Are we losing the art of going feral?


Not familiar? That’s ok. Not a lot of people are anymore. In this increasingly fast-paced, technology fueled, globalizing world full of high speed travel options and hassle-free packaged tours, the art of going feral may slowly be disappearing.

A term that’s stolen from the surf-world, the concept of going feral essentially encompasses anyone who sets off into the marginally known with minimalist packing for an extended period of time with virtually nothing that resembles a plan. It’s embracing unforeseen challenges and making uncertainty your number one travel companion in the quest for an ambiguous goal.

As many who go feral will admit, many times the greatest rewards from an excursion are different than those they originally set out hoping to find.

For anyone itching to go feral sometime soon, this recent feature from Surfline outlines the basic necessities of surviving a feral excursion. Sometimes, as they are keen to point out, this can mean burying your passport, paying off anyone you have to, or protecting your camp with monkey’s skulls purchased from a local witch doctor to fend off would-be robbers.

While this style of travel is not for everyone, for others, it’s everything they live for. Surfers who hire a fishing boat captain to drop them on a remote island and pick them up two weeks later are examples of those who have gone feral. So are kayakers who engage in 1,800 miles of self-sustained paddling through grizzly country, or hardy trekkers who undertake an effort such as thru-hiking the 2,650 mile Pacific Crest Trail, all in an effort to leave this fast-paced world behind and reconnect with nature. It’s all very transcendental, really.

Why not just hop in the RV and drive to the nearest lake then, you might ask? Because for those who go feral, there is a certain sweetness and adrenaline that lies in the quest. To undertake their own personal Hero’s Journey, and to come back having conquered the elements, their fears, uncertainty, dangerous situations, foreign lands, and most importantly, those who said it couldn’t be done.

What are your thoughts on going feral? Irresponsible? Inspiring? Appealing? Disgusting? We all travel in our own way for our own reasons, and for some, going feral is simply the best way there will ever be.

Blind hiker prepares to thru-hike the Continental Divide Trail

Blind hiker Trevor Thomas will attempt to thru-hike the Continental Divide TrailStretching more than 3100 miles in length, the Continental Divide Trail is one of the longest and most challenging treks in the entire world. Together with the Appalachian Trail and and the Pacific Crest Trail, the CDT makes up the “Triple Crown” of long distance hikes in America. This spring, blind hiker Trevor Thomas will set out to conquer it, starting the journey along the Canadian border and traveling south to the Mexican border.

Thomas, who lost his sight to illness back in 2005, has already backpacked the full length of both the Appalachian Trail (2175 miles) and the Pacific Crest Trail (2650). In the case of the AT, he went completely unassisted and on the PCT he had help only through deep snow and poorly marked areas. When he sets out on the CDT this June, Thomas will be joined by three companions who will assist him through the more challenging sections, although he expects to hike most of the trail just like any sighted hiker would.

As the name implies, the CDT follows the Continental Divide through the Rocky Mountains, passing through five U.S. states in the process. Thomas’ route will take him, and his team, through Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. Along the way, they’ll pass through a variety of sub-mountain ranges including the beautiful San Juans, the Sawatch Range, and the breath taking Grand Tetons. The entire journey is expected to take roughly six months to complete.

You can find out more about their plans at TeamFarSight.org.

Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail: The Rain — The joys of Pacific Northwest hiking

pacific crest trail

The Pacific Crest Trail‘s final leg crosses Washington’s North Cascade range, some of the most rugged, remote terrain hikers must face along their journey. Add in a nearly constant drizzle and this section becomes taxing, to say the least. In this video, we hike fast, build fires, and try whatever we can to stay warm and dry in the face of the Northwest’s soggy conditions. In the end, we’re rewarded with an unforgettable moment at the trail’s northern terminus: Manning Park, Canada.

Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail: The Snow — Hiking in the High Country

The Sierra Nevada Mountain range can be treacherous for hikers hoping to cross in early summer, when freezing temperatures and deep snow still linger. In this video, we bundle up, grab our ice axes, and brave the steep slopes of the Sierras. We find that melting snow, buried trail, and rushing rivers add a thrilling dimension to the breathtaking beauty of this mountain wilderness.

Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail: The Desert — When the going gets hot

Walking the the 700-mile-long desert section of this long-distance trail can be uniquely challenging. Extreme temperatures, long waterless stretches, and high winds test the mettle of even the most experienced hikers. In this video, we give tips on how to travel safely through this spectacular but harsh environment, from the Mexican border to the foothills of California’s tallest mountains.