Backpacker Radio 111 | Second Chance Hiker

In today’s episode of Backpacker Radio, presented by The Trek, we are joined by Second Chance Hiker. In 2018, Cory McDonald, aka Second Chance, was bored, depressed, and north of 400 pounds. After his doctor told him that he was headed for a heart attack if he didn’t make some serious changes, Second Chance uprooted his life, and committed to hiking the PCT with the goal of losing 200 lb in the process. We learn all about the highs and lows Cory confronted during his trek, including how he got a girlfriend, and why he ultimately got off trail in very dramatic fashion. Second Chance shares what he’s been up to since the PCT, including treks in Croatia and through the crocodile filled swamps of Florida. A very important warning to listeners, this episode does touch on some sensitive subject matter, especially conversations of panic attacks and suicide. If this may be triggering for you, we encourage you to skip to the end of the interview after Cory talks about his Florida Trail hike.

We wrap the show with a triple crown of things we’re terrible at, some history of why the Appalachian Trail doesn’t have switchbacks, and a follow up on James Jordan’s trial verdict.

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Interview with Second Chance Hiker


00:04:00 – QOTD: Do dogs like flavored or regular meat better?

00:09:42 – On October 14 we will be in Delafield 

00:10:08 – BPR is now on Tik Tok!

00:11:04 – Hello Second Chance HIker! 

00:11:30 – Where did you travel from to be here? 

00:12:00 – Where does your story begin?

00:12:37 – How old were you at the time? 

00:13:45 – When the doctor told you all that, how did you feel? 

00:16:20 – What made you decide to start taking videos of your hike? 

00:17:10 – So you said at your biggest you were over 400 pounds?

00:17:33 – Were you nervous? 

00:19:49 – Can you walk us through the first day or week of the PCT? 

00:22:34 – How did you feel going forward from that? Were you doubting yourself at all? 

00:24:42 – Was it difficult to maintain your positivity when you were on trail going through so much?

00:25:42 – Did you get a lot of feedback that you inspired people? 

00:27:38 – How did other hikers respond to you on trail? 

00:32:17 – Is it weird adjusting to being the popular kid on the trail? 

00:33:49 – Do you have any other vlogging tips for people? 

00:35:00 – What was the process like when you were actually on trail? 

00:36:30 – Isn’t it awful that the negative comments are the one you hear the most?

00:37:29 – Did you have any sort of pain management tools? 

00:38:24 – Did you ever see an animal when you were camping on the trail at night? 

00:39:11 – How much gear research did you originally do and how light was your pack? 

00:40:41 – What was your process like looking for gear? 

00:41:40 – What backpack do you use now? 

00:42:17 – Have you had a chance to test any gear made for plus size hikers? 

00:43:49 – What were you using for shoes? 

00:45:45 – We heard you found love on the PCT, can you talk about that? 

00:55:43 – How long did you hike together on trail? 

01:02:25 – What was the formal diagnosis of the back injury? 

01:03:36 – Where is Little Bee at this point? 

01:06:06 – Was everyone supportive when you posted about having to call SAR?
01:07:06 – So what happens next?

01:09:00 – What happened when the pandemic hit?

01:12:10 – How old are your kids?

01:13:40 – Do you have any sheep facts? 

01:17:11 – What happens with the relationship? 

01:22:07 – Can you step out of the water at all? 

01:22:33 – Is the trail dangerous because of the alligators?

01:27:18 – Why do you think you were happier on the Florida Trail? 

01:28:00 – CONTENT WARNING STARTS HERE: Discussion of panic/anxiety attacks, suicide 

01:28:40 – Did you do the whole Florida Trail? 

01:38:05 – Can you walk though what the call goes like when you call the suicide hotline? 

01:40:58 – Did they ask for your name, etc.?

01:42:32 – Can you talk about the importance of therapy in your life? 


01:44:22 – Speaking of your recent adventures, can you tell us about your long float?

01:46:50 – Why were you swimming with sandals on? 

01:49:26 – So did you do 7 miles in 2 days? 

01:49:43 – Did you get pruny?

01:51:26 – Where should people find you? 


Trek Propaganda

19 Must-Have Gear Items According to 2021 Thru-Hikers by Kelly Floro

Triple Crown of Things You’re Terrible At 

Gross or Not Gross

Mile By Mile Pod

Mail Bag

5 Star Review 

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Comments 3

  • Ethan : Jul 13th

    Backpacker Radio Team,
    I was really moved by your segment with Second Chance. My family has experienced the absolute horrors of mental illness with depression, anxiety and suicidal ideations, attempts, and unfortunately a completed suicide. I applaud Second Chance for the courage to discuss his challenges and you for proving the forum. Cory’s descriptions of his panic attacks and what he was thinking during the attacks helps me gain a better understanding of what my family continues to go through.

  • OiVay : Jul 19th

    How many times can a guy casually remind everyone how easy it’ll be for him to just go buy another house


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