A new season is about to begin for the Packing It Out team! This year’s goal is more ambitious than ever: Remove trash from 5,025 miles of iconic American landscapes, by bicycle.
Article written by Seth ‘Cap’ Orme, a ‘Packing It Out’ founder.
Last year, Packing It Out cleaned the length of the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail. It was during this clean-up effort that plans for 2017 started to brew. 2016 was our second year cleaning long trails and we had an itch to try something out of our backpacking comfort zones.
A bicycle tour across the country grabbed the Packing It Out team’s attention.
This year, we will make it happen. Packing It Out will clean scenic areas from coast to coast. Below, I’ll roll into the “who, where, what” of this year’s cleanup effort.
Who Will ‘Pack It Out’
This year’s crew will be a duo. Paul ‘Spice’ Twedt from the Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail teams will take on another project (Adventure Stewardship Alliance) this year and won’t be on a bike with us. We will reconnect with Paul in the fall for a paddling trip along the Mississippi River.
Taking his place is a new member, Abigail Taylor. She’s a tough-as-nails outdoors-woman who has worked and played outside since we first met back in 2012. Taylor worked numerous seasons for Northwest Outward Bound, both as a guide and logistics coordinator. Taylor’s combination of knowledge, skills, and abilities makes her an ideal crew member for this year’s audacious project.
Where Will We Clean?
We won’t take the quickest or most direct route across the country. Instead, we created a route that takes us through some of America’s most iconic scenic areas.
The plan: To clean those scenic areas, leaving them better for future generations.
Starting along the coast of Georgia, we’ll leave the wild horses of Cumberland Island and go north toward the Blue Ridge Mountains where we will ride the length of the Blue Ridge Parkway. We will continue west on our way to Minneapolis, MN.
After high-fives and cold beer with our GearJunkie family in Minneapolis, MN, we will continue our westward expansion across the plains of South Dakota, eventually dipping south to the base of the Rocky Mountains, in Denver.
Leaving the plains behind, we’ll wind our way northwest through some of America’s most scenic areas. We plan to roll into Seattle by early September. We’ll finish the trip along the coast, most likely in a sea kayak.
Meet Us At REI!
This year, we will be more accessible than ever! Our partnership with REI provides the opportunity to visit 11 stores during the tour. Each REI visit will be a great chance to share our story, meet new people, and chat gear.
Bonus: We are going to have a local clean-ups in many of the towns along the way. A full event and tour schedule will be released next week, come join, say hi, and help clean your local trails!
We set the bar high this year, but our mission remains the same.
“Inspire a greater sense of environmental stewardship in our communities by raising awareness for litter conditions along America’s Trails.”
In closing, our official start date is set for April 26th from Cumberland Island, GA. That’s coming up quick! We will remain active on all of our social media outlets and provide updates on the GearJunkie site.
We hope to cross paths with many of you this year! Until then, see you up the trail!
Seth “Cap” Orme
–Our 2017 ‘Packing It Out’ coverage is sponsored by REI.