Lots of questions came up when my before and after got posted to r/pics. I'm out of the woods and ready for your questions.




Comments: 135 • Responses: 42  • Date: 

AlexanderBopp20 karma

Did u ever fap along the way?

fattymcsnax65 karma

Does a bear shit in the woods?

Glane181814 karma

I love backpacking and I've been on the PCT a few different times. All places were equally as beautiful (Yosemite, the Sierras by Tahoe, and up at Castle Crag by Mt. Shasta). What were/are your top 3 areas of the PCT?

fattymcsnax17 karma

Those are great spots. I also enjoyed:

The Russian Wilderness (northern california) Desolation Wilderness (tahoe area) Northen Cascades... all of northern washington is crazy, rugged, and burley as hell!

LazyFrenchGuy12 karma

Did you meet any super cool people on the road, or does it just happen in the movies ?

fattymcsnax35 karma

It happened everyday! I wasn't out on the trail alone there are a large group of about 700 or so people who attempt to thru hike the PCT in one season every year. My fellow hikers would become best friends after walking with them for just a day. Walking with someone is a great way to get to know each other — You can talk about so much and the miles fly by.

Aside from fellow hikers, there are what we like to call 'angels' all along the way. People who live in trail towns who go out of their way to lend a helping hand: A ride into town, a shower, laundry, beer, burgers, beds.

When you got to town, rather, when you arrived to a place where the trail met a road, you never knew who was going to pick you up (or if you were going to get picked up.) I came to love this little interactions. It reminded me that people are good. I also loved the not so subtle way they would roll down their windows as we drove into town. (Hiker stench is a truly unique and repulsive odor)

LazyFrenchGuy7 karma

Thanks a lot for your answer !

fattymcsnax17 karma

No problem. Now stop being lazy and go crush some fancy french mountains! :-)

so-very-very12 karma

Do you have a pic of your calves? I bet they are full grown cows now.

fattymcsnax9 karma

They're pretty ridiculous. The further I walked the shorter my shorts got. I proudly rock dad shorts now. Sorry, no pics of my calves — but yes, they are now cows!

(p.s. — you're clever)

d7a7z7e7d10 karma

Man, congrats! I saw your before and after the other day and it inspired me greatly. I'm 32, married with a kid, and the sole income of the household. I'm not sure how I'm going to afford to take 6 months off to do this, but I feel like it is something I need to do in my life. I just have to do it, there has got to be a way.

Were there ever any moments that you almost gave up?

How did it feel once you reached the end? Did you wish it kept going, or were you glad it was over?

Any regrets or things you wish you would have done differently?

fattymcsnax17 karma

Thank You! The before in after really explains it all. I started a young pup, I emerged a DirtWolf.

You're young, have a great wife, and a kid! Thats awesome! I just read another comment below, which ill get to in a moment, he says that he's too "far in the system." It's true, it's hard to get out of all that responsibility and leave it all behind to take 6 months off. But whose to say that you have to drop it all? I met some couples that would take a couple weeks and hike a section at a time, kid in tow. The pervading saying on the trail is "HYOH" — this stands for Hike Your Own Hike... I think this means, for you, that you don't have to drop out of society and become a total dirtbag.

But... as far as vacations go — being a dirtbag and walking everywhere for 6 months is rather inexpensive.

Did I ever give up? I was asked before I left "What will you do if you want to quit?" I didn't know. I honestly didn't think about quitting before I started. However, during the hike i had a few shitty days. Cold freezing wet feet, blisters, sun burn, poison oak, hanger. But, it was easy to shake off. Honestly the hardest part of the day was getting out of my sleeping bag in the morning — so warm and cozy. But once I got out, and got moving, small things like wet feet didn't slow me down.

The end was sort of anti-climatic. I started alone, and I ended alone. I took some pictures, drank a beer that I had packed in and hiked 8 more miles to a resort on the Canadian side of the border. I joked for a long while that this was just a pilgrimage for poutine... so i was super amped to see that they had poutine on the menu at the resort. Sadly they were out of cheese. So I had a celebratory cold one. Then a nice couple sitting at the table next to be bought me a cold one.

Honestly I was glad it was over at that moment. However, a week later I wished that I was back. But I kept moving forward and a couple weeks after finishing I ran the Grand Canyon — Rim to Rim to Rim, with the beautiful girl I met on the trail. She's an ultra runner and this is her idea of a good time. After hiking 2,650 some odd miles it felt great to drop my heavy bag and let my legs lose. We've been running around mountains together ever since.

No regrets. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

will8186 karma

"Running around mountains together ever since." Oh man, thats my idea of a dream relationship!

fattymcsnax1 karma

it is pretty perfect :-) :::Swoon:::

chefboyardeeman9 karma

What's something that happened that you were surprised by?

fattymcsnax13 karma

The kindness of strangers.

chefboyardeeman10 karma

Story time bro!

fattymcsnax48 karma

Alright. Heres an example.

One day I was hiking near squaw valley, and stopped at a river to refill my water and have a snack. A group of guys that were out for the weekend came by and we just started exchanging pleasantries. They offered me snacks (example 1.)

I continued walking north and met this old guy on the top of the ski hill and he was just so enthusiastic when talking to me, it was as if he had just spotted big foot. His encouragement put a smile on my face (example 2.)

I got about 20 miles down that day and got to a spot that was just so perfect that i put down my bag and searched around for my GoPro, so I could take a picture with me in it — It wasn't there. Shit. I sat and debated if i should go back and find it. Surely I left it by the river when I was chatting it up. I looked at my maps and saw that the city of Truckee wasn't too far away and that I could at the very least maybe catch a ride into town and then hike back the next day.

As I was decending down to the road this trail runner ran past me. Side note, This is the area where western states, a gnar 100 mile race is held. I stopped him and asked if he live in Truckee, he look at me, said "Yeah, you look like a thru hiker, need a ride? I'm just going to finish running to the top of this mountain and I'll meet you at the bottom by my truck." (example 3)

I squeezed into his truck with his 2 dogs and we started chatting it up. I was impressed by his ability to crush 100 mile races and he was impressed by my ability to walk day after day. I told him about my camera and that I thought that i was going to walk backwards and get it. He offered to drive me back to where I think I had left it. At that point I had already started to think of it as gone, and was feeling defeated and just wanted to be dropped off at a grocery store so I could buy a nice 6 pack of cold ones to drown my sorrows. He said, nonsense, I have beer at home and a bed for you to crash on. He was the nicest guy ever. A carpenter, he had built this beautiful house and true to his word, let me stay there. He also gave me some beer and ride back up to the trail the next day (example 4)

I decided it was as good as gone, that section of trail was busier than most other sections and there is no way that the camera would be there by the time I would get to it. I kept walking north.

A few days later I got to Sierra city and was enjoying a cold one. A hiker buddy of mine, Gear Slut, came up to a group of us hikers and asked "Anyone lose a goPro" — I shot up gave him a big hug and he handed over my beloved camera. (example 5)

So thats just a story about a few days of exceptional kindness of people. I think i mentioned Trail Angels before — these are people that purposely go out of there way to help as many hikers as they can.

I'm going to go out there this year and sit by the road and hand out cold ones to fellow dirtbags. Gotta return the love somehow.

boobiesiheart12 karma

Where there any new pictures on the gopro??

fattymcsnax1 karma

no :-(

Xeoburn8 karma

How long did it take?

fattymcsnax22 karma

I left April 6th and ended September 6th. I took 3 weeks off. A week to visit friends in San Francisco, a week in Portland to high five my hipster brethren, and a week where I flew down to LA to road trip with a beautiful woman (my now lady friend) up through Yosemite and northern California.

Mugzy_123 karma

You finished on my birthday!

fattymcsnax1 karma

best day!

Aelcyx7 karma

So, how did you get the name DirtWolf? It's the name of my favorite beer!

fattymcsnax12 karma

Trail names are given, not chosen. I was named after that delicious beer. I can't complain, I think its a pretty good name so far as trail names go. Also now, when friends bring beer to get togethers, they bring DirtWolf. If only i could figure out a way to be sponsored by Victory Beer. So much hoppy goodness.

sonofabutch6 karma

Did you read books/watch movies like Into the Wild, 127 Hours, Grizzly Man, etc., or do you stay away from them? I'd be constantly thinking about "what would happen if..."

fattymcsnax12 karma

Into the Wild — great book. 127 Hour — :::shudders::: Grizzly Man — what a bad ass.

All these guys have one thing in common — they were doing what they loved. They were guided by their passions. So up until you get eaten by a bear, saw off your arm, or eat the wrong thing, life is as good as it can get.

Fear weights us down. In backpacking it literally weighs you down, especially if you feel you have to carry everything and the kitchen sink to feel safe. Once you get out there you realize you don't need that much. This realization is so liberating. It's weight off your back.

These people were able to set out and do what we consider crazy things. But you don't read about all the other people out out there doing what they love; probably because they still have all their limbs and their life.

Read / watched them all. Love them.

Side Note: I was waiting out a snow storm that blew into kings canyon and was holed up in a Motel room. There just so happened to be a marathon of Dual Survivor on TV. Cody Lundin is my hero.

EntGuyHere6 karma

From which part of Mexico did you start?

fattymcsnax14 karma

The border: Campo, California. I touched the wall, peered through a hole, saw Mexico, then started walking north.

jkostry6 karma

What inspired you to do this? Boredom? How much money did you have with you? And what kind of help did you get along the way?

fattymcsnax11 karma

I wrote a post on my blog about "What am I Doing" "I’m not running away from anything. But if I’ve learned anything so far, it’s that you don’t need a reason to get up and leave, you just have to put it on the calendar. "

Money, whats that? Honestly didn't need to carry any cash. I had some plastic that supplied me with the means to buy burgers and beers when I got to towns.

A major part of being able to thru hike is in all the prep you do before hand. I had planned and packaged resupply (food) boxes to be sent to myself every 100 or so miles. I was lucky to have a close family friend live nearby and help me with the chore of lugging those boxes out and sending them to me. I was able to give her my estimated time of arrival to towns and she always was able to have my package arrive on time.

Help from strangers giving me rides into town all the time. Help from fellow hikers, picking up a glove I dropped. Help from trail angels letting me crash at their place. Help from random day hikers encouraging me to go further and giving me extra trail mix and snacks. Help from all over.

There is a saying I like that goes something like; "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."

postfish2 karma

Did you just ship to the general post office of the area?

fattymcsnax1 karma


TroubleshootenSOB6 karma

What kind of boots/footwear did you wear and what's next for you now?

fattymcsnax8 karma

I wore trail runners. I was able to get a great deal on Nike Zoom Wildhorses. They lasted about 500 miles a pair. I went through 6 pairs, so being able to save on them was great. I liked those shoes.

The most popular shoes for thru hikers are Brooks Cascadias. Closely followed by Altras.

When you through hike, you don't have a 60 pound pack so you can leave those clunky super supportive hiking boots and home. Someone on the trail told me a pound on you foot equals 5 on you back. When your walking 25-30 miles a day you don't want to be lugging around lead feet. Some people go so far as to make every ounce count.

I currently weight New Balance Trail 890 Fresh Foams. I've taken to trail running and have, since completing the trail, run a marathon, a 50k, and a 35 mile race. I spend almost every weekend with my girlfriend, an accomplished trail runner, training and having fun scruffing around the mountains of southern california.

We want to do the Continental Divide Trail next. Just need to save up some dough first. You Know, Jobs and stuff.

:::cough::: Unless we get sponsored :::cough:::


TroubleshootenSOB3 karma

Thanks for answering. There's always Kickstarter and Dogecoin lol

fattymcsnax18 karma

Wow! Such coin! Much Nature! Exploration! Many Adventure!

3nvisi0n2 karma

Good luck getting on the CDT I'm starting it myself in June sobo

fattymcsnax1 karma

Happy Trails!

Bad_Eye5 karma

What kind of exercise do you do off the trail to prepare for a trip? I have been using hiking as my exercise lately but only doing 3-3.5 mile loops. How long did it take before you could hike 25-30 miles straight through?

fattymcsnax9 karma

You're doing it right. Start small, step by step you'll go further.

I wasn't a burly mountain hiker when I began. In fact, I was doing what you're currently doing before. When I started the trail I started slow and only did about 16 miles per day. As I got stronger, and my blisters got blisters, I went further.

I was a little tubbier before my before picture. I was lucky to have a friend with a gym down the street who gave me some simple exercises, such as: walking lunges, squats, box stands and such to strengthen my legs. I also started running, for fun, before the trail. I started huffing and puffing 1 mile at a time. Eventually I ran a 15k and ran a relay race Hood to Coast.

It was all a slow progression. Long story short — you could get off your couch and start today and be just fine. Just Hike Your Own Hike (HYOH) and go at your own pace.

AMIGO645 karma

Was it a normal hike with lots of provisions, or was it more of a survival thing? Please explain your weekly schedule, when did you rest, where and what did you eat etc.

I really dig the adventure lifestyle, but I'm too far into the system to feel an ounce secure without a paycheck and a roof. If you decide on doing something like this again, I would love to recommend you to try out my country. I'm from Chile, you've might of already heard of this long strip of land in South America. It's landscape changes from the top to bottom, top being a desert mountainous area all the way to the tip of Antarctica. Along the way you'll see everything from valleys, Mediterranean landscape, dense forests, fjords, islands, Tundra, and finally Antarctica.

fattymcsnax6 karma

I definitely want to scruff around South America. So beautiful. I hope your out there hiking all the time!

Weekly schedule: Wake up, Walk north, Eat, Poop, Sleep. Repeat. 25-30 miles a day. Towns every 120-150 or so miles apart.

Slept in a one person tent. A Mountain Hardware Super Mega UL1... this tent I credit with being the main catalyst for giving me the confidence to go out and hike alone. It was a rather luxurious and, at 2 pounds, a heavier tent than what some of my crazy fellow hikers slept in. The hardcore among them preferred to Cowboy camp — nothing but sleeping bag and sleeping pad. Lightweight is the name of the game. UL = ultra light... for me UL = ultra luxury. :-)

Ate typical hiker food: trail mix, meal bars, dehydrated food, ramen, oil, snickers.

Chevy_Chaser1 karma

Did you see anyone hiking with hammock tents?

fattymcsnax1 karma

I did, this awesome guy, SlowBro, was a dedicated hammock man. He had no problems finding sites almost every night. In the desert he would just cowboy camp.

He had a magnificent beard.

ialo001305 karma

What was your favorite thing to wipe your ass with on trail?

Mine is by far moss or a large thick leaf.

fattymcsnax5 karma

Those are good options. I packed in, and out, TP — the best wipes were clean wipes.

There's no moss or large leaves in the desert. Leave No Trace

wardamntrees4 karma

How many calories per day did you expend? How many did you eat?

fattymcsnax8 karma

I have no idea how many cals I was burning, but i was throwing about 5,000-6,000 cals in a day. Even at this rate I couldn't keep weight on. I wasn't emaciated, my legs became huge, my upper body strength went south.

I ate as much food as I could, but when doing long-distance hiking, where weight on your back is your enemy, you have to think about things like “calories per ounce.” I ate a lot of calorie-dense snack bars, but there are only so many CLIF bars you can eat in a day before you go crazy. Snickers bars became something I picked up along the way and never tired of. Snickers for breakfast: Yes, please!

When you get to town, you chow down on anything you want -- guilt-free -- to try to make up for the calorie deficit. When you go grocery shopping, you look at the back of the package to see how many calories there were, putting back items that didn't have enough fat or protein. There was a moment where a group of through hikers and I were sitting around a campfire at Vermillion Valley Resort near Yosemite. We all had just gone to the convenience store and were busy chowing down on junk food, boasting about how many calories we had just eaten and laughing. “The Hunger,” as it’s known, is real. Hiker hunger is insatiable.

bigmeadow3 karma

What'd you do for shelter/water? Some of the southern parts of the PCT seem pretty tough, especially during droughts. And just curious if you tarped it up or went full tent.

fattymcsnax5 karma

Shelter: I had a nice one person tent. Sometimes I would cowboy camp onto of it.

Water: I carried a MSR 3 Liter Dromedary (camelback) and 2 1 Liter smart water bottles. I used the bottles to mix drink mixes in. Carnation instant breakfast and instant coffee in the mornings, caffeinated Chrystal Light in the afternoons.

For the dry sections of southern California I camel-ed up and carried another dromedary. I had an 8 liter capacity. 1 liter of water is roughly 2 pounds. So this was quite a bit of extra weight to be muling around. Maybe it was overkill, but man I didn't want to risk it. It was HOT!

daddydeaner3 karma

Why is this tagged 'invalid'?

Clearly the man can walk! Sheesh...

fattymcsnax3 karma

What does that mean... invalid? The dictionary says thats a person made weak by illness or injury. I'll have you know I'm quite healthy. :-P

rjhouser3 karma

how can i get a hat like the one you had on the end of your trip? I like it.

fattymcsnax11 karma

I picked mine up when i first visited Crater Lake National Park. They have a visitor center / gift shop on the rim. Its made of wool and is 'crushable'... I walked 2,600 miles with it and lost it 2 days before I got to the Canadian border. It was the saddest moment. Akin to Wilson floating away from Tom Hanks in Cast Away.

rougetoxicity3 karma

Was there any solitude to be had on your hike? One of your other comments mentioned that there are 700 people that attempt it, and you hiked with and saw people everyday.

That's exactly what i was afraid of on the PCT. If I want to walk for a week and not see anybody else i should probably head elsewhere huh?

fattymcsnax2 karma

Lots of solitude.  I would go multiple days without seeing folk.

If you want to hike alone you can. I would recommend that youstart before the "herd". So start before official kick off.

DriftlessGrizzly3 karma

Can you give a brief rundown of the gear you used? Clothing, tent, pack, etc. I'd love to hear what worked out for you and what didn't.

fattymcsnax13 karma

Heres a list of the gear I organized from my blog. I even have pictures.

It pretty much all worked out for me, I didn't change or swap out much. I got rid of the ground sheet and stuff sacks. All I used for water proofing was a trash compactor bag that I stuffed my sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and tent into. Worked like a charm.

The rain layers were a bit over kill, I didn't really need that heavy duty gore-tex til I got to Washington — but man Im sure glad I had it as an extra layer when I got stuck in a snow storm in the Sierras.

markybabe1232 karma

worst part of the trip?

fattymcsnax1 karma

Returning to civilization. But if I want to spin it a different way I could say the adventure isn't over.

AdviceFromAPyro2 karma

Do you always wear such short shorts to work?

fattymcsnax5 karma

They're called shorts for a reason. Also. California.

notmythrowaway3452 karma

I'm going to be in Bend, OR in August '16 for a wedding and was thinking of doing a section of the PCT somewhere around/in Three Sisters Wilderness. Thinking anything from a single day to one night. I haven't started looking too much into it yet but any suggestions for resources/books that would be a good place to start?

fattymcsnax1 karma

I think you have all the information you need. PCT, three sisters... done... get a permit, hit the trail, enjoy yourself. Perhaps download a trail map. I love the app Topo Maps. It lets you download and view high fidelity USGS maps and shows your GPS location on top of it.

If your looking for information / resources about backpacking in general... not quite sure where to start.

Happy trails

jory262 karma

Did you come across Reese Witherspoon during your trip?

fattymcsnax1 karma

I wish.

rexdartspy2 karma

You mention fapping, but did you bone along the way? What other countries would you want to hike if you had unlimited funds?

fattymcsnax1 karma

No other wildlife was harmed during my hike. I would love to tramp around South America.

IkeLives2 karma

Why not North > South?

fattymcsnax1 karma

In short: to chase the seasons. Started early in the south for nice cool deserts, got to the sierras after the snow melted. Got out of northern California before wild fires. Oregon in summer for no rain. Got out of the northern cascades and into Canada before fall / rain / cold / snow.

FunkyKhan2 karma

Hey man I'm interested in doing the PCT, but don't quite know where to get started with planning it. How much money would you say it costed you and how difficult was it to resupply along the way?

fattymcsnax1 karma


I used Yogis PCT Handbook to help me wrap my head around the feat of hiking across the country. Lots of useful information in there from various through hikers.

I heard 6k as a way to estimate your expenses. 2k for gear, 2k for food, and 2k to spend along the way. The more you pad that the better off you'll be. Some people hike the trail with little more than a prayer.

First thing to do: Put a start date on your calendar.

frankthetank4342 karma

The pictures on your blog look good! Did you just use your gopro to take all of those?

fattymcsnax1 karma

Mostly used my iPhone 5S — then I edited the photos with VSCO. The photos with me in them i used the goPro and then used my phone was a remote to preview and trigger the shot.

jemibo1 karma

Looking to possibly giving the PCT a try in a few years! But I have heard that given reasonable fitness to start(you become physically used to hiking +/-25 miles a day over time), the thru hike is mostly a mental game. Did you find this to be true?

fattymcsnax1 karma

Sure, I had a few hard days where I didn't want to walk. But its amazing how your mind follows your feet. Moving is incredibly therapeutic and I found that if I just got myself to start walking I found that my attitude quickly shifted. I was always curious and excited to see what was around the corner.

LurkingArachnid1 karma

Did you have any interesting wildlife encounters?

fattymcsnax1 karma

A bear in my campsite one night. I heard his heavy feet crunching sticks and I flashed my light out of my tent to see two glowing green eyes staring right back at me. I told the bear "fuck off I'm trying to sleep" — he obliged.

wasthereadogwithyou1 karma


fattymcsnax1 karma

bigfoot lives!

Jameskata-4 karma

I watched that movie with what's her face doing the trail to "find" herself. 1 did you find yourself? If so what did ya find? 2 Whats her face was kind of slutty on the trail. Is the trail a slutty place?

fattymcsnax7 karma

  1. I was never lost.
  2. "Wild" the book (and now movie) is quite a point on contention on the trail. Some people love it and are there because of it and some people wish it was never written. There was a similar bit of drama with a Bill Bryson book and the Appalachian Trail. Its her story, and as a story, its great. My experience was quite different that hers.

No the trails not a slutty place. Its pretty quite, very peaceful — it's not a party.