The Blackalachian: First Gold-Mouth Rapper to Thru-Hike the Appalachian Trail

In April of 2017, Daniel White of Charlotte NC, Aka the rapper known as Logo, was dropped off at Amicalola Falls State Park to embark on a two-month section hike that would inevitably turn into a complete thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. He would become, as it says in his YouTube video series, “The first gold-mouth rapper/hiker on the Appalachian Trail.” The majority of this story is obtained through the watching of his videos.

He leaves an unsatisfying life to go on a life-changing adventure on the AT

At the ripe old age of 31, Daniel White found his life going nowhere. As an electrician, he would go out and do the same thing, day in and day out. He felt like he wasn’t living—in his words, “Just waiting to die.”
For a long time, he yearned to go out in the woods and live off the land. One day, while posting his feelings about living in the wilderness on Facebook, his cousin suggested he hike the Appalachian Trail. The thought of hiking over 2,000 miles intrigued him. The more he thought about it, the more he came to believe that this was just what he needed.
Initially he planned only to hike for 2 months, until his 32 birthday, but events were soon going to transpire which would see to it that he hiked every step of the trail.
So, after a lot of planning and preparation, he set off for the adventure of his life….

Pre-Hike Message to Black People

In his pre-hike video, the Blackalachian, his gear spread all over the floor of his apartment (by the looks of it, enough weight to break a camel’s back), described one of the reasons for his hike, saying “you know black people don’t do this type of thing—long distance hiking—that’s what we’ve been told. That’s what we’ve been taught. Black people don’t hike; black people don’t seek therapists. I’m trying to change the narrative; black people… we’re just like white people… for the most part. I just want to show y’all we don’t have to live the stereotypical way that we’ve always been taught.”
By hiking the trail, the Blackalachian said he wanted to show people that there’s a different way to live; “Not necessarily as black or white, but as human beings period”
He also wanted to show that people can live off the grid, although he admits to enjoying all the comforts of the grid.

The Blackalachian: Black Man on a White Trail

From the moment he set foot on the trail, looking a little wild, with his erratic locks and gold smile, the thin, 6 foot 3 inch Blackalachian took to the physical challenges very well, logging around 16 miles the first day.

In his videos, it was clear that he was very comfortable with hiking as well as using his gear. His videos were fairly well organized, describing the trail in meticulous detail, from the geography; the elevation gains and losses, to the interesting plant and animal life, to the weather and, his favorite parts–the breathtaking views–he seemed to live for those.
It wasn’t long however before he began to get noticed for his different color. On his second day, he said he passed an older man, a trail maintainer. who told him, “You know, I appreciate you coming out here. You’re a rarity out here”. The Blackalachian said in his video, “I’m glad he said it simple and plain like that.”
Then he went on to tell his viewers, “Young brown, black, just poor kids in general, we gotta see stuff like this (motioning to the forest around him). “In my ‘hood… black people, you only know how to make it off about three different things—that’s what they glorify anyway. That’s a dope dealer, an athlete, or a musician, a rapper, singer or whatever…”
He explained how, on the trail, there are doctors, lawyers; all kinds of professionals and he appealed to the kids in the ‘hoods and their parents to, “Do something else”, to find something they’re good at and then get out and do it. He told parents to support them to make something of themselves.
Further down the trail, he met Frank, who told him, “You’re the first black fellow I’ve ever seen on the trail.” The Blakalachian used this to lead into a teachable moment: “People of color—we’ve got to do better! We’ve got to try something different. We’ve got to get back to the earth.” Daniel expressed his concern for people of color, saying he’d like them to get out of the house instead of just sitting around not doing exercise and dying of heart disease and diabetes.
Throughout his journey, The Blackalachian’s desire was that he would no longer be viewed as a black hiker, but just a hiker. To the credit of many hikers, they did just that.

Evolution of a Hiker: Newbie to Hiker Trash

As The Blackalachian posted video after video, faithfully recording his daily experiences, it is instructive to see how he evolved from a hiker who had issues with “going dookie” in the woods, to a smelly, always-hungry, seasoned hiker who lost most of his inhibitions.
Somewhere along the way he stopped being as concerned about his appearance, not worrying what people thought about him.

Benefits of Hiking

~~Benefits of Hiking 

What are the Benefits of Hiking? 

If you feel that there are no health benefits of hiking, I am sorry to say that you are wrong. Physical benefits of hiking are plenty, provided you carry on this activity on a regular basis. A small hiking tip - wear good hiking shoes to avoid accidents. The following paragraphs will discuss the exercise benefits of hiking. Let us look into these benefits in more detail. 

Weight Loss 

Weight loss is the first and the most wonderful of all the benefits of hiking. With the trail climbing up and down the hill, you burn a lot of calories while hiking. When combined with a balanced and healthy diet, you benefit with healthy weight loss and a lean body. 

Body Toning 

The lower body tones itself fantastically when you hike on a regular basis. Trails where there is some elevation, are the best to serve the purpose as they act as muscle toning workouts. For the muscles to tone further and for you to increase your strength, you could carry some weight on your back. If you are a beginner, it is recommended that you start off with flat land first, followed by small hills and later on progressing to difficult hills. 

Not Tough 

Hiking is not tough. This form of exercise can be taken up by anyone at any age. Initially, a flat terrain can be selected according to your age. Those, who have considerable amount of experience and those with age on their side, can proceed quickly to more complicated trails. Those with arthritis and joint pains can also benefit from hiking as the leg muscles are strengthened. 

Prevention of Heart Diseases 

Due to the regular pumping of blood and the increase in the blood circulation in the body, one of the health benefits of hiking, is the prevention of heart diseases. The fat is burned better and the level of the good cholesterol, HDL, increases in the body. This assists in keeping the body healthy. The arteries get dilated, thereby reducing the pressure on the heart and preventing cardiovascular diseases. 

Decreasing the Blood Pressure 

One of the important benefits of hiking, is the reduction in blood pressure. The blood vessels and the arteries, dilate and the insulin production reduces, thereby reducing the blood pressure. Thus, reduction in the blood pressure in people who suffer from hypertension, is one of the important health benefits of hiking. 

Slow Down Aging Process 

Now, this benefit will surely catch your eye. It has been proved that people who exercise regularly age slowly. It has been found out that the immune system of such people ages slowly and the other signs of aging are also delayed. In fact, inactivity increases the process of aging and hence, some amount of regular exercise is very important in each one's life. 

Stress Buster 

Each one of us is under stress in one way or the other. Some of us eat a lot when we are under pressure, while there are some who cannot eat at all due to loss of appetite. As both these conditions are undesirable and unhealthy, getting rid of the pressure is important. Hiking plays a good role here as it acts as a wonderful stress buster. Getting up early in the morning and going for a nice hike all by yourself, gives you time to think and also helps you to de-stress. Not only the nature around you freshens you up, you get the possible solutions to your problems. This, in turn, means that your appetite will become normal, thus, helping you to remain fit. 

Other Health Benefits 

The other health benefits of hiking include the controlling of diabetes and improving osteoporosis in people who suffer from these diseases. The immune system also improves due to the fresh air that we breath and this helps in reducing other problems like flu, cold and sinus. People with persistent back pain can also find relief due to this activities. However, it is recommended that people with all these above problems should consult their doctors before starting off with this activity. 

Unlike the gym, hiking is an outdoor activity, being a fat burning exercise, at the same time. The fresh air in the morning, the fresh sunrays of the morning, and the peace helps to liven up the mood and increase the freshness in a person. Couple hiking with balanced diet and see the wonderful change in you. These other benefits of hiking and trails are also important as you experience a change in the way you feel. I hope this article has been informative about the benefits of hiking. I am ready to experience these health benefits of hiking right away. Are you?  


Why traveling with #WeLoveExploring works for introverts   Written by Anna Brech

Being “on form” is something that I quietly dread. I’m not exactly shy – on those ridiculous extrovert-introvert scales that are churned out now and again, I fall squarely in the middle – but nevertheless, the idea of banter is enough to bring me out in a cold sweat. I don’t want to perform, or be pulled into a subtly competitive scenario where everyone is trying to outdo each other with their shining wit (jokes are part of the problem… what if you don’t laugh in the right place?). And I like meeting strangers, but only on the proviso that I have an escape route. Otherwise the pressure gets too much. 

So, I fully understand how the concept of a group tour might be a turn-off for introverts. Here you are, stuck making conversation with people you don’t know every night for two weeks. You’re in the depths of Costa Rica countryside, so pulling a Houdini – my favorite party trick – is out of the question. Worst case, you’ll be surrounded by luminous, guffawing characters with whom you have absolutely nothing in common. You’ll feel awkward and ill-at-ease, and the whole thing will be less of a holiday and more of a paid-for ordeal.

Only #WeLoveExploring isn’t like that. Our small group adventures are versatile enough to accommodate all manner of people, whether you’re a perennial social bee or someone who craves their own space. Here’s why:


For us, travel is about the thrill of the challenge. We’re not Bear Grylls but equally we’re not going to lie around by the pool for a fortnight. We want you to come away from our trips feeling sated and alive, like you’ve stretched yourself. 

The point is, when your days are overflowing with epic experiences, the pressure to chit-chat is off. You won’t struggle to think of what to say to your fellow Travelers, because you’ll be too busy trying to work up the courage to bridge swing above the River. Lulls in the conversation won’t be a thing when you’re playing volleyball on a black sand beach.


Simultaneously, these standout activities lend a natural bonding point for our groups. Forget forced banter or manifested hilarity. Life-altering moments have the uncanny knack of weaving genuine and indelible connections between our Groups. You’ll be drawn closer without even realizing it as, together.

When you come on a group tour with us, we remove all those pesky everyday obstacles – there’s no northern line commute or bills for you to sort out. Instead, you’ll fill your time doing epic things with epic people. These kind of experiences bring together people quickly but naturally, and create meaningful, long-lasting friendships.
The best bit? You’ll barely even notice this process is happening. No effort or painful silences, just good old-fashioned intimacy…


In her smash hit Ted talk, The Power of Introverts, American writer Susan Cain recalls how, as a child at summer camp, she was told to stop reading books because it was anti-social and didn’t foster camp spirit. At #WeLoveExploring we categorically disagrees with this approach. Our groups are typically made up of not only of a.) grown-ups but also b.) independent solo travellers. People who know what they like, and are curious to discover new places. Our small formats (10 at the max) provide a framework for security, logistics and moral support as you do this. But rest assured, we’re not going to make you hold hands, wear hats or sing group songs.

While all of our trips feature relaxed opportunities to get to know your fellow travelers – over beachside drinks or a cooking lesson – we also schedule in time for you to spend by yourself (if you wish); whether that’s reading a book, exploring the local town or hitting the beach alone. We trust you to do what you want to do, and we’ll take care of the rest. For introverts, the beauty of this is that you have room to be who you want to be. You can hang out with the group, or you can take some alone time. There’s no overpowering group culture that’s foisted upon you. Some members form lasting friendships, others simply enjoy hanging out together on the trip. The choice is yours, and the pressure is off.


#WeLoveExploring, makes sure you’re matched up with someone like-minded and in return, you get to do incredible new experiences with fun, new people.

If you’re an introvert who comes aboard for one of our trips, the chances are you will love your group. As well as age and professional background, you have curiosity and a passion for travelling in common. A ream of exhilarating activities will pull you closer, and also mean you’ll be far too busy doing stuff to be self-conscious. It’s pretty hard not to connect, in other words.
That said, you have the freedom to be who you want to be. If that means taking some alone time at night rather than heading out for a drink, that’s totally fine. We are a no-strings framework for adventuring in style, with people like you: no imposed “fun” or banter required.


Packing for a bucket-list trip to Nepal or Peru or Thailand may seem daunting, because hey, it’s not every day you head thousands of miles from home. How many socks? Should I bring the trekking poles? What goes in my carry-on? And how do I keep my passport safe?

We sat down with two experts at REI Adventures, our adventure travel arm that offers 150-plus active guided trips around the world, and one REI employee travel-guru to bring you top tips from their combined 50-plus years of travel experience.
1. Keep important documents safe. What you need with you at all times is your passport, driver’s license and travel insurance—seriously, if you’re going on an adventure travel trip, buy emergency medical and evacuation coverage. Keep these on your person at all times. It’s also a good idea to scan these documents and save them to your phone and email them to yourself and your contacts at home. For the rest of your important documents—like reservations and itineraries—save them as photos you can access in your phone and create an email folder you can easily access from any location. “If you’re traveling internationally, also have a physical copy of your passport and pack it separately so you can go to the closest embassy and show it to get help faster,” says Belinda Gardner, REI Adventures program manager.
2. Lighter is better with adventure travel. If you’re touring by bike or exploring multiple destinations, you “may be moving every night, so you don’t want to have a ton of stuff. Keep your luggage light and small,” says Janel Jensen, REI Adventures travel program manager. Don’t know where to start? Ditch items that don’t serve two purposes—for example, Belinda packs a poncho instead of a rain jacket and pack cover.
3. Be smart about your carry-on. Belinda always carries a warm layer, spare toiletry kit, medications, clean socks and underwear in a day pack. She wears her hiking boots and straps her cycling shoes and helmet to the outside of her carry-on (which doubles as a great conversation starter), so she’s ready for day one of her adventure, even if the airline loses her luggage.
4. Go with quick-dry clothing. “You want clothes that you can hand-wash and dry overnight on a towel rack,” says Janel. Synthetic pants and shirts not only pack small but wick sweat and dry lightning quick after washing. Be extra prepared by bringing detergent along too. We love the Sea To Summit Trek and Travel (liquid) and Pocket (mini-sheets) laundry wash—which are both TSA carry-on compliant.
5. Fewer clothes are better. Janel brings three pairs of clothes—a mix of trekking pants and shorts and long-sleeve and short-sleeve shirts, and usually one dress, too. “People get so worried about wearing the same clothes over and over again—but no one is paying attention,” adds Belinda. Remember what you’re there for, and think and pack like a backpacker.