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Basin and Range Trail Thru Hike Complete!

hiker walks ridgeline in great basin national park on thru hike of the basin and range trail in nevada
Pioneering America’s newest long distance hike: The 1000+ mile Basin and Range Trail in Nevada

Woohoo!! 1000+ mile Basin and Range Trail thru-hike complete!

The BRT is a brand new long distance thru hike route that I created and hiked over 67 days through Nevada this summer.  Nevada is the most mountainous state in the country, outside of Alaska, with over 310 separate mountain ranges. The BRT aims to combine as many of the best mountain ranges in the state as possible in one long loop-style thru hike route. In  much of the Great Basin, specifically central Nevada, the term “Basin and Range” is used to describe the topography… an alternating landscape of parallel mountain ranges and valleys. Hence, the name Basin and Range Trail. 

I created the Basin and Range Trail to satisfy my curiosities about Nevada. For a chance to explore a mysterious region almost entirely untouched by the backpacking community. I never knew what to expect, whether or not the route down this mountain or canyon would pan out. Whether or not I would find water. With so little available information about the area, water sources etc, every single day was a real adventure. Every single day, I felt like I was walking into the unknown.

Nevada is crazy wild. The majority of the state sees extremely little human use. Mostly hunters and ATV riders, and exponentially less use by hikers. You will seldom be the “first person to walk here”, but you will often feel like it. There aren’t many places left like that. The towns are small and isolated, often around 100 miles from the nearest/next anything. Many towns don’t even have a grocery store, and rural Nevadans routinely drive 200 miles for food. Things are spread out here on a scale that you must see to comprehend. That is one of the things that brought my attention to Nevada, and a big part of the draw to hiking here. 

Along my 1000+ mile walk on the BRT, I encountered hundreds of wild horses, many elk, deer, big horn sheep, badgers, and only two rattlesnakes. I discovered numerous caves, countless creeks, waterfalls, and summitted the high points of several mountain ranges. I dodged lightning strikes, saw the oldest living things on earth (Bristlecone Pine trees), swam in hot springs, walked the pony express trail, cowboy camped under the starriest night skies imaginable, visited a nuclear test site, found arrowheads and Indian artifacts, had 6am wake up calls from the sonic boom of military aircraft, explored forgotten mine shafts, battled 102 degree temperatures and crossed dried lake beds, bushwhacked my way to hell and back, collected rocks along the way including many garnets, slept in a small cave by a small fire, and nearly got swept off a cliff by a dislodged boulder. I feel incredibly lucky to have seen and experienced what I have, and to have returned relatively unscathed. 

I ended my 67 day BRT journey in the town of Baker, NV which has a population of 68. Ending alone, in a small town like this, is rather anti-climatic. It’s a quasi-loop route, with no definitive start/end points like the CDT, PCT, AT etc. No monument to celebrate at. I stretched out the miles on my final day walking into town, giving myself a little time to process the completion of my most ambitious adventure yet. The array of emotions one feels at the end of such a journey are varied and quite intense. All the trials and triumphs of a months-long expedition have passed, and suddenly, your goal is complete. It’s a great feeling, a relieving feeling, to be done and to be able to relax. On the other hand, it’s difficult to comes to terms with… is it possible this may have been my greatest adventure, never again to be topped? What does the future hold? Indeed, much to ponder, an entirely different topic on it’s own. It’s been a real privilege to spend a summer roaming here.

**I’ve filmed the entire hike (carried 6lbs of camera gear, roughly 1/3 my baseweight) with the intent of producing a movie, as well as a vlog-style video series for YouTube. 𝐒𝐮𝐛𝐬𝐜𝐫𝐢𝐛𝐞 𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐲 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐨𝐮𝐜𝐡:

👉 https://www.youtube.com/c/SeekingLost

I also plan to release detailed info on the route (website/guidebook) for anyone who would like to take on the Basin and Range Trail themselves. And finally, I plan to write a book about my journey, as it has been just too powerful of an experience not to share in greater detail!

Stay tuned for more updates throughout the fall. Happy trails! 

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