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The Bushwhacking Fool

Welcome to the Bushwhacking Fool!

The Bushwhacking Fool is a blog devoted to bushwhacking (i.e. off-trail hiking) and its many related activities (e.g. backpacking, hiking, nature photography, birding, etc.), primarily within the Adirondack Park and other places in central New York State.

The inspiration for the website’s name comes from the implication of the line of questioning following my description of bushwhacking to anyone unfamiliar with its potential joys and rewards.

When not going by the nom de guerre of Bushwhacking Fool, my name is Dan Crane. I am the creator, editor, writer and creative genius behind the Bushwhacking Fool website. In addition to the Bushwhacking Fool, I write a bi-weekly article for the Adirondack Almanack. If you enjoy my blog then please check out the Adirondack Almanack too.

Although I was an avid birder since grammar school, I never developed a serious interest in hiking and/or backpacking until my mid-20’s. My first official backpacking experience occurred way back in August 1993 with a trip into the Five Ponds Wilderness in the northwestern Adirondack Park accompanied by three co-workers. Since then I have explored many of the publicly-owned areas within the Adirondack Park.

Bushwhacking Fool on Scoville Point, Isle Royale

My most harrowing backpacking adventure occurred during the July 1995 microburst, where I was airlifted out of the Five Ponds Wilderness via helicopter the day after the storm. I successfully hiked the Northville-Placid Trail twice (the first time solo) and climbed all 46 of the High Peaks in the Adirondacks.

In addition to my backpacking experience, I am a life-long naturalist, with a Bachelor and Master of Science in Ecology from SUNY-ESF, and 10+ seasons working as a field biologist in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Maine and New York.

Bushwhacking is defined as the act of traveling over a landscape without the aid of a marked trail or road. It usually involves navigating with the aid of a map and compass, or these days, a hand-held GPS. Bushwhacking is a subtype of off-trail hiking, occurring within areas where the native vegetation naturally forms forests. Bushwhacking allows for one to experience nature on its own terms, by traversing a landscape shaped not by man but instead by natural forces.

The pleasures and challenges of bushwhacking are similar to those found with traditional hiking and backpacking. The Bushwhacking Fool’s goal is to motivate those individuals who already enjoy hiking and/or backpacking to move beyond the limited experiences of the trail, and out into the near limitless opportunities for adventure and solitude in those out-of-the-way, untrammeled places. Or, at the very least, give them the opportunity to enjoy these places vicariously through my own experiences.

Bushwhacking Fool near Willys Lake

Although this website is not meant to be overtly regionally specific, its focus will be on the northeastern United States. In fact, the vast majority of the trip plans and reports will take place in the Adirondack Park in upstate New York. This bias is not due to the superiority of the Adirondack Park’s bushwhacking experiences (although they are superb), but merely due to its geographical proximity to my location in the Syracuse, New York area. I will attempt to expand its geographical reach when possible, as opportunities arise to visit other areas in the future.

The Bushwhacking Fool’s primary material will be presented in the form of blog posts. These posts will come in a variety of different flavors. They will range from discussions on the philosophy of bushwhacking, to trip reports detailing my past adventures. Occasionally, a product review or best practice will be posted to help others enhance their own bushwhacking experiences. Photographs detailing my adventures will be presented and available for purchase as a digital image or a paper print.

I hope this website initiates a conversation about the potential of bushwhacking to enhance one’s appreciation of nature and all its beauty. Please feel free to comment if you have any suggestions for future posts, ways to improve the website or any question whatsoever with regards to bushwhacking.

Please contact me if you have any questions or comments via any of the following methods:

Bushwhacking Fool at Zabriskie Point, Death Valley NP

e-mail: bushwhackingfool@gmail.com
Twitter: @bushwhackingfoo
Facebook: BushwhackingFool


I would like to thank David Killius for the Bushwhacking Fool illustration as well as all the homemade gear he has supplied me over the years. In addition, he deserves my profound thanks for playing a critical role in persuading me to take my first official backpacking trip. That trip put me on the path to eventually becoming the bushwhacking fool I am today.

Also, I would like to thank Eric Greenfield for persuading me to pursue the endeavor of creating this website. Without his ever-constant needling, this website would have never become a reality.