Ask Andrew Skurka: Get Hard-Won Wisdom From the 25,000-Mile Man

On many days during his Alaska-Yukon Expedition, Andrew Skurka would take just one long break for about an hour in
the early afternoon. This was an opportunity to dry his feet and
gear, to make notes on his maps, and to take a cat nap to re-energize
for another long push to camp.
See the photo gallery >>

At 29 years old, Andrew Skurka has managed to build his adult life around planning and going on great expeditions. So far he's pulled off a dozen remote trekking adventures and covered some 25,000 miles, including his latest 4,700-mile loop of hiking, skiing, and packrafting in Alaska and the Yukon.

Now here's your chance ask Andrew how he pulls off his adventures. How does he determine his food needs? How does he approach orienteering? Does he use a compass or GPS? How does he deal with being alone in the wilderness for big chunks of time? Then how does he deal with being back in "normal" society with cable TV, well-stocked refrigerators, and no risk of bears sneaking up on you? How does he get funding to do this stuff?

Ask Andrew your expedition questions now, and then get started planning your own great adventure, big or small. We'll post Andrew's responses next week.


  1. samh
    September 23, 2010, 2:58 pm

    Hi Andy, how do you determine your food needs? How do you approach orienteering? Do you use a compass or GPS? How do you deal with being alone in the wilderness for big chunks of time? Then how do you deal with being back in “normal” society with cable TV, well-stocked refrigerators, and no risk of bears sneaking up on you? How do you get funding to do this stuff?

  2. Buzz
    September 23, 2010, 3:08 pm

    (The above question was a good one 🙂
    What do you say to potential girlfriends? “Hey, I’m going on a hike, back in 6 months?”

  3. Penegra
    September 24, 2010, 1:31 am

    Oh man.. its a victory on such a huge long way… what an active achievement..

  4. Liam @ Guided Holidays
    September 24, 2010, 3:20 am

    Andrew how common is it to run into other people on your treks? If you do see somebody a few miles away do you go towards them, veer away from them or stay on course and let them come to you if they want to make contact?

  5. Brian
    September 24, 2010, 5:21 pm

    Andrew, If you had to recommend ONE long distance hike in the American west (not the “loop”), which one would it be?

  6. Karen Skurka
    September 24, 2010, 7:39 pm

    I was wondering if you would share the method you use to decide exactly how much food you will require for a ten day stint between resupply points. I know how exact this method is and think it would be fascinating to share with others.

  7. Nate
    September 25, 2010, 9:35 pm

    How do you fund your trips/lifestyle? Do you have a team of sorts or are you mostly solo as far as logistics/planning? Do you have any advice for someone who wants to change his lifestyle from a traditional full time job to full time adventure seeker/tripper? Thank you.

  8. Adam Campbell
    September 26, 2010, 7:00 pm

    Is that Nutella? fuel of champs!

  9. Alan : - )
    September 27, 2010, 9:25 pm

    Andy: I know this is as much a mental as physical undertaking.How do you keep your head in it?Is it like a job…just get up everyday and do it?What is your mindset?Is pain your friend?Enlighten us please!
    What equipment worked or did not work?

  10. Alex
    October 2, 2010, 3:25 pm

    Do you have another job or do you do this for a living? If this is your job, then how did you get to do it? They never tell us about this sort of thing in school career days and it looks a lot more fun than being stuck in a boring office.

  11. Kenseals
    October 6, 2010, 7:59 pm

    I’ve always enjoyed following your treks, Andy – you’re a champ. I’m glad your mom brought up the food question, as your method piques my interest. Along those same lines, do you speak with a nutrition specialist to figure out the best food for a given trek, or have you acquired the knowledge over time? Also, when planning resupplies, what do you find to be the optimal number of days between them? How have your thoughts on resupplies/town stops changed over the years? Are the cheeseburgers any less enticing, or do you just get better at forgetting about them? Thanks for your time and for remaining humble. And, thanks to Nat Geo for hosting your blog. Take care.

  12. Tea
    October 6, 2010, 8:01 pm

    I saw a go-lite thong of yours in Sierra City. Is it comfortable?

  13. T.J. Hart
    October 6, 2010, 10:48 pm

    What is your secret to looking after your feet? Surely you use more than one pair of shoes. Do you break in all the shoes before the trip or do you break them in on the trip? Feet are so important to hiking. Special exercises, first aid techniques, anything really.

  14. bastien
    October 7, 2010, 3:04 am

    Do you sometimes feels the need to go a litle bit heavier for a better confort at the campsite(eg inner net shelter, full sleeping mat, music or books) ?

  15. Ben
    October 7, 2010, 4:52 am

    Hi Andy,
    Congrats on an awesome achievement!
    Q: Do you ever get scared? What scares you – bears, being alone, bad weather, getting lost? How do you mentally deal with it?
    Also, are you going to write a book about this trip? Or a how-to book?

  16. Alan R
    October 7, 2010, 9:49 pm

    Hi Andy,
    How did you avoid encounters with grizzly bears on your Alaska/Yukon adventure? You often had quite a bit of food with you, but I’m guessing many times there were no trees to hang it at night… it seems like you would be a “sitting duck” with food in grizzly country.

  17. Fred
    October 8, 2010, 5:31 am

    Even more impressed of undertaking the walk, I am astonished by the planning process! How did you get e mental projection of that magnitude? To which detail did you plan the route? How long did it take you. Can you count that in hours? How did you plan it technically? What tool did you use. Upon receiving each mail drop, did you actually remember all details for upcoming terrain? I find it difficult to get mental projection (an the motivation by that) beyond a couple weeks! I did longer travels with replanning in-between, but a single tour of that length is a different thing. Thanks for enlightening on that!

  18. Sage
    October 8, 2010, 11:37 pm

    It’s cold out, it’s day 155, it’s dark, you are warm in your sleeping bag. How do you get your ass out of the bliss of dream land and back on the trail? When your motivation takes a dive what do you do to pull it back up? Do you ever get behind schedule, how do you deal with that? I know running out of food can be a great motivator, but it seems you are driven by something beyond food stress. Thanks for doing inspiring things & for being willing to share your thoughts!

  19. Matthias
    October 12, 2010, 12:55 pm

    Hi Andy!
    Iam just wondering, if something like the “triple crown” is a goal for you to achieve or not. I know you hiked the whole AT and sektions of PCT and CDT. Is this kind of trail walking still an adventure for you or are you over that?
    best regards

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  23. Hai
    February 25, 2012, 10:51 am

    Hi Andrew Skurka!
    I am so proud of you as you are nine years younger than me and you have created such an amazing record.
    I just have one question for you.What interested you most during that time?
    Thank you bro.