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Backpacker Magazine –

Backpacker Contributor's Guidelines

Good BACKPACKER articles should contain...
Features
Departments
Accuracy
Queries
Assignments and Payment
Photography
Statistics

 

BACKPACKER is a proud sponsor of Leave No Trace (check out our book, Leave No Trace, available from The Mountaineers Press). All articles and photos that appear in the magazine must adhere to Leave No Trace's ecologically friendly practices. Likewise, we do not promote motorized use in the wilderness or backcountry.

Our readers are knowledgeable and experienced backpackers, therefore we accept only authentic, well-researched, well-crafted stories (see the section on "Accuracy," below). We're not interested in slavish imitations of stories we've already done. As always, you should carefully study several issues of the magazine before submitting a query. The best articles have style, depth, emotional impact, and take-away value for the reader.

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Good BACKPACKER articles contain the following attributes:
    • Foot-based travel: BACKPACKER primarily covers hiking. When warranted, we cover canoeing, kayaking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and other human-powered modes of travel.
    • Wilderness or backcountry: The true backpacking experience means getting away from the trailhead and into the wilds. Whether a dayhike or a weeklong trip, out-of-the-way, unusual destinations are what we're looking for.
    • North American destinations: We only occasionally cover foreign locales. Our defined market is North American destinations.
    • Advice for improving the backcountry experience: Our readers want to know how to, when to, where to, and with what. Every BACKPACKER article incorporates one or more of these things. We write not merely to inspire our readers to do something, but to help them identify and research new places to go, techniques and skills to use, or the gear to take.
    • While a portion of BACKPACKER is written by staff and regular contributors, we encourage freelance authors to submit query emails for features and departments. Approximately 50 percent of our features and more than half of our departments are written by freelancers. Please note that it's rare for a writer new to BACKPACKER to break into the magazine with a feature assignment. Direct your efforts toward establishing a working relationship with us via department assignments first.

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FEATURES
BACKPACKER features usually fall into one of several distinct categories: destinations, personality, skills, or gear. Gear features are generally staff written. In order to make the grade, a potential feature needs an unusual hook, a compelling story, a passionate sense of place, or unique individuals finding unique ways to improve or enjoy the wilderness.

Destinations: BACKPACKER uses pieces that go beyond a mere description of a trail or place. Our destination stories are almost always first person and based upon the author's recent trip experience. Readers should come away with a strong sense of that particular outdoor experience, a firm grasp of the location's character, and the inspiration to duplicate the trip. Journal-style articles are generally unacceptable. Word counts vary widely from 1,500 to 5,000 or more words but most contain a full Expedition Planner sidebar (contact, permit, season, hazards, map, guidebook, and other useful information; look at past BACKPACKER issues for examples and style).

Personality: Backpacking doesn't have star athletes like you find in bicycling or some other outdoor sports, but plenty of unique personalities exist to write about. Colorful, controversial, historically significant, amusing, unusual, or unique people are what we're looking for, especially those who have a direct impact on how or where others hike.

Technique: Skill-based articles in BACKPACKER feature high levels of take-away value. A good technique piece also has information relevant to all skill levels (e.g., beginner, intermediate, and advanced hikers). Often our technique pieces take non-narrative forms.

Gear: Our Field Tests and comparative gear reviews are always written by writers we've worked with before. If you're interested in writing such articles, start by querying our equipment editor about the Gear department (see "Departments," below).

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DEPARTMENTS
Freelancers most often break into BACKPACKER's pages in the departments. These shorter assignments (100 to 1,200 words) have specific topics and focus.

 

Life List: 300-400 words. Short essay treatment about a particularly awesome big trip that every reader should add to their ticklist. On the inspiration<----->core-service spectrum, this falls decidedly on the inspiration side. Of course we’ll also deliver the tools a reader needs to start planning. This is BACKPACKER after all.
Every trip in this section should meet the following requirements:

  • Involve a true wilderness overnight experience (ideally backpacking, but canoeing/skiing/etc okay sometimes)
  • big/hard/beautiful enough to provoke serious long-term dreams
  • not too easy or accessible
  • not already covered a lot
  • bonus points: not currently on most readers’ radar screen
  • Events and experiences (rooted in a stellar place, of course) could also be life list worthy. Seeing the northern lights. A NOLS trip. Summitting for someone. Catching your first rainbow on a fly. Making fresh chocolate fondue with wild blackberries.
  • international destinations OK, but a majority of these will be domestic
  • No Alaska for a while. We’ve got our Alaska quota pretty full. 

 

 

Top 3: about 500 words. One hike in each of our three regions that falls within an alluring, rewarding conceit. Hot springs, swimming holes, shooting stars, beach camping. There are cool rewards every backpacker wants to experience. This page adds a hike to their regional lifelist. These stories are deceptively hard: You need to have a case for why each one is TOP in the category, and tie the theme to the hike pretty tightly. Looking for pitches for 2013. 

Rip & Go: This page is all you need to undertake a killer weekend in your region. Trips should be 1-2 nights, 6-10 miles a day, within striking distance of a major city, and seasonally appropriate for the month in which they run. These absolutely must have a GPS track, and we assign them early.

 

 

Trail Mix: For each region (west, central, and east, see map), we’ve got a new page with opportunities for freelancers. It’s called Trail Mix, and contains a mix of small items (100-150 words), most of which are open to pitches. Here are the types of stories that belong here:

  • This Just In New trail in the area? An access road reopening after a long closure? This is the news department, though the news has to be relevant when the issue will come out, and must be tied to a hike.
  • See This Now A hike that takes us to an especially timely event or phenomenon. Are the berries ripe along TK route? Is there a meteor shower you can see from TK campsite?
  • Local Expert The inside scoop on a route from someone who knows it really well. Must include a quote from the subject and some non-obvious advice.
  • Secrets of a Ranger Similar to “Locals Know”, but the advice comes from a professional. Call up a park (local or national) or a forest and get some dirt.
  • Solitude Finder A trail or campsite with especially good likelihood of being deserted, whether because it’s under-the-radar or people don’t normally go this season or whatever.
  • Bragging Rights Tell us about a local/regional hiking challenge, whether official or not, that people can feel proud of having accomplished. That thing that gets you bragging rights. Examples: Climb all of Colorado’s 14ers; earn your Views and Brews patch by hiking trails near 20 breweries in New York State.
  • Take Your ___ Take Your Puppy, Take Your Mom, Take Your Macro Lens, Take Your Ice Axe, etc: give us a hike that’s especially good for some particular purpose.

 

Skills: The advice source for all essential hiking and adventure skills, with information targeted to help both beginners and experts. The section is divided into the following categories:

Technique-what you need to day-hike, backpack, or do just about anything in the outdoors, all digested into easily understood articles geared to every ability level.
Food-explores all aspects of trail nutrition, cooking methods, and food preparation. Tested recipes and creative and tasty food suggestions are a must.
Health-examines the physical and psychological aspects of fitness, first aid, and nutrition as it relates to backpacking. This section covers topics from poison ivy to snakebites to altitude sickness.
Gear: This department is filled with short reviews of gear that has been field-tested. Note: Gear, unlike the other departments, is done by assignment only. Instead of submitting a query regarding a specific piece of equipment, query the equipment editor with your qualifications for testing and reviewing gear. All gear reviewed in Gear is acquired by BACKPACKER editors only and shipped by us to assigned reviewers. All reviewed gear must be returned to us at the end of the test so that we may photograph it and return it to the manufacturer. This is not a way to fill your gear closet.

Most BACKPACKER departments take a single topic within the scope of that section and cover it thoroughly. Again, the more take-away value for the reader, the more appropriate it is for BACKPACKER.

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ACCURACY
BACKPACKER prides itself on providing outdoor enthusiasts with reliable information. It's important that our contributors check all facts and figures. A full set of guidelines for fact checking will be provided to you with your first contracted assignment for us. In general, however, we require:
    • Confirmation of all facts and figures used within an article from a primary source.
    • For medical, nutrition, and technical advice, direct quotes from accepted professionals or experts.
    • Full contact information for every source used in creating an article.
    • An extra copy for our files of any map, catalog, brochure, or other primary source you may have acquired from a land agency or manufacturer.

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QUERIES
We prefer queries to completed manuscripts. Please send emails with attachments and web links rather than mailing envelopes with letters and clips. We respond sooner to emails, and please include your own email address within the query. If you must mail a query and clips, include a SASE envelope if your samples must be returned. We are not responsible for unsolicited artwork, photographs, and manuscripts, so please don't send originals or anything that you can't afford to lose.

Allow 2 to 4 weeks for replies. All queries should be emailed to the appropriate editor (see below), or mailed to the following address: BACKPACKER, 2520 55th Street, Suite 210, Boulder, CO 80301.

Features & People: Dennis Lewon, Editor-in-Chief, dlewon-at-backpacker.com
Destinations features: Rachel Zurer, 
Associate Editor, rzurer-at-backpacker.com
Destinations departments: Maren Kasselik, Assitant Editor, mkasselik-at-aimmedia.com
Skills: Dennis Lewon, Editor-in-Chief, dlewon-at-backpacker.com  
Gear: Kristin Hostetter, Gear Editor, khostetter1-at-gmail.com

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ASSIGNMENTS AND PAYMENT
All BACKPACKER assignments are made in writing, and require a signed contract with you, the freelance author, in order to be valid. The contract will specify payment amount, payment terms, and rights purchased. In general, we pay on acceptance and buy all rights. We pay $.40 to more than $1.00 per word, depending upon the complexity and demands of the article, as well as the proven experience of the writer.

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PHOTOGRAPHY
BACKPACKER uses stock photography and assigns photographers for magazine-sponsored trips. We prefer photographs that meet the following requirements:
    • The activity shown does not violate local agency guidelines or Leave No Trace principles (e.g., unless specifically allowed in that location, no tents within 200 feet of water).
    • No visible roads and no frontcountry shots, unless specifically required by the article. BACKPACKER is about the backcountry experience and hiking in wildlands; photos taken at scenic outlooks on a road are not what the backpacking experience is about.
    • Clothing and gear and equipment shown in photos should be appropriate to the activities specifically requested. backpacking, not car camping. We will not run a photos of hikers wearing jeans, and sneakers, nor clothing that is out of date (more than 5 years old). Gear in the photos should also be current and fit properly.

Stock Requirements: While we use a large amount of stock photography to illustrate articles, we usually have very specific requirements (e.g., "overnight hiker on McConnell Lake Trail, Desolation Wilderness, preferably with Horseshoe Lake in background"). For each issue, our photo department sends out via e-mail a list of photos we need for upcoming articles. If you believe you have stock photos that may meet our needs, contact the photo department indicating your interest in receiving our monthly call list. We require a link to your website to be considered.  If your work meets our photographic standards, you will be added to our database.

Assignments: BACKPACKER only hires professional photographers on a freelance basis and sends them out on assignment. We have very few assignments each year. These assignments are grueling, as they often involve lots of mileage over rough terrain. Not only that, but you have to get your pictures while moving through the terrain, carrying your own photo and backpacking gear. Because we're a small publication, our budgets and time restraints are quite restrictive in this area, thus we tend to work only with photographers that we know to be capable of always bringing back results, no matter what the conditions. Interested photographers should email the photo department and be prepared to present a portfolio of photographs taken in the backcountry.

Contact: Senior associate photo editor Genny Fullerton (gfullerton@backpacker.com)

 

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STATISTICS
Publishing frequency: 9 issues annually, one of which is the Gear Guide (March)
Circulation:
340,000 (2008)
Lead time: At least 6 months


ALL READERS COMMENTS

Scott Fenley
Aug 09, 2011

Your article on giving first aid help has an error. The radial pulse is at the wrist, not the brachial as stated. The brachial artery is inside the upper arm between the elbow and arm pit. You did get this right oddly enough next to this advice on the same page. FYI

Mathew Kasper
Jul 26, 2011

I would like to share my story of how I went from prison to the top and I was wondering if anyone at Backpacker would be interested in writing it, for I am no writer.

In high school I was an all-league football star, and on coarse to graduate and go play college ball, but two weeks before graduation (June 1999) I was arrested for robbery and sent to prison for 10 years at the age of 17. In March of 2009 I was released a changed man. While in prison my mom, who is a big hiker, would tell me all about her adventures, and send me photos of the beauty she saw. She also subscribed me to Backpacker magazine. Which was my sole source for learning about hiking.

Within two days of my release I went on my first hike (and accident left my brand new shoes at the trail head on the way home. After that I was hooked, and my hiking just progressed to new, and higher trails. After my release I also started to drink and party more and more, but in Feb 2010 I decided to try being sober. This was a struggle until I joined a hiking group which is structured around the AA system. OSAT, which stands for One Step At a Time, has been around since the the early 90’s. After joining OSAT I signed up for their Glacier Climbing Course. The course was very rigorous, they put us through a lot training that lead up to our climbs on Mt. Baker and Mt. Rainier in late June/early July.

Both summit attempts were successful, incredible and spiritual. In fact I cried as I neared the summit of Rainier. I would love to share the whole story which I feel would benefit both people getting out of prison and people in recovery (AA). I am not a writer so I am looking for someone to help me write it.

Mathew K.

contact me at just4youpt@gmail.com

Graham Clark
Jul 19, 2011

I most recently backpacked from Alaska to Argentina by land pursuing the art of photography. Experiencing the world via the perspective of a camera lens makes me feel ALIVE.


I feel a strong image is characterized by an overpowering spatial reach, tonal subtleness, visual energy, intensity and ultimately impact. I use the best lenses of today and the slowest film speed possible and I use little to zero post-processing. Out in the field I try not to hold expectations - I try to achieve an openness. I feel my best work comes from being receptive to an image coming together. All my photographs are tack-sharp & possess high technical and reproductive quality.

Graham Clark - www.uniquelightsource.com

Roger Carlson
Jun 08, 2011

How is your stainless steel tick bar different from the patented PRO TICK REMEDY? I've been using the PRO TICK REMEDY for years and consider it to be the best tick remover I've ever tried.
Their website is www.tickinfo.com

Patrick Morales
Apr 11, 2011

Hello, I am to responding to an article published in the March 2011, edition, 'Hike. Pray. Protest.'. The story is written by Tracy Ross regarding evangelical christians who are taking a stand to end the destruction of the Appalachian Mountains through a form of coal mining most commonly known as Mountaintop Removal (MTR). In speaking with, and listening to, the Rev. Sally Bingham; the founder of Interfaith Power and Light, as well as other faith based leaders who are publicly speaking out about MTR they point out the need for all church leaders, across all faiths, to show leadership on being stewards of the gifts allowed us. Examples of this leadership are described in this article. I commend BP for publishing an article that contains any mention of MTR and the need to stop this most lethal form of coal mining. However what I read was mostly a human interest story about these concerned evangelic leaders. I thought I'd add a little more to the primary topic which readers may think does not affect them in California or Alaska. If that's the case look at what the coal industry contributes to federal election campaigns in your state, across party lines, or look how MTR affects you by checking out ilovemountains.org.
I was recently in Washington DC with the 'Alliance for Appalachia' (4/02 - 4/08/2011), trying to persuade legislators to pass some bills which are aimed at keeping the headwaters clean from the toxic heavy metals resulting from MTR, that supply water for millions of Americans. We were joined by friends from Alaska, California, Florida and many other states outside the physically impacted states. It is important to note that folks active in ending the permanent destruction of the Appalachian Mountains are not trying to end coal mining, only this form of it which itself removes mining jobs. Along with the mountains, while poisoning the streams and rivers we hike and backpack through, with the toxic runoff. And that preserving these things is not always a party issue just look at your legislators and note the contributors to their coffers. Survival of our species does not require a political parties endorsement but rather our ability to take some responsibility, speak up in mass, and be heard. I want to be able to hike in these ancient mountains of Appalachia when I am older and working a lot harder for the peak on Roan Mountain along the AT.
Sincerely Patrick Morales


7056 hwy 321
Townsend, TN 37882

Rob Coleman
Feb 22, 2011

I submitted an article a few years back titled "Why We Go" which was published on your website. I am interested in submitting more but would like to know how to go about getting a contract for a submission. Did not see anything specifically addressing this, thank you.

Veikko Sillanpaa
Feb 22, 2011

We have a new stainless steel tick remover called the Tick Bar and it would be great if you could test this and write about it in your Gear section.
To whom should I send the sample?
Sincerely,
Veikko Sillanpaa
TICK BAR
veikkos@aol.com
www.tickbar.info

Eric Gjonnes
Feb 07, 2011

Eric Gjonnes
1234 Heather LN SE
Salem, OR 97302
503-587-0272
ericteresa6896@q.com Please see our trail journal at: trailjournals.com/ballsandsunshine/
Greetings,
My 10 year old daughter and I will be Thru hiking the entire 2,652 mile Pacific Crest Trail this coming summer. The world record for this accomplishment is 10 years old. Though Reed will be 11 when we finish, we believe that we can easily complete the trail two months sooner than Mary Chambers did.
I am confident that we will succeed, because I completed it last year and she joined me for 150 miles, averaging 20 miles a day. She also aspires to become the youngest to ever hike all 3 long trails, the PCT, AT, and the CDT.
I became obsessed with ultra-light backpacking ten years ago when as a disabled veteran the only thing that brought relief to chronic back pain was walking.
I would love to submitt some articals or supply info for one of your writers about our adventures.
Eric and Reed Gjonnes
ericteresa6896@q.com

Jim O'Meara
Jan 24, 2011

Well it happens, you are lost or hurt and in need of attention You light a pyrotechnic hand held flare and it burns for about a minute. sparks are flying and your night vision is shot. If you are lucky you did not burn yourself or the woods so you sit back and wait thinking the common thought shared by all survivors, "My flares burned out and I wonder if anyone saw it".
With a Rescue Laser Flare you could have left the Pyrotechnics and used the big fan angle laser projection to signal SOS to passing boats, vehicles and especially aircraft. Unlike a laser pointer the Rescue Laser Flare projects an expanding fan angle of light capable of hitting everyone anywhere with one sweep, a simple SOS signal motion will get the phones ringing. All aircraft are required by the FAA to immediately report any laser sighting. Good news!!! It is legal to shine a Rescue Laser Flare at an aircraft in an emergency. You may have read about how much attention that gets.
There are many utility advantages of the Rescue Laser Flare over Pyrotechnics, one important feature is the long distance detection capabilities for locating retro-reflective tapes found on trail markers. This is invaluable for locating misplaced gear, kayakers use them to avoid collisions with other boaters and you can carry them on an aircraft when traveling. This is not a new product, it has been tested, accepted and carried by all branches of the military. It is in the hands of thousands of sailors around the world and it needs to be in yours. It makes total sense. Go to www.greatlandlaser.com for complete information.

I would like to place gear review and I can send high resolution pictures. Please contact me if interested, this is a perfect tool for backpackers.

Thank You

Jim O'Meara
907-223-5999

Michael Siewertsen
Jan 19, 2011

Enjoyed your article "Hike. Pray. Protest." on the impact that coal mining has had on West Virginia. People should keep in mind that there is no free lunch. A typical 1.5 Megawatt wind turbine is 300 to 400 feet tall. The turbines, if they are to replace a coal plant, will be placed all along our mountain ridges and seashores. Many new transmissions lines will have to be built to move the electricity from the wind turbines to the population centers. The impact on the environment will be large, and the change to America's vista significant. A typical coal power plant produces 600 megawatts of electricity. That means 400 1.5 megawatt wind turbines operating at full capacity would be needed to replace one coal plant. Unfortunately, wind turbines do not operate at full capacity. Indeed, they on average over time only generate 20% capacity. That means that it would take 2000 1.5 megawatt wind turbines to replace one typical coal electrical plant. That is an awful lot of wind turbines.

Mikesfile@hotmail.com

Kim Wall
Jan 06, 2011

Hi,
My name is Kim Wall. In May of 2010 my husband and I opend a brand new resort on a jewel of an island on
British Columbia, Canada's Sunshine Coast. We are the proud owners and operators of Savary Island's newest
and only resort, The Savary Island Resort. Savary Island is home to British Columbia's warmest ocean waters
and white sand beaches. It is infamous for glorious sunsets and amazing views. If you have never heard of it,
we have been quite a well kept secret.

Savary Island is a backpacker destination and we have the only "bunk style" rooms and communal
kitchen on the island.

If I have peaked your interest...you can find out a little more by visiting
our website: www.savaryislandresort.ca. If you are interested in pursuing doing an article on the island &/or
the resort please don't hesitate to contact me via e-mail: info@savaryislandresort.ca, phone: 604-414-9454
I look forward to hearing from you.
Sincerely,

Kim Wall
Host: The Savary Island Resort
www.savaryislandresort.ca

Karl Nielsen
Dec 27, 2010

Dear Backpacker my name is Karl Nielsen and I'm a working freelance photographer based in the SF Bay Area. I would like to pass on my website so that you can take a look at my work. Please take a second to look at my website: http://www.karlnielsenphotography.com/


If you are interested in using me, I would be more than happy to show you more work. Thanks for your time, I look forward to hearing from you.


knielsen2@gmail.com
If you are interested in using me please take

Josh Taylor
Dec 27, 2010

Hello Backpackers!

I have been a follower from the Middle East for the last four years. This year I started a years worth of traveling with my trusty Nikon D700 digital camera. I have summited Mt. Kilimanjaro, traveled overland in Africa for three months and just completed a trek to Everest Base Camp. I am wondering if there is a way to submit some pics, and maybe make your publication. Thanks for your consideration!

Mike Hiler
Nov 29, 2010

I represent Cave Moon Press in Yakima, WA. We have just released a book of sketches, passages, and poems about Wilderness, hiking, trails, etc. For example, one poem is titled, "Pacific Crest Trail". Our adds state: "You studied your map, you loaded up your backpack and drove to the trailhead, you hiked over two ridges and forded a stream, now it's time to reflect: "Buckskin Larch and Bedrock" (our title).

We think all hikers and backpackers will enjoy this book, it's unique, funny, captivating. Ann Marshall (former editor of Signpost Magazine) reviewed it and said, " The author has the ability to convey the spirit of the Cascade Wilderness. His verses take me to those wind-swept ridges and lonesome valleys on trails of words" This is a beautiful book, available on Amazon.

I will be glad to send your "gear editor" a copy of Buckskin Larch and Bedrock" to review.

Kathryn Kates
Nov 29, 2010

Below is a press release about Tour d’Afrique’s ‘North American Epic’…the first-ever cross-border bike tour from San Francisco to Newfoundland. The President and CEO of Tour d’Afrique, Henry Gold can speak quite poetically about this way to see the world, and we have great pics. In addition to interviewing Mr. Gold, there is a chef who travels with the riders, who could address healthy meals on the go…quite literally. Can’t have our riders too stuffed for the next day on the roads. We also have an expert mechanic who can give tips on preparing your bike for a Tour d’Afrique sojourn, or for any quick bicycle getaway or adventure.

I think this would make a great story for one of your writers. Thank you in advance for your kind consideration.

Regards,
Kathryn Kates
905-849-5639




For Immediate Release


One Bike, Two Countries in Three Months: The Cycling Begins…

Tour d’Afrique’s ‘North American Epic’

Cross-Continent Cycling Adventure May 29 to August 28, 2011



TORONTO, November 29, 2010 – This spring, Tour d’Afrique, the innovative company that introduced the world to multi-country, cross-continental cycling tours, is pleased to announce their first coast-to-coast experience across United States and Canada. The North American Epic begins at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and concludes in St. John’s, Newfoundland at Signal Hill.

Until now, no coast-to-coast North American tour has ever before combined the changing scenery and blending cultures of both the U.S. and Canada in one epic journey.

Tour d’Afrique’s guests will cycle 76 days, averaging 106 km per day. The total journey is 92 days including 15 rest days and one travel day. The five-leg journey includes “The Wild West,” San Francisco to Flagstaff, AZ; “Across the Great Divide,” Flagstaff to Wichita, KS; “The Land of Oz,” Wichita to Chicago; “Urban Pleasures,” Chicago to Quebec City; and “Maritime Charm,” Quebec City to St. John’s. Participants can sign up for all 92 exciting days, or any combination of segments.

The cost for the full tour is $9,950 USD, per person. The journey can also be experienced as five distinct shorter segments with pricing starting at $1,800 USD. If payment of the full tour entry fee is made before December 24, 2010, a discount of $500 USD is offered.

North American Epic 2011 is just one of Tour d’Afrique’s amazing tours. Other sojourns include the "Orient Express," from Paris to Istanbul; "Tour d’Afrique," from Cairo to Cape Town; "Silk Route," from Istanbul to Xian, China; "Spotlight on Turkey," from Ankara to Istanbul; "Sambatango," from Rio de Janeiro to Buenos Aires; “Vuelta Sudamericana," from Buenos Aires to Lima; and the “Indian Adventure," from Agra to the southern tip at Kanyakumari.

Interested riders are asked to contact Tour d’Afrique by phone at: 416-364-8255, by email at info@tourdafrique.com , or visit: http://www.tourdafrique.com/. For North American Epic details; http://www.tourdafrique.com/tours/northamericanepic




-30-



About Tour d’Afrique


Tour d’Afrique Ltd ., named for its 2003 flagship cycling tour that annually traverses 7,500 miles of the African continent from Cairo to Cape Town over four months. Directly and indirectly, Tour d’Afrique benefits third world countries by organizing and staging transcontinental bicycle tours and races lasting 10 days to four months, crossing all or part of five continents and over 30 countries.

Tour d’Afrique creates cycling events that appeal to both amateurs and professionals. Participants range in age from 18 to 75.


The company’s DreamTour; http://www.tourdafrique.com/dreamtours, concept encourages individuals to submit their own trip of a lifetime that will then be open and crowd-sourced to other riders who may want to join in. The Tour d'Afrique Foundation; http://www.tourdafrique.com/foundation, promotes giving back to the communities touched by the tours and raises consciousness about the many benefits of bicycles as a means of sustainable transportation.


For media information, interviews, videos and photos please contact:

Kathryn Kates
Kathryn Kates Public Relations
kathryn@kathrynkatespr.com
905-849-5639

Luke Larson
Nov 22, 2010

I just wrote up a brief account of my thru-hike of the PCT in 2007 and wanted to submit it for consideration in your magazine. I have cut and pasted it below for your consideration. You can contact me at llarson_275@hotmail.com

Luke Larson
A Hikers Perspective

Have you ever thought of walking across the country? Well neither had I, until I separated from the military in 2007 and did exactly that. My brother and I spent just under four months walking all the way from Canada to Mexico via the Pacific Crest Trail. It was a significant undertaking and here is my story.
For years my brother and I had joked around about doing some travel when I separated from the service. We didn’t have a very clear picture of what we would do, perhaps some hitchhiking, and camping here and there. With just two weeks left before stepping off on our journey my brother decided we should hike the Pacific Crest Trail. In a last minute flurry we ordered maps and guidebooks for the famous trail and did some very hasty last minute preparations. With some new gear on our backs we caught our flights to Seattle Washington to begin the journey.
Getting to the start of the trail from Seattle was painless, and before you knew it we were making our way south along the mountainous path. What a journey we had begun! Over the next four months we would hike across three states, over hundreds of mountains, and travel over 2,663 miles by foot. We pressed on through freezing temperatures, blistering heat, driving rain, and white out blizzard conditions. Our feet were blistered, our gear would break, our stomachs often groaned with hunger, and our nerves were frequently fried. Though it wasn’t all gloom. The vistas were breathtaking, the back country was peaceful, and the silent amble along pristine trail encouraged deep reflection and Zen like meditation. The sun smiled on us, the mountains begged us to climb them, and our bodies grew stronger with every mile. Through our efforts we were rewarded everyday with new sights and forward progress on our goals. The miles rolled by and our appreciation for the trail grew with every new experience.
After 3 months and 27 days and walking just over 2,663 miles our great journey came to an end at the Mexican border. I went through 25 pairs of socks, and 5 pairs of shoes throughout the trek. We popped blisters, endured bee stings and insect bites all along the way. What we gained from the experience was amazing though. We gleaned a better understanding of nature, a closer connection to the world around us, and a detachment from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Living on almost nothing with very little in our lives, we experienced richness in the quality of life which couldn’t be matched. This became our home, our path, and our way of life.
I promised myself that summer, that I would make it back out to hike the trail again one day. It has been three years, and I see those opportunities slipping by. How quickly we become constrained with the multitude of complexities around us in this chaotic life. We caught a glimpse of that pure simplicity and honest way of life that year on our journey, and ever since I have longed to return.

Mark Guest
Nov 22, 2010

Mark Guest
5382 E. 81st ST
Tulsa, OK 74137
(214)-886-1600
Mark.h.guest@gmail.com


“Call To the Wild”

Everyone has a place that they can go to feel safe. Whether it’s at home or at school, or maybe even escaping into a good book, people are born with a feeling of needing comfort. I too have that innate calling, except mine is to the wilderness. I define wilderness as the areas of the world untouched by man’s hammer or axe. More and more people are adapting to the commercial environment by building their “safe-havens” indoors; inside new technologically advanced buildings that create comfort spaces like the family room with the 60-inch flat screen or the office down the hallway where the new computer rests. With the new buildings that seem to sprout out of the ground at an alarming rate, a “safe-haven” of a few people is deteriorated so that many can find theirs. But what about those few? They are forced to keep looking for a new place to call their “safe-haven.” They will find their place, but in time the buildings will find them and the people will have to move on once again. But when is it going to be enough?
I am an outdoorsman. I hike. I camp. I fly-fish. I live for the sight of nature so pristine in its origin that when I look at its beauty, a feeling of serenity overcomes me. At that moment I can close my eyes and smell the clarity in the air. There’s no smog, no exhaust fumes, no pavement; just the smell of the dew on the grass and an assortment of wild flowers, each blossoming for the attention of only a few passers-by. I feel, not with my hands or my skin, but with a sense found deep down inside - a feeling found not on the couch in my living room or out of a book, but right here. Right here where no man-made device has ever been. I develop a calm, relaxing sensation that can’t help but put a smile on my face.
Am I also to move on once my safe-haven is gone? Am I to try and replicate this scene I know so well? Or am I to adapt to society, to modernize my beliefs, to turn my back on my call to the wild and try to find refuge on a couch? No, I can’t do any of these things. But I can raise awareness.
When are we, as a society, going to realize that nature isn’t going to last forever? I won’t be around a hundred years from now, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t have an affect on what nature looks like in the future. Is it my place to deny someone a hundred years from now, the feeling and excitement that I cherish now-for nature? So as for this outdoorsman, all I ask is one simple question. How much of nature is going to have to be destroyed for the sake of commercial development?

Courtney Washmuth
Oct 18, 2010

We have a organic dehydrated baby food company called Miles Outside that would fit in perfect with the magizine. Hoping that you guys might be doing a family friendly issue that we might be able to get into to! Please check out our website
www.milesoutsideorganic.com
Enjoy Outside
Courtney Washuth
941) 914-1721

Steven Busch.
Oct 15, 2010

In reference to my comment ( winter camping bwcaw.) my e mail address . siskiwit@gmail.com

Steven Busch
Oct 15, 2010

Just finished reading Basecamp/Disapearing Act.( Sept. Issue 2010). I enjoyed it much. I had never heard speak of (PMAs). An overnight permit is required to camp in the BWCAW between May 1st. and Sept 31st. As you know that means a camper must submitt a request in advance and pay a daily fee. Between Oct 1st. and april 30th a self issuing permit is all that is required and no camping fee! Mugwump lake is no.5 on your pma list. The mugwump lake region is far easier to access in the winter than it is in the open water season. I take a annual last week of Dec. trip to mugwump lake. No bears, bugs, or bogs to deal with! Mugwump lake is as far from an entry point as one can get and during the winter season nobody is going to be there!! Two pairs of bc skis, snowshoes, pulk and winter bag is all that is needed. A pulling dog is a real plus but not a necessity. During the open water season cross country bushwacking is not practical. If you were to go back into any of thoose PMAs during the leafy season and attempt a stroll through the forest, well it aint gonna happen! Winter is a whole other story, everything is accessable! I think your readers would like to know about this camping oppurtunity. I will submitt an article if you think you may be interested.

Julia Tyler
Sep 27, 2010

Hi! I walked 1000 miles on the Appalachian Tail this May-Sept. I kept a blog, and I think some of my hiking stories could be ideally shaped to this magazine. Please let me know if you are interested.
www.juliashike.blogspot.com
(I also have photos not on the blog site that fit the guidelines.)

Skyla Higgins
Sep 25, 2010

Hello,

I am writing you in regards to Camille Ford. She is the host of a show on the Travel Channel called FOOD WARS. She also happens to be a fitness model and outdoor adventure guide. She has back packed all over the united states from Hawaii to the good ole AT and everything in between. I know she would enjoy commenting on the female backpacking scene, places she hikes, and the gear she loves for an upcoming issue.
Let me know if you have any questions or need any pictures/further information.

Truly,
Skyla Higgins
408.843.8842
info@camilleburford.com
http://www.travelchannel.com/TV_Shows/Food_Wars
camilleburford.com

Timothy Swift
Sep 21, 2010

I wanted to comment on the story Killer Hike in the October 2010 issue. It was refreshing to see such an honest and unbiased story regarding hunting. I wa originally a Mountain Biker, that became a Road racer, than Mountain Bike racer, turned hiker, and now backpacker. But in the middle there somewhere I have have dabbled in carrying my gun in the woods. I refrain from using the word hunter so as not to sully the reputation of the people who are much better at doing this activity than me. I came to backpacking through these other activites. I am the Cabela's person(more correctly the Woolrich crowd)turned REI. It is important to realize that we all share the outdoors and it is everyone's job to care for it and conserve. The different groups have many goals that are common and working together they all could achieve great things. Thanks for showing this glimpse of the world to the Backpacking world.

Tim Swift- Cyclist, Backpacker, Hiker, Fisherman, Hunter
Loganton, PA

Norman Hahn
Sep 13, 2010

This guy should be in Backpacker...

http://www.lcni5.com/cgi-bin/c2.cgi?036+article+News+20100907162442036036001

Louis Meskers
Sep 08, 2010

Has anyone used the new shoelaces by wired laces?
wiredlaces.com

sheree surdam
Sep 05, 2010

I have been a subscriber to Backpacker for many years. I just received my October edition and want to say that it ruined my morning to see your offensive article about a hiker turned deer hunter. If I want to see horrendous photos of skinned deer, I'll subscribe to Field and Stream. I am an outdoor person, which means I respect all of nature and the wilderness. I am also a vegetarian and animals lover and hold the opinion that no matter the rationale for hunting, at the end of the day it is still more than questionable why a person would enjoy taking the life of another creature and call it "sport". Backpacker Magazine should be about backpacking and all that it involves; my opinion is that it doesn't involve killing animals, that's no way to leave no trace.

mike
Aug 18, 2010

take it easy on the heavily aromatic recipes in your magazine section on hiking recipes. heavily scented recipes that include garlic and other strong herbs can be a dinner bell for bears. Especially garlic that hangs on the breath, and can fill a tent with odor that is possibly bait for a maurading bear. When I camp out (especially in Grizzly country, I want to give off minimal ordourous evidence of my tent location.

Ileen Ingersoll
Aug 17, 2010

I'm 62 years old and did my "bucket list" item of hiking up to Lady Lake, California on a woman's only survival trip. It was a paid hike with a guide, but I pretty much handled myself. If you might be interested in this type of article, please let me know and I'll send you pics and information. Thanks!

Alex
Aug 16, 2010

Hi,
I am a writer for the Southern Sierran and would be interested in submitting an article for your nature or trail log department. Do you have openings?
Thanks,
Alex

Dan Lawson
Aug 12, 2010

you know....u all should do an article on live music in the back country.Your piece on the Galehead Hut in N.H. had a great shot of the crew playing instruments.They aren't the only ones playing outdoors.Every time i go backpacking we bring at least a harp and guitar with us.The guitar is the martin backpacker.Last July my friend & i were playing music on the Mt. Whitney summit ( see utube and search "...can't breath" Mt. Whitney 7.31.2010 and "Ill fly away-Mt. Whitney" good times.I think it would be a good read.In the Whitney videos there are 2 guitars, the martin backpacker and the DL Lap Steel Guitar for backpacking.Both are great to have when it's time to get "wild".Just a thought. Dan

William Cefalu
Aug 07, 2010

I have reviewed your policy regarding freelance contributions and understand the policy, and feel that I can adhere to the intent. I am 55 years old, and have just completed the trans-Sierra route (west to East, i.e. High Sierra trail) from Sequoia to Mt. Whitney. I did it solo after considering this for many years. Many have stated this is my midlife crisis...I call it "team building - Solo style". I would very much like to write a narrative on the trail, but more importantly, write about the emotion, rationale and need for the trip. I think the readers would find this of great interest given my position as head of a major academic department of a medical school and the fact that the electronic connection that was my life, i.e. email, phone, internet, was a moot point for 8 days! The renewal and rejuvenation I felt is something that has been missing in my life for years.

Please let me know if this would be of interest.

Sincerely,

William Cefalu, M.D.

william.cefalu@pbrc.edu

Scott Johnson
Jul 31, 2010

In response to your Fit to be tied insert in Skills of Sept. 2010 issue.

Your description of the Clove hitch is spot on but the illustration is wrong. If you feel the need the secure or stop a clove hitch you must wrap the anchor post with half hitches which look like a series of additional clove hitches. If you bend the running line back across the standing line, like in your illustration, it loosens the bight resulting in constriction failure. This common mistake continues to sell itself as proper knot mechanics but is false.

I am a former Marine and Master marine captain so I have used the Clove hitch most of my life with no failures. The ones that fail are all back tied like your illustration requiring the two half hitches.

Captain Scott Johnson
Finlander Charters
(finlandercharters@mac.com)

Henry Duchene Jr
Jun 22, 2010

In Oct. 2008, I had emergency heart surgery for a blocked artery. Two weeks later I was back to working out, eleven months later I hiked the Grand Canyon solo. I hiked down from the South Kaibab Rim, to the river water and up Bright Angel Point Rim, 26 plus miles in 9.5 hours. I plan to do it again in Sept. 2010. I am 61 years old. I wrote a short story on my hike. Would you magazine be interested in my story?

Thank you,

Henry Duchene Jr.
HenryDucheneJr@aol.com

Angela Blanchard
Apr 14, 2010

We are two young, fun, fearless, females who have stepped out of our comfort zones and decided to take a trip around the world. Our goal is to better educate Ourselves, and to insprie others to get out of the bubble that the U.S. has Become, and travel. We are with both products of the Economic meltdown that hit the nation, and Detroit hardest of all. We saw it as a wake up call that lif e is full of surprises, and so We've decided to make the Most of our time. We do not have a big budget PS we are determined to do this, by working, volunteering, and living with less.
I am currently in Vietnam, After visiting Australia for three months. Julie joins me in two weeks in Thailand.
Life comes at us only once, and in the end, We have less control than We Think. This is precisely the "Now or Never" mentality behind our trip, and our website: GirlsGoneWandering.com, Which we are using to document our journey.
I URGE you to have a look at the website Yourself. Julie and I will continue delivering no-Holds Barred blogging with a goal of Educating and entertaining our Readers throughout our trip and beyond.
Fully We believe Americans do not travel enough, Mostly Because of our busy work Schedule, and Also due to some misconceptions about our Neighbors Fears and even around the world. I feel Traveling Brings us together, and effectively makes the world seem smaller and friendlier. I know this trip has already inspired me to be a more compassionate person, and to speak up When I feel something is wrong.
Julie and I Believe We can interest your Readers as well. Before Traveling, I worked in broadcast news, and I know, websites and publications are always looking for unique content, rather than information that has already been recycling Featured. We think your Readers Would truly enjoy the story of two local recessionistas, as We make our way around the world, sharing personal stories, successes, failures, tips and travel without a Doubt, The We find Ourselves in laughable situations.
If you are interested in a feature about GirlsGoneWandering, or, if you Would be interested in contributing articles to Cosmo us, please contact us at Angie@GirlsGoneWandering.com, Or Julie@GirlsGoneWandering.com.
Also You may reach Julie at (586) 489-6585 (586) 489-6585.
Julie and I believe in our mission to Inspire global travel on a budget, and WE Believe in Most adopted our motto, that "All who wander are not lost."

Sincerely,
Angela Blanchard
Julie Powell

Carmen Gisondi
Apr 08, 2010

I live in Gloversville, NY and consider the Adirondack Park to be my back yard. This is a description of a trip i took that covered one hundred and twenty miles on the Northville-Lake Placid Trail.

The right equipment can make the difference between a good trip and a great trip. When I attempted to complete the Northville-Lake Placid trail I knew that spending a little extra on the right gear would make all the difference. I went with a friend which helped split up some of the expenses. We walked one hundred and twenty two miles in twelve days. The trip was physically and emotionally demanding. We brought enough supplies to last us between towns where we could resupply. Otherwise we would have been carrying more weight than I care to count. The longest stretch between towns was forty miles. Not that far of a distance but when you include poor weather along with poor trail conditions you end up with a slightly more difficult task. I enjoyed myself thoroughly and can not wait to take this trip again. Now that I have the experience I can make the next trip that much more enjoyable.
I found the most crucial piece of equipment to be my boots. They were constantly in motion and came into contact with every inch of ground covered. They were the bridge between my body and the earth; they supported not only my weight but the weight of my pack. When I was researching boots I had some idea of what I wanted. They had to be waterproof, which was my main factor for choosing a boot. I also wanted something that had good ankle support and the ability to keep support while carrying heavy loads. I chose the Asolo TPS 520 GV. It is a waterproof gore-tex boot that has sides that go well above the ankle. They were designed to handle the heaviest of load while traveling over extremely difficult terrain. The price was a little higher than I wanted to spend ($250 with tax) but they were worth every penny. Time and time again on the trail they went beyond any expectations that I had. But each boot has its pros and cons. My boots did not allow my feet to get wet once, period. Through rain, mud and streams my feet remained dry. I did get one monster blister that did not pop or have really any affect at all on the trip. It got really big, shifted and then hardened up, it was not a factor at all. This came from walking on a road for a couple of miles past Piseco Lake. The break in process was also extreme. I wore my boots for weeks before the trip and it still took fifty miles of hiking to finally seal the deal. Another consideration for me in boot buying was that I have narrow feet. Out of all the boots I tried on they fit the best; that is the most important factor when buying a boot. You can re-waterproof a shoe but you can’t remake it to fit better. Asolo also makes a wide option. Take your time when buying a boot, don’t rush into anything.
I feel the next important piece of equipment is the pack. It’s what everything else is held in. If it does not fit right or is not comfortable to carry then your trip can go from bad to worse in a hurry. After almost two weeks of carrying the same thing over and over your shoulders tend to become a little sore. Bag choice is very important. I went with an external framed pack by Tough Traveler. My uncle let me borrow it due to the fact that I didn’t have a bag big enough for the trip. This bag is monstrous, expanding out to over six thousand cubic inches. He used this bag when he was a surveyor working on the Appalachian Trail in Maine. After thirty plus years of service this bag is still as good as the day it was made. The bag held everything I needed and all the stuff I didn’t need very easily. Everyone should have a large enough bag in their closet to handle a two week plus adventure. I don’t have one in mine yet but hopefully soon. If you can’t afford one just yet then do what I did, borrow one, if you can. When I hike the trail this year I will be using a smaller bag that is packed properly with only the bar essentials. I have a twenty five hundred cubic inch Eastern Mountain Sport Skareb40. It weights two pounds, ten ounces. It also has a hydration bladder hook up which makes carrying water that much easier. It has a roll top, which I don’t know if I am that crazy about but we will have to see. The bag itself is not waterproof but it does come with a rain cover that fits very nicely. The pack has an internal frame and has a maximum load of about twenty five pounds. I am going to try to keep my gear weight way below that mark. Overall it seems to be a very reliable rucksack.
After boots and packs comes the tent. Depending on the time of year you can get away without having a tent. The trail has many lean-to’s scattered along the way. They can become crowded during the summer months so having a tent is really a must have. One night we were unable to make it to the next lean-to and had to pitch camp along the side of the trail. I researched tents more than any other piece of equipment. I had to have something light weight and free standing; a dome tent that could stand alone in any conditions. I found what I was looking for in the Sierra Designs Assailant. It is a just over three pound four season mountaineering tent that is designed for one person and gear, or two people and no gear in an emergency. I am completely satisfied with my purchase. It would have cost over three hundred dollars if I had not found it on the internet for over a hundred dollars off and free shipping. It is the perfect size for a near six footer along with enough gear for two weeks or more of travel. There are lighter tents with cheaper price tags but I wanted something I could use year round and could stand alone. It cost me a little more than I would have liked to spend but I got what I wanted. The tent allowed enough airflow to keep me comfortable during all the conditions I encountered. From frost to sweltering heat I wouldn’t want to have any other tent. For weight reasons the tent can be left behind during certain times of the year. That wouldn’t be a good idea for everyone, only those who are counting and cutting every excess ounce.
Another important factor to a having a good trip is having a good nights sleep. If you are tired and don’t get enough rest how can you expect to get the most out if your body? I like to use a sleeping pad underneath my sleeping bag. I went with the Big Agnes two and a half inch inflatable air mattress. At just over a pound (and a half) it is a little on the heavy side, but the biggest down fall is the amount of time and energy required to inflate it. I would go out and buy a self inflating mattress but I have already spent close to fifty dollars on this so I am going to keep it. I didn’t enjoy having to manually inflate and deflate the mattress every day but I did enjoy the small compressed size while in its stuff sack, which was included.
The sleeping bag I used for the trip was an Eastern Mountain Sport Mountain Light twenty degree bag. It weights only two pounds and it not only water but rip resistant. It is filled with real down instead of synthetic, which would cause longer drying times but I like the lightness of the down. If you have a good enough shelter then your bag won’t become exposed to the elements. Even when the temperature dipped below twenty degrees I was still completely content. The weight of the bag was very important for me, I could have gone with a warmer bag but it would have been heavier and cost more money. I bought my bag when it was on sale and saved twenty five percent. Even with that the bag still cost over two hundred dollars. The only draw back with this bag is it can only be used for three seasons, it is not warm enough for winter camping. When I finally camp in the winter I want to have a bag that I know was meant to be used in that situation. I would recommend this bag to anyone looking for a three season bag that can be packed small, is light weight and can be used from car camping to multi-week trips.
For clothing I packed as light as I possibly could. For synthetic clothing I brought: one pair of pants, that zippered off into shorts, three pairs of boxer briefs, three pairs of socks, one long sleeve shirt, one short sleeve shirt, an undershirt and rain gear. I did bring a few articles of cotton: one short sleeve shirt, one pair of boxers. The items I used for hanging around camp and sleeping in. Most of the clothing I used came from Eastern Mountain Sport, they are close to home and I have been a fan of their equipment for years. The pants were EMS profile-zip off pants. What I really liked about these pants was there ability to shed water. The few times that they did happen to stay wet was only very briefly due to the fact they are quick drying. Plenty of pockets and very easy to turn into shorts and then back into pants. After a year of use I finally ripped a little hole in the seat from sliding down a cave wall. They are very durable pants. Both the long and short sleeve came from EMS and they were both constructed of the same material, polyester. They have a light wicking first layer called techwick, this allows you to stay dry and comfortable in many different situations. They help keep odor down as well. I used both shirts for the entire trip and I couldn’t smell one foul smell. That alone sold me on these shirts. The socks I used were EMS light hiking and mid-weight crew. I found them to be very comfortable and they did not allow my feet to sweat. After a hundred and twenty miles and a year of use I still have and wear those socks. When it came to underwear I found what I was looking for at Wal-Mart. They have boxer briefs there that are fully synthetic, Lifestyles. They wicked away moister and held up to every mile of the trail; another product I still use to this day. They either cost six or eight dollars. I brought three pair with me, but only used two and was still completely comfortable. I also used medicated powder every chance I had. Chaffing was a big concern for me; I knew that could change the tide of the trip. Between the powder and synthetic underwear I had a no problems.
This was the equipment that I used for the trip. I brought what I thought I needed and what I could afford. Every trip has the perfect equipment list and experience is the only thing that will help you decide what you need. When I take this trip again some things will be added and some will be left at home, I will just have to wait until the time of year that I feel is right and try again.

Dave Metz
Apr 03, 2010

2010

Hello,
I wrote a book called Crossing the Gates of Alaska about my epic four-month trek across the Alaska wilderness with my two dogs. It was published by Kensington Publishing and released in February 2010. I undertook this journey in 2007. In 2009 I spent another two months hiking three hundred miles farther in my on-going attempt to traverse all of northern Alaska on foot from the Chukchi Sea to the Canadian border. My route led me across some of the harshest landscape on the planet through a mountainous region called the Brooks Range. There were no roads, no trails, and almost no human presence. I faced months of isolation, bone-freezing temperatures, near starvation, and hours a day struggling over battered ground.
In the spring of 2011 I plan to continue on where I left off to complete my traverse of the entire range across the entire state of Alaska. At over a thousand linear miles, it's a feat that has rarely been done completely on foot, if at all. I'm doing this for a few reason. One is because I find great solace in traipsing across a vast, wild land. Another is the adventure itself. I also want to draw attention to the need to keep immense wilderness in tact. I graciously hope you can write about my book or my adventure in your newspaper.
Sincerely,
Dave Metz 541 929-2571 dcmetz1@yahoo.com
HYPERLINK "http://www.davemetz.webs.com"
HYPERLINK "http://www.kensingtonbooks.com"
HYPERLINK "http://gazettetimes.com/entertainment/article_6af34df0-f60f-11de-b58b-

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