Dan Bortz

Dan Bortz

Most of Dan’s hiking experience comes from within Pennsylvania. He hikes his local section of the AT a lot, and also enjoys many of PA’s other footpaths, such as the West Rim Trail, the Loyalsock Trail, and the Allegheny Front Trail. He has also day hiked extensively in Acadia National Parks, World’s End State Park (PA), Ricketts Glen State Park (PA), Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area(PA/NJ) and others. He is also getting organized to section hike the AT over the next decade or two. In an attempt to find friends to hike with, he started the Berks-Lehigh Hiking and Backpacking Meetup, which has blossomed to almost 500 members.

In 2011, Dan broke 4 bones in his foot, which required surgery and a lot of healing/therapy time. He now suffers from arthritis, slight balance problems, and a few toe joints that don’t work anymore. This injury is what turned him to ultralight backpacking. UL allowed him to get some weight off of his bad foot, so he could hike longer before it started to hurt. Though admitting he is still a newbie, he has undoubtedly made great strides. His base pack weight shrank from 25-30lbs down to 6-8lbs in just 2 years. Ultralight backpacking made it possible for him to keep doing what he loves, while minimizing suffering from his injury.

Dan hopes to continue getting in better shape and searching for the elusive “perfect” ultralight backpacking system!

Home: Kutztown, PA

Age: 30

Website: ulweekendwarrior.wordpress.com 

Outdoor Organization Involvement: Organizer at Berks-Lehigh Hiking & Backpacking Meetup | Interim Organizer at NEPA Trail Mix MeetupMember at Appalachian Mountain Club | Member at Keystone Trails Association | Kestrel Club Member at Hawk Mountain Bird Sanctuary

Favorite Training Grounds: If I’m hauling my toddler son around, it will usually be the little trail system at Hawk Mountain Bird Sanctuary near Eckville, PA. The trails are short, but it has 2 large vistas, a rocky ridge walk, some hands-and-knees scrambling, glacial rock formations, and short-but-steep climbs. There is no better place to watch the raptor migration every fall. I also enjoy hiking the AT in PA. I love the Pinnacle, Pulpit Rock, Bear Rocks, Bake Oven Knob, Lehigh Gap, and Delaware Water Gap. Worlds End State Park and Ricketts Glen State Park are frequent spots, too.