BIKE UPDATE: “Stalking” the Frame! *new photos*

In August 2012, I will be riding from the Pscific Ocean in Santa Barbara to the Atlantic Ocean in New York. Covering 5,000 miles in 60 days and giving 15 presentations on human trafficking along the way, I’m seeking to raise awareness of human trafficking, and gather funds to help specific aid organizations both here and abroad.

My bike? A recumbent style model, crafted from bamboo. I will be the first to cross the United States on such a bike.

Follow along and see how things are going! A new post just went up:

New update on how the bike build in Brazil is going.

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BIKE UPDATE: First Build Pictures!

BIKE UPDATE: First Build Pictures!.

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Pacific Crest Trail 2011 in Photos (Mexico border to Central Oregon)

Here’s a little “start to finish” of my 2011 PCT (almost)thru-hike, pretty much most of these shots were from my iPod Touch (not great quality) and I have a ton from my Canon Powershot that I will add as well. Hope you enjoy. If you have any questions, shoot them my way in the comment box below!

The “logo,” if you will, of the trip…I think I found that same spot where that picture was taken!

The map…I made it into central Oregon, 2,000 miles.

With the food AlpineAire sponsored me with. Amazingly generous!

The Southern Terminus, and the start

The relative start of the journey…notice the clean-shaven look!

As much as people hated on the desert, I loved it…

This was a typical night’s “room”…Lots of mice here, so I slept with my food bag as a pillow

Desert sunrise

A journey is lonely if not for others…one of my favorite people I met early on, “Condor”

Fun street sign…in the desert?

A water cache that was, alas, waterless.

Rough night a days walk from Warner Springs…

Dancing for a ride to get a free piece of pie!

Paradise Grill lived up to its name. I could have eaten 3 of these!

Heading towards Idyllwid.

Heading out of Idyllwid after the storm was a frosty prospect

Sunrise on Fuller Ridge…I had the best morning views in the world!

Great “trail magic” under I-10!

Just one of the many coolers well-stocked under I-10…

No caption worthy….

Windmills! Looking for Don Quixote…

San Gorgonio Wilderness

Excited for McDonald’s…seriously!

The ensuing devastation. This actually happened.

Loved my Bug-Tent from Yama Mountain Gear.

And loved my tarp from Yama as well…

Nearing the top of Baden-Powell. Great climb. Snow!

On Baden-Powell.

Walked through plenty of burned-out areas…would have loved the shade!

Vasquez Rocks, almost to the Saufley’s!

The Saufley’s…a well-loved place to rest for PCT’ers

Bunches of these tents for the weary hiker to rest…

Me doing a quick resupply management session

No Pain and I

“Condor” and I

What’s a gathering of hikers without a “calf-off?”

Enter “The Grizz,” Grizzly Adam (R)

This pretty much actually happened.

“Stick Man” purifying some water

Half a days worth…

Definitely the path less traveled…for good reason!

One of the cutest parts of the whole trail! Furry friends at Hiker Town

Great “under bridge” rest spot along the aqueduct

“Veg” doing some midday reading

Loved to see the markers on occasion…

Tehachapi, CA

My amazing Tehachapi “trail angels”…

Sunsets and spinning things…

I actually met Bob Holtel, author of “Soul, Sweat and Survival on the Pacific Crest Trail.” He ran the trail in the 1980’s!

Desert Desolateness…

Stayed the night at McIver’s Cabin…along with a couple other late-arriving thru-hikers, and a few large rodents. Awesome!

Weighing my pack at Kennedy Meadows, before heading into the Sierra…28.5 pounds, with 1 liter of water! Nice!

Great camping spot a days hike from Kennedy Meadows.

Taking a break…

Two feet wide and 2,650 miles long….

Heading towards Whitney….


Part of the secret to a fast ascent of the tallest point in the lower 48 states. 🙂

Ascending Whitney, July 5, 2011

Breathe…just breathe….it’s only 15,000 feet, what’s the problem?

The Cabin on top of Whitney…We had a good break in the weather, stoked

Yes…I proudly waved my ‘Terrible Towel’ on top of Mt. Whitney! 🙂


The “Towel” went every step with me…have to rep Steeler Nation!

Grizz had his hat pick a fight with a hungry marmot. Marmot one, hat zero.

View of Whitney from my shelter after the storm passed

Whitney reflected in Guitar Lake

Forester Pass sunset

Forrester pass. Highest Pass on the PCT.

Forrester Pass

Forrester Pass Boogie, baby. Uh. Uh. Bump that. DJ spin that. 2 turntables and a microphone. That’s how I roll over Forrester y’all. 🙂

Amazing feeling looking back to where you just came from, and forward to where you will be going…(Last two photos courtesy of WAC Photography)

Sierra Nevadas. Words can’t express. One of my dads most favorite places on the planet. He inspired me to do this hike. Rest well, pops.

Pinch me. Please. Wait. Nevermind, don’t. I like it here.

“That way.”

One of the most beautiful trails a foot could step upon…

God fingerprints visible everywhere…

Beard still going…

Grizz looking over the next days maps….

Hiker trash

Beware of killer logs and postholes working together.

Tuuolumne Meadows, and an international friend

Water, lots and lots of water

Mosquitoes, anyone?

Stoked! Quick trip to the dentist meant I could hit church! Something I missed on the trail…

Marmot & Gabriel! One of the best nights of the whole journey.

And the beard grows…

Great time with “Veg” at the Peter Grubb hut

“Soulcamp” ’11 in Belden. What a trip to descend into a valley pumping with rave music!

Lisa, my Belden trail angel. I hope you get to hike the trail someday!


Sorry. I had to.

Pancakes! I didn’t get any though… 😦

We have a “state” of Jefferson….great story behind this…


Welcome to Oregon.

The smile of a hiker is way way contagious!

Stoked to be alive!

Brown Mountain cabin…I slept outside on the table, beautiful night!

The cabin had an old school pump, great ice cold fresh water!

Making my way through Oregon volcano country.

Great camp, rare campfire…

Another 30 miles, ready for food and sleep!

Cat. Meow.

Another burn area. Beautiful though, haunting.

Lots of fires in Oregon at the time I was hiking through….

Crater Lake…

…Or not. Your choice! Love the cartoon guy free falling!

Last night on the trail, though I didn’t know it at the time…

Off the trail…hard hard day.

Thank you….

Home….and the end result of 4 1/2 months not shaving…

Moments later….30 pounds lighter (not sure how much of that was the beard…)

I started at 195 pounds. Gotta love the Oregon trail dirt still representing!

Thanks to all who followed along, and for those that donated on behalf of the victims of human trafficking that I was hiking for….

And on to the next chapter…help me in the fight against human trafficking, and helping those that have survived and are piecing their lives back together…CLICK HERE FOR INFO


August to October 2012…5,000 miles on a bamboo recumbent bicycle. Check it out. Thanks!

“Rawhide” out 🙂  Peace!


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West to East for Freedom: A Biker’s Quest for Healing and Freedom

(Editor’s note: I had originally planned to ride the Great Divide Trail this summer to bring awareness to the cause of human trafficking. I’ve changed direction just a smidgen, but only a smidgen: the cause is still and always will be the same; the route has changed. For more, read below! For my bike trek blog: Click Here)

Thru-Ride 4 Freedom...join me....


In August of this coming summer, 2012, I will be taking a bicycle journey to help those who have been caught in the web of human trafficking. There are organizations around the world, including the United States, that are helping these victims get the healing, love, and help that they need. These are people who are fighting each day to piece their lives back together. These are hurting, damaged individuals. They could be your sister, niece, mother; they are real people. I will be riding to raise funds for the amazing organizations who are fighting in the trenches and on the front lines of human slavery, in one of the most difficult areas: with the survivors. Piecing lives back together is not easy. Your help is needed.

 5,000 miles. One Bamboo Bike. One crazy rider.


I will be riding a recumbent-style bicycle made of  bamboo from the leading recumbent bamboo bike maker in the world, located in Brazil. My journey will take me from the water of the Pacific Ocean on the coast of California to the waters of Hudson Bay in Manhattan, New York… an arduous 5,000 mile journey. I will be traveling a path along some of the busiest human trafficking zones in the United States, and giving a multimedia presentation and talk at selected spots on the way. The map of my journey is on this page. If you would like me to come speak at your church, business, organization or school, please message me here on this page or though my email, at My speaking schedule is already filling up, so if you would like to have me speak, please let me know soon. I can fill you in on more details if interested. Click here for an information form.

Speaking Engagements / Multimedia Presentation. A nice generic picture of what I will be doing. I won't be wearing khaki pants, though. Just Sayin'.


So if you feel led, please help me somehow make this ride a huge success:

  • Tell your friends, family members, coworkers, barber, barista, or bartender.
  • Give financially to the cause.
  • Keep me in your prayers.

I will be stopping at different rehabilitation centers and homes along the way, and donating what I have raised financially during that particular leg of my journey. This is an amazing opportunity to be a huge difference in someone’s life. You can follow along with me on this journey as I head eastward, and actually see and read about the results. 


Researching the history of bamboo as a material for bike making actually led me to realize bamboo was one of the earliest materials used to produce bicycles. Steel, though, superseded the natural substance, and bamboo bikes were generally not seen again for nearly 100 years. Now, there is a small renaissance in the bamboo-as-frame-material way of thinking, and there are small groups, both individuals and custom bicycle makers, that are either incorporating bamboo bikes into their offerings, or specializing specifically in them. One quality of bamboo is that it diffuses road vibration, lending itself to a smoother ride than steel, aluminum, or carbon fiber.

Bamboo Recumbent bicycle, with creator

As usual, the fact that I am going to ride 5,000 miles from California to New York on a bicycle has come with mixed reviews among some friends and family. This was the same as when I decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. Add to it that I will be riding a recumbent bike made of bamboo…well, you can imagine. I spoke with my best friend about it today, and he made no attempt at hiding the fact he thinks I’m off my rocker crazy…but he understands my passion. He also agreed with me: if it was easy or ‘safe,’ it wouldn’t be ‘extraordinary,’ and people might not notice. Friends, we NEED to notice. It’s not a story about a guy riding a bike across the United States….it’s a story about real people who need our help. There are beautiful, real people who need us to notice them. There are former slaves, who are freed physically but still in chains emotionally and psychologically, who are begging us to notice.

The days of human trafficking, slavery, child labor, and forced prostitution flying under the radar are hopefully coming to an end. Be a part of blowing the issue up and helping everyone take notice.

I Need Your Help. They Need Your Help.

If you get a chance, please head over to the site I have set up for the ride and subscribe…I will be piecing together insightful and oftentimes humorous preparation updates, compiling gear lists, food supply strategies, trip updates from the road and the speaking engagements, as well as sharing more info on who I will be riding for and who will be sponsoring me along the way.  —–> VISIT THE SITE BY CLICKING HERE!



A light moment with Nick Vujicic in india, on the trip I learned about human trafficking in 2008

Posted in Alpinlite Gear, Bamboo, bamboo bicycles, bamboo recumbent bike, Bombay, Brothels, California to New York, Dug Shelby, Equipment, Gear, Human Trafficking, India, Life Without Limbs, Mexico to Canada, Mumbai Teen Challenge, Nick Vujicic, Oasis Projekt, Pacific Crest Trail, Pacific Crest Trail Thru Hike, PCT, PLEASE DONATE!, Prostitution, recumbent bike, Red Light District, Sponsors, Thru Hike, thru-ride, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

PCT Food Review: What I liked, Would Do Differently, and Recommend

(This is a little overview of some food ideas I used on my 2011 hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. I did this hike to raise funds and awareness for victims of human trafficking. This coming summer, 2012, I will be taking off on another adventure for the same cause. Follow along on the new adventure —-> HERE.)

Paradise Cafe...lived up to its name!

I thought I would write a post dedicated solely to food and how I ate on the PCT. Food rocks. I’ll just say that right here. But…something happens while you hike the PCT. Food becomes elevated. It goes beyond the “like” you felt towards your junior high school crush. Oh, for sure. It goes beyond “rock star” status. Think you liked your mom’s lasagna? Welcome to food on the PCT:

Food becomes something way bigger than you’d ever think it could!

One of the biggest issues while hiking the PCT is weight. Unfortunately, most really delicious and tasty food items are heavier than you might want to lug down the trail. You’ll have to make concessions, and try to find the middle ground between “amazingly delicious” and “This stuff tastes gross, but if I eat it I live another day.”

Breakfast using my 'Happy Container!'

So here is what I would do if I were to do it over again…and in a way, I will be this summer when I mountain bike the Great Divide Route.  The following list isn’t all-inclusive, nor is it meant to be the only food you bring, but merely a basis for what a lot of your days might include in one way or another. While you are sure to be tired of some of the food by the time you are finished, you don’t necessarily have to be. With the right choices and a good variety, I think you could make it without damaging your taste buds!

Oh, and one thing I’ll mention now: I LOVED this container (shown below). I would eat the majority of my meals from it, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Inexpensive, light, nearly leak-proof…and one container could conceivably last you the entire journey if you treat it well. And if you don’t? They usually come in a 2-pack. So you have a back up ready to be sent out to you.

Ziplock or Rubbermaid 4 cup container


I can’t say enough about oatmeal. One of the best parts of my day was breakfast. Not because I was particularly hungry, per se, but because it never disappointed and it was easy. In fact, as boring as it sounds, I tried to make ALL of my meals as easy as possible. So I would get the combo pack of oatmeal with all the neat flavors. Strawberries & Cream, Cinnamon & Brown Sugar, Peaches & Cream, etc. 2-4 packs of that each morning plus a foil pack of two Pop Tarts got me going. Along with that I had a 20oz bottle that I would mix water, instant coffee, and a pack of cocoa or instant breakfast into. Then,  I’d set that aside while I broke camp, which usually took anywhere from 7-30 minutes. I would then shoulder my pack, start walking down the trail and eat as I walked. My bottle of coffee happiness was in my pocket, and I’d sip, eat and walk. No cook, hassle free. You could heat some water up, but I went mostly cook less the last 1,000 miles anyway. It wasn’t that bad.

A couple options: In your oatmeal, add a packet or two of the vanilla or strawberry Carnation Instant Breakfast packets. Or to add in the coffee: Add a packet of Carnation Instant Breakfast. (Chocolate or vanilla seemed like the best fit with the taste of coffee. You get a little creamier drink, and some extra vitamins and minerals, as well as much-needed calories. Fit calories in where you can).

If you do make some hot water, one thing I found I liked that you might find interesting (or gross!): Two crumbled up Pop Tarts in the plastic container with hot water added. Let it sit, and you have a mushy pop tart concoction. I won’t lie: as gross as it sounds, it was good!

Another fun option is to find an amazing recipe for homemade granola. Not only is it fun to make, it’s less expensive than most options, and you can bake in as much or little of any ingredients as you want. Make a bunch of it, separate it into smaller batches after you make it, and then send a ziploc full in any resupply packages you decide to send. If it’s good stuff, you’ll be very happy you did. If it tastes good at home, chances are it will taste amazing on the trail. (for milk, see what I have to say below!)


I’m a fan of Top Ramen. I usually liked to grab two packages, any flavor, and stop for a small break about an hour before I thought I’d each lunch. I’d dump them into my little happy plastic meal container, add water, and screw the lid back on, then place it upright  inside one of my side water bottle holders or the kangaroo pouch on the back of my pack. Again, no need to heat anything up, and to do this step takes maybe 5 minutes, and I was off and walking again. If you’re trying to make miles each day, this was a good way to do it. Then, about an hour later, if I was ready for a break I’d find a nice spot, kick off my shoes and socks, grab my hydrated Top Ramen and have lunch. I’d add other food to it or alongside of it, generally, but again, this was just a base for a meal.

An option, which is a lot better than it sounds: Top Ramen, hydrated without the flavor packets (stash them for another meal!), and then add a couple globs of peanut butter and mix well. Calorie dense, and very filling.


The meal most often looked forward to by almost every hiker. Again, I chose dinners that would work hot or cold. I prefer hot, but that was a weight sacrifice I made over the latter half of my hike. I have as yet had a craving to sit in my backyard in the wet grass and eat cold instant mashed potatoes. Hot? You may talk me into it!

So these instant mashed potatoes you speak of…they are the one item I would go with more often than not. They make a great side dish, or if you have other items you could add to the potatoes, they make a great main course.

I would often use the instant mashed potatoes, then add one or more of the following:

  • dehydrated beef/chicken/turkey
  • TVP (texturized vegetable protein)
  • hot sauce
  • cheese
  • crushed up crackers
  • crushed up Pringles (salt & vinegar or BBQ or ranch was awesome)
  • dehydrated vegetables (favorite was corn)
  • gravy mix
  • Chopped up summer sausage
  • bacon bits

One night, I made my hiking partners a little envious with my mashed potato experiment. They had a really cool pesto mix that had been sent by a friend, and was very good, but they both said my dinner was better, so  hey…you CAN make some good stuff on the trail.

As for which type of mashed potatoes, I believe that is a crucially important factor. I say Idahoan Instant Mashed Potatoes, hands down. There’s really no argument in my book. Their flavors rock, they have a great flavor variety and you can, with practice and/or luck, make the concoction right in the package. I tried Betty Crocker. Hey, Yogi even propped up Betty Crocker’s “loaded” mashed potatoes in her guide…but I have to disagree. I still have Betty’s stuff left over, I switched to Idahoan. I’ll never go back!


Oh….snacks. You must have the snacks. I knew hikers who were set for meals, but lacked snacks, and got off the trail to hit a town to load up on snacks. I hiked with Grizzly Adam and Leader through the Sierra, and about once a day you could count on a Hershey’s Miniature coming from Grizz, or a Starburst coming from Leader, and those were such great pick-me-ups. y: how did Leader NOT eat through his stash of Starburst? Once I started, I could eat through two packs before regaining any semblance of sanity or self control…) Trail bars are good, but expensive. I like Clif Bars…but they are pretty heavy. Upside to those: they don’t melt in the desert. Downside: they are tough to chew in the snowy cold of the Sierra. Trail mix is good, although can be heavy. Make your own, add the nuts and happy goodies you truly enjoy. I liked adding M&M’s to the trail mix, and stayed away from the dried fruit. But that was just me. I craved dried fruit by itself though.

Snickers. Can’t say enough about Snickers. I think that snickers, if you buy them in bulk as Costco, are the least expensive trail bar you can buy. If you think about it, they have pretty much many of the same ingredients as any of the other trail bars, taste phenomenal, and I never once got tired of them. Your main problem with them will be that you may eat through your stash before you make it to the next town. If your will power is high, then you may have a chance to ration them. They also make great trade bait. In fact, most snacks make great trade bait. I know I tread Leader a pack of smoked salmon for two Little Debbies Oatmeal Creme Pies. In the real world, those pies may cost no more than $1 combined, if that. The salmon was almost $6. But…you do crazy things on the trail. To me, at the time, I got the best part of that trade!


Craved. Loved. This.

The majority of what you will drink on the trail is good old H20. And you will find some AMAZING water on the trail…full rushing rivers, quaint little crystal clear streams, ice melt, lakes. I’ve never drank so much water in my entire life…and never in my life had I needed to, either. Without water, your trip will be over fast. So drink up.

Sometimes, though, you just feel the need for FLAVOR. You crave it, dream about it. You start to drool just imagining an ice cold glass of grape flavored Kool-Aid. Even if you grew up despising grape flavored Kool-Aid. Flavor takes on a big importance on the trail. Luckily, we are in the age of portable flavor.

I bought a lot of single-packet flavor pouches for anything from Arnold Palmer’s ice tea, cranberry-peach, any and all Gatorade flavor packets, Crystal Lite fruit drink mixes, etc. Most seem to be sugar free, as I have come to the conclusion that these were intended for the cubicle working class set, and as such, those folks may not get much exercise. So keep the sugars and calories down, is what the makers of these mixes were thinking. But on the trail, sugar and calories are alright! Unfortunately, most are sugar free and nearly calorie free. You could always carry with you a small 2-3 ounce bottle of agave nectar. Sugar in the Raw makes a great agave nectar, and it’s sweeter than sugar and better for you, so you’ll save a little weight and know you’re getting naturally made sweetener from nature.

Cocoa was huge. Loved adding it to coffee, or as a night-time treat.

Coffee. I loved it. I would generally have some in the morning. I used Alpine Aire’s freeze dried coffee. Taste was superb, cost is WAY less than anything you’ll find for the same amount, and it was super fine, so it packed well. I vacuum sealed tubes of it, snipped off a corner, and would shake out what I needed. It would prepare perfectly hot or cold.

Milk. Wow. I had a small staple of nonfat dried milk, and it was ok. I mean, nonfat milk in general is pretty much not my style. When you combine that with the fact that your body is screaming for fat anywhere you can get it while hiking a trail like the PCT, it just didn’t cut it. But fear not, milk drinkers, there IS an option out there that doesn’t taste like pale-white water! Nestle’ makes a product called “Nido.”

Buy it. Just. Buy. It.

It can be hard to find, but not impossible to get. Many Wal-Marts, Target food sections, or Mexican groceries will carry it, as well as online at Amazon and directly from Nestle’. Nido is a dried WHOLE MILK product that I was finally able to get my hands on after my hike. I love the stuff. It tastes good at home. My theory is that when something tastes good at home, it will taste AWESOME on the trail. I’m already stocking up on Nido now for my Great Divide Route ride.

I will be making a list that’s more or less just the items, the calorie counts, and the resupply strategy I would use if I did the PCT again.

If you have any questions or comments, shoot them over using the comment section below!




Your Support is Needed!

Posted in AlpineAire, Ashagram, Bombay, Brothels, Camping Food, Dehydrated Food, Dug Shelby, Equipment, Food, Freeze Dried Food, Gear, Gringo Bandito Hot Sauce, Human Trafficking, India, Life Without Limbs, McHale Packs, Mexico to Canada, Mumbai Teen Challenge, Pacific Crest Trail, Pacific Crest Trail Thru Hike, PCT, Prostitution, Sponsors, Thru Hike, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Dear Thru-Hike For Freedom friends!

Hello everyone!

I wanted to write a letter to all those that subscribed to my blog, THF2, and supported me with notes of encouragement and followed along on my journey this last year.

As you may already know, I started hiking the Pacific Crest Trail at the border of Mexico and California on May 2nd, 2011, and made it 2,000 miles up into Oregon. My aim was to finish, but more importantly to draw attention to the issue of human trafficking. I didn’t finish, but I ended where I believe I needed to. Thankfully, I was able to spread the word about human trafficking, as my website had over 30,000 visitors in a short time, as well as the many I was able to touch via word of mouth and personal interaction, and many people were impacted in a good way from the effort. Thank you for spreading the word amongst your friends and family members, co-workers, and others. I appreciate your efforts very much! To those who donated, an extra special “THANK YOU!”

As I wrote about back in September and October, my goal was to come home after the hike and begin laying the foundation for a non-profit.  The goals of the non-profit would be simple:

  •  To raise the public conscience regarding human trafficking 
  • To sensitize hearts to the issue
  •  To raise funds to help in the healing of the victims of human trafficking

The foundation is being laid, and the framework is being raised…it looks like it will be an exciting, fun adventure. It won’t come quickly, and it won’t be easy, but it will be excellent. I will still need your prayers and support going forward. More information to come as I continue to work and refine the details.

So, after much thought and prayer, I decided to use the momentum from the PCT hike to  personally continue the cause, and also bring awareness to the non-profit I am creating, called The Oasis Projekt.

Do accomplish this,  I have decided to traverse the length of the Continental Divide via mountain bike.

I know…I can almost hear the responses:

  • “Haven’t you slept outside on the ground enough lately?”
  • “Are you a glutton for punishment?”
  • “Do you even own a mountain bike?”

The answers, I would say, are “no,” “I suppose I might be,” and “no, I don’t own a mountain bike.”

But did not owning a mountain bike sway the determination of the Wright Brothers, or William Hung?? Ah ha! There’s your answer!

So later this summer I will embark on my journey, which will take approximately 45 days.

Please join me in this journey, and again, tell your friends, family, Facebook friends, etc.  I would be very appreciative!

Here’s the link to this site:

I will have the website address for The Oasis Projekt up soon, as well.

Blessings, and looking forward to this next journey towards healing and hope!

Dug “Rawhide” Shelby

Posted in Ashagram, Bombay, Brothels, Dug Shelby, Human Trafficking, India, Life Without Limbs, Mexico to Canada, Mumbai Teen Challenge, Nick Vujicic, Pacific Crest Trail, Pacific Crest Trail Thru Hike, PCT, PLEASE DONATE!, Prostitution, Red Light District, Sponsors, Thru Hike, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

For Sale: 1972 Volkswagen Westfalia Camper Van

This is by far my least favorite post ever, but I have to do it:

I’m putting up for sale my beloved 1972 VOlkswagen Westfalia Camper. I have owned “Twinkie” for almost 5 years, and have loved this vehicle more than any other I have ever owned.

** UPDATE **

Twinkie was sold to a good family, and will be receiving the love, care and affection needed. It was a sad day, but a good one.

Au revoir, sweet Twinkie, you will be missed!


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PCT Gear List: A Review from the Rearview

(Please check out my previous post titled “How to be a Sponsored Hiker” if you are thinking about hiking the PCT in this or the following year.)

This is a long time coming, but I wanted to get this up in a timely manner, in the hopes it could help others in their planning.

Apologies for not having it set up in a clean, visually appealing excel worksheet with pictures, but I am slammed for time…I’m sure everyone knows the feeling too well! 🙂

I’ll set each section apart, from clothing to food to foot care, etc.  I will also include how I obtained the equipment, and where possible the prices (as of 2011).

Without further ado:

The Post Trip Gear List Review!

The “Big Three”

Backpack: McHale “Chasm”
Cost: $745 (sponsored)
This pack was amazing. Dan McHale handmade it custom for me as he does all of his packs, and he even integrated some cuben fiber into the design (hip belt pockets, side water bottle holders). It rode on my hips like it wasn’t even there, and expanded beautifully to accommodate any amount of gear or food I needed, including a large sized Garcia Bear Vault. Ruggedness was what I would have expected, exemplary. I do thinking could have chosen a lighter pack, but I never had to worry about wear issues, breakages, or discomfort. I would use a McHale pack again in a heartbeat.

Sleeping Quilt: Jacks’R’Better “Sierra Sniveller”
This was a down quilt, 900 fill, and weighed 24 ounces. It packed down very small, but I would rarely pack it that way, instead opting to let it loft a little in the pack. It was my first time using a quilt, and I’ll not go back to a traditional sleeping bag. The options it gave me for different temperatures was a big plus. I was only cold once, but not cold enough to keep me from sleeping. It was warm and toasty all through the Sierra (the record snowfall was conquered by this bag!), and it was one piece of gear I looked forward to using the most. I’m sold on the JRB product, their customer service and friendliness, and can’t recommend them highly enough.

Shelter/Tarp: Yama Mountain Gear “Stratiform III Tarp; Bug Tent 1.25; custom Tyvek ground cloth
Cost: $165 (tarp); $119 (bug tent) (Sponsored)
What can I say about this company… Awesome. From the tarp design, to the quality, to the customer care & service. Gen Shimizu has his finger on the pulse of lightweight backcountry travel. I began the trek with his silnylon version of the Stratiform III tarp. Many nights I didn’t have to use it due to the great weather. When I did (thank you, Mt. Whitney, for your generous opportunity to test the tarp in a raging downpour!) it handled the weather with applomb. The Bug Tent was worth it’s weight in gold. Solid, roomy, easy to set up (as was the tarp), I used it on buggy evenings, or even as a quick respite at lunch to escape the mosquitoes. Halfway through, I switched to a cuben fiber model of the Stratiform III, and at just about 7 ounces of protective peace of mind, I loved it. A slight touch smaller than the silnylon version, but not by much. I would highly recommend these tarps/bug tents based on how they performed on my journey.

An addition to the “Big Three” is necessary…footwear. It’s massively important. I saw more than one good hiker leave the trail because of foot issues. It shouldn’t have to happen.

Shoes: Inov-8 “Terroc 330” trail runners.
Cost: $130ish, deals can be found. I paid around $90-100 a pair.
I went with the Inov-8s based on their reputation for dependability and toughness. The Terroc’s had a wider toe box, and since the brand typically run narrow as it is, it fit me perfectly. I never had an issue with them. I started with a half size larger than u normally wear, and the other pairs were a full size larger. I could have gotten away with a half size for the whole trip. They have minimal cushioning, yet comfortable. Very airy, drying time fairly average. Stink factor after being soggy through the Sierra was not bad. Never had rubber delam issues. Only wear issues were on outside of mesh, where pinkie toes sit. There’s a crease there, and it exacerbates wear. I noticed Jeff Saufley’s as well as Heading North’s wore the exact same way. They all lasted over 600 miles each, and could have lasted longer. I would use the Inov-8’s again. Very good shoe.

Head to Toe:

Headwear: a variety of hats!
Began with a Columbia wide brimmed straw hat. Good, but had to modify back rim to fit with pack. Moved to basic green wide brimmed hat that I found new in a hiker box in Big Bear. Worked great, but was warmer after Tahoe, so I switched to a visor/bandana option at Echo Lake. Really liked this option, and if I was to start all over, I’d do it this way: GoLite visor with an oversized bandana. The bandana also doubled as a water filter to get out chunkies when needed.

Beanie: BlackRock Gear down beanie
Cost: $59 (sponsored)
What a great piece of equipment! I would use this as part of my sleep system, as well as a very warm, comfortable beanie in the mornings and evenings. My head was never once cold on the trip with this beanie. Occasionally it was cold enough to wear while hiking, but usually wouldn’t need it for that. All of 27 grams, and 900 fill down. I wouldn’t think about doing this trail without one, it’s just that versatile & comfortable.

Bandana: YES.
You just need to have this on the trip. Comfort, safety, you name it. I bought an oversized one at REI for less than $3. Five thumbs up.

Sunglasses: Ray Ban sunglasses, polarized, prescription.
Thank you Lenscrafters for the great sale you had going on! I had my eyes examined, an updated prescription made, the frames + polarized lenses all for $299. Good sunglasses are critical. You could end up going snow-blind (I saw this happen with three hikers, one needed help to get off the mountain he was on and into town), and long term damage can result. The snow glare, not to mention general brightness and reflection from rocks and sand can be torturous. Wider fit the better. Get them. Crucial.

Shirt: REI Sahara Long Sleeve Shirt
Price: $55
Really liked this shirt. Tough as nails, dried insanely fast, well vented along the puts, back, and front pockets, and the button down aspect was great when hot. UV protection. I would wear it again.

Shirt: Smartwool Microweight Wool 1/3 zip
Cost: Approx. $65
Loved this top, wore it through the Sierra. Stink factor very good, durability was decent. Being a microweight, it did tear when I fell face first onto my shoulder and slid down the trail a ways. Once it gets a tear, it’s best to treat it with burned wax or some type of polish, to reduce fraying and further holes. Downside: your shoulders will be easy pickings for hungry mosquitoes, but I got used to the constant itchiness. I would use this again for sure.

Jacket: Patagonia Nano Puff 1/3 zip
Cost: over $100, found mine used.
Excellent piece of equipment. Versatile. Great for cold mornings/evenings. Synthetic, so I never worried about being caught wet. (synthetics retain heat better than down when wet). could use as pillow at night, or extra layer of warmth if needed. Also used as “kilt” when doing laundry (with it unzipped, fit neck section over my waist, and tied the arms together. Was awesome, if not hilarious looking!) would use it again.

Wind Jacket: Patagonia “Houdini”
Cost: Usually over $100, mine was $90.
Super lightweight, very effective against wind and light/medium rain. Less than 4 ounces. I’d use it again inns heartbeat.

Pants: RailRider “Eco Mesh” pants.
Cost: about &100+, mine were $95
loved these. Came with insect shield. I never had a single tick issue. Very lightweight, dried insanely fast. The sides of the legs had zippers running nearly the full length, and when opened there is an airy mesh fabric. Tough as nails, nit a single tear in the pants despite many opportunities for one to be had. If there was one thing I’d change, I would add cargo pockets. I’d wear them again.

Underwear: Ex-Officio “Boxer Briefs”
Cost: Around $18-$26
Awesome! I wore just one pair, and aside from a little sweat discoloration in the back, they are just as I bought them. Super comfortable and very nice. I’m ging to buy several pair for everyday use!

Socks: different types. I just made sure they were mostly wool, or a poly-wool blend. I did find that some Smartwool socks fell apart a little too quickly, while Wig-Wam socks held up really well, at a lower price point.

Gaiters: two types:
Dirty Girl. Really lightweight, worked well, but not durable over the miles. My first pair had holes on the inside of the ankles (and the outside, as I was swapping them to keep the wear down). By Kennedy Meadows, I switched to a little heavier pair of Outdoor Research gaiters. They had the same type of wear holes by mile 1800. If I did it again, I would start with the Dirty Girls in the desert again, and switch to the taller, tougher Outdoor Research again at Kennedy Meadows.

Ibuprofen: Thru-hikers call it “Vitamin I” for a reason…good stuff. Consult your physician, of course.

iPod Touch 64 gig, with a Pelican i1015 hard case.
The case weighs 8 ounce, a little heavy, but it gave me peace of mind knowing it was safe, protected from shock, water and dust.
The iPod Touch performed multiple tasks phenomenally. It shot Hi-Definition video with great sound. I was able to use several different types of editing apps to edit the video and post the videos to YouTube. It picked up free WiFi in most towns (coffee shops & McDonalds were great spots). I stored contact information for other hikers I met, journaled, kept notes on mileage, had a couple movies downloaded to watch every now and then, cut and paste articles in towns to read while I was on the trail….you name it, it seemed to do it. Lighter than an iPhone, too. Can you tell I liked it? Get one. It changes everything. 🙂

Sleeping Pad: I used closed foam cell pads, usually two, through most of the trip. Towards the end, I used a ThermaRest Neo-Air.


I’m so sold on this. It’s the lightest inflatable that I know of, and it made a huge difference. Instead of waking up several times a night to shift around to get comfortable, I slept the whole night through. It’s worth the price tag.

GPS: Garmin CSX
I started the trip without a GPS, and as far as the navigational aspect there’s really no need for one. I picked mine up at about mile 1200, and I really liked the feature of knowing how fast I was hiking and how far I went each day. I would love if it was smaller, and used a smaller, lighter battery configuration. Otherwise, I would use one again for the same reasons.

Water Filtration: I started with Aqua Mira, then switched to straight bleach. I figured that the end result of mixing part A and part B of Aqua Mira is bleach. Just very, very expensive bleach. I was able to get my little tiny dropper bottle filled at restataunts, trail angels or convenience stores for free. I never had any issues and if done right, the taste was totally acceptable. If there were chunkies in the water, or silt, I used my bandana to make the water visually cleaner. I’ll use this method from here on out. (I used this measuring method: very sketchy water, 3 drops per liter. Average water, 2 drops/liter. Clean/fairly clear water, 1 drop/liter).

Watch: Casio watch with altimeter/barometer.
Worked really well. At one point, the altimeter matched up with elevation signs for 3 weeks straight with no calibration. Was never usually more than 30 feet off. I don’t remember the model name, but it cost $39.95. Just proves one doesn’t have to drop a ton of cash on a good altimeter/barometer. Downside: alarm wasn’t loud enough to wake me up in the morning. (iPod Touch to the rescue…was a great alarm clock).

Extra Juice: Brunton “Inspire”
Weighing 5.5 ounces, it was a great alternative to solar chargers. It would deliver 4-5 FULL charges to the iPod Touch, and seemed to be built for a trip like the PCT. Took about an hour to fully charge from any wall plug. Will recharge a laptop battery one full time. Loved it, loved it more when I heard others talk about their recharging methods.

Stove: started with a cat food can alcohol stove, and liked it, but switched to a JetBoil at Laguna. Awesome, although not the lightest. Never had a problem with it, but I did send it home at around Lake Tahoe and went stoveless the rest of the way.

Knife: Gerber “Mini Paraframe”
Cost: $12, REI
Really liked this knife. Just 1.4 ounces, and held it’s edge well. Folded easily with one hand, clipped solidly onto a clip on my shoulder strap, and when open locked into place safely. There’s plenty of opinions on whether you should even bring a knife on a PCT thru-hike. You’d have to be an obsessive ‘gram weenie’ to not find 1.4 extra ounces fir a tool that comes in handy across the board. You need a cutting tool. Just make sure it’s light. This one fit the bill perfectly. I would definitely use this knife again.

Ice Axe: Camp “Corsa”
Cost: $75
This was a great tool when I needed it. I bought it from Andrew Skurka, who used it on his ‘Great Western Loop’ hike in 2007. At 7.2 ounces, this 50cm axe was useful on several of the snowy passes through the Sierra. Most of the time, an ice axe is just a passenger on your backpack, so I wanted the lightest axe possible. I would have liked an additional 10 or 20 centimeters, because I had to lean over while using it on the high side of the snow slopes, but ultimately that was just a minor issue. Just having it in my hand knowing I could use it to self-arrest in case of a slip gave me incredible peace of mind. There were times when you looked down, and thought to yourself, “Oh, my, wow! No slipping here, please!” Definitely glad to have this piece of gear.

Spikes: Kahtoola “Microspikes”
Cost: $50 (used)
I was able to buy a pair of these at Kennedy Meadows from another thru-hiker who was southbounding. I was very glad to have them, and really only put them on about 4 or 5 times. But those 4 or 5 times were important (I’m looking at you, Mather Pass). After I sent them home at Sonira Pass, there were a couple more times I wish I had kept them. If you’re on the fence between taking or not taking Microspikes, take them. You’ll be glad you did.

There were other items, but these listed were the main items. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them for me and I’ll answer them.


Rawhide 🙂

Posted in AlpineAire, Alpinlite Gear, Ashagram, Bombay, Brothels, Camping Food, Dehydrated Food, Dug Shelby, Equipment, Human Trafficking, Life Without Limbs, Mumbai Teen Challenge, Pacific Crest Trail, PLEASE DONATE!, Prostitution, Red Light District, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Oasis Projekt in Detail

The Oasis Project: A Deeper Look

(If you’re new to my blog, I invite you to look through the menu at the top to see what the buzz has been about up to this point…and thanks for stopping by!)

“The Oasis Projekt”

Definition of ‘OASIS:’
1) A fertile spot in a desert where water is found.

2) A pleasant or peaceful area or period in the midst of a difficult, troubled, or hectic place or situation.

3) Any place or thing offering welcome relief from difficulty.

The mission statement for the non-profit I’m currently putting together can be found right in the definition of it’s main word: oasis.

The Oasis Projekt will be about providing funds for a place of peace, restoration, renewal, and regeneration from one of the most turbulent, twisted and torturous nightmares that is going on worldwide even as you read this. That nightmare is human trafficking, otherwise known as ‘modern day slavery.’ the buying and selling of humans for another persons profit or personal gain. More often than not this means forced prostitution (both adults AND children) and forced child labor. 

The Oasis Projekt will exist to raise awareness of this evil, as well as raise funds to make sure that those currently trapped inside (as well as those freed from it) will be cared for properly. I will go into some of those methods of care in another post, but for now I want to share how The Oasis Projekt will function. 

Realizing “FUN” is in “FUNdraising!”

Im just going to start out by saying that I am no expert in raising funds. I’m just a guy who saw with his own two eyes what was happening in one city regarding human trafficking. I wanted to do something about it, so I decided to resurrect a motorcycle tour company that I had started to help raise funds for human trafficking. It was a failure! A beautiful, complete, brilliantly epic fail. OK…back to the drawing board. 

So I was out hiking one day last year, and I realized: I was going to thru-hike the Pacific Crest Trail to help raise awareness and funds for the cause…and I did! I planned for 10 months, prepared myself, and hiked 2,000 miles from Mexico in to Oregon. I was almost to Canada…but i felt i needed to stop my hike. I had been barraged with thoughts, dreams and visions while on the trail of ways I could continue helping after this hike was over. I came to realize: I needed to get off the trail & get back home to start this project that had no name, no financial backing, and was just a speck of dream-dust in my eyes! I couldn’t wait another month. I had to get back, get settled at home, and dive in. Oh, and find a name for it. Along with a million other details, it seemed. 

One huge priority, though, was to let everyone who has been following this journey know what was going on. As I’ve been hiking, and at home now as well, the vision was crystallizing. I wanted to share it here. Apologies for a long post, but it’s an important one…grab a donut, a cookie, some milk or coffee, put your feet up & keep reading…

I decided right off that The Oasis Projekt would be fun for those giving, and provide crucial relief for those trapped in the grip of human trafficking. I want it to be not only rewarding for you if you give, but fun as well. It’s a very serious, grim subject, but I didn’t want to have us lose sight of the fact that there is much to celebrate here. People are being freed from bondage…healed…cared for…sometimes reunited with loved ones…given a new life! Amazing!! You and I can be a direct part of this incredible process!

The way I see The Oasis Projekt looking going forward is through these 5 arms:

The Arms:

[] Thru-Hike For Freedom
[] Freedom Riders
[] Local fundraisers
[] Worldwide donations by individuals like you!
[] Grants (local, state and national)

Thru-Hike For Freedom:
Thru-Hike For Freedom (THF2) will be a very special group made up of individual hikers doing what I just did: Hike a trail for a cause. They will raise funds in any way they (legally!) can, while keeping an online blog about their preparation and their hike. They’ll get the support of the non-profit through fundraising help, as well as very valuable gear sponsorships provided through the non-profit. 

Freedom Riders:
This will be similar to what the hikers will do with THF2…only instead of hiking trails, these amazing people will be riding motorcycles on a guided tour  across the highways and byways of the United States. For some, this would not be a possibility if they had to pay for an expensive tour from an established touring company. In fact, while I was on a cross country motorcycle trip in 2005, I lost count of how many times someone would approach me and tell me that riding across the country was a dream they wanted to fulfill…someday. I want to be able to help others make it happen, while helping them help others along the way! (Say that 5 times fast!)

They will raise funds, and through their efforts of blogging and using social media available today, they’ll raise awareness at the same time. 

We’ll start out small: one West Coast tour, and one Cross Country tour. On both of these tours, we will make stops at special rehabilitation centers for rescued victims of human trafficking, and provide needed items or services, while sharing stories and rejoicing in the fact that they have found their personal ‘oasis.’ We will enjoy guest speakers, and wonderful motorcycling roads, while doing something amazing and needed for others. A motorcycle tour with meaning, that doesn’t cost an arm or a leg…just some effort raising funds and awareness. Thats it. Along the way, tour riders (Freedom Riders), will take turns writing a journal entry for the blog each day, and updating their own blogs or Facebook pages as they wish. 

Local Fundraisers:
Hopefully integrating the help of local students, I’m excited about the possibilities of putting together an annual silent auction. 

It would be an evening to remember that would include a dining opportunity, a silent auction, a special guest and live performances by known recording artists. 

I have a very good friend, like a brother, who has employed this model with great success. The amazing part? His role is that of a teacher/advisor, and the entire project is student led. Planned, conceived and executed solely by high school seniors, with no direct adult help aside from their advisor, they raise over $100,000 each year…with one event. (Check out Kids Helping Kids…incredible, inspiring, impressive). 

This is what I would hope to replicate. It’s a wonderful model, and gets more and more people involved. 

This is the least fun, but necessary aspects of the non-profit world: tracking down and obtaining grants. It just comes with the territory.

Grant writing…something I have never done. But am about to embark on! I envision very few fun moments here, but hey, you never know, right? Right…? 🙂

Personal Donations:
One aspect of raising funds will be that of the individual kind. Someone like you who reads this, or comes across the website, or meets me in person and says, “I’d like to do something to help!” Maybe This person has little available time or energy to give in another way, but they can spare a few dollars, a few hundred, or a few thousand. Maybe they have needed equipment…a vehicle to donate…or goods and services. But when it all comes down to it, their best option is to just simply hit the “DONATE” button on the website and give financially. By doing so, they’re immediately invested and on the team! 

To make this work, and to be effective, The Oasis Projekt will need the help and prayers of a lot of people like you. This is an exciting and scary time for me personally. I care so much about this cause and helping the victims of human trafficking, I don’t want this to fail. Please join me by either donating, or praying for this mission.

With your help, in one of these areas, I’m sure a huge difference will be made. 

I will be unleashing the official Oasis Projekt website soon, and will keep you up to date here in this spot as the website launch time approaches.

Meanwhile, if you would like to donate to the Oasis Projekt, you can send a payment via PayPal for now. (via All donations are hugely appreciated, and will help get the Projekt off the ground and running!

Blessings, and thanks for making it all the way through this post! 

The Oasis Projekt

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“The Oasis Projekt”: How to be a Sponsored Hiker!

As I mentioned in my earlier post from the trail, I’ve been led to start a non-profit. The name of the organization is The Oasis Projekt, and all the vital aspects of it are beginning to fall into place even as I write this.

The aim will be to help spread awareness, educate, raise funds, and mobilize those willing in the fight against human trafficking.

There will be several different ways The Oasis Projekt will meet it’s goals. I’m excited about these ideas, and am more excited to share them all right now, but I will wait until the website is up and running. For now I will share one very important arm of the non-profit: “Thru-Hike For Freedom.

Wait…that sounds a little familiar you say? Right-O, it does! 

“Thru-Hike For Freedom.” (Or, ‘THF2‘) was the name of my own personal hike  of the Pacific Crest Trail and I feel it resonated clearly what I was trying to accomplish, so it sticks! 

How will THF2 work, you ask? Here’s the skinny:

[] The Oasis Projekt will sponsor 5 hiking heroes as well as one biking hero. 

[] These 6 people will choose a trail to hike (or in the case of our biker, bike). 

[] They’ll raise funds that will go towards a specific project(s) that is desperately needed in the fight against human trafficking. 

[] Along the way, they will blog about their experiences before, during, and after their thru-hike. THF2 will help in getting their blogs and their stories exposure on the web and in the local & national media. 

[] As a sponsored hiker, they will be blessed with certain gear that would normally cost quite a pretty penny. This is a fairly big deal, as a thru-hike can be very costly to the hiker once you account for gear, food, on-trail expenses, and lost income from not working while hiking the trail. I spent hundreds of hours researching gear, and reaching out to potential sponsors before my thru-hike attempt. At times it became discouraging…there were many doors closed on my requests, but ultimately the group of sponsors that jumped on board were phenomenal. The THF2 Team will have access to the fruit of all the hard work and countless hours I put in.

[] There will also be very helpful incentives for fundraising which will aid those who raise the most funds. Those will be outlined in detail on the website (as well as here) as those become clearer.

[] THF2 will assist in fundraising whenever possible, and will have a personalized video that they can share with potential donors to aid in their fundraising efforts.

[] They will be supported by THF2’s trail angel arms, as well as receive some spirit lifting care packages along the way. 

[] They will be a part of a general thru-hiking publication to be put out next year. Their insight and experiences on the trail will ultimately help future thru-hikers!

There will be a 5 hiker/1 biker limit this year, so I’ve thought about things, and came up with what I think is the fairest way to fill those spots:

1) the first 3 aspiring ‘long trail’ hikers to raise $1,000 will make up the sponsored ‘Team Long Trail.’

2) the first 2 aspiring ‘short trail’ hikers to raise $1,000 will make up the sponsored  ‘Team Short Trail.’

3) the first biker to raise $1,000 will be our sponsored biker.

For those that don’t make one of the limited spots, there will be a waiting list in the event there’s a withdrawal. 

The funds they raised can be either used by that person towards any charity of their choice, or be donated to The Oasis Projekt. They will also be eligible in a ‘first-come-first-served’ basis when filling spots on the sponsored THF2 hiking team the following year.

All in all, it’s going to be an amazing experience for all involved! 

The Oasis Projekt is going to exist to not only fulfill crucial lifesaving needs for victims of human trafficking worldwide, but also help have an amazing experience in nature that might have not been possible otherwise. One ultimate dream is to one day fully sponsor a former victim of human trafficking on a thru-hike…to enable them to experience a freedom they only thought was possible in their most wildly inconceivable of dreams. How incredible would that be? You can be a big part of that dream becoming a reality. 

If you would like to be a sponsored THF2 thru-hiker for this next year or the following year, or you know someone that would, or would like to donate to The Oasis Projekt, please contact me directly:

Don’t hesitate! There has already been a good bit of interest already, just from word of mouth. The more time you have to fundraise the better.

Thanks for reading, and blessings!

Excitedly hopeful,

Dug (“Rawhide”)

Posted in AlpineAire, Alpinlite Gear, Ashagram, Bombay, Brothels, Camping Food, Dehydrated Food, Dug Shelby, Equipment, Human Trafficking, Life Without Limbs, Mumbai Teen Challenge, Pacific Crest Trail, PLEASE DONATE!, Prostitution, Red Light District, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments