Andrew Skurka has been a legend in the outdoor community for years. The long-distance backpacker has hiked some of the most difficult and demanding trails in the world and has even pioneered some interesting routes of his own. Along the way, he has also helped push the ultralight hiking movement forward by traveling with a minimal amount of gear and sharing his insights and techniques with others.
In recent years, Skurka has led a number of guided trips each year, allowing a few lucky individuals to learn at the feet of the master himself. Those expeditions are as much about learning new skills and honing your own backpacking instincts as they are about exploring a wilderness on foot for a few days. But while those trips are modestly priced, they may still be out of reach for some who would like to tag along. To remedy that, this year Andrew is offering scholarships for worthy individuals.
An Introduction to Backpacking Fundamentals
For 2022, Skurka is giving away ten scholarships for his Backpacking Fundamentals course and up to 16 spots in the online Plan Like a Pro course. While the former offers experience in the field, the latter is also a valuable option for hikers and backpackers who are looking for tips on how to be better prepared for an adventure before they even leave home. And since they are both taought by Andrew Skurka himself, you’re learning from someone who has years of experience.
The scholarship applications are open to everyone, but Andrew is looking for specific individuals. He’s hoping to attract a diverse crowd in an effort to promote backpacking and the outdoors with a wider range of people. He’s also looking to help individuals who are more financially challenged that others. In other words, if you can already afford to pay for the cost of the trip yourself, the scholarship is more likely to go to someone who can’t.
The deadline for apply for a scholarship is Monday, Febraury 21, 2022 at 8:00 AM MST. All applications will be reviewed following that deadline with each individual given consideration. This is not a first-come, first-served process. The reviews could take time, so be patient while waiting to hear back.
Training for Adventure
Those who joing Skurka on one of his adventures get a true learning experience in the wilderness. His oudoor courses teach the skills necessary for long-distance thru-hiking on routes like the Appalachain Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail. He’ll introduce you to the modern gear that he uses on his adventures and show you how to use that equipment properly. More advanced hikers can also learn about traveling and traversing high alpine routes and off-trail travel.
The trips are offered for three levels of experience—beginner, intermediate, and expert. The individuals who take part in those excursions are further divided up based on fitness level. This allows the team to travel at a similar pace and take breaks as needed. The goal is to ensure that everyone who joins a trip can travel safely with one another and enjoy a similar experience.
This year, the trips will begin in April and take place in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument region—the perfect setting for any outdoor adventure. In May, Andrew will shift the excursions to the Great Sand Dunes National Park before heading off to the Gates of the Arctic National Park in Alaska for a series of expeditions during the summer. Other locations that will be offered include the High Sierra of California in August and Olympic National Park in September.
Find more information about all of the trips—including dates, pricing, and availability—at Andrew’s website.
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