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  3. Choose Your Tour: 7 Scenic Multiuse Recreation Trails

    [NOTE: In June and July 2018, large parts of the Hermosa Creek watershed and surrounding portions of San Juan National Forest were burned in a 54,000 acre wildfire. Sadly, Hermosa Creek Trail may be closed for a long time!].
  4. Earlier
  5. Smoky Mountains backpacking trip

    Hey everyone!, I'm looking for recommendations for a 3 night 4 day trek in the Smokies. We're all experienced backpackers, looking to do roughly 10 miles a day with plenty of peaks to summit and great views. This hike will be in the third week of October. Any recommendations and/or advice is welcome! This is all of our first time visiting the Smokies. Thank you! JP
  6. Leaving a Mark

    Couldn't agree with your sentiment more. I have never understood peoples need to deface a pristine area just to say "I was here". To quote LNT: "Take only pictures, leave only footprints"
  7. Leaving a Mark

    We've become incensed at some of the recent news stories of idiots in our national parks and other natural places painting their names, carving their initials, stacking up piles of stones, flying their drones, or in some other way making sure that the rest of us won't experience the place in its pristine beauty. We're happy to read that a few of them have been caught and punished severely--although not severely enough for our tastes. We were mollified a bit by reading Mark Twain's Innocents Abroad, a story about his travels through Europe and the Middle East with a group of American tourists soon after the Civil War. And he noted the same problem then. In fact, many in his party were prone to not only carve their initials in the ruins, but also break off a bit of stone to take home... "One might swear that all the John Smiths and George Wilkinsons, and all the other pitiful nobodies between Kingdom Come and Baalbec would inscribe their poor little names upon the walls of Baalbec’s magnificent ruins, and would add the town, the county and the State they came from—and swearing thus, be infallibly correct. It is a pity some great ruin does not fall in and flatten out some of these reptiles, and scare their kind out of ever giving their names to fame upon any walls or monuments again, forever." Reptiles. We're going to borrow that...
  8. A Backpacker's Spice Rack

    I use those 7 day pill boxes. I guess it is whatever is at hand when the idea of a spice rack hits you. M best spice is a home-made Cajun seasoning. And my most unusual is when I take the remains of my home-made Worcestershire sauce and dehydrate it. Once I bring the dehydrated mes into a flake it goes amazing in a soup. i like the straw idea too. Great article, Aaron.
  9. Southwest Trip Report

    We lived Mess Verde...and a lot of other places, too!
  10. Southwest Trip Report

    Sounds like a pretty amazing trip. Mesa Verde is impressive.
  11. Current gear lists!

    I handle the conundrum by having a single core list of things that I take on every trip - but listing things more generally (for example "shelter" vs. a particular one, or "stove" and then I'll pack whichever fits the trip at hand) and then separately listing those optional items that aren't taken on every trip, like traction devices or a headnet.
  12. recognize these socks?

    Ah - yes - now I remember! Thanks
  13. I'm Max and I backpack with my dog, Copper, along the MST. Normally we park at our finish point then uber about 30 miles down the road and walk back for the weekend; however, we recently starting getting further out from Asheville and had a "no uber available" situation. Hitching a ride as a dude with a dog went about as expected, so I'd like to make some friends out in the area! Either that want to join so we can drive a car to the start and leave one at the finish or just a network of people who will exchange rides to our start for money, post or pre trail beers/coffee/dinner/breakfast, friendship, 30 minutes of silent driving with me and Copper in your passenger seat, whatever floats your boat really. If interested let me know! Copper and I are training up for a 14 day thru hike of The Long Trail in Vermont this fall and need longer trails than are available to us near Fort Bragg. If you want to join our long days are 16-22 miles of hiking and I have the constraint of living super far away in Fayetteville and not getting anything other than weekends off.
  14. recognize these socks?

  15. recognize these socks?

  16. Becoming a Trail Naturalist

    Thanks, RogerMoore. Lion tracks are definitely an exciting addition to a hike! Good luck with the birding.
  17. Becoming a Trail Naturalist

    Great article. Long ago I spent many a weekend learning to track. That extra knowledge has made all of my hikes better. I’ve found lion tracks all through California, identified birds and animals that I have never seen and even tracked deer to their bed on occasion. I’m looking to become a better birder now. Thanks!
  18. Here’s the link to the Altimate website:
  19. I have no personal experience with this problem but it may be your body first speeding up breathing to get more O2, and secondly , your body slowing down its breathing rate because now you’re losing too much CO2. A drug, Diomax, may help, but may be prescription only (as it appears to be here in Canada). A drug-free solution could be the Altimate high-altitude mask which helps a person do some CO2 rebreathing. This is supposed to keep your respiratory rate sufficient. Good luck and let us know what works for you.
  20. recognize these socks?

    This is a pretty trivial question, but - does anyone recognize this brand of socks? I don't know where I bought them, I cannot really make out the knitted text (Raven?) - but I like them and would not mind buying some more... Any help would be appreciated! Dan
  21. Sorry, but the tent has just sold. Thanks for the interest!
  22. For Sale: Lunar Duo Tent from Six Moon Designs

    Still available? Is this the older model which weighs 57 ounces in total? Thanks.
  23. (How) do you sleep in the backcountry?

    For me to sleep well in the back country, it comes down to three things; 1) good sleeping pad (you will pry my Neoair from under my cold dead body) 2) A comfy warm sleeping bag, I love quilts 3) A Pillow, try the IKEA blow up travel pillow 5$ of sleeping bliss.
  24. Hello - Day hike 5-6 times a week in hilly terrain - top elevation about 1500-2000 ft. 55 yo, 6'1 230 but in good hiking shape. Do 15-30 miles on weekends and 3-5mi per hikes during weekdays. so anyway... Over the last several years, I have trouble sleeping at higher altitudes. Like 6000-8000 ft. Fall asleep no problem, but wake up many, many times a night needing to catch breath. Not gasping or anything, just not getting enough oxygen. In the past, after 2-3 evenings, it would gradually get better. The past couple years, it's the same on day 1 as on day 4. Very frustrating as I'm exhausted the entire trip and hiking really suffers. Is there anything I can do short term? Have Lake Tahoe trip coming 6/30-7/7 and want to really take advantage of all the trails. Long term I'm in process of getting sleep study done, although at home I have no issues sleeping. ANY guidance would be appreciated. Thank you!
  25. Current gear lists!

    A person can have limited gear and have only one singular list by listing clothing as an optional item that is subject to change with the seasons. This is also true if they only get to hike during certain times of the year such as vacations.
  26. Southwest Trip Report

    The plan was a month-long trip to the Southwest, visiting all the big-name parks: Great Basin, Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, Arches, Mesa Verde, plus Escalante, and The Toyabe National Forest south of Austin, NV. At least four backpacking overnights, maybe one longer trip. Lots of day hikes, from the Narrows and Angel’s Landing in Zion to slots canyons in Escalante… That was the plan. But M was diagnosed with tendonitis in her heel following our adventure last month in the Grand Canyon, and so that plan didn’t look so good. She would be walking for the next six weeks with a plastic boot on her left foot. The fact that my left knee seemed to be intent on causing me pain with every step I took didn’t improve the situation. We had made reservations at Zion and Arches, and our daughter was flying out and meet us a week around Moab, but we needed a new plan. So what do you do in that situation? We decided to go anyway. We would take it easy, and we would just have to see how much hiking we could do. In any case, we were determined NOT to make things worse with either of us, because we still have our backpacking plans in the Sierra later this summer—If possible. Sigh. In the end, this turned out to be a really good trip, and we did get to do just a bit of hiking---a total of about 65 miles, nothing major—but this would serve as a very good outline for anyone who is considering a trip to Utah and its neighbors and doesn’t want to hike their feet off. We didn’t, thank goodness. And we’re still hoping to do some backpacking this summer. What did we love? The parks are stunning. We added the North Rim of the Grand Canyon to the list above and loved them all. Great Basin was empty and beautiful. Zion was jammed packed and still lovely. Bryce was comparatively cool and delicious. Capitol Reef had the best petroglyphs. Canyonlands was great fun. Arches was stunning…and packed with people. Mesa Verde was unforgettable, and cool. North Rim changed our perceptions of the Grand Canyon a bit. But other parks also enchanted us. Cedar Breaks is amazing, and the petroglyphs in Parowan Gap and Sego Canyon were the best ever. Red Canyon was charming. Dead Horse Point is great. Hovenweep was a jewel. Edge of the Cedars museum in astonishing. Natural Bridges and the road south from there are simply astounding. And little parks like Berlin/ichthyosaurus and Fort Churchill State Park were just what we wanted, when we wanted it. We saw highway signs warning us about dairy cattle, wild cattle, wild horses, horseback riders, deer, elk, bison, bighorn sheep, pedestrians, and marmots (!) We also saw dairy cattle, wild cattle, wild horses, horseback riders, deer, bison, pedestrians and marmots. No bighorn sheep or elk, dang it. But we’d seen elk in the Grand Canyon six weeks ago—does that count? We were thoroughly impressed with how friendly, helpful, and cheerful the park service staff was in every park: well-trained, enthusiastic, and fun. Makes us proud just to think about it. And while we didn’t do any long hikes, we did manage quite a few really good short ones, nothing more than five miles: Emerald Pools and Kayenta Trail in Zion; Queen’s Garden and Navajo Loop in Bryce; two really nice short trails in Red Canyon; Devil’s Garden in Arches; Mesa Arch and Aztec Butte in Canyonlands; the Castle Canyon trail in Hovenweep, Bighorn Viewpoint in Dead Horse Point, and lots of viewpoint walks that were never too long, but added up to lots of Advil every night. We even found some pretty good places to eat. We loved Magnolia’s Food Truck in Boulder, Utah, in the parking lot of Anasazi State Park. And yummy and healthy food at the Capitol Reef Inn in Torrey. Lots of good food in Moab. Best of all was 707 Food Bin in Grand Junction…go figure. And we wouldn’t be back home without the help of Randy Pixley of Maxwell’s Garage in Cortez…who fixed out van quickly, effectively, and cheaply when we were really stuck with no other options. About 4000 miles of driving. About $100 a day in expenses (including gas for Le Vin Blanc..our Ford E-350 van.) And even one night in a hotel—Whoooey! If you’d like to read the whole report, Part I starts here: And after each section of the blog, we have a link to more photos, just in case you are completely masochistic.
  27. Current gear lists!

    How can anyone have a singular "gear list"???? What ends up in my pack depends on a plethora of conditions and circumstances and it is seldom the same for any subsequent trip. Tents, bags, pads, packs, clothing and even the cooking gear are dictated by where, when, how many people, how many days, and even the weather forecast. A tee shirt and shorts don't function well in a snowstorm.
  28. Why do we do it?

    true enough. i get a lot of strange looks when i say that my idea of a perfect vacation is a week in the backcountry away from cell reception. I work with a number of younger people, well, in their 20s, so younger to me, and this topic came up in conversation. my attempts at explanation just got me some strange looks and an “ookayy”. i thought i would ask around and see how others responded to questions like this.
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