In today’s episode of Backpacker Radio presented by The Trek, we are joined by Paul Barach. Paul is an avid adventurer, but today, we focus in on his trek along Japan’s Shikoku Pilgrimage, a 750-mile route that visits nearly 90 temples. This was Paul’s first backpacking trip, as evidenced by everything that went wrong, including suffering from heat exhaustion, dehydration, being charged by a wild boar, breaking a piece of an ancient temple, getting a leg infection, and more. Not only do we get a good taste for the history of this island and pilgrimage, but Paul’s stories are some truly hall of fame material.
We do the triple crown of states, learn about the crap strap, and are blessed with a fan poop story.
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Interview with Paul Barach
- Author of Fighting Monks and Burning Mountains: Misadventures on a Buddhist Pilgrimage
- Instagram: @barachoutdoors
00:04:28 – QOTD: How are you prepping for winter?
00:07:15 – If you’re hiking next year, apply to vlog, blog, or be an ambassador!
00:07:41 – Paul Barach intro
00:09:30 – How did you get into backpacking originally?
00:09:55 – What kind of ninjas were you obsessed with, specifically?
00:12:36 – After realizing your job sucked, how long did it take to get on trail?
00:13:47 – How did not prepping affect your pilgrimage?
00:15:04 – Can you tell us what the Shikoku pilgrimage entails?
00:16:49 – Can you tell us more about the history of the trail?
00:18:42 – Is there a guidebook for the trail (including the spiritual side)?
00:20:28 – How much traffic is there on this pilgrimage?
00:21:21 – Were you drawn by the religious aspect of the pilgrimage?
00:23:10 – Do you not need a backpack?
00:23:45 – Did you feel more spiritually enlightened from the experience?
00:24:40 – When did you start?
00:24:45 – What is the hiking season in Japan?
00:25:18 – What kind of temperatures were you dealing with?
00:26:00 – Did you have any issues with your sodium balance?
00:26:51 – What is the camping situation like?
00:28:21 – Are people in towns excited to see pilgrims?
00:29:38 – Did you learn Japanese while on the hike?
00:31:05 – How did you handle the logistics?
00:34:06 – Were you doing something wrong? Why couldn’t you find food?
00:34:52 – Do you hitch to town or walk through them?
00:35:21 – How is dried squid?
00:36:06 – How did you get charged by a boar?
00:38:00 – Were you second-guessing what you were doing?
00:43:20 – What is the story of you falling at an ancient temple and breaking a piece of it?
00:46:47 – What was wrong with your leg? How did you know it was infected?
00:49:16 – Can you tell us about the karate fight with a priest?
00:52:34 – What does kumite mean?
00:56:00 – How do you know what martial arts you’ll want to do?
00:57:30 – What’s the worst injury you’ve sustained from martial arts?
00:58:22 – Is kyokushin represented in the UFC at all?
01:00:15 – Do you break boards?
01:04:10 – Is there anything else about the pilgrimage you want to talk about?
01:09:38 – Can you make an adaptation of the oaths for U.S. thru-hiking?
- The Uncomfortable Truth about Thru-Hiking and Weight Loss by Katie Kommer
- Five Things I Learned Thru-Hiking as a Solo Female by Kaylin
- Mountain Lions and Thru-Hiking: Your Questions Answered by Kelly Floro
Triple Crown of States
Point / Counterpoint: Beer vs. Liquor
Patent Pending: Strap & Crap
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