How to Start Backpacking ft. Hiking with Britt

This guest interview features another San Diego local and expert on the hiking scene and how to start backpacking. Hiking with Britt joins the squad to share her favorite trails around San Diego, hiking advice including trail etiquette, how to start hiking and backpacking, tips for new backpackers, and how she got involved with a hiking community. We also swap stories and advice from the many, many hikes we’ve all done both in San Diego and beyond.

How to Start Backpacking – Episode Transcript

1 (41s):
Welcome to this week’s episode of the Travel Squad podcast. Today, we’re interviewing a very special guest Brittany from the Instagram page, Hiking with Britt who is a fellow local San Diego, sun, and hiker babes ambassador.

2 (1m 11s):
This is a very exciting episode for us and a very exciting guest because she is the first guest that we were able to interview in person live, not on zoom, so exciting. And it was an amazing interview. We went so many places. Brett gave us a ton of great insight into backpacking, especially backpacking for beginners like us. And she gave some great recommendations on some of the best hikes throughout San Diego and how to really enjoy and be one with nature. You’re going to love this episode.

3 (1m 42s):
Yeah. And one of my favorite things about Britt’s Instagram page is that she really resonated with me with one of the things that she has listed in her bio. And she puts a hashtag in there that says we’ll travel for hikes. And I feel like in a way that really represents us here at the Travel Squad Podcast, because a lot of our vacations and trips center around going on hikes, whether it be to national parks or anywhere else for that matter. But we have to give credit where credit is due because she takes it to the whole nother level, which is going to be backpacking overnight adventures, camping on the trail, bringing your own food. We don’t do anything like that. I mean, we’re not strangers to 10 mile hikes, but definitely not in the backpacking foil.

3 (2m 25s):
So this is really, really exciting stuff here telling us all about that.

2 (2m 29s):
She also goes deep on the best dehydrated foods to bring on the trail with you. So stay tuned for that. You’re not going to want to miss that. And without further ado, let’s get into the episode. Welcome Hiking with Britt to the Travel Squad Podcast. All right. We have a very, very exciting day today. I don’t know if Britt, you know this, but you are our first guest we’ve ever interviewed in person. Oh wow. We’ve done zoom interviews. But because of COVID, we haven’t had a chance to interview own persons where you’re so, so, so, so excited to have you here. So excited that Brittany discovered you, Brittany, do you want to introduce our guest?

1 (3m 9s):
I have been following Hiking With Britt for a few months. Now. I have had such travel envy and hiking envy watching her Instagram, seeing all the cool hikes she’s doing. And I am so excited that she agreed to come to our podcast and do a live interview.

3 (3m 25s):
So thank you for being here, Brittany. Yeah, I’m excited. You know what? I actually, we need to get something clarified right away. I think we need a classify our guests, Brittany as Britt and keep Travel Squad Brittany as Brittany. So there’s no confusion as we go on. So for the rest of the day, Brittany, your Brit, if that’s okay. That’s perfect. Okay.

2 (3m 45s):
Something about Brittany’s because this Brittany here is a super passionate hiker as well, something in the Brittany blood. So your whole Instagram is around your life and your hikes. You have gone on a lot of cool hikes. I was Instagram stalking you before this. So how did you get into hiking?

6 (4m 1s):
I got into hiking when I first moved to San Diego. I grew up in New York, liking the outdoors and camping with my family, but didn’t really start hiking, hiking until I moved to San Diego. And it all started with Torrey Pines. Of course,

1 (4m 15s):
That is a classic San Diego hike. Like the beauty of that hike really draws everyone in. And you want to always like explore more of San Diego after doing that.

3 (4m 23s):
But the funny thing about Torrey Pines too, is it’s such a simple hike. And then here you are going from that simple hike, even though rather beautiful to crazy multi-day backpacking experiences through national parks and other places. And so I think that’s one of the major differences between us cause our listeners know this. I mean, we do a lots of hiking, but realistically we’ve never done the whole backpacking, an overnight experience where we have to rely on our own wits to survive in a sense and camp other than the Inca trail, which we had our porters for us, they cooked our food. So we had the easy way out. And you have now developed to do it the hard way.

6 (4m 59s):
Yeah. Starting to actually, when I moved here, people started asking me to hike too. And I kind of thought it was just like the San Diego thing to do

2 (5m 8s):
Kind of

6 (5m 9s):
Thing. And so I started doing it more.

3 (5m 11s):
I think the hiking for San Diego people is the people who really don’t like the beach who live here. Exactly.

2 (5m 18s):
I love the beach and I love hiking too. And when I moved here, I think I’d gone on one or maybe two hike. No, maybe, maybe a little bit more, two or three hikes in my whole life. And then I moved here and Brittany was already living here and we started hiking. I think Torrey Pines was also my first hike. That’s a good segue gateway into the Hiking world here.

1 (5m 37s):
Yeah. I think I have pics of you and I together Torrey Pines as one of your first hikes together. So that’s awesome.

2 (5m 43s):
And then you hit off all the regulars, like potato chip rock.

6 (5m 46s):
Oh yeah. Iron mountain, potato chip, Rancho. Penasquitos all those where

2 (5m 51s):
You have a favorite hike in San Diego?

6 (5m 53s):
I do. My favorite hike is Lawson peak. It actually opened back up from the fires. It’s super pretty views the whole time. And there’s some like rock scrambling and this big cave you go through. So it’s really fun.

1 (6m 7s):
Lawson. What part of San Diego is that in

6 (6m 9s):
East county?

1 (6m 10s):
East county, like more like Palomar mountain or

6 (6m 14s):
No, like Hummel area

1 (6m 15s):
Hummel. Okay. To check that one out.

3 (6m 18s):
And so did you do a lot of local San Diego hiking before you ventured onto the big hikes? Or did you kind of do only a couple then really start doing the backpacking because there’s nothing that these, that I’m aware of here in San Diego, that’s a multi-day backpacking experience.

6 (6m 33s):
Yeah, generally I would do like San Diego hikes. And then when we started planning trips, then they kind of centered around hiking and locations that we wanted to hike. But my first backpacking actually a lot of backpacking that I’ve done has been in San Diego, primarily along different sections of the Pacific crest trail. It started with my fiance wanting to teach me how to do it. And so he was my pack mule the first time. And he only made me carry my clothes, my sleeping bag, my water and my food. And he carried all the like heavier gear.

1 (7m 2s):
What a nice guy.

6 (7m 3s):
I know

1 (7m 4s):
That they still do that for you.

7 (7m 6s):
Yeah. A little, but

6 (7m 8s):
I’ve actually now gone on two trips without him. So getting used to a heavier pack has been a bit of a struggle, but fun.

1 (7m 16s):
What do you normally carry and how much does it normally weigh when you go backpacking?

3 (7m 19s):
Yeah, because I think backpacking could be intimidating to a lot of people. I’m at least speaking for myself in that sense. I mean, we’ve been on trails and national parks and seeing people who are continuing on into back country. And I always say to myself like, oh, I want to do that. But at the same time, I don’t know if I really even trust myself to do something like that.

6 (7m 36s):
Yeah. Backpacking is a different kind of beast for sure. Your pack will probably weigh between like 25 and 35 pounds, depending on the weight of the gear that you have, how many days you’re going, are there water sources along the way? So the hard part about San Diego is there’s not a lot of water, right? And so often if you’re doing a multi-day trip in San Diego, you need to carry water and water

1 (7m 59s):
Is super heavy

6 (8m 0s):
To carry water is the heaviest part, for sure. So I disliked the beginning of the Pacific crest trail, the first 26 miles with a couple girls. And there’s a 15 mile stretch where there’s no water and it’s getting to be hot. So we have the carry on us about five liters of water on top of all of our, their gear. So that was hard.

3 (8m 19s):
And then when you’re carrying all that water, what type of thought process goes into play in terms of rationing. And especially if you know that you’re not going to come across water sources. And if you are ones that aren’t stagnant and actually safe to really drink from. Cause I think I would think to myself, oh my gosh, I really have to ration my water here.

6 (8m 35s):
Yeah, definitely. When, when it’s hot, you still need to drink the water at though. So it’s like this constant reminder of making sure you have enough, make sure you’re feeling hydrated. I find that I try to drink at least one hydration tablet a day when I’m on a backpacking trip so that I know, okay, I’m getting a decent chunk of water right there. And if I am by a water source, I’ll load up on water. Sit there, hang out for a little bit, drink some extra and then get ready to go.

2 (9m 2s):
You have a certain brand for the hydration tablet that you recommend.

6 (9m 5s):
I used the noon and you, you N okay. I’m not trying to say it.

3 (9m 9s):
That’s fine. I don’t know how to pronounce a lot of brand name stuff too. So nonetheless, at least we have it spelled. So the listeners will go ahead and know on that. But real quick before we kind of really move on, we have a lot of listeners, a lot of them do like hiking. A lot of them, not necessarily so much in that sense. So they may not be familiar with what the Pacific crest trail is. Let alone that the Southern Terminus is really here in San Diego. So why don’t you just tell people a little bit about what that is?

6 (9m 33s):
Sure. The Pacific crest trail is a trail from Mexico to Canada and along the west coast. And so you start in Campo right at the border, literally there’s the border wall at the Southern Terminus, which I wasn’t expecting it to be that close, but it is that close. And the whole trail is over 2,600 miles. And so a lot of people set out to do the whole entire thing, not my forte, but

2 (10m 0s):
Can you ever see yourself doing it?

6 (10m 2s):
Honestly? No, it’s, it’s a little much for me. I’m pretty small frame now that you guys have met me at least. And so for me to carry that amount of weight for that long is a bit challenging.

3 (10m 14s):
But after that you’ll bulk up a little.

6 (10m 17s):
Yeah. Actually a lot of people will lose weight on the Pacific crest trail because they’re rationing not only their water, but also their food

2 (10m 23s):
And they’re working out so much every

6 (10m 24s):
Day. Yeah. You burned so many calories every day.

3 (10m 27s):
So I know you haven’t done the full thing, but what portion and how far north did you get starting here in San Diego of that? And like how many days did you do of it?

6 (10m 35s):
Yeah. So just this past week, I did the first 26 miles of the Pacific crest trail, which gets you basically from the Southern Terminus to the eight for the San Diego listeners. They’ll know that. And then I’ve hiked other sections kind of through mountain Laguna area. I love mountain Laguna. So often if we are going to do a backpacking one or two night trip, we’ll go to mountain. Laguna starts somewhere along the Pacific crest trail and go north or south.

2 (11m 1s):
Do you want to go any farther up?

6 (11m 3s):
Oh, I would love to do oh, a longer section, but I probably won’t go past like the Sierras.

3 (11m 10s):
That’s the Sears. Keep it in California. The cool part of it, I guess. But let me ask you this then what is the coolest backpacking hike that you’ve done? Not just regular hike, but backpacking. Cause that sounds epic if it was completed, but what’s the most epic that you have completed.

6 (11m 25s):
So the most epic and the hardest that I’ve done so far has been the rim to rim at the grand canyon. And so that is 23 miles. And the elevation change, I think is over 5,000. And so we went from north rim to south rim and we camped one night in the canyon at the lowest point, right by the Colorado river. And then we hiked out the next day

1 (11m 50s):
And then you take a shuttle, like how did you guys get back to your car and all of that good

6 (11m 54s):
Question. So we did during COVID. So the usual way to get to and from rim to rim is a shuttle was actually closed. And so I did my research and I joined a bunch of Facebook groups and people were trying to problem solve and figure this out. And so strangers were driving people’s cars for a decent amount of money from rim to rim. And so I paid a stranger to drive my car from the north rim to the south room.

1 (12m 20s):
Isn’t that like a five-hour drive?

6 (12m 21s):
Yeah, it’s a five hour drive. We wanted our car to be where we were at the end because we didn’t want to sit with somebody else in the car and we didn’t want to have to do the drive ourselves. So we paid for our car to be driven and it was right there at the trail head. It worked out.

3 (12m 35s):
Were you worried someone was going to steal it? I’m just kidding.

6 (12m 39s):
Just the little we actually paid him half via Venmo and then left the other half in cash in the car. So he had to at least get to our car to get the rest of them.

3 (12m 47s):
Well, that’s a smart way to do it, I guess in that sense, you know, one time Brittany and I were in Hawaii and we were just doing a simple little day hike, but you had to park somewhere and you really couldn’t drive beyond. But people who were locals were charging people to say, Hey, you want to bypass the hike to get to this secluded beach? Cause it was like the green beach, wasn’t it. And then they had the locals who were driving, but I’ve never seen anyone willing to invest the, you know, the five-hour drive, but I guess you’re right. You pay him a good amount of money. I would drive five hours depending on how much it costs to. So

6 (13m 18s):
I did that hike in Hawaii to

3 (13m 19s):
Oh yeah. To the green beets on big island. Yeah. We saw all the locals and it’s not even that far of a hike. I’m just like, what is wrong with people? They’re probably charging them a hundred dollars for nothing. Yeah.

1 (13m 29s):
So I have a question about the rim to rim trail. Is there only one rim to rim trail or are there multiple?

6 (13m 35s):
I just actually learned that there is an alternate, but most people do the north Kaibab trail and then you can come out two different ways, either south Kaibab or bright angel. We did bright angel.

1 (13m 47s):
Okay. We did the south Kaibab trail down and our goal was to make it to the Colorado river and we did not make it all the way down there. We started too late.

6 (13m 57s):

3 (13m 58s):
Because we were on a time constraint. I wish we had more time. It wasn’t that we just got burnt out. It was really, we were moving on somewhere else because we were going to be doing more hiking and it just didn’t really work out that way. And I’m curious to know, especially since you were talking earlier about having to carry water on that trail, the rim to rim, do they have spots to fill the water and is the water in the Colorado safe enough to drink straight from the source? Because I know sometimes even a major river like that, maybe, maybe not. Right?

6 (14m 25s):
Yeah. So the grand canyon is awesome to do backpacking because there’s potable water and spickets along the way. And so most of the time you don’t have to carry more than three liters, which is usually what most people bring on their like day hikes. There is a stretch in the center that’s referred to as the box that gets very, very hot in the summer. And that’s also the spot where there aren’t many spickets, I think it’s a stretch of maybe seven or eight miles. There is a Creek that you can filter. And so my fiance loves to drink out of any water source that is available. So of course he took the opportunity to filter from the Creek and it was nice and cold and tasted delicious. I’m not sure if it’s safe to filter from the Colorado river, just getting the water might be a little dangerous because of the flow and just the vastness of it.

6 (15m 13s):
And it doesn’t appear that clean, but I mean, I’m sure a certain quality filters could, you could drink it.

3 (15m 18s):
So this leads me actually to two questions. One of them was one that I actually wanted to highlight on an ask, but are you familiar with life straws? Do you guys have those for the backpacking? And then my follow up question to that that I really wanted to ask is what are some backpacking products that you would swear by? Like it’s essential to have really with you? So kind of two-parter

6 (15m 38s):
Yeah, we don’t have a lecturer. Actually. I know of them. We just haven’t used them. I’ve heard negative things just about having to like be so low and you’re supposed to drink right from the source. And so we don’t have one of those. We actually use a Sawyer filter, which is pretty common. Like everybody that I was just on the PCT with had a solar filter. And

3 (15m 56s):
What is that?

6 (15m 57s):
It’s, you can connect it to, they have like a bladder, like little bag that holds the water, or it also connects to a lot of like common water bottles, like Smartwater water bottles. You can just screw it on the top there. And so the thing with the common Sawyer filter is dust that you need to make sure the water’s deep enough where you can submerge the bag or the water bottle. It can’t be stagnant water. It can’t be a little trickle. There has to be a decent amount of flow for you to use it. So it is naturally getting filtered through rocks and, and the stuff that it’s going through as far as essential backpacking gear, hard to say, besides like, you know, the standard, make sure you have a tent sleeping bag, that’s warm enough for wherever you’re going.

6 (16m 39s):
I have this really lightweight chair from REI that I am obsessed with. I always bring it. It’s like less than a pound it’s REI brand. It’s bright orange, my favorite color. And being able to sit down and have your back lean against something, I think is a game changer.

3 (16m 57s):
Yeah. Better than sitting on an uncomfortable rock or something to that effect. Okay. And I guess, you know, my question, it really depends on where and what you’re hiking. Right. But in terms of, you know, real essentials and like what type of food do you bring with you on that? Because I always wonder is like, is it canned food? Do you have a can opener? Do you actually do a twofer by having some sort of pocket knife and use the pocket? And I have to open, like, these are all the questions I have. Cause I have no clue about doing any of that and bringing my food other than just like day snacks.

6 (17m 24s):
Yeah. These are, these are really good questions. So you can bring canned food. The issue of canned food is it’s heavy. And so people tend to not bring canned food. I use the dehydrated meals. My favorite brand is I’m good to go. They actually started off as primarily vegetarian. And so that was one thing that attracted them to me. I try to primarily to vegetarian diet, it’s actually really good. And so usually I do dehydrated meals. Other people will do things like ramen. And so how you’re going to heat that up or how you’re going to make that is probably

3 (17m 56s):
Well that’s more than, yeah, that’s more gear now you gotta carry your little a pod or whatever, right? Yeah.

6 (18m 1s):
Yeah. So a lot of people use like a Jetboil and there’s other sources to heat up the food too. But again, Southern California can’t have fires. And so there’s no heating up your food on the fire. You have to rely on your jet boil. And, and most places, you know, even if there’s fires not allowed, then jet boils and backpacking stoves, they’ll call them are allowed. So you boil up your water, fill up your pouch. If you’re doing like the dehydrated food, wait 15 to 20 minutes, and then it’s good to go.

2 (18m 26s):
What’s an example of something you ate. That was good. That was dehydrated food.

6 (18m 31s):
Yeah. So the, my favorite ones from the good to go are a mushroom risotto sounds super fancy. Right?

3 (18m 40s):

6 (18m 41s):
And then there, they also have a pad Thai that’s really good, but I’ve had it like almost their whole line. Now, at least the dinner or lunch meals, I don’t do the breakfast for breakfast. I’ll usually do maybe like an oatmeal packet or I just go usually more to like protein bar, granola bar.

3 (18m 56s):
And you find like, those really give you enough sustenance. Yeah.

6 (18m 59s):
Oh, you probably have to eat a couple of them depending on what you’re doing. I recently discovered the pro meal bars and one of those have like over 400 calories in them. So that’s a decent one to get, as opposed to like cliff bars are usually between like 200 and 300.

1 (19m 15s):
So the dehydrated meals, do you have to add water to them to

6 (19m 18s):
Yeah. Make them go Lang water. Yep, exactly. So, yeah. So the other part about backpacking is that you not only need water to drink, but you need water to usually make your food dehydrated food. Isn’t the only way people go. Like some people even just pack sandwiches. Like if it’s just a one night thing, I’ve had people come with like a subway sandwich in their pack.

3 (19m 36s):
Sure. That makes sense. But in terms of a longer hike, like multi-day, so what’s the longest you’ve actually done in one stretch. Then at that point,

6 (19m 44s):
The longest I’ve gone has only been two days right

3 (19m 46s):
Now. Two days. Okay.

6 (19m 48s):
Three days, I guess

2 (19m 49s):
What’s the longest you think you would do?

6 (19m 51s):
Probably five, five days.

3 (19m 53s):
And where would that five day be?

6 (19m 55s):
Oh, somewhere where there’s no bears,

3 (19m 58s):
No bears. You don’t want to carry bear spray. Add to your pack

6 (20m 2s):
Can answer. He makes me carry bear spray. He says that it’s good for bears, mountain lions and people. He’s more worried about people.

3 (20m 8s):
See. What’s funny is when we hike in areas that there’s black bears, I don’t carry bear spray, but when I’m hiking in an area where there’s Grizzlies, I always carry bear spray. But see, I never do an overnight in grizzly territory. That’s a little, Ooh, you got to really worry about your food and when you’re making it and everything like that.

6 (20m 28s):
Yeah. But people hike in Yosemite backpack. You’ll send me all time and there’s bears.

3 (20m 32s):
Oh, I know I’ve been to Yosemite and seen bears. So, but there are only black bears. Not Grizzlies. They don’t intimidate me as much.

2 (20m 40s):
There’s a bear.

3 (20m 42s):
It’s true.

1 (20m 42s):
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1 (21m 56s):
So you do a lot of Hiking with your boyfriend and then also with your friends, is that what attracted you and your boyfriend together or your fiance? I should say to each other? His

2 (22m 4s):

6 (22m 5s):
Thank you. Yeah. So we met on Tinder and yeah, one of the reasons why I did swipe right, was because one of his pictures was him Hiking and he actually always makes a comment of like, well, why did you pick me? And I tell him that he’s the only one who could keep up the first hike I took him on was three sisters balls,

1 (22m 25s):
Boom, beautiful hike

6 (22m 27s):
Before the kind of remodel now. So it was a bit harder and a bit longer. And so yeah, he kept up and you stick around.

1 (22m 35s):
Very nice. And so I want to say from looking through your Instagram, something really exciting happened on one of your hiking trips. Can you dive into that a little bit more?

6 (22m 44s):
Yeah, sure. So I was just talking about the rim to rim hike, being the most epic hike. And it was the most epic from the sense of the views, the challenge, but at the end of my rim to rim hike, my fiance actually proposed to me. So that was very, very exciting.

1 (23m 0s):

2 (23m 1s):
Like holding that ring, the whole hype, like don’t lose it.

6 (23m 5s):
It was in his pack actually. So he had to dig it out when we got to the top.

3 (23m 9s):
So it was at the very end then.

6 (23m 10s):
Yeah. Very end. He made me backpack 23 miles for the

3 (23m 13s):

2 (23m 16s):
You had to see if you could keep up.

6 (23m 17s):
Yeah, exactly. Cause he’s the one that actually got me into backpacking. I didn’t backpack before I met him.

1 (23m 23s):
Did you know that he was going to propose to you on that trip?

6 (23m 25s):
I had an idea.

3 (23m 28s):
I feel like women always have that idea. Brittany supposedly had the idea when I was about to propose to her on a vacation. I don’t want to say ours was as epic as the height. Cause it wasn’t the rim to rim in the grand canyon and 20 something odd miles. But we did some glacier tracking and Alaska and at the end of the glacier Trek, I came one knee and Brittany said no at first. And I really had to convince her to say yes, think, but see, so hikers have that mindset. I mean, you had one of the most important days of the day you got proposed to on a hike and same thing with me and Brittany and we just love to hike just as well. So it’s one of those things. What could be more romantic than that? Right.

2 (24m 5s):
I actually wanted to ask you, since you moved here, when you first moved here, you weren’t a big hiker. You obviously became a big hiker since you have lived here. Do you feel like you made a lot of friends through Hiking?

6 (24m 15s):
Yes, actually. So I’m now an ambassador for a women’s hiking group called hiker babes. And there they’re all over the country. I actually think we have a couple of international chapters now. And so I was part of a couple groups and they weren’t really planning many hikes. And then I saw there was a call for ambassadors for hiker babes. And I thought, why not? And I’ve now made so many friends and I’ve gotten them into backpacking. So the two trips that I’ve gone on without my fiance, one has been with hiker babes. And so we’re going to Catalina together. We’re going to do two nights in Catalina backpacking and I hike every weekend. Sometimes it’s so low, but a lot of the times, if it’s not with my fiance, it’s with people I met in hyper boobs.

3 (25m 0s):
How does someone go about becoming an ambassador for something like that or even any other type of hiking group, but more specifically hiker babes?

6 (25m 8s):
Yeah. So I was a member of the San Diego chapter and the founder had just put out, Hey, we’re looking for more ambassadors. Some of the previous ones were moving on. And so I messaged her and was like, Hey, what does that entail? And she told me, basically, I just want you to plan one hike a month. And I was already doing that. And so I was just like, okay, so you’re telling me, I just need to invite people on the hikes that I’m already going on. And she’s like, yeah, easy. Sorry.

3 (25m 33s):
Are there any honorary male members of hiker babes? Because I hiked as it is already with a couple of babes. So can I come on these adventures? Otherwise I’m going to feel kind of excluded, but if it really is an all girls club, I understand

6 (25m 45s):
Primarily it’s all women, but we do do hikes where we invite significant others or children or dogs.

3 (25m 53s):
So dogs with the male members too. I like that. I love seeing the categories right there, but I’ll take it. I’ll be an honorary member when the time comes though.

1 (26m 2s):
So how many people normally go on these hikes with you?

6 (26m 4s):
Well, it’s been slow with COVID. We didn’t do any hikes because we had to follow the county guidelines, but I just hosted a hike last weekend. And about six people showed up. I think COVID still influencing people wanting to come before that. I would say we had anywhere between 10 and 15.

1 (26m 22s):
Has anything ever happened like crazy where someone’s fainted while you’re on a hike with them or anything? Like,

6 (26m 28s):
Thank God. No, but I will say the first hike that I did was flume trail, which is out in a think Lakeside. And I listed it as a beginner hike because the mileage was pretty short. It’s only about miles, but it does go up and I wrote the elevation change. I wrote the mileage and my very first hike, someone got very upset that I was talking to people and being interactive and wasn’t paying attention to all members and she was really struggling. And so yeah, I was like, oh my gosh, is this gonna happen? Every hike that I host. And so now I tend to over-exaggerate the difficulty a little bit to make sure people know, okay, this is going to be kind of hard.

6 (27m 13s):
And I just try to make it clear. It’s this distance, it’s this elevation. Sometimes I’ll compare it to hikes that people are more familiar with. Let’s say cows or iron mountain. If we’re doing something that’s new, that’s

2 (27m 25s):
Funny. Have you ever done any hikes in Balboa park?

6 (27m 27s):
I used to trail run and bell, bell park all the time. I wouldn’t call them hikes, but

2 (27m 34s):
So me and Brittany for awhile, when I first moved here, we were on this hiking all the time, exploring San Diego hikes, but we wanted to do harder ones and get like a workout in too. And so Balbo park had listed this hike as difficult. So we got up at like five morning before the sun even came out to do this Trek. And we start walking around and there’s like homeless people, snoring.

1 (27m 57s):
And we had like our Hiking backpack and our water bladders were like, we’re going to hike in Balboa park,

2 (28m 3s):
Hiking shoes and everything.

1 (28m 4s):
And it was a walk in the park and I think they listed it as difficult because of the mileage. It was like a 10 mile trip loop around the park and everything. But it was definitely not hard and different.

2 (28m 15s):
Over-exaggerated for sure on the difficulty there,

3 (28m 18s):
As she was saying, how now? You’re, over-exaggerating the difficulty. So people know it made me immediately think, cause we always say this when we go to national parks and do the hikes and they say, oh, it’s really difficult. And then we do it. And we’re just like, it’s not even as bad not to say that it’s easy, but it’s definitely over exaggerated in that sense. But then I feel under exaggerated on the mileage, like they’ll say something lower and then it really turns out to be longer. And it’s like, are they trying to discourage people from doing these

2 (28m 46s):
Longer for some reason.

3 (28m 47s):
Yeah. But always easier. And it’s just, it’s confusing because then it’s longer. And we’re not expecting that.

6 (28m 51s):
I think, you know, when you’re going to these different places, even just the elevation being a little different than San Diego can also impact you. So it could feel a bit harder cause elevation is different or it could feel easier because you’re in a different place and you’re excited and your scenery is new. So I think Hiking has a lot to do with just like your mental state as well. Have

1 (29m 12s):
You ever gotten lost on a hike?

6 (29m 13s):

2 (29m 16s):

3 (29m 17s):
So is that compass in that essential pack that I was asking about earlier?

6 (29m 22s):
So I used to have apple watch, which I thought worked fine for tracking mileage and pace, but it didn’t really do a good job for on trails and the battery life is not good for if you’re going multiple days. And so I switched over to, I have a Garmin now, the Phoenix and so I love it. And the battery life is awesome. You can preload in trails that you want to do. You can create your own trails and get them there. So like you can look down at your watch and see what direction you need to go. So since I’ve had this, I haven’t gotten lost. Oh,

2 (29m 52s):
That’s amazing. Yeah.

3 (29m 54s):
We’re probably going to have to get one now. Like you just described it to me at I’m so intrigued by it actually. That’s really, really cool. Yeah.

6 (29m 60s):
They actually have bigger ones. My fancy has the bigger one and it has like a topographical map too. So you can have it’s really cool. Yeah.

3 (30m 7s):
Very nice. Now are those solar or battery powered?

6 (30m 11s):
It’s battery powered.

3 (30m 12s):
Okay. Because I know a lot of watches now are becoming really solar, but I mean, it’s something with that type of electronics in it. I have to imagine battery, but way better battery life. Obviously, since it’s a watch, then what you were talking about earlier on using

6 (30m 23s):
Yeah. Longer battery life. If you are backpacking, you, of course can bring like a battery pack. I tend to try to cut weight any which way possible. So I’ll like switch all my stuff to like airplane mode and turn them off when I’m not using them. And when I’m in nature, I don’t want to be on my phone anyway. And so if I go a day or two, like when I just did two days on the Pacific crest trail, I didn’t bring a battery pack and I survived just fine.

3 (30m 46s):
Very nice. So I want to get into something I mentioned earlier when I just said the national parks were big, big national park people. We love it. What are some of the favorite hikes that you’ve done in national parks? Because I noticed on your Insta page, a lot of national parks that you’ve been to. So I’m curious to know which ones were your favorite hikes. Cause a lot of the ones that you’ve been to, we have just as well.

6 (31m 8s):
Yeah. So outside the grand canyon, we’ve gone to the grand canyon now twice. So we really do love it. Even before we got engaged there, we, we just love it. We’ll go back. I’m sure we were very pleasantly surprised by Yosemite. We actually were expecting Yosemite to be overrated just because the amount of people that go and oh, what could it be? You know? But Yosemite is probably my second favorite after the grand canyon. Now

3 (31m 34s):
Being that Yosemite is the closest national park to our hometown. I’m a little offended by that because Yosemite is something special, but I’m glad that that’s actually one of your favorites.

6 (31m 43s):
Yeah. So we did the clouds rest there. We did the mist trail and yeah, classic. I did think it was a little overrated, but we went in the fall and so the waterfalls were not flowing. And ideally you would want to go into the spring if you wanted to see the

3 (31m 58s):
Oh yeah. Well, when you get to Vernal falls into some of the other spots too, if you’re at the right season, it’s really misting on you. And if it’s warm too, it just comes on. You really, really nice.

6 (32m 7s):
Yeah. We didn’t have, we didn’t have that experience, but we, we did clouds rest, which was amazing. The view from the end is just spectacular. The whole valley.

3 (32m 17s):
When you were in Yosemite, did you guys try to secure permits to do half dome? Or was that not even on your radar?

6 (32m 22s):
He did not. Actually, it was kind of an impromptu trip. And so

3 (32m 28s):

6 (32m 29s):
I didn’t, I didn’t really look, even look for them cause I figured they would be gone.

2 (32m 35s):
Have you been to Zion?

6 (32m 36s):
I have yes.

2 (32m 37s):
And done angels

6 (32m 38s):
Landing. I have, that was definitely one of my favorites as well. I went up and went down it and I said to my fiance, can we do that again tomorrow? It’s

2 (32m 47s):
Not as scary as it seems then.

6 (32m 49s):
I’m not afraid of Heights, but we did pass people that were afraid of Heights and they were definitely struggling. So I don’t want to say that it’s not scary or it’s not hard because people were petrified.

3 (33m 1s):
And what’s really funny as Brittany and I have done Angel’s landing like three times and one time we took Kim to Zion. When we were in Vegas, we just did the quick little drive and we’re like, oh, we’re going to do a little day hike out there. And we had intended to do angels landing, but it was in winter, but there wasn’t a lot, a lot of snow, but you know, Angel’s landing and you’re out the sheer rocks and you have the chains and we attempted it and we’re like, we don’t have crampons or like, there’s no way. So we continued the other way from what what’s the precipice up there before like Eagles landing or Scouts landing or something like that. And we continued the other way and we didn’t do angels landing. So we’re actually going back to soon June and we’re going to do the narrows, but we’re going to try to make sure that she gets,

6 (33m 45s):
We did the narrows as well. When we went, I am, I’m not a big fan of water. And so I, I hated waiting through water. What more

2 (33m 54s):
Hours did you do that one? We did.

6 (33m 56s):
We were there in July.

2 (33m 57s):
Okay. So yeah, we’re going in June. So what might be kind of similar? Do you have any tips for us?

6 (34m 2s):
Don’t buy the extra gear from all the people trying to sell it to that.

2 (34m 7s):
We were thinking about it.

6 (34m 9s):
Yeah. We are a bathing suit underneath and then we were regular hiking, you know, lightweight shorts. We were our regular hiking shoes. And then the one thing we did get, which again, you probably didn’t need to, but we did get the, just like a pole. We didn’t have hiking poles at the time, but you could probably use regular hiking poles or there’s tons of like people leave sticks, big sticks that they used while they were waiting. It also depends on how much water there is and how difficult the flow is going to be to walk against. Did you bring a dry bag? No, actually we just left all our electronics behind and we brought a GoPro. Awesome. Yeah, that was it. Like I said, we’re very like when we’re in nature, we don’t want our electronics on us, so we just left them behind.

3 (34m 50s):
And yet you have an Instagram page. So I’m wondering how you take photos that, oh, they’re all GoPro photos. Wow. Okay. Very nice. Yeah.

1 (34m 58s):
Does it get cold in the narrows because you’re kind of boxed in like, did you wear a sweater or anything?

6 (35m 3s):
We didn’t wear a sweater cause it was in July, but there is parts where there’s like, yeah, no sun coming in because the walls are really high. So it wasn’t like we were hot. Yeah.

3 (35m 13s):
So I know you said you guys love the grand canyon. I think you even mentioned if not on air off air, when we’re talking that your fiance is from Arizona, have you been to canyon lands in Utah? Because let me say this started with the Colorado river, carving it out. I found it to be way more impressive than the grand canyon.

6 (35m 33s):
Well, now I gotta go. You

3 (35m 34s):
Gotta go canyon mans, I think was something truly, truly special, you know, at the grand canyon you can see to the other side. And I know you’ve hiked to the other side, but here you’re just like, wow, these canyons are so huge and you can’t even tell where the other side is. It’s vast and impressive. And they have certain sections of the park and the section of the park that we went to. There’s really not a lot of hiking, but the Hiking that they do have, this would be conducive for you. They say, unless you’re really like a backpacker, you shouldn’t be down in these areas. So there are a lot more remote and less people there. And you’re really in the thick of it down in the canyon versus like at the top of it, which is where we were on it. But so beautiful out

6 (36m 12s):
There. Yeah. We got to go now.

1 (36m 14s):
Yeah. Add it to your list.

2 (36m 15s):
Another really cool spot in Arizona. I’m curious if you’ve been as antelope canyon,

6 (36m 19s):
We didn’t do antelope canyon. We did horseshoe bend. Part of the reason why we didn’t do animal of canyon is, well you need a guide. Yeah. So it sits on a reservation and I’d have to pay for, and it’s pretty short hike. And so we were like, eh, we’ll skip it.

3 (36m 33s):
Scenic beauty wise though. It’s unparalleled. It’s really beautiful. The, in terms of like actual hike, I agree with you. I mean, you’re not going to spend more than an hour there anyway, but you’ve never seen rock formations like that until you’re really in it. I’m sure they’re so beautiful.

2 (36m 47s):
The wave is also kind of in that area. Have you been,

6 (36m 49s):
Yeah, I haven’t done the wave either. Yeah. We want to do that.

2 (36m 53s):
I will say like in terms of things being overrated that are really popular antelope canyon in the busy season, summer super busy lines crazy. But when we went, there was hardly anybody there and our guide was just with our group.

6 (37m 6s):
Oh, that’s awesome.

2 (37m 7s):
Yeah. So

1 (37m 8s):
We went in December.

2 (37m 8s):
December is the time to go.

1 (37m 10s):

6 (37m 11s):
Arizona and the winter is great.

3 (37m 13s):
Well that’s when we actually hiked the grand canyon also under the Kaibab trail, Canadian neutron from grand canyon and made our way to antelope.

2 (37m 21s):
Have you ever taken any trips outside of the us and gone hiking?

6 (37m 25s):
I have not yet.

2 (37m 26s):
Oh, anywhere you want to.

6 (37m 28s):
I feel like there’s a lot to explore in the U S so we’re kind of tackling over here right now, but I don’t know what the future’s going to bring. We actually want to do our honeymoon. Not that this is outside the us, but we want to do our honeymoon on Kauai and do the Nepali trail.

1 (37m 43s):
Oh yeah. Yeah. We really wanted to do that trail. But while we were in Hawaii, when we went, it was right after a huge rainstorm and there was mudslides. And so it wiped out part of the Nepali coast trail. So we couldn’t complete it, but we can add it back on our list.

3 (37m 58s):
We got to go back. I want to do us so beautiful out there. If you guys end up doing that, it’s going to be impressive. I’m sure. And Hawaii is like a foreign country anyway, even though

1 (38m 7s):

3 (38m 7s):
Good in

1 (38m 7s):
That sense, have you been to Hawaii before?

6 (38m 9s):
I have not. I’ve been to the big island and a wahoo,

1 (38m 13s):
So quiet. And I don’t know if you know this or not. They have a grand canyon, like a mini grand canyon in Kauai. Yeah. So definitely check that out.

6 (38m 22s):
Yeah. I want to,

2 (38m 23s):
I have a question about safety. Have you ever seen a rattlesnake on the trail by you?

6 (38m 29s):
I have. I actually just encountered one on the PCT on Tuesday.

2 (38m 33s):
Yeah. What do you do? What did do?

6 (38m 36s):
So you’re supposed to stop and try to find where it is and then you’re supposed to back away very slowly, but my encounter did not go like that. It was hidden. And so I was in the front of the three girls and I walked past it. I must have woken it up and startled it. And so I started rattling. We all paused for a second. And this, what I’m describing right now literally happened in a blink of an eye, but we all pause, try to locate it. Couldn’t see it. I started to hear the other two girls walk backwards. I thought it was behind me. And so I walked forward and they actually weren’t able to go through the trail again because the snake didn’t move. Another hiker ended up coming up and we were like, don’t go, there’s a rattlesnake.

6 (39m 19s):
And he took a couple more steps. It got angry again. And so they actually had to go around trail, which was also dangerous because we didn’t know if there was other rattlesnakes off trail. So that was my like first time that like I came onto a rattlesnake, but mission trails there’s rattlesnakes everywhere.

3 (39m 35s):
I was actually gonna say this one real quick. Did you see it? How big was the snake that you guys came across?

6 (39m 40s):
We don’t know. We never saw.

3 (39m 42s):
So when Brittany and I were doing mission trails, we were fortunate enough that it was just right on the trail. And so we were able to see it, but this is the largest rattlesnake I’ve ever seen in person. I am not exaggerating. It was four and a half to five feet long. Well, some of the most rattlesnakes are actually like, you know, two to three feet and sometimes not really that big, but you will catch those big ones sometimes. And I’ve never seen a big one on a trail. Other than that one here, mission trails in San Diego, it was huge. Yeah.

6 (40m 10s):
Yeah. Actually the babies are apparently more dangerous because they don’t know how to just release a little bit of their venom. And so if they do buy do, or if you do see a baby be super, super careful.

3 (40m 22s):
I didn’t know. Yeah.

2 (40m 24s):
Yeah. And is it like if you try to find them because they kind of lunge out at you?

6 (40m 29s):
Yeah. I think my fiance told me he educates me on all the wildlife. So I think he told me they can attack like two times their, their length. So even if they’re a tiny rattlesnake, like only two feet, you’re thinking that you want to keep like a four feet perimeter around them. So

1 (40m 45s):
The five feet, one So also on the topic of safety, have you ever gotten hurt on the trail and what have you had to do?

6 (40m 56s):
No, I wouldn’t say besides like ankle sprain here and there, nothing where it was like, I couldn’t get off the trail. It’s not usually me. It’s actually using my fiance, sprays his

2 (41m 6s):

6 (41m 6s):
All the time.

3 (41m 7s):
Cause he’s carrying your extra weight.

2 (41m 11s):
Have you ever lost a toenail?

6 (41m 12s):
Not from Hiking.

3 (41m 14s):
Brittany’s lost a toenail from hiking up in Tahoe area.

6 (41m 17s):
Blisters of course, standard standard. Like the standard little things. Beasting these thing was scary because it was my first spacing in my lifetime actually. And I didn’t know if I was allergic. And so I was thankfully with my fiance and not solo, but he was asking me like every minute. Are you okay? Do you have any symptoms? You feel lightheaded? I’m okay.

2 (41m 39s):
That’s interesting that you hike solo. I don’t think I’ve ever done a solo hike.

6 (41m 43s):
Yeah. A lot of people are afraid to, or you know, maybe they do it for the social aspect, but I actually, I enjoyed the group side cause I enjoy doing it with people, but there’s something about going solo as well to just kind of have that time to yourself and be in nature and just on the trail.

2 (41m 58s):
Yeah. Do you try new hikes by yourself?

1 (42m 1s):

6 (42m 1s):
Yeah. That’s cool. My fiance does not approve.

2 (42m 5s):
Put your phones off in the middle by yourself. Yeah.

6 (42m 9s):
Oh, I have a feeling I’m going to end up getting garment also has like a, more like an emergency GPS tracker that you can broadcast your location. So I have a feeling he’s going to get me that because our, our friends that are doing the PCT habit and he’s like constantly checking where they are.

3 (42m 27s):
Yeah. That’s actually a really cool feature. Yeah.

6 (42m 30s):
I think he’s going to go make me use it in my regular day life.

3 (42m 35s):
I’ll leave that at home

2 (42m 36s):
Hiking today just

3 (42m 38s):
In case. Yeah, It was in everyday life. That’s probably all. That’s

6 (42m 44s):

1 (42m 45s):
So what do you think about people who play music on the trail?

6 (42m 47s):
Oh, I hate it. I mean, I just liked the sounds in nature so much that it’s just so disturbing to hear music on the trail and that does motivate people. So if it motivates you and you need it, does put your headphones in and get in the zone and go.

1 (43m 5s):
Yeah. I also don’t like when I hear people blasting their music on the trembling.

3 (43m 9s):
Well, not only that I’ve seen a couple people with backpacks that have the boom boxes and then I’m just like, what are you doing? That

2 (43m 15s):
We had our music playing when we were in grand Tetons just,

3 (43m 19s):
But they advise that they advised that it was subtle enough, but not like blaring. But I agree with you. I love the sounds of nature. If you’re going to go on a hike, I mean, minus the workout aspect of it, it’s to be in nature and have your mind and soul cleansed and you need to hear nature in that sense. Yes. But you mentioned something earlier, a little bit back where you were saying, you know, you’d like to go on those hikes alone. It’s good for the mind. What kind of life lessons do you think Hiking has actually taught you? Because the hikers are a specific breed and I like, I consider myself a casual hiker, but talking to you, I consider you to be more of like, I don’t wanna say hardcore hiker, but more serious about it in that sense. And so what type of life lessons, if any, do you think hiking has really taught you were instilled in you?

6 (44m 3s):
I think the biggest thing is just kind of living in the moment and appreciating what’s around you. And really one of the reasons why I like hiking is like, it takes up your whole day. Like it can take up your whole day if you want to. And so get away from the electronics, get away from your usual schedule and just take time to be out there and just breathe it all in.

3 (44m 23s):
I love that.

2 (44m 24s):
Absolutely. I feel like you can see so much more of the world too. Yeah, that’s right. They’re beautiful. Waterfalls and flowers and sunsets and everything else. That’s really cool. And I know we discovered you through Instagram in your Instagram is growing. Do you have a goal to grow your Instagram and become an Hiking influencer at all? Or just as a passion?

6 (44m 43s):
When I first started, I was like, oh, I want to be a hiking influencer. And you know, I was like, I’m going to do this, but I don’t really know how to even do that. And so if it happens cool, but I think it’s just kind of a way for me to just share my journey with people. And now that I’ve made a lot of hiking friends, I think a lot of people like to see like, oh, where, where I’ve been or where I’m going. And I also didn’t want to like flood my personal page with tons of hiking pictures. So that was another reason why I started it. This is separate. All my hiking adventures are going to go here and I can post as much as I want, because that’s what this page is about. That’s

2 (45m 19s):
Cool. You have a great page. I love looking at your

6 (45m 20s):
Pictures. Thank you.

1 (45m 22s):
You have a pretty good following. Like not aspiring to be an influencer that just kind of natural organic followers.

6 (45m 29s):
Yeah. Some people are going on, people I’ve met and you know, I follow a lot of other hikers too, even from different areas. It is kind of fun when you’re like planning a trip. I start looking at people that live in the area and, you know, stocking their page and seeing what, what are the locals

2 (45m 43s):
That is the best way when we’re trying to plan a trip and trying to see what’s to do there, you click on the location tag and then you go down a rabbit hole. That’s fun. We also really liked the research portion of trip planning.

3 (45m 56s):
So you’re going to be really lucky here, Brett, we’re going to start something new that we haven’t done with any of our guests yet. So you’re the honorary person for that. So Brittany, why don’t you say a little bit about,

1 (46m 6s):
So we’re going to go into this rapid fire segment. Okay. So these are questions that we haven’t sent to you. So you don’t know. And we just want the first thought that comes into your mind when you think about these questions. Okay. All right. So our first one is what is your dream

6 (46m 19s):
Hike? Probably Kauai. The Nepali trail. And

1 (46m 22s):
You have that planned. Yeah.

6 (46m 23s):

1 (46m 24s):
That’s awesome. What about your dream vacation?

6 (46m 27s):
We want to go to Alaska. I would say, I don’t know what hikes would be there, but we do want to see the Northern lights.

1 (46m 32s):
I definitely want to see the Northern lights and we were looking to see them from Iceland. And we were possibly thinking about that for September, for other trip gets canceled. That sounds

6 (46m 40s):

3 (46m 41s):
Yeah. And we were looking at Alaska as a backup and Kim Kim put a kibosh on that one and said, no,

2 (46m 47s):
I’ve been to Alaska a few times. So I’ve

3 (46m 50s):
Been to Alaska too, but I wanted to do the national parks out there and do some hiking out there. But anyway, good answer on that. Set.

2 (46m 55s):
The next question. A confession from a hike or backpacking

6 (46m 59s):
Trip. I’m feed on my cell phones. I actually peed. And then I slipped and I fell and my

1 (47m 5s):
that’s a good one.

2 (47m 9s):
I can definitely happen out there. And then lastly, if you could offer one insider tip for hiking or backpacking, what would that best tip be?

6 (47m 19s):
Just make sure you have comfortable shoes and water.

2 (47m 22s):
That is such a good tip. Yeah. Blisters city. When you wear those shoes for the first time.

6 (47m 26s):
Yeah. Even if you just want to go on a hike here, it’s okay to wear like most likes in San Diego you can do in sneakers.

2 (47m 32s):
That’s a great tip.

3 (47m 33s):
I think that about wraps it up unless you had any final thoughts that you wanted to tell us, Brett.

6 (47m 38s):
No, I think that’s everything up. Keep on Hiking.

3 (47m 41s):
Well, I appreciate you coming and being our first in-person guest. It’s been a real honor and we’re super excited.

2 (47m 46s):
Slowly, everyone go follow Brit at Hiking With Britt on Instagram, follow all her hikes and thanks for tuning

6 (47m 53s):
In. Thank you.

2 (47m 54s):
Thank you so much for being here.

1 (47m 55s):
Thank you so much. We really enjoyed having you keep

2 (47m 58s):
The adventures going with us. Please be sure to follow us on Instagram and YouTube at Travel Squad Podcast and tag us in your adventures. And of course, send us in those questions of the week.

3 (48m 8s):
And if you found the information in this episode to be useful, or if you thought we were just playing funny, please be sure to share it with a friend that would enjoy it too. And as always guys, please subscribe, rate, and review our podcast and tune in every travel Tuesday for new episodes.

1 (48m 22s):
Stay tuned for next week’s episode, we have some more amazing adventures and tips in store for you.

2 (48m 27s):
Woo bye everybody.

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