In today’s episode of Backpacker Radio presented by The Trek, we are joined by Rolf Gunnar Asphaug. Rolf’s adventuring career started in 1987 when he quit his cushy job as a lawyer, and set off to backpack from Tuscon, Arizona to Portland, Oregon on a route he devised using a Rand McNally road atlas. We of course go deep into this epic journey- we also learn all about the Colorado Mountain Club, for which Rolf used to serve as the organization’s president, his time volunteering for Jefferson Country Open Space and a number of Colorado state parks, and we touch on Rolf’s Colorado Trail thru-hike last year at the age of 62.
We wrap the show with a triple crown of pizza toppings, and we introduce a pair of new segments- what’s in a trail name, and listener voicemails!
Download this episode.
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Interview with Rolf
Time stamps & Questions
00:04:06 – QOTD: What’s the most uncommon/odd meal you’ve had on trail?
00:07:24 – Reminders: BPR Sponsorship & Internship Opportunity
00:10:58 – Welcome Rolf!
00:11:29 – What was your career prior to getting into backpacking?
00:15:40 – The start of Rolf’s cross country adventure
00:16:11 – Did you save up for this trip?
00:19:40 – Did you avoid the interstates?
00:20:15 – What was hitchhiking like in 1987?
00:22:10 – Was Zion covered in the Atlas?
00:23:33 – Raisins
00:24:10 – How did you navigate through Zion National Park?
00:24:45 – Post-Zion Events
00:26:22 – Did you ever stay in hotels/motels?
00:27:25 – How did people react when you told them what you were doing?
00:28:09 – Passing through Yosemite
00:29:44: – How do you coordinate meeting up with people on this trip? Pay phones?
00:30:40 – Did you have a specific time frame?
00:31:17 – Did you have awareness of the PCT at that time?
00:32:00 – Which way did you go up Mt. Whitney?
00:32:26 – Did you have the entire route written up?
00:33:11 – Were permits needed yet?
00:33:43 – Did Half Dome have cables then?
00:36:24 – Do you remember your route through San Francisco?
00:38:22 – Did you hike in boots?
00:38:54 – Long Peak Trail Runners
00:40:06 – Was this life changing for you?
00:40:36 – Did you think you were going back to being a lawyer after this?
00:42:18 – Journaling a thru-hike
00:43:17 – How did you path shift after this hike?
00:46:55 – Colorado Outward Bound
00:53:03 – Rolf’s Trophies
00:53:45 – Rolf getting creative in court
00:57:34 – How do you think Denver is doing with mass transit?
01:00:35 – Rolf’s volunteering experience
01:01:48 – How did you meet your wife?
01:06:04 – Tell us about the Colorado Mountain Club
01:08:11 – What did you do as President?
01:10:12 – What other classes does the CMC offer?
01:11:45 – What does the membership go for?
01:12:56 – How long were you President for CMC?
01:15:26 – Volunteering for Jefferson County, CO
01:18:15 – What is bark patrol?
01:21:54 – How much trash do you pick up on average?
01:22:31 – Cleanliness of CO parks
01:25:34 – How many people are employees vs. volunteers?
01:27:05 – Do you know what parks have foxtails?
01:28:02 – In which park are you most likely to see mountain lions?
01:32:00 – Tell us about your Colorado Trail experience
01:38:18 – Durston Gear
01:40:22 – Chaunce hiking with Harper
01:42:24 – Leo Fact from Zach
01:43:24 – What was your sobering experience at Cascade Creek?
01:49:20 – Thank you, Rolf!
Triple Crown of Pizza Toppings
What’s in a Trail Name?
5 Star Review
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