American Discovery Trail in 66 YouTube episodes
September 30, 2010 9:54 PM   Subscribe

For the past month or so I've been daily watching YouTube episodes about Mike "LionKing"'s 2008 hike across the USA on the American Discovery Trail. There are 66 episodes (4-8 min ea) which is a lot and probably difficult to absorb in a sitting or day, but if you spread it out, you'll get the impression a long haul experience from Delaware to California, w/out the sore feet. He is the first to hike the entire trail non-stop, including both parts of the mid-country loop.
posted by stbalbach (9 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
The last Episode is called "Finished" and is located between Ep. 44 and 45 in the list, so if your watching sequentially you'll want to skip that till last. If you ever contemplated hiking the ADT (or any long distance trail) I think Mike does a good job of conveying what it's like, including many places where he becomes lost because guidebooks are inaccurate. He was mugged in St.Louis on a section of the trail the police said they would not go without a gun; pee'd on by a lion; bit by a horse and stampeded by cows, among other things.
posted by stbalbach at 9:59 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

pee'd on by a lion

Wait... we have lions randomly wandering about the US who will randomly pee on cross-country hikers?

That's both awesome and terrifying!
posted by hippybear at 10:09 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

If mike had a firearm would the lion have even tried?
posted by clavdivs at 10:36 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

we have lions randomly wandering about the US who will randomly pee on cross-country hikers?

Not sure where Mike's lion peed on him, but in the Sierra Nevada foothills in Northern California (closest town was named "Cool" - no joke), when I was in high school, a young mother out for a jog on a forested trail in a kind of rural neighborhood was killed and eaten by a mountain lion. This was literally on the other side of the hill from my best friend Jesse's house - we didn't wander nearly so far into the woods after that.

I didn't see that lion in person (Forest Service or some other authority were required to hunt it down and kill it of course), but a few months later I did see one that a farmer not far away had taken down after it had killed a few of his animals. It was laying with its mouth hanging off one end of a picnic table and its ass end off the other side - frickin gigantic. Mike's lucky he only got peed on.

Anyway, cool post, I'm looking forward to working through the rest of the episodes. This is something I'd love to try myself. I wonder how much money he saved up to do it.
posted by allkindsoftime at 12:56 AM on October 1, 2010

Just watched the first episode; it's so goofy and upbeat that I think I might be hooked.
posted by peeedro at 4:50 AM on October 1, 2010

Thanks for posting this, looks interesting!
posted by drewski at 10:37 AM on October 1, 2010

Okay, I'm 1/3 of the way through this now. Completely wonderful and addictive. The amount of human generosity and kindness he encounters along the way is outstanding. It is truly a reminder that Americans are really decent people after all. I plan on watching all the rest. Thanks so much for posting this!
posted by hippybear at 3:03 PM on October 2, 2010

posted by hippybear at 9:30 PM on October 2, 2010

Well, I have just finished watching the entire set of videos. What an amazing journey. I'm surprised that he wasn't better prepared for desert survival (hiking during the day across Nevada?!?!), but he seems to have found wonderful people and fascinating tidbits all along the way.

I can't imagine making such a long journey without secure funding, or doing it mostly alone, or doing it without clear maps and guidebooks. But he did it, very few mishaps, covering huge distances in a day sometimes. And massive weightloss over that time, too. He's certainly got my admiration.

Thanks for posting (again). That was some of the best YouTube time I've spent, ever.
posted by hippybear at 12:26 PM on October 5, 2010

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