They say variety is the spice of life. I say salt is...but that's an argument for another day. If there's one thing that's certain, it's that there's no shortage of variety when it comes to this year's lineup of Salazon thru-hikers. These three badass backpackers will collectively trek 15,000 miles, covering The Triple Crown of Hiking - The Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and Continental Divide Trail - but that's just the half of it! So without further ado, meet the 2015 crew.
Thomas "The Real Hiking Viking" Gathman
You met him last December, but we promised he’d be back! The man…the myth…the Viking is at it again with new trails to conquer. On the agenda for 2015 are more than 6,000 miles of rugged American-made terrain. He started the season on the Florida Trail, then heads to the Arizona Trail in April, and is saving the Pacific Crest Trail for the coup de grâce from May to August.
C’mon Real Hiking Viking, is 6,000 miles all you can muster? Okay, so it may be a few more miles than I’m walking this year, but this isn’t about me…
For those brave enough to compete beardo-a-beardo with the Real Hiking Viking, head to the beard contest tab on our Facebook page and submit your best beard pic for a chance to win a $100 Salazon prize pack. Don't have a beard? You can still take part in the action by voting for the winner!
Heather "Anish" Anderson
Heather, known as Anish on trails, bested the Triple Crown of Backpacking in 2006 at the impressive age of 25. She completed the 2,100 mile long Appalachian Trail in 2003, the 2,600 mi long Pacific Crest Trail in 2005, and the 2,600 mi long Continental Divide Trail in 2006. But the trail kept calling her back for more, so next she set her sights on ultra-marathon running, completing six 100 mile races since August 2011 as well as dozens of 50k and 50 mi events. Heather is well known for setting the overall self-supported speed record on the Pacific Crest Trail in 2013 (60 days, 17 hours, 12 min), breaking the previous record by four days. This year, she continues her momentum with an attempt to set the Appalachian Trail Fastest Known Time.
We would wish Anish good luck, but with her trail record of success, she doesn't seem to need it!
Renee "She-ra" Patrick
Renee blames her need for adventure on a childhood growing up in the wilderness of Wisconsin. She thought four tree houses, a lake within biking distance and wild-spirited friends were the norm, and has continued seeking the same ever since.
A studious and steady college career launched Renee head-first into the Peace Corps. A military Coup, noble fight against the Guinea Worm, and many, many cases of Giardia later, she left Burkina Faso for the seduction of her first long-distance hike: The Appalachian Trail.
Ever since, Renee has been addicted to walking for months on end. This year she embarks on her 8th long distance trail with the Continental Divide Trail. When not backpacking across the country, she enjoys packrafting, skiing, rafting or biking near her home in Bend, Oregon.
The CDT is new terrain for both She-ra and Salazon Chocolate, so we can't wait to see what lies ahead!
15,000 combined miles in a year? That's a lifetime worth of hiking packed into 365 days! When The Real Hiking Viking, Anish, and She-ra begin their journey, you can bet that they’ll have Salazon Chocolate accompanying them the whole way. The three of them have more in common than hiking, they also enjoy our 72% Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt & Almonds. We bet you'll have that in common with them too! Take 10% off your Salazon Chocolate order with discount code HIKINGCHOCOLATE.