Backpacker Radio episode #230

Backpacker Radio Interview

After my Calendar Year “Half” Triple Crown hike of the Appalachian Trail and Continental Divide Trail, I got interviewed by Backpacker Radio episode #230!
We talked a lot about my death-defying caving adventures and even a little bit about backpacking—it is a backpacking podcast after all. 😉

Bennett Lee at the summit of Mount Katahdin.

Summiting Katahdin!

I finally summited Mount Katahdin on June 27, 2023, and completed my thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. I was thru-hiker #5 signing up at Amicalola Falls State Park and #31 at Baxter State Park.

It’s been an amazing journey. I hope you all who have followed me are inspired to have your own amazing journeys. Live your life to its fullest!

Mahoosuc Notch sign.

Mahoosuc Notch: The Most Fun on the Entire Appalachian Trail

I crossed into Maine. Last state! Finished with White Mountains, then through the most fun section of the Appalachian Trail: Mahoosuc Notch. It was a blast! Like caving above ground.

Also, I did something I’ve never done before on this trip… I planned a schedule. Crazy! My projected date to summit Mount Katahdin is June 27, 2023.

Tread coming off. Leather splitting from sole.

New Shoes

I finally had to replace my shoes. Most shoes only last 500 miles on the AT. I got 1,500 miles. Unfortunately, due to pinch blisters, I need a very specific shoe.

Katahdin 500 Miles

Less Than 500 Miles to Katahdin

Less than 500 miles to Mount Katahdin. Just crossed into New Hampshire. 12 states down, just 2 more to complete the Appalachian Trail. Unfortunately, the Whites in New Hampshire are probably the toughest section.

Aluminum extension ladder on the Appalachian Trail.

Trail Ladder?

Why did a trail designer decide that the best route for hikers carrying a 40-pound backpack is to go up/down this rock using a 24-foot aluminum extension ladder?

Bennett Lee at the Vermont border along the Appalachian Trail.

Hello, Vermont!

Did I recently say 4 states left? Bye bye, Massachusetts. Hello, Vermont! Only 3 states left now to finish the Appalachian Trail.

700 miles from Mt. Katahdin.

10 States Down, 4 to Go

10 states down, 4 more to go. I’m at just over 600 miles remaining to finish hiking the Appalachian Trail.

1200 mile mark (NoBo) on the Appalachian Trail.

Weight Loss on the Appalachian Trail

Some people lose weight while hiking the Appalachian Trail. Some people stay the same weight. Some people even gain weight. I lost 18 pounds (8.2 kg) and 2 inches (5 cm) on my waist during just the first month hiking the Appalachian Trail. Here is how I managed to stop losing weight and even gain a little back while hiking 20+ miles per day.

Bennett Lee at the halfway marker for the Appalachian Trail.

COVID-19 on the Appalachian Trail

Turns out my stopped up nose mentioned in my last Appalachian Trail post was actually COVID-19. First time getting it. And despite having COVID, I was still hiking 20+ miles per day.

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Oscar Berrones watches while Pam Campbell ascends Devil's Sinkhole.

Missing Bats at Devil’s Sinkhole

The bats at Devil’s Sinkhole in Texas were mysteriously missing. Three intrepid cavers rappelled into the football-field-sized cavern to learn why.

Woot Cavern

Woot Cavern

Huge virgin cave found north of Hondo, Texas. Huge room! Massive formations! Even water passage with a cave-adapted salamander and connection to aquifer.

Ascending Multi-System

Ascending Multi-System

Use the Ascending Multi-System to easily switch among all major ascending systems: Frog, Rope Walker, Mitchell, and Texas. Includes comparison charts, step-by-step building instructions, emergency repair, and printable field guide.