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  2. Yep, that is exactly the loop I did. I did it over four nights/five days. I stayed at dose meadows two nights and did a dayhike up to sentinel peak and just took it easy. I also stayed at cedar lake on my way in and went cross country to gray wolf pass, but I wouldn’t recommend that for novice hikers. If you stick with the trails, you’ll be fine. I might suggest doing the trip over four nights anyways — make the day after dose meadows east and camp at upper Cameron. The climb up grand pass is absolutely brutal and the way I hiked it had me climbing lost, Cameron, and grand passes in one day.
  3. Thanks for this! That looks like a great hike. Here's a map of that area, with a light yellow highlight of the loop I think you're suggesting. I assume this took about 4 days?
  4. Got it, that makes more sense. If you can get permits for it, a loop from Deer Park Campground, up Gray Wolf River to Falls campsite, on to Gray Wolf Pass, to Dose Meadows campsite, up Lost Pass to Cameron Pass (nice campsite in Cameron Basin below the pass) and then Grand Pass and Grand Valley, then back to Deer Park via the ridge east of Obstruction Point. About 50 miles total and not very crowded at all, with spectacular scenery. I did it in late August and there were no bugs to speak of.
  5. Thanks for those suggestions. I meant that I'm looking for a true loop hike that starts and ends at the same, or a nearby, trailhead.
  6. Some great suggestions in here. I'm a bit confused by your request -- are you looking for a loop (hike that starts and ends at the same trailhead) or a thru/point-to-point hike where you start at one trailhead and end up at another (requiring a shuttle/two cars/other arrangements to get back to starting point)? For loops, I would suggest looking at options in Olympic National Park and maybe North Cascades National Park, both require permits so go check out the websites and figure out your itinerary. You could also do point-to-point hikes there as well, with hiking on the Olympic Coast being an option if you wanted to do another coastal trip. Both are great. The Loowit Trail around Mt. St. Helens is fantastic, but is probably only a 3-4 day trip at most (around 30 miles, but with no camping in a 12-mile section which throws off equal-mileage days a bit).
  7. I would not categorize the Mt Hood TT as a high insect problem area. I have been up there during all seasons without any concerns. Of course there is probably a window of problem time in some areas but there really aren't any areas with standing water to breed mosquitos. The way the snow is pilling up now in the Cascades I would bet that August will be the perfect time to go, however, August is also a popular time. But crowds are not a huge issue since the 40 mile trail does stretch out well so you can choose to camp with others or find solitude. Bugs are definitely a problems in the Sisters and Goat Rocks area, but I would not include the Timberline Trail in that category.
  8. That's a great recommendation, thanks! I noticed someone say online to bring plenty of insect repellent. How bad do you think it would be in late August?
  9. I would highly recommend the Timberline Trail around Mt Hood. One of the best loops in America with all aspects of the Pacific Cascades. I do the Timberline Trail every year. Here are my last two TT treks:
  10. I had planned a 4 night trek from the Boucher Trail to Angel Bright and Phantom Ranch. I added another backpacker I had met recently assuming he would not have a problem with my trek. However, my partner was not able to make the miles needed to keep to our National Park Backcountry Permit, so the trek was reduced to 3 nights on the Boucher Trail. All in All it was still a great trek with probably the best views of the Canyon, however, not accomplishing my trip goal has not happened to me since my first stab at a PCT Segment. Here is my blog post of the Grand Canyon Trek:
  11. On the Offtrail in the Wind River Range

    Tough country that makes an impression on people. Notorious for bad weather and insects, it can be hard to navigate. Keep your wits about you in the Winds.
  12. For me personally, I try to shave weight wherever I can so I can afford to have items that may otherwise be heavier than I'd like. For example, I went from a Gregory Baltoro backpack to a Zpacks Arc Blast. That significant weight savings meant bringing a camp chair wasn't too bad.
  13. Advice on Parka Size

    That was a mistake I made. I bought a Helium II rain jacket, and while it was fantastic it didn't fit over my down jacket. That was fine until I went on a trip where the snow was a bit wetter and the down started getting damp. Exchanged it for a size up (thank you REI return policy!)
  14. 2019 REI Dividend Release

    Mine was $0.60. No, really. I got my account in December, and most of the things I bought were either returned (thank you REI for your EXTREMELY liberal return policy!) or were on sale. My wife's was a bit better at about $75 on the account she had for most of the year. Still sucks how little it is considering how much money we spent, including a Yakima Skyrise tent, but again... always stuff on sale. That said, we put it to good use. We bought a Garmin Inreach Mini. Those things are worth every penny but also very painful to fork over the money initially. Using the dividend took away SOME of the sting, at least.
  15. Backpacking While Keto

    Nice! A dehydrator is definitely something we need to get. There is another type of jerky called biltong that is cured using vinegar instead of the sugary rubs most jersey is cured with. I like both, but biltong is definitely better for diabetics (and therefore folks on Keto as well). Probably not AS good as regular jerky but it fills the need for fat and protein with much less carbs. Most retail jerky is inedible for us because of the sugar.
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  17. Backpacking While Keto

    I bought a dehydrator. I am on a third batch of pork loin jerky. It is good and only $3 a pound from CostCo. I seem to be making very hard style jerky so each batch I go smaller with the size so it is easier to munch. One of their big pork loin makes about two quart bags of jerky BTW. I dry rub, dehydrate then after it is dried I paint on a wet sauce and dry again. Something like a steak sauce, Tobasco or an oyster sauce seem to work well. I am now looking to make my sauces as well since I'm eating fairly Paleo these days.
  18. 2019 REI Dividend Release

    Mine was small. $20 So I bought some paleo breakfast meals for the kids. They liked it so I'm going to try to recreate them from scratch.
  19. Georgia Springer Mt to Neels Gap?

    I've hiked this. Yes, about 32 miles, but...there is no road exactly at the trail's terminus on the Springer summit, so you have to add or subtract a little depending how you do it. You also have a choice at the Neels end. You definitely want a shuttle or other arranged ride. When are you thinking of doing this? At the Springer end, you can get to Springer (or from Springer back to a car) via the AT approach trail from Amicalola Falls, which is an additional 8-9 miles, but the falls are spectacular and might make taking the approach trail the preferred route. Or, there is a road crossing about a mile north of Springer, you can begin/end there and miss Springer itself, or else you'll have to double-back a mile. So, your choices there are: add the 8-9 mile AT approach trail start/end at the road crossing north of Springer and miss Springer start/end at the road crossing north of Springer and include Springer, which adds about a 2-mile loop On the Neels end, as noted above you can't leave your car at Neels Gap but at the parking lot for the Byron Reece trail, which is a short spur that connects the parking lot to the AT. From Walasi-Yi (the old Indian name for Neels Gap) to the Byron Reece parking is about 0.6 on the road, and I have hiked along the road but don't recommend it, there's no place to be truly safe and out of the way of cars coming by. By trail it is 1.6 miles between Byron Reece parking and Neels, but safer to hike. So, your choices there are: start/end at the Byron Reece parking, take the Byron Reece trail to connect to the AT (not hike to Neels Gap) start/end at the Byron Reece parking, take the Byron Reece trail to connect to the AT, double-back hike the segment to/from Neels Gap start/end at Neels Gap (but no parking), not utilize the Byron Reece trail You could do it either direction but I might recommend SOBO if you are going to end at Amicalola Falls. From Springer to Amicalola is virtually all downhill, or from the other direction it is virtually all uphill. And, a part of that is where you leave your car and if you want to do the shuttle on the front end or back end. Personally I would want the shuttle at the front end, so that when I'm done I get right in my car and go, no waiting and no trying to coordinate from the trail. As for where to leave your car, Amicalola probably is the safest, followed by the road crossing north of Springer, and last by the Byron Reece parking. I'm not saying Byron Reece is unsafe, but it is right off a paved road and yet is secluded, whereas the crossing north of Springer requires many miles of dirt/gravel forest road to access, and Amicalola is a state park so presumably gated and staffed at night. Also note that the Byron Reece parking can fill up on weekends from roughly 10a-4p because Blood Mountain is a popular day hike. So if you were wanting to leave your car there plan to do so outside of those times. If you start/end at Amicalola and are leaving your car there, you probably would be directed to park at the top of the falls. If you are ending there and leaving your car, you may ask if you can leave it near the bottom so that you can see the falls by coming down once at the end, not by walking past your car,coming down the falls and then facing a climb back up 750' or so at the very end of your hike. If you are not going to utilize the approach trail between Amicalola and Springer then direction is a coin toss to me. There's more up and down in the southern portion than Your shuttle driver can give you better advice about what most people do for your route. There is a list of shuttle services on the forum. As for other sections, while I also like some other great AT sections in GA and into NC that Angelfire points out, you get Blood Mountain on the segment you are asking about (the highest point on the AT in GA and arguably the best view on the GA , or at least top-2), and Amicalola is a nice add-on.
  20. There are a ton of routes in the Sierra that would work for this. And if you stay off the John Muir Trail you won't see many people or bears. Emigrant Wilderness, Yosemite, SEKI, or the Ansel Adam Wilderness...pretty great hiking there. We have lots of routes and trip reports on our website;
  21. Question for you all: any suggestions for a 4-5 day loop thru hike in August somewear in the US? Currently thinking about doing the Maroon Bells Capitol Creek Circuit near Aspen. Looking for something moderately difficult, amazing scenery, not overwhelmed with people and not requiring a ton of outdoor experience. For a little more background: I’ve done two short thru hikes: 5 days on AT and the 3 day Lost Coast Trail. I plan to do at least one short thru hike every year. Not comfortable in heavy bear areas and my cousin who is joining prefers a lower level of mosquitos. We did the LCT last year and had a blast. Want to keep doing more so we can keep learning and experiencing some amazing trails.
  22. One of the more recent meals from Backpacker’s Pantry, their Sweet and Sour Rice and Chicken backpacking meal brings this classic Asian dish to the trail in a 2 serving entree that’s ready in 15-20 minutes (depending on altitude) after adding 2 cups of boiling water. Included in the meal is an organic olive oil packet, to be added to the meal prior to adding hot water. All combined you’ll be getting a dinner that offers up 680 calories along with 38 grams of protein in this meal based on rice, freeze-dried chicken, pineapple, and green and red bell peppers along with other base ingredients and spices. After adding the needed water and after a little waiting, the meal rehydrates well and without any unintended crunch when given sufficient rehydration time. The chicken component here is not at the forefront, but is noticeable enough, and overall the meal is fairly sweet – more on the sweet side than the sour side when it comes to my palate. Standing out especially however are the pineapple chunks, which taste almost as if you sliced them off a pineapple you packed along and added them to the bag right before making the meal. I thought the meal needed just a little something however – and that was quickly solved by adding some heat with a dash of spice from my backpacking spice kit. The overall consistency once prepared is a bit on the soupy side, but it works and the red and green bell peppers do add some crunch. Before rehydration One thing I really like about meals from Backpacker’s Pantry are the rounded edges of the package itself, which do not puncture the odor resistant bags I usually pack along for use inside an Ursack. With other meals that have sharp edges, I have to trim these prior to a trip to prevent punctures. And, while it probably won’t add much to a trip – Backpacker’s Pantry might just win when it comes to the freeze dried meal package artwork department as well. Overall this is a nice meal to add to one's repertoire of backpacking meals and it’s nice that this meal is at the higher end of the caloric scale, at least for pre-made backpacking meals. While more legitimately appropriate for one person after a day of hiking, the meal could serve as a base for two especially if at least one in the group does not have the largest of appetites. One other thing to note is that if you find a Backpacker’s Pantry meal you like, you may want to stock up as from year to year many of their meals are discontinued, changed, or replaced – it’s a bit like baselayers from Patagonia that are never the same from year to year. As an example, the meal reviewed here has replaced one of my past all-time favorite meals in their lineup – their Hawaiian Chicken with Rice, and Sweet and Sour Rice and Chicken has apparently replaced their previous Sweet and Sour Chicken. Other meals like their Pad See You with Chicken, which made our list of top 10 backpacking meals has recently been discontinued, so I suppose the moral of the story is to stock up while you can. The new pouches from Backpacker's Pantry come with a 10 year suggested shelf life from the date of manufacture. The Backpacker’s Pantry Sweet and Sour Rice and Chicken meal retails for about $11. You can find it here at REI.
  23. 2019 REI Dividend Release

    not getting a huge amount ($53.09) but going to use it for a katadyn gravity befree 3L filter. I have used a steripen for the past six years, but always been concerned about the danger of slopping over untreated water when pouring it into the 1L bottle that I use for sterilizing via the pen. At 6.8oz this will add about 4oz to my pack, as the steripen is 2.7oz. Worth it to me for the higher safety factor. Been thinking of this purchase for a year or so, and as I always considered it a "wish list" item rather than a "have to have" its perfect for using the dividend!
  24. Advice on Parka Size

    Personally if I’m in between sizes on something I’ll usually size up, more comfortable if anything else! The extra room can be nice when wearing the jacket at night in a sleeping bag as well. I don’t usually layer much under my down jacket, just baselayer type items. I do like to layer a rain jacket over the down jacket from time to time though for extra warmth, so I always try to make sure my rain gear is sized large enough to not compress the down.
  25. 2019 REI Dividend Release

    Yeah, Iooks like the dividends have been calculated / applied but the rest of the page wording just hasn't been updated quite yet.
  26. 2019 REI Dividend Release

    hmm, There is a warning on the page. But I have no idea how much I spent this past year. I know it was a bunch at garage sales. But that $$ does not count toward the dividend.
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