Katie “Oats” Houston on the Appalachian High Route, Lone Star Trail, and Breaking Out in the Outdoor Industry (BPR #258)

In today’s episode of Backpacker Radio presented by The Trek, brought to you by Sawyer Products, we are joined by Katie “Oats” Houston. Oats is a solo thru-hiker, who’s completed the AT, Colorado Trail, Lone Star Trail, and most importantly for today’s recording, the 330-mile Appalachian High Route. We dive deep into the Appalachian High Route’s details, including the standout sections, resupply strategy, the best months to hike it, standout stops in Asheville (where Katie is from), and much more. Katie also shares some tips for breaking out as a freelancer in the outdoor industry, which is especially relevant, as she is also a contributor for The Trek and formerly the head of our social media.

We wrap the show by teasing our next live podcast- hint, it’s not in Denver, Badger has a hilarious and misfortunate wild animal encounter at my house, the triple crown of conversations you don’t get to on trail, and a listener voicemail / tick PSA.

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Interview with Katie “Oats” Houston

Time stamps & Questions

00:03:57 – Reminders: We’re coming to Austin, TX! Support us on Patreon and check out our Backpacker Radio hats in the Trek’s store!

00:08:30 – Introducing Oats

00:09:05 – How did you get into the outdoors and the Trek?

00:10:04 – How did you get your trail name?

00:13:22 – Why did you decide to hike the AT?

00:16:32 – Were you the first person to do the Appalachian High Route?

00:19:06 – Can you give us an overview of the Appalachian High Route?

00:25:22 – What’s the route like elevation-wise?

00:28:20 – What are the towns and resupplies like?

00:30:50 – What do you know about the geology of the southern Appalachians?

00:36:01 – What are the highlights of Asheville?

00:40:00 – Could a first time hiker do the Appalachian High Route?

00:41:45 – What did you use for navigation?

00:43:50 – How did you pick to go clockwise?

00:45:46 – Tell us about the hiking you did in Texas

00:46:51 – Do you have tips about thinking through things while thru-hiking?

00:50:00 – Give us your rating and elevator pitch for the Lone Star Trail

00:55:26 – Discussion about the aggressive dogs on the Lone Star Trail

00:57:00 – Discussion about Big Bend National Park

00:59:05 – What are your tips for breaking into the outdoor industry?

01:04:28 – What are different ways to find outdoor industry jobs?

01:06:40 – Walk us through a typical week at Sawyer

01:08:08 – What are your tips for pricing your skills?

01:13:00 – How much freelance work do you do now?

01:14:55 – Give us Sawyer’s background

01:20:57 – Where can people keep up with you?


Trek Propaganda: Why I Always Carry a Bear Canister When Thru-Hiking by Moose Juice

QOTD: How long would you watch a loading screen before aborting all the info you entered/work you did/progress you made to start over?

Scary Thing of the Week

Pooping in the Woods Update

Triple Crown of conversations you don’t get into on trail

Listener Voicemail

Mail Bag

5 Star Review

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