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Post-Trip Cleanup: Caring for Your Gear

The return from a trip is usually just as chaotic as the frenzied packing. Inevitably, we get home late at night with commitments the following morning. Post-trip cleanup simply doesn’t happen the way we intend. But take a step back from the bedlam, slow down, and think about how you care for your gear when the trails have been trekked and the rivers run. After all, properly cleaning and storing our equipment will keep it in prime condition for our next adventure. If you’ve thrown out the care guide for your latest investment, here’s what I recommend for post-trip cleanup and long-term care.


  • Tents

Tents are often packed up still holding the morning dew and promptly forgotten about in our rush for hot showers at home. It’s important to set your tent up or hang it to dry completely once you return, which will prevent mildew. Shake it out well, or turn it inside out to remove the sand and dirt that you tracked in. Those particles can result in punctured or worn fabric if they’re not removed. Take care not to leave your tent in direct sunlight while it dries; those UV rays are as harsh on nylon as they are on our skin. After most trips, this routine will be enough.

Once a year, it doesn’t hurt to dive into some deeper maintenance. You can wash your tent with a mild soap or use Nikwax Tech Wash, and I find it best to wash by hand. Use a soft sponge to scrub any mud or stains off. This may also be a good time to seam seal your rain fly if it’s been a while, and while you’re at it treat the rain fly with TX Direct to re-waterproof it. Take a minute to check the poles— is the shock cord still intact, or is it time to revitalize the old? If your tent is more than a few years old, it may be due for solar proofing, as well. Finally, inspect your tent body and fly for pin-sized holes that need patched, and cover those with a combination of seam sealant and repair tape.


Tech Wash is a versatile essential for post-trip cleanup.

  • Backpacks and Stuff Sacks

Backpacks don’t need much care, but on the rare occasion they become salt-stained and hold onto a foul odor at trip’s end. Dunk your pack in a tub with a mild soap such as Dr. Bronner’s and agitate it. A brush may be needed to remove pesky stains. Make sure you let the pack dry completely before storing it, since hip belts and harnesses can harbor water well after the rest has dried.

Stuff sacks, compression sacks, and dry sacks can also be dunked in a mild soap solution. Again, air dry is best. These don’t need washed often but should be hung up to dry after every trip.

  • Sleeping Bags

When you have to hold your breath before you crawl into your sleeping bag, it’s time for laundry. Sleeping bags don’t need washed often, but a yearly cycle will extend the life and comfort of your bag. Sleeping bags are delicate, however, and improperly washing a bag can damage it. Care options differ for synthetic- and down- filled bags. Synthetic bags are easy to care for—toss it in the washer with a mild detergent and let it run.

For all the benefits of down, it requires a little extra care when laundry day comes. I recommend washing your down bag with a special detergent like Nikwax Down Wash to keep your bag in the best condition. Down bags will need washed in cool water on a gentle cycle, and you’ll need a front-loading machine without an agitator. The agitator on your machine can tear the lining between the baffles, meaning all the bag’s down will end up clumped in one spot. Take care when transferring a wet bag from the washer to dryer, and never hang a soaked down bag to dry. The weight of wet down can tear the lining between baffles as the bag hangs. Bags can be dried on low heat, which may take several cycles. Adding a few tennis balls to the dryer will break up the clumps of down and return your bag to maximum loft.


  • Sleeping Pads

When you get back from a trip, lay your sleeping pad out to dry. If it’s inflatable or self-inflating, leave the valve open so any moisture inside the pad can dry. With self-inflating pads, it’s best not to store the pad compressed. When the foam core is consistently compressed, it doesn’t inflate on its own next time it’s used. Rather than rolling it up, self-inflating pads can be left open and tucked in a closet.

Like most gear, sleeping pads should be washed with a mild soap every few months. Inflatable pads are especially important to clean, since packing them away with sediment can result in punctures. Strong detergents and cleaning products can wear down the airtight seal on inflatable pads, so take caution when cleaning.

  • Clothing

I shouldn’t have to say this, but yes, you should do laundry after a trip. That’s not where most people run into problems. Rather, improperly washing garments is more likely to result in damaged fabrics. Most outdoor clothing has care instructions that differ slightly from what you may be used to. Whether your clothes are synthetic, bamboo, wool, or hemp, they’ll do best washed in cool water on a gentle cycle. As for drying, most apparel will last longer and perform best if you let it air dry. Wool takes special care, since heat will quickly transform your base layer or sweater into a child’s size. Bamboo, hemp, wool, and all mid-layers and jackets should be hung to dry.

Caring for outdoor apparel takes extra effort; wool, bamboo, hemp, and synthetic fabrics are delicate.

  • Down Jackets

Over time, the fill in your down jacket will begin to clump together due to dirt, grime, and oil. When this happens, your jacket loses much of its insulating power and it’s time for a restorative wash. Like down sleeping bags, your garment should be washed with a specialized down treatment. Wash in a front-loading machine, or hand wash in a bathtub. Once again, adding tennis balls to the dryer will break up those clumps and return the fluff to your winter jacket.

  • Rain Gear

If your rain jacket starts to leak, it can often be given a second life just by cleaning it. As oils and particles clog the rain jacket’s pores, it becomes less breathable and prone to leaking. A simple clean can work wonders, but be sure to use a mild detergent such as Tech Wash that won’t degrade the waterproof membrane. Household detergents can sometimes ruin an expensive jacket. Rain jackets usually only need washed every few months, depending on their use. Once a year, it’s a good idea to treat your jacket with TX Direct wash-in waterproofing to restore the Durable Water Repellent (DWR) coating.



The right gear care can keep your rain jacket working properly for endless adventures.

  • Boots, Shoes, and Sandals

Inevitably, the smelliest piece of gear is our shoes. While that smell can never be fully extinguished, cleaning your footwear can provide some temporary relief. The same lesson as before rings true for footwear: use a mild soap. A scrub brush is essential for really cleaning the soles. Wash your shoes in a sink until the water runs clear. Remove the insoles before you let them air dry to prevent mildew from forming. Once clean, your shoes may need re-waterproofed, depending on the material. Leather boots and shoes can be treated with mink oil or a Nikwax product, which not only restores the water-repellency, but also extends the life of the leather. If the sole is separating from your shoe, a quick dose of Shoe Goo will keep you on your feet.

When sandal sweat becomes unbearable, a thorough washing is in order. Use Nikwax sandal wash—equipped with a scrub brush—to remove the foul-smelling bacteria in your sandals. Don’t forget to wash and scrub the straps, too! And if your sandal of choice happens to be Bedrocks or Chacos, you can send them back to the maker for a new sole or straps when the time comes. Keep your favorite sandals on your feet and out of the landfill!



If you have questions on how to care for your favorite piece or aren’t sure what cleaning product is best, stop by RRT or give us a call (513-248-7787) to chat with an expert. Likewise, our repair services are available for any tasks you’re not up to, from seam-sealing a tent to patching a leaky sleeping pad.


by: Will Babb

International Thru-Hikes: Hiking Abroad

Most people are familiar with the United States’ various long trails, but did you know the trail system here was the inspiration for hiking trails all over the world? These are international thru-hikes ranging in length from 50 miles all the way to gargantuan 2,000 milers, both island-traversing long trails and age-old pilgrimages.


Trail #1 – The Laugavegur Trail

Country: Iceland

Length: 34 miles

Duration: 4-5 days

Northern Terminus: Landmannalaugar

Southern Terminus: Þórsmörk

Best months: June – September

The Laugavegur trail is a world-renowned route with European amenities, rustic charm, and wildlands like the American West. The trail starts in the glacial highlands of western Iceland and gradually flows toward the coast. In 2012, National Geographic listed the Laugavegur as one of the 20 best trails in the world. The trail is interspersed with huts containing kitchens, showers, and other utilities. The weather on the route can be incredibly diverse, ranging from beautiful sunny days to cloudy ones with wind whipping down from the highlands. It’s a beautiful route if you find yourself in the North Atlantic. Add a day to hike the spectacular 16 miles from Þórsmörk to Skogar, which passes nearly one hundred waterfalls in the last ten miles.

Head abroad to hike Iceland's fabulous Laugavegur Trail, an amazing exhibition of the Land of Fire and Ice.

Trail #2 – El Camino de Santiago

Country: Spain

Length: 500 miles

Duration: 30-40 days

Western Terminus: Santiago de Compostela

Eastern Terminus: Pamplona

Best Months: April to September

The Camino is a spiritual pilgrimage stretching from several towns south of the Pyrenees Mountains west to its terminus at Santiago de Compostela and the shrine of Saint James. Along the way, the route is marked by scallop shells, a symbol of the apostle. The route winds its way through small villages, historic sites, and beautiful vistas. People have been walking this route since the first century, but its popularity exploded after it was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993. Over 300,000 people were recorded walking portions of the pilgrimage in 2019. The lodging along the trail is upscale by US long trail standards; it is dotted with hostels, dormitories, and refugios.

The Camino is an international thru-hike like no other, a spiritual pilgrimage and cultural experience fused together.

Trail #3 – Te Araroa

Country: New Zealand

Length: 1,900 miles

Duration: 90-100 days

Northern Terminus: Cape Reinga

Southern Terminus: Bluff

Best Months: September – April (if traveling southbound)

Te Araora is the closest trail on this list to a North American thru-hike rivalling the Appalachian, Continental Divide, or Pacific Crest trails. It traverses both of New Zealand’s islands and opened in 2011 after a patchwork of tracks and walkways were linked together. Tramping (as the Kiwi’s refer to hiking) the whole route takes four to six months and is most often done from north to south. The North Island (Te Ika-a-Maui) is characterized by long beach walks and a patchwork of trails, roads, paddocks, and plenty of towns— as well as the city of Auckland— to travel through. The South Island (Te Waipounamu) becomes more rugged as you traverse the spine of the Southern Alps and the Richmond Ranges toward the end of your journey at Bluff. A chain of huts, small towns, and mountain vistas links your route south.

Te Araroa is a gargantuan international thru-hike, nearly 2,000 miles long.

Trail #4 – The Great Divide Trail (GDT)

Country: Canada

Length: 700 miles

Duration: 30-45 days

Northern Terminus: Kakwa Provincial Park

Southern Terminus: Waterton Townsite

Best Months: Late June – Late September

Our good friends to the North came up with the idea for the Great Divide Trail in the 1970s, but the idea largely faded until it was picked up again in the early 2000s. The trail is still partially incomplete and sometimes resembles more of a wilderness route than a well-marked long trail. The GDT picks up where the US Continental Divide Trail leaves off at the US-Canada Border in Waterton Lakes National Park. It traverses north through the backbone of the Canadian Rockies; past multiple provincial parks; and through Banff, Kootenay, Yoho, and Jasper National Parks. The trail stays at or below 8,500 feet in elevation, although that is still high relative to the surrounding peaks. The Great Divide is a major undertaking and wilderness route but an adventure in every sense of the word.

Canada's Great Divide Trail is barely international, but certainly a thru-hike.

Trail #5 – The Sinai Trail

Country: Egypt

Length: 340 miles

Duration: 40-45 days

Terminuses: Various

Best Months: February – May; September – November

The Sinai Trail is an experiment between eight Bedouin tribes attempting to share their culture and lands with the outside world. In 2015, they established the first portion of the Sinai Trail, with 155 miles linking multiple villages. Today, it stretches 340 miles and wanders through wadis (dry valleys), low plains, winding canyons, and interior highlands. Typically, the trail is done with a Bedouin guide, someone who knows the land, the route, and the people. They bring your gear along on camel as you wander from village to village and oasis to oasis. It’s important to note this route is as much about the hiking as it is about the culture; men and women should wear long pants and shirts with sleeves, and in holy areas a head scarf is appropriate for women. Additionally, alcohol is strictly forbidden, but be prepared for Bedouin flower tea served with camel milk.

Experience Bedouin culture and beauty on the Sinai Trail, one of the world's newest and best thru-hikes.

Hiking desert and mountains of the Sinai Trail in Egypt

by: Ben Shaw

A Shelter on the Appalachian Trail

My Idea to Thru-Hike the Appalachian Trail

The idea to establish the Appalachian Trail was formulated in 1921. My idea to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail was in 2018, a brief 97 years later. 

The Appalachian Trail, often referred to as the “AT,” is a nearly 2,200 mile (2,194 miles as of 2022) footpath stretching from Springer Mountain in Georgia all the way north to Mt. Katahdin in Baxter State Park, Maine. A trail this long sees many visitors. There have been more than three million hikers setting foot on this trail in a single year, yet only around 3,000 of them attempt a thru-hike. Out of those 3,000 thru-hikers, about 1 in 4 are successful. 

My idea to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail began with a short backpacking trip on the AT.

One of my first backpacking trips was in the Roan Highlands, hiking along the AT. It was early November 2018 and the higher elevations of the balds led to many cold, sleety drizzles. It was a tough hike for me. The weather was bad, my boots were frozen, and the mileage was more than I was used to. On the second night of the trip, while sitting in a shelter with my friends, a very tired backpacker strolled into camp. I was surprised because he did not seem to be carrying much at all. In fact, with the weather, he seemed to be carrying an unsafely little amount of stuff.  He was heading south, with just under 400 miles until he was done with his five-month-long journey.

Being new to the hiking/backpacking/outdoor community, the idea of thru-hiking was incredibly foreign to me. I thought this man was insane. However, my friend Ben seemed to know what was going on. He offered the hiker a beer and chatted with him for the evening. In the morning the hiker was gone. The following day while summiting various balds along the trail we ran into several more thru-hikers. By the end of this four-day trip, my mind was pretty much made up. I was going to hike the AT one day. 



When I set off for the AT this summer I will be heading south. I will start at the northern terminus at Katahdin mid-July and plan to get to Georgia in mid- to late-November. Ideally, I will finish just before Thanksgiving. Starting in the North with notoriously more difficult terrain, I suspect it will take longer to get my trail legs and I will move slower with less miles per day. 


The views on the Appalachian Trail are part of what draws me to thru-hike it.

Learning and planning for any long trail poses many challenges, such as food, water, and shelter. Luckily, the AT simplifies the shelter situation with over 250 three-walled shelters between Georgia and Maine. There is also an abundance of water throughout the trail. Theoretically, I may never have to carry more than two liters of water at once, but that can always change. 

For food on the trail, I will be resupplying in towns rather than having food boxes shipped out to me. I figure this gives me more flexibility with how much food I have to carry, and if I do not like a meal I can swap it for something else at the next town I resupply in. 



I think the biggest challenge I will personally face on the AT is not a physical one but a mental one. This will be my first ever solo backpacking trip, and while the AT is a popular hiking destination, I will do all the decision-making myself. This will be tricky as I have always had someone hiking with me to bounce ideas off of. 

As I near my departure date, I am filled with excitement to set out on this grand adventure. I look forward to being able to push myself mentally and physically each and every day.

The Roan Highlands are one of the highlights of the Appalachian Trail.


by: Dalton Spurlin


Follow along for more updates and information as Dalton’s start date approaches! Look for additional blog content, interviews, and social media updates.

The trails that make up the National Trails System, including these moderately long walks, provide ample thru-hike opportunities for adventurers.

Six Moderately Long Walks

The long trails of America catch our imaginations: the Appalachian Trail with its steep rolling mountains, the Pacific Crest Trail with its alpine beauty, and the Continental Divide Trail’s rugged wilderness. These trails are serious undertakings that require money, equipment, and most of all, time. What if you’re short on one or even all of these? There are other routes in America’s National Trail System, and a few outside of it, that can be accomplished without tackling the Triple Crown. Here are six moderately long walks where you can wander off for a month or two without being gone for a whole season.

Trail #1 – Arizona Trail (AZT)

State: Arizona

Length: 800 miles

Duration: 45-50 days

Northern Terminus: Arizona-Utah Border

Southern Terminus: Coronado National Memorial at the US-Mexico Border

Best months: Late March – Late May

The Arizona Trail traverses 800 miles through some of the most spectacular scenery in the state, reaching a high point of 9,600’ and skirting the state’s highest point, Mt. Humphreys. The trail wanders through rolling sagebrush foothills, deep canyons, and wide-open plains. The AZT is also one of the newest trails in the US, officially designated a National Scenic Trail in 2009 but not completed until 2011. One of the unique features of this long trail is that all areas other than designated wilderness can be cycled. If you’re looking for a desert getaway and a short walk, this is the trail for you. A strong community encircles the trail as it ranges across the Sonoran Desert, through the sky islands of the Superstition Mountains, and finishes on the Kaibab Plateau outside Grand Canyon National Park.

At 800, the Arizona Trail is a long walk through the state's most scenic landscapes.

Trail #2 – Mountains-to-Sea Trail (MST)

State: North Carolina

Length: 1,175 miles

Duration: 55-75 days

Western Terminus: Clingman’s Dome

Eastern Terminus: Pamlico Sound

Best Months: May – October

The Mountains-to-Sea Trail has been on my radar for some time. Most people start the trail among the high peaks of the Great Smoky Mountains on 6,643’ Clingman’s Dome in Tennessee and work their way east through the Black Mountains, over Mt. Mitchell, and down to the foothills of North Carolina. As the trail wanders its way toward the Atlantic, you share the path with 8 different trail systems, including the Art Loeb Trail and the Appalachian Trail. The MST is one of the few thru-hikes that has an alternate paddle route to avoid a long road walk between Smithfield and Jacksonville. You have the opportunity to paddle 169 miles on the Neuse River and give weary legs a break as you near your finish at the Atlantic Ocean.

North Carolina's Mountains to Sea Trail is a long walk worth exploring.

Trail #3 – Ice Age Trail

State: Wisconsin

Length: 1,200 miles

Duration: 55-75 days

Eastern Terminus: Potawatomi State Park

Western Terminus: Interstate Park near St. Croix Falls

Best Months: May – Late October

The Ice Age Trail is one of the lesser-known trails in the US. It begins near Wisconsin’s westernmost border at St. Croix Falls and jaggedly traverses east, diving south from Antigo to Jonesville, near the Illinois border, before turning north toward its Eastern Terminus at Sturgeon Bay. The Ice Age Trail, largely still a “route,” has only 675 miles of completed trail, with 400 miles of interconnecting trail and large portions still based on road networks. It can be done year ‘round, but the best times to complete the trail are in the summer and fall to make the most of Wisconsin’s fall colors and cooler weather. This trail roughly follows the glacial moraine from the last Ice Age 12,000 years ago, showing you signs of the forgotten past along the way.

Take a long walk on Wisconsin's Ice Age Trail to explore the state's geologic and natural history.

Trail #4 – Buckeye Trail

State: Ohio

Length: 1,444 miles

Duration: 65-85 days

Northern Terminus: Headlands Beach State Park near Mentor, Ohio

Southern Terminus: Eden Park in Cincinnati, Ohio

Best Months: May – Late October

We have a long trail right here in Ohio, the only trail on this list that isn’t a National Scenic Trail. You can start and end from Cincinnati’s Eden Park as the trail loops around the state. Attractions include Hocking Hills, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and Wayne National Forest. Starting from Cincinnati, the trail wanders north to Toledo and then parallels I-80 toward Cleveland before reaching its Northern Terminus at Headlands Beach State Park. It turns south again and finds its way to southeast Ohio’s scenic foothills, following the Ohio River back to the start. If you want to get away but need to be close to home, this might be the trail for you. The trail largely sticks to woodland areas and wanders through small towns like Milford, but beware that you can find yourself walking through cornfields for a day or two.

Among others, Milford, Ohio is home to the Buckeye Trail, which forms a moderately long loop around the state.

Trail #5 – Florida Trail

State: Florida

Length: 1,300 miles

Duration: 50-60 days

Southern Terminus: Oasis Visitor Center in Big Cypress National Preserve

Northern Terminus: Fort Pickens in Gulf Island National Seashore

Best Months: Late January – Late May

The Florida Trail is another long trail still under construction, with 300 miles of the 1,300 still to be built and large road walks. Starting in the panhandle near Pensacola, the trail meanders down the backbone of Florida toward Everglades National Park. The trail can be dangerous, with the chance of encountering alligators, venomous snakes, mosquitoes, hurricanes, and 20-mile trudges through knee-deep swamps. Although you might hope the trail would work its way along beaches for a thousand miles, most of the trail is inland, skirting west of Orlando and wandering by other vacation hotspots. The trail is known for dense jungle-like forests, inland swamps, and grassy plains that are surprisingly scenic. It is best to avoid this trail in the summer when humidity and high temperatures make this trail downright disgusting, but a winter or spring thru-hike is the perfect cure for cabin fever.

Florida isn't a popular backpacking destination, but this mid-length thru hike offers endless opportunity.

Trail #6 – Pacific Northwest Trail (PNT)

States: Montana, Idaho & Washington

Length: 1,200 miles

Duration: 75 – 100 days

Eastern Terminus: Glacier National Park

Western Terminus: Cape Alava, WA

Best Months: Late June – Late September

I’m not going to offer much on the PNT other than to say it exists and it’s intriguing. I’ve run into numerous PNT thru-hikers in recent years as well as old-timers who did it in years past. Everyone said it was remote, beautiful, and one of the greatest challenges they’d undertaken. The trail can be overgrown, incredibly steep, and covered in scree and talus. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it captures the imagination as it traverses some of the best parts of the Rocky Mountains and the Cascade Range. At times more of a bushwhack than a trail, the route runs from Montana’s Glacier National Park, through Idaho, and across Washington to the Olympic Mountains on the coast.

The glamorous views of the PNT make this a walk worth taking.

by: Ben Shaw

The trails that make up the National Trails System, including these moderately long walks, provide ample thru-hike opportunities for adventurers.

5 Short Long Trails: Lesser-Known Thru-Hikes for the Everyday Adventurer

The long trails of America catch our imaginations: the Appalachian Trail with its steep rolling mountains, the Pacific Crest Trail with its alpine beauty, and the Continental Divide Trail’s rugged wilderness.  These trails span thousands of miles and multiple states, as do most of the other routes in America’s National Trail System.  They are serious undertakings that require money, equipment, and most of all, time. What if you’re short on one or even all of these? These are five lesser-known thru-hikes in the US, all one hundred miles or more, that can get you the taste of a long trail without 4-5 months of walking.

Trail #1 – John Muir Trail (JMT)

State: California

Length: 211 miles

Duration: 16-21 days

Northern Terminus: Happy Isles, Yosemite Valley

Southern Terminus: Whitney Portal/Mt. Whitney

Best months: Late May – Mid July

I’ll start with the well-known and obvious on this list and then move to the more obscure. The JMT traverses 211 miles through Yosemite, Kings Canyon and Sequoia national parks as well as multiple national forests and wilderness areas. You climb almost a dozen alpine passes, spend your evenings enjoying beautiful alpine lakes, and see some of the best mountain landscapes the US has to offer.  Hiking from north to south, as most do, the trail culminates with a climb of 14,502’ Mt. Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous 48 states.

I had the pleasure of hiking the JMT overlap of the Pacific Crest Trail in 2021 and it was an incredible experience that I would happily do again. In the early season (May-Mid-June), snowpack and raging rivers can be of concern to unprepared hikers. In the late season (end of July-August), wildfires have closed trails the past several years. It’s best to look at this trail months in advance so you can evaluate snowpack, drought conditions, logistics, and the competitive permit system before booking your hike.

California's JMT is a short thru-hike that's sure to provide challenge and beauty.

Trail #2 – The Long Trail

State: Vermont

Length: 273 miles

Duration: 21-30 days

Northern Terminus: US/Canada Border near Jay, Vermont

Southern Terminus: Clarksburg, Massachusetts

Best Months: May – October

This trail winds through the beautiful Green Mountains of Vermont and shares its southernmost 100 miles with the Appalachian Trail. Completed in 1930, it’s one of the oldest trail systems in the United States and was the inspiration for other long trails like the AT and PCT. The trail traverses six wilderness areas in Green Mountain National Forest and ascends Vermont’s highest peak, 4,395’ Mount Mansfield. In spring and late fall, the trail can be muddy and treacherous, and in the summer the ridgelines can be parched of water. If you’re lucky, you can hit the Long Trail at the perfect time, catching summer wildflowers or amazing New England fall colors.

The nation's oldest long trail is a thru-hike teeming with history, scenery, and mud.

Trail #3 – Colorado Trail

State: Colorado

Length: 486 miles

Duration: 30-40 days

Eastern Terminus: Waterton Canyon (near Denver)

Western Terminus: Durango

Best Months: June – Late September

The Colorado Trail (CT) is the longest on this list and as close to a long thru hike as you will get without being gone for multiple months. The trail crosses vast alpine landscapes; even in late spring snow can clog the trail at higher elevations. During the summer you have afternoon thunderstorms to contend with; in the fall, snow can sneak in as soon as late August.  The trail reaches a high point of 13,271’ as it traverses eight mountain ranges, six national forests, and six wilderness areas. The CT shares over 200 miles of trail with the Continental Divide Trail, meaning you’ll probably cross paths with longer-distance thru hikers that can share wisdom.

The Colorado Trail is a thru-hike that won't disappoint, showcasing the splendid Rocky Mountains across its 486-mile length

Trail #4 – Uinta Highline Trail

State: Utah

Length: 107 miles

Duration: 10-11 days

Eastern Terminus: McKee Draw

Western Terminus: Hayden Pass

Best Months: June – Late September

The Uinta Highline Trail is the shortest trail on this list, but it has its own set of challenges.  The first 21 miles of trail from McKee Draw to Leidy Peak can be devoid of water in the late season, creating a challenge right off the bat as hikers try to gain their trail legs while hauling two days’ worth of water. Once you reach the water, the real fun starts. Nine alpine passes stand between you and the finish line. The trail can be incredibly rugged and remote, with much of the eastern portion unmaintained and sometimes poorly marked. The Uintas offer amazing views and a great opportunity to test your skills in the mountains. I attempted this trail in 2020 but had to bail due to poor planning and injury, although it is on my list to go back and try again.

This lesser-known thru-hike of Utah's Uinta Mountains should be on every hiker's bucket list.

Trail #5 – Superior Hiking Trail

State: Minnesota

Length: 310 miles

Duration: 21-30 days

Southern Terminus: Wild Valley Road Trailhead

Northern Terminus: US-Canada Border near Grand Portage

Best Months: June – Late September

The Superior Hiking Trail is a hidden gem of the Midwest. It traverses rocky ridges overlooking Lake Superior and wanders through lush pine forests. This is least primitive of all the trails on this list with 93 developed backcountry campsites available fee-free to hikers.  The trail is incredibly well marked in most parts, but there are rugged sections of trail near the northern terminus.

One thing to be aware of is black fly season, the scourge of the upper Great Lakes. Black flies typically infest beaches, inland lakes, and anywhere without a steady breeze from late July to early August, when the temperatures drop and they die the death they deserve. You’ll want to pack a bug net, Deet, and thick clothing if you plan to hike the trail during that time of year. Other than that, the trail is incredibly accessible off Highway 61 with frequent spurs leading to trailheads and towns.

What it lacks in elevation the Superior Hiking Trail makes up for in beautiful forests and lakes.

by: Ben Shaw

Because it’s There: Finding Purpose for Adventure

When asked why he desired to reach the summit of Mt. Everest, legendary mountaineer George Mallory allegedly replied, “Because it’s there.” Does one need any more reason than that? Of course, we all know how Mallory’s story ends- he disappeared on his summit attempt and his remains weren’t discovered until half a century later. It is still hotly debated whether or not Mallory reached the summit of Everest on that expedition, but most adventurers will agree Mallory’s three simple words were a strangely elegant, sufficient answer: because it’s there.

For many of us, our outdoor pursuits give us something we can’t find anywhere else. They make us feel a certain way, a euphoric yet peaceful je ne sais quoi. Whether it be backpacking, climbing, biking, or paddling, our experiences outside leave us fulfilled. We know inwardly why we do these things, why we push our bodies past their limits, suffer through the elements, and emerge with a tired smile on our faces. But how do we explain to parents, friends, and strangers why we do this? For them, Mallory’s answer is insufficient. So we must find the words to explain what drives us to set out on expeditions into the unknown.

I’ve done my fair share of adventuring and found ways to enjoy even the most grueling days. But I can’t claim to have an enlightened answer for why I climb and hike. Truthfully, there probably is no way to accurately describe my ambitions, to ease the worries of my parents with an eloquent arrangement of words about why I wanted to hike the Pacific Crest Trail or climb Mt. Washington in the dead of winter. For the uninitiated, “because it’s there” answers nothing. We each have unique and individual reasons for setting out on adventures. I’ll try to capture some of the shared reasons we set out into the wilderness.

I get a certain enjoyment out of pushing my body and mind to their limit and then discovering possibilities beyond those limits. Adventures are an escape from routine, an opportunity to experience something new. The feeling of freedom on a backpacking trip is amazing. It is refreshing to wake up to a mountaintop sunrise and realize you have no obligations- no texts to respond to, no work, no deadlines; your only obligation is to hike. An adventure is not just an escape from routine, but an escape from people. The woods provide an opportunity to release stress, a place where your limited interactions with people are genuine and you don’t have to adhere to social norms. 

The simplicity that comes from living out of a backpack is unbeatable; the knowledge of having everything you need on your back empowers you. The thrill that comes from being 100 feet up a rock wall, looking down on the trees, will make even the longest approaches worthwhile. The sense of pride that comes from sending a route or finishing a trail leaves me wanting to do it all over again. There is a certain beauty to fog sifting through the woods or of an early morning on the river, a beauty that can’t be found anywhere else.

I love starting my day with a steep climb and ending it soaked in sweat; I love the feel of wind in my face, staring up awestruck at the Milky Way from the comfort of my sleeping bag, and falling asleep to the steady murmur of a mountain stream. Time and time again I go out there for the sunsets and waterfalls that inspire my adventures. Without fail, I return from a trip exhausted but content, renewed by my time in the woods.

Our backcountry adventures might seem reckless or dangerous, but they bring us something that nothing else can. No amount of climbing at the gym is as exciting as a weekend at Red River Gorge; an hour on the stair-stepper pales in comparison to summitting a rocky peak. Each time we embark on one of these trips, we feel as if we’re going home. There is a sense of familiarity in the backcountry, even in unexplored places, that implores us to return. 

I’m not sure any of this really explains why we do what we do, but maybe that’s the point. We do it because it can’t be explained. In the end, Mallory might have done about as well as anyone in explaining our adventures. Why do we pursue longer and more remote trails, climb harder and more technical routes, or find faster flowing rivers? Because they’re there.


by: Will Babb

Backcountry permits are required for camping in many national parks.

A Reason for Regulation: The Science Behind Backcountry Permits

The outdoors is regrettably full of barriers to entry: far-away destinations, expensive equipment, learning barriers, and, frustratingly, permits. We’ve all run into the permit barrier, forced to waylay plans as we become tangled in red tape. As the popularity of outdoor recreation increases, so too does the impact on the forests, waterways, and peaks we choose to explore. Growing numbers of visitors lead to eroding trails, trampled vegetation, disturbed wildlife, polluted streams, and an ever-increasing list of degradations. And thus stems a reason for backcountry permits.

The outdoors is a welcoming place of escape. It is an escape from inhibitions, so it is frustrating when permits inhibit us from adventuring at will. Increasingly, the most popular places to camp, fish, hunt, backpack, paddle, and climb are being restricted to permitted users. Paddlers wait years for a coveted permit to paddle the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, hikers line up for permits to scale Yosemite’s Half Dome monolith, and climbers sleeping on a portaledge in Zion must first obtain a permit. Hunters and anglers have long been subject to competitive lotteries for permits, tags, and licenses, particularly for out-of-state travelers.

Restricting the number of hunters and anglers seems intuitive, since harvest quotas are structured to maintain fish and wildlife populations which can only withstand so much loss. Permits to climb, paddle, and hike in remote areas aren’t so different. Despite our best efforts at Leave No Trace, visiting fragile ecosystems has an impact; we take something away on each visit. The woods, walls, and waters we seek, like wildlife populations, can only handle so much loss.

The Dolly Sods Wilderness Area in West Virginia has long been a favorite getaway for me. Few people seemed to know of the area’s glamour, yet that is changing. The past few years, I’ve noticed more crowded trails and parking lots. Vegetation is trampled as hikers skirt around mud puddles, and secluded campsites hold multiple parties at once. Once, in my own effort to dig the perfect cathole, I uncovered someone else’s refuse. On another trip, I arrived at my favorite trailhead to find “No Parking” signs and overnight parking permit requirements where there had historically been free parking. These are the prices we pay for overcrowding. Some are merely an inconvenience to us, but others inconvenience the ecosystem.

Alpine areas are especially sensitive to overuse, heightening the importance of permit restrictions.

Biologists speak of the carrying capacity of an ecosystem. A forest can only handle so many coyotes, and there’s only room for a certain number of bluebirds in a field. When wildlife populations are above or below that carrying capacity, nature has a way of balancing things out. Disease, competition for food, limited habitat, and predator/prey relationships tend to push populations back toward that magical number.

The lands we recreate on also have a carrying capacity. There are only a certain number of hikers a trail can handle before it becomes irreparably eroded, so many catholes before a campsite is fouled, and a limited number of alpine baths before a lake becomes polluted. Natural checks occur before wildlife populations damage an ecosystem, but there is no such check on human visitors before degradation occurs. It falls on humans to place those checks on ourselves.

Land managers, wildlife biologists, social scientists, botanists, soil scientists, hydrologists, and others collaborate to determine the maximum number of visitors an ecosystem can handle. Backcountry permits are then instituted to keep visitors at or below that number. These numbers are not arbitrary; there is more science than you could imagine behind them. This collaboration of experts weighs human impacts on wildlife, vegetation, soils, waterways, and trails to determine this number.

They consider the human experience and at what number of visitors an area feels overcrowded. How many people can a trail handle, or a river? What’s the maximum number of cars that can fit at a trailhead parking lot? Perhaps park managers and rangers can only deal with so many patrons per day. This number may stem from limited campsite availability or the ability of soils to bounce back from use. A thorough analysis of diverse impacts is completed before land managers make the difficult decision to institute or adjust permits.

Increasingly, backpackers on trails such as the Pacific Crest Trail are subject to permit requirements.

Be forewarned that more and more of our getaways will be subject to backcountry permits in the coming years. It is altogether a good thing that more people are finding refuge in the outdoors, for we all benefit from time outside. We each deserve the chance to see a mountain sunset and drink from an alpine spring. And support for our treasured places will only grow as their visitors do, which can only be good.

Most permits have a nominal fee associated with them, although some are free. Luckily, this fee is usually small enough that it doesn’t create a financial barrier for visitors. When there is a fee, rest assured that your money goes back to protecting the land— establishing campsites, improving trails, building latrines, and restoring damaged habitats. Keep in mind that the first rule of Leave No Trace is plan ahead and prepare. Do your research and be aware of any backcountry permit requirements before you leave and take the steps to secure any necessary permit.

But there will be a time when we don’t get the desired permit. Take each frustration in stride and remind yourself of the science behind that permit. It is there for a reason, with the good of the earth at stake. Be patient. Find another place or time to recreate. Don’t sidestep the permit or break the rules, because the temporary relief it brings is not worth irreversible damage to a place we love. We’re all bound to be frustrated, angered, bamboozled, cheated, fooled, screwed, and hurt by the red tape of permit requirements. When that happens, remember that the permit is there for the benefit of all—the plants, animals, soils, rocks, waters, visitors, and even you.

California’s spectacular High Sierra is restricted to visitors with backcountry permits.

A permit is designed to protect natural spaces from us because despite our best intentions, damage is inevitable. Backcountry permits, done well, should strike a balance between natural and human interactions. They should allow wildlife, vegetation, and ecosystems to flourish unimpeded, but they should also enhance our own experience in those places. After all, these wild spaces are not there solely for our use as hikers, climbers, paddlers, hunters, and anglers. They are there to protect all that is natural and wild, and we are drawn to those places because they are natural and wild. If permits are necessary to keep them that way, then so be it.


by: Will Babb

Tips and Tricks for Thru Hike Resupplies

As many of you know, fellow RRT staffer Will Babb and I hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 2021.  A year ago, I was buying food, gathering supplies, and packing boxes.  I spent years planning my resupply strategy because I obsess over these things, and ultimately only partially stuck to it. I’ll break down what I learned into two parts: general tips and tricks for thru hike resupplies and the optimal PCT resupply strategy. If a thru hike other than the PCT is on your radar, Part One will help as you navigate food logistics.

Part One: Tips and Tricks for Thru Hike Resupplies

Thru-hiking has a few big challenges. Gear, travel logistics, and food are the top three concerns for most hikers starting out. When it comes to food, I met hikers who didn’t send themselves any boxes. They often had to go out of the way to get things and be less picky about what they ate. I also met people who sent all their food in prepackaged boxes because they bought in bulk, had dietary restrictions, or had concerns about food availability. In either situation, or anywhere in between, it can work. Here are my suggestions to consider when thinking about your resupply strategy:

  1. Have someone you trust send your boxes.
  2. Pack foods you absolutely love and won’t get tired of.
  3. When you pack your boxes, set aside extra food.
  4. Use every cubic inch of the box.
  5. Establish a system for when and how to send resupply boxes.


First, if you’re going to send yourself boxes you need someone you trust to effectively communicate, mail stuff on time, and re-organize your boxes as your situation changes. You’ll also need to focus on packing food you really enjoy into your boxes. Fruit snacks, Clif Bars, and cookies were stashed in all my boxes. I bought everything in bulk so I could add extra food to boxes I thought would be a little light or as my appetite increased (like when it got cold). I used large USPS boxes for most of my drops. A four-day resupply left extra space in large boxes, so I’d throw an Ale8 and other treats from home in to enjoy in town. These goodies always left me excited to get boxes.


The first and last suggestions on the list go hand in hand. You need to trust your at-home support, but you also need to have contingency plans for when to send boxes, what to do if that person can’t send a box one week, or what to do if there’s a fire and your box is already sent. It’s important to think through these things beforehand. Emma sent most of our boxes and got us what we needed, but when she was traveling we had someone fill in for her. When there were fires, some people had to frantically call USPS and forward boxes further up the trail. Understand your options when sending yourself things. The PCT was a lesson in logistics and how two-day shipping isn’t really two-day shipping when you’re in the mountains.


Part Two: The Optimal PCT Resupply Strategy

For those of you looking to hike the PCT, I give you what I would do if I hiked the PCT all over again.


This is my best shot at the optimal PCT resupply strategy. Some of the stores might get picked over during peak season, but if you want to limit boxes and maximize flexibility, this is the way to go. I’m not sure what my savings would come to if I compared what I spent on mailing boxes to just resupplying at stores along the trail, but if you choose to shop on trail you have the satisfaction of bringing money into small mountain towns that rely on hikers.


My journey along the PCT was amazing, but it was my own. What worked for me might not work for you. I hope these breakdowns give you a better idea of how to plan your next big adventure, and as always, if you’re prepping for a long trail, swing by RRT to ask for advice.

by: Ben Shaw

Redemption on the Black Mountain Crest Trail

Previewing the Black Mountain Crest Trail

If you’ve been following RRT for the past few years, you have probably heard about the Black Mountain Crest Trail (BMCT).  My good friend Will wrote about his attempt in 2019, and I talked about it during one of our Campfire Story segments in 2020. If you heard the campfire story, then you know my first attempt on the Black Mountain Crest Trail did not end successfully but as a slow trudge with a heavy heart.

The Trail

Since my first attempt, few days have passed where that trail did not hike across my mind. I never mustered up the time or courage to go back, and for what? To fail again? Two years passed, and while looking for training hikes my dear friend and co-worker Emma and I decided the BMCT was a must-do. As the weekend of the trip drew near, the weather looked pretty good.  About an inch of rain was predicted through all of Saturday, but we thought it was nothing crazy.

The plan was to hike eight miles to Deep Gap, set up camp, and then hike four miles to the summit of Mt. Mitchell and back. My hopes were high; I was excited to get back on this trail. Learning from my last attempt, I brought better bear deterrents (a friend to feed to the bears) and improved rain gear. This time I was not turning back, especially with Emma there to keep me going.


We arrived at the trailhead around 1 a.m. and slept restlessly in the car. The sun came up and we donned our packs to begin the steep four-mile climb to the ridge, soon passing a beautiful stream with a series of waterfalls. My spirits were high as we climbed, and my mind flashed back to my last attempt. A lot had changed from the Dalton who was last here; I’ve learned a lot more about the outdoors and myself, and I now have a mustache.

The initial up was peaceful and serene. Both of us were huffing and puffing in silence. Soon it began to drizzle. We added rain jackets and continued upwards. The drizzle became heavier, and I began to realize what an inch of rain truly meant. My freshly waterproofed jacket was no protection. It could not withstand the increasing pressure as the rain and wind picked up. These four miles seemed to go on forever. The tree line was close. I could feel it, and I made sure Emma knew, too. With the final bit of elevation gain ahead, we trudged more energetically. Then Emma pointed out that the tree line was, in fact, not close at all. Our spirits fell, as did the air temperature as my body chilled beneath a no-longer-waterproof jacket.

After what seemed like an eternity, we made it to the ridgeline. Remembering how breathtaking this scene was last time, I was thrilled to view it again. I was quickly let down. The entire ridge was covered with a heavy fog. I could not see more than two fully-extended trekking pole lengths in any direction. Up here, without the cover of trees, the wind and rain intensified and added a bonus element, hail. I tried to push forward, but every second on the ridge felt like a session with a drunk acupuncturist. After a handful of steps, I returned to the cover of trees to talk with Emma and hear her thoughts.

Emma was surprisingly optimistic about the horrendous scenario. Her optimism gave me hope. We pushed on. After no more than five steps on the ridge, she expressed the same concerns I had.

We had another discussion and decided to push on. We trudged another five steps, then turned around and were forced below tree line. This was a tough call. Turning around once was hard enough, but turning around twice? To me it was painful.

Turning around should be a group decision, not the decision of one person. This is always the toughest part. I did not want to let Emma down, and she did not want to let me down. My hands stung from the cold, so I gave in and suggested we turn back. Emma agreed, much to my relief. We began our descent without second thought.

While the way up was full of hope, the way down was dreary. We passed a group headed up in high spirits. I wished them the best but was secretly envious. I thought about how far they would make it. “If they made it further than us, had we turned back too soon? How much further could we have made it?” I worked to push these thoughts out of my mind because they led down dangerous rabbit holes. Emma and I continued to rationalize our decision. “We were too cold.” “Our clothes were soaked.” “We did not have the proper gear.” Even with this knowledge, I had a tough time believing we made the right decision.

In the moment, you could be facing the toughest challenge in the world, but once you turn away and look back it seems doable. There was a little voice in my head telling me I was overreacting and that I gave up at the slightest sign of challenge. This voice stayed with me the rest of the way back and lingered through the coming days.

Redemption on the Black Mountain Crest

Fast forward to the end of June, the Sunday before July Fourth weekend. I was still mentally recovering from my last trek on the BMCT, but I had a free weekend and was considering a quick jaunt to North Carolina for another attempt. As fate would have it, while working at RRT a regular customer, David, came in asking about the Black Mountain Crest Trail, with plans to attempt it that weekend. I mentioned my desire to do the same, and soon enough we had plans to hike together. This time, we planned it as a long day hike, which was significantly more ambitious than my previous attempts.

We drove to the trailhead Friday night and arrived late, quickly finding spots to set up hammocks but not before sharing lukewarm PBRs with people living nearby. Unexpected interactions like these make me fall more in love with the outdoors and its community.

Waking up in Pisgah National Forest was like waking up in a rainforest. The ground was damp as the morning dew dripped from the trees and the sunlight worked past the thick canopy. We ate breakfast and headed up the trail. We maintained a good pace through the first four-mile push and aimed to hit the summit by noon, averaging two miles per hour. At the ridge, the trail became less maintained, and rather than enjoying the scenery we had to keep our eyes on the ground for roots or holes waiting to twist our ankles. As I stumbled to Mt. Mitchell, I could not help but think that if I was already this tired on the way up, then I was horrified for my legs on the way down.

We cruised into mile eight of 24 and stopped for lunch at Deep Gap. After refueling, we pushed onward.  We stayed quiet and kept to our own thoughts and miseries. A few miles later, we crossed the border into Mt. Mitchell State Park and its well-maintained trails. We picked up our pace, only to be slowed by crowds of people. After being stuck in my head for the past several hours, the small talk with strangers was a welcome distraction.

The maintained trails gave way to a paved parking lot, a staircase, and a ramp that took us to the highest point on this side of the Mississippi. The juxtaposition between the rugged trail we had spent the past six hours on and the summit parking lot was jarring. Fortunately, with great amounts of concrete come great amounts of aspirin from the summit giftshop, a key factor in our success. Without that, we would not have made it very far on the return.

Making it to the top was incredibly rewarding. We could see from the Roan Highlands all the way to Clingman’s Dome in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  An accomplishment I had been trying to complete for several years was done. Except, of course, we were really only halfway done. We still had to go all the way back down.

After resting for a bit, we began pushing down the mountain. Pushing sounds like an odd way to describe hiking downhill, but it truly was a push because the hike back to the car was not just downhill, we still had roughly 2,500’ of gain before the final four-mile descent. David had trouble going downhill and I had trouble going uphill. With our strengths and weaknesses balancing out, we leapfrogged past one another on our six-hour return journey. Many people passed us on their way up, and although I was excited for them I was glad David and I had put those miles behind us.

Throughout the trip, as happens on any backcountry excursion, we had dreamed up the perfect post-hike meal: iced-coffee for David and a big Gatorade for me, then digging into $5 Hot and Ready pizzas from Little Caesar’s. Bellies full and thirst quenched, we drove home silently, taking turns napping and driving. A bucket list item that had haunted me for two years was over just like that in a whirlwind 30 hours.


Early in my outdoor career, I was fortunate to avoid making the tough call to turn back. I have since found this is not how things will always be. The past few years have been filled with failed adventures. I still valued these experiences and learned a great deal from them, but it will never be easy to make that call. Turning back on something you value is tough and something I am still learning and growing from. As I’ve taken on bigger endeavors, I’ve looked for this quality in the people I travel and climb with. I want to know they will not push me into prickly situations but will push me to be a stronger person, and I will do the same for them.


by: Dalton Spurlin

Our Community

By: Ben Shaw

If you would have asked me to describe the outdoors community a few years ago, I would have had no idea how to do that.  I probably would have guessed something along the lines of a rugged lumberjack or described a scene you might find on the front of a Mountain House Meal packet.  The truth is, it’s a much larger group than what most people think.  There are people all over the place, falling into different niches within the greater community.  There are backpackers, climbers, mountaineers, kayakers, day hikers, rafters, bikers, beach bums, and everything else you can think of. Then, even within these activities, you have more of a breakdown. For example, with backpackers you have weekend warriors, ultra-light minimalists, long distance through hikers, and probably a few more I’m forgetting about…

My First Community

What it comes down to is the fact that this is an extremely large but fragmented community.  There are people everywhere doing everything: kayakers hanging out on the river, backpackers clogging the trails, and mountaineers racing to the summit. If you never take the time to meet others on the river, trail, or climb, you find yourself staying around the same little bubble in the community.  Luckily, if you look hard enough you can find the things and places that bring this community of bubbles together.  For example, every time RRT hosts a presentation, or any other event, it brings together all sorts of different niches within the outdoors community and gives one a chance to meet others and possibly learn something about another part of the community or make new friends with similar interests.

Our RRT Community

Another nice thing about the outdoors community is that we tend to be open and outgoing people, ready to talk and visit with others, I can’t tell you how many times this has proven itself on the trail.  People have given me directions, pointed to hidden spots, donated gear and supplies, and so much more (often called “trail magic”).  Every time something along those lines happened it always made me feel a better sense of community with the people I’m sharing the outdoors with.  It also made me want to do the same things for others I came across out there and spread some of the “magic.”

Outside of RRT, I’m a student at the University of Cincinnati and am an active member in the University of Cincinnati Mountaineering Club.  For me, this has been where I’ve learned the bulk of what I know about the outdoor community as a whole, “whole” meaning each separate niche: climbers, hikers, bikers, kayakers, mountaineers, etc.  Each block has its own unique characteristics, but they all have a few things in common, they love the outdoors. They’re usually down to make friends and they always want to brag and teach their skills.  Even UCMC and RRT are a niche within the outdoors community, they’re vessels for people to meet, acquire gear, and learn new skills to get outside.

UCMC Whitewater Rafting Group

This is the unique way our community has developed, an unspoken understanding that if you share a trail, a story, or even just a similar interest, you have mutual respect and a chance for friendship. One of my favorite stories about this kind of experience happened about a year ago. I was hiking down in Red River Gorge with a group of people I didn’t really know. One of the guys who I had just met started telling me about his time on the Ozark Trail and we swapped stories and contacts, then we didn’t see each other for a little while.  A few months later I got back in touch and invited him out to the Wind River Range in Wyoming on a backpacking trip having simply bonded with him once on the trail and enjoying his stories and his company.  He came along with me and some friends and I couldn’t have been happier with it, we all had an amazing time filled with fun, laughter, and adventure.

Aaron and I in Wyoming

As I said above, this community is vast in its size, expansive in its hobbies, and fragmented in its communication but we all share so many common interests.  Everyone in this community appreciates the natural world and many of us strive to protect it so that we, and those after us, can continue to enjoy it.  For the most part we’re looking for others to adventure and share stories with. Above all, we enjoy what we do and can’t imagine spending our time any other way.  So, next time you’re on the trail, attending a presentation, or trading a hiking story with a stranger, think about the community you and the people around you are a part of, strike up a conversation and make a new friend.  You never know what adventure you’ll have or what part of this community you’ll end up in. Enjoy every trip, keep my young words of wisdom in mind and hopefully I’ll see you on the trail!

Sharing Adventures on the Trail with Friends in the Community

Outdoor Communities in the Greater Cincinnati Area


Caving: The Greater Cincinnati Grotto

Kayaking and Canoeing: Cincypaddlers & Tri-State Kayakers

Cycling and Mountain Biking: Cincinnati Cycle Club

Local Day Hiking: Cincinnati Parks Foundation

Day Hiking and Backpacking: Tri-State Hiking Club