Have you encountered a hiker with a blue backpack and a hot dog shirt on the Ice Age Trail recently?
If you didn’t get a chance to say hi, let us introduce you.
There’s only one hot dog shirt like that, so we can confidently say that you caught a glimpse of the one and only Dosu Kinuta!
Dosu is a thru-hiker from New Hampshire currently attempting to set the Fastest Known Time (FKT) for a self-supported thru-hike on the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.
He began at the Eastern Terminus in Potawatomi State Park on Monday, May 9.
We got a chance to catch up with him when he stopped by Ice Age Trail Alliance headquarters on his way through Cross Plains.
“I feel at home on the trail; haven’t looked back since.”
Care to share the meaning of your trail name, “Dosu Kinuta?”
Dosu: It’s a character from Naruto [an anime show]. When I was on the Appalachian Trail, everyone was trying to give me a name and eventually we landed on this character, because he was my favorite in the show.
Is it because you would do the Naruto run on the trail?
D: It’s actually the only way I move on the trail.
I was wondering how you traveled 40-50 miles a day, but it makes sense now.
D: But really, I’m a huge weeb [fan of anime]. I’ll stop at a McDonald’s for the wifi, but mostly, it’s to catch up on shows while my stuff is charging.
How did you learn about the Ice Age National Scenic Trail? Is it how you expected it would be?
D: I’ve done most of the National Scenic Trails, and am working towards completing all of them. I have three left, including the IAT!
I was blown away by how beautiful the Trail and the landscapes in Wisconsin are, with how nice it all is.
Were you prepared for the road walks?
D: I just got off of the Natchez Trace Trail, which is a ton of road walking. So, my feet were already well conditioned for it.
How do you decide which Trail you’re going to hike next?
D: This year, I am working towards completing all of the National Scenic Trails. I just did the Natchez Trace Trail. After finishing the IAT, I am going to do the North Country Trail and New England Trail later this year.
No down time!
D: No! Right to the next trail.
Maybe after you complete all of the NSTs.
You’ve thru-hiked around 15,000 miles so far… what led you to begin thru-hiking?
D: My first thru-hike was in 2015 on the Appalachian Trail, after a really bad break-up. I found trail family and trail magic, and just this really great community where I felt I belonged. I feel at home on the trail; haven’t looked back since.
Have you attempted FKT before? What is your strategy for this attempt?
D: I just got FKT on the Natchez Trace Trail. I am attempting a self-supported FKT on the IAT. That means I can go into town and re-supply, but my mom can’t ship me a batch of cookies. No camping in a buddie’s backyard. Basically, I can only use support that is available to anyone. And, no one can join me on the trail, I can’t have a friend tag along for a portion, because they would be considered a spectator and that would be “supported.” So far, I’ve only gotten a hotel for one night, in Janesville [an Ice Age Trail Community].
How is it going so far?
D: I’m back on track now. I got sick 5 days in and was only doing 25-30 miles a day. Now that I’m recovered, my goal is 45-50 miles a day for the remainder.
High/lows? I know from Instagram that you saw an albino deer recently.
D: Yeah, that was cool!
The highpoint so far was this magical scene on the Two Rivers Segment. I’m hiking through farmlands and forests all day and all of a sudden, I hear waves, just like the ocean. I keep going, and sure enough, I’m soon walking on this boardwalk over a sandy beach. It was so beautiful, it was hard to believe that it was a beach on a lake [Lake Michigan]. There were these huge freighters, too, kind of surreal.
Let’s talk gear for a minute. What do you carry? your pack is very compact!
D: I use a Z-pack DupleXl tent, Z-pack Arc Air 50L, and Z-pack sleeping bag. That helps me keep it light. One of the cool aspects of hiking as much as I do is it gives me the opportunity to consult with companies on their gear, offering input on how to innovate even further.
And, what is your favorite trail meal, the one you look forward to the most?
D: Okay, it’s really involved, so stick with me. It’s mac’n’cheese: regular noodles, creamy Velveeta cheese, these BBQ pulled-pork packs from Walmart that seriously stand up to restaurant pulled-pork, sometimes mix in a little instant mashed potatoes to thicken it up, and then crunch some Cheez-its or Doritos on top to get a nice crunchy texture on top. It’s like 65 g of protein, and it is so delicious.
You share some really great photos on Instagram! Is photography another passion of yours?
D: I just like to bring my friends with me. I like to document and share my hikes so that they can share in the experience.