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Contributors to this blog

  • Aaron Zagrodnick 151
  • Mark Wetherington 36
  • Susan Dragoo 6
  • HikerBox 5
  • George Graybill 4
  • JimR 3
  • michaelswanbeck 2
  • MattS 2
  • Kevin DeVries 2
  • Jen 2
  • Isak Kvam 1
  • Tephanie H. 1
  • HappyHour 1
  • Grace Bowie 1
  • Barbara 1
  • Steve Ancik 1
  • SarahLynne 1
  • Doug Emory 1
  • Steven Genise 1
  • mgraw 1
  • Allison Johnson 1
  • jansenjournals 1

Gear |Trips | Food | Technique | Reading

Entries in this blog

Thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail: Lessons Learned

While any thru-hike will involve an uncountable number of steps, the biggest step of them all is the proverbial first step – making the decision to go hike the trail yourself. After you’ve watched the videos and read the articles, the inspiration is at its highest, and you finally decide to hike a long distance trail, the second major step into the world of long distance hiking is preparing to walk – up to 25 miles every day for up to 6 months straight. What I found after hiking the length of th

jansenjournals

jansenjournals

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Jembe Seat Kit Review

A camp chair is definitely an item not often seen on most lightweight or ultralight backpacking gear lists, and is indeed something I gave up on long ago. These days it doesn’t seem that Jen and I spend too much time lounging around camp anyway - If we’re not working to cook a meal and setup the shelter, we’re probably already asleep. For those times when we do have a bit of spare time, a log, rock, or simply the ground itself usually serves the purpose - Situations where a foam sleep

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick in Gear

The Sheltowee Trace: A Long Hike in Kentucky & Tennessee

With time rapidly running out to hike one of the big three trails this year or having run out already, it may be time to consider a shorter long trail once the present situation with COVID-19 becomes settled, hopefully sooner rather than later. Trails like the Colorado Trail, John Muir Trail, and Long Trail (see Thru-Hiking: the Junior Version) will certainly get plenty of attention after social distancing regulations are relaxed and when current closures come to an end, but there are lesser kno

JimR

JimR

The Newly Proposed 8th Leave No Trace Principle

Last fall, TrailGroove contributor Mark Wetherington and a group of other concerned hikers created a website to address the concern that social media exposure can potentially have on our wild places, and over the course of the past few months the proposed 8th Leave No Trace principle has generated some excellent discussion in the outdoor community and recently over at the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics as well. Mark has taken an admirable initiative on the subject, and be sure the chec

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick

The Lookout - A Snowshoe Trip to an Abandoned Fire Tower

It is one thing to conceptually understand that you have the gear to bivy at 7,500 feet in the Northern Rockies with a forecast of six degrees below zero. It is another thing entirely to find yourself in circumstances where you end up having to do exactly that. And it was in such circumstances that I found myself on the last night of 2015. Perhaps I shouldn’t have turned down that invitation to a New Year’s Eve party after all. I left home that morning later than I would’ve liked and

Mark Wetherington

Mark Wetherington in Trips

The Hidden Life of Trees Book Review

The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate by Peter Wohlleben (Greystone Books, 2015) is an approachable book of bite-sized chapters explaining the mysteries of trees. Ever wondered if trees can talk to each other? How they know when to drop their leaves in the fall (and why)? That they can lower the blood pressure of hikers beneath them? Wohlleben answers all these questions – and brings up fascinating others – in this easily-digestible book that’s sure to make a tree-hugger

Isak Kvam

Isak Kvam

The Gift of Winter: A Reflection on a Season

Unique among the seasons, winter wields the power to make many hiking destinations inaccessible. Roads are gated due to snow, mountain passes become snowbound and hazardous, and specific four-season gear is required in many regions for those venturing out in the winter months. Human-powered recreation is mostly left to snowshoers, skiers, snowboarders, and winter is also a good time to focus on cleaning gear, summer trip planning, fitness routines, racking up vacation time, and other hobbies. Ge

Mark Wetherington

Mark Wetherington

The Devil's Eyebrow: Hard Hiking in Northwest Arkansas

“Build a railroad right through these mountains? You can’t do it, man; you can’t do it. You might as well try to build a railroad on the Devil’s eyebrow as to undertake to build one in such a place.” And so the words of a pioneer gave a rugged sandstone formation in northwest Arkansas its name. The year was 1880, and surveyors were doing preliminary work on the location of the Frisco Railroad. The railroad was built, the name stuck, and today “Devil’s Eyebrow” is one of 75 Natural Areas managed

Susan Dragoo

Susan Dragoo in Trips

The Crossing: A Hike Across Olympic National Park

Chris, Randy and I sat at a local brewery, a map of Olympic National Park spread across the table. We had climbed in the Olympics for decades, but now we were attempting something different – a thru hike from one side of the park to another. You might have thought planning to cross using established routes would be simple, but it was proving anything but. “Even the freaking rain forest is on fire.” Chris traced a route with his finger. The Pacific Northwest was suffering through one of its

Doug Emory

Doug Emory

The Backpacking Mug: Choices and Considerations

A key component of any practical backpacking kitchen setup is a cup or mug suitable for morning coffee or your hot drink of choice, and of course we need something light and packable while still working well for the purpose at hand. While the best backpacking mug choice may vary a bit from hiker to hiker, like any other piece of gear there’s a few key points worth consideration. A multitude of materials have been employed for the purpose, from aluminum to titanium and plastic, and in

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick

The Backcountry Backpack: Choices and Considerations

No matter your approach to backpacking – ultralight, comfort light, traditional, or whatever our own unique approaches may be in the gear department, backpacking in and of itself goes hand in hand with a gear list (whether on paper or simply in our heads), making a way to carry all that stuff one of the most important gear related items we need to consider. What follows is a guide to selecting an appropriate backpack for hiking and backpacking, including an overview of features, technologies, ma

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick

Tax Day Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to Stick, winner of a brand new Trail Designs Ti-Tri Sidewinder Stove System and an Evernew 1.3L titanium ultralight pot! Check out our original Sidewinder Ti-Tri Giveaway Blog Entry for the full details of the contest. Using a random number generator, a post from the Forum was chosen at 8 P.M. Mountain Time and the 8th post in our PowerPot Thread was the winner. Thanks to all who have contributed to the Forum and keep your eye on the site for additional contests that

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick in Giveaways

Tax Day Giveaway - Trail Designs Ti-Tri Sidewinder Stove System Bundle

Note: Contest Ended 4/17/12. The results can be found Here. Missed out? Check out Evernew at Amazon Enter to win a brand new Sidewinder Ti-Tri stove system bundle from Trail Designs - Pot included! This is the exact combo we just reviewed in our current issue. Check out our testing results and see the system in action by reading Issue 1. Win this package and you'll receive: Evernew ECA253 Titanium Ultralight 1.3L Pot (more details here - perfect for two or large meals for on

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick

Tarptent Interiors: Mesh and Solid Fabric Options

Tarptent offers a wide array of 1-4 person shelters that all offer a nice blend of weight and functionality, and once you’ve decided upon the best model to suit your needs one additional factor will need to be considered if you’re going with one of their double wall models (now most of their lineup) – as these models are offered with your choice of interior tent type. Mesh, solid, or partial solid interiors may be available depending on the specific model and the conditions that particular tent

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick

Table Mountain - 2.0

In our First Blog Entry we talked about Table Mountain, an interesting feature that both offered a lower elevation summit (About 7200 feet) and was close to town. This combination made for a great cabin fever expedition prior to spring, following a mostly off-trail route that required tricky navigation to keep from crossing private land. We made good progress on our first attempt, but then ran into deeper snow around 6500 feet and were forced to turn back with fading daylight. A month

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick

Table Mountain

We’ve been working day and night, falling asleep at computer screens, and hitting the trail as much as we can to get TrailGroove up and running. Everything that we thought would take a week when we first began scratching out our idea on paper took a month and everything that we expected to take a month took…Well, you get the idea. Starting something like this is always a risky endeavor - It can be a challenge to prevent turning your favorite pastime into something you just have to do

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick

Summit Serenity: Climbing Mount Saint Helens

Sitting atop the summit of Mount Saint Helens, with views of over a hundred miles in every direction, a passage from a novel came to mind as I sipped a cup of coffee and gazed at distant peaks. Seemingly appropriate when applied to an exceptionally clear autumn day observed from atop a mountain, an experience that makes one feel full of life. It felt like the “most beautiful day in a thousand years. The October air was sweet and every faint breath a pleasure.” As Annie Proulx wrote in the book,

Mark Wetherington

Mark Wetherington

Summer Giveaway

Note: This giveaway ended 7/28/17. For summer, we're giving away a $100 Backcountry.com Gift Certificate plus your choice of a shirt or hat from the TrailGroove Store! Just make sure you're subscribed to TrailGroove and then like this blog post to let us know you'd like to be included in the drawing. Full details below. How to Enter 1) Like this blog entry in the lower right hand corner of this post. Simply login with your TrailGroove account and like this blog entry in the

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick

Subalpine Splendor: Hiking in the Bitterroot Mountains

With so many places to explore in Montana, it might seem a bit strange to visit the same place for a second time – much less a third time. But one lake in particular has drawn me back to it three times over the last few years. My first visit to this lake was coincidentally my first summer in Montana. My eagerness for mountain scenery led me to visiting it so early (late May) that even though it had been a mild winter, the lake was still frozen over and although the scenery was magical I wasn’t a

Mark Wetherington

Mark Wetherington in Trips

Stough Creek Lakes Trail Overnighter - Wind River Range, Wyoming

With limited time and a good forecast, Jen & I decided on a quick overnighter a couple weeks ago close by in the Winds. It would need to be a quick trip - Obligations (A bit more on that later) would have to keep us close to civilization, and on top of that we would have to work with a later start on Saturday. Our plan was to take the Stough Creek Lakes Trail into the Popo Agie Wilderness up to Roaring Fork Pass / Stough Creek Saddle, then retreat part of the way back to make camp

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick

Springtime Solitude - A Wyoming Red Desert Overnight

The Red Desert of Wyoming holds a unique appeal no matter your approach – it’s a country just as suitable for backpacking as it is for exploring and camping beside your vehicle off a rough and long forgotten dirt road. Either way, you’re likely to be in the middle of the nowhere. Adding to its allure, to begin the year the desert can only be comfortably explored for a short time each spring after the roads have sufficiently dried from melting snow to make passage by vehicle (just to g

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick

Spring Giveaway

Note: This giveaway ended 6/2/17 For spring, we're giving away a $100 REI e-Gift Card plus your choice of a shirt or hat from the TrailGroove Store! Just make sure you're subscribed to TrailGroove and then like this blog post to let us know you'd like to be included in the drawing. Full details below. How to Enter 1) Like this blog entry in the lower right hand corner of this post. Simply login with your TrailGroove account and like this blog entry in the lower right hand co

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick in Giveaways

Solitude in the Sapphire Mountains of Montana

I’ve always placed a premium on solitude when planning my outdoor activities and, with some planning and luck, have never found it to be particularly difficult to obtain. However, with trails across the country being more crowded than ever this past summer, it’s taken a bit more effort even in sparsely populated western Montana to have that lake, peak, or meadow all to yourself. Fortunately, with a bit of flexibility and research I was able to turn a short-notice opportunity for an overnight tri

Mark Wetherington

Mark Wetherington in Trips

Solarpad Pro Ultralight Solar Panel Review

Now having tested several solar panels over the years that are marketed towards outdoor use and use on the trail – most of these stay stashed in the back of my gear closet, and are more likely to be something I might use during a power outage at home rather than actually depend on out on the trail. For hiking and backpacking purposes most of these panels are too heavy, just don’t perform well enough, or have significant drawbacks like compatibility with one device, while not being compatible wit

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick in Gear

Skiing to Hogan Cabin - Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest

In typical backpacker fashion, I did my solemn duty of taking off the Thursday before a federal holiday falling on a Friday to schedule a two-night trip followed by a day of rest. A stroke of good fortune allowed me to book Christmas Eve and Christmas night at a small, rustic Forest Service rental cabin in the mountains of the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest. Given the frigid forecast, it was well worth the nominal fee to know that after skiing around all day I’d have four walls,

Mark Wetherington

Mark Wetherington

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