David “Moondog” Roop on Thru-Skating the Florida Trail and Natchez Trace Trail (#238)

In today’s episode of Backpacker Radio presented by The Trek, we are joined by David “Moondog” Roop. Moondog, alongside his buddy, has done the Natchez Trace Trail, Florida Trail, and 500 miles through New Mexico, not on foot, but instead on skateboard which he refers to as a thru-skate. We learn all about what goes into such a unique adventure, including how his gear differs relative to traditional backpacking, what terrain is skateboardable and what isn’t, how sore his push muscles get over the course of a full day of skateboarding, and more.

We wrap the show with the first edition of the 2023 AT thru-hiker survey results, the weirdest things we’ve brought home after a night out, and our triple crown of campaign promises.

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Interview with David “Moondog” Roop

Time stamps & Questions

00:03:01 – Reminders: Subscribe to the Trek’s newsletter to hear when the Tyvek wall is available, subscribe to us on YouTube, and apply to be a 2024 blogger!

00:05:35 – Introducing Moondog

00:06:00 – Tell us about Madrid, NM

00:09:21 – How did you get your trail name?

00:11:18 – How does thru-skating work?

00:16:00 – How many miles can you normally skate in a day?

00:16:44 – What was your backpacking experience prior to starting skateboarding?

00:17:50 – What muscles get sore after a full day of skateboarding?

00:19:06 – Do you factor in the weight of the board?

00:21:00 – How hard was the learning curve?

00:22:06 – How much of the trail do you need to skate to consider it a thru-skate?

00:24:38 – Tell us some wipeout stories

00:27:08 – Do wipeouts make you consider more what you wear?

00:29:20 – Compare and contrast the Florida Trail and the Natchez Trace

00:32:00 – Discussion about skating effort and strategy

00:34:03 – How was your experience doing a full trail end to end?

00:36:00 – Discussion about wildlife on the Florida Trail

00:37:05 – Do you ever have gear malfunctions with the skateboard?

00:38:23 – Discussion about ultra skating

00:40:10 – Are there any interesting things skaters do that hikers don’t?

00:42:13 – Tell us about your New Mexico thru-skate

00:45:12 – What portion was hiking versus skating?

00:46:50 – What’s a standout moment you’ve had while thru-skating?

00:49:30 – How did you land on the Natchez Trace Trail?

00:51:12 – What’s the best time of year to do it?

00:52:22 – Have you considered using a mountain board to do something more rugged?

00:53:20 – How do you protect your board?

00:55:00 – How would you design your dream board?

00:55:45 – What did you do in Puerto Rico?

00:57:26 – What thru-skates are on your bucket list?


Trek Propaganda: The 2023 Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker Survey: General Information Part 1 by Kate Richard

QOTD: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve brought home on a night out?

Triple Crown of our presidential campaign promises

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Comments 1

  • Clay Bonnyman Evans : Jan 30th

    What a blast to hear you two engaging with Moondog!

    Moondog and Roadrunner became an inadvertent part of my CDT hike in 2022 when Greyhound inexplicably canceled my bus to Lordsburg, and said the next available bus was three days hence. That would have caused me to miss my border shuttle.

    So right there in the bus station, I met Denver (as well as other hikers, doing other things) and we began trying to come up with a plan, since his shuttle was the same day as mine. We met Moondog and Roadrunner, who were finished with their New Mexico adventure and were going to rent a car to get back to Roadrunner’s vehicle in El Paso. In a flurry of texts and calls, Moondog, who was going back to Madrid anyway, agreed to drive us from El Paso to Lordsburg.

    That drive was a total gas. Hilarious from start to finish. Moondog and Roadrunner took detours on the way to El Paso, including stopping at a grocery store to see who would “win” the attention of an attractive checker they’d met on their skate (she wasn’t working that day).

    Later, amazingly, I was in Salida and saw Moondog walking up the street, and we chatted.

    He is, to my eye, one of the most genuine, chill, forthright people I’ve ever met, an open book. It showed on the episode.

    I’m psyched you got to interview him.



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