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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” […]

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I see a high route.

Fun in 2016: What I have planned

It’s almost April, yet just recently has my 2016 play calendar taken shape. Normally my schedule is dialed by now, but I have more flexibility this year since I’m not guiding trips or actively speaking. The extra time was useful — it gave me an opportunity to reflect on 2015, and to ponder my long-term commitment to 2017 projects that necessitate action […]

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More worthy “Adventurer of the Year”: Jurek or Anish?

Earlier today National Geographic announced its Adventurers of the Year for 2016. Of most interest to the backpacking community will be the decision to recognize Scott Jurek — who in July set a new supported speed record for the Appalachian Trail, in 46+ days — but not Heather (“Anish”) Anderson, the other obvious choice this year. If you’re asking, […]

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A firefighting helicopter in the Middle Fork of Kings Canyon, September 2013

Heading to the High Sierra? Updates on the Rough Fire.

After yet another extremely dry winter, it’s no surprise that California’s High Sierra is being affected by wildfires this summer. The action was mostly in Yosemite National Park in 2013 and 2014, with the Rim Fire and Meadow Fire, the latter of which necessitated the plucking off via helicopter of stranded hikers atop Half Dome. Unfortunately, Sequoia-Kings Canyon […]

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The 2016 Flash single-wall tent, with its rollback fly

Outdoor Retailer: Top 4 to-be-released products from Sierra Designs in 2016

For a few days last week I was in in Salt Lake City for the semi-annual Outdoor Retailer tradeshow, where there were a dizzying number of new, updated, and proven old products for hiking, camping, running, climbing, and paddling. The focus of the summer show are items that will hit store shelves in Spring 2016. For show-wide news coverage, consult Backpacker, Gear Junkie, […]

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Live near Boulder and a size Large? Sierra Designs needs you.

Sierra Designs is a looking for a fit model. Details and an application below. Requirements Reside within a commutable distance to the Sierra Designs headquarters in northeast Boulder, Colorado (Gunbarrel) Male Size Large for tops, per SD sizing. Ideally, 44-inch chest and 34-inch waist. Work + compensation About four office visits per month, for about 2 hours […]

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East Fork, with views of the peaks surrounding Gardiner Basin. This is big country.

Finest route in the High Sierra? Introducing the Kings Canyon High Basin Route.

Seven years ago I thru-hiked with Buzz Burrell the Sierra High Route, which parallels the crest of the High Sierra between Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park and Yosemite National Park. Its 200 miles represents less than 1 percent of the total miles that I have hiked, yet the experience proved to be one of the most […]

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