THE HIKING VETERAN
15,000 MILES HIKED + 2,000 MOUNTAINS CLIMBED + 1,000 NIGHTS CAMPED OUT
CURRENT ADVENTURES
1,000 Colorado 10,000-footers
The effective oxygen at sea level is 21%. At 10,000 feet it's 14%. At 14,000 feet it's 12%. Such is high-altitude hiking. Few have summited at least 1,000 peaks above 10,000 feet, and Erik's fit to join their ranks. 150 down, 850 to go.
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Lower 48 state high points
41 down, 7 to go: Washington (14,411' Mount Rainier), Wyoming (13,804' Gannett Peak), Utah (13,528' Kings Peak), Nevada (13,140' Boundary Peak), Montana (12,799' Granite Peak), Idaho (12,662' Borah Peak), Oregon (11,239' Mount Hood).
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Colorado county high points
The Centennial State has 63 counties, and thus 63 county high points. Sixteen down: Adams, Arapahoe, Cheyenne, Crowley, Denver, Elbert, Kiowa, Kit Karson, Lake, Lincoln, Logan, Phillips, Sedgewick, Teller, Washington, and Yuma.
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FORTHCOMING ADVENTURES
Guadalupe Trail double thru-hike
This 100-mile trail, which connects Guadalupe Mountains National Park of Texas with Carlsbad Caverns National Park of New Mexico, is one of the toughest trails in the U.S. Erik's planned double traverse will total 200 miles of hiking with 35,000 vertical feet of climbing.
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Collegiate Peaks Route thru-hike
This 160-mile loop winds through Colorado's 170,000-acre Collegiate Peaks Wilderness Area, running below 14,000-foot summits and climbing 12,000-foot passes. This route never drops below 8,000 feet and is punctuated by alpine lakes and above-timberline terrain.
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Trans Adirondack Route trifecta
Erik is the only person to have thru-hiked this 240-mile route – dubbed "The Triple Crown Crusher" due to defeating three "Triple Crowners" – twice, and he's on a mission to hike it a third time.
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Colorado Trail thru-hike
Running 485 miles from Denver to Durango, the Colorado Trail crosses five river systems, six national forests, six wilderness areas, and eight mountain ranges and reaches a high point of 13,271 feet.
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COMPLETED ADVENTURES
Lone Star Hiking Trail double thru-hike -- 2020
As Erik's first double-traverse of a long trail, this trek totaled 203 miles and took a bit more than eight days (daily average of 24.6 miles + 500 vertical feet) to cover. This trail crosses Sam Houston National Forest of southeast Texas.
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Rainbow Trail thru-hike + side trips - 2020
Erik's four-day thru-hike of this 100-mile trail in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, plus side trips up four peaks, took a hair more than four days (daily average of 25.0 miles + 4,400 vertical feet). During this trek he saw only two equestrians, four hikers, and eight OHV riders.
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Giant Mountain Wilderness Area exploration – 2019
This 23,000-acre wilderness area of the Adirondack Park is home to 39 named topographic features – 3 bodies of water, 3 rivers, 15 streams, 18 summits. When Erik reached his final feature, 2,300-foot Halcomb Mountain – camping on top – he became first to visit all 39 features.
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Siamese Ponds Wilderness Area exploration – 2019
This 114,000-acre wilderness area of the Adirondack Park is home to 121 named topographic features – 2 clearings, 3 rivers, 34 bodies of water, 35 streams, 47 summits. When Erik reached his final feature, 2,385-foot Siamese Mountain, he became first to visit all 121 features.
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Silver Lake Wilderness Area exploration – 2019
This 107,000-acre wilderness area of the Adirondack Park is home to 130 named topographic features – 1 pass, 1 eddy, 1 river, 1 site, 27 streams, 35 bodies of water, 64 summits. When Erik reached his final feature, 2,155-foot Mud Lake Mountain, he became first to visit all 130 features.
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Adirondack 3,000-footers during winter – 2019
To summit the Adirondack Mountains' 217 peaks above 3,000 feet requires hiking 1,000 miles and climbing 250,000 vertical feet. But it's the notorious bushwhacking that stops most peakbaggers. When Erik finished this list on an unnamed 3,330-foot peak – camping on top – he became the third person to reach each peak during winter.
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Hoffman Notch Wilderness Area exploration – 2018
This 38,000-acre wilderness area of the Adirondack Park is home to 38 named topographic features – 1 river, 3 passes, 6 bodies of water, 11 streams, 17 summits. When Erik reached his final feature, 2,372-foot Spruce Mountain, he became first to visit all 38 features.
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Shaker Mountain Wild Forest exploration – 2018
This 41,000-acre wild forest of the Adirondack Park is home to 55 named topographic features – 1 pass, 1 site, 11 streams, 16 summits, 26 bodies of water. When Erik reached his final feature, 2,010-foot Steele Mountain, he became first to visit all 55 features.
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Trans Adirondack Route thru-hike – 2018
This 240-mile route is nicknamed "The Triple Crown Crusher" due to it defeating three "Triple Crowners" – those who have hiked 8,000 miles along the Appalachian, Pacific Crest, and Continental Divide trails. This was Erik's second route thru-hike and the toughest fifteen-day trip (daily average of 16.0 miles + 1,700 vertical feet) he has ever completed.
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Adirondack 2,500-footers – 2018
When Erik summited an unnamed 2,707-foot peak in the Adirondack Mountains, he finished climbing this range's 601 peaks above 2,500 feet. To do it, he hiked 2,400 miles and ascended half-a-million vertical feet. This is one of the wildest peakbagging lists in the United States considering 92 percent of these peaks have no trails to their tops. No one has repeated this feat.
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Hammond Pond Wild Forest exploration – 2017
This 46,000-acre wild forest of the Adirondack Park is home to 101 named topographic features – 1 meadow, 2 rivers, 2 waterfalls, 17 streams, 35 summits, 44 bodies of water. When Erik reached his final feature, 2,310-foot Bald Peak – camping on top – he became first to visit all 101 features.
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Wilcox Lake Wild Forest exploration – 2017
This 125,000-acre wild forest of the Adirondack Park is home to 134 named topographic features – 5 sites, 37 bodies of water, 43 streams, 49 summits. When Erik reached his final feature, 2,452-foot Huckleberry Mountain – camping on top – he became first to visit all 134 features.
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Lake George Wild Forest exploration – 2017
This 71,000-acre wild forest of the Adirondack Park is home to 92 named topographic features – 1 pass, 1 valley, 1 range, 2 points, 2 rivers, 25 streams, 29 bodies of water, 31 summits. When Erik reached his final feature, 1,070-foot Morton Mountain, he became first to visit all 92 features.
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High Peaks Wilderness Area trail system traverse – 2016
Covering every mile of trail within the Adirondack Park's High Peaks Wilderness Area is New York's toughest hiking challenge. The trail system within this 190,000-acre wilderness area totals 268 miles, but with all the backtracking, distance traveled likely exceeds 350. Erik was first to complete this challenge. Five others have repeated this feat.
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Catskill 200 highest during winter – 2012
Climbing these peaks, which range from 2,490 to 4,190 feet, is no easy job considering 145 of them have no trails to their tops. When Erik finished this list on an unnamed 2,850-foot peak – camping on top – he became first to reach the 200 highest during winter, a feat that has not been repeated.
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Southern Appalachian 5,000-footers – 2012
The Southern Appalachians are home to 198 peaks above 5,000 feet. The most remote summits require long approach hikes, while the trailless summits are guarded by nearly-impenetrable rhododendron thickets. When Erik finished this list on Tennessee's 5,980-foot Pinnacle Lead – camping on top – he became the second person to reach all 198.
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Delaware River paddle – 2011
During this thirteen-day, 360-mile source-to-sea trip (daily average of 27.7 miles), Erik fought tides, outmaneuvered vessels and their six-foot-tall wakes, ran rapids, and slept in the sketchiest campsites of his life. The one in Camden, New Jersey, located under a train trestle and between an oil refinery and a parking lot, was most memorable.
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Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Area exploration – 2011
This 46,000-acre wilderness area of the Adirondack Park is home to 106 named topographic features – 11 streams, 44 bodies of water, 51 summits. When Erik reached his final feature, 1,716-foot Desolate Hill, he became first to visit all 106 features.
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Susquehanna River paddle – 2010
Erik's source-to-sea paddle of the 460-mile Susquehanna River took sixteen days (daily average of 28.8 miles). During this journey, Erik completed fourteen portages and camped and paddled in temperatures as low as 20 degrees. The island campsites and fine fall weather made this one of his best long-distance adventures.
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Trans Adirondack Route thru-hike – 2010
This 240-mile pathway was created by Erik this year. On the first day of August he was dropped off on the northern border of New York's six-million-acre Adirondack Park. Twelve days later (daily average of 20.0 miles + 2,200 vertical feet), he reached this park's southern border. The Trans Adirondack Route was made official in 2013.
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Catskill 2,000-footers – 2010
When Erik reached the top of 2,230-foot Sheridan Mountain – camping on top – he became first to summit the Catskill Mountains' 387 peaks above 2,000 feet. Of these, 328 have no trails to their tops. Dozens are privately owned, so permission had to be sought for those elusive peaks. No one has repeated this feat.
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Tahoe Rim Trail thru-hike + 10,000-footers– 2009
The Tahoe Rim Trail traverses three wilderness areas and reaches a high point of 10,338 feet. Erik's six-day thru-hike (daily average of 25.4 miles + 4,300 vertical feet) was the first and fastest traverse that year. After this hike, Erik climbed the Lake Tahoe Basin's eleven peaks above 10,000 feet.
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Catskill high peaks traverse – 2008
The high peaks of the Catskill Mountains are those above 3,500 feet. Erik completed a continuous traverse of these 35 peaks, becoming the first hiker to do it solo. He covered this 140-mile route in six days (daily average of 23.3 miles + 7,000 vertical feet).
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Northville Placid Trail thru-hike – 2008
In 1995, this was Erik's first long-distance trail. He was a neophyte at the time, and that's why it took him nine long days to cover this trail. Thirteen years later, he returned to the Northville Placid Trail to see how quickly he could hike it. He covered the 133 miles in less than four days (daily average of 39.9 miles + 3,600 vertical feet), the fastest traverse that year.
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Baker Trail extended thru-hike – 2007
By joining the 140-mile Baker Trail, a 100-mile span of Allegheny National Forest, and an extra 30 miles, Erik thru-hiked a 270-mile route in Pennsylvania and New York in ten days (daily average of 27.0 miles + 2,000 vertical feet). This was an especially challenging trip due to hot and humid weather, confusing directions, and lack of quality campsites and water sources.
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High Peaks Wilderness Area circumnavigation – 2007
The Adirondack Park's 190,000-acre High Peaks Wilderness Area is the largest wilderness area in the Northeast. Erik tackled a 110-mile route in four days (daily average of 25.6 miles + 4,400 vertical feet) to circumnavigate this wilderness area. This was the first time someone had circumnavigated High Peaks Wilderness Area, and this feat has not been repeated.
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Catskill Park trail system traverse – 2007
Within the 700,000-acre Catskill Park there are 324 miles' worth of trails ranging from 0.2 to 24.2 miles in length. When Erik reached the end of Blackhead Mountain Trail on the summit of 3,950-foot Blackhead after 450 miles of hiking, he finished covering all Catskill Park trails, becoming the tenth person to do so.
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Foothills Trail system traverse – 2006
The 110-mile Foothills Trail system of the Carolinas traverses Table Rock State Park, Oconee State Park, Caesar's Head State Park, Jones Gap State Park, and Sumter National Forest and reaches the highest peak in South Carolina, 3,554-foot Sassafras Mountain. Erik traversed this system via a series of day hikes and overnight trips that totaled 170 miles of hiking.
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Long Path two-part section-hike – 2006
This 320-mile trail begins near New York City yet gets wilder as it journeys north. The highlight is the 95-mile Catskill Park section, where fifteen 3,000-footers are summited. One long-distance trail in the U.S. has to be worst, and this one's it. Shortcomings include road walking, long stretches without legal campsites, limited wildness, and unmaintained sections.
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Great Smoky Mountains National Park traverse – 2005
Erik's intent was to thru-hike the 286-mile Benton MacKaye Trail. If he had been successful, he would have been this trail's second thru-hiker. But 75 miles into this hike he suffered an injury that had him abandon his trek. Nonetheless, he managed to cover the first 100 miles, across 520,000-acre Great Smoky Mountains National Park, in four days (daily average of 25.0 miles + 4,000 vertical feet).
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Canada to Mexico mountain bike ride – 2005
Down Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, and Arizona, Erik covered a self-designed 2,740-mile route in 52 days (daily average of 52.7 miles + 3,600 vertical feet). He crossed three state park units, seven national park units, and eighteen national forest units. Temperatures ranged from 26 to 101 degrees. This route topped out at 11,000 feet and was on dirt for 65 percent of its length.
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Northeast 3,000-footers – 2004
That's 770 peaks across six states – 2 peaks in Massachusetts, 4 in Pennsylvania, 109 in Vermont, 165 in Maine, 175 in New Hampshire, 315 in New York. To summit them demands 2,400 miles of hiking and 700,000 vertical feet of climbing. More than 400 peaks have no trails to their summits. Seventy of them don't even have names. When Erik reached his final peak, 3,588-foot Tumbledown Mountain of Maine – camping on top – he became the fourth person to summit all 770.
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U.S.-Mexico border mountain bike ride– 2003/2004
During December, January, and February, a gringo from Upstate New York became the first (and still only) person to mountain bike the entire U.S.-Mexico border. Erik rode 2,250 miles across Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California for 46 days (daily average of 49.0 miles + 500 vertical feet), managing to not be robbed nor killed.
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Metacomet Monadnock Trail thru-hike – 2002
This 114-mile trail begins on the Massachusetts/Connecticut border and ends on 3,168-foot Monadnock Mountain, the highest peak in southern New Hampshire and the most-climbed peak in the United States. Erik's five-day hike (daily average of 21.5 miles + 4,300 vertical feet) was the fastest traverse that year.
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Cohos Trail thru-hike – 2002
Traversing New Hampshire's northernmost county, the 165-mile Cohos Trail climbs 30,000 vertical feet and tops out on the fifth highest peak in the Northeast, 5,367-foot Mount Madison. Erik's eight-day hike (daily average of 20.6 miles + 3,800 vertical feet) was the fastest traverse that year.
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Florida Trail thru-hike – 2002
The 1,300-mile Florida Trail spans nearly all of the Sunshine State. Though it doesn't offer traditional mountainous terrain, this trail still holds challenges – stuff like alligators, heat and humidity, water moccasins, flooded sections of trail, and sparse campsites. Erik's 55-day hike (daily average of 22.2 miles) was the fastest traverse that year.
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Southwest mountain bike ride – 2002
This is the year Erik combined two talents – mountain biking and long-distance travel – by riding 1,100 miles from La Sal, Utah, to the U.S.-Mexico border of Arizona. In this second state, he rode the 800-mile Arizona Trail Corridor, becoming the third person to do so. Erik's ride took 26 days (daily average of 42.3 miles + 1,700 vertical feet).
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Long Trail thru-hike – 1998
Vermont's Long Trail is, mile-for-mile, the toughest long-distance trail in the U.S. During its 270-mile course, it climbs 68,000 vertical feet and reaches thirty peaks above 3,000 feet, including Vermont's five 4,000-footers. Erik's seventeen-day hike (daily average of 15.9 miles + 4,000 vertical feet) was a fundraiser he organized for the Long Trail Protection Campaign.
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Northville Placid Trail thru-hike – 1995
The one that started it all. Erik had no idea what he was doing when he set out on this 133-mile hike. After all, the extent of what he knew about hiking was learned during his time as a paratrooper. He and his hiking partner reached the end nine days later (daily average of 14.8 miles + 1,300 vertical feet). Erik then vowed to do two things: lighten his load and hike solo.
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