In today’s episode of Backpacker Radio presented by The Trek, we are joined by Diane “Sticks” Harsha. Diane is an AT section hiker, the author of “Sticks and Stones: How to Hike the Appalachian Trail in 13 Years”, and a retired FBI agent. We of course spend a lot of time talking about Diane’s career in the bureau- including questions about the rigorous training and testing required to be accepted into the FBI, negotiation tactics that could be applied to convincing a spouse to let you leave for an extended backpacking trip, carrying a weapon on trail, and the overlap between working in the FBI and backpacking the AT at large. And yes of course we sneak in a couple of X-Files questions.
We wrap the show with a triple crown of celebrities we’d most want to party with, a story about Chaunce farting her way through a work Zoom meeting, and Badger announces his next backpacking trip.
Download this episode.
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Interview with Diane “Sticks” Harsha
Time stamps & Questions
00:02:55 – QOTD: What’s the most embarrassing moment you have from a virtual meeting?
00:15:42 – QOTD 2: What’s the thing you’re most excited about?
00:20:02 – Reminders: Shoutout to our new Chuck Norris members!
00:21:40 – Introducing Diane
00:22:27 – How did you get into the FBI?
00:25:12 – What was the fitness test you took?
00:26:47 – Is Chaunce fit enough to join the FBI?
00:31:00 – Discussion about age norms.
00:33:11 – Tell us more about FBI training.
00:37:55 – Discussion about the accuracy of polygraph tests.
00:39:42 – Were you on any wild cases you can tell us about?
00:44:40 – Do you feel like you were treated differently as a woman agent?
00:46:53 – Since it’s illegal to make false statements to federal agents, could we go to prison for lying to you?
00:48:34 – What negotiation skills would you recommend for convincing your partner to let you do a thru-hike?
00:51:03 – Tell us more about active listening.
00:53:40 – Did you ever use these communication strategies while hiking?
00:56:44 – What other skills crossed over between being an FBI agent and hiking?
00:59:07 – Did you experience fear before starting the trail?
01:00:30 – Did you hike with a gun?
01:03:10 – If you had to pick one state on the AT to carry your gun through, which would it be?
01:06:40 – Was your husband more worried about your career or about your hiking?
01:08:31 – What were your single most dangerous moments in the FBI and on the trail?
01:14:03 – What other things did you bring to trail from your career?
01:18:50 – Did the trail ever grant you any insights related to your work or a case?
01:21:24 – Is there an emotional lull after completing each case?
01:24:10 – Did you ever have a case that could have been an episode of X-Files?
01:25:30 – What are things that movies and shows always get wrong?
01:28:12 – What are the advantages to section hiking the AT over many years instead of all at once?
01:31:35 – Tell us about how you planned the sections.
01:38:14 – Give us your trail name origin story.
01:42:20 – When did you get the inspiration to write the book?
01:46:08 – What can a reader expect when they pick up the book?
01:48:50 – Where can people find the book?
Triple Crown of non-A or B-list celebrities you’d love to party with
5 Star Review
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