Notes from the trail

Welcome to American Backcountry’s Notes from the Trail. Here we share stories and thoughts from some of our favorite contributors. Each mountain is different and each trip has a different story – these are notes collected along the trail.

Dolly Sods Wilderness

January 1, 2014

Dolly Sods Wilderness Area in Monongahela National Forest Tee Shirt with list of great trails

As we enter into our 20th Anniversary, it has become a time for us to reflect on where we are and how we got here- the mountains we climbed and the storms we hiked through. We hope you will enjoy our new homepage where we will feature new items, our stories from the backcountry, other’s stories from the backcountry and more.


Back in 1989 when I was still a young buck to the professional world I went on a backpacking trip in Dolly Sods Wilderness of West Virginia.  The trip coincided with aftermath of Hurricane Hugo and the wrath of the devastation it was creating up the Appalachian Mountain Range.  We had trees coming down left and right and lighting striking very close to us.  The trail system we were on was obliterated and forced us to reroute and bushwack for miles through thick rhododendron gardens and thigh deep marshes.  This was well before GPS or cell phones and what we had to work with were USGS 7.5 “ Quads and a Compass. About half way through the day when the adrenaline subsided and reality set in it occurred to me that there was no easy way out.  I also realized we may miss our targeted departure date.  At that point I honestly got giddy and gleeful because I knew from having just endured the wrath of hurricane effect storm that I would be fine because I believed in my ability to adapt to whatever was ahead.  And after 8 hours following a compass bearing and map and we came across a forest service road that set our direction back on course I was ecstatic.  I look back on this experience as the initial inspiration for American Backcountry that was 5 years from hatching.


When we launched American Backcountry, it was built behind the premise that we talk about on the website and Social Media.  “We think our customers appreciate the difference between any old mountain and the mountain they just climbed”.  That mantra resonates with most people who look at the Outdoors as more than just a hobby but a Soul Searching mechanism to see what they are made of.  It is the sum total of those experiences that have provided the inspiration to move beyond adversity in building American Backcountry.


At Outdoor Retailer I frequently have people stop by and say how much they love our product and retell their own experiences.  At least once every show someone comes and tells me about their Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim experience.  I love to listen to those stories. As we continue to grow it is these stories that help us keep our message on target.


-Frank Hintz, Founder and Owner American Backcountry