Trail Logistics offers an easier path
January 2, 2015
Shay Blackley knows as well as anyone that it isn’t easy.
One of only a couple hundred people to attain the Triple Crown of long-distance hiking — completing the Appalachian, Pacific Crest and Continental Divide trails — Blackley has experienced firsthand the challenges of trekking across the country.
That’s why he wants to make it easier. The Park City resident has founded a company called Trail Logistics that aims to simplify the process of hiking the Triple Crown trails — the shortest of which, the Appalachian Trail, spans 2,184 miles. Trail Logistics provides consultants to create trip itineraries for hikers, helps them figure out what they need to bring and, most importantly, ships specialized food to them at various locations throughout their hikes.
"We make it so all they have to do is put one foot in front of the other and keep on going for a very long time," Blackley said.
Customers interested in Trail Logistics’ services can visit the company’s website, traillogistics.com.
The popularity of long-distance hiking is peaking, with help from the bestselling book Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, whose film adaptation starring Reese Witherspoon was released in December. The mainstream spotlight on long-distance hiking makes it a perfect time for Trail Logistics to enter the market, Blackley said.
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"More people are starting to want to go on these long-distance hikes," he said. "They want to accomplish their bucket lists."
But most of those people have little experience on long-distance hikes. Trying to tackle everything that goes with it can be overwhelming for first-timers.
"For a lot of people it’s pretty daunting," Blackley said. "Just put yourself in the shoes of people trying to do this for the first time. You’re hiking for six months across the continent, and you need to figure out how to provide food for yourself and what obstacles you’re going to be tackling on the way."
Blackley has found that everybody has a different reason for wanting to hike a Triple Crown trail. Some are chasing a sense of personal accomplishment. Others merely want to stare down a challenge. For him, one of the main allures is the opportunity to get away from technology and distractions and disconnect from the rest of the world.
"I like being out in nature. It’s very peaceful," Blackley said. "It’s a form of meditation for me. It opens up your mind, you meet a whole bunch of people from different cultures and perspectives. And you have to be able to live with yourself, and that can be difficult for a lot of people."
For those who want to complete a hike but are hesitant because of the physical difficulty, Blackley says not to worry. It can be demanding, yes, but it’s not so different than something most people do every day.
"Like I tell people, how long have you been walking?" He said. "Because mastering something is participating in repetition of a single activity for more than 10,000 hours. Pretty much everyone has mastered walking, and all you have to do in long-distance hiking is walk with some gear."
Trail Logistics’ services start at $500 for the consulting, with the food being an additional $20 a day, which can combine to a total of around $3,500. But for those making a cross-country trek, Blackley said, that amounts to a whole lot of peace of mind.
"I’ve been there and have done all the logistical work before," he said. "I have a lot of experience doing this. My goal is just to make sure all of my clients get the absolute best service I can offer. I want all of them to feel like they’re the only client I have."