The Best Of Slick & Twisted Trails (2013)

hiking Laos

I don’t do crowds. Especially not outdoors.

Sure, I can deal with a packed grocery store or a sports bar with a full house, but a wooded hiking trail should never feel like a subway station at 5:15 p.m. It doesn’t matter how awesome the scenery is or how much of a challenge the terrain presents, people-packed paths drive me bonkers.

It’s this somewhat irrational angst that motivated me to launch Slick & Twisted Trails almost exactly one year ago. I wanted to create a forum and resource for folks who crave remote and unusual outdoor experiences; those who love secret trails, hidden ruins, abandoned campgrounds and discovering unique ways to explore the wilderness.

And since that time, this little trekking blog has certainly gotten its fair share of mentions, likes and re-tweets. The largest travel magazine in Sweden even did a little blurb about my free ebook on hidden hiking trails. Not sure what it says, but I’m told good things.

It’s been a blast. So to mark the end of 2013 and the first full year of Slick & Twisted Trails, I’ve put together this list of the blog’s greatest hits. If you haven’t read ’em yet, hopefully these stories will help you discover the trails less traveled.

The 5 Strangest Hikes In The World

Grüner See, trail

A submerged foot bridge at Grüner See. By winter, people will be walking over it once again.

One of my all-time favorite stories on the site. From a conspiracy theorist’s dream camping spot to a network of paths that’s underwater half of the year, this article shows you just how weird hiking can get.

Snowshoeing Isn’t Always So Gentle

Just a month after re-launching S&TT, this article attracted a huge spike in readers. Maybe there’s a lot of snowshoers out there that hate the ‘mellow’ stigma tied to the activity. That’s certainly fair. Because as this article shows, snowhoeing can be tough as hell.

The Inca Trail less traveled

The ruins of Choquequirao.
Originally published in Adventure Travel Magazine, this feature-length article details my trek to the little-known ruins of Peru’s Choquequirao.

Why You Should Hike At Night

night hiking
I loved writing this article because there were so many layers to it. For example, some groups use night hikes to help inner city kids in L.A. conquer their fears. And that’s just one of the many benefits of trekking in total darkness.

Solo Backpacking Is All About Heart & Soul

backpacking solo
This one really connected with some people — I still get the odd message about it. I suppose a lot of folks have struggled with decision whether or not to take on a multi-day backpacking trek all by their lonesome. I know I have.

9 Killer Camping Gadgets For Backpackers

Without a doubt, this is the most popular article on S&TT. Part of the reason for that is its strong ranking in search engines, but also I just think hikers love to read about cool gear. Simple as that. (and this one about tough cameras for backpacking is pretty popular too).

A Warm Welcome In Remote Laos

Trekking through mist to the remote village of Ahka in northern Laos.

Trekking through mist to the remote village of Ahka in northern Laos.

Contributed by travel writer Holly Cave, this feature story takes readers into a remote village tucked deep within the northern hills of Laos. It offers a rare glimpse at a fascinating culture.

How to Tell if Your Hiking Partner Might Get You Killed

pile of empty beer cans
Who wouldn’t want to know if their hiking partner will get them killed? This article is part legit advice, part tongue-in-cheek commentary. It got a pretty good reaction from people and hopefully served as a warning to some.

So that does it. If you have a favorite S&TT article that didn’t make this list, I’d love to hear about it. Otherwise, I hope you keep reading into 2014. I’ll hopefully have a few new voices contributing to the website and maybe even a surprise or two.

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About the author

Dustin Walker

Dustin Walker is a journalist, travel copywriter and editor/owner of Slick and Twisted Trails. Follow him on Twitter @dustinjaywalker

Leigh - January 8, 2014

Dustin you’ve done some great posts this year. I used to hike regularly around the Flatirons in Boulder at night – mostly because I knew the trails so well. This year I was backpacking in Pukaskwa NP on the shores of Lake Superior and our group of 3 ended up backpacking for 3 hours in the dark – on tough trails until we could go no further. Thankfully we were able to find enough level ground on the trail to throw up tents for the night. It was quite the experience.

    Dustin Walker - January 8, 2014

    Thanks for the kind words Leigh!

    Yeah, hiking at night can be great — but I sure wouldn’t want to be caught in the dark for 3 hours on tough terrain. Good thing you found a spot to camp.

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