Backpacker Radio 85 | Neville Harris of Woods Hole Hostel

n today’s episode of Backpacker Radio presented by The Trek, brought to you by, we are joined by Neville Harris.  Neville is the owner and head honcho at Woods Hole Hostel, commonly regarded as one of the top hostels (if not the top hostel) along the entire Appalachian Trail.  I think the reasoning for this will be readily apparent during our conversation with Neville, as her radiant personality shines through during our chat.  Neville shares a bit about her meditation practice and the impact it’s had on her life, ...

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Gossamer Gear The Two Ultralight Tent Review

I will probably be forever lamenting the fact that I carried a five-pound tent on the JMT. Though I didn’t have much money to spend before the trip, if I had known how much of a difference three pounds could make, I might have skipped the new clothing and gone for a new shelter.
The Gossamer Gear The Two is an ultralight, non-freestanding classic. Weighing in at just under two pounds, I found it extremely easy to set up (with practice) and very cozy at night. ...

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My Time on the River To River Trail

I recently just finished my first thru-hike, the River To River (R2R) Trail in southern Illinois. The R2R is a 157 mile network of hiking trails, equestrian trails, and road walks. The trail stretches from the tiny hamlet of Elizabethtown on the Ohio River–to the town of Grand Tower on the Mississippi River. This trail took nine days for me to complete, and it gave me a taste of what thru-hiking will be like!
COVID Life Update
Like many other people, ...

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NEW podcast – Cicerone Hiking guidebooks

As publishers of nearly 400 outdoor travel guidebooks, Cicerone Press are a specialist team who love the outdoors and want to inspire and guide you on your next outdoor adventure. In this episode, hosts Amy Hodkin and Hannah Stevenson introduce themselves and speak to Joe Williams about the history of Cicerone, our team of expert …

Things Nobody Tells You About Iran

As an Iranian interacting with many foreigners, I encounter with many interesting questions in my day-to-day life and I also discover some interesting, yet overlooked details about my country and its culture.

The questions normally range from more general topics like politics, economics and religion to tiny details about everyday life of people in Iran.

Here are some of the most frequent topics I have been asked as an Iranian. So let’s check it out to see if you also carry the same doubts about this less-known land or not!


Do you live in the future?

When I talk about dates and calendars in general, our Iranian solar calendar is one of weirdest details about Iran.

People normally get surprised when they understand that we use 3 official calendars in the country and the main one starts with the first day of spring, and when they here about the date, it sounds to them that we live in another era, probably in the future, as we are about to begin the year 1400!


It’s Saturday, let’s go to work!

When most people around the world are about to start their weekend, people in Iran get ready to go work, because it is Saturday! Yes, the week in Iran ends on Friday and so the weekend officially starts on Thursday.

So, it is good to have this in mind when you are organizing a trip to Iran, as it might affect the details of your plans in many ways!


Iranian food is not Indian food!

Unlike what many foreigners might think about Iranian gastronomy, we are not in general accustomed to eat spicy foods as it is so common in countries like India.

It is true that we use more spices than other countries in general, but these spices are not normally hot and spicy and they rather bring a different taste to our food.

You may sense the taste of turmeric, black pepper, saffron and cinnamon in many foods, but at last the food won’t be spicy (although it would definitely be more salty, sourer and stranger in general!!)


And do you have it on in the house, too?

The hijab theme is always a controversial topic and usually hard to explain in many ways. It is more related to the government rules and peoples’ beliefs than other subjects.

So, no, we dress normal in our houses, although if you get invited to some traditional or religious families’ houses, you might see a woman having it on because of strangers in the house, as it widely depends on the family’s background and religious beliefs.


Who drives in Iran and how?

Many foreigners have this idea that women are not allowed to drive in Iran, but it is not true. Actually, they have had the possibility to drive since many years ago and they still do.

In fact, in my experience, they are better drivers in big cities like Tehran, as they respect the law more than many men (calm down! Just an idea!!). But it is true that driving in Iran in general might surprise (and even scare you!) in some moments!


Is it really snowing in Tehran?

Unlike the existing image of Iran, its capital and many other cities are green, with many lovely trees and cool weather and in fact, the 3 thousand and some snow-capped mountains of Tehran, complete the beautiful image of this city.

We normally experience snow in the city during the winter, but you can see the snow on top of the mountains (and even go skiing!) in other times of the year in Tehran, too.


Iranian rap, Ghormeh Sabzi-Pizza?

Actually, it is not a very strange and rare combination. Iranian rap and other Iranian versions of different types of music have been evolved and developed during the contemporary time and now have an acceptable background and history.

As an Iranian, I listen to many of them, as there are some well-made raps, rocks and fusion versions of Iranian music with good Persian lyrics.

What might sound strange to you as a foreigner, would probably be listening to the Iranian classical music and Avaaz (or Awaz), which is  an unmetered vocal section of a mode in Persian music and might sounds unfamiliar or totally new to you.


2020 VIRTUAL Banff Mountain Festival begins

2020 Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival is going virtual. October 31 – November 8, 2020. 75 films. 40 events including curated film programs, authors and guest speakers. One price, but you can enjoy the Festival with friends & family.. Details. Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Trek Readers Share Their Best Spooky Hiking Stories

f you’re a hiker, chances are you have at least one or two spooky hiking stories. Most of us have felt that feeling of bottomless (if irrational) dread of things that go bump in the night. You know the one I mean—it’s a sensation all hikers know well. It’s late at night and you’re just starting to nod off when a stick breaks loudly in the dark woods near your tent. You jolt awake instantly, senses on high alert. ...

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Outdoor Research Trail Mix Cowl Pullover Review

‘m about to experience my first “real” winter. As a California transplant now happily living in Salt Lake City, I’m counting on fleece to get me through anticipated rough times. The new Outdoor Research Trail Mix Cowl Pullover is a cozy fleece addition to my fall and winter wardrobe. Overall, this pullover is great both on the trail and casually. It is my go-to layer for chilly mornings on a hike, where I need some warmth that will also manage moisture. ...

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5 Tried and True Safety Tips for Hiking During Hunting Season

ith beautiful foliage, crisp air, and a newfound lack of buzzing insects, autumn is an ideal time to go hiking.  But there’s a catch: hunting season. Although start dates vary by state and locality, some form of hunting is typically underway by mid-September in most regions. There’s no reason not to go hiking during hunting season as long as you take appropriate safety precautions so that no one gets hurt.
Long-distance hikers and day-trippers alike need to exercise caution when hitting the trail in the fall. ...

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Grayl Geopress and Ultralight Compact Water Filters Review

aving a solid water filtration system can make or break your next backpacking trip. Pack an easy and reliable filter, and you’ll stay hydrated and safe from harmful bacteria throughout the trip. Bring along a not-so-dependable option, and you’ll dread getting water and consequently become dehydrated.My go-to filter, unfortunately, cleaned its last liter of water earlier this season. It had been a few years since I had been in the water filter market, and I was excited to try out some new options. ...

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