I don’t love hiking. I realize that is an absurd sentiment for someone who has spent the past four years on long-distance trails and living in a truck to fund this lifestyle. But these trails were an easy way for an unskilled Midwesterner to get outdoors and there’s a lot of appeal..
Trip Reports and Lists
This is a down and dirty thru-hike gear list, covering everything used on my 2019 adventure in the High Sierra. The gear I used on my Sierra trip is similar to what I used on the Appalachian Trail & the Continental Divide Trail. Gear on this list could be used on a thru-hike..
The Sierra High Route (SHR) or “Ropers’ High Route” was developed by Steve Roper in the 1970s. It is 195 miles long with about two-thirds off-trail hiking and the rest is on the John Muir Trail. A rugged hike, similar to the other two off-trail routes we hiked in the summer of 2019.
The Southern Sierra High Route (SSHR) was developed by Alan Dixon and Don Wilson in 2014. It is 100 miles long and the majority is off-trail travel mixed with sections on the JMT. Elevation loss and gain are high and the going is hard. Backpacking the Southern Sierra High Route…
High Sierra Trail is a developed trail in Sequoia NP. It is 49 miles & many people add on 12.6 miles of the JMT to Mt. Whitney. Hiking the High Sierra Trail was MUCH easier than the KCHBR and all other portions of our 2019 hike (see details of our trip below).
The Kings Canyon High Basin Route (KCHBR) was developed by Andrew Skurka around 2015. It is 124 miles long with two-thirds of the route being off-trail travel. Elevation loss and gain averages 725 feet per mile, compared to 310 for the Pacific Crest Trail.
Thru-Hiking the Continental Divide Trail was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. This is my advice for future Continental Divide Trail hikers.
Thru-hiking is an evolutionary process. I thought I knew it all when I headed out on the Appalachian Trail in 2015, but experience is the best teacher and I learned a lot. On the Continental Divide Trail in 2017 I faced a very different set of challenges but managed to “embrace the brutality” and learned even more.
The CDT was a phenomenal experience and I shared some of those experiences in my CDT Trail Journals at The Trek Rather than here on my website.