From the Hospital Bed to the Gym

There are a variety of reasons people use Wilderness Athlete® nutritional products. Hunters use Wilderness Athlete to stay in shape for hunting season. Many satisfied customers keep themselves fueled with the products while they are fishing, climbing, snowboarding, and mountain biking or training for an endurance race. Eric Smith from Reno, Nevada started using Wilderness Athlete products after a health scare and he realized he needed to lose some weight not only so he could enjoy outdoor activities like hunting but even more importantly so he could enjoy time with his young son.

“In May 2011, I was very ill and was hospitalized for a week or so. They never figured out what was wrong with me but I was extremely heavy. When I got out of the hospital, I decided I needed to lose weight. My son was only two years old at the time and I feared I wouldn’t be able to do things with him if I didn’t get into shape,” Eric Smith said.

So Smith got focused. He enrolled in the Train To Hunt program and started using Wilderness Athlete products. “I started to exercise daily and stopped drinking soda and eating poorly,” Smith said. “By exercising, eating right and using Wilderness Athlete, I started losing weight.” Smith did more than lose a few pounds, he lost eighty pounds over the last couple years and has successfully kept it off.

Smith even runs races now; something he never would have dreamed of doing before he started getting in shape. “I use Wilderness Athlete products every day and they have helped me a lot. I use almost every product they have, including the High Performance Multi-Vitamin, the Meal Replacement, and Recover Shakes. I have a shake for breakfast and I drink Hydrate & Recover all the time. I used to drink soda; now that I drink Hydrate & Recover, I have drastically reduced my overall sugar intake.”  Although Smith has had a lot of success over the last couple years, it hasn’t been without ongoing challenges. Weight loss was a true battle for Eric. “Some people lose weight quickly and easily. That wasn’t the case for me, it has been a long road,” Smith said with a laugh. “It has been as much of a mental game as a physical game for me. The good news is I have so much more muscle now than I did before. I am in better shape now than when I was twenty years old and that has made all the work well worth it.”

Since Smith is no longer drinking soda and unhealthy energy drinks that are packed with sugar. He has eliminated all the health issues that are symptomatic with being overweight. “I used to be very unhealthy but that is no longer the case. Hydrate & Recover has replaced all that, so I am proud to say I am no longer battling health challenges which has been a big boost for me.”

Healthy eating has now become a daily habit for Smith. “We now have organic fruits and vegetables delivered to our door weekly and we eat very healthy. I do cross-fit training at the local gym and use Wilderness Athlete to help me get through the intense workouts and recover. All of these things have helped me get where I am today,” Smith explained.

Eric said the one Wilderness Athlete product he couldn’t live without is Hydrate & Recover. Wilderness Athlete is The Authority on Performance Nutrition™, check out for the vast variety of nutritional products.

Eric Smith before

Before Eric started using Wilderness Athlete products.

Eric Smith after

Now Eric is running races and is in much better shape with the help of Wilderness Athlete products.

About the Author: Tracy Breen is a full-time outdoor writer and marketing consultant in the outdoor industry. He works with a variety of companies including Wilderness Athlete. Learn more about him at

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Consult your physician before staring any exercise

This entry was posted in Stories, Weight Loss.

Hiking the Arizona Trail Week 3

Week three of our journey: we begin it apart. Michael has retreated to Phoenix for medical treatment. Ben recuperates in Tucson, gorging himself and waiting for that call that may never come…the call to adventure! Will we turn back from the precipice or leap heedlessly beyond?

Day 15: Mile 151.3— Mile 151.3

BH: As Michael busied himself with various medical inspections, I ate a variety of lavish meals and more or less lived in the shower. Were there a way to eat a full meal while in the shower, God knows I would have done so. For your consideration, dear reader, my lunch:
1 smoked salmon salad
1 house salad
1 order of fries
½ Cuban sandwich
3 bloody Mary’s

Dinner was two breasts of chicken parmesan. We had only been on the trail for three weeks, but I had already become completely obsessed with food. And I noticed another change—while I was eating lunch with my girlfriend, I couldn’t even follow our conversation. There was sound everywhere. Other diners at other tables, limp banjo music on the restaurant PA, some fraternity event in the courtyard, a quinceañera…society was overwhelming. Fortunately, as I heard that night, I wouldn’t be staying long. We’d hit the trail tomorrow.

MT: I am ashamed to admit this whole side trip for medical aid could have been skipped if I had not forgotten the duct tape. I needed a way to keep the bandages on to allow my heel to heal. But because of that oversight we made a detour to resupply at home. I got a package of antibiotics, fresh bandages, duct tape, and a hot shower – Everything I needed to be on the trail the next day.

After Reavis Canyon

Day 16: Mile 151.3 –– Mile 167.0

We were dropped off at the trail head by Michael’s brother and niece, and we started out in mixed spirits. Both of us were feeling pretty low but trying to put a brave face on it—a symptom of the weird pride that had driven us this far. As we climbed the little rilles and ridges that led to the Santa Catalina mountains, we felt despair—augmented by the dry springs and tanks on which we were relying. Squatting glumly on an inaccessible tank, however, we were visited with a messenger from the gods, another AZT hiker, a man known to us only as “Vocal.” We bitched about the water situation for a while, and he went on ahead of us. We finally descended into Molino Basin Campground—also dry—and ate dinner with Vocal. We shared tales of misadventure, punctuated by his joyous bursts of profanity. “You’re ‘trail trash’ now!,”he told us, and we really felt as if we were. Thirsty but emboldened, we decided to press on to Gordon Hirobayashi, where we were scheduled to meet Ben’s girlfriend, our water-bearer. We hoofed it in the moonlight, arriving and setting up camp at about 1 am.

BH: In terms of the Monomyth, I think Vocal would be categorized as “The Crone.” His tales of discharging firearms while wearing snowshoes and starting each hike 30 lbs. overweight to save on food costs were succor to our weary minds.

MT: It was good to see another long distance hiker on the trail. He gave us some good tips and great stories. It was also discouraging to see another long distance hiker. He covered 25+ miles in the time it took us to cover 16 and when we finally caught up to him at camp, he was smoking like a chimney.


Day 17: Mile 167.0 –– Mile 174.0

We woke up “late” (6:30) and had a long breakfast with Sarah, after which we began the ascent into the Catalinas. It was surprisingly tough, the back route to Hutch’s Pool through Sycamore Canyon. It was dry and hot and rocky, but we made it to the pool in the mid afternoon, whereupon we rested, swam, and ate. Here, we met another traveler, a congenial adventure-bro who shared with us tales of rafting the Colorado on acid and so forth. We decided to pitch camp here and ease our way back into things.

BH: All in all, a fairly relaxing day. Hutch’s Pool is a gorgeous little place. If I were a hermit, I’d move there.

MT: I don’t think I will ever trust river guides after hearing the stories our impromptu camp friend had.


Day 18: Mile 174.0 –– Mile 187.3

We were in the Catalinas proper, and that meant hiking. We ascended about 4000 feet in the morning—the first 2000 quite gradual, the second 2000 punishingly steep, but as we rested near the top of our climb, eating Pay Days and looking out over Marana, we felt accomplished and not so exhausted. At the top, we wended our way through the wilderness of rocks, walking from cairn to cairn in a landscape that resembled, well, over sized cairns. At last, we began the descent. Filled with fear that the one restaurant in Summer haven might close before we reached it, we split up—Ben rushed ahead to warn the town’s inhabitants that two filthy hikers were in need of a beer. Happily, we arrived in time, ate delicious sandwiches, flirted hopelessly with the waitress, and padded our supplies with junk food—chili cheese Frito’s, Drumsticks, and mint fudge (which, as the journey progressed, would become a powerful totem).

BH: Fudge! Sweet fudge! I shall compose prayerful odes to you! I shall propose obscene trysts to you! I shall rub you onto every square inch of my skin!

MT: I tried Wilderness Athlete’s Energy Powder for the first time today and the effects were fantastic. It gave me the second wind I needed to make it to Summerhaven before the restaurant closed and I was alert and talkative the entire time getting there. The Mango Bango energy powder is going to have to become part of my regular routine

Formerly White Canyon

Day 19: Mile 187.3 –– Mile 202.9

Descending the Oracle Ridge, we descended out of a verdant Valhalla of ponderosa’s into a burnt-out, rocky wasteland. All that remained of the scrubby forest that must have once been here were a few bleached juniper skeletons. We attempted to siesta beneath one of these, but they offered little shade—and what shade existed had largely been claimed by stinging nettles, which epitomized the region’s “fuck off and die” attitude. Once out of the mountains, we searched for the water source that allegedly existed there, only to find that it was someone’s house, surrounded by fences and “No Trespassing” signs and guarded by a large dog, unseen but not unheard. We filled our canteens surreptitiously before its owner arrived…who then welcomed us to fill our canteens. Restored, we set out into the desert.

BH: From the journals of Ben “Mulius Caesar” Harper: “We’re getting stronger and harder to discourage. Fudge supplies holding out.”

MT: We passed mile 200 today and it felt surreal in doing so. We were moving at a much slower pace than what we set out to do, but we were still making progress. At a quarter of the way through the hike it finally feels like we have a chance at this.

Gila Monster

 Day 20: Mile 202.9 –– Mile 221.1

Ben’s foolish and haphazard packing led to a fun surprise this morning. About two liters of water burst from one of the canteens beneath the weight of all his other equipment. Maybe it was a blessing—that’s 4lbs. It was a breezy, cool morning, and we hiked the gently sloping trail in fine fettle. We walked along the AZ-71 for a while (Ah! The untamed wilderness! God’s untrammeled majesty!), finally crossed it, and began the Tiger Mine stretch of trail. We rested for siesta beneath a tree in a sandy gulch, and lying in the soft sand felt like an extreme luxury. That day we hiked about 18 miles, ending at Mountain View Tank. The spigot at the water tank had been designed to discourage trail trash, but we were undeterred, maneuvering around the obstacles to overfill our canteens. We staggered a mile or two under the weight, as we were pretty sure we were trespassing, and made camp. Tomorrow would be a resupply day!

BH: My records indicate that this day’s dinner was dehydrated lasagna. They also indicate that it was pretty good. What is there to say about the hike today but that it went well, that we felt accomplished and capable, that we overcame all that opposed us—indeed, that we were men, that we were like gods?!

MT: My records indicate that Ben might be going crazy by this point. He kept talking about his lasagna and gods. I’ll have to keep an eye on him.IMG_1349

Day 21: Mile 221.1 –– Mile 236.1

Today’s hike was fairly easy, but it was haunted throughout by a terrible specter: the jumping cholla. These are evil, evil things. Most cactus’s are beautiful plants, in life and in death. The saguaro, tall and spare, leaves elegant ribs when it dies. When the prickly pear dies, its dead pads reveal the intricate latticework skeleton which support them. The jumping cholla, while alive, is a savage son of a bitch, and when it dies its horrible limbs wither into spiny caltrops that lie in wait, in perpetuity, to ambush the innocent. Based on our experiences so far, we’ve decided (improving on Thales) that the universe is composed of three basic elements—rocks, spines, and cow shit—all of which were present at our meager siesta lodgings. But despite the harshness of our surroundings, we made great time, reaching the drop-point an hour and a half early. So we futzed around for a while, and were soon granted beer, sandwiches, and a variety of other beautiful gifts.

BH: In revenge, I pooped on a cholla.

MT:I’m starting to feel like pig pen from Peanuts. I always have a cloud of small flies hovering around me. I’m really looking forward to my next shower.



This entry was posted in Arizona Trail.

Hiking the Arizona Trail – Week 2

Fearless adventurers strike out boldly from civilization, forsaking urban comforts the blazing torch of human endeavor to even the most savage lands! Ben “Mulius Caesar” Harper and Michael “Bathtub” Tyler can barely hack it in the mountains for seven days. But they’re going back out there for a second week, God love ‘em.

Day 8: Mile52.8—Mile 61.0

After a day of feasting we left Patagonia and continued our journey. Ben had a slight muscle tear, but it had mostly healed during our rest day, and in any case, chorizo breakfast burritos had made us bold! We trekked north from Patagonia, crawling up the Temporal Gulch into the Santa Rita Mountains, and we were feeling pretty all right—it’s amazing how quickly one can forget. We made it about 9 miles into the foothills of Mt. Wrightson, leaving the bleak desert for a pretty little riparian ravine, populated with deer, cottonwoods, and honest-to-god green grass. We made camp in a little glade largely untouched by cattle waste and, for the first time in days, felt pretty good about our chances.

BH:For once, I have nothing sarcastic to say. This was a nice stretch of trail.
MT: We were many miles down this rough dirt road that which I would have thought you would need a truck to get down, when we spot a small 4-door sedan driving towards us. The car is bottoming out left and right and I’m fairly certain it left plenty of paint on the bushes it drove by. I was cringing watching it come up the road towards us, but when the driver got up along side of us he rolled down his window and said, “Don’t worry, it’s a rental” and drove off.

Day 9: Mile 61.0—Mile 78.8

Today was the first day the heat truly became worrisome. Up until this point we had been blessed with a fortuitous wind that kept the brunt of the Arizona heat off of us. When that died off, we went through nearly three gallons of water each trying to keep hydrated. It became very clear that we were in a race against summer. Of course, it wasn’t just water that we were losing when we sweat, but thankfully the Wilderness Athlete Hydrate and Recover powder helped us get back what we were loosing. Plus the berry flavor was a welcome change from all the water we had been drinking.

We crossed through the Eastern section of the Santa Ritas over a pass near the peak of Mt. Wrightson. Shortly over the pass, we rested at a large stone cistern, where Ben proceeded to complain a lot. We ended ourday in Kentucky Camp, a Park Service station built at an old mining camp. Here we met Steve, the caretaker of Kentucky Camp, and the first of many interesting people we would meet on the trail. He offered us a beer and told us stories about his life, Kentucky Camp, and people on the Arizona Trail. The beer, his company, and the ability to get pure water straight from a faucet made Kentucky Camp a great place to stop for the day.

BH:A nice stop, but I barely made it. Climbing up Mount Wrightson wasn’t nearly as hard as climbing down—it’s hell on the knees.
MT:I think park curator for the forest service would be a good job. They set you up with a trailer and you just monitor the park for a month at a time. Sounds pretty restful.

Day 10: Mile 78.8—Mile 93.9

Gulches within gulches within gulches. Ben’s journal refers to this leg of the journey as “Wasteland,” and that’s just about right—there’s nothing but desert scrub and very little water. Not one of the glamorous, day-hike sections of the trail. We were starting to get worried about our water reserves when we reached one of the sources indicated on our factsheet, only to find it empty. Lamentation and recriminations ensued. Fortunately, after fiddling with the controls for a few minutes, we found that the reservoir was filled from another tank according to a scheduled timer, not unlike a sprinkler timer. Ben tapped into the ancestral knowledge inherited from his father the sprinklerman; we filled our canteens, and crawled on.

BH:Norse tradition holds that each generation is smaller, lesser than its progenitor, as ripples in a still lake grow weaker as they spread.
MT: I’m glad Ben got the solar pump working. The only other water source we had found was dark green, stagnant and infested with bees.

Day 11: Mile 93.9 —Mile 109.5

Another dry day. We filled up our canteens to about as much as we could hold at the last tank, but it didn’t turn out to be enough. Tough on morale. We took a siesta at a cattle tank down in the valley and decided we’d try to fill up there, taking as little as we thought was possible to reduce damage to our water filter. We rested uneasily in the shade of a tree, eying a bull that wouldn’t stop eying us, but we managed to escape without being savagely gored. Of course, twenty minutes out from the filthy cattle tank, we ran into a woman jogging down the trail from her home, a mile and a half away, who invited us back for water. We were too furious to even accept. Apparently this wilderness is now the southernmost part of Vail, so we crawled, dehydrated and dispirited, past incongruous mansions. We arrived at Duck Tank, in the shadow of the AZ-83, only to find that it, too, was scummy and undrinkable. Seven miles to the next water source, and very little water between us.

BH: I don’t hate them as much as cattle, but ducks are on my list. Stupid ducks.
MT:I hit a moral low when tired, hot, and nearly out of water, I had to stop and wait for a UPS truck to pass over the trail on it’s way into the suburbs of Vail.

Day 12: Mile 109.5—Mile 125.9

We woke up with little choice but to hike and hike hard. If we made some miles before the sun got too high, we reckoned, we might yet live! A little dramatic, maybe, as we were literally 100 feet from the highway, but hell—sweeping narrative is a great motivator. And indeed, we hauled ass. We passed under the I-10, briefly considered hitching to a diner, rallied, and reached Cienega Creek around noon. The creek was clear and beautiful, tucked into a shady little canyon replete with cottonwoods and other such shady vegetation. We celebrated with a quick rest, candy bars, and the Wilderness Athlete meal replacement powder, as was our habit anytime we had water to spare. We needed the extra calories and that did the trick. Further down the trail, we stumbled upon
La Posta Quemada Ranch, a little dude ranch run as part of Colossal Cave Monument. Alas, the restaurant was closed, but we convinced the staff to part with a few turkey sandwiches, bought some candy bars, took siestas, and bandaged our feet before returning to the trail. Our newfound proximity to water had a striking effect on our surroundings—prickly pears in bloom, dark green cactus-flesh, and wildflowers all along the trail. It grew overcast that afternoon, darkening the mountains to a rich purple and bringing out the purple hues in the rich, green cactus. We camped in the lowlands of Saguaro National Park (without a permit, we wanton rebels!) and prepared to tackle the Rincon Mountains.

BH:A rare, early taste of victory! Saguaro National Park is gorgeous.
MT: This was one of the few times during the entire hike that we actually had a beautiful Arizona sunset. The sky silhouetted saguaros with deep red, pink, and orange.

Day 13: Mile 125.9—Mile 139.8

From our camp at the base of the Rincons, we began the ascent from the south side. It got hot fast. From the somewhat bleak desert base, stands of ocotillo and saguaro interrupted by rocky cataracts, we climbed into an increasingly temperate, mountainous climate. Again, we quite nearly ran out of water, but were lucky enough to find a relatively clean pool in the rocks. Noon was brutally hot, and we attempted to take a siesta beneath some scrub juniper and rock outcroppings, contorting ourselves in every possible position to avoid the sun. While resting, it became clear that Michael had developed some interesting wounds on his feet, possibly pressure sores. We began to consider that we’d have to abandon the trek for medical treatment. Still, at least we weren’t going to die of thirst. We kept moving, our morale in an interesting state—we were frustrated and in pain (Michael particularly), but we were almost giddy with the prospect that we might fail and put this ridiculous adventure behind us. After stopping at Grass Springs camp to use the latrine (a luxury!) we pressed on, going as far as we could convince ourselves and bedding down in some rocky brush, drinking scotch from the flask and arranging for a pickup northwest of the mountains.

BH:I wanted you to be seriously injured so badly. I feel as though I can say this, because we no longer live in the same city. We could have quit, and I could have blamed it on you! Would have been perfect.
MT: Yeah, I was right there with you. I just didn’t want to have the conversation on why we failed with everyone who knew we were out here.

Day 14: Mile 139.8—Mile 151.3

 Of course, just as we were ready to quit, we had a great day of hiking. From our campsite, it was only two or three hours to Manning Camp, a gorgeous, ponderosa-ensconced campsite near the peak of the Rincons, with a stream running right through it. It had a latrine, and even bathroom reading (tales of gripping Forest Service adventure)! We filled up our canteens, moved on, and took a slight detour to Mica Mountain, the highest point in the range, because—why the hell not? It was to be our last day on the trail (it wasn’t). Then we started the descent. The view from the northern part of the Rincons is staggering—a clear vista to two-hundred-some degrees of the San Pedro Valley. We spent some time simply admiring it, and had an easy descent down strange and bulbous rock formations to Michael’s brother, who careened heroically down unmaintained roads to rescue his brother and his asshole friend. We hadn’t even made it a quarter of the way, but we were feeling ready to quit.

BH:Still, nothing soothes the soul like a giant, greasy burrito.
MT: It’s amazing how a little water and some elevation can turn the Arizona landscape into a lush green forest.

Next Week: Will our heroes get off their asses and back on the trail? Will they do something right for a change? Find out here!





This entry was posted in Arizona Trail, Hiking and tagged in .


Hiking the Arizona Trail – Week 1

There are those who are born to be outdoors, those with the inherent mental, physical, and spiritual fortitude to conquer mountains, scale cliffs, endure extreme conditions, and explore the Earth’s untamed wilderness. We are not those people. We—Michael “Bathtub” Tyler and Ben “Mulius Caesar” Harper—set out to hike the Arizona Trail, outfitted with some nice Wilderness Athlete backpacks, some camping gear from the mid-seventies, and a confidence born of the most profound ignorance. This is our story.

Day 1: Mile 0—Mile 2.5


As it turned out, we were completely unprepared for this entire trip. The WA backpacks, as promised, held more gear than we should probably have taken, and buoyed with the optimism of the totally incompetent, we hit the trail late, burdened, and out of shape. Eager for self-abuse, we started at Joe’s Canyon TJ rather than on the trail itself and, upon finally meeting it, turned around to reach the border before backtracking and, finally, making forward progress. It may have been worth it for the bragging rights, but we still found time to regret it during our slow, feeble ascent into the Huachucas. Discounting the detours and doubling back, we only made it about 2.5 miles forward on our first day (pro tip: start your 800-mile journey before noon). Making camp on a fairly exposed ridgeline, we enjoyed a sleepless night of gale-force winds and the metallic, bilious taste of regret.

BH: I’m not exactly sure why we thought this would be so easy. I’d spent the last two years of my life completely inert.

MT: All my delusions about how this hike would go shattered once we hit the trail.

BH: Then they were replaced with new delusions.


Day 2: Mile 2.5—Mile 14


Today almost qualified as a legitimate day of hiking. From our perilous perch, we ascended into the Huachucas, passing just below the pinnacle of Miller Peak and descending into Sunnyside Canyon. Passing Miller Peak, we felt the first flush of undeserved pride, and hiking downhill felt like a true pleasure. Just after the high point of the trail, we reached Bathtub Spring—unmistakable, as the spring was in fact piped directly into a bathtub. It was a lovely sight, and we drank deeply! The path down into the canyon contained some murderous switchbacks, and we had already begun to develop a rich array of blisters, but our outlook had at least improved from the day before.

MT: And lo, in the waters of Bathtub Spring, I was born again!

BH: The legend of Bathtub Tyler will live on forever, or as long as Wilderness Athlete pays their web hosting bill.


Day 3: Mile 14—Mile 21.7


A mere 7 miles to Parker Canyon Lake, the dread Huachucas behind us, we felt entitled to a half day. The lake was a mile or two off-trail, but it seemed worth it, although a brief experiment in swimming turned out to be intolerably cold. We rested, tended to our feet, and patronized the marina store, which was open despite the stated hours. Only three days in, we were already craving all manner of junk food—for its sheer caloric value, we demolished a can of SPAM, and it was somehow satisfying and revolting at the same time. We went to sleep feeling very optimistic about our chances—an optimism that was, of course, utterly misplaced.

BH: That’s called “foreshadowing.” It’s very ominous.

MT: I don’t think SPAM has ever, or will ever again, taste as good as it did that night.

BH: And those little cans of chicken salad, and those hot-sauce flavored sardines—truly we ate like kings. Well, impoverished kings, down on their luck. Actually, we were eating like hobos, but that still seemed pretty good.

MT: Yeah, I don’t think I’ll ever be willing to pay $2 for a pickle again.


Day 4: Mile 21.7—Mile 21.7


Well-rested and exuberant, we forged ahead on the Arizona Trail—and then off the Arizona Trail, blowing right past the trailhead into the Canelo Hills. Several old Jeep trails seemed like plausible paths according to our maps, and we took them all, backtracking and starting again as they began to seem increasingly unlikely. Finally, we decided, we’d make our own way, relying on the “dead reckoning” inherent to all intrepid adventurers. This was obviously a bad idea. We crawled through gulches, ranches, and rocky hillsides until we were completely lost, and when we caught sight of a glinting RV in Parker Canyon Lake-Town, we decided that no progress was about the best we could hope for. We finally returned in the late afternoon, utterly dejected, we found that the marina store was again open (because one of the town’s residents was thirsty) and we consoled ourselves in the salty embrace of more SPAM.


BH: Never again. That shit is so disgusting, I don’t even care that it kept us alive. We are foes now, forever.

MT: As much as this day sucked, this was the best “lost” scenario I’ve ever been in. We had food for ten days, water for two, and all the gear to make camp. We just didn’t know where we were.


Day 5: Mile 21.7—Mile 36.2


This time we actually made it into the Canelo Hills segment of the trail, spotting the trailhead we had so blithely trotted past the day before. It was the right direction, but it would be overstating things to say that we were happy to be there—as one might expect of hills, there was a lot of ascending and descending. And, of course, we soon found a way to wander off the trail again, encountering the first of many misleading Arizona Trail markers (and being misled by it). When we summited the highest of the hills, we felt a manic ecstasy—the sort that compels one to scream at the top of his lungs: “Behold, brute and insensate nature, I am man!” Of course, after doing so, we realized that there was one more, slightly higher hill to climb, which deflated us quite effectively. When we dropped down into the Canelo Pass, we were exhausted and short on water but unafraid, as our AZT databook assured us that water was nearby. Unfortunately, it was water that every cow in a 200-mile radius had shit in. We drank it anyway.

MT: I’m developing a growing hatred for cows and their tendency to shit in every water source.

BH: That unmistakable cattle taste—two parts hay, one part feces. Actually, I’m not sure it’s worse than the taste of iodine, although it does carry a greater risk of gastrointestinal duress.


Day 6: Mile 36.2—Mile 52.8


After the day before, this portion of the hike seemed mercifully flat. After moving across the plains for several miles, we descended into a canyon that walked along for the majority of the day. Our water source was another cattle tank—this time, thankfully, made of metal—and although it tasted like licking nails, it was clean and clear. The canyon petered out into sandy badlands, completely bereft of shade and water and covered entirely in thorny scrub, and we were overheated and miserable by the time we climbed out of it, past a mountain we were sure the trail would lead up to and through a much less intimidating pass. From there, we could see the tiny town of Patagonia, and in a few hours we were there, checking into a hotel, eating pizza, and licking our wounds.


Day 7: Mile 52.8—Mile 52.8


A rest day. As it turned out, the cow-water from Canelo Pass had destroyed our filter, and we had to make a quick trip to Tucson to replace it and some of our other gear—and ditch some unnecessary stuff. Still smarting from our defeat in the Canelo Hills, we also picked up a GPS, pride be damned. After breakfast at some cafe, we made the journey, transported by Ben’s girlfriend, an indispensable member of our long-suffering supply train. We took this opportunity to eat as much food and drink as much beer as possible. Our high-minded notions of remaining pure and untouched by society during our trip had been, by this point, dispensed with entirely, and we rested and fattened ourselves up for the remainder of a journey that would be much more difficult than we had planned.

BH: Why did I bring a “travel guitar”? Because I’m an idiot—the same reason that motivated the journey itself, as well as almost every decision I made on it.

MT: I had a nice old lady stop me and ask where I got my cane. I was going to correct her and say it’s a hiking stick, but then I realized she was shuffling along quicker than I could hobble. I told her she could buy good canes at REI.

Yes, it was an inauspicious beginning.

Next Week: Our heroes are slightly less pitiful, but not by a whole lot.

This entry was posted in Adventures, Arizona Trail and tagged in , , .

Mark M WA

Interview with Mark Melotik

Mark Melotik, the Editor of Bowhunting World and Archery Business Magazines spends his days writing and dreaming about bowhunting. When fall arrives, he spends as much time as he can in the woods chasing a wide variety of big game species. Melotik is a big fan of Wilderness Athlete® products. Over the last several months, he has been exercising and preparing for a few hunts that will likely require him to walk several miles a day and climb countless miles. I recently chatted with Melotik about hunting physical fitness and Wilderness Athlete.

You hunt all over the world. Where is your favorite place to hunt?

Tough one, but I’ll list two: The Rocky Mountain high country, and northern-forest regions of the upper Midwest.

I know you have worked hard to get into shape this year. Have Wilderness Athlete products helped you lose weight and get into better shape this season?

Absolutely; the products taste great and make you feel good—and energized—which is critical for 4 a.m. workouts.

Which one of the Wilderness Athlete products is your favorite? 

Currently a toss-up between Energy & Focus and Hydrate & Recover.

Which Wilderness Athlete products do you use daily? 

Energy & Focus, Hydrate & Recover, Protein Plus, and Meal Replacement & Recovery Shake.

Do you have any physically demanding hunts planned for this fall? 

Do-it-yourself Colorado high country elk, South Dakota mule deer and late-season Arizona mule deer.

This entry was posted in Hunting.

My Family on the Hunt

Guedes family

The author, Matt Guedes with his two children.

Being a father of three has been a tremendous experience.  In fact, one of the greatest joys that I have in life is sharing my outdoor lifestyle with my wife and children.  Since my kids have been born they have had the opportunity to hike, be in a treestand, play sports, and just be around and involved in all the outdoor choices that Kelley and I make.

As I have continued to build my outdoor lifestyle over the years, my family has obviously been involved every step of the way.  At this point in time I now have two children that are old enough to hunt in any state in our nation since they are 12 and 13.  Both of them have been able to hunt prior to that in places where a 12 year old age limit was not required.  They have now both harvested multiple animals. My ten year old daughter, Hollis, passed her hunter safety course and will hunt small game this year in Colorado.

My hunts are now shifting from focusing on me as the priority in a hunt to my kids being the focus.  If there is time left over, I get to hunt, too.  I have had no trouble adjusting to this concept even though I love to hunt.  It has been easy because there is a tremendous pleasure in watching all of those years of my experience in the woods come to a culmination of a harvest for the children.  I have found as much excitement in my kids taking down an animal as any that I have ever shot.

In order to maximize our effort we have adopted a lifestyle of pursuing health and being true outdoor athletes.  Although there are seasons where we are more focused on this outdoor athletic lifestyle than at other times, the overall flow of our life is focused on enjoying life, maximizing opportunities, and living well.

As a family we have made Wilderness Athlete’s products a regular part of our life.  From Hydrate and Recovery to Energy and Focus to Green Infusion to Altitude Advantage to Multi-Vitamin, we are all in on these high quality products.  My family has come to love these products and we have seen their results over and over again.  Although I am on staff with Wilderness Athlete, my entire family is a part of our journey with these incredible products.

Whether you hunt, hike, weightlift, cross-train, bike, rock climb, or just like to spend time outdoors, Wilderness Athlete has the products to improve your life and your return.  Turn to Wilderness Athlete in order to get the most of your effort and, in turn, living a healthier version of you.

You can follow Matt on facebook as Matt Guedes and follow his journeys at

This entry was posted in Matt Guedes.

Wilderness Athlete Interview with Coach Mark Paulsen

Listen to the full interview here:

Wilderness Athlete is the authority on outdoor sports nutrition. Explain the difference between regular nutrition products that are formulated for the typical person verses Wilderness Athlete products that are formulated for active outdoor enthusiast?

My experience has taught me that, yes, you get what you pay for but perhaps more importantly, you don’t get what you don’t pay for. Living a life e of a Wilderness Athlete is quite different than your average weekend warrior playing flag football or golfing. We live a life that often delivers a punishing level of physical abuse and in order to respond the outcome is far more positive when quality nutrition is delivered to the human body. Junk in equals junk out. Relevant science combined with high quality raw materials absolutely seperate Wilderness Athlete from what I call the “COMMODITY” products in the over the counter nutritional world.  I like to think of WA as a specialty company. WA is the Swarovski of Nutrition. Using that analogy we all know that cheap binoculars can look outwardly like the real deal, but when you look through them and your eyes ache after 10 mutes and they have poor field of view, well, you get the idea. WA is dedicated to providing products that deliver a measurable and definable difference in the way people feel, especially in physically demanding situations.

You are a retired strength and conditioning coach. I am sure your background and knowledge of sports nutrition played a part in how Wilderness Athlete products were formulated. Could you explain some of the science behind Wilderness Athlete products?

I have always been fascinated by the role of high quality nutrition and its ability to enhance athletic performance. This fascination led me to the University of South Carolina where I did my Graduate work in the field of Health and Wellness with an emphasis on Nutrition. I was extremely fortunate during my 30 year career of training Collegiate and Professional Athletes to come in contact with many of the top Sports Performance Researchers and Nutritional Formulators in the world. I was able to pick their brains on a variety of subjects as it pertained to everything from general health and well being as well as how to maximize athletic ability with the latest pre, during and post nutritional advances. I believe we have become a fairly savvy country as far as nutrition goes but the Scientists that we have assembled at WA have spent over 200 years performing,dissecting and perfecting research to breath life into this company, and we are just getting started! I am honored and humbled that these formulators, whether they live in the former Soviet Union or right here in the U.S.,  accepted my invitation to launch Wilderness Athlete, and I am equally as humbled that I can call them my friends.

Wilderness Athlete offers a Performance Package. Could you explain some of the benefits of this package and why outdoor athletes should use it?

Wilderness Athletes who push their bodies to the limits can benefit greatly from this performance package. First, WA Ultimate Pre-Workout helps nutritionally prepare the body for the rigors of physically demanding workouts (or even moderately difficult workouts) by combining the top performance Adaptogenic herbs in the world ( Moomiyo, Longjack Root, Rhodiola Root ), with select Branch Chain Aminos and nutrients designed to metabolize quickly resulting in increased Oxygen circulation to absolutely bring out the best in any workout or activity you could undertake. It is a ONE OF A KIND product!! We have also included a cannister of Protein Plus as well as our Meal Replacement/ Recovery Shake with a focus on providing not only the highest quality Proteins that you can ingest as a part of a substantive high protein low calorie meal ( only 2 grams of sugar) or as a pre workout product, but also our Recovery Shake that provides the perfect balance of sugars/carbs/proteins that are needed to rapidly replenish and repair damaged muscle tissue. I encourage everyone who participates in physically demanding activities to pay special attention to the RECOVERY phase of nutritional supplementation. By consuming our Recovery product within 2 hours of exercise you will significantly reduce muscle soreness and set the body up for immediate repair, growth and recovery. When exercising or being active multiple days in a row this product is a game changer. If you are a label reader, which we encourage at WA, you will notice we provide 9 grams of dietary fiber person for improved digestive health ( more than a bowl of oatmeal).

Energy Drinks are extremely popular, but many of today’s most popular brands are packed with sugar and lack nutritional value. How is Wilderness Athlete’s Energy and Focus different?

WA Energy and Focus is a categorically different kind of product when compared to the HIGH STIMULATION/SUGAR RUSH products so many folks are subsisting on today. Wilderness Athlete formulators looked at the phenomenon of the  LOW QUALITY, POOR SCIENCE being incorporated in this fast growth industry and they identified a fundamental health problem resulting from the use of these kinds of products, ADRENAL FATIGUE!!  The consistent use of these unhealthy products lead to the consumption of more and more until the bodies own natural production of hormones is so dried up as to be rendered useless. Physical and Mental Lethargy is the result an no amount of these products can overcome the debilitating result of  there overuse. We like to consider our ENERGY and Focus more of a Nutritional Drink. With 0 sugars and an impressive array of relevant amounts of Vitamins and Minerals, WA goes the extra mile by adding All -Natural Adaptogenic Herbs that support the body during physical exertion. The inclusion of Gota Kola and Caffeine, (the equivalent of a small cup of coffee) are realized without the resulting negative consequences of increased acid buildup.  Not only will you feel physically better taking E&F, you can feel good about what you are putting in your body.

Why should everyone take a daily multivitamin? Don’t we get enough vitamins in the food we eat?

Every single one of us should take a High Quality Multivitamin that is formulated for 90% plus absorption. If the body does not receive the Multi-vitamin at the cellular level you just wasted your money. Wilderness Athlete Multi-vaitamins have a 97% absorption which is incredible. I look at our WA Multi-vitamin as the foundation upon which all of our other products operate. It is the PLATFORM for every other product that we produce. To answer the second part of your question, No, we simply do not get the nutrition that we need to function minimally, let alone from an advanced performance level, from our diets of nutrient depleted foods today. I recently read a study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that dated back to 1934. The study indicated that due to alarming rates of topsoil being lost from aggressive farming practices that the nutrient content of vegetables was being severely compromised. In fact, the study indicated that ten years earlier a baseline study looking at the iron content in spinach yielded 220 milligrams. When repeating this study a short ten years later that same cup of spinach yielded 2.2 miligrams of iron. Almost too astonishing to believe! What I do believe is what I have stated before,” Nutrient depleted soils produce nutrient depleted plants which produce nutrient depleted foods which produce nutrient depleted people which result in nutrient depleted diseases! I am thankful for every single customer that finds their way to Wilderness Athlete and I strongly recommend that the first product you incorporate into your daily regimen in our WA Multi-vitamin. Think FOUNDATION.

Listen to the full interview here:

This entry was posted in Mark Paulsen.

Wilderness Athlete on Safari with Matt Guedes

I recently returned from a Safari with Sediba Nkwe Hunting Safaris in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. I was there primarily as a hunting consultant and filmed my good friend as he hunted a male lion. The hunt was incredible as we tracked the lion for over 4 miles. We finally found ourselves in a position to make a shot and the lion hit the ground. The 6-8 year old male was over 500 pounds and I could not believe how massive it was.


My friend proceeded from there to hunt many other species of animal. We hunted by safari vehicle and by spot and stalk. Each day was hunted in the heat of South Africa and we often put on many miles. I followed my friend intently with a camera and the days were full which made the nights easy to sleep.


The author, Matt Guedes

In addition to the lion, my friend harvested a giraffe, a gemsbok, and several other animals. I finally had 2 ½ days left to hunt for myself. The trip was already taxing with the amount of hunting we had done. I now shifted to time on the Limpopo River hunting bushbuck.

For 24+ hours I hunted with a bow strictly by spot and stalk for the elusive bushbuck. This area of the province is right on the Botswana border and is some of the thickest bush I have encountered. The temperatures were high and humidity was equally high. We spent our time in pursuit of this tough animal and put on many miles during this time. We finally got the deal done after many failed stalks.

Because of the physical aspect of this entire trip I was able to stay focused and hydrated by my daily use of Wilderness Athlete’s Energy and Focus along with their Hydrate and Recover. Named a “Superman”, I would mix these two incredible products together each day make sure that I was replenishing my system and also adding to my ability to keep a keen focus. Being in the bush with leopards, lions, black mambas, and other species that will harm you requires that you are always on your game. Wilderness Athlete assured me that was the case. Thank you Wilderness Athlete for once again being up to the test.


The Wilderness Athlete “Superman” includes Hydrate & Recover and Energy & Focus.

This entry was posted in Adventures, Hunting, Matt Guedes and tagged in , , .

Steven Rinella Talks Hunting

By Tracy Breen

1. How many different states do you hunt in each year? Do you ever get sick of hunting?

In the last twelve months or so I’ve hunted in New Zealand, Oregon, Mexico, Montana, Alaska, New York, Michigan (bowfishing), and Florida. That’s a typical year, but keep in mind that most of that hunting is for my show, MeatEater. If I wasn’t filming, I might just hunt in two or three states every year — typically Montana and Alaska, where I have family and a lot of background experience. It’s funny that you ask if I ever get sick of hunting. I don’t, but I do start to miss my family when I’m gone a lot. Once I get to around 3 weeks without seeing my wife and kids, it’s hard for me to fully enjoy myself on a hunt.

2. How many days a year do you spend in the field hunting?

I spend about half of my time on the road, or close to it. But not all that time is actually spent in the field hunting. There are plenty of travel days and a lot other responsibilities besides stalking game. While I don’t keep exact figures, I’m guessing that I spend maybe 70 days a year actively on the hunt. If you added in fishing, which is something that I enjoy greatly, it’d be even more than that. Every morning, I try to remind myself how lucky I am.

3. I am sure you spend a lot of time sleeping in a tent. Is there a brand you prefer? What features must a tent have for your style of hunting?

I own a lot of tents, but the one I’m grabbing the most these days is a Nemo Obi 2P. It’s a very lightweight and compact tent, but there’s still plenty of room to move around and sort gear. And it’s very durable and can handle a beating from the wind. That company, Nemo, does a lot of military work. And they are popular with backpackers and mountaineers. But you don’t see many hunters using their products. I think that’s going to change in the future. They make a great tent.

4. How much weight are you comfortable packing in a backpack? Which backpack do you prefer using?

Anything over 50 pounds becomes annoying. At that point, you can really start to feel it on long walks and uphill climbs. Over 70 and it starts to suck. Over 90 and you risk doing damage to yourself if you’re not careful. This makes me think of a recent trip I took, when I was invited to Fort Bragg to spend the day with some Green Berets who are stationed down there. They’re body armor alone weighs 35 pounds, and they’re carrying over 70 pounds of gear and that’s before the addition of any overnight equipment such as tents and sleeping bags. They can jump from airplanes with close to 200 pounds of stuff strapped to them. So I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining about toting a 70 pound pack containing gear and boned-out meat. People are obviously capable of a lot, lot more. My typical go-to backpack is an Outdoorsmans. They make a pack system that allows for many variations and configurations, and it’s based around a simple, lightweight frame that’s super comfortable. It’s good for day hunts, and it’s also good for hauling around heavy loads of meat. There have been several occasions when I strapped whole deer or wild hogs to that frame without any problems.

5. I know you enjoy using Energy and Focus, what other Wilderness Athlete products do you use?

I drink a lot of Energy and Focus, and a lot of Hydrate and Recover. Rarely do I go a day in the field without having one or both of these. I also use the WA multivitamins. I eat a varied and complex diet, but I cover my bases with a multivitamin to make sure I’m getting enough of everything I need. In the mornings, particularly on backpack hunts, I also drink a makeshift shake that I build with WA’s strawberry or vanilla Meal Replacement Shake and a couple scoops of WA’s Green Fusion.

This entry was posted in Hunting, Steven Rinella.

Preparation for the Hunt – Train Like You Want It!

By Jerick Henley of Chain Ranch Outfitters

I’m an outfitter. My day starts between 5:00 and 5:30 am. I’m usually not asleep until 11:00 pm. Here’s the catch, this isn’t my hunting season schedule. This is the off season, January thru March and May thru August. I’m up early busting my butt with a long run or a bike ride before most people have had a cup of coffee. I’m back in the gym lifting during lunch. I also manage to squeeze a family, a job, church and a few other activities into those days.

I love outfitting and I’m good at it because I invest an enormous amount of time preparing for my client’s success. Basically, I ask for two things in return from them; be in shape so we can get to the animal and make a clean shot to put it down. The second request is the easiest. Actually, most people that hunt with me are good shots. They practice, usually a lot. It’s been beaten into to every hunter’s head to make a good clean kill shot and most people take it seriously. The first request seems to be a bit more difficult. If they can’t stay with me during the pursuit of the animal, I’ll be the only one with a shot opportunity because they’ll be dragging their butt behind me somewhere.

Jerick 2012 KS buck best pic 1

The author, Jerick Henley with his recent Kansas buck.

So, if I’m willing to go the extra mile and get prepared for that hunt of a lifetime for a client, why can’t I get him to invest a few hours a week as well? Obviously these clients work hard at something, they can afford premium hunts, they’ve got ample time off, and they’ve got the best equipment money can buy. But they’re missing the one thing I need from them the most, fitness. You don’t buy fitness, it takes work and only they can make it happen. They’re going to get my best effort regardless of the shape they’re in, but in the words of Jerry McGuire, “Help me help you”. I try to remind them that I’m their biggest advocate. Nobody wants them to take that animal more than me.

Their trip may depend upon their success but my livelihood depends on it. So if you want this to go as planned, don’t show up in my camp unless you’ve prepared for success. Go to the range, shoot that new rifle, zero in that scope but instead of going home to celebrate by sitting on the couch, hit the trail. Start an exercise program that will mimic the hunting conditions we’ll encounter and give it everything you’ve got until you arrive in camp. Cut down on the donuts and lose 10lbs. Eliminate one bad meal each day and replace it with all vegetables or even a supplement drink like a Wilderness Athlete Recovery Shake. (You can cut 350 calories per day with this simple rule, that’s a pound lost every ten days!) You’ll feel better, go further, and recover quicker during a hunt.

If you don’t, you risk being that guy….the one we talk about after you leave camp. Several years ago a guy shows up for a spring turkey hunt. For months he’s told me that he’s a “run and gun” turkey hunter and he chose to hunt with me because he wants to kill four turkeys in two states in three days. This is my kind of a hunt, all out and with a hint of impossiblity. He shows up with every turkey hunting gadget known to man, including a brand new pair of boots, which tells me right away we’re in for a disaster. We push hard the first morning, killing a quick easy bird but then the work starts and before I even realize it, he’s trailing 50 yards behind me everywhere we go. He went 50% on the hunt killing 2 of 4 birds, which sounds like success but the point is, he wasn’t ready for the hunt. If he wanted to run and gun he damn sure should have been running and gunning for several months before he came to camp!

I don’t expect you to out distance me, this isn’t a competition, but I do expect you to be prepared. Don’t let me down and I won’t let you down….promise!

Charge ON!

Jerick Henley

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This entry was posted in Hunting.