appalachian trail blog tag

Appalachian Trials Has A New Home

appalachian trials dot com

Hi team,

I just wanted to let you know that Badger’s Appalachian Trail book has its own website.   If you’re so inclined, check it out, let me know what you think, maybe get a book or seven (one for Snow White and six of her dwarfs- Dopey doesn’t get one until he cleans his act up), maybe “like” the page, maybe tweet it, or Google plus it.  Or maybe do none of that.  That’s up to you.  I’m just giving you options.

The new Appalachian Trials website was designed and developed by Adam Nutting of Hiking the Trail.  You should check out Adam’s site because he gives you free gear.

Also, as a little bit of a change in procedure- this website will slowly be transitioning away from all things Appalachian Trail.  There is now a dedicated Appalachian Trials blog that will be taking over that role in due time.  It’s still a bit rough right now, but I promise you, it will eventually be awesome.  And let this be a warning to 2012 thru-hikers, pay attention to this blog over the course of the next couple of weeks.  Just trust me, k?

the Good Badger will return to its regular scheduled programming, which roughly translates to whatever is on my mind for the day.  I may still chat about the AT, but I may also try to get you to move to San Diego.  You just can’t be sure.

Also a little update with the status of the book:

You guys are amazing.  We already have 10 reviews.  That really, truly means a lot to me (as you likely already know).  If you have read the book and wouldn’t mind taking 89 seconds out of your day to share your thoughts with Amazon, that would bring a smile to my face.  Also, I’m hopeful Amazon will soon link the print and e-book page so all reviews feed into one.  ARE YOU LISTENING AMAZON!?!

That’s all we have for now.

Bear hugs,

Zach

Get YOUR NAME in MY BOOK: And More Delicious Appalachian Trials Info

Get YOUR NAME in Appalachian Trials

Hi team,

So, my Appalachian Trail book, is finished (official launch coming soon).

Well, almost…

I have every page written, except for the last.

That’s where YOUR NAME goes.  Only your name.

Yes, I’m serious.  No, I’m not drunk.

Imagine flipping through the final pages of this soon-to-be-released Appalachian Trail super-book, and the last thing you see – the reader’s final impression – is your nameThat’s what’s happening.

I’m going to auction off the last page of my book on eBay.  The highest bidder wins their name, and their name only, on the last page of the soon-to-be-announced-release-of-Zach-Davis’-first-book-Appalachian Trials.  It’s easy as that.  I will start the auction at $0.05 with no reserve.

100% of the proceeds will go to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (eBay takes their cut because they’re capitalists*)

* – “9.0% of the item’s total cost to buyer with a maximum charge of $100.00.” (Every penny that eBay doesn’t take from Zach will go straight to the ATC).

Here’s how you can get YOUR NAME on the last page of Appalachian Trials:

  1. Go to this link to view the auction page
  2. Bid to get your name in the last page of Appalachian Trials
  3. The auction will end on January 31st, 2012 at 10:00 AM CST.  When it does, the high bidder wins their name in the last page of my book (sorry for sounding like a broken record).
  4. That’s it.

Some notes about the promotion:

  • As you know by now, I get a good chuckle out of potty humor, but I won’t put a dirty word on the last page of the book.  Sorry, I don’t believe that your name is “Farty McBallSlap“.
  • Appalachian Trials will be released both as a print and e-book.  Your name goes in both.  One name, two formats.
  • I have contacted the ATC about this promotion (still waiting to hear back).  Those who know me already know that I wouldn’t ever try to pull a Bernie Madeoff on anyone.  For those who don’t know me, know that at the conclusion of this promotion, the ATC will be expecting a check from me.  If I would try to pull a fast one, they would very quickly make this public and then Zach would be forced to live under a bridge for the rest of time.

Reasons Why This Promotion is Worth Your Bid

  1. I had to write 40,000 words to get my name in it.  You can accomplish the same thing with ~39,998 fewer words.  That’s a good deal.
  2. High upside.  I’m pretty confident that we’ve got a winner on our hands here (really).  Getting your name in a book that could potentially be popular within this very beautiful niche, is an exciting proposition.
  3. It’s ridiculous.  Your name would stand alone on the last page of Appalachian Trials.  I haven’t taken the time to research if this has ever been done before, but considering most books go through traditional publishers, and traditional is Latin for boring, I’m guessing not.  (Side note: Appalachian Trials is currently scheduled to be released under Good Badger Publishing (aka self-published).  If in the future a traditional publisher wants to give me a cruise ship full of cash for the rights, I won’t let the last page with your name on it fall by the wayside.  It’s there for the long haul.)
  4. It’s funny.  Is it not?
  5. It’s for a good cause.  Did I mention that 100% of the proceeds goes toward the ATC (the wonderful volunteers and workers who maintain our beautiful 2,181 mile path of wonder, mystery and love)?
  6. Good Advertising.  I will announce the winner of this contest on this website.  Ultimately when someone reads the book and searches “Appalachian Trials + [your name]” the post announcing your victory will be what shows up in Google.  They will see that your donation went to the ATC.  In addition, I will let the winner write a short statement and link to the website/cause of their choice.  That’s right.  In-book advertising.  What is that worth to you/your company?  (*Note*  No URLs in the book itself, only in the victorious post, which will still be seen by a lot of people.  Also, I’ve had people ask if they can pool their money together and then make a fake name- YES.  I love the creativity.  Just no potty words, offensive phrases, or competing products.)

So, go check out the eBay bid, throw a couple dollars at the idea of your name being on the book, share the promotion with others (like this page, retweet it, e-mail friends, shout it at strangers) so we can help raise more money for this worthy organization.  And then probably consider checking out Appalachian Trials.

Last note- I will announce the winner on this site and the Good Badger Facebook Page.  I suggest “liking” it so I can let you know when you win YOUR NAME on the last page of Appalachian Trials.

Questions? E-mail me at theGoodBadger[at]gmail[dot]com.

Here is the link to the auction page.

 

 

On Trial: Technology on the Appalachian Trail

Technology and the Appalachian Trail

I recently received the following e-mail:

“Hi, Zach

Considering that you had your iphone with you the whole time, I was wondering if you’d given any thought to how truly disconnected you were?  Or to how truly connected you were to nature/outdoors/the AT because you were listening to music and audiobooks while hiking?  I’m not judging, I’m just wondering what a different experience hikers from 10 years ago would have had with no option for those kinds of distractions or entertainment on the trail.

I don’t know if that was your intent while hiking (I came to the Good Badger late in the game), but was wondering if you’d thought about it.

One day, I hope to hike the AT.  It was on my to-do list for my early twenties, but life got in the way.

Congratulations on finishing, and I look forward to the book.”

————-

Not only is this a fair point, but I’m guessing some of you have had this same question.   I feel as though this is an issue worth examining because as technology improves, becomes more mobile, more affordable, and universally accessible, it will only become more prominent on the trail, and thus a more polarizing topic.

The Complainant’s Case

The Appalachian Trail is a unique experience.  The physical challenge associated with a half year’s worth of hiking is unlike anything most humans would ever fathom.  But even more unique Read more

Appalachian Trail Nutrition Guide: 7 Tips to Avoiding Post-Trail Weight Gain

how to avoid post appalachian trail weight gain

[Editors note: Although this post is geared toward those who plan on hiking the AT or who have recently finished, the truth is, this information is applicable to anyone looking to lose a couple of pounds. This is sound nutritional advice from someone who knows what they are talking about (clearly not a reference to myself).]

Remember the advice we got from Appalachian Trail legend, Miss Janet? Well in that post, we tackled the 2nd issue she brought up: Post-Appalachian Trail Depression (which I’ll be covering in more depth in the upcoming Badger Book).

Today, it’s time to confront the other:

How do thru-hikers avoid gaining weight after the Appalachian Trail?

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[Guest Post] Reunited and it Feels So Good

[editor's note] I am hesitant to post the following essay from good friend Jack Borgo only because I hate to be the second best writer on my own website. I spent the previous weekend in my old stomping grounds, Madison, WI, to watch my football team disembowel the #8 team in the country, and more importantly, to catch up with old friends. Jack was the first person that I met up with. Little did I know he was leveraging my friendship merely to further his writing career. Just kidding. Not really. In all sincerity, Jack, thank you for the kind words. Your enthusiasm for the great outdoors was an inspiration in my undertaking. And, please, keep writing.

Jack Borgo

Jack.

Last weekend I was reunited with one of my closest friends, Zach Davis (aka “Badger” to his trail-mates, “Good Badger” to his readers and “Undeliverable Address” to child-support collectors), at our former education/inebriation grounds at the University of Wisconsin. Though excited for 48 hours of bad beer and worse decisions, I was also pensive.

I knew and loved the pre-trail Zach Davis; a perpetually witty, easy-going Chicago sports fanatic who preferred a coffee-shop and laptop to “wilderness”. This Zach was so ill-equipped for time in the woods that if you asked me to list his Top Skills Essential to Survival in Nature, “an affinity for bandanas” would have been #1. Despite this outdoorsy ineptitude, when Zach told me that he had decided to hike the A.T., I knew his determination and love of exploration meant inevitable success.

However these conversations, coupled with postings on his blog, were also unnerving. For 5+ months Zach would trade his Apple for the Appalachian, baristas for bears. He was embarking on a potentially transformative journey…did the beginning of Badger mean the end of Zach?

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Filling in the gaps: Badger’s Appalachian Trail Omissions (part 1)

Filling in the Gaps

For those who’ve followed my Appalachian Trail journey from the beginning, you may have noticed a couple of gaps in the story.  This has been confirmed by many of the questions I’ve received via Facebook and e-mail.

As I’m currently in the process of writing a pretty kick ass Appalachian Trail book for you all (subscribe to the Badger Book list for more info), I have been reaching into the depths of my honesty bank to best portray some of the mental challenges I dealt with during my journey.  I am doing this in hopes of offering learning lessons to help future thru-hikers successfully complete the AT.  The learning lessons themselves will be in the book, not the posts.

The following are re-worked excerpts from the (currently unnamed) book.   They should serve to bridge a couple of the biggest gaps in my story.

1) Google Giveth, Google Taketh Away

(a follow up from the post: “From Mountain Views to Mountain View)

Two weeks before leaving for the AT, I had managed to score a phone interview with a company I had dreamt of working for over the better part of the last decade, Google.

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Post Appalachian Trail Depression: Advice from Miss Janet

post appalachian trail hiker depression

It was July, 24 2011, a group of 20+ hikers huddled around a large picnic table in the backyard of the Happy Hiker’s Hostel in Glencliff, New Hampshire.  The night’s menu offered home-cooked meatloaf, grilled corn on the cob, mayonnaise-rich pasta salad, coleslaw, homemade buns lathered in liberal amounts of butter, and of course Miller High Life (obviously).  We were shoveling plate after plate of the delicious homemade fare directly into the deepest part of our throats, as if we unlearned the lost art of chewing.  A week of consuming only Ramen has that effect on people.

We were fortunate this evening for the home-cooked meal.  The typical hostel culture leaves a hiker on his/her own to walk or catch a shuttle to the nearest restaurant; the Happy Hiker Hostel is usually no exception.  This evening, however, we were graced with the presence (and culinary skills) of Miss JanetMiss Janet is an Appalachian Trail celebrity.  I remember my first week on the trail, a fellow hiker (who I had never conversed with), came up to me and excitedly said, “did you hear that Miss Janet is hiking the trail this year?!?”

“Are you serious?! …  By the way…who is Miss Janet?”

Apparently that was a dumb question (I’m good at those). A legend of the trail (objectively speaking – she is featured in the documentary “Trail Angels”), Miss Janet has been involved with helping AT hikers since she was only 13 years old.  Miss Janet’s hostel in Erwin, Tennessee was regarded as arguably the best hiker hostel on the entire AT (in competition with over 60 others).  Some hostels are known for their cheap price, some are known for the quality of their setup, Miss Janet’s was known for, well Miss Janet.

That’s why when Miss Janet talks, hikers listen.

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Sensory Underload: Ninety Minutes Inside An Isolation Tank

Because 5 months in the woods wasn’t enough to isolate me from the surrounding world, I decided to kick it up a notch.

While on my little walk thingy, I became a big fan of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast.  It served as my social fix when I wasn’t in the mood for actual interaction.  For those who are unfamiliar, Joe Rogan is a stand up comedian/UFC commentator/host of Fear Factor/Carlos Mencia basher.

One of the many reoccurring theme’s on the podcast is Rogan’s fascination with introspection.  In several episodes, he would reference a “sensory deprivation tank” (aka isolation tank/flotation tank) that he had set up in his house.  The tank, as Rogan puts it, “is the most important tool that [he's] ever used for developing [his] mind“.  This, coming from someone who is an outspoken proponent of both psychedelic drugs and marijuana.

Naturally my curiosity was piqued.

For those who are unfamiliar (me, as of 3 months ago) an isolation tank is basically a giant metal coffin with about a foot of salt water at the bottom.  The water is heated to the same temperature as a human body, eventually resulting in an inability to feel the water.  After an individual gets inside and shuts the door behind them, there is only total darkness.  Once the water settles, the only sound you can hear is your own breath.  Because the water is extremely dense – about 800 lbs. of Epsom salt is dissolved into it – a human body, which is made mostly of water, floats very easily.  The theory goes that because there is no sensory input causing distraction to your brain, the mind is left to more freely wander.  Beneficial claims include everything from pure rest and relaxation, to improved health and vitality, to being a shortcut toward enlightenment.

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4 Gross (But Completely True) Appalachian Trail Facts

The following infographic details four gross, but entirely factual, elements associated with the Appalachian Trail.  Feel free to print this out so you can educate others.  Everyone loves facts.

4 Gross but completely true Appalachian Trail Facts

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