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Backpacker Radio

Jun 23, 2021

In today's episode of Backpacker Radio presented by The Trek, we are joined by Alison Young.  Alison has a world-class radio voice, is a super accomplished backpacker, with a long list of thru-hikes, a former professional flutist and classic music aficionado, and the host and producer of The Trek's newest podcast, Walking Distance.  We get a crash course in all things classical music, including how Lizzo ranks alongside some of the historical greats, we talk in depth about Alison's many treks, especially her international hikes (prepare to expand your bucket list), we talk about what it's like to do long distance backpacking trips into your 50s and how she manages with two fake hips, and much more.  This is a fun conversation that hits on some really unique subject matter, we think you'll really enjoy it.

We wrap the show with the most bizarre triple crown we've ever done- I'll leave it at that, we have another gross / not gross, and we learn why redheads experience less pain, spoiler alert, it's not due to their lacking a soul.

Good To-Go: Use code "TREK25" to save 25% off your order here.

OnX deal: This month, get a 1 year membership for $10 with all proceeds going to Leave No Trace. Learn more at

Enlightened Equipment: Save 10% off off Enlightened Equipment's Stock Revelation Quilt or Stock Torrid Jacket with code "trek10" here.

Gossamer Gear discount code: Use code “poopstory” for 15% off at


Interview with Alison Young


00:04:30 - QOTD: which is easier, eating a little or eating nothing? 

00:05:37 - We are coming to Wisconsin! 

00:06:29 - Welcome Alison Young!

00:07:52 - How did you get into backpacking? 

00:11:48 - Can we talk about your career as a flutist? 

00:14:00 - What is the life of a professional flute player? 

00:15:56 - Can you tell us more about your career at American Public Media? 

00:18:30 - Was it difficult to go from being the star of the show to being the cheerleader?

00:20:30 - What is Dystonia? 

00:22:10 - Does your Dystonia affect backpacking at all? 

00:22:53 - Is trying to play with Dystonia a mind fuck? 

00:25:24 - Did your surgeon think your backpacking contributed to your hip replacement?

00:27:31 - What is the next step people should take to go deeper into the classical music world? 

00:31:30 - How many times have you watched the movie Fantasia? 

00:33:30 - If you could only listen to one classical song for an entire thru-hike, what would it be? 

  • Gustav Mahler from Songs of a Wayfarer 

00:38:49 - Will you tell us about the Drakensberg Traverse? 

00:40:59 - Was there any standout wildlife on that trek? 

00:42:08 - Did the baboons ever get aggressive?

00:43:35 - How long is that hike? 

00:43:40 - Were you carrying all your food? 

00:45:33 - Were people confused about what you were doing? 

00:47:08 - Are you being conscious about your food around the baboons? 

00:48:45 - Go on about Isle Royale? 

00:51:04 - How are you sleeping knowing there’s wolves around you? 

00:52:32 - What are you supposed to do if you see a wolf? 

00:54:53 - How long was your Isle Royale hike?

00:55:38 - What time of year were you there? 

00:55:58 - How were the mosquitoes? 

00:57:48 - Can you pronounce that region again? “Kekekabic” 

00:59:03 - Do people thru-hike the Border Route Trail? 

01:03:20 - If you could redo one international hike, which would it be? The Karakoram in Pakistan

01:06:33 - What’s going through your mind when doing a water crossing like that? 

01:10:05 - How does your spouse handle you being away for months at a time? 

01:13:46 - Can you talk about your decision to not have kids, etc.? 

01:15:52 - Can we talk about the GR5? 

01:19:46 - Do you have advice for someone who is not the typical 20-something that wants to start backpacking? 

01:22:34 - Do you do anything besides walking to get in shape for backpacking? Yoga, etc.? 

01:25:36 - Will you give us the overview for Walking Distance? 

01:34:28 - What inspired the CDT? Can you talk about your upcoming adventure? 




Lizzo Playing the Flute

The Longest Trail by Jonathan Horwitz

Triple crown of Desserts 

Gross or Not Gross

  • Zach picked a booger and felt it in his throat

1-Minute Gear Review: Premature Evaluation — Platypus Quickdraw 

Mail Bag

5 Star Reviews


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