Thursday, December 1, 2011

Backpacker article

page 52 of the January 2012 issue of Backpacker magazine has a survival feature which has my survival story which occurred this summer on the Idaho Centennial Trail, along the Idaho-Montana state line.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Up the creek without a tent pole

Video of one of my first hikes on the Idaho Centennial Trail back in 2004.

this took place in north central Idaho, between the Lochsa River and Selway River.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Weiser River Trail (overview)

Weiser River Trail

on Saturday October 15th, 2011,  I walked 20 miles on the Weiser River Trail, between the towns of Council, Idaho, and Cambridge, Idaho.   This was my second completion of the 85 mile Weiser River Trail.    for information about the trail, visit     

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Close call on the Stateline Trail

All that was missing from the scene was an umpire standing above me, throwing out his arms in a broad gesture and screaming "SAFE!" Indeed as I slid to a stop I was safe, but this was no sporting contest. The surface I slid on was not sand and dirt with chalk borders, but rather white, cold, and unyielding, a deep snow drift which covered over the safe path beneath. At stake was not the production of a run and the avoidance of an "out" in a game, but rather the continuation of good health and the avoidance of injury on the deadly rocks below. I had slipped during a traverse of a snow field on the Idaho-Montana Stateline Trail, which is also a part of the Idaho Centennial Trail. While closing in on the completion of my 7 year quest to walk across Idaho, I came very close to having it all end in a devastating injury while sliding on this snowfield which stubbornly clung to the western face of the Stateline ridge in late July of 2011. I lost my footing while trying to walk across a snow field. Lacking an ice ax or appropriate footwear such as crampons, I slipped while trying to take my final steps down to the safety of bare ground upon which my hiking partners had already reached. I was down and sliding before I knew it. Events happened faster than I had the capacity to keep up with. I managed to roll face down and attempt to stab my hiking pole into the snow, which was my attempt to self-arrest. The hiking pole bounced from the hardened and slick snowy surface and flew out of my grasp. Acceleration was a frightening force that clutched at me and drug me faster on the slick cupped snow surface. The next thing I knew, one of my hiking partners with whom I have crossed about half of the state of Idaho was shouting "grab the trees, grab the trees" and had managed to get one hand on my GPS lanyard, ripping it out of my right shirt pocket in the process, but at the same time causing me to slow down from the frightening fast acceleration which was taking hold of my large frame. I glanced to the right and saw a tree parallel to the mountain's slope half-buried in the snow. I put a hand out to clutch it and was gratified by the cessation of my slide. I was safe, whether there was an umpire present on the scene or no.....

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Class of 2011

I did it! I finished the Idaho Centennial Trail after a 7 year quest.

it was actually 76 miles left to go, not 65. and I finished on Thursday evening, July 28th, at about 9:10 pm Pacific time, at Lionhead campground. I wanted the big dramatic finish at Upper Priest Falls, but the way it worked out, it was better to go to the falls then work our way south back to Lionhead campground on the northern tip of Priest Lake.

thanks to Stephen Stuebner for his book on the ICT.

thanks to Leo Hennessey for my first taste of the ICT 7 years ago on a work hike on North Fork Lime Creek.

thanks to my chief partner in crime on the ICT, Jerry "Frog" Finnegan. together we are "Doofus and Lark" exploring across Idaho!

thanks go also to the many friends who have joined me for segments of the ICT and for the many family members who have helped me with shuttle rides.

Ron Whittaker

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dressing for success pt 2

Here's another comparison of clothing. Synthetic, in more recent years.
all cotton clothes, in the past.

Lucky Peak summit, new tower, circa 2006?

Lucky Peak summit, old tower, Memorial Day 2000
showing off my post-operative foot back in action.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Dressing for success

The following pictures help illustrate how my hiking clothes have changed over the years. I used to hike in all-cotton clothing. Now I hike in all-synthetic (nylon and/or polyester) clothing.

hiking at 49

hiking at 29