Issue 42 has been released! Download your own high definition PDF copy with a Premium Membership or read online here.

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  1. Past hour
  2. Yep--the trailheads may not all be open yet, but it is time to get out and clean up some of those trails. This was a day trip from the Tanglefoot Trailhead above Bear Creek Reservoir into the Mokelumne Wilderness, one of the least traveled parts of the Sierra, especially the Grand Canyon of the Mokelumne. Our group repaired trail signs, fixed some of the drainage in the wet parts of the trails, lopped back brush, cut through about ten or twelve logs across the trail, and cleared debris from the first 3-4 miles of the trail. And the snow plants were out in force... And we had fun. As is usual in this neck of the woods, we saw a total of TWO groups of hikers during the whole day, and both of them had visited the relatively accessible Shriners Lake. We saw nobody other than our own hard-working selves once we passed that junction. So we hiked about seven miles, did trail work from 9-4, and went home happy and just a bit tired. All in a day's trail work. The rest of the photos are here:
  3. Yesterday
  4. balzaccom

    Car camping the Four Corners

    Last year we had spent about three weeks traveling around Utah and Colorado, and we enjoyed it so much we spent another three weeks there this year, and added in some time in New Mexico and Arizona as well. The itinerary took us South to Barstow, then East to Valley of Fire and Snow Canyon State Parks, then a few days at Zion to hike what we had missed last year. Then Page, Lees Ferry, and Second Mesa, followed by a few days in Chaco Canyon. That was amazing. Then back to Mesa Verde and Hovenweep to see what we had missed last time, and a visit to Canyons of the Ancients and the Needles District of Canyonlands, since last year we only saw the Islands in the Sky section. And to wrap it up, we went back through Blanding and Edge of the Cedars, Natural Bridges to hike the canyon, Torrey, and then a great day and a half at Fremont Indian State Park. It was a great trip. we managed about a hundred miles of hiking, despite my wife's aching heel, and all but two nights were spent sleeping in Le Vin Blanc, our Ford E-350. Saw more petroglyphs and pictographs than we could count---and far more than we had seen last time. And the ruins at Chaco Canyon, Mesa Verde, Aztec, and Hovenweep were absolutely stunning. But there were also some less famous places that knocked us out. Coal Mine Canyon in Arizona. Fremont Indian State Park. Valley of Fire. Lost City Museum in Overton NV. Who knew? So yeah, we saw almost everything on our list. But now we have a new list of cool things that we missed this time. Next year... photos and more details trip logs are on our website. Here's the link to part one:
  5. Within the Last week
  6. John B

    Newbie hiker

  7. Andrew1281

    Newbie hiker

    Hey Everyone. I'm Andrew I'm hoping to gain experience from on the boards. I'm very new to hiking and backpacking. I'm from Philadelphia and I'm trying to get back into hiking. I did some small group hikes years ago. I'd like to get back into in and maybe do a multi day backpacking trip. I'd like to meet some people and get suggestion on easier hikes i could try.
  8. Earlier
  9. DanDan


    Thanks, will do.
  10. Aaron


    Welcome, sounds like the gear is coming together well...let us know how the trips go!
  11. DanDan


    Hello from South West Florida. I am new to backpacking. I am planning to do some section hikes on the FT this coming winter. I am excited to start out at the Big Cypress National Preserve come January. I was a Forest Ranger in that area, several years, when I started my Fire service career. Now that I am retired I have time to do this. I have been learning all I can from those with lots of trail experience. I have slowly been purchasing all my gear, after extensively reading ratings and reviews. Some of my gear choices: Osprey Rook 65, Six Moons Designs Lunar Solo, Therma-rest Neo Air, Jetboil Minimo, Bearvault 500, Sawyer Squeeze, Black Diamond Carbon Trek poles, Snow peak 300 double wall titanium mug. With Food, two 1 liter bottles of water and other provisions my fully loaded pack is 24 lbs. Im 6 ft 200 lbs. I'm stoked but its too hot and rainy season has started. Perhaps I will need to travel.
  12. Woods Dweller

    Day hikes - VT, NH, ME

    We will be in the White Mountains for 2 days, Acadia for 3 days and Green Mountains for 2 days. What are the best Day Hikes??
  13. As far as hiking gear goes, trekking poles are one of the most utilitarian and least flashy pieces of gear out there. Whereas sleeping bags, tents, backpacks, down jackets, and rain shells all seem to have copious amounts of energy and ink expended in marketing campaigns to promote them, trekking poles seem to have a much lower profile. There’s just something about these simple pieces of gear that doesn’t really inspire the enthusiasm and consumer-fever that gets people worked up about discussing fill power, hydrostatic head, Dyneema Composite Fabric construction, and the Holy Grail of true waterproof-breathability. Perhaps it is because trekking poles are relatively simple items and a quick substitute for them – a stick lying on the ground in the forest – has existed since humans began walking upright and found themselves needing a temporary extra appendage to add balance in certain situations. Whereas sleeping bags, down jackets, and rain jackets are more cutting-edge and, given the amazing benefits they provide, lead themselves to greater fandom than mere trekking poles. Add in the fact that most of the aforementioned pieces of gear are non-negotiable and absolutely necessary for most three-season backpacking trips, while trekking poles can easily be left behind without ruining a trip (try forgetting a sleeping bag and still having a good trip), and it is no wonder that trekking poles usually fade into the background in discussions and magazine articles about gear. Regardless of their lack of hype when compared to other items on the outdoor gear market, trekking poles provide significant benefits to hikers, especially those carrying the weight in food and gear needed for multi-day backpacking trips. Benefits range from stability on uneven terrain, reduced strain on knees, balance when crossing streams or when on snow, to somewhat less tangible ones like their ability to help hikers get in a better rhythm when moving on easier terrain to really crank out the miles (although this certainly varies from hiker to hiker, as some simply stow the trekking poles when the terrain mellows out). For backpackers using tarp shelters and certain models of tents, trekking poles serve as the support for the shelter and allow it to be pitched without needing separate poles that only serve one purpose. Granted, trekking poles aren’t something used by all backpackers or even all avid and experienced backpackers. One hiker I know, who has logged over 30,000 miles during four decades backpacking, doesn’t use trekking poles. Another avid backpacker who has explored the rugged terrain of Montana for over 50 years only uses them when snowshoeing. Some complain about the added piece of gear, that they can get in the way, the straps get tangled up in their hands, and so on and so forth. Others, including this author, couldn’t imagine a backpacking trip without using trekking poles and proselytize to novice hikers about their benefits at every opportunity. To quote the Red River Gorge guidebook author Jerrell Goodpaster, in regard to trekking poles “some swear by them, others swear at them.” Like all pieces of gear, not all trekking poles are created equal. Different locking mechanisms (the twist locks of the LT5s compared to the lever locks of REI's Flash Carbon Poles), handle materials (cork vs. rubberized vs. foam), collapsibility (three-section, Black Diamond’s z-poles method, etc.) all have certain benefits and drawbacks. Some of this boils down to personal preference, and some to the conditions where you plan to use the poles. For general three-season on-trail and easy cross-country hiking, models such as the Gossamer Gear LT5s – an update to the previous LT4 trekking pole – are popular for their excellent mix of compactness, minimal weight, comfortable handles, and suitability for most non-mountaineering hikes. The Gossamer Gear poles are not cheap – at $195 for the pair there is a lot of other gear that could be purchased – but their performance is commensurate with the price. The most striking thing about these poles is their minimal weight. At 5.3 ounces each (which includes the strap and mud/snow basket on the bottom; they are a scant 4.6 ounces without these), these poles truly are feather-weight. This low weight made my initial uses of them an exercise in suspension of disbelief, as the ability of such a light pole to fully support my weight with a backpack on rocky terrain and with all my force on one pole was astounding and amusing. It really was almost hard to “trust” these at first, as I was coming from using poles that were more than twice as heavy. After a few hikes and unexpected stumbles in which these poles saved me from a fall, I was totally converted. The low weight is a result of their carbon fiber construction, resulting in their top-tier price. From bicycle wheels to skis, carbon fiber has led to reduced weights without sacrificing performance in multiple categories of outdoor gear. Although carbon fiber can fail catastrophically and with little signs of warning (like the obvious cracks you would see in a steel bicycle frame when compared to a carbon fiber one), this shouldn’t dissuade you from using carbon fiber poles (the high price would be a more legitimate excuse). There is barely perceptible lateral flex on these poles when under extreme duress, and this seems to be the most likely way that these would fail in the field. The types of forces typically exerted on trekking poles, the consequences of failure (unlike a bike, you probably won’t be going 30+ mph if a trekking pole failed), and the improvements in quality and durability over the years mean you should feel secure in choosing and using carbon fiber poles. No warranty against breakage of the carbon fiber tubing is offered however, so if a section does end up breaking, you’ll need to purchase the fix (replacement sections are available) through Gossamer Gear. In addition to the minimal weight, the ability of these poles to be compacted to less than two feet (23.5”) when stowing them is a great feature. When needing to stow them to make both hands available when scrambling in Class 3 terrain or when they weren’t needed on easy terrain, it was great to be able to pack these away in those types of situations. And the added weight to my pack was barely over a half-pound. The max length is 51" when fully extended, so if you plan to use these for a shelter you will want to factor that in as well. Preference for handle material varies from user to user and I found the handles on these poles to be a great material in a variety of conditions. During the few months of testing, I didn’t see any noticeable deterioration in the materials despite exposure to a variety of conditions and lots of sweat. The handle material is preferable over rubberized handles, and these are some of the nicer handles I’ve used with superb handle comfort, one of the most comfortable handles I've ever had on a trekking pole. The strap is functional and not overly burdensome or inconvenient – it simply functions as it should with no remarkable characteristics. The included rubber tips and baskets are helpful for the conditions where they are appropriate and replacements can be easily ordered at a reasonable price from Gossamer Gear when they are worn out or go missing. The tip traction is great on a variety of surfaces and the snowbaskets are easy to add and remove. Perhaps the most important part of a trekking pole is having an absolutely solid locking mechanism to prevent the poles from unexpected slipping when loaded with weight, which often occurs during a slip or when bracing when climbing up or down something, or crossing a creek. While the vast majority of the time the changes in length of the pole as a result of slippage were microscopic over the course of a moderate backpacking trip, there were a few instances where significant slippage occurred. Both were when crossing creeks that were deep enough to cover the twist-locks and when I had to fully weight the poles to gain enough balance to not slip. The slippage didn’t result in injury, but it also did not inspire confidence in a situation where I needed it most. I will accept some role in perhaps not tightening them down as much as I should have after adjusting them prior to the crossings, but overall I think that this more an issue with the twist-lock mechanism and not solely user error. While I've been pleased with poles and they've met my expectations, the price tag on them makes it difficult to unequivocally recommend them. Although I would be surprised if anyone purchased them and found them lacking, there are many other more affordable options out there for hikers just needing a pair of poles and not overly concerned about their weight. Aside from some limited slippage of the locking mechanism, there were no major issues of concern that I encountered when using these poles. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, I'm hopeful that these poles will be with me for as long as my previous pair of poles, which was nearly a decade. The Gossamer Gear LT5 Trekking Poles retail for $195. You can find them at here at Gossamer Gear.
  14. JHaveman

    10 Days road trip from Michigan to Pennsilvanya

    Well, this may be a bit have you gone? Or are you still planning?
  15. JHaveman

    Summer Hiker requiring little break in

    I like anything from Merrell. They just fit my feet and it seems I can wear them right out of the box! I particularly like the All-Out Blaze, but it seems they don't make them anymore. I have since used the Moab FST 2 and those worked well. I am going to use them on my trip to Pictured Rocks and Yosemite.
  16. Aaron

    Issue 42 Released

    Issue 42 of TrailGroove Magazine is now available! Click the preceding link or the cover below to take a look: In This Issue: Jargon: Types of HIkes Trail News Trail Tip: Navigating by Elevation Hiking Oklahoma North Cascades National Park Black Diamond Spot 325 Review Gear Mash Backcountry Cuisine: Pasta with Tuna Thirst Book Review Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness 115 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 42 here on the TrailGroove Forum, or contact us anytime. Thanks for reading and keep an eye out for Issue 43, due out summer 2019.
  17. Aaron

    Issue 42

    Note: This download is included at no extra cost with a Premium TrailGroove Membership - Details Here. Issue 42: (115 Pages) Table of Contents: Jargon: Types of Hikes Trail News Trail Tip: Navigating by Elevation Hiking Oklahoma North Cascades National Park Black Diamond Spot 325 Review Gear Mash Backcountry Pasta with Tuna Media: Thirst Book Review Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness


  18. Aaron

    Issue 42 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 42.


  19. Aaron

    Issue 42

    Read Online Download PDF Contents: Jargon: Types of Hikes Trail News Trail Tip: Navigating by Elevation Hiking Oklahoma North Cascades National Park Black Diamond Spot 325 Review Gear Mash Backcountry Pasta with Tuna Media: Thirst Book Review Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness PDF Version Read Online Download PDF In This Issue: The Beaten Path Oklahoma Hiking North Cascades Spot 325 Review Thirst Book Review Backcountry Pasta Elevation Navigation Types of Hikes
  20. Aaron

    Greetings from StL MO!

    Hi Jake and welcome to TrailGroove! Sounds like you have some great trips in the works, let us know how they go! I've always thought the BRT would make for an interesting trip.
  21. JakeT

    Greetings from StL MO!

    Greetings from St Louis, Missouri! I'm a landscape and night sky photographer and Minnesota native relocated to StL and an assistant manager at a local outdoor shop. The central location is handy for getting to all sorts of trails in any direction. The Ozark Trail is a great Missouri gem. Albeit one that I usually explore during the cooler months. During the summer months I head elsewhere. I'm headed up to Minnesota in a week to hit a few miles of the Border Route Trail in the BWCA. Most of my outings consist of overlanding and basecamping out of my truck and heading out via backpacking or biking from there. In August, myself and a couple other outfitters in the industry are headed out to Rocky Mountain NP for about 30 miles of backcountry backpacking. Excited to see everyone's adventures! Cheers!
  22. Aaron

    Gear Mash 42

    New and interesting gear that caught our eye while putting issue 42 together, from the NeoAir Uberlite to the Scout 2 Dyneema Carbon tent from Big Agnes. Take a look at the link below in Issue 42: Gear Mash 42 Issue 42 Page 1
  23. Aaron

    Hiking in Oklahoma

    Thanks to Rodgers and Hammerstein and the Weather Channel, most folks know Oklahoma as that place in the middle of the U.S. "where the wind comes sweeping down the plains." And the designation is certainly fitting, especially in the spring of the year when it’s time for Oklahomans to hunker down for tornado season. While the plains indeed comprise a large portion of Oklahoma's land mass and contribute significantly to its cultural history, the state is home to more than 10 distinct ecoregions, giving it some of the most diverse terrain in the nation. Hiking opportunities are many and varied because of this, and it's perfectly realistic to hike along a clear mountain stream beneath pines and Caddo maples one day and scramble over worn granite peaks peppered with prickly pear and scrub oak the next. Three of Oklahoma's most popular regions for hiking are the Wichita Mountains in the southwest, the Ouachita Mountains in the southeast, and the Cross Timbers, a region running north and south through the center of the state... @Susan Dragoo details hiking opportunities across the state of Oklahoma in this Issue 42 article. Take a look at the links below: Hiking Oklahoma: Where East Meets West Issue 42 Page 1
  24. The latest upgrade in the popular Spot series of headlamps from Black Diamond, the updated for 2019 Spot 325 packs a lot of useful features into a small and backpacking friendly form factor. With the recent demise of an older headlamp I’ve had in the rotation, I decided to pick up the Spot 325 as a replacement due to its feature set that promised competitive brightness and battery performance on the spec sheet, but more so for its user-friendly features and interface. The Black Diamond Spot 325 is, as named an up-to 325 lumen lightweight headlamp that utilizes 3 AAA batteries (disposables are included) and is compatible with lithium and rechargeable batteries. With an exterior design similar to many headlamps on the market, the Spot 325 features a large main button with a smaller mode selection button on top of the housing. On the front, you’ll find 3 LEDs, comprised of the main LED, along with a proximity / flood LED, and a red LED. The headlamp weighs 3 ounces with batteries and offers IPX8 water resistance... We review the latest in this line of popular headlamps from Black Diamond, find the full review below in Issue 42: Black Diamond Spot 325 Headlamp Review Issue 42 Page 1
  25. After the landscape itself, the memories made with companions, and the wildlife seen, the weather is usually one of the most memorable parts of a backpacking trip. Bluebird skies, sideways rain, scorching heat, unexpected inches of snow – these are often the things which come to mind when reminiscing on trips where weather was either a blessing or a curse. In much of the West, another weather phenomenon also has an outsized influence: smoke. Even if you’re hundreds of miles from an active wildfire, the mindboggling amounts of smoke created by tens of thousands of acres burning can creep into the area you’re backpacking and case an eerie pall over the area and into your lungs. Unlike rain or snow or cold, there’s no clothing or gear that can mitigate the impact of smoke on a trip. The only options are to cancel the trip altogether or adjust your expectations and embrace the unique atmosphere created by the obscured views and filtered lighting. While I’ve been on a handful of trips where smoke has been a noteworthy characteristic, a traverse of the northern part of North Cascades National Park stands far and above as being the only I’ve been on that has been almost completely defined by the presence of smoke... In Issue 42, @Mark details a smoky trip in North Cascades National Park - take a look at the article below: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes Issue 42 Page 1
  26. The drive into the Absaroka-Beartooth Mountains and Wilderness is one of many layers. Like the layers of the range itself, you must first go through the first layer: in this case the grasslands and rolling hills of Interstate 90, then continue chipping your way up the foothills and hope you make the correct turn. Unraveling further, you pass through farmland where finally, you bounce down a dirt road dodging potholes and prairie dogs while beginning to see the landscape change from rolling hills to forested steep canyons and rushing creeks. Finally you reach your destination; a couple trailheads deep in the range and one heck of a view into the canyon where a creek and trail both wind their way through the landscape. If this sounds like a strenuous project just for access to an even more remote trail system, don’t worry. There is another side to the range where you may choose to start from as well. On the north end of Yellowstone National Park, a stone’s throw from Cooke City. Here one of two access points involves a drive up and over Beartooth Pass, sitting at 11,000 feet, which may close randomly depending on the weather. Or the second, a slow wildlife and tourist caused Yellowstone traffic jam. Both serve as an interesting way start a hike in the incredible Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness... @jansenjournals shares this article detailing a trip along the Beaten Path in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness - read the full article below in Issue 42: Wild and Scenic: The Beaten Path of the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Issue 42 Page 1
  27. A successful thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail is, by any means, a notable physical and mental victory. Setting the fastest known time (FKT) record on the PCT is a nearly superhuman feat of athleticism. Writing an engrossing, entertaining, and inspiring book about the experience is not only another accomplishment for Heather “Anish” Anderson, but is also a true gift not only to the hiking community but to readers in general. Written largely in a day-by-day format, Thirst: 2,600 Miles to Home chronicles Anderson’s record-setting hike of the PCT in 2013, which she completed nearly four days quicker than Scott Williamson, the previous record holder. Interspersed between the daily entries noting the miles hiked, challenges overcame, and food consumed are many fascinating anecdotes and background stories that help the reader understand the why of Anderson’s attempt – which I ultimately found to be more interesting than the how... Read this review of the book Thirst: 2600 Miles to Home courtesy of @Mark in our Issue 42 Media section: Thirst: 2600 Miles to Home Review Issue 42 Page 1
  28. Aaron

    Herb Pasta with Tuna Recipe

    This quickly became one of my favorite backpacking meals and has been my traditional first night meal for almost a decade. The fresh vegetables are a treat and the ingredients are fairly lightweight. It uses about the same amount of water as a freeze dried meal and the clean-up is easy, especially since you can use... @Mark shares this favorite backpacking pasta recipe that features a fresh take on the ingredients - take a look in Issue 42: Herb Pasta with Tuna, Spinach and Mushrooms Issue 42 Page 1
  29. The latest backpacking and hiking news from Issue 42: Trail News 42 Issue 42 Page 1
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