Backpacker Radio 80 | Dr. Anne Baker on Post-Trail Depression

In today’s episode of Backpacker Radio presented by The Trek, Badger is joined by Anne Baker.  In addition to being an experienced long-distance backpacker and gear nerd, Anne has a PhD, is a licensed therapist, scientist, and someone who has done a good deal of research on post-trail depression.  Anne breaks down precisely what is happening when someone experiences post-trail depression and offers some tips for how to avoid it or at least lessen its impact. Anne also details what 2020 NOGO thru-hikers went through this year and how their grief was tied to a loss of identity.

We close out the show with a triple crown of trails we have not yet hiked, highlight some standout day hikes in the Salt Lake City area, and give Martin his much deserved 15 seconds of fame.

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00:04:49 – QOTD: What small thing is irrationally annoying to you? 

00:06:45 – Pitch a Podcast!

00:07:00 – Intro to Anne Baker

00:07:40 – Why are you here? 

00:08:15 – Can you tell us about your educational and professional background? 

00:10:19 – Can you talk about the intersection of pain and emotion?

00:11:30 – Can you alter your perception of pain by changing your vocabulary around it? 

00:13:52 – Advice for someone with chronic lyme disease dealing with pain? 

00:16:29 – Will you walk us through the process of getting a PhD.? 

00:20:10 – Will you walk us through your backpacking resume? 

00:24:54 – Thoughts on section hiking? 

00:29:15 – Do you struggle to make a trail family when section hiking? 

00:30:49 – What is your go-to big 5 (for gear)? 

00:34:24 – Anything in the gear pipeline we should be excited about?

00:36:19 – Can you tell us about Post-Trail Depression and walk us through your approach to the project you did on it? 

00:38:15 – Can you talk about the identity aspect of post-trail depression?

00:39:40 – Did you ask how people felt about their lives before the trail?

00:40:00 – What kind of habits can you maintain to keep your trail self alive? 

00:44:43 – Will you walk us through your coined acronym “SPACE”?

00:46:00 – How would someone experience these on trail? 

01:00:08 – So a history of mental health issues didn’t translate to being more likely to suffer from post-trail depression?

01:01:58 – How does a person’s job play into their post-trail depression? 

01:05:26 – Do you have any tips to mitigate post-trail depression? 

01:08:51 – How did the pandemic influence your second article about post-trail depression (specifically how deciding whether or not to hike during the pandemic affected people)?

01:10:57 – Why don’t you like labels of mental illness? 

01:14:19 – What aspects of grief show up a lot for people who did not get to thru-hike?

01:14:48 – What common bargaining tactics showed up?

01:15:51 – Do you have any other major takeaways from your interviews with thru-hikers? 

01:17:43 – Can you talk a little bit about what was happening on social media in regards to whether or not people should thru-hike this year? 

01:20:04 – Have you noticed any difference in the hiking community now vs. when you were interviewing people in March and April? 

01:22:02 – Do you have any advice for someone who is experiencing grief due to not being able to thru-hike? 

01:25:16 – Do you have advice for people who are struggling specifically during COVID, when typical resources are not available to us?

01:27:20 – Do you meditate? 

01:28:17 – Anything else you want to touch on?

01:29:02 – Any backpacking or outdoor adventures coming up? 

01:30:08 – Where should people go to see your stuff? Anne’s articles for the trek can be found here.



Best Day, Weekend, and Long-Distance Hikes in Wyoming and Utah

Triple Crown of Trails We Haven’t Hiked

Mail Bag 

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Comments 4

  • Varun Sharma : Sep 2nd

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  • Brian : Sep 7th

    Wanted to listen to your podcast on a ride home from my cottage with my kids in the car. Had to turn it off because within the first two minutes of the podcast you had already dropped two obscenities including the Fbomb. So disappointing that you can’t hardly listen to anything these days without this kind of offensive language. Can someone bring back some decency in communication. Unfortunate because I really was interested in the topic…


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