178: Test of Time

Show Notes: Episode 178

Today on the First 40 Miles, some gear is fun for just a few trips, but other gear stands the test of time.  We’re going back into The First 40 Miles Archives, to find out which gear made the final cut.  Then, we’ll dive into the five different types of trails and how to navigate them.  The rest of the show is just fun and games, and we’ll wrap it all up with a quote from James Fenimore Cooper.


  • Test of time
  • What did we review in the first 40 Episodes that we’re still using today

Top 5 Types of Hiking Trails

In and Out (or Out and Back)

  • These are the most common
  • Mileage either round trip or one direction—find out

Loop Hike or Lollipop Loop

  • Loop hike is a big circle where you begin and end at the same point
  • Lollipop loop means you hike out, do a loop, and then backtrack the last leg of the hike.

Spur Trail

  • These are trails that are offshoots from main trails. You can only get to them from the main trail.  These are great zero day hikes, or you can to add them onto your backpacking trip for more miles
  • Some are on the map, some aren’t.

Traverse Hike or Shuttle Hike

  • Start at one end and picked up at other.
  • Requires a paid shuttle service, or a creative hiking arrangement
  • Two hikers starting on polar ends?
  • The Presidential Traverse in New Hampshire
  • “This route follows a series of trails, summiting every peak named after a US president in the White Mountains. Although it can be backpacked and is even undertaken in winter, hiking the entire trail in a day is very popular. There are two popular routes, the “minimal” traverse of 19 miles exiting after Mt Eisenhower and the “full” traverse of 23 miles exiting after Mt Jackson. Most of the trail (Mt Madison through after Mt Eisenhower/Mt Jackson) is above treeline, providing exceptional views of the White Mountains. Be warned that it’s often foggy or cloudy, though, especially up on Mt Washington.”

Section hikes

  • Snippets from a long trail like the Pacific Crest Trail, Appalachian Trail or the Continental Divide Trail
  • https://wilderness.org/no-time-hike-appalachian-trail-try-these-12-easy-section-hikes


Backpack Hack of the Week™:  Trail Game: Fortunately/Unfortunately

  • First person starts with a simple statement.
  • The second person wrecks it by saying “Unfortunately…”
  • The first person rescues it by saying “Fortunately…”
  • Back and forth
  • Great trail game for kids or a fun game to play around the campfire
  • May become a running gag on the trip…

Trail Wisdom

And how should a man who has lived in towns and schools know anything about the wonders of the woods? –James Fenimore Cooper