The Trail Show podcast: talking trail

A year ago, four busy friends who have hiked thousands of miles across the country -- sometimes together -- decided they didn't see each other enough.

They decided to meet once a month in Mike "D-Low" DiLorenzo's basement in Boulder and teach themselves how to record and produce a podcast about all things hiking. That monthly gathering of friends turned into The Trail Show, which recently celebrated one year of talking trail.

The four friends -- DiLorenzo, Felicia "The Princess of Darkness" Hermosillo, Lawton "Disco" Grinter and Paul "Mags" Magnati have all completed a triple crown, meaning they've walked the entire length of the Pacific Crest Trail, Appalachian Trail and Continental Divide Trail. (Hence their trail names.)

Lawton, who listened to podcasts while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, said he wondered why no one was creating a variety-show style podcast about hiking. It's a very niche group of people, but there are avid long-distance and casual hikers who would listen, he said.

Lawton taught himself how to record and produce audio for iTunes, and the four of them set to work to capture the true essence of what hikers talk about when they get together.

"When we get together, we usually crack a couple of beers and talk trail," he said. "The idea was let's capture that and make a radio show out of it, why not?"

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Taking your phone with you when you're trying to connect with nature can be a little counterproductive.

We know. The irony.

But we've tried out a few apps that actually make your outdoor experience better. If you're into taking your phone with you.

Whether it's camping, hiking or simply stargazing from your back porch, check out these five apps that might enhance your outdoor lifestyle.


A screenshot from Leafsnap, an app that identifies types of trees and other plants using visual recognition software.
A screenshot from Leafsnap, an app that identifies types of trees and other plants using visual recognition software. (Courtesy)

Cost: Free for iPhone, not yet available for Android.

Made by: Columbia University, University of Maryland and Smithsonian Institution.

Purpose: If you take a photograph of a leaf, this app uses visual recognition software to identify what tree it came from. If you're out hiking and you spot a tree you want to identify, you can use the "Snap It" function of the app, or browse through hundreds of photos of leaves, flowers, fruit, seeds and bark to try to identify it yourself.

Star Walk

Cost: $2.99 and only available for iPhone. Android users, check out a similar app, SkEye.

Made by: Vito Technology Inc.

Purpose: This app allows you to become an informed stargazer. Point your phone at the sky, and you'll see all kinds of celestial bodies in their proper place from where you're standing. When you move your phone, the app updates the stars, planets and constellations in real time. Tapping on an object allows you learn more about it. You can also explore the sky from the past or in the future using the Time Machine function.

eGPS Elevation

Cost: Free for Android users, $1.99 for iPhone users

Made by: Exetik Systems

Purpose: This app tells you altitude and elevation readings for your spot on a map, even when your phone's GPS is turned off -- helpful for climbing fourteeners and off-trail travel, too.

The app's interface is clean, and you can switch between U.S. or metric units. Click on the globe icon at the bottom of the screen to see latitude, longitude, accuracy and altitude.

Global Summit Log

Cost: Free for iPhone, not yet available for Android.

Made by: Sichtwerk AG.

Purpose: If you plan to hike some fourteeners or other peaks -- and you're checking them off as you go -- this app lets you log each summit and share your virtual trail register with other users. You don't need cell service to use this app, and you can pre-download the app's 300,000 recorded peaks and maps before you go and access them offline.


Cost: free for iPhone, not yet available for Android.

Made by: Shadel Software, Inc.

Purpose: This app reminds you to drink water. It shows you a glass the size of your daily goal, which you can change if you're say, hiking the entire Pacific Crest Trail. Then every time you drink water, you record it and the glass fills up until you reach your goal. You can look at graphs of your water intake over time, and you can set the app to remind you when and how much to drink.


--Follow Sarah Kuta on Twitter: @SarahKuta.