Issue 46 has been released! Download your own high definition copy with a TrailGroove Premium Subscription and Membership or read online here.



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  1. Yesterday
  2. Tephanie H.

    opening our parks

    Yes, it's good to know how many people visit our parks. Thanks for the insight. We recently opened Franklin Mountain State Park and each day they have sold out of entries. That's a great sign! It shows that many people are opting for outdoors.
  3. Within the Last week
  4. Haden

    Adirondack Hiking

    Hey! I'm trying to find some backpacking in the Adirondacks, but I'm not 100% on the area. I'm looking for a +/- 50 mile point to point or loop (prefer the loop but I know they are hard to find). I am a somewhat experienced hiker and can do bigger climbs and would prefer a hard trail. Any suggestions? Thanks!!
  5. jay

    Discouraging Bears

    I am in agreement with alcap; I would simply use the big canister of bear spray for anything smaller that it might be necessary for. I saw a video a few years back where a jogger used bear spray on a mountain lion and it worked perfectly. I wouldn't think that anything else would have a higher resistance to it.
  6. While standard freeze-dried meal fare will often find us eating rice or pasta based meals in the backcountry, it’s nice to mix things up every now and then. With the Mountain House Spicy Southwest Skillet Meal we can throw something that’s quite different into our food bag, while also adding an option that’s equally at home for dinner or breakfast in a pinch. The Mountain House Spicy Southwest Skillet Meal comes in a 2 serving package, but at just 490 calories total I would consider this a single serving option that is best used as just a (main) component to a larger backcountry meal. The meal is based on potatoes (shredded), combined with shredded beef, black beans, green chiles, and corn to name some highlights. After adding 1.5 cups of boiling water, everything is ready to eat in 9 minutes. The meal is also gluten free, and offers some respite from the rice that dominates gluten free backpacking options, if you’ll be focusing on such a dietary approach. The meal also comes in the new packaging style from Mountain House, which features rounded corners which won’t puncture anything in your food bag, an OPSak, etc., without having to trim corners and which features a shallower design that’s easier to eat from. Before rehydration A bit of a fresh take on the previous Breakfast Hash offering from Mountain House, which I always ate for dinner on trips, I found this meal to be less dominated by the chunky beef of the former meal, and as could be expected from the name, the meal is quite spicy. Hot sauce is already built in, along with green chiles (which I really wish were more detectable texture wise), plus black pepper. As someone that packs various spices into the backcountry, this was not an issue for me…in fact if you like spicy meals this meal is one that won’t require any further doctoring. However, the spice level may be too high for many palates. Regardless, the meal tastes great; although from the beef I believe, there’s a slight funky, earthy, upfront hit to the senses but it’s tolerable and seems to dissipate with subsequent bites and as you chew. Overall I found this to be a great mix-it-up freeze dried option for backpackers who appreciate a healthy level of spice in a dish, and especially if you’re looking for something a little different. More green chiles offset with less hot sauce would be a plus for me, along with larger chunks of beef vs. the shredded beef now found in the meal. For more mass appeal, perhaps a separate hot sauce packet included in the meal would make things easier to dial in for all eaters. However, the meal is called a spicy southwest skillet after all, so we are definitely getting what we paid for here. The Mountain House Spicy Southwest Skillet Meal retails for around $10. You can find it here at REI and here at Amazon. As always, REI offers 10% off backpacking food when you purchase 8 or more items with their backpacking food discount.
  7. Earlier
  8. jay

    opening our parks

    I am surprised that there are so many visitors to the parks. It is good to see that there are so many, and hopefully it will educate some of them to be a bit more supportive of conservation efforts.
  9. alcap

    Discouraging Bears

    Is there a reason you can't use bear spray on two legged predators?
  10. balzaccom

    opening our parks

    Of course you are right. But it is interesting to note how many people visit our parks...
  11. jay

    opening our parks

    I think it might have more to do with revenue, personally. Lots of money is generated by sporting events, for the area as well as the teams. I think you and I have in common that we would rather escape to the boonies rather than sit and watch a football game; I would much prefer that the parks be open, as well. I might be being cynical with this statement but I am not sure how many regular folks are even aware that the parks are closed at this time. I am hoping that things open up soon. Backpacking is much cheaper than therapy.
  12. balzaccom

    opening our parks

    There is a huge effort being put into opening up professional sports during the Covid19 crisis. Many of the arguments in favor of opening up the games center around the many employees of the stadiums, and how they depend on revenue from the games. So. I did a little research. About 17 million fans attend NFL games each year. Another 22 million attend NBA games. And Major League Baseball attracts nearly 70 million fans to the stadiums each year. Wow, you must be thinking. That’s a lot. Do you know many people visit our national parks each year? Over 300 million—about three times the number that attend NFL, MLB and NBA games combined each year. Another 800 million visit the various state parks throughout the country. Between state and national parks, ten times as many people visit those as attend all professional sports games in the USA. Of course, our president doesn’t watch our national parks on television, so that must explain why our parks don’t get as much attention…sigh.
  13. Tephanie H.

    Hi ! From Texas~

    Unfortunately, I have not been to Big Bend but I'd like to go in the future. Thanks for the recommendation!
  14. alcap

    Hi ! From Texas~

    I'm from East Texas and I've only been out to Guadalupe Mountains once. It is beautiful for sure and it is definetly a hiker's park. If I remember correctly there is a state hwy that kinda travels around the east side of the park and that's it. No vehicle access to the park past the campgrounds. That's a good thing, but be prepared for it. I'd like to get back there. We went in February and woke up the first morning to a couple inches of snow and 14 degrees. Pretty sure we had the whole park to ourselves! Have you been to Big Bend? Love that park and have been numerous times. Check it out.
  15. Aaron

    Issue 46 Released

    Issue 46 of TrailGroove Magazine is now available! Click the preceding link or the cover below to take a look: In This Issue: Jargon: Stack Height Trail News Trail Tip: Peak Wildflowers Backpacking in the Three Sisters Wilderness Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness Altra Lone Peak 4 RSM Review Gear Mash The Ultralight Food Bag Breaking into the Backcountry Book Review Hiking the Desert Trail 130 pages dedicated to backpacking and hiking. Special thanks to all of our readers and contributors for your support and contributions towards the latest issue! If it's your first time viewing the magazine, we suggest starting on Page 1 for viewing tips and tricks. Prefer a different format or want to view the magazine offline? A PDF is also available individually or included with a Premium Membership. Your input is highly appreciated. Let us know what you thought about Issue 46 here on the TrailGroove Forum, or contact us anytime. Thanks for reading and keep an eye out for Issue 47, due out early this summer.
  16. Aaron

    Issue 46

    Note: This download is included at no extra cost with a Premium TrailGroove Membership - Details Here. Issue 46: (130 Pages) Table of Contents: Jargon: Stack Height Trail News Trail Tip: Wildflower Planning Three Sisters Wilderness Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness Altra Lone Peak 4 RSM Review Gear Mash The Ultralight Food Bag Breaking into the Backcountry The Desert Trail

    $5.00

  17. Aaron

    Issue 46 Wallpaper

    Note: This download is included at no extra cost with a Premium TrailGroove Membership - Details Here. Full HD Desktop Wallpaper / Background for TrailGroove Issue 46.

    $1.50

  18. Aaron

    Issue 46

    Read Online Download PDF Contents: Jargon: Stack Height Trail News Trail Tip: Wildflower Planning Three Sisters Wilderness Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness Altra Lone Peak 4 RSM Review Gear Mash The Ultralight Food Bag Breaking into the Backcountry The Desert Trail PDF Version Read Online Download PDF In This Issue: Three Sisters Wenaha-Tucannon The Desert Trail Altra Lone Peak RSM Media Ultralight Food Wildflower Planning Jargon: Stack Height
  19. Pinkwildflower

    Only on a Trail: How I Fell for Hiking

    Very nice blog. I’ve hiked Tory Pines, beautiful place. I moved to EP from CA about 6 months ago and I’ve been exploring hiking areas here too. You are right about it taking maintenance work. I’ve done Aztec cave and am working towards doing Guadalupe peak when it opens. As far as diversity, I’m not a minority but I am over 60. Anyone can hike and if more tried I believe they would fall in love as well. I much prefer nature to a sweaty gym.
  20. Tephanie H.

    Only on a Trail: How I Fell for Hiking

    I'm so elated to have my very first hiking blog posted on Trail Groove! Thanks so much Aaron!!
  21. Tephanie H.

    Jargon: What is Mud Season?

    I never heard of the term "mud-season". In the Southwest (El Paso, Texas) it doesn't snow enough to have a mud season. We go from two months of wind, to a nice two weeks of Spring to STRAIGHT UP HOT at 100 Degree Temps! But it's a dry heat.
  22. PaulGS

    Jargon: What is Mud Season?

    It's definitely 'mud season' for the most part in Alberta right now. Our provincial parks just reopened but all our national parks still remain closed.
  23. PaulGS

    Discouraging Bears

    I imagine it would work but your aim would need to be good as it doesn't disperse into a wide cloud like bear spray.
  24. Tephanie H.

    Hi ! From Texas~

    Yes, my profile photo is set-up. Thank you for enabling it and for the warm welcome! It's also good to know about the Guadalupe articles so I can read up on what to expect when I hike it.
  25. Tephanie H.

    Only on a Trail: How I Fell for Hiking

    I must admit I started a like affair with hiking around 1993. I did not know I was hiking since I was mandated to do it, along with some fellow Army comrades, while stationed in South Korea. When your company commander says to take that hill, you take it, or as I would like to say, “hike it.” I do not remember the specific area where we hiked, but I know I was surrounded by lots of trees, large leaves, and some trickling of water. I remember almost falling into the water, and guess what, I can’t swim, so that would not have been a good end to my hiking journey. I also recall being captivated by the smell and sound of nature; it was delightful. Fast forward 20 years, and remember: I said I started a like affair with hiking. Well, I met this guy through an online dating app as I was feeling out the dating scene after my divorce. He reintroduced me to hiking. I did not fall in love with him, he was cute, but I fell in love with hiking. We hiked the Aztec Cave in the Franklin Mountains. It was only .7 miles, a moderate hike. I must admit it was not moderate for me; it was challenging because I was not in my best shape. But when I reached the top of the mountain over the entrance to the cave, and I saw the view of the rest of the mountain, it was absolutely stunning. I was in love with hiking! Hiking in Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve But you know, love takes work, you just can’t fall in love and be content. You have to work on it. It’s like being married. After the honeymoon, that’s when you realize it’s not all kisses and cuddling. You must work at it. So, I worked on my passion for hiking by hiking more. I took my first getaway hiking and trip with Fort Bliss Morale, Welfare, and Recreation – an organization that provides recreational programs for military families – around 2015. I was so excited to visit the place I’d seen on nearly every computer screen saver. Do you know what that place is? It’s Antelope Canyon. It’s literally a screen saver for most computer screens, or at least back then it was. Antelope Canyon is in Page, Arizona, owned by the Navajo Tribe. We got there early and waited a bit before our tour guide came, but it was worth the wait. Made of sandstone, the bright orange canyons are carved by many years of wind and water erosion. Side note, orange is my favorite color, but that’s not why I love the canyons so much, but it might be. I remember nervously descending into the canyon, but that faded when I saw the sun so brightly reflecting the orange sand. I was absolutely mesmerized. The Slot Canyon tour was fascinating. The tour guide was outstanding; he told us all the spots to take the best photos and shared some history of the tribe as well. Hiking always takes me to another level. It brings out the sunshine in me. It makes me feel like a ray of hope, and joy is radiating through me. It’s so uplifting when you make it to the top, or the bottom like in Antelope Canyon. It may sound cheesy, but when I hike, I feel like I have a “pocketful of sunshine.” You know, like the song by Natasha Bedingfield. Since that hike, I’ve hiked numerous places like the Tom Mays Unit in El Paso, Texas, the Willow Springs in Las Vegas, Nevada, and I hiked at Joshua Tree National Park just to name a few. But what I noticed with all the hikes is, I was usually the only one that looked like me, an African American female. According to the 2018 Outdoor Participation Survey, there continues to be a gap between the diversity of outdoor participants and the diversity of the U.S. population. The survey also found that all non-Caucasian ethnic groups reported going on far fewer outings in 2018. However, I thought that since Outdoor Afro, a national organization that encourages hiking amongst minorities, was introduced, I’d see more people like me out hiking. I really noticed it when I visited my son in San Diego for Christmas in 2018. I went to Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve to hike. My son didn’t come because he had to work, so I went alone. There were a lot of people hiking there that day, but nobody looked like me. I must admit I was somewhat fearful because the world can be a dangerous place for a single woman, let alone an African American single woman, but I proceeded anyway. If you know me and I know you all don’t, I can strike up a conversation with nearly anyone. So, I saw a couple, and I said hello and introduced myself, and we began talking. I asked if they cared if I tagged along since I was by myself, and they said, “yes,” I could. We had a great conversation, and I found out they were not an actual couple, but they were just a couple of friends who grew up together and came back to San Diego to visit. I was glad to have the company and on our hike together that day, the sights and the sounds in the park were truly dazzling. The smell of the ocean was breathtaking, and listening to the shorebirds was music to my ears. It was a gorgeous hike surrounded by the rarest pine tree – Pinus torreyana, or Torrey pine, that only grows in San Diego and off the coast near Santa Barbara. The park preserves not only the trees but also one of the last vast salt marshes and waterfowl refuges in Southern California. I must admit it was tough, but a fun hike and the views of the ocean were awe-inspiring. With the recent COVID-19 preventative measures that are in place, I can’t really hike like I want to right now. But my love is still very strong for hiking. While there are challenges we all face in life, I won’t let race get in the way of my passion for the trail. I hope that minorities, others that look like me, or those that don’t look like me but haven’t yet tried hiking due to any roadblock they feel they might be facing, can head to the trail and fall in love with hiking too. That way, they too can smell the scent of the ocean, hike through the canyons, see the vast views from the mountaintops, and hopefully, find friendship on a common trail. Hike on!
  26. Aaron

    Hi ! From Texas~

    Welcome to the forum Tephanie! Wind can be a factor here in Wyoming as well. Looks like you might have the profile photo all set, or perhaps you're looking at the profile background photo which can be set (if desired) by clicking your name in the upper right --> profile --> Cover Photo --> Upload Photo. Have a good hike on Guadalupe, we've had a couple past articles on the area as well.
  27. A new dinner from Mountain House, their Mexican Style Adobo Rice and Chicken Meal brings backpackers, hikers, or considering the current situation we've been facing here in the spring of 2020 just about anyone a decent Mexican themed meal that's also compatible with gluten free diets. And while normally we don't dive too much into packaging here at TrailGroove, in this case it deserves mention with a redesign that not only includes an artwork update but important updates to functionality as well for 2020. The Mountain House Mexican Style Adobo Rice and Chicken Meal offers 2 servings and 570 calories total, in a meal that is dominated by rice, beans, and chicken with accompanying vegetables in an Adobo style sauce. While personally I must admit that I'm not an Adobo sauce expert, what I can tell you is that the meal very much reminds me of the rice side dishes you’ll get at an authentic Mexican restaurant – each place has their own unique recipe – with, in the case of this meal some pinto beans thrown in (reminding one of refried beans and rice), plus chicken. As such, I think of this meal as a good Mexican rice and beans combination plate. Before rehydration What really sets this meal apart is the vegetables Mountain House has thrown in here: specifically tomatoes, zucchini, and cauliflower – all things that we don’t normally get on a backpacking trip. The tomatoes deserve special mention. After rehydrating the meal (1.5 cups of boiling water and 9 minutes) you could have told me the tomatoes in the meal were fresh. I just wish there were more. Overall the meal rehydrated well with only a couple of the pinto beans somehow escaping the water added to the meal and still having a dry consistency. The overall taste of the meal is good: I wish there were more vegetables and chicken to really make it more of a “meal” however. As the meal stands out of the bag, it comes across as more of a side type dish to me. However, by adding cheese and some tortillas, this is easily solved while adding a very nice calorie boost as well. Spice level here should be manageable by just about everyone. When I purchased this meal I thought the new artwork on the package was just that, but with their newer meals Mountain House has thankfully eliminated the sharp corners of their pouches; they are now nicely rounded. No longer will I have to trim the corners of every meal (from Mountain House) I take on a trip so that they don’t puncture the OPSak that I keep my food in. Additionally, the pouches are shallower, so our spoon or utensil (and fingers) will stay all that much cleaner, and the packaging also has a split corner on the bottom that seems to add some stability. The improvements are quite welcome. The Mountain House Mexican Style Adobo Rice and Chicken Meal retails for around $10 and can be found here at REI. You can also get it (plus a few more meals) all at 10% off using REI’s bulk backpacking food discount. You can also find the meal (when in stock) here at Amazon.com.
  28. Tephanie H.

    Hi ! From Texas~

    Hi, I am Tephanie. I reside in El Paso. Texas. Home of the Franklin Mountains with the nickname the Sun City. It's quite sunny most of the time but it also gets crazy windy but no one really speaks of that. My bucket list hike is the Guadalupe Peak. I haven't hiked that far yet but hope to in the near future. Anyways, I'm happy to be part of the group. Oh yeah, I want to add a photo to my profile but I don't see how. If anyone can share that, I'd appreciate it. Best, Tephanie
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