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Showing content with the highest reputation since 09/28/2020 in all areas

  1. 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 able to fish it. That trip also resulted in a memory that made an impression on me and that I’ve succ
    4 points
  2. Four days of water is around 28 pounds if you bring a gallon a day. I have done one backpacking trip in Big Bend near the Mules Ears. We went around New Years in early Jan. I went with 3 geologists, so we hiked from spring to spring using topo maps. We were never on a trail. The weather was great, near 70 during the day and freezing at night. Our rule was if we could not find the next spring at the end of a day we would back track to the last known water.
    3 points
  3. Hey Matt, I find that going with an insulated air pad alone at those temperatures can be tough - as I always get cold spots where my body compresses the air pad. For winter camping my total r-value for sleeping pads is over 6 (and I take this below 0), but I get there by taking my normal 3 season sleeping pad and adding in an old Therm-a-Rest RidgeRest Deluxe but you can of course come up with your own foam pad to air pad combo. Used this way, I can inflate my air pad at a comfortable level but still have insulation anywhere I might compress the pad. Also, I have a workable backup if
    2 points
  4. I was muddied, bloodied, and soaked, but I had reached my goal. I was standing on the rim of Wailau Valley. Just beyond my toes, the land dropped away steeply to the valley floor 3,000 feet below. Waterfalls streamed down the cliffs that surrounded this lost world as it swept away before me to the north shore of Moloka’i. It was hard to believe that 50 years ago I had descended this cliff and then hacked my way through five miles of jungle to the ocean. I must have been crazy. I was definitely lucky. That trip across Moloka’i long ago was the most difficult backpacking trip I have e
    2 points
  5. The United States tends to protect its public lands in piecemeal fashion. Congress designates a single landform – a mountain range, coastline, or canyon – as a National Park or Wilderness area, but leaves the surrounding land open to settlement and industry. As a result, an ocean of development – towns, roads, mining claims, and logging operations – surrounds a few islands of protected space. Only a few ecosystems are protected in their entirety. One such ecosystem is the Greater Yellowstone, which encompasses most of northwest Wyoming along with parts of Idaho and Montana. Yellowstone Na
    2 points
  6. Hikers love maps. Maps are more than just navigational aids – they’re permission to let our imaginations run free. Maps inspire childlike wonder. We dream about what’s around the bend. I’ve spent years staring at a map of long-distance hiking trails in the United States. The Arizona Trail runs north-south through its home state, as does the Idaho Centennial Trail. Between the two, there’s a gap where no established trail exists. The gap is not for lack of scenic beauty, however. The state of Utah is chock-full of amazing landscapes: iconic National Parks, little-known subalpine plateaus,
    2 points
  7. When I became intrigued by the trout swimming in mountain lakes in the Northern Rockies, I realized the tenkara rod gathering dust in my gear room would be a great way to test the waters before outfitting myself with a full fly rod and reel set up. Tenkara is a Japanese method of fly fishing that focuses on simplicity and forgoes a reel in favor of a longer rod length, fixed amount of line, and uses as few fly patterns as possible. Presentation, mindful casting, and technique are emphasized more than trying to “equip” your way into catching more fish. I’d used a tenkara rod in Kentu
    1 point
  8. 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 trip during a perfect summer weekend into a well-balanced outing that left the crowds behind.
    1 point
  9. For whatever reason, headlamps have not been an item I’ve paid particular attention to during a decade of backpacking. I’m on my third or fourth headlamp, but whenever I’ve needed to replace one (lost, intermittent failure issues, decided to make it a spare to keep in the car, etc.) I’ve simply purchased whatever was most similar to the previous one. Bells and whistles were never that intriguing to me when it came to headlamps (although one of mine did have a whistle built into the plastic on the headband adjuster), I just wanted something that would provide ample light for around camp and occ
    1 point
  10. Although I did several trips on cross-country skis and snowshoes that involved camping out in the Northern Rockies in below freezing temperatures for multiple nights, the past few years my definition of “winter backpacking” has either included a US Forest Service rental cabin with a wood stove or a plane ticket to southern Arizona. I still find winter to be a beautiful time of year and I enjoy the heightened elements of the season that seem so magical, but I just hadn’t hadn’t been motivated to do a true winter backpacking trip for quite some time. After several blissful day trips cross-countr
    1 point
  11. The forested slopes of southeastern Oklahoma’s ironically named Sans Bois Mountains provide the backdrop for much of the excitement in “True Grit,” a novel by Charles Portis and two major motion pictures (1969 and 2010). You wouldn’t know it though, for the mountain peaks shown in the films suggest places farther west. Indeed, the movies were filmed in Colorado and New Mexico, but pursuing outlaws in post-Civil War Indian Territory, as the main characters are portrayed as doing in “True Grit,” was not just one of Hollywood’s fictional creations. Here in the foothills of the larger O
    1 point
  12. My childhood best friend moved to Akron, Ohio right after she graduated high school to attend the University of Akron. Being from Virginia and having lived there all my life, I had never really heard of the city aside from its connection to Lebron James (but even about this my knowledge was severely limited due to my lack of interest in basketball). That was seven years ago, and I realized recently that I still had yet to visit despite her open invitation. Feeling guilty and quite aware of how long 7 years is, I reached out and we worked it out so I would stay with her over Labor Day weekend.
    1 point
  13. No experience with this particular stove, but all igniters will eventually fail. That said the convenience is high and I won’t buy a stove without one - just carry a backup lighter. The fuel canister brands for these type of stoves are cross compatible but some have better mixtures of fuel than others.
    1 point
  14. I grew up with birdwatcher parents and spent a lot of time outdoors - in my adult life I sort of drifted away for a while from spending time amid nature. Now I'm getting into hiking - so far just shorter hikes in the area (I'm in Ohio) but there is a part of me that thinks it would be amazing to build up to doing a long hiking trip at some point. So, I'm here to learn more and see what experienced hikers have to say. My username is Skink because I love lizards. I'm not really a birdwatcher myself - that is, I don't count species or keep a life list - but I love seeing wildlife, and I love
    1 point
  15. Wow I still remember the time I went fly fishing and caught a 160 pounder. I was fly fishing in upstate New York with my Great Uncle during a family reunion gathering. He and I were on some large rocks in the middle of the river and i was pulling in the line so i could do another cast and right when I thought i had at least another 10 feet of line to reel in I jerked the rod once really hard and OMG What Luck!!! That fish hook did its job and pierced through its target. I quickly turned to my great uncle and called to him to get his attention " I just hooked a 160 pounder"
    1 point
  16. Hello everyone. Was an avid hiker and camper 35-40 years ago, and trying to get back into it again in my 50's. I've got a Smoky Mountain trip coming in 2.5 weeks and I'm worried I'm not prepared so...will be asking alot of questions soon so...please me patient with me. Looking forward to the wisdom this community has to offer. Mark
    1 point
  17. I am "ultralight" for seven years now and I found that the layering principles also apply to footwear: I do have a full array of different ankle supporting bandages, from mere sock-like slip-ons to "heavy" 3M bandage with stiff sides for support. So I can "layer" my footwear to the difficulty of the trail and the current state of my ankle(s). I find this to be far lighter and cheaper than looking for a mid-shoe or boot that covers all my needs and still is lightweight. My old (retired) real mountaineering boots weighing 3pounds each would probably give as much support as the "heavy" 3M bandage
    1 point
  18. Hi everyone! Jennifer from western Massachusetts here. I used to do quite a bit of hiking but it's been a while. I've made a few attempts to hike again, but owing to a series of serious medical setbacks and injuries, I have been unable to stick with it. My most recent injury was a torn hamstring tendon, and I have finally (after a year) been cleared to do fun things again. So, here I am, practically starting from the beginning. I'm pretty out of shape, but I am motivated. Wish me luck!
    1 point
  19. I am originally from New Mexico. I spent half my childhood on the mountain where my dad was raised. We did plenty of hiking and fishing. Spent all day up and down the river and on the hillside. We also did a small bit of bouldering with my stepdad. We did a lot of camping as well. We didn't have a lot of money, so the outdoors was our entertainment. Loved it! I crave it to this day! I cant get enough of it! I love to disconnect and unplug! I could really care less about modern amenities. Well...except for my phone...but even that has to be tossed aside too! Moved to Texas. A small town with a
    1 point
  20. Just joined your site. Started hiking seriously last year when Covid hit but actually was hiking for most of my life as I worked for 35 yrs as a mail carrier. Hi to everyone from Newfoundland, Canada.
    1 point
  21. We use bottles, not bladders. But in years past we've used Gatorade and recycled soda bottles. Good for weight, good for recycling...not so great for the consumer economy. But what the heck.
    1 point
  22. Waiting for the snow to melt off the high roads of Idaho and Montana so I can head off on some good hikes soon. I love packing in over snow so getting out early in the season is fun.
    1 point
  23. Hello friends my name is Robert and I currently reside out of Anaheim California. I own a marketing company out here, and hiking is my new passion. I have made a resolution to hike every Sunday regardless the circumstances. So far I have kept my resolution. I'm here to meet new people with the same interest, exchange knowledge and experience. Hope you all are having a great Monday and feel free to hit me up for anything.
    1 point
  24. Thanks Aaron! This is great to hear, but I am still surprised. I suppose I am just thinking from a couple of decades ago. Certainly my cell phone with an extra battery pack would be ideal for multiple reasons. I started using GAIA yesterday for the 1st time and was quite impressed. Knowing this could be my solution I will invest in a membership. I am going to read your article now. Thanks!
    1 point
  25. I currently do most of my trail walking in the English Lake District as it is on my doorstep , but spend a lot of holidays in Scotland and in Europe . I am however planning to retire in the next couple of years which will leave me free to explore the World . I have my eye on the PCT , GR5 , and the Te Araroa in New Zealand . If anyone wants advice on trails in UK just Let me know
    1 point
  26. Few items provide as much comfort for the weight during frigid backpacking trips as dedicated down booties. Cold feet can quickly sap out any enjoyment of wonderful winter scenery and can easily discourage someone from ever attempting winter backpacking or cross-country ski touring. While down jackets can easily keep your core warm, having a full-body strategy for keeping in heat is crucial for winter trips where you’re spending a significant amount of time in camp. Down booties provide a solution for keeping your feet warm and when combined with down or synthetic insulated pants can allow you
    1 point
  27. The Lost Coast Trail (LCT) in northern California may very well be the best beach hike in the United States. The name derives from the fact that it is the only part of the California coast that is not paralleled by a highway. I’m sure the romantic ring of that name only adds to its considerable popularity. It sounds like something from a teenage adventure novel. “The Hardy Boys and the Pirates of the Lost Coast” There is a northern section and a southern section. The southern stretch is much less popular because the trail often leaves the beach and climbs up into the mountains of the King
    1 point
  28. I have also used a combo of air mattress and closed cell pad in winter temps for many years and found it to be the best way to sleep comfortably in such conditions.
    1 point
  29. BBNP is fairly open to caches.
    1 point
  30. Hi All, A great topic. I started in 1960 with military surplus and my Dad's Trapper Nelson, kapok sb, cast iron fry pan, 2 pound can of ravioli and a tube tent. I grew up hiking in the Appalachian Mtns near Skyline Drive in Virginia. Br 1972 I moved West and started hiking the Sierra and the Cascades, then later the Rockies and Alaska. I have mostly done only short backpacking trips 5 days and under. For longer trips I have relied on canoes, rafts, driftboats and horses and mules. Llamas are a great idea and easy to handle. So are burros and donkeys but they are rarely
    1 point
  31. Tough access is sometimes a feature, not a bug. Great report!
    1 point
  32. Awesome photos and what an amazing story! I heard your interview on The Trail Show about this route and it was cool to read it here as well. That's a pretty incredible loop and some spectacular country.
    1 point
  33. It's been a tough year for some many people, and for so many reasons. Here's wishing you all peace, joy, and more time in the mountains in 2021.
    1 point
  34. I am getting ready for a March trip to Eastern Arizona. I'm fairly excited because it is new territory for me and it is the first trip after a lengthy recovery. My wife started a new job and has no vacation time so it is the dog and I. Here's the I way pack for Brooke (The Wonder Dog). I made this up a couple of years ago. If there are better ways, or you do it a better way, I'm all ears. Brooke posing with the Ruff Wear pack. She is never sure of what were doing when the pack first goes on. Sometimes acting like it is the dumbest of all ideas. Four steps towards the trail an
    1 point
  35. And learn to manage your food. If you manage your food, bears are far less interested...
    1 point
  36. Some years ago I was eating breakfast with my wife, Lyn, at the Vermillion Valley Resort when a group of unusual looking people sat down at an adjacent table. They were wiry and weather beaten and gave off a raised-by-wolves vibe. They proceeded to eat enormous platters of food, which they washed down with beer. They turned out to be thru hikers from the nearby John Muir Trail (JMT). After they told us a little about their trip, I said to my wife, “I want to do that! – or, at least, I want to look like that.” Since then, I have hiked the JMT three times. I would like to share some t
    1 point
  37. Another idea: wrap a shirt or jacket around your mattress and slide your pillow inside. Pillow stays put.
    1 point
  38. Prolly the best route I've learned of in at least five yrs.
    1 point
  39. Yeah, it was probably one of my favorite trips of the summer to be honest. As far as size, the Sapphires are fairly long (50 miles maybe?) but not super wide at least compared to other Montana ranges. Their southern boundary blends into the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness and the much higher peaks of the Anaconda/Pintler ranges. Hoping to explore them more next summer!
    1 point
  40. Among its many inimitable charms, prime backpacking season in the Northern Rockies is also unfortunately defined by a cruel brevity. Try to hike too early in the season and you wind up postholing through leftover snow, anxiously evaluating raging creeks for the safest place to cross, and camping near lakes still thawing out from winter – adventuresome, but not exactly ideal. A few weeks later and things are more amenable to backpacking, but bugs (especially the biting kind) become so numerous that they can become a defining characteristic of a trip. In recent years, once the “peak” season for
    1 point
  41. A great report and great photos! I love the Smokies!
    1 point
  42. This was a great report and photos. Thanks for the read!
    1 point
  43. I really like your idea of running distilled water through the filter before drying and storing it. I think I will try that after the next trip. BTW, in November we are moving to the North Georgia mountains, and I'm really excited about being able to backpack right out of my back door!
    1 point
  44. Yeah, an open hook would've been nice . . . but I've also found that if those come undone it's easy to get your other laces caught up in them and trip (first-hand experience). No perfect solution I suppose and you're right that once they're on they're very comfortable. I'm hoping to pick up another pair on closeout once they release a new model.
    1 point
  45. Although lacking wilderness status or the “brand name” recognition of Glacier National Park, the Beaverhead Mountains in western Montana are a remarkably scenic landscape with few crowds and plenty of lakes with trout in them. In other words, they contain all the prerequisites for a great backpacking trip. The Beaverhead Mountains, which are at the southern end of the Bitterroot Mountain Range, are also notorious for having millions of voracious mosquitoes which makes early season trips here a form of self-induced torture. Even on a trip in mid-August, there were noticeably more mosquitoes – w
    1 point
  46. Thanks for this review. I need a new pair of trail shoes and local stores never carry my size 6. I like to try shoes on before buying but may give these a chance, if I can return/exchange them for free if I purchase online.
    1 point
  47. Aaron, I plead guilty to not flushing out my katadyn BeFree after trips, but leaving it with the residual water in the filter element. I will consider myself chastised, and will try to do better!
    1 point
  48. Have you followed the traditional two pounds of food per day rule only to have it fail you time and time again? You’ll likely agree that there’s nothing worse than feeling “hangry” at the end of a long day on the trail without enough to eat for dinner. Carrying extra food and weight on your back is also not the best formula for getting the most enjoyment out of any trip. You followed the pounds of food per person per day formula, why didn’t it work? When you pack for your next adventure it can pay dividends to take a closer look at what’s included in your food bag. Before leaving for your trek
    1 point
  49. As a general rule, a brand that may work for me won't necessarily work for you. This is due to every manufacturer cutting the shape of their boots slightly differently--called the "last" of the boot. I would recommend finding a brand and model that fits you well and stick with it. Boots are not something I would recommend ordering on line--find a good outdoor store and try them on, walk around for 20-30 minutes. A good store will let you do this (in-store). Good luck!
    1 point
  50. Thanks Jay. I do seem to be improving!
    1 point



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