Backpacker Radio #134 | Rolf Gunnar Asphaug

In today’s episode of Backpacker Radio presented by The Trek, we are joined by Rolf Gunnar Asphaug.  Rolf’s adventuring career started in 1987 when he quit his cushy job as a lawyer, and set off to backpack from Tuscon, Arizona to Portland, Oregon on a route he devised using a Rand McNally road atlas.  We of course go deep into this epic journey- we also learn all about the Colorado Mountain Club, for which Rolf used to serve as the organization’s president, his time volunteering for Jefferson Country Open Space and a number of Colorado state parks, and we touch on Rolf’s Colorado Trail thru-hike last year at the age of 62.   

We wrap the show with a triple crown of pizza toppings, and we introduce a pair of new segments- what’s in a trail name, and listener voicemails!

But first. 

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Interview with Rolf 

Time stamps & Questions

00:04:06 – QOTD: What’s the most uncommon/odd meal you’ve had on trail? 

00:07:24 – Reminders: BPR Sponsorship & Internship Opportunity 

00:10:58 – Welcome Rolf! 

00:11:29 – What was your career prior to getting into backpacking? 

00:15:40 – The start of Rolf’s cross country adventure 

00:16:11 – Did you save up for this trip?

00:19:40 – Did you avoid the interstates? 

00:20:15 – What was hitchhiking like in 1987? 

00:22:10 – Was Zion covered in the Atlas? 

00:23:33 – Raisins 

00:24:10 – How did you navigate through Zion National Park?

00:24:45 – Post-Zion Events 

00:26:22 – Did you ever stay in hotels/motels? 

00:27:25 – How did people react when you told them what you were doing? 

00:28:09 – Passing through Yosemite 

00:29:44: – How do you coordinate meeting up with people on this trip? Pay phones?

00:30:40 – Did you have a specific time frame?

00:31:17 – Did you have awareness of the PCT at that time? 

00:32:00 – Which way did you go up Mt. Whitney?

00:32:26 – Did you have the entire route written up? 

00:33:11 – Were permits needed yet? 

00:33:43 – Did Half Dome have cables then? 

00:36:24 – Do you remember your route through San Francisco? 

00:38:22 – Did you hike in boots? 

00:38:54 – Long Peak Trail Runners

00:40:06 – Was this life changing for you? 

00:40:36 – Did you think you were going back to being a lawyer after this?

00:42:18 – Journaling a thru-hike 

00:43:17 – How did you path shift after this hike? 

00:46:55 – Colorado Outward Bound 

00:53:03 – Rolf’s Trophies 

00:53:45 – Rolf getting creative in court 

00:57:34 – How do you think Denver is doing with mass transit? 

01:00:35 – Rolf’s volunteering experience 

01:01:48 – How did you meet your wife? 

01:06:04 – Tell us about the Colorado Mountain Club 

01:08:11 – What did you do as President? 

01:10:12 – What other classes does the CMC offer? 

01:11:45 – What does the membership go for? 

01:12:56 – How long were you President for CMC? 

01:15:26 – Volunteering for Jefferson County, CO 

01:18:15 – What is bark patrol? 

01:21:54 – How much trash do you pick up on average? 

01:22:31 – Cleanliness of CO parks 

01:25:34 – How many people are employees vs. volunteers? 

01:27:05 – Do you know what parks have foxtails? 

01:28:02 – In which park are you most likely to see mountain lions? 

01:32:00 – Tell us about your Colorado Trail experience 

01:38:18 – Durston Gear 

01:40:22 – Chaunce hiking with Harper

01:42:24 – Leo Fact from Zach

01:43:24 – What was your sobering experience at Cascade Creek?

01:49:20 – Thank you, Rolf!

01:50:58 – Find Rolf on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube


Trek Propaganda 

Triple Crown of Pizza Toppings 

What’s in a Trail Name?

BPR Voicemails 

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