
about the weight
“Some of the mountaineering folks were packing 80-100 pounds, but the directionof force going up the mountain is different on the joints than hiking up, down, along and so-forth. My observation is that unless I am going to be climbing up the grade, I'd best keep the weight down. I started my first year with a 60 lb load on a very difficult trail (acents/descents) and my knees did not like it. As soon as I switched gear and got the weight down (25 lbs less) I stopped having kneee problems and was interested in going on longer days. So I guess if you get the weight down to where you almost don't notice it, then you might just be curious about how far you can go. I am. I have a 34 mile day-hike in June to prepare for and I plan on getting some 20+ mile backpacking days in before that. I just want to know.
And yes, when I'picking berries and taking lots of photos I can move slower. It's just the mood at the time.”
“Didn't someone say he's sponsored by Golite? Hence, he's going light. :-)”
“Ginny - I did say, "It's OK, to each his own."
"Carrying a 70 lb pack in this day and age isn't admirable - it's stupid. It says you really don't know what you're doing. It also says that you don't value your joints much. The more weight you're carrying, the more you're risking destroying knees and ankles. Hike today with a 70 lb pack and you won't be likely to be hiking 10 years from now."You make some good points, but I disagree. It all depends upon what you're doing and your capabilities.
To the left is me on the second day of a four week trip. My pack probably weighs about 70 pounds. I carried only what I thought might be needed. The food was limited to 700 calories per day, which is what I always carry on trips. I am always on a diet, but my appetite disappears when hiking. I have never been hungry and frequently have food remaining after a hike. You friend does not need two pounds per day of food, since he is planning to eat in towns. A few light days will not hurt him at all.
In addition to my food pack, I had clothing for warm weather and for temperatures below 0°F. I was prepared for snow, rain and for sunshine. And I was prepared for emergencies.
I was able to carry the pack easily. The heavy weight of the Alaska 115 Pack (7 pounds) is justified by the comfort and the ease in which it can be carried for long distances.
I quit this hike after the third night on the trail. I was able to carry the pack without any problem. But the condition of the trail did make me worry about getting hurt. My knees were already shot and have needed replacements for over 10-years. There were just too many rocks in the trail. Walking with bad knees where it is extremely difficult to get a footing, just drains a large amount of energy from a person. Although I knew that many parts of the trail would be better, I knew that there were some more difficult spots, too. So, several days later I exited from the woods.
2002 GSMNP - 5. Backpack Contents
2002 GSMNP - 6. Food”
you are in some serious denial Bud. Your argument makes no sense at all.
You say you can carry a 70 pound pack -easily.
You say it is only what is needed.
You say you can survive on 700 cal./day.
You say you are never hungry.
You say town calories are unnecessary.
You say that the 7 pound pack makes it easier to carry extra weight for long distances.
You quit the hike after the third night.
You blame it on:
Your knees, not the weight
The trail conditions, not the weight
The possibility of injury, not the weight
The necessity of more calories because
of the extra strain on your body,
not the weight
You need to get a clue!
All of the conditions above amount to the trip. If the weakest part is not assessed and catered to, the trip will not happen. It appears that your knees are the weak part. Your pack may be comfy, but, if your knees will not support the weight, your pack ain't going nowhere.
Your caloric intake may be a weak point also. On an eight day, 16 mile per day AT trip, carrying two pound of food per day, I will still loose a pound of bodyweight a day. 700 cal. is not enough to maintain a good mental condition for the trip, let alone fuel the mileage.
I don't mean to berate you, or put down your method or planning, but your logic is full of holes. Logically, you just go further carrying less weight.”
“BS - With all due respect, although you started in TT before me, I believe you have missed some of the posts in which I have explained my program. You have distorted and quoted my words out of context. But that is OK. I shall attempt to explain my program, one that has worked for many years successfully.
Why? I have had a problem controlling my weight all my life. After each trip I return home and gain more weight. But over the years my peaks have been getting lower and lower. My knees, both of which have been injuried, could use replacements. This medical determination dates back more than 14 years. I do have other physical problems and considerations.
Situation - Years ago I discovered a program that works for me! It helps both of my major problems. I go to GSMNP to lose weight and to strengthen my leg muscles to help hold myself up, since my knees cannot do it.
Progam - I always start very slowly with short, easy hikes. Sometimes the first few hikes are day-hikes. Then I will carry a light pack for short overnights without meals. I hike in after supper and have breakfast after I hike out during the next morning. I continue with multi-day trips and a little more weight. After about two months I usually can hike the AT within the Park, carrying more weight and staying at the shelters, most of which are 5 to 8 miles apart. Then it is usually time to return home. My friends are always amazed at my weight loss and my excellent condition, when I return. My doctors and my martial arts instructor are impressed, likewise.
Diet My diet includes vitamin pills for my body, Endurolytes for electolyte replacement to help avoid cramps, MSM to try to help my knees, heart and cholesterol medication.
Previously, I had a cardiac arrest and received five bypasses. My only restriction is to keep my pulse under 130. My cardiologist said that my heart is doing fine and that if I die within the next 10 years, it will not be because of my heart.
Since most of my hikes are two weeks or less, I am not on my diet for any long stretch. The longest hike, several years ago, was 19 days.
Since what I have been doing has worked so well for me, I am not about to change it unless I have to. However, after I returned in the fall of 2005, I caught a cold. My knees went out at the same time and I was forced to use crutches for two months. This was after some good backpacking trips. I believe that a fluid change occurred in my body and I have been trying to find a way to restore things. With my knees real bad, last year was the first time my program failed. The main problem was that I did not try hard enough. I'm hoping to do much better this year.
I feel that I have more than sufficient backpacking and dietary knowledge for all of my remarks on the subject. However, what works for me, may not work for everyone And my program has proved itself over and over again. And I have dispelled many "Old Wives' Tales."
Again, you have distorted too much of what I said, for me to bother with arguments. I failed to point out that there were other considerations, too. I could have continued on the trip. I really wanted to complete it. But, I was not going to be able to complete the entire trip as planned within it's timeframe. And I had appointments for after the trip that I wanted to keep.”
I can see where this "weight loss program" might work for you (or may have worked in the past.) But, I cannot see how you can connect the dots between what you are trying to do and what a long distance hiker is trying to do. I guess my response was based on your replies insinuating that all long distance hikers could hike just like you and be happy. There is no difference in you ambly wandering from shelter to shelter in the Smokies until you have been to them all and someone bagging a twenty-plus mile day. What is the difference in bragging rights to carrying a 70 lb. pack and bragging rights to humping a twenty-plus mile day. Both are goals. Both keep you off the couch. Both are good.
On another note, I too have had knee problems. Lightening the load has enabled me to enjoy the trip much more that when I was shlepping 60+ lb. loads. Also, when I am carrying my lighter load - usually around 30 lbs.- I enjoy the trip much more and I still have all the essentials for a safe and pleasurable journey (and food too.) As far as hiking on trails like the AT, I went on a 70 mile, five day trip about three years ago, about three weeks before a scheduled back surgery. In making preparations, I asked my doctor if it was okay to go. He asked: at any given moment, how far would I be from a road. I did some figuring and found that I was never more than about six mile from a road. He said that with my back condition, the worst thing that could happen would be a painful six mile walk, and to go ahead. So, why not take advantage of the resupply options available and make your journey more enjoyable. Anything past seven or eight days I am going to try my best to resupply along the way.”
U stiffs r boring!!!
“""we do, troll. it IS a backpacking board, as well as a troll and fuego board"
Well said! I agree.”"
Come on!! Who cares!!!!!! GEEEZ!! This guy goes out backpacking (likely not employed), and U guys get wood!! WOW!! BTW, I'm no Troll, I'm reality!! U guys are losers!!! Just ask Gem!”
“Not a loser, but I am jealous of the guy doing the 400 and all of the other trips. Maybe I can find a way to get out more as "work".”
“BS - you sound like my husband. He is diabetic and also has bad bone on bone knee degeneration. Before we took off this summer, his doctor said he shouldn't go on the trail. His response was, "I'll live until I die." His knee surgeon said, "You probably won't make it, but go ahead and try." Jim walked 2500 miles.
NS - Every spring you start over - that has to be painful. Wouldn't it be better to simply keep walking year around instead of doing the yo yo weekend warrier thing? As you get older it will become harder and harder to carry that weight. The joints simply won't handle it. Going light might enable you to keep hiking for a few more years than you would otherwise be able to do.”
“Ginny - At times I start over in the Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter, whenever I can make a trip. The start over is on losing weight. That is my main problem. I'm unable to keep it down between trips. My workouts and martial arts classes do help slow my gains, somewhat. The pain only started in November, 2005, when my knees went out completely, more or less.
I have looked into the possibility of moving to the GSMNP area. Figured that whenever the weight went up a couple of pounds, I could do backpacking for a few days. But, for other reasons, I decided not to move.
Oh, I do have to start over on the legs, too. My exercise program is nowhere as good as climbing up and down those mountains. Prior to most hikes, stairs give me a big problem. On the trail I even have to negotiate, when I reach a water shed barrier. Almost always, when I return home, stairs are easy! It is rewarding to see the improvement.
I do not normally carry 70 pounds. On that trip I packed for survival against possible, fierce winter storms at the higher elevations. But the pack would be a little lighter each day of the four weeks. But the risk walking on those rocks was higher than I anticipated. Crews were doing trail maintenance and improvements along the way. They were removing roots and rocks from the trail, as well as some other things. A month later the trail may have been in much better shape.
BTW, I agree that weight can be a problem. As such I do try to travel as light as practical. But, at the same time, I use what I have. About one new piece of gear per year is about my limit.”
“thad = troll
troll = s-rge”
“Well, if the cold shot predicted for the U.P. hits Andrew, he'll get a good shot at finding out how his gear stands up...temps are supposed to plumet and winds howl beginning a week from Sunday or Monday...”
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