How to load a backpack

Katrine Connelly, the editor/adventurer behind the website My Open Country, kindly suggested referencing her site’s post on The ABCs of Packing a Backpack. I am thrilled to do so because the piece not only shows you how to load a backpack — the ideal “carrying zones” for heavy, medium and light items — but also […]

Lost no More — How to Stay on the Trail (and what to do if you get off it)

“Have you ever gotten lost?” This question (or some variation of it) comes up often in my presentations about hiking. The answer isn’t simple. While there have been plenty of times I’ve been “temporarily disoriented”, there have never been times when I was “hopelessly lost.” The difference lies in making general awareness a priority. In […]

Just Breathe

Life is a path photo. ©2018 www.JeffRyanAuthor.com

Deep breathing sustains your energy level on the trail I’m not sure when it happened. All I know is when it did, it changed my days on the trail forever. It has nothing to do with the latest ultralight gear discovery or fitness app. It’s about something that’s with you 24-7. Your lungs. I’m talking about […]

What You Need for an Appalachian Trail Hike – Part 2

Photo of Appalachian Trail near Duncannon, Pennsylvania. ©2017, www.JeffRyanAuthor.com

Training for a Long Distance Hike After my lectures and during my book signings, I am often asked, “How do you train for a hike?” It’s a really good question. Most folks (including me) don’t want to spend our time away from the mountains walking around town with a full pack on. And even if […]

How I lost 5 lbs. in 30 Seconds

A view from Skyline Drive

Sometimes old habits die hard. Case in point: my choice of backpack. Over the years, I’ve carried more than thirty different packs into the wilderness. Day packs, weekend packs and beasts built for multi-day and even multi week trips. For the past ten years, I used the same pack for trips that lasted 5 to […]

Travel Tales: The Art of the Unplanned

On the road - Author Jeffrey Ryan's 1985 Vanagon.

One of my favorite sentiments regarding travel comes from Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley – In Search of America. He contends that they sure way to ruin a journey is to think that you control it. This is such a marvelous metaphor for every aspect of life — work and relationships come to mind— but one place that […]

Then there’s the self-reliance part … Why I Hike

I was signing books one night when a woman walked up to the table and simply asked, “But, why do you do it?” I briefly considered saying, “Read the book”, but a more thoughtful answer came forth instead. “To be self-reliant and free.”, I said. How true it is. Hiking and mountaineering have given me […]

Appalachian Odyssey TideSmart Radio Podcast

Thank you to the team at TideSmart Radio for having me on the show with Stevoe to discuss Appalachian Odyssey and to make it available as a podcast. It was a great chance to talk about how my life experiences cumulatively pointed me toward a lifetime of writing and hiking that is still going strong.  

What You Need for an Appalachian Trail Hike – Part I

Photo of AT Map and guide

Logistics: Planning your hike My friend, Wayne Cyr, and I spent 28 years hiking the Appalachian Trail, one section at a time. Every time we were in our adventure mode (heading to the trail, traveling back from it or out on the path itself) we would invariably meet people of all ages that would say, […]