Hello there! My name is Eddie Boyd, but those on the trail know me as Oilcan. I am 21 years old and have completed the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and Continental Divide Trail, also known as the “Triple Crown”. After high school I set off on the AT and met people and saw places that instilled a fiery passion for thru hiking within me. As I got more miles under my feet I started to realize that hiking isn’t just a hobby for me, it is a full blown passion and obsession.
Along the CDT I became enthralled with cross country or off trail navigation. It felt empowering to be blazing my own trail across the rolling hills and towering peaks of the Rockies. Unfortunately, due to the hurried pace of long distance hiking, I felt that I had missed out on truly enjoying and experiencing certain areas. I felt this was especially true for Wyoming, from the bubbling geysers in Yellowstone to the towering peaks of the Wind River Range, the state left me thirsty for more. As I continued south on the CDT my mind filled with ideas for routes across the area and I jovially discussed them with my hiking partners. Little did I know then that I would end up creating a 512 mile route across the entire Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
This past winter I have been busy in collaboration with my friend and hiking partner Josh Tippett (aka Cheesebeard) creating what we have dubbed the Greater Yellowstone Traverse. We will start in southern Montana’s Absaroka Wilderness and head south through Yellowstone, the Tetons, the Gros Ventre Wilderness, and finally the Wind River Range. This route is mainly off trail outside of the National Parks, so it should pose an interesting challenge for the experienced hiker. Some of the highlights include Lamar Valley, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, the summit of Middle Teton, Knapsack Col, Titcomb Basin, and Cirque of the Towers.
I am challenging my minimalist hiking skills by limiting my pack to only forty liters in size. This is the smallest backpack I have ever tried to use but the stretches between resupply on this route are no more than 5 days. With my other ultralight gear in tow, I should be able to fit everything in the pack. I am excited to be testing out my first Big Agnes sleeping bag the Hitchens UL 20 on this hike. I used a quilt last year on the CDT so I am looking forward to the added warmth from a more traditional sleeping bag. The Helinox Passport Tension Lock trekking poles will keep me stable on difficult terrain while being comfortable in hand and low profile in the pack when I don’t need them.
Possibly the best part about this adventure is that I get to do it with eight of my closest friends and hiking partners. There is over forty thousand miles of thru hiking experience between us and we work and hike together flawlessly. I have always thought that adventures are made by the people you go on them with. I learned this very quickly back on the Appalachian Trail when I made lifelong friends over just a few short months. The GYT will be just the same and I cannot wait to soak in the experiences these mountains have to offer. I hope you will follow along as we explore Wyoming’s low country, high country, and everything in between!
Oilcan’s GYT hike commenced this past Wednesday, June 27. Follow his updates on Instagram @oc_boyd.