Backpacker Radio Episode 25: Bethany “Fidgit” Hughes on Trekking the Length of the Americas

A life changing adventure is merely a decision away. That’s the takeaway lesson from today’s interview with Bethany Hughes, who just a few years ago, was running the books at her local H&R Block and miserable for it. Fast forward to December 2018—she just completed trekking the length of South America—just the first piece of her goal of traveling the length of the Americas by non-motorized means. We learn all about this adventure and all the the incredible stories and lessons that come with it.  We also get into some Trek Propaganda featuring the top footwear amongst 2018 Appalachian Trail thru-hikers, the triple crown of under-appreciated gear items, and a fan enlightens us about Norwegians preferred alcohol.

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Subjects discussed in today’s show include:

  • Gossamer Gear Anniversary Video
  • Sawyer Micro Squeeze vs. Sawyer Squeeze
  • Wayfinder
  • Her Odyssey Website
  • Missions statement: “Traversing the length of the Americas by non motorized means, connecting stories of the land and its inhabitants.”
  • Beagle channel
  • Tierra del Fuego 300km practice
  • Greater Patagonia Trail
  • Qhapaq Ñan – ancient Incan road system – took this all the way up to panama
  • Current task: figure out how to safely cross Central America
  • Fidgit to hike the CDT through USA and Neon bikepacks Great Divide Trail
  • Possibly paddling McKenzie river up to Alaska then following the pipelines to the northern most point
  • How she got this idea – back to Kansas City working at HR Block and had moment reading where it came to her – grew up and was raised in the mountains of South America, spent time in North America running sled dogs in Alaska
  • Stories that have stood out to her
    • Man with bread on horse at Christmas
    • Family giving them coffee and took off their socks to dry in Patagonia
  • Long distance journeys and having / letting go of plans
  • Being a white woman in South America and the privilege that comes with it
  • Advice: Trust your instincts and listening to your gut
  • Scary stories and their “rules” to not look vulnerable
  • Reasoning to bike Mexico
  • Highlights thus far
    • Ratio trail to road to route finding
    • Stealth camping
    • Coca leaves leaves in Columbia
  • Dealing with concerned family members
  • Financials and funding
  • Big 3:
    • Hyperlite Southwest Pack
    • Hyperlite shelter (prototype)
    • Feathered Friends crossover sleeping bag quilt
  • Prior backpacking experience
    • South America growing up with her dad taking her into mountains
    • Guided for Boy Scouts
    • PCT
  • How the outdoors helped her mental health and replaced medications
  • How she got her trail name

Trek Propaganda: The Top Footwear on the Appalachian Trail

Mt Rushmore of under-appreciated gear items

new hats the trek

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