Backpacker Radio #164 | Danae and Olen Netteburg on Thru-Hiking with 5 Kids and Working as Doctors in Rural Africa

In today’s episode of Backpacker Radio presented by The Trek, we are joined by The Netteburg family. Danae and Olen Netteburg, alongside their 5 children- ages ranging from 13 to 1, are currently thru-hiking the CDT. This is their second thru-hike in three years, after the family completed the Appalachian Trail in 2020. The Netteburg’s story is one of a kind- both Danae and Olen are missionary doctors who run a 100-bed hospital in rural Chad. We go in-depth learning about how a family of seven manages on a trail as challenging as the CDT, their standout highs and lows from the AT, what life is like back in their home of Chad and the challenges of their work, and much more. The kiddos were also in and out of the studio for this one, so be prepared for the fun chaos that will ensue.

We wrap the show with a triple crown of things you put on a cracker, a fan follow up to Kathryn Miles’ episode which paints a different picture of one of the suspects, and we opine on the movies most deserving of a sequel.

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Interview with Danae and Olen Netteburg

Time stamps & Questions

00:05:10 – QOTD: What movie do you most wish had a sequel?

00:07:15 – Introducing the Netteburgs

00:08:15 – How did you end up on trail as a family?

00:10:15 – Tell us about being doctors in Chad!

00:13:08 – Can you compare practicing medicine in the US versus abroad?

00:15:20 – Can anything stress you out while thru-hiking?

00:18:12 – Tell us some crazy doctor stories.

00:21:01 – What are the kid’s thoughts on the biggest differences between Chad and America?

00:22:10 – Hippo facts!

00:25:56 – What other scary animals do you deal with in Chad?

00:27:15 – What precautions do you take for mosquitos?

00:30:16 – What drives you to continue being doctors in Chad?

00:32:24 – How did you decide to hike the AT in 2020?

00:36:15 – Kids: what was your initial impression of the AT?

00:39:20 – Tell us about the timeline for starting the AT?

00:43:15 – Did you ever consider stopping the hike?

00:47:50 – What does a 6 person resupply/meal strategy look like?

00:49:15 – Are all the kids hiking themselves?

00:51:30 – What are some parenting hacks to keep the kids happy while hiking?

00:54:42 – Is it a welcome distraction or additional burden to keep the kids happy?

00:55:35 – How do you handle it when they’re grumpy?

00:57:44 – What are each of their hiking personas?

01:00:15 – At what age do they stay reliably on trail?

01:00:50 – What’s the extent of the gear that the kids carry?

01:03:35 – What packs do you use?

01:05:12 – Roughly speaking, what’s your typical pace?

01:08:33 – Discussion about feeding the kids

01:11:10 – What are the other person’s most and least endearing hiking traits?

01:15:02 – Did you get a lot of criticism in 2020?

01:15:49 – How would you compare the challenge of the AT and the CDT?

01:17:29 – Discussion about potty training and hiking with a baby

01:20:31 – How do you manage sleep deprivation?

01:21:41 – How do you manage to stay happy partners?

01:23:19 – Tell us about managing the monsoons and lightning on the CDT.

01:27:40 – Discussion about using umbrellas

01:28:50 – Tell us about your spreadsheets!

01:34:51 – If you could go back to day 0 on the AT, what advice would you give yourself?

01:36:29 – How do the kids adjust when you return to your busy work schedules?

01:38:27 – How much would you say thru-hiking is for you two, the kids, or the family?

01:39:17 – Do you think the kids have the thru-hiking itch now?

01:40:45 – Where can people keep up with you?


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