Thru-Hiking

March 26, 2020

Hikers, Climbers, Mountain Bikers Reconsider Plans Amid COVID-19

the pacific crest trail leading to a mountain in the distance

Editor’s note: After a great deal of careful consideration, we are temporarily closing our retail stores nationwide. For more information, review the FAQs regarding REI’s recent store closures. Please consult the CDC or your state health department for advice related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including information on symptoms, testing and how to protect yourself and […]

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February 14, 2020

At Home on the Appalachian Trail

Miss Janet poses in front of her van in an aqua shirt

For the past eight years, Janet Hensley has lived in a van from March to November, never straying more than a few minutes from the Appalachian Trail (AT). The 56-year-old trail volunteer spends most days shuttling hikers from trailheads to hostels, doling out trail magic—small but significant acts of service—among the thru-hiking community, tallying 40,000 […]

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January 10, 2020

How to Get Through the Thru-Hiking Off-Season

A woman raises her hiking poles triumphantly above her head

When you’re thru-hiking, your days are consumed by simple tasks.  “All you have to concern yourself with is: What am I going to eat today? Or where should I pitch my tent? Where is my water? And you walk,” says Michelle “SuperClassy” Markel, 47, an experienced thru-hiker who’s tackled the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), Appalachian […]

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October 10, 2019

Hiker Trash: A Love Letter to the Appalachian Trail

An illustration of the Appalachian Trail.

It takes just under six months for most backpackers to complete the world’s longest hiking-only footpath, but you can get a glimpse of the highs and lows of a thru-hiker’s journey without leaving home this fall with the new book, Hiker Trash: Notes, Sketches, and Other Detritus from the Appalachian Trail. Author and artist Sarah […]

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May 30, 2019

Inside the Mind of Heather ‘Anish’ Anderson

Heather Anderson walks with a heavy pack across a bald mountain with stormy skies in the distance

“Well, here goes,” she wrote in the trail register at the southern terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail. She second-guessed her vagueness, and her modesty. “To Canada!” she added, in tiny print, before walking north—alone. Sixty days, 17 hours, and 12 minutes later, on Aug. 7,  2013, Heather “Anish” Anderson would tag the marker at […]

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January 30, 2019

Why Has No One Completed a Winter Thru-Hike of the CDT?

Lone thru hiker walks through snow with bright blue sky in the background.

Postholing through feet of snow in cold rain, wind gusts up to 120 miles per hour winds, cold snaps that would eventually lead to frostbite—and that was just a few weeks of Justin “Trauma” Lichter’s winter thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in 2015. In other words, a winter thru-hike can simply be considered […]

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January 18, 2019

REI Presents: Constant Thought

hiking pct

When the traditional methods of coping with trauma don’t work, what options do you have left? Brandon Kuehn, an Iraq War veteran, believes the best way to face a range of trauma is to reach for literal, physical summits—and he isn’t alone. Outdoor therapy is a growing field that is proving to help people like […]

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November 13, 2018

Community Stories: Akuna Hikes

When Will Robinson returned home to southeast Louisiana after serving four years in the U.S. Army, he came back broken. “Mentally, I was not the same person that I was before I left,” he said. Robinson enlisted at the age of 22, and his time in the Army included one deployment in Iraq in 2003. […]

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August 29, 2018

Karel Sabbe Sets New Fastest Known Time on the Appalachian Trail

Karel Sabbe embraces the northern terminus of the AT.

With Mount Katahdin enveloped in a midday cloud on Aug. 28, Belgian ultrarunner Karel Sabbe summited Baxter Peak to claim the overall Fastest Known Time, or FKT, on the Appalachian Trail. He ticked off all 2,190 miles of the AT in 41 days, 7 hours and 39 minutes, eclipsing by more than four days the […]

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