Backpacker5 min read
Lost In The Rainforest
MAYBE THIS ISN’T SUCH a bad place to die, I thought, looking at the green hills and meadows around me. It was my eighth day in the New Zealand wilderness, and I’d begun to suspect it might be one of my last. My wife’s family lives in Auckland, but I’
Backpacker3 min read
Safari On Foot
Tate gets a lift. The equatorial sun sank to the horizon, turning the sky fiery orange. Under normal circumstances, I would have been mesmerized by this sunset. But at least 30 baboons kept distracting me, scampering around the rock dome where we wer
Backpacker3 min read
Power Up
By Corey Crane When your muscles scream to a halt on steeps, don’t blame your willpower—blame your lactate threshold. Lactic acid accumulates during anaerobic exercise (when you’re moving faster than your blood can oxygenate your muscles). Your lacta
Backpacker4 min read
Walk On The Wild Side
The geologic forces that built the Range of Light followed two different blueprints: On the west side, a long, gradual slope climbs from the Central Valley to the Sierra Crest. But on the east, the divide plummets dramatically to the flats, creating
Backpacker1 min read
Listen Closely
Dear Rockin’, We like Journey just as much as the next person, but all good things come to an end—when you hit the trail, it’s time to stop believin’. Even if you have the foresight to turn your music down or pause it when another hiker approaches, t
Backpacker2 min read
David Roberts’s essay on exploring Cedar Mesa in the face of a terminal cancer diagnosis (“The Last Canyon,” May) inspired several readers to share their own stories. “Cancer steals our joys in life, at least for those of us whose passion lies in the
Backpacker2 min readFood & Wine
Dollar Menu
Nutty and slightly sweet, this rivals anything at your artisan coffee shop. $3.39 for 2 servings 1 cup rolled oats¼ cup raw almonds, chopped¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds1½ Tbsp. honey2 Tbsp. vegetable oil2½ Tbsp. brown sugar½ tsp. salt¼ cup dried blueberri
Backpacker4 min read
Navigate The Jungle
I stood with my toes at the edge of my grandmother’s grave. My younger brother, Bentley, 27, turned to me, solemn in his funeral suit, and said, “Grandmommy traveled. I want to go overseas like she did.” My grandmother had been all over the world, an
Backpacker2 min read
Head First
IF ANYTHING, TRIPPING SHOULD TEACH US HUMILITY. I was on the Arizona Trail, about halfway down the Mogollon Rim, when my right foot left my control. It hooked itself under a rope-like root that jutted out from the side of the path. Meantime, my left
Backpacker2 min read
Full Circle
"I get it, I think to myself, as I lean back and take in the mountain majesty that unfolds before me. I’m sitting on a warm slab of granite, air-drying from an impromptu swim along the 19.7-mile Alice-Toxaway Loop, which has earned something of “clas
Backpacker3 min read
Hit The Pavement
We through-hikers are singletrack snobs. We like dirt. We relish long carries between road crossings, and we intentionally choose trails that are removed from cities and asphalt. We complain when soil gives way to paved greenways and Rail Trails and
Backpacker42 min readTravel
Badges of Honor
These iconic NPS peaks are no secret—but that doesn’t mean you have to share your alpine glory. Beat the crowds with these tricks. The hordes head for the park’s 14,259-foot crown via the Keyhole Route. You, on the other hand, can climb it via the sc
Backpacker1 min readScience
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, CA Gaze over a sea of Sierra granite on this short hike. Seldom does so much exposure come with so little effort: All it takes to see these airy views is a mostly-flat, 2.2-mile out-and-back. From the Taft Point trailhead, han
Backpacker2 min read
Ripe For The Pickin’
Our best tip for this hike? Don’t skimp on container size. Shoulder-high blueberry bushes line the trail up 2,153-foot Pitcher Mountain, and come late July, they’re sagging with ripe fruit. New Hampshire’s cold winters and rocky, acidic soil make for
Backpacker2 min read
No Sponsor: Natalie Larson, 34
After being sidelined by a long-term hamstring injury, ultrarunner Natalie Larson was feeling antsy in the summer of 2017. Not only was she on forced rest, she’d been diagnosed with a precancerous condition and told she needed surgery. So when Larson
Backpacker2 min readScience
Highs & Lows
When the country’s last ice sheet melted away more than 12,000 years ago, it left calling cards across the Midwest. Chief among them are the deep kettles and lofty hummocks I’m puffing up and down here in the Harrison Hills. This 15.6-mile section of
Backpacker3 min read
Higher Calling
JOHN DID NOT WANT TO GO backpacking. The 14-year-old had much better things to do, he told me. Friends to hang out with. Video games to play. Heck, he said, he’d rather do nothing than go hiking for a week. This was a problem because his mom had sign
Backpacker3 min read
Solid Footing
IT WAS A CLEAR, COLD NIGHT on the Annapurna Circuit, and I couldn’t sleep. Maybe it was due to a slight bout of altitude sickness and the fact that my body couldn’t relax at 16,000 feet. But the main factor was nerves: In a few hours I’d head over Th
Backpacker1 min read
Acclimatize To Hot Weather
1) Sweat glands kick in sooner, and sweat becomes less salty. 2) Blood vessels dilate faster in response to heat. 3) Metabolism and heart rate slow to limit internal heat production. Begin acclimatizing between 10 and 14 days before a trip. Adaptatio
Backpacker3 min read
Back To Basics
While most conventional tarps are rectangular, making for a narrow pitch, the 12-by-12-foot Mountain Shade creates a more spacious A-frame when strung up between trees or trekking poles. It sheltered three hikers and their gear during a March storm i
Backpacker3 min read
Hike In A Heat Wave
By Stasia Callaghan Stop for water when you’re thirsty, Myers says, but don’t force fluids—everyone has different water needs (though a good baseline is a half liter per hour at 80°F, and a liter per hour at 100°F). Like dehydration, which affects mo
Backpacker5 min read
By William M. Rochfort, Jr. • • • • • BEST VALUE $30; 4.9 oz.; m’s S-XXL, w’s XS-XL; Cotton can be a curse, but The North Face turns it into a blessing with the Day Three Tee, which balances the material’s virtues (comfort and cost)
Backpacker2 min read
On Edge
Every footstep takes you higher on Blackhead Mountain’s southeastern flank. The narrow trail barrels through the hardwood forest, over twisted roots and jumbled rocks, and to a summit thick with spruce and fir. When the canopy thins, I scramble atop
Backpacker1 min read
25th Anniversary Hall of Fame
You’ll never want to take this midlayer off. THE ALL-DAY LAYER is our unicorn. For the longest time, changing conditions meant changing your clothes. But since the R1 was introduced in 1999 (we gave the entire R Series an Editors’ Choice Award the fo
Backpacker1 min read
Take The Plunge
Celebrate summer by cooling off in a backcountry lake or stream. Any will do, but some stand out—like this spot along the Ohanapecosh River. Photographer Scott Kranz found this launching pad a short walk from the Ohanapecosh Campground ($20; recreati
Backpacker2 min readScience
Take A Chance On An Unnamed Lake
I STRUGGLE TO CATCH MY BREATH as I make my final push up the scree slope. At more than 15,000 feet, I’m higher than any peak in the Lower 48, and I’m still going up. I chew on the thought as I trudge up the last set of switchbacks into even thinner a
Backpacker2 min readTravel
Urban Adventures
You don’t need to wander far from the concrete jungle of Manhattan to find a real forest. In fact, with just an afternoon and a MetroCard you can tackle part of the 358-mile Long Path. The 3-mile piece (6 miles out and back) from the George Washingto
Backpacker16 min readTravel
Walking On The Horizon
THE ROLLING GRASSLANDS of Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, in Nebraska, slope down to the Niobrara River. It’s a quiet park, where most visitors come to see the fossils of ancient mammals like Menoceras, a pint-size rhino, or Palaeocastor, a beav
Backpacker2 min readScience
See You In Hells
TWENTY MINUTES AGO, staring at the cliffs that soar above the foaming rapids of the Snake River, I wondered how I would ever pass through. But faith and footsteps paid off, and now I’m 500 feet in the air, on a narrow trail blasted out of sheer grani
Backpacker2 min read
Stuke Sowle, 43
Consider the numbers: 3,500 miles and a million feet of elevation gain. In one year. While holding down a full-time job. Stuke Sowle, an REI distribution supervisor in the Seattle area, makes other weekend warriors look like couch potatoes. (Last yea
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