Andrew Skurka

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Andrew Skurka

Andrew Skurka is an American professional backpacker who is best known for his two long-distance hiking firsts—the 6,875-mile Great Western Loop and the 7,778-mile Sea-to-Sea Route. He was named the 2007 "Adventurer of the Year" by National Geographic Adventure (which described him as "a Gen Y version of Henry David Thoreau or John Muir") and the 2005 "Person of the Year" by Backpacker magazine.[1][2]

In November 2007, Skurka completed the Great Western Loop, a 6,875-mile journey that links together 5 long-distance hiking trails, 12 National Parks, and over 75 wilderness areas, which he hiked in 208 days, an average of 33 miles per day.[2][3] In addition, in July 2005 Skurka completed the Sea-to-Sea Route,[4] a transcontinental network of long-distance hiking trails from Quebec to Washington, which took him 11 months and which involved 1,400 miles of snowshoeing.[5][6] Skurka's shorter hikes include the 1,700-mile California section of the Pacific Crest Trail (in 45 days), the 486-mile Colorado Trail (twice), the 2,170-mile Appalachian Trail (in 95 days), a 385-mile trek through northern Minnesota in January, and many week- and weekend-long trips in Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming.[2] In 2010 he hiked a 4,679-mile route around Alaska, which took him 176 days.[7]

In addition to expanding the limits of long-distance backpacking, Skurka has defined the light-and-fast style of backcountry travel. The contents of his pack cumulatively weigh a mere 6.5 to 8 pounds, sans food, water, and fuel; and he regularly logs 35–45 miles per day, day after day.[2]

In addition to the distinctions from Adventure and Backpacker, Skurka was featured in Outside's 2007 "Outside 100" list[8] and in Men's Journal's "2005 Adventure Hall of Fame."[9] He has appeared in numerous newspapers and television broadcasts, including The Wall Street Journal[10] and the Fox News Channel.

Skurka also focuses on environmental issues on his trips.[2]

A graduate of Duke University, Skurka is a sponsored athlete, paid speaker, and writer. He is a member of The Explorers Club, has given over 140 presentations about his adventures, and is a frequent contributor to Backpacking Light magazine.

Skurka is also an ultra runner. In 2008, he finished second at the Leadville 100.[11]


  1. ^ Brun, Becky. "Faces - Andrew Skurka". Outdoors NW. Archived from the original on 2007-08-15. Retrieved 2009-07-18.
  2. ^ a b c d e Duane, Daniel. "2007 Adventurer of the Year: The Walking Man". National Geographic Adventure. Archived from the original on 20 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-18.
  3. ^ Willoughby, Scott (January 1, 2008). "Boulderite stands on record". The Denver Post. Retrieved 2009-07-18.
  4. ^ Strickland, Ron (2011). Pathfinder: Blazing A New Trail In Modern America. pp. 116–124.
  5. ^ Parker, Paul Edward (July 18, 2005). "Seekonk man's solo journey from sea to shining sea". The Providence Journal. Retrieved 2009-07-18.
  6. ^ Veis, Greg. "Hiking from coast to coast". Duke Magazine. Archived from the original on 2006-04-17. Retrieved 2009-07-18.
  7. ^ Koeppel, Dan (March 2011). "Circling Alaska in 176 Days". National Geographic: 138–147.
  8. ^ "The Outside 100". Outside Magazine. Archived from the original on 2008-10-11. Retrieved 2009-07-18.
  9. ^ Daley, Jason (2005). "2005 Adventure Hall of Fame". Men's Journal. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |url= (help)
  10. ^ Barlyn, Suzanne. "Tricks of the Trade: A backpacker buys shoes". The Wall Street Journal. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |url= (help)
  11. ^ Kwak-Hefferan, Elisabeth. "Love on the Rocks". Women's Adventure. Archived from the original on 2009-08-02. Retrieved 2009-07-18.

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