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We are currently hiking the American Discovery Trail Westbound

YouTube: First Church of the Masochist Hikes
Instagram: @mattonamtn
Email: (or message me on Instagram)

Ways to support our adventures
ULA Equipment Affiliate Link
Amazon Affiliate using this link

Major Video Series

176 Episodes, lots of Days

75 Episodes, 75 Days

51 Episodes, 58 Days

12 Episodes, 12 Days

10 Episodes, 10 Days

29 Episodes, 30 Days

8 Episodes, 8 Days

5+1 Episodes, 5 Days

(aka Florida Trail, Pinhoti Trail, Appalachian Trail, International Appalachian Trail)
116 Episodes, 302 Days

Older Writeups

Podcasts I've appeared on


Scuba Diving Stuff

Matt & Jen's Favorite Thru Hiking Trail Dinner | Freeze Dried Beans + Minute Rice + Taco Seasoning

Over the last four years I've spent months each summer running around outdoors. And one of the biggest ongoing challenges has been managing trail dinners that I haven't burned out on. And when you factor in the need to keep costs down and availability in the more remote sections of trail that's not been a trivial task.

The store bought backpacker meals I used to lean on heavily are now unsustainably expensive on the scale I need them. When I did the PCT and soon after the Eastern Continental Trail I did a lot of the cheap and ever avaliable Knorr sides but by the time I started the CDT I was burned out on pretty much every variety.

Fortunately I came across instant refried beans and they quickly became our favorite dinner.

Triple Crown of Hiking

The Triple Crown of hiking is the label for hiking the big three thru hiking trails in the US. The Pacific Crest Trail on the west, the Appalachian Trail on the east, and the Continental Divide Trail in the middle -ish.

The big difference for mine other than prioritizing the somewhat seldom done red line in the CDT was the AT. When you look at the Triple Crown map the AT always stuck out and rubbed me wrong because it didn’t actually cross the country like the other two but started and stopped somewhat arbitrarily. So I fixed it by starting down in Key West and continuing up to the northern tip of Nova Scotia doing the Florida Trail, Pinhoti Trail, and several sections of the International Appalachian Trail along the way.

As far as overall Triple Crown stats:

-I started May 4th, 2020 down in Campo with no one around due to one of the Covid lockdowns and I didn’t meet my first fellow thru hiker until the second day. I finished December 11, 2023 at Crazy Cook’s with no one around as one of the last southbound of the year. I hadn’t seen another thru hiker since October 1st in Chama.
-I hiked 10,755 -ish miles (not counting the various warm-up hikes I did in between). 2,683 PCT, 5,000 AT / ECT, and 3,072 CDT.
-I spent 654 days on trail covering every month of the year. PCT 149, AT / ECT 302, CDT 112 + 81. Spread over 4 years instead of 3 due to being forced off the trail in 2022 due to compounding illness.
-Between 800 and 1,300 miles of each trail were done with my lovely partner and the remainder I was solo. I probably camped around others less than 20 times.
-The worst weather was probably getting nailed directly by a hurricane on the East Coast but I had everything from heat to snow to earthquakes to tornado warnings. Temperatures from the single digits to the triple digits.
-Two of my hikes are still not acknowledged by the trail organizations due to COVID era get off the trail directives even when things had calmed down. As a result I tend to refer to my Rebel Triple Crown.
-Along the way I had girardia, achilles injuries, covid + norovirus, painful planar warts for months, chemical burns from a laundry mishap, and of course a calf strain requiring a helicopter evac and a 3 week recovery. And countless little things like pack rash, heat rash, arch abrasions, skinned knees, general foot issues etc.
-Almost every piece of gear has been worn out and replaced multiple times. The one exception is my coffee cup. Though it did miss a few weeks of the trail down in Florida as I went through an experimental cold soaking phase.
-I had countless animal encounters along the way but the only times I felt truly threatened were due to dogs in rural areas
-Cups of coffee consumed along the way: more than I could possibly count. Nachos consumed along the way: far too few.

And with that a goal I would have never thought I would actually achieve is done. After a 25 foot fall during a mountaineering trip in 2013 lead to knee surgery in 2015 walking without pain was a real challenge. Fortunately my not so secret super power has always been stubbornness and the inability to take a hint.

I benefited from help and support from family, friends, near countless trail angels, and just random kind strangers I encountered along the way. I might prioritize camping alone and staying out of towns whenever possible but I really do enjoyed all the people.

So what now? I’m doing the only logical thing and jumping headfirst into planning an east west hike across America for spring. Because there are a whole hell of a lot more adventures out there.

How We Got to and From The River | Mississippi River Source to Sea 2023

Unlike a trip of a few hundred miles where you can generally rent a boat and get shuttled back at the end our epic paddle down the Mississippi saw us covering 2,300+ miles and crossing nearly the entire country. And so the process of getting to and from the river was a little bit more involved.

Powering Our Paddle With a $250 Voltaic Solar Box | Mississippi Source to Sea 2023

The piece of gear which provoked the most comments during our extended journey down the Mississippi was our solar box. I assembled it from pieces sold by a company called Voltaic with the goal of having something we could just set out on the boat and have it generate power without us having to micromanage it when the weather got bad.

I have always loved the idea of solar but at least so far I've found that the state of technology doesn't really lend itself to being usable on long distance hikes. When you're getting started early and hiking until evening you can't really set a panel out for any length of time during the effective hours of sunlight and putting it on the pack while hiking usually doesn't work real well due to the fact you invariably end up partially shading the panel. And then there's the fact that lighter panels tend to be fragile and even the few folks that I've met who have made it work seem to have had to replace them multiple times. And I'm harder on my gear in general than all those fine folks.

But when we started planning for our Mississippi Source to Sea paddle one of our goals was to avoid the constant need to go into town to charge our hiking batteries. Because it's one thing getting a ride into a hotel when all you have is a backpack and quite another when you have to deal with a 17 ft canoe loaded down with gear. And in fact we only slept in town 6 times over 75 days and when we did indulge it was never driven by the fact we were lower on power.

Since after the headwaters the river is quite wide we didn't have to worry about overhead trees shading the box. And I worked around the fragility issues by using a hard panel vs anything bendable or foldable.

And this was the end result which successfully saw us through 10 weeks and 2,460 miles despite all the rain, wind, boat wake, and heat waves. 

Our Mississippi River Thru Paddle By The Numbers | Mississippi River Source to Sea 2023

It took us 60 days to reach Old River Lock where the route diverges with two outlet options
It took us an additional 5 days to reach the gulf via the Atchafalaya ending at Burns Point
It took an additional 10 days to travel from the junction to the end of South Pass going by New Orleans

We were on the river for a total of 75 days
We took 0 zero days
We came off the river to spend the night 6 times

We resupplied 15 times
It cost us roughly $187 per person per week to be on the river excluding equipment costs

2,133 miles paddled from the headwaters to the gulf via the Atchafalaya
2,309 miles paddled not counting the Atchafalaya just headwaters to end of South Pass
2,450 miles paddled total in 75 days

Our longest day was 58 miles which was in the Big River section where we had some current and no obstructions.
The fastest current we measured was 3 mph which was after the Missouri came in.
Out fastest recorded speed was 6 mph but we weren't able to measure the wind sail day on Lake Pepin.

River Coordinates & Distances | Mississippi River Source to Sea 2023

Someone who wasn't familiar with the Mississippi River might assume that there would be a map somewhere with a set of river miles starting at the headwaters and counting down to zero where it reaches the Gulf of Mexico. Sadly the reality is a little more complicated.

Back On The Trail & Up A River! 2023 Edition!

Hey all! March 18th I'm official done in Orange County for the season and back on the move. And this summer is looking to be a doozy. There are going to be three main phases to the summer.

Eastern Continental Trail 2021: Key West to Canada By The Numbers

In 2021 I hiked the Eastern Continental Trail all the way from Key West Florida to the northern tip of Nova Scotia. I covered roughly 5,000 miles over the course of 302 days making this the biggest hike I'd ever attempted. And it was done just 3 months after finishing the Pacific Crest Trail.

While I wasn't meticulous about tracking every aspect of my hike I did keep a daily mileage spreadsheet (linked above) and thanks to credit card statements I was able to compile general cost numbers.

302 Days and 5,000 Miles Later: Hiking Key West to Canada Along The Eastern Continental Trail

On December 28th, 2020 I flew off for Key West Florida with nothing other than my phone, backpacking gear, and an optimistic plan to walk the seldom done Eastern Continental Trail all the way to Canada. Assuming the border opened I hoped to finish up in Quebec at Cap Gaspe completing the entirety of the Florida Trail, Pinhoti Trail, and Appalachian Trail along the way. 

On October 26th after 302 days and a bit over 5,000 miles I found myself standing at the northern tip of Nova Scotia.