Outdoor Trekking...

 "Anywhere is within walking distance if you have enough time."

My Story

I began trekking in the 1950s when I discovered the Appalachian Trail just thee miles from my home in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.  In the ninth grade I began hiking on the AT and by high school graduation I had completed the AT in Pennsylvania and most of New Jersey.  The dream of completing all 2200 miles had gripped my imagination.   After getting married I persuaded my bride to join me on my first long trek in 1972.  We completed the Southern thousand miles of the Appalachian Trail—from Georgia to Pennsylvania.

Then the "sober life" took over and I got out of touch with the trekking life except for a few weeks of vacation once a year. I gradually got fat, lazy, and totally out of shape. On one of our family vacations in my 40s we climbed Mt. Washington in New Hampshire and I fell completely apart—barely dragging myself into camp at dark hours after my children had reached the site.  I knew it—for me, "Trekking has ended." I gave up my dreams and deposited my trekking hopes in the safe deposit box of my memories.

Then in 1996, at 51 I reached a turning point in my life and  determined to try trekking once again. I hit the Appalachian Trail again "just to see if it killed me or not." I decided to "spend a month on the trail going north" no matter how far I got—even if I could only lumber 5 miles a day.  On that hike I caught my “Second Wind” and re-entered the trekking life.  As a college professor I have very little time for serious trekking through the school year (though I do teach Backpacking and camping courses). However, in the summer I have been able to rediscover my former life and gradually return to some of the strength of my youth.  My experience is testimony to a "Second Wind Life."   If you’ve lost your trekking dreams because you are out of shape and middle aged—don’t fret—you too can catch that "Second Wind" in life.  Write a note to me and we’ll chat.   

So since that turning point at age 51 in 1996 I’ve been able to get some nice treks finished.  My “Trek Log” so far is below.  (there is also a trail-by-trail listing)  Well, here’s my trek log to date—I’m doing Ok considering I could barely hike ten miles in 1996.

Trekking Log

"We don't stop hiking because we grow old, we grow old because we stop hiking."  -- Finis Mitchell



  • SPRING BREAK‘96: In-line skate the Blue Ride Parkway (until kicked off)
  • SPRING BREAK‘96: Finished up a 20 mile section of Appalachian Trail that I had skipped on the 1972 thousand-mile hike of the Southern half of AT.
  • SUMMER‘96: Appalachian Trail--New Jersey-New York-Connecticut-Massachusetts-Vermont  from High Point NJ to Manchester Vermont. [Hiking friends: Slider, Tumbleweed, Greyhound, Breaking Wind, the Artful Dodger & Ajax.]


  • SPRING BREAK‘97: Grand Canyon--Bright Angel trail to Phantom Ranch & Return.
  • SUMMER‘97: Canoe trek through the Boundary Waters canoe area in Minnesota [Hiking partner: John Drury,]
  • SUMMER‘97: Appalachian Trail --Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine…from Manchester Vermont to Stratton Maine [Hiking friends: David Drury, Babe, IW, Cricket]



·         SPRING BREAK ‘99: Wander Turkey [Traveling companion: Steve Lennox]

·         SUMMER‘99: Canoe the Missouri River end-to-end--from Three Forks Montana to St Louis, è Click here for Amazon.com page for this guide. [Solo trip]

·         CHRISTMAS ‘99:  Canoe the Suwanne River in Florida [Father-Son trip: Dave Drury & John Drury]

·         FALL BREAK‘99: Wander down the Natchez Trace trail [Traveling companion, Sharon Drury]


·          SPRING BREAK’00: Wander Greece again [Traveling companions Steve Lennox, John Drury, Mandy Hontz, Kari Bray, Troy Yeager, Todd Bushong, Heidi Irike, Liz Bushong]

·        SUMMER’00: Backpack the "Sunday Loop" in Canadian Rockies, Jasper, Alberta. [Companion: Sharon Drury]

·         SUMMER’00: Moped the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive (Knoxville to Washington DC—then VIA US 40 back to Indiana) (Repeated in 2002)

·       SUMMER’00: Pacific Crest Trail--Northern California:Lake Tahoe north to Castilla/Mt Shasta (400 miles) [Hiking companions: Merlin, King Richard, Cricket, & Terry]  Upon finishing the N California section of the PCT I wrote these notes to AT hikers comparing it to the PCT

·       CHIRSTMAS’00: Knobstone Trail of Indiana [Companion: Paul Stonehouse} The longest trail in Indiana--but short as trails go--less than 50 miles, but the ultimate kneebuster trail. Sometimes called the "Appalachian Trail of Indiana."


  • SPRING BREAK’01: Wander Turkey again  [Companions: Sharon Drury, Steve Lennox, Mandy Hontz, Karen Eilers, Calvin Johns, March Schmerze, Paul Kind, Dan Symbothy, Sandy Kangas]
  • EASTER’01: Knobstone Trail with Backpacking class [Companions: Paul Kind, John Drury, Mark Schmerse, Jistin Johnson, Josh Kramp et al]
  • SUMMER’01: Wander Scotland & climb Ben Nevis again[Father-Son trip: Dave Drury & John Drury]

·          SUMMER’01: Wander Victoria Island, Canada [Companions: Sharon Drury & Jim & Tommie Barnes]

·          SUMMER’01: Hike the Colorado Trail  [completed Leadville-to Durango --2001] The CT winds 465 miles across the Rocky Mountains over eight sub ranges and five river systems from Denver to Durango. Perhaps the toughest US Trail? I took this hike with students and you can see the complete FAQ with lots of tips and suggestions on hiking in high country here--perhaps the best collection of my outdoor advice, though revised somewhat the following year on the PCT-Muir trail. [Companions: Burt Webb, Sam Bills, Justin Easley, Chris Laws]


  • EASTER’02: Knobstone Trail with backpacking class [Companions Paul Kind, Mark Schmerse et. al.] Read collection of Student Knobstone reflections
  • SUMMER’02:  è best hike ever  40 days of hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail & John Muir Trail -- from the Mojave Desert to Lake Tahoe, 550 miles [Hiking Companions: Paul Kind & Marcelo Santana]   The JMT is a 211 mile section of the Pacific Crest Trail which 90% of all through hikers consider the best section of the entire trail plus then we did another 300+ miles of the Pacific Crest Trail.  We started in the hot Mojave desert and walked through Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Yosemite to Lake Tahoe. Two students accompanied me on this hike where I finally did my first 30 mile day. You might like to read my JMT-Sierras"Morning-After" reflections on this hike.
  • CHRISTMAS’02:  A winter week of hiking on the Arizona Trail with Bob Knupp — a reunion after 40 years ago hiking together on some of Pennsylvania’s Appalachian Trail -- completed 12/19 Notes on the Arizona Trail for Appalachian Trail hikers.


èè è Tentative and scheduled hikes appear in green from here on ç çç


  • SPRING BREAK ’03:  Wander Scotland with Paul Kind, Mark Schmerse, Elizabeth Glass and others—what a great time of touring and fellowship.
  • MAY ’03: Cruise the coast of Alaska [Companions: Sharon Drury & Jim & Tommie Barnes]  What beauty the south East coast of Alaska offers.
  • MAY ’03: {Scheduled--May} Mountaineering in Austria’s Alps near Innsbruck Austria [Father-son trip with Dave Drury & John Drury]
  • JUNE-AUGUST ’03:  Thousand Mile Summer  on the Pacific Crest Trail, beginning in Canada and walking the Cascades through both Washington and Oregon ending at the California line--1001 miles (or if we are really in shape—walking right on to California’s Mt Shasta—1150 miles) [Companions Mark Schmerse & Melissa Rudy]



  • SPRING BREAK:  Somewhere interesting with my wife Sharon and some students.
  • SUMMER’04: {Tentative} Rim to Rim across the Grand Canyon [Companion: Jim Barnes]
  • SUMMER’04 : {Tentative} Finish Up Pacific Crest trail?… If the summer before I get all the way to Mt Shasta (dubious) I’ll only have 555 miles left and may finish the trail this summer… More likely I’ll finish the 150 miles from Castella/I5 to the Oregon line then the following year in May start at the Mexico line and hike north to Mojave—the final 555 miles which will complete my original goal of completing the "Double Crown" hike (two out of the three major trails in the USA) by 2005. 



  • WHAT NEXT??? If a guy completes the Appalachian Trail @ 2200 miles, and Pacific Crest Trail @ 2650 miles… what's next?  Well, maybe… Just maybe, the Continental Divide trail @ 3100 miles?  Hmmmm…. How long would that take… say six years starting in 2005… that would only be 500 miles a year, certainly possible… Hmmmmm…. The triple crown of Backpacking?  Maybe I’ll go for it?   What do you think?



  • CDT and other hikes?


  • CDT and other hikes?


  • CDT and other hikes?


  • CDT and other hikes?


  • CDT and other hikes?




Well if I actually do complete the PCT in 2005, then take the next 6 years to actually  complete the CDT… what shall I do in 2011 and beyond?  I think I’ll start doing things that are less strenuous -- maybe a cross country bike trip, or canoeing the length of the Yukon River, (or better yet, the Mackensie River). Maybe do more backpacking in Europe where they’ve figured out ways to stick "huts" all over the mountains to eat and sleep in, who knows… I’ve collected lots of ideas (see below) but neither you nor I really ever know how many days left we have to live… or serve… or teach… or hike.  All we can do is live, serve, teach and hike this year…this day, day by day… and watch what becomes of our days piled on end—for what is a man’s life but the effect of the sum total of all our days piled end upon end.  May they be pleasing to ourselves and to others when they have ended…. and most of all, pleasing to God.



1.    Pyrenees High Level Route -- July -August some year—maybe next Summer-- Five hundred miles from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea on a glorious route on narrow winding paths with France to the North and Spain to the South with some Alpine huts available but mostly camping out. Two months starting in Late June or July after the snowmelt.

2.    Maroon Bells Circuit (Colorado) 55 miles with five passes at 12,000. Great short follow-up to Colorado Trail.

3.    Wonderland Trail (Washington) 93 miles circumnavigating Mt. Rainier in Washington. http://www.nps.gov/mora/trail/wonder.htm

4.    Canoe the Mackenzie River to the Arctic Ocean -- The most remote trip of all. One of the world's great rivers flowing about 1,100 miles generally NW from Great Slave Lake to finally enter the Arctic Ocean through a vast delta. Here we will follow in the footsteps of Alexander Mackenzie (1789) as we canoe North toward the Arctic Ocean from the Northwest Territories. If not this river, we'll select a similar one. Bring a sweater, it will be cold above the Arctic Circle!

5.    Superior Hiking Trail (Minnesota) 200 miles on the ridge following Lake Superior—said to be one of the three most beautiful trails in the US . http://www.shta.org

6.    The Long Trail (Vermont) Anyone who finishes the Appalachian Trail thinks of coming back to :"finish" the Liong trail. Someday I will. 270 miles the length of Vermont--the bottom portion concurrent with the Appalachian Trail.

7.    Olympic Coast Trail (Washington) 60 miles along virgin coastline, much over sandy beaches. 

8.     Bartram Trail  (N.C.-Georgia) A 117 mile long lonely trail.

9.    Ouachita Trail (OK-AR border) 119 miles where few others hike. 

10.                       Wind River Mountains (Wyoming) 93 miles on the Continental divide from Green River to Sweet water gap. Access: Jackson Hole WY.

11.                       Great Divide (BC-Alberta) A difficult 106 miles from Watridge Creek to Cataract Branch-- astonishing views. Access Calgary, AL. A reconnoiter trip has been done—now to take the actual hike.

12.                       West Coast Trail (Vancouver Is) 53 miles--Pachena Bay to Gordon River on the outer coast of Vancouver Island. Hard trail-- reconnoiter trip has been done—now to take the actual hike.

13.                       The Inca Trail, Peru -- Christmas Break some year A dramatic route from Cuzco across the Andes and Inca ruins seen only by hikers, through a tunnel to Machu Piccu plus other Andes hiking. 2-3 weeks, Christmas break

14.                       Canoe the Yukon River to the ocean -- May-June Starting in Canada, canoe the entire length of the Yukon to the Ocean -- not as dangerous or remote as the Mackenzie, but still fun.

15.                       "Annapurna Circuit" & "Great Traverse" in Nepal and India -- Jul-Aug Starting with an easier and more heavily traveled backpacking trail cover the "Annapurna Circuit" in Nepal with "Tea Houses" and lodges sprinkled along the route though a tent or bivy is preferable of course. Crossing 17,000 foot passes among dramatic peaks of 26,000' including Dhaulaquri and Annapurna. Then to India for the "Great Traverse" -- a remote and very difficult traverse over nine high passes, fording roaring rivers, wandering through remote villages where a Westerner is seldom seen.

16.                       The Kungsleden -- Lapland Sweden -- July-August A North-South 250 mile trail all North of the Arctic circle in the largest unspoiled wilderness in Western Europe with powerful rivers, snow covered mountains, thundering waterfalls, and dense pine and birch forests through to tundra. The Klungsleden, or "Kings way" winds through four National parks and there are some lodges available but the test sites are so glorious I'll be camping out most of the time. 3-4 weeks, Summer


Trail-by-trail listing of Keith Drury’s reflections and advice.

·        Appalachian Trail –Reflection on finishing 2200 miles   

·        Appalachian Trail-- Advice on Backpacking the AT

·        Wandering Greece in the footsteps of St. Paul

·        Canoe Trek end-to-end down the Missouri River

·        Canoe trip on the Suwanne River

·        Pacific Crest Trail-- Notes to AT hikers  

·        Knobstone Trail of Indiana—Winter hike

·        Colorado Trail FAQ—the best collection of my outdoor advice

·        BEST HIKE EVER—John Muir Trail & PCT… my "Morning-After" reflections


General Helpful Outdoor Links


·  Appalachian Trail Conference—the granddaddy of all long distance trails

·  Appalachian Long Distance Hiker's Association (ALDHA)

·  Appalachian Trail—the unofficial AT Home Page

·  Appalachian Trail -- WhiteBlaze.Net
·  Arizona Trail – see also my own notes on this Trail

·  Bartram Trail

·  Benton Mac Kaye Trail

·  Chattooga River Trail

·  Colorado Trail

·  Continental Divide Trail Society

·  Continental Divide Trail Alliance
·  American Discovery Trail

·  Cumberland Trail

·  Florida Trail

·  Foothills Trail

·  Ice Age Trail

·  International Appalachian Trail (IAT—the extension of the AT north into Canada)

·  John Muir Trail

·  Long Trail

·  North Country Trail

·  Olympic Coast Trail

·  Ouachita Trail

·  Pacific Crest Trail Association

·  PCT Trip Planner

·  Pacific Northwest Trail

·  Superior Hiking Trail

·  Tahoe Rim Trail

·  Tuscarora Trail

·  Wonderland Trail


·  Adidas
·  PUR Water Filters

·  Cabela's

·  Camp Trails

·  Campmor

·  Cascade Designs

·  Climb High
·  Sierra Designs

·  Coleman

·  Dana Designs

·  Danner Boots

·  Feathered Friends

·  Gearfinder (At Backpacker.com)
·  Photon Lights

·  Kelty

·  LL Bean

·  Marmot

·  Mountain Safety Research (MSR)

·  Nike

·  Northern Mountain Supply


·  AT-L (Appalachian Trail E-Mail List)

·  PCT-L (Pacific Crest Trail E-Mail List)

·  CDT-L (Continental Divide Trail E-Mail List)

·  CDT Forum

·  PCT Forum
·  AT TrailChat - A Celebration Of Hiking & The Outdoor World


·  Alpine Zone

·  American Hiking Society

·  AT Thru-Hike Calculator

·  AT Trail Maintaining Clubs

·  Backpacker Magazine

·  Backpackers Extreme - Appalachian Trail Trip Guide

·  Free Download - AT Thru-Hiker's Companion Book

·  Great Outdoor Recreation Pages (GORP)

·  Hikenet

·  Hiker-Trash On-Line

·  Liteweight Backpacker

·  The Walking Connection

·  Trail Journals

·  Trails.com


To contact Keith Drury, to talk about trekking, or to ask a question, write to him at one of these addresses:

kdrury@indwes.edu             SecondWind@keithdrury.com