Thanks for visiting my website. I created this site mainly as a way to capture my various backpacks and separately as a way to share the awesomeness of the backpacking with my friends. Given you're here I now count you as one of my friends. That means I urge you to not only enjoy this site but also to freely comment as well. And, be sure to check out my companion YouTube channel - a they say "a picture is worth a thousand words" so maybe videos are 1001 words?
My name is Gary Borad aka The Well Seasoned Hiker. I've been backpacking and climbing since I was 7 years old... 55 years! I spent my formative years virtually living at JT (Joshua Tree National Monument/now JT NPS), Tahquitz (Lily) Rock, Stoney Point (Chatsworth, Ca. my home town), Yosemite, and across the Sierra Nevada. Those were the days before "Sports Climbing". My father was a mountaineer (amongst other things) and one could say I grew up with one foot in suburbia and one foot on the side of a mountain. Yes, I was lucky. Thing is, technology moves along and today backpacking has changed a lot. New products, new hiking styles, new people but as with anything else, experience is a hard thing to replicate. I like to think I have a little experience...after all, I've been doing this for a long time.
At the tender age of 15 I was invited to be a backpacking and mountaineering instructor for a pilot program with Girl Scouts called Cliffhangers. We trained beginning/aspiring Sr. Girl Scouts from across the country to backpack and climb culminating with a week long backpack and a peak bag. Not only was this fulfilling but I learned a lot about teaching mountaineering skills and what's really important to focus on. One thing I learned is that you never know everything. I'm always learning. Flatly put, I never go on a trip where I don't learn something new. We're all honing our skills and it's experiences and people that shine a light on new ideas and concepts.
At the age of 53 I started military style competitive racing with a focus on Spartan Race. During this time I was a top 3 racer in my age group demonstrating a continued focus and dedication to fitness. Check out the photo below where I made the podium at the Sacramento race back in 2016.
During my 55 years of backpacking and mountaineering I've hiked from virtually every trailhead in the Sierra logging thousands of miles and dozens of Sierra peaks stretching from Cottonwood to the Desolation Wilderness. I've also had the opportunity to experience numerous trails across the west including in Utah, Arizona, and of course Colorado. For reference that's me (Pink Floyd hat) with my father in the picture below. We were on the "back side" or West Side of Ritter and Banner and used this location to climb Ritter from the west. This was back in the 1980's when I think everyone's pack was at least 45 pounds...minimum.
I continue to lead numerous backpacks every year which I'm now logging both here on this website and on YouTube. If you're like me you use multiple sources to research your next trip. I'm hoping this website and my companion YouTube channel can be one of those tools. Backpacking continues to evolve and the wave of ultralight hiking has changed equipment. I don't profess to know everything about every piece of equipment. No one can. Still, I'm confident that my experience, built on failures, is deeper than most folks posting to social media that have been backpacking for less than 10 years. The fact is, each time I take a trip into the backcountry I learn something new. Can you imagine taking advice from someone who's only been at it 5 years? Can you imagine how much more they still have to learn?! The goal of WellSeasonedHiker.com ultimately is to improve your knowledge so you don't have to make the same mistakes I did.