Backpacker Radio 64 | Erik Schlimmer on the Trans-Adirondack Route, Peakbagging in the Northeast, Toponyms, and Being a Professional Bird Catcher

In today’s episode of Backpacker Radio, presented by The Trek, we are joined by Erik Schlimmer.  No one on Earth possesses Erik’s combination of hiking experience and historical knowledge of the Adirondacks.  Erik may very well be the hiker’s edition of Forrest Gump—he’s somehow squeezed five lifetimes worth of events into his four-plus decades on this Earth.  He wows us with his knowledge of this area, including his creation, the Trans-Adirondack Route.  We also learn all about toponyms, including what that word means and get some truly fascinating examples.  Erik also details his time as a coach on the MTV show Made, his experience serving as a paratrooper, and his thriving career as a bird catcher.  Prepare to be filled with entertainment and knowledge.

We also dive into the history of peakbagging in the Northeast, introduce a new segment—Fox News, learn about ultralight vibrators, how to ask an employer for time off to thru-hike, and wrap it up with a listener poop story.  Also, at the top of the show, Badger offers his two cents on the latest with the coronavirus pandemic and how it relates to thru-hikers.

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Interview with Erik Schlimmer

00:00:00 – Erik Schlimmer Intro

00:00:55Gossamer Gear discount code: ATDRINK15 for 15% off

00:02:10Green Belly discount code: trek2020 for 15% off

00:04:08Hikerlink is out!

00:05:30 – QOTD: What is something you are terrible at but wish you could do well? 

00:07:09 – Erik’s CliffsNotes Background.

00:08:20 – How Erik Ended Up on His 2002 Thru-Hike of the Florida Trail (via the 100 tallest Adirondack Peaks)

00:10:45 – Erik’s Educational Background 

00:11:45 – Erik’s Adirondack Expertise

00:13:05 – Erik’s Specialty: Onomastics, Specifically Toponyms

00:14:30 – The Trans-Adirondack Route (Establishment, Completion Rates, Best Seasons, etc.)

00:21:40 – Getting a Handshake Deal so Hikers Can Cross Through Private Land

00:22:30 – What keeps thru-hikers from finishing the Trans-Adirondack route? 

00:24:50 – How long does a Trans-Adirondack hike take? 

00:26:20 – Resupply on the Trans-Adirondack Route

00:31:07 – The Difficulties of the Trans-Adirondack Route (and How it Compares to the Long Trail/The Whites in New Hampshire)

00:32:00 – Sustainable Trail Building

00:38:30 – Becoming a BackCountry Ranger (How do you get into it? Where do you start?)

00:40:40 – Recurring Themes of Rescues by SAR

00:42:34 – Erik Wants To See a Winter Thru-Hike of the Trans-Adirondack Route

00:43:40 – Where To Get Erik’s Book ( Trans-Adirondack Route & His Publishing Company – Beechwood Books)

00:44:28 – What are the concerns of a winter thru of the Trans-Adirondack Route?

00:49:20 – The History of Peak Bagging in the North East Part 1 & Part 2

00:50:49 – What about names that came from Native Americans? 

00:54:20 – Talking about Toponym Work

01:03:26 – Calamity Pond and Naming Repeats

01:05:30 – Catamount Mountain 

01:07:03 – Are there mountain lions in the Northeast? 

01:09:40 – The Northville-Placid Trail

01:12:30 – Wildlife on the Northville-Placid Trail 

01:18:00 – Deer Ticks? 

01:19:44 – Erik’s 2,000 Summits 

01:25:55 – Erik’s First Adirondack Mountain

01:27:53 – How Erik Went From a Master’s in Social Work to Being a Professional Bird Catcher

01:34:00 – Commercial Break: Appalachian Gear Company – Use Code: BACKPACKERRADIO for 10% off

1:35:43 – Erik’s Time in the Military (Earning His Wings, Staying Awake in the Woods for Days on End, and 90 Pound Packs)

01:41:35 – Parachute Landing Falls

01:44:00 – Getting Tangled While Parachuting 

01:48:30 – Why did Erik want a Master’s in Social Work?

01:49:50 – Hiking and Mental Health

01:54:00 – Erik Was an MTV Made Coach

02:08:58 Erik’s Trek Articles, Trans-Adirondack Route, Beechwood Books, Instagram accounts: @us_mountains, @transADK


02:10:00 – Trek Propaganda – The History of Peak Bagging in the North East Part 1 & Part 2, Trail Correspondents Season 3

02:20:44 – FOX NEWS (News About Foxes)

02:23:29 – Mail Bag (Vibrator Suggestions, Taryns That Love Chaunce, Taking Time Off to Thru-Hike) 

02:43:18 – Listener Poop Story

02:46:30 – 5 Star Reviews

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Comments 1

  • Meg : Apr 22nd

    Chaunce, thank you for saying that European settlers in the 1700s weren’t the first people to the Adirondacks. This was a cool episode with lots of good Northeast hiking culture, but much of it felt very Euro centric. I’m really glad you chimed in, Chaunce.


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