Trips

Categories

RIP: Ken Oelkers, SHT trail angel & builder extraordinaire

By Andrew Skurka / December 28, 2017 / 7 Comments

I first met Ken Oelkers in March 2005, seven months into the Sea-to-Sea Route. His beloved Superior Hiking Trail was buried under feet of snow, and he understandably was looking for an excuse to keep him out of the house and close to the trail after a long winter in Silver Bay, Minnesota, a small blue-collar…

John Muir Trail early-season 2017: What was it like? || Part 3: River fords

By Samuel Chaneles / August 5, 2017 / 3 Comments

Q | What techniques and equipment did you use in safely getting across? Our general protocol for creek crossings was: a) Look for a log or a rock to hop across to avoid getting our feet wet. Often times this method worked for smaller creek crossings, yet for the bigger fords it almost always failed.…

John Muir Trail early-season 2017: What was it like? || Part 2: Passes, axes & crampons

By Samuel Chaneles / August 3, 2017 / 0 Comments

Q | Did you carry an axe or crampons? Did you use them? Would you recommend them? We both had Hillsound Trail PRO Crampons and a Black Diamond Raven Pro Ice Axe, and we did use them in the mornings when conditions were suitable. Most mornings we were on the trail by 5:30 a.m.to take advantage of…

John Muir Trail early-season 2017: What was it like? || Part 1: Snow coverage, navigation & snowshoes

By Samuel Chaneles / August 3, 2017 / 0 Comments

Q | Describe your your prior backpacking experience — generally, in the High Sierra, and in early-season conditions. A | Since I was young, family vacations have revolved around outdoor activities (hiking, skiing, fishing, etc.). My true “backpacking” experience began in the summer of 2016 when I went on an 11-day expedition to Alaska as…

Route beta || Pfiffner Traverse: Thunderbolt Creek & Paiute Pass

By Andrew Skurka / August 1, 2017 / 4 Comments

To connect Buchanan Creek with Cascade Creek in Colorado’s Indian Peaks Wilderness, the Pfiffner Traverse ascends a knife-edge pass at the head of trail-less Thunderbolt Creek that offers sweeping views of the Pawnee Lake basin and the Continental Divide. The alternative to this route is an ordinary and relatively view-less all-trail route around the west…

Route beta || Pfiffner Traverse: Northeast Gully, Lone Eagle Cirque & Lost Tribe Lakes

By Andrew Skurka / July 29, 2017 / 2 Comments

The Northeast Gully is the most difficult feature on the Pfiffner Traverse: it’s filled with snow through mid-summer, covered with talus and loose scree in late-summer, and always steep. Unfortunately, it’s also a critical connector between Lone Eagle Cirque, Lost Tribe Lakes, and upper Arapaho Creek, all in Colorado’s Indian Peaks Wilderness. An easy all-trail…

John Muir Trail early-season 2017: What was it like? || Part 4: Mosquitoes & final thoughts

By Samuel Chaneles / July 24, 2017 / 0 Comments

Q | Did you encounter any mosquitoes? At what elevation and times of day? Thankfully, we encountered mosquitoes only a few times, and only once or twice were they bad enough that we put on our headnets. That said, those mosquitoes we encountered swarmed aggressively (that that’s coming from someone who grew up in South…

In 12 photos || Trip Report: Pfiffner Traverse Yo-Yo

By Andrew Skurka / July 23, 2017 / 7 Comments

Thanks to a delayed arrival of winter, in late-October of last year I finished piecing together the Pfiffner Traverse, a 77-mile high route through Colorado’s Front Range between Milner and Berthoud Passes. But I felt it important to get on the route again this year as a thru-hiker and as soon as conditions permitted, to…

Camping Regulations for Iceland’s Laugavegur Trail

By Andrew Skurka / July 11, 2017 / 2 Comments

I am a hut warden in one of the huts on Laugavegur. It has come to my attention that many of my guests have read your post when preparing for the Laugavegur hike. Not surprisingly, as it is both a very informative post and one of the top results when you google “Laugavegur camping.”

Six lessons learned on my first high route || Wind River High Route, Loop 4

By David Alexander / May 31, 2017 / 5 Comments

After taking Andrew’s Backpacking Fundamentals course in 2015, I decided to test my new skills on Loop 4 of the Wind River High Route. Prior to it, I had completed several trips on the Appalachian Trail and on the Florida Trail. The Wind River High Route promised adventure, but also freedom from fixed itineraries, designated campsites,…