EXPERT ARTICLES

HOW TO FOLLOW TRAIL MARKERS AND TRAIL BLAZES IN EUROPE

HOW TO FOLLOW TRAIL MARKERS AND TRAIL BLAZES IN EUROPE

As an experienced backpacker in the United States, I’m well-acquainted with how to read and follow trail blazes in North America. However, when I started hiking distance routes and trails in Europe, I quickly found that the system of trail markers was vastly different and 

Packing List:  Backpacking Gear for England’s Pilgrims’ Way

Packing List: Backpacking Gear for England’s Pilgrims’ Way

I was first drawn to England’s ancient pilgrimage route to the shrine of St. Thomas Becket following my 2019 Camino de Santiago. With my eyes set towards Europe’s Via Francigena from Canterbury to Rome, I learned the history the Pilgrims’ Way from both Winchester and 

Review: Osprey Exos 58L Backpack

Review: Osprey Exos 58L Backpack

If I could only buy one backpack for all my varied hiking needs, it would be the Osprey Exos. Dollar-for-dollar and pound-for-pound, this go-anywhere, carry-anything pack remains one of the best (if not the singular best) backpack you can buy for the trail or distance 

How To Read and Follow Trail Blazes in North America

How To Read and Follow Trail Blazes in North America

For many beginning hikers, the excitement of exploring a great trail is often tempered by anxiety about becoming lost along the way. However, you don’t have to be intimidated by the National Scenic Trail system or worried that you’ll be lost. Nearly every public trail 

The Best Months to Hike the Florida Trail

The Best Months to Hike the Florida Trail

Planning to hike the Florida Trail?  Since 2018, I have been section hiking the Florida Trail, one of eleven congressionally-designated National Scenic Trails in the United States. At more than 1,300 miles, the FT has been called “the toughest hike you’ve never heard of” for 

The Ultimate Backpacking Gear List for Hiking the Florida Trail

The Ultimate Backpacking Gear List for Hiking the Florida Trail

Since 2018, I have been section hiking the Florida Trail, one of eleven congressionally-designated National Scenic Trails in the United States. At more than 1,300 miles, the FT has been called the “toughest hike you’ve never heard of” for its exceptionally diverse track over the 

HOW TO: Make Your Own Camino Backpack Shell

HOW TO: Make Your Own Camino Backpack Shell

One of the universal symbols of pilgrims in western culture is the simple scallop shell. The shell is used both both for waymarking and as a metaphor for the Camino de Santiago, its lines said to represent the different routes to the tomb of Saint 

PACKING LIST: First-Aid Kit for Blisters and Foot Care

PACKING LIST: First-Aid Kit for Blisters and Foot Care

One of the questions I get from both experienced and newer backpackers alike is: what first aid and foot care items should I carry in my backpack in case I get blisters or have foot pain? This is a really serious topic for hiking, whether 

PACKING LIST: What to Pack to Hike the California Missions Trail

PACKING LIST: What to Pack to Hike the California Missions Trail

Once the COVID-19 pandemic prompted a change in my plans to hike the Via Francigena through England and France, I set my sights on walking the California Missions Trail in the summer of 2020. With abundant options for lodging, food, and resupply, the California Missions 

HOW TO: Five Tips for Urban Hiking

HOW TO: Five Tips for Urban Hiking

Nearly all of my pilgrimage trips have included some amount of urban hiking through modern cities, including the Camino de Santiago as you arrive at the Cathedral and the California Mission Trail through the major metro areas of San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. 

PACKING LIST: Backpacking First-Aid Kit

PACKING LIST: Backpacking First-Aid Kit

As a lifelong Scout and Scout Leader, I’ve probably created and carried more than 30 unique first-aid kits over the years. I say “created” because – more often than not – retail first aid kits are not specialized enough for backpacking – lacking a few 

A Beginner’s Guide to the California Missions Trail

A Beginner’s Guide to the California Missions Trail

With any luck, you’ve found this page while researching the California Missions Trail (or the El Camino Real in California, as it is also known). Born from the ancient footpaths traversing the coast between California’s twenty-one Spanish missions, the California Missions Trail connects historic missions, 

GPS & Google Earth Routes for the California Missions Trail

GPS & Google Earth Routes for the California Missions Trail

In researching the California Mission Walk, also known as “El Camino Real” for an upcoming pilgrimage, I quickly found a number of wonderful resources and communities of walkers. However, specific GPS, GPX, and KML files for Google Maps detailing for the California Missions Trail were 

The Top Hiking GPS Apps for iPhone and Android

The Top Hiking GPS Apps for iPhone and Android

Looking for the best GPS apps for your iPhone or Android smartphone for your next hike? As a solo hiker and pilgrim, I never leave home without a GPS map and guidebook. Since your phone contains a GPS chip that does not require cellular or 

Where was “The Way” filmed along the Camino de Santiago?

Where was “The Way” filmed along the Camino de Santiago?

If the movie “The Way’ starring Martin Sheen inspired your Camino journey, you may be interested to learn where scenes from the movie “The Way” were filmed along the Camino de Santiago. If you’ve walked the Camino Frances, several of these locations from the movie 

Where are the Apostles of Jesus Buried?

Where are the Apostles of Jesus Buried?

Some of the most revered pilgrimage routes in the world culminate at tombs of Jesus’s disciples, including the Camino de Santiago and the Via Francigena. All but one died a martyr. Here are the final resting places of the relics of the Apostles.   WHERE