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Tom Lyon

Tom Lyon is a lifelong backpacker with a wealth of experiences on the trail. On his first hike, in 1951, as a young Boy Scout in New York state, he met – and was forever inspired by – Gene Espy, the second man to hike the entire Appalachian Trail, which runs from Maine to Georgia in the eastern US. Since then, he has hiked all over the US, including a three week traverse of the Franklin Mountains and Brooks Range in Alaska, long hikes in the Uinta mountains in Utah, in Yellowstone National Park in Montana, and all along the mountains in the eastern states. Currently, he says, “My biography is getting simpler and simpler: I am 77, go backpacking each week of the year in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in southern California, with longer trips to the Sierra Mountains, and when not backpacking I am reviewing the gear to be used on next week’s trip. In the (distant) past I taught at Utah State University for 33 years.” In mid-2014, Tom published The Middle Way: A Handbook for Elderly Backpackers, a short yet pithy – and poignant – treatise that’s a great read for hikers of all ages. About his Akto, he says, “I’ve pitched my Akto in full-on blizzard conditions on Mt. San Jacinto, when the shelter needs to be set up FAST; in the howling wind of the Borrego desert, when you hope your tent stays where you put it (it did); in a monsoon rain of summer, in which I watched water flowing past, around, and under the tent – leaving me dry, I should add; in a temperature of 101.2 degrees Fahrenheit, when all I wanted was a bit of shade, which the lightweight Akto inner provided with customary ease. I could wish for something negative, to make all the praise seem more realistic – but there isn’t anything along those lines. There simply isn’t.”