Top

Archive | Trip Planning

Extensive snow coverage on the north side of Mather Pass, looking towards Palisade Lakes, after a very wet winter. Taken June 28, 2006.

Reader question: Should I change my High Sierra itinerary due the heavy snowfall?

A reader question from Gabino: I’m sure that every backpacker planning to undertake the PCT, JMT, Sierra High Route, Kings Canyon High Basin Route, or any other high-elevation route in California’s High Sierra is wondering the same thing right now. Here are some thoughts: California’s snowpack: The Facts There are many ways to record and analyze […]

Continue Reading
The Davidson River, Pisgah National Forest

Thought it impossible: Wildfires close 140 miles of the Appalachian Trail

Along the Pacific Crest and Continental Divide Trails, closures and fire bans are considered normal, especially after dry winters or late in the summer. Ditto for other long trails through arid or semi-arid environments like the Arizona Trail or Colorado Trail. But I considered such trail closures impossible on the Appalachian Trail, which is nicknamed “The Green Tunnel” […]

Continue Reading
From Sentry Peak Pass, looking across the upper Middle Fork valley towards the next pass on the Wind River High Route, Photo Pass.

Repeating myself: Section-hike (don’t thru-hike) the Wind River High Route

The Wind River High Route is world-class and represents a “best of” backcountry experience in one of the wildest mountain ranges in the country. A similar statement could be made about the Sierra High Route, Kings Canyon High Basin Route, and Glacier Divide Route. A thru-hike of any one of these routes is likely to be a lifetime memory. But for nearly everyone, […]

Continue Reading
A gear explosion in Amanda's 600 square foot apartment. It did not go over well when she arrived home from work.

A backpacking gear list: Its importance and core functions

On a trip planning checklist, what’s the most time-consuming task? Making travel plans, preparing food, selecting a route — yes, they can all rank up there. But gear selection probably tops the list, especially for new backpackers and for veteran backpackers without experience in a particular location or season. A gear list will make this process much easier, for current […]

Continue Reading
The permit station at Road's End in Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park

Permit directory: Wilderness & backcountry camping in the Sierra Nevada

The Sierra Nevada mountains are world-class, encompassing two National Parks (Yosemite and Sequoia-Kings), the John Muir Trail, and a half-dozen Wilderness Areas like Desolation, Golden Trout, and Emigrant. The heart of the range extends from the Kern River in the south, to Lake Tahoe in the north. Backcountry use is accordingly significant, by residents of […]

Continue Reading
Ascending the snowfield on Thunderbird's north ridge. So long as the snow has not frozen hard overnight, it could be done comfortably in trail runners. But the precipice below the run-out is good motivation to wear crampons.

Notes for next time: Gear, logistics, & snow travel || Glacier Divide Route

For my next trip on the Glacier Divide Route, what should I remember from this past one? Logistics The drive to Glacier National Park from Colorado is intimidating — about 15 hours, depending on the final destination. But it wasn’t terrible, and it’s eye-opening to know that I can reach Glacier in 1.5 days even if I’m […]

Continue Reading
Squaretop from Green River Lakes, on Loops 7 and 8

Not reverse psychology: Don’t thru-hike the Wind River High Route

“Rudd, Nathan, and I are planning to thru-hike the Wind River High Route this summer,” announced Krishna, as we dug into monstrous burritos at Cafe Mexicali. Krishna was one of my first clients, and he had swung through Boulder while driving back to the Tri-State Area after a month-long ski and work trip in Silverton. […]

Continue Reading
website-traffic-featured

My most popular & favorite posts of 2015

To close out 2015, I’d like to share my most popular posts. My method in creating the list was only partially scientific — I started with total page views for 2015 in Google Analytics, and then I loosely accounted for publishing dates, since posts released earlier in the year have had more time to be viewed than those released […]

Continue Reading
A screenshot from CalTopo, of the Kings Canyon High Basin Route displayed on the USGS 7.5-minute layer

The future of CalTopo || Interview with founder Matt Jacobs

For several years my go-to platform for topographical maps and imagery has been CalTopo. It has fully replaced — and far surpassed — National Geographic’s TOPO! desktop software, which was discontinued in 2012 and is no longer supported by NG; and, overall, its trip-planning features are unmatched by other online platforms and apps. I use CalTopo most often […]

Continue Reading