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Backpacker Radio

May 22, 2023

In today's episode of Backpacker Radio presented by The Trek, we are joined by Anna McKinney.  Anna is an AT thru-hiker (where she met her fiancé), a hiking guide in the Smokies, a Trek Writer, and an all around giver of good vibes.  We get the full scoop on how her budding trail romance evolved to impending wedding bells- and Chaunce gives us a detailed breakdown on the stages of love on trail, we learn about some of the more interesting flora and fauna in the Smokies, battling imposter syndrome, and her recent LASH on the Arizona Trail.

We wrap the show with me getting angry about spiders and octopi, a triple crown of things serious thru-hikers don't compromise on, and also other stuff!  

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Interview with Anna McKinney

Time stamps & Questions

00:06:07 - QOTD: Excluding water, what’s the difference between spiders and octopus?

00:08:40 - Reminders: Suggest a guest! Fill out our listener survey by June 15!

00:09:35 - Introducing Anna

00:10:35 - What’s your trail name and origin story?

00:12:53 - Do you have any standout trail magic stories?

00:15:06 - What got you into the outdoors?

00:16:30 - What was your big girl job?

00:17:30 - What was it like going through your own backyard on the AT for the first time?

00:20:20 - How steep was your backpacking learning curve?

00:22:23 - Discussion about losing people on the trail

00:24:29 - Did a zero degree bag with a liner prove to be excessive?

00:26:11 - What was your process of working your pack weight down?

00:29:00 - What’s your base weight nowadays?

00:32:35 - We love love - tell us about meeting your fiance on the AT!

00:36:45 - When you’re into someone, how do you let them know without creeping you out?

00:39:27 - When did the physical aspect come into play?

00:41:27 - How did he ask you to be his girlfriend?

00:44:08 - What was finishing the trail like for your relationship?

00:45:50 - Did you ever feel like the relationship was in jeopardy after the trail?

00:47:09 - What did you learn about him off-trail that you didn’t learn on-trail?

00:49:19 - Ask your on-trail romance these questions!

00:52:43 - What are the stages of a trail relationship?

00:54:07 - Chaunce’s stages of a trail relationship

00:59:22 - Tell us about working with Blue Ridge Hiking Company

01:01:53 - Tell us about caretaking the AT bunkhouse in Hot Springs

01:04:05 - What was the vibe when it’s not only thru-hikers but some thru-hikers?

01:05:31 - Tell us about your experience with imposter syndrome

01:08:38 - Tell us about underrated sections of the AT

01:12:50 - What is it like to guide in the Smokies?

01:15:55 - Discussion about interacting with thru-hikers within the National Park on guiding trips

01:19:14 - What are some fun facts about the Smokies flora and fauna?

01:23:21 - What are some trail highlights in the Smokies that aren’t on the AT?

01:25:57 - Tell us your engagement story!

01:29:13 - Where did you get your rings made?

01:31:32 - Tell us about the Arizona Trail!

01:35:22 - Discussion about the snow on the AZT

01:38:00 - Did you know at the beginning things could change due to the snow?

01:39:19 - Tell us about how your travel plans changed

01:41:01 - Which day of your National Parks trip would you revisit?

01:42:11 - What differences did you notice hiking with a partner between the AT and AZT?

01:44:45 - Did you get in any major fights?

01:46:54 - Have you lost any fights?

01:49:44 - Where can people go to follow you?

01:51:45 - What’s next?


Trek Propaganda

Triple Crown of things serious thru-hikers don’t compromise on


Twin Update

Mail Bag

5 Star Review


Check out our sound guy @paulyboyshallcross.

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