The Mechanics and Advantage of a Long Walk – IBTAT Heads to the Pacific Crest Trail

A thru hike can be like a lever. A lever that pulls back a curtain on your worldview. A lever that when thrown forward, gets your engine running at full speed. Or maybe it’s a tool that helps you lift and move something heavy up and out of the way so you can travel freely. No matter how you work it, (or it works you), the result is guaranteed to lead to a different outcome after you use it.

No question our friend Jeff "IBTAT" Oliver discovered this in 2018 on his Appalachian Trail thru hike. He finished lighter, clearer, and more motivated than ever. And once anyone gets a taste of that, it’s pert near impossible to sit still for long, not wanting more. So, this year, he’s going to keep the momentum going on the Pacific Crest Trail.

With all the time in the world to think about how he moved along while on the AT, and how his gear helped or hindered him, coupled with the time to reflect on it all between the AT finish and the PCT start that can’t come soon enough, Jeff’s gear and approach plan is taking shape. Walk with him a spell as he gets into the nitty-gritty as few others can.

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INTRODUCING THE DIRIGO 2 – OUR NEWEST ULTRALIGHT BACKPACKING TENT

From every angle, this 28 oz, three-season, two-person backpacking tent features evidence of our ten years of experience with these revolutionary materials, and design functionality that can only come from knowledge earned in the wild. Built to eliminate any concerns about fickle forecasts and pitch quickly with unbeatable stability, the Dirigo 2 is ready for you to add volumes to your stories of adventure.

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Getting the Green Light in Maine

Late summer of 2018, Master Grand Canyon Explorer Rich Rudow came to Maine and got his first taste of the “Green Tunnel” ­ – a common term of endearment Thru Hikers use to describe the Appalachian Trail. Along with Hyperlite Mountain Gear Founder Mike St. Pierre and his girlfriend Helene Dicesare, Rudow got a solid sampling of the lush forests, panoramic views above tree line, roots, rocks, and moisture in every form.

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Backpacking Sacred Valley and Choquequirao, Peru

Words & Photos by Bethany "Fidgit" Hughes // Her Odyssey

Distance: 132.23 Miles (212.8 km)
Duration: 8 - 14 days
Level: Moderate
Season: May-November
Access: Pisac, Peru - Cachora, Peru

While Machu Picchu is the focal point of almost all tourism in Peru, there are thousands of sites and interest points which are missed. If you have designs on visiting this area but want to do it with fewer groups, rushing, and hubbub, I suggest taking your time and walking the Sacred Valley. Salt pans, Inca fortresses, and the Choqueqirao ruins are right there at your feet. Another advantage of this journey is it can be done with very little pack weight.

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Backpacking the Cordillera Real, Bolivia

Words & Photos by Bethany "Fidgit" Hughes // Her Odyssey

Distance: 90 Miles (145 Km)
Duration: 5 - 8 days
Level: Challenging
Access: El Alto, La Paz - Sorata, Peru
Season: May-September

This impressive range rears north of La Paz. Peaks above 20,000 ft. and passes at over 16,000 ft, tropical glaciers, snaking milky rivers, llamas, and locals, this trail is a dream for the seasoned mountain hiker and international traveler. There are multiple options for hiking the Cordillera Real which range from three to 14 days. The problem with this range is not a lack of trails, but perhaps too many to choose from. Some sections are almost exclusively used by herdsmen, and their animals leave many tracks.

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A Desert Fish Out of Water

What a South Westerner learned on a week-long Appalachian Trail section hike from Rangeley to Caratunk, Maine.

Roots. Millions, and millions of roots. Within 100 yards of leaving the trailhead at the Highway 4 crossing of the Appalachian Trail (AT) outside of Rangeley, Maine, I realized that this backpacking trip was going to be far different than the hundreds of trips I had done in the southwest desert. For one, I had never hiked on a trail covered in slippery roots projecting randomly across and along the trail waiting to take down the unaware. The forest canopy supported by those roots was a magical jungle that blotted out the sun creating more humidity than I had ever experienced.

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Backpacking Ruta de Los Pioneros, Chile

Hiking Ruta de Los Pioneros, Chile
Words & Photos by Bethany "Fidgit" Hughes // Her Odyssey
Distance: 101 Miles (162.5 km)
Duration: 7 - 11 Days
Level: Challenging
Access: Villa O'Higgins-Cochrane, Chile
Season: December - February

This ‘Ruta Patrimonial’ of Chile is already incorporated into the far wider Greater Patagonian Trail. It's generally agreed that the “Ruta de Los Pioneros” is one of the most astounding sections of that region, and it sees very few hikers each year. With intertwining and disappearing trails that cross through river fed glaciers and wind past the glaciers themselves, and a portion that even pops into a corner of Argentina, this remote and austere trail is only recommended for highly experienced trekkers. Ample GPS experience is a must, and those who choose to embark on this trip must be comfortable with carrying up to nine days of food.

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