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What is Dudetrek?

Dudetrek has become a way a of life for me. Not only is the name of my blog, but it symbolizes what I want to be in the present and what I want to do in the future. Dudetrek began when I walked across America from 2012 to 2013, loosely following the American Discovery Trail. I learned many things while trekking from ocean to ocean, like how to camp and pack a backpack, what I was capable of physically, that there are a stunning amount of kind and compassionate people in this country, and that life requires balance: between society and nature, working hard and taking it easy, and having good times and bad times alike. Above all, I learned how to take care of myself, which is something I had never truly done before, being 18 and fresh out of high school at the time. I quickly became addicted to the minimalist hiking lifestyle and have done a 1,000 mile section hike of the Pacific Crest Trail in 2014, countless day and weekend outings, and am currently attempting another 4,000+ mile hike from Key West, Florida to Mount Katahdin, Maine.

Why Walk Long Distance?

The simple answer is “For Fun!”. Truly though, there were many reasons for embarking on this quest. The idea crossed my mind during my senior year of High School. I felt pressured to decide what I was going to do with the rest of my life, and I didn’t feel ready to make the decision. I have always loved the outdoors, staying in shape, meeting new people, and trying new things. The choice seemed natural. While I had (and still have) many passions and many goals, I simply decided to pursue them in an alternative direction. This does not mean I am never going to college, this just means my craving for adventure comes first. I often consider the comparison between knowledge and wisdom. In my mind, college offers greater knowledge while hiking long trails offers greater wisdom. Nevertheless, it is mainly about having fun and learning along the way.

Where Did You Go on the Walk Across America?

I walked through Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and California. I walked through the flat farm lands of Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern shore, through the marshland near the Chesapeake Bay, along the rocky Potomac River, up and over the remote Appalachian Mountains, through the hills of Eastern Ohio, into the sandstone cliffs and caves in the Ohio River valley, over the surprisingly rolling hills of Indiana, past the massive bluffs and open farmland in Illinois, up the Mississippi during a time of drastically low water levels, through the forested Northern Ozarks of Missouri, across the great plains of Kansas, up and over the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, in and out of the canyons in Utah, through the sweltering desert heat of Nevada, and amongst the lush greenery and seaside cliffs of California. Not only did I see hundreds of state parks and forests, and dozens of national parks and forests, but I walked through the downtown areas of Washington DC, Morgantown (WV), Columbus (OH), Cincinnati (OH), Louisville (KY), Bloomington (IN), Evansville (IN), and St. Louis (IL, MO), Kansas City (MO, KS), Colorado Springs (CO), Denver (CO), Provo (UT), Reno (NV), Sacramento (CA), and San Fransisco (CA). It’s was a wild ride and I can’t wait to try the Pacific Crest Trail in April 2014!.

How Do You Prepare?

I wrote a pretty comprehensive post about planning and preparing for my PCT hike that may shed some light on this subject. In hindsight, I did set my daily goals way too high and should have been more relaxed with my schedule, which is something I’m trying to do this time around. Nonetheless, the training regiment and map-work are pretty similar.

What Do Your Parents Think?

When I first told my parents, they were worried that I was making the wrong decision. I didn’t apply to college anywhere and they worried about how this may impact my future, especially if I wasn’t able to make it past the first week of walking. As I made more and more progress towards preparing for my departure, their questions changed from “What if…” to “How can I help?”. Now that I’ve made it this far, they have embraced the idea and support me 100%. Ultimately, they still worry about me constantly, whether I’m on the trail or not but that’s their job. It took time to show them that I was serious and very dedicated, but now they are my biggest supporters and I find great motivation from that.

What Gear Do You Use?

Check out my Gear Page.

What Do You Eat?

My diet is anything but consistent. During the Walk Across America, I used military MRE’s and dehydrated Mountain House food that I ordered online, had my dad ship to a post office, and picked up whenever I get there. Most of the time however, I just ate whatever was available at the stores in the towns I pass through. Usually, this meant Pop-tarts, bread (I’ll squash it down into a ball so it saves space), dry cereal, trail mix, occasional fruit, and sometimes a can of soup. In towns with a population of a few hundred people and one general store, I just ate whatever they had. On the PCT, I ate almost nothing but Clif Bars and granola because I got great discounts on them and I needed the calorie content badly. For the 2015 hike, I am relying on whatever high-calorie foods I can find in town and generally cooking as little as possible. This means tortillas, nutella, trail mix, summer sausage and cheese, dried fruits, energy bars, etc.

Where Do You Sleep Each Night?

I am honestly not sure what the true proportion of outside to inside sleeping was for the coast to coast walk, but I’d say it’s close to 50-50. On the nights I slept outside, I most often stealth camped. The sun would set and I would be nowhere near a town, so I had to find an inconspicuous spot where I could avoid being seen or found. This meant ditches next to railroads, sections of dense forest between farmland, under bridges, etc. When there was public land to sleep in, I would always go there first. If I could make it to a town by the time it gets dark, I would usually head to the local police station, fire department, or church to see if there was a safe place for me to get some shelter. Usually, they would help me find somewhere out of the cold to sleep for a night. I slept in churches, under pavilions, in sheds, fire halls, public parks; anywhere I can lay down without being disturbed or feeling in danger. Other times, I would meet people and they would open up their homes to me, letting me crash on an extra bed, on their couch, or even just on their floor. Those were my favorite nights because I get to meet awesome, friendly people, eat home cooked meals, and get a good night’s sleep. The PCT was simple because I could basically set up camp anywhere I wanted, and the 2015 hike is like a little bit of both, depending on what section of trail I’m on.

4 Responses to FAQ’s

  1. mike Honecker

    Dude,your my Hero!!! I love ya! Lil RAS!!!

  2. lw72955

    Currently planning my ADT-ish hike, too. Hoping to leave before July. I am bringing my dog (Vet-approved), and am on the fence of bringing a stroller or not. Mainly because if she gets tired and I still have energy, I would like to let her ride on the cart. However, I’ve never used one and don’t know how practical it will be to maneuver off-road… Any suggestions?

    • Quiet_Earp

      I found the stroller to be very advantageous in Utah and Nevada because many of the roads I walked on passed through Bureau of Land Management/Public Land, where opportunities for “dispersed” camping are plentiful. I’m sure, had I used a stroller through parts of Colorado, it would have been a similar experience, as with any state out west where ♫ this land is made for you and me! I doubt I would have been able to survive Route 50 in Nevada if it hadn’t been for the 6 gallon water jug I mounted on the front of my 3-wheeled stroller, so not only is a stroller a practical choice while in the desert, but I would argue that is necessary considering that there are no water sources for 90-115 miles at a time in some spots.

      When I first tried using a stroller in Missouri, however, I found it to be more of a hindrance than a help. It was great while on the Katy Trail (a flat gravel bike path built on an old railroad bed that crosses nearly the entire state)- with no weight on my shoulders, I could make much better daily mileage on clear days despite being mid-winter and the sun setting a few hours earlier than when I began. When it rained, however, I was incapacitated by the mud, which made pushing the stroller nearly impossible; when I moved back to the roads, I was terrified by how close and at what speeds people would drive by me when there was no shoulder and a car in the opposite lane. Camping also became difficult, because the stroller’s apparent lack of maneuverability off-road drastically limited my options on where I could set up camp. The Katy Trail is surrounded by huge sandstone cliffs, with plenty of caves and staggered rocks that would have made for a welcome sleeping spot, but a steep, forested hill separated them from the trail. If I had my backpack, I would have surely been able to utilize them, but I couldn’t because my stroller held me back.

      It is not impossible to use a cart exclusively, and in fact it may be very handy in being to care for your dog. I would check out John and Kait Seyal’s website, they are a couple that hiked the ADT with their 2 dogs, volunteering along the way to raise awareness for pet therapy and animal rescue. They used a stroller and when I met them in during their drive home, they seemed to really enjoy using the stroller and inspired me to try it for myself.

  3. gail s. young


    I picked up my friend Debbie Dunn and took her to the V.A. hospital in Columbia Missouri for her bone scan.. along the way I told her about meeting you… and she chimed in and said she saw you walking with all your gear… around hwy 94 and hwy 19… and that you waved, smiled, and gave her the peace sign… !!! So glad she got to meet you.. we are both rooting for you… !! Keep Walking… gail

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