Andrew Skurka, an adventurer known for his light, long and fast backpacking trips, recently made a very informative presentation about long-distance backpacking at the Googleplex.
Surka gave the talk as part of a program put on by Google, called Authors at Google, where the web company brings authors and people who are experts in their fields to talk at the Google headquarters in Mountain View, California. Other known authors who’ve appeared at these mini-symposiums include Christopher Hitchens and Tim Keller.
Skurka has a massive resume when it comes to long-distance, solo backpacking trips. He has a website that props up his adventures with extra media and offerings such as guided trips, a hiking blog, slideshows, clinics, and a dedicated how-to section.
He’s logged three “Ultra Long-Distance Hikes:” the Sea-to-Sea Route, in which he traversed North America from Quebec to Washington in 2004-2005; the Great Western Loop, in which he went 6,875 miles in 208 days, clocking in at a staggering 33 miles per day; and his most recent Alaska-Yukon Expedition, which went from March-September 2010 and covered a total of 4,700 miles.
Each of these routes had different challenges, objectives, and styles. Skurka draws from these experiences–and his many years of guiding backpacking–to give advice to other hikers. In other words, it’s the perfect video to watch if you’re planning a long-distance backpacking trip.
His talk is organized around what Skurka has identified as the three key question to planning any backpacking trip:
- What are my objectives?
- What are the environmental and route conditions that I will be encountering?
- What are the gear, supplies, and skills that I need to achieve my objectives while keeping myself safe?