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About this episode

The Out and Back Podcast launches with Heather “Anish” Anderson, who spells out the complex set of factors that drove her to accomplish speed records on the Pacific Crest Trail, the Appalachian Trail, and the Arizona Trail, as well as become one of a handful of athletes to nab all three long trails, some 7,500+ miles of hiking, in a single calendar year. In this episode, Anderson explains how she faced her fear head-on to finally convince herself that she is indeed an athlete as well as what inspired her in her journey from her first overnight backpack trip in 2001 to thru-hiking some 30,000 miles over the last 19 years. Finally, she talks about the very real “post hike depression” that she and other thru-hikers experience after re-entering society following months on the trail, how journaling helped her process the grief that overcame her after claiming the fastest known time on the PCT, and how those journals ultimately formed the basis of her book "Thirst: 2600 Miles to Home" (Mountaineer Books).


About this episode

Shanty catches up with free-spirited and fun-focused Thomas Gathman, who picked up the trail name "The Real Hiking Viking" due to his Norse-like beard and his warrior status as a former Marine Scout Sniper. Viking served two combat tours in Iraq before coming home, selling all his possessions, and hiking more than 20,000 miles on America's longest trails. In this episode, Shanty goes beyond the iconic beard and unravels Viking's often-overlooked journey from sniper to pro hiker. Viking shines a light on how he was first introduced to thru-hiking culture and what inspired him to step on the trail and never look back.

About the Host

In 2019, host Andrew Baldwin completed a southbound thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. After five months on the trail, Baldwin returned home to pursue a career in voice acting. A friend of the company, Baldwin was a natural choice for hosting the Out and Back podcast.