Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Backpacker Radio

Sep 18, 2023

In today's episode of Backpacker Radio presented by The Trek, we are joined by Jonathon Stalls. Jonathon is a wildly interesting character who, in 2010, in search of meaning and healing, decided to walk across the length of the country. We learn all about this transformative journey, some of the standout stories along the way- including some instances of the unforeseen kindness of strangers, his alter ego of Cate Blanchett flaring up through the desert, how he was able to fund this journey, an epic poop story, how this expedition turned into his book "WALK: Slow Down, Wake Up, and Connect at 1-3 Miles Per Hour." and his current advocacy work in making urban spaces more pedestrian friendly. This is a deep and honest conversation- and we’d like to offer a trigger warning to listeners that the following interview touches on talks of suicide. 

We wrap the show with a triple crown of TV shows and movies we've watched recently, a brief comparison of the Colorado Trail vs. the John Muir Trail, and a stupidest thing of the week- Zach losing his mind due to sleep deprivation edition.

CTUG: Use code “Backpackerradio” to save 15% on your order at

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




Interview with Jonathon Stalls


Time stamps & Questions

00:03:53 - If you can only go to one burger spot in Colorado for the rest of your life, where are you going? 

00:05:22 - Reminders: If you have a good poop story, submit it here. We are now accepting 2024 blogger applications for The Trek. Apply today

00:09:05 - Introducing Jonathon Stalls 

00:10:15 - Tell us about your dad playing in the NFL 

00:13:00 - Are you a football fan today? 

00:13:58 - Would Zach let his boys play football? 

00:15:06 - What was your sports background? 

00:16:58 - How did you get into beach volleyball? 

00:20:23 - How much of your life was portrayed in the movie Point Break? 

00:20:40 - Where does walking come into play?

00:26:31 - What in Ireland brought out the new approach to life? 

00:29:30 - What was your reaction to what you were learning in Ireland? 

00:34:57 - How did your mom respond to you coming out? 

00:37:23 - How should others approach the conversation? 

00:40:45 - Did you know nature was healing to you prior to this hike? 

00:42:12 - Walk us through deviating from the American Discovery Trail 

00:46:37 - Did you have to pay the funding back? 

00:47:30 - Do they give you feedback on what businesses you help? 

00:49:42 - How did you select your walking route? 

00:55:28 - Let’s hear a poop story! 

01:06:40 - How did you balance wanting to be in nature and wanting to engage with communities? 

01:10:25 - Did you also find healing in the interaction with others? 

01:12:37 - Explain the practices you used to find kinship with nature 

01:16:20 - Do you have a favorite tree? 

01:19:29 - Do you have a desire to reinvent yourself on a long trail? 

01:23:25 - Do you find it frustrating to see the direction of society today? 

01:26:13 - What are some wins you’ve witnessed in your work? 

01:29:42 - What parts of Denver are most walkable? 

01:33:29 - Have you walked the full length of Colfax? 

01:34:30 - Tell us about “Walk to Connect” and “Walking Leaders” 

01:38:37 - Was there a stretch of trail that wasn’t enjoyable? 

01:45:23 - Do you have a specific term for your cross-country walk? 

01:45:55 - Was there a specific moment where you felt you were healing on your journey? 

01:48:38 - Is there anything about the journey or the book you’d like to relay to listeners? 

01:50:32 - What do we need to know about pedestrian dignity? 

01:52:54 - Zach Anner & The Quest for the Rainbow Bagel

01:57:00 - Impact of TikTok 

01:59:00 - Wrap up: Where to find Jonathon Stalls



Trek Propaganda: The Colorado Trail vs. The John Muir Trail: Which Trail is Better? By Katie Jackson 

Thing of the Week

Triple Crown of shows/movies you’ve watched recently

5 Star Review



Check out our sound guy @paulyboyshallcross.

Leave us a voicemail!

Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes (and please leave us a review)!  Find us on Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Play.

Support us on Patreon to get bonus content.

Advertise on Backpacker Radio

Follow The Trek, Chaunce, Badger, and Trail Correspondents on Instagram.

Follow Backpacker Radio, The Trek and Chaunce on YouTube.

Follow Backpacker Radio on Tik Tok. 

Our theme song is Walking Slow by Animal Years.

A super big thank you to our Chuck Norris Award winner(s) from Patreon: Alex & Misty with Navigators Crafting, Andrew, Austen McDaniel, Austin Ford, Brad & Blair (Thirteen Adventures), Brent Stenberg, Christopher Marshburn, Coach from Marion Outdoors, Dayne, Derek Koch, DoGoodPantry, Eric Casper, Erik Hofmann, Greg McDaniel may he bring honor to his name, Liz Seger, Matt Soukup, Mike Poisel, Morgan Luke, Patrick Cianciolo, Sawyer Products, Timothy Hahn, and Tracy “Trigger” Fawns.


A big thank you to our Cinnamon Connection Champions from Patreon: 12 Trees Farms, Dcnerdlet, Emily Galusha, Jake Landgraf, Jeanne Latshaw, Jeff LaFranier, Joann Menzer, Keith Dobie Jr, Kelly Heikkila, Matthew Spence, and Peter.