An interview with Chris Denu

What outdoor activity is your passion?

It’s hard for me to pin down just one activity, because anything that gets me outdoors makes me happy and fills me with energy.  Hiking is probably tops for me, though.  Hiking takes me to so many places and allows me to see so many things.  Hiking leads me to the tops of mountains, to remote alpine lakes, to the places where you get to see flora and fauna flourish.  Hiking has taken me from Mexico to Canada along North America’s Continental Divide.  It has also led me to me some of the most amazing people.

How did you get involved in that activity, and how old were you when you started? 

I was lucky enough to grow up in a rural part of a rural state here in the U.S.  This meant as a kid I was free to wander our property and up into the forest behind our house.  My father was an Eagle Scout and took my brother and me on hikes and camping trips when we were young.  Growing up with the opportunities I had led to a passion for the outdoors.  Though it hasn’t been until the past 5 years or so where I’ve taken my hiking to the next level, it all started as a part of my childhood experiences.

What was the most epic trip you’ve ever taken? 

In terms of hiking, by far the most epic trip was my 2017 northbound thru hike of the Continental Divide Trail.  This adventure led me through more than 2,800 miles of wild terrain.  From the dry and arid desert of southern New Mexico, to the snowy passes of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, and through the high plains of Wyoming’s Great Divide Basin.  This was an experience that will be near and dear to my heart forever.  If I’m able to mention a close second, it would be my trek through the Himalaya in route to Everest Base Camp.  I so hope to go back to that region of the world soon.

What is the most important piece of gear in your pack? (other than AKU footwear, of course!)

Of course, footwear is the top priority when it comes to hiking.  Keeping those feet healthy and protected is the key to a successful hike of any distance.  Other than footwear I would say my most important piece of gear would be my backpacking quilt.  I love that thing.  It’s super light, so compressible, and so warm and cozy!  Though it has started to develop a bit of an odor over the years.  When it comes to gear I believe it is all vital and it all works together in harmony to create the best experience.

Where do you hope your AKUs will take you in the future?

Oh the list goes on and on!  They’ll definitely take me up many more Colorado 14ers, in both summer and winter hopefully!  I also have several ideas for some more long hikes.  I’d really love to get back to my home state of Vermont and thru hike the 272 mile Long Trail.  I also have some peak bagging expeditions planned for a few more State High Points.  This includes Gannett Peak in Wyoming and Granite Peak in Montana.

What AKU boots are you currently wearing?

I’m currently rocking the AKU Tengu Lite GTXs.  They provide the needed support for tromping through and over snow, up steep rock and snow, and can be used with snowshoes and over the boot crampons.  Stoke level is high to get out there and put these boots to work.