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The Guidebook

The Guidebook

By Rachel Meltzer
The Guidebook is raw conversations with risk-takers about adventure, work, life, and the emotions behind it all. We’re unveiling the challenges and joys of adventure to inspire you to TAKE THE RISK.
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Kevin "Spacejam" Grooman
This week’s episode features Kevin Grooman aka “Spacejam” + I met Kevin through Dylan’s hiker chat (go listen to last week’s episode!). He’s triple crowned and gotten engaged along the way. + In this episode we’re talking about triple crowning; navigating home ownership, a career, and thruhiking all at once; forging a relationship formed in “real life” on the trail; Casa de Luna and Hiker Heaven closing; CDT vs PCT vs AT culture and intimidation level; the most epic trail magic ever; paper maps vs guthooks; bringing a camera on trail; finding your place after triple crowning; as well as the pandemic and the antiracism movement in the US in 2020. + Thanks to Chelsea Hall and Monica Aguilar, our Patron donors this week. And shoutout to Michelle and Eric Meltzer, my parents, who always support the show. + Find Kevin on Instagram: Kevin’s website: + Find Rachel on instagram: Rachel’s website: + Dylan “Pickle” Tonkin’s Hiker Chat (DM him on instagram!):
August 13, 2020
Dylan "Pickle" Tonkin
Dylan Tonkin This episode features Dylan “Pickle” Tonkin + I saw Dylan’s podcast come out at the end of 2018 when I was just under a year into my show. I remember being completely jealous and totally comparing myself to him bahahah I was still so self-conscious about podcasting back then. + Fast-forward to nearly a year and a half later, I decided to kick my ego out and message Dylan on Instagram to see if he might want to come on my show and do a crossover episode like the one I’d done with Trail Tales. + Man, Dylan turned out to be so kind, funny, and such a great conversation. On our pre-recording screening chat (usually about 15 minutes) we talked for almost an hour! He invited me to his hiker chat (you’re invited too, see the podcast episode description your fave podcast player for details!) and it was a blast. It felt SO good to reconnect with the hiking community virtually while we can’t be out on trail. + This episode was incredible. We talked about how the trail community and the relationships we build on the trail, how the trail brings us back to our best selves, starting your own business after thruhiking, starting a podcast, and social media on trail. Dylan also opens up and shares a very personal story with us about the one day that hit him the hardest emotionally on the trail and why he kept going after it. + I hope this episode inspires you. Whether you’re dreaming about thruhiking, considering entrepreneurship, or you’re also facing the death of an important person in your life, we’ve got something for you here. This episode really rekindled my excitement to plan another thruhike and to push myself harder with this podcast. + If you haven’t heard, our Patreon has officially launched! You can find the link in our bio! Patreon is a platform that allows our listeners to support the show through a small monthly donation. All patrons (people who donate) will receive a free sticker, invites to The Guidebook community meetups (check out our story for deets!), and even voting power. By joining us on Patreon, you’re helping pay for our server costs and gear maintenance. + I want to thank you ALL for being here listening. I am so grateful that I get to connect with you through this amazing journey. + Thanks to our Patrons + Donors: Chelsea Hall Luke Pearsall  Eric Meltzer Michelle Meltzer Support The Guidebook on Patreon and get a free sticker, a shoutout in the show credits, and invites to our community events where you can talk to guests from the show (currently via zoom)!  +  Follow Dylan on Instagram: And be sure to direct message him if you want to join in on the Hiker Chat! It takes place every Wednesday at 6pmET over Zoom. Dylan’s Podcast: Follow Rachel on Instagram: Rachel’s Website: The photo for this episode was taken by Twerk! Find Twerk on Instagram: Twerk’s Website:
August 6, 2020
Lea 'Blue Cheese' Geibel
It’s been so amazing to get to talk to thruhikers from other countries this season. You might remember episode 1 of this season with @ValIsmaili who hiked the Transcaucasian trail. He connected me with @Leahikes who is an expert thruhiker from Germany. She’s lived and hiked basically all over the world. + In this episode Lea and I got to chat about arranging your life to allow for lots of hiking, the time her backpack got stollen in Chile, vanlife in Switzerland, gear and food – of course, resupplying in a foreign country and hiking alone as a solo female traveler. We also discuss what makes an expert because often, even though we might be incredibly experienced, we don’t feel like “experts.” + If you haven’t heard, I’ve launched our Patreon early! Head to For just $5/month you can support the show so that we can get back on a paid server! + You’ll receive a sticker and a handwritten thank you card from me in the mail. Plus, you’ll get exclusive invites to The Guidebook events which I’ll be creating via Zoom during the coming months! I can’t wait to meet you all face to face. It blows my mind that there are so many of you listening every week. + If you can’t afford to support us through Patreon monthly, you can make a one-time donation to our PayPal ( OR you can share the show with your friends, subscribe to the show on your fave podcast player, or review the show! It helps more people find us. + I’m so grateful to have all of you here listening in this big extended tramily. I can’t wait to meet you over on Patreon! + Now,  listen to this episode and comment over on our insta!: How are you making time and space in your life for outdoor adventures?  + Follow Lea on Instagram:  Follow Rachel on Instagram: Follow The Guidebook on Instagram: Rachel's Website: The Guidebook on Patreon:
July 31, 2020
Asher 'AM Fog' McGlothlin
I met AM Fog (aka @ashermcglothlin) on the Appalachian Trail in 2018 when we were both making our way Northbound through the Smokies. + Asher is a musician, grad student, and thruhiker. He just released a new EP called “Smothered, Lovered, and Covered” which is available now on his website and will be available on all streaming platforms on July 30th! + This episode is a simple shooting the shit trail stories episode much like the classic Podcast Here episodes from our origin. We talk about the blizzard we trekked through in the Smokies, the moment you realize you can hike your own hike, the powerful confidence thruhiking gives you, the best trail magic ever, and so much more. + I hope this episode helps you reminisce or look forward to your first thruhike. Maybe it’ll even help you avoid our novice mice mishaps and pack enough food! + One thing that hit me from this episode is when Asher said “Even on the hard days there was never anywhere else I’d rather be. That is a hard feeling to recapture.” + Give it a listen along with all of our other episodes from season 3 on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, or wherever you get your podcasts! + P.S. Thanks for all of your patience with this season’s new host and upload limits! We’ll get it right next week! + We’ll be rebooting our Patreon next month with tiers starting as low as $3/mo! I’d love it if you’ll join us over there for some bonus content, merch, and virtual community gatherings! Stay tuned for its release on Thursday, August 6th. + Asher's Website: Rachel's Website: 
July 24, 2020
Elina 'Tip Tap' Osborne | Pt. II
Welcome back to part two of my lovely chat with Elina "Tip Tap" Osborne!! + In this second part of our chat we dive deeper and discuss the impact of social media on thruhiking and story telling, the glorification of thruhiking on Youtube, the struggle of telling your own story and Elina's tips on beginning to tell your own, camping alone, and Elina's best cry on trail.  + I hope y'all love this episode as much as I did. Elina has inspired me to work on my trail memoir again with renewed excitement! Are you working on any storytelling projects? Let us know in the comments! + If you love the show, please please subscribe on your favorite podcast player and rate and review the show! You can also just share this episode on your Instagram story and send it to a friend. + Find Elina on Instagram: Find Elina on Youtube: Elina's Website: Find Rachel on Instagram: Rachel's Website:
July 17, 2020
Elina 'Tip Tap' Osborne | Pt. I
This week’s guest is Elina “Tip Tap” Osborne (aka @elinasborne)! . Oh my gosh, I had such a good time interviewing Elina. We have lots in common and the jokes were flowing!! We talked so much that this is going to be released as a two-part episode. . In this first part of our chat, we talk about loads of things. From life plans to the confidence we found on trail, post-trail grief to the euphoria of climbing Mount Witney, how it felt to edit her PCT videos after her thruhike, doing things for YOURSELF by YOURSELF, fear on trail, and social media on the trail. Oh, and sooooo much more. . This episode will bring you laughs, bring back memories, and hopefully get you excited about your next adventure! Find it on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, or wherever you get your podcasts. . If you love the show, please please subscribe on your favorite podcast player and rate and review the show! You can also just share this episode on your Instagram story and send it to a friend. . Find Elina on Instagram: Find Elina on Youtube: Elina's Website: Find Rachel on Instagram: Rachel's Website: . . Life Update: I have now picked up my van! She’s amazing and I’ve named her Marcel (like the shell). Unfortunately COVID messed up some of my financial plans and is making it more difficult with cafes and gyms closed for cheap cross country travel while working more difficult. I’m saving up for some solar panels so that I can make it all happen! For now, I’ll be taking her out on weekend trips and recording podcasts in her!
July 13, 2020
Anne 'Scrappy' Baker
Welcome back to Season 1 of The Guidebook! I'm your host Rachel. This here episode 4 features Anne “Scrappy” Baker (@ennakrek). + Anne has hiked the Wind River Travers, the Teton Crest Trail, the Sheltowee Trace Trail, parts of the Appalachian Trail and Mountains to Sea Trail, and completed the PCT in sections. She’s a PhD candidate too! + Anne wrote an article for The Trek called “Post Trail Depression: It’s Not What You Think” in 2019 and I immediately reached out to her to talk. I was so curious about her research because at the time I had just launched my Post Trail Depression survey and decided to write a book about Post Trail Depression (it’s still in the works). + This interview is more than just a talk about post trail depression – well actually post trail grief. We also discussed reconciling the person you are on trail with the person you are at home, the thruhiking community, working toward her PhD, and working in the US mental healthcare system. + Anne is incredibly smart, so relatable, and a great gear reviewer (check her out on the Trek!). I hope you’ll be able to relate to this episode and maybe put some thought into your feelings about your thruhike and yourself. + Please please subscribe and give us a quick review! Or share it with a friend! or donate to our paypal. + PS I did finally sell that saxophone! A college freshman studying jazz performance bought it from me and he uses it every day, happily. + Get 20% off of Backcountry Foodie here with he discount code “The Guidebook”: Find Rachel on Instagram: Find Rachel online:
July 2, 2020
Aaron Owens Mayhew - Backcountry Foodie
This episode features Aaron Owens Mayhew. Aaron is a registered dietician and the creator of Backcountry Foodie! Aaron and her husband, Chris, live in a van they custom designed and built themselves. + We chat about how Aaron got started backpacking, thruhiking misadventures, how Aaron became a nutritionist and used those skills to create the Backcountry Foodie, the van that Aaron and her husband Chris designed and built together, and starting a small business together. Aaron also gives great tips for living vanlife with your dog! + This episode was recorded pre-COVID-19 so quick update on Aaron and Chris’s status… Aaron and Chris have traveled in their van back to Florida to park in the driveway of some family members to shelter in place safely. They’re pretty bummed because, as you’ll hear in the episode they were working on choosing a place to plant roots and begin phase two of their business. They’re incredible entrepreneurs and I know they’ll get through this. + Support them by checking out their platform and subscribing! Plus, if you want a DISCOUNT on Backcountry Foodie’s AMAZING ultralight recipes platform, go to and enter the code “The Guidebook” for 20% off of their service! + Get 20% off of Backcountry Foodie here with he discount code “The Guidebook”: Backcountry Foodie: Backcountry Foodie on Instagram: Backcountry Foodie on Youtube: Backcountry Foodie on Facebook: Backcountry Foodie on Facebook: Find Rachel on Instagram: Find Rachel online:
May 14, 2020
LIVE Amanda Shale
Our guest this week is Amanda aka @tidelinetoalpine on Instagram! + Amanda has lived in a van for 6 years! She thru-hiked the PCT SOBO in 2018, Hiked the Washington section of the PCT in 2019 NOBO, and she’s hiked the Sunshine Coast Trail 3 times. Amanda is a climber, photographer, and writer too. She travels everywhere with her dog Frank who has summited over 60 peaks with her. She created @walk9radio to share more about backpacking with dogs. + Amanda’s Instagram is full of truly honest and gritty accounts of her travels, the people she’s encountered, the things she’s learned, and the mental stuff she’s working through and I love that. Her honesty is really why I started following her. Plus, she shares adorable pics of her dog on her stories and in her feed! + We talked to Amanda about her choice to live in a van and some things she’s learned over the past 6 years of living in a van. Plus, we’ll touch on adventure travel with a dog! I hope we’ll get to talk about climbing too, but let’s see where this leads us! She gave us some AMAZING advice. You can find more from Amanda on her website: + If you love the show, please share it with a friend!! You can also donate to the show at the link in our bio so that we can keep pumping out these extra, fun episodes!
May 8, 2020
LIVE Britany Freeman
Our LIVE guest this week is Britany aka @britanyinwanderland! + Brit is the founder of @11thessential and a part-time road traveler who is building out a van with an incredible story. Brit is proof that stewardship matters and that a fun car camping adventure can be achieved in just about any vehicle. + I started following Brit for her stewardship promotion with 11th Essential and I stayed for her dope captions and adventures. We’ll be talking about her recently acquired van, the 11th Essential, and her adventures in part-time road travel! + If you love the show, please share it with a friend!! You can also donate to the show so that we can keep pumping out these extra, fun episodes! Even just $1 helps so much!
May 2, 2020
LIVE: Nicholas Reichard
Nicholas thruhiked or LASHed for three consecutive hiking seasons and since then has settled down to have a family in Maine. He's hiked the AT, PCT, and a portion of the CDT. I started following Nicholas for his simple beginner’s film photography tricks! On this episode we’ll be chatting about film photography during a thruhike, completing three thruhikes in three years, and how your thoughts about thruhiking change over time (especially after having a kid!). If you love the show, share it with a friend!! You can also donate to the show at the link in our bio so that we can keep pumping out these extra, fun episodes!  You can follow Nicholas on Instagram: You can follow the podcast on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook @theguidebookpod!
April 25, 2020
LIVE: Allison 'Sizzle' Williams
Our guest this week is Allison Williams aka @sizzlemayfield and @19hourswithsizzle!She has worked with @the_sca via @americrops, worked in land management and forest service, gone on an adventure with @nolsedu, and is a yogi. I can’t wait to chat with...
April 17, 2020
Tyler 'The Prodigy' Lau Part II
This episode features Tyler Lau, trail name: The Prodigy (@thehikingprodigy). He’s hiked over 8,000 miles in his lifetime including the Pacific Crest Trail, the John Muir Trail, and the Colorado Trail. He is one of 9 people to have completed a Calendar...
April 14, 2020
Tyler 'The Prodigy' Lau
This episode features Tyler Lau, trail name: The Prodigy (@thehikingprodigy). He’s hiked over 8,000 miles in his lifetime including the Pacific Crest Trail, the John Muir Trail, and the Colorado Trail. He is one of 9 people to have completed a Calendar Year Triple Crown and the first person of color to do so. He is an active advocate for conservation and diversity in the outdoors.
April 12, 2020
LIVE: Kyle O'Grady
Kyle O'Grady is the host of Trail Tales and the creator of Kyle Hates Hiking! He's thru-hiked the Vermont Long Trail and the Appalachian Trail. Kyle has also completed the NH48 and the ADK46! In this LIVE episode (recorded on our Instagram), we're...
April 10, 2020
Val Ismaili
This episode is a seriously jam-packed hour. In the first half of the episode, we talk about how Val got into backpacking and trail building. About halfway through the episode, Val begins sharing stories from his hikes in Armenia and Georgia! His...
March 22, 2020
Sarah 'Tunes' Mowery
We talk about my first year of freelancing, coming home from a thruhike with an empty bank account, fear of failure, rolling with the punches, debt and affording thruhiking, spending fasts, sacrifice, regrets, Instagram and thruhiking, preconceived notions of thruhiking, and having to make the decision not to complete your thruhike.
January 13, 2020
Tessa 'Big Money' Babcock
This week’s episode features a badass thruhiker who was on the AT at the same time as me. She hiked the AT in two LASH segments and I’ve interviewed one person from each of her tramilies! I’m so glad we got to connect. She had so much advice to pass on that I’m definitely going to implement in my own life. Tessa hiked the Appalachian Trail, the Long Trail, and the PCT. We talk about how it felt to prepare for her first thruhike on the AT versus the PCT. She hiked straight through the Sierras in a high snow pack year so, of course, we geeked out about that. We also touched on hiking alone, the heartache of looking back at thruhike photos, making a thruhike work for your budget and schedule, and leaving her trail family at the end of a LASH.
December 28, 2019
Jake 'Spur' Carr
In this episode we’re discussing thru-hiking as a total beginner, the divorce that sparked his thru-hike, why he chose the AT over the PCT, getting a job as an Alaskan Tour Guide, being a gay man on trail in 2017, giving yourself permission to ask for help, and returning home from a thru-hike to live with his parents.
November 29, 2019
Scott 'Hell Yeah Jesus' Hughes
I talked to Hell Yeah for this episode. We discuss his two AT SOBO thruhike attempts and their differences, trail hair, gear, and coming home from a thruhike. We also trade trail stories. It’s good to be back! We have music!! Do you love it? Let me know! I’d love to hear from you. DM me on insta @trailnamehere, message me on facebook at, or shoot me an email at! Check out the TNH insta and facebook to vote on your favorite art for the show too! I will be posting the podcast just once a month on the last Friday so that I can focus on building my freelancing career and getting on the road.
October 26, 2019
Monica 'Moss' Aguilar
In this interview we talk about Starting your first thru-hike with a partner, the logistics of bike packing, and the differences between thru-hiking and bike packing.
September 14, 2019
Katy Gräble
In this episode we talk about Katy’s 52 hike challenge, redefining hiking, plastic, and life as a social media manager. For this episode we sat out in Katy’s backyard by a little fountain so you may hear that in the background.
September 7, 2019
Jesse 'Boston Mule' Cody | Pt. 2
This is the second part of a two part episode with the Boston Mule! Go back and listen to the first episode if you haven’t already! We start this episode by discussing the use of explicit language. Later, we talk about coming home from the AT, asking for help, and prepping for his second thruhike. We did this interview right on the side of the Appalachian Trail, so there were some interruptions from day hikers, forewarning.
August 31, 2019
Jesse 'Boston Mule' Cody | Pt. 1
We touch on topics like mental health, social media, and working in the service industry. We also talk about starting life over at age 40 and the many trails that Jesse has done so far. This is a two part episode, be sure to listen to part 2!! Here’s where Jesse’s writing will be featured!
August 31, 2019
Gabby Sales
This episode features Gabby Sales. Gabby reached out to me through Instagram! We talked about hiking by yourself for the first time, the 52 Hike Challenge, getting pricked by a cactus, finding yourself, and using hiking to help with your mental health. Gabby mentions a guide she wrote for beginner hikers, you can check that out here:
August 16, 2019
Kirsten 'Shutterbug' Fraude
In this episode, Shutterbug and I talk about coming home from a thru-hike, wilderness therapy guiding, and mourning the loss of someone while on a thru-hike. Please bear with me, the sound quality this week is not great but it will get better next episode! Stay tuned through the end of the interview to hear a mini life update from me and check out this link if you want to learn more about Terra:
August 9, 2019
Spencer 'SlowRide' Shrum
On this episode, Spencer and I compare NOBO vs. SOBO; he tells me what it was like to have a girlfriend and a dog at home during his hike; we also discuss coming back to our nuanced society and leaving the corporate world. "The only limitation was how much daylight there was."
April 26, 2019
Levon 'Hardhat' Bullard
Hardhat and I talk about the time his food was stolen by a bear, coming home from the trail, Flip-Flopping, and so much more. "When I decided it was time to leave, I used the AT as something to leave to. Instead of just leaving and it was exactly what I needed."
April 19, 2019
Rachael 'Blade' Robertson
Rachael and I talk about returning to ‘real life’ after trail, our hardest days on trail, and everything in between. “Now it’s like, you know how to dial in to ‘You can do this girl! Look at all you’ve done!’ and that’s what I started telling myself, even towards the end!”
April 11, 2019
Devin 'Jukebox' Everett Pt. 2
In this short bonus, you'll hear what didn't fit into Devin's episode: her trail name story, her plans for the PCT this year, why tangents are actually important, hiking with a group, saying goodbye to tramily members, and why she chose to change her trail name. It's a packed 20 minutes!
April 6, 2019
Ashley 'Yard Sale' Manning
Ashley and I talk about Giardia, Trail Names, becoming a rafting guide, community, chafe cars, and canyons. "Backpacking... there's just something, like, your whole heart is just there."
April 5, 2019
Devin 'Jukebox' Everett Pt. 1
Devin and I had a super casual conversation about breaking bones on a thru-hike, hiking with Lyme, contacts, goals for the future, and sooooo much more. "So many different things happened on trail. When people ask you, 'How was trail?' Well the whole thing overall was great! But do you want to hear about that time when I fell and bled all over or that time when a bear woke us up in the middle of the night and growled right next to our tents?"
March 28, 2019
Beth Bradley
Beth and I talk about her very first hike, societal preconceptions of a 'hiker,' feeling left out in the outdoor clothing industry, and the 52 Hike Challenge. Beth Bradley has performed at The Moth Story Slam and GrandSlam in Denver. "I kept telling myself, "Just get to there.""
March 21, 2019
March 14, 2019
Kelley 'Wicked' Guimont
Wicked and I talk about being unprepared for the cold on our thru-hikes, tents, life after the trail, and overcoming anxiety during her thru-hike. “As the trail went on, I realized that I was actually just really strong for being able to cope with mental health issues while still doing this amazing feat of thru-hiking."
March 7, 2019
Amy 'Slider' Hunsucker
In this episode we hear Slider’s tramily stories from The Northbound horde, paying back your student loans on trail, carrying a plastic trombone the entire AT (which cows really liked), and backpacking with her mom! "They'd see me coming around the corner and go "oh it's the girl with the trombone!""
February 28, 2019
Rachel 'Full Nelson' Lashinsky Pt. 2
This is the second part of a long interview I did with Rachel in December. I love Rachel’s perspective and we got a lot deeper for this second half. We talk in this episode about bodily functions (skip ahead about 10 minutes if you’d like to avoid it!), food, community, injuries, and mental health. This was a very full episode with laughter and seriousness. "You know those meme posts where it's like, 'you're taking all of this,' and it shows a pictures of pills. Then it shows like a very stereotypical shot of some pine trees and a trail and says, 'but you really need this.'?"
February 21, 2019
Rachel 'Full Nelson' Lashinsky Pt. 1
Rachel and I discuss her struggles with substances growing up, how she came out of that phase of her life, dipping her toes into the backpacking community, and becoming who you want to be one step at a time. "[hiking] totally let me know my worth."
February 14, 2019
Sarah 'Sniffles' Legg
"You are allowed to feel any emotion you want out there. If you're angry, be angry! But you're only angry at yourself. It's not like you can be angry at anyone else!"
February 7, 2019
Joseph 'General Hendrix' Robinson | Pt. 2
"To this day that's where I feel home is, on trail."
January 31, 2019
Joseph 'General Hendrix' Robinson | Pt. 1
"You always have to go through the extreme first before it becomes easier."
January 27, 2019
Emily "Blackbird" Atkins
“All the times that felt so hard and heavy, taught us how to love and be a better person and how to be grateful for those times.”
January 17, 2019
Jen 'Squeaks' Giddens
"If your goals don't scare you they're not big enough."
January 8, 2019