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Backpacker August 2017

Published nine times a year, Backpacker is a magazine of wilderness travel, offering practical, "you can do it, here's how" advice to help you enjoy every trip. Filled with the best places, gear, and information for all kinds of hiking and camping trips, each issue delivers foldout maps and stunning color photography.

United States
Pocket Outdoor Media, LLC

in this issue

2 min
local hikes just got better

THE EVIDENCE IS IN, and it’s conclusive: Hiking is really, really good for you. Recent studies have shown the world what you and I already know—spending time outdoors improves physical and mental health. That’s why hiking should be a part of our day-to-day lives, not a rare treat relegated to vacations. And that’s the reason we kick off every issue with The Play List (page 14), the magazine’s largest section, entirely devoted to local trails and hiking advice. But we can only cover so many places in those pages—with limited space, we can’t provide a trail for every reader, every issue. So we’ve created a new channel on our website devoted entirely to the local hiking scene in metro areas across the country. For each region, we’ve identified at least one local…

1 min
summer school

Backcountry Navigation We partnered with the Colorado Outward Bound School to bring this iconic institution to your home. Outward Bound instructor Siena Fry teaches map and compass skills, route planning, navigation tricks for challenging conditions, and more in this seven-part course. Wilderness First Aid Basics When you’re miles from the trailhead, 911 isn’t always an option. Don’t go into the backcountry without knowing how to treat common injuries like cuts, sprains, concussions, and other minor traumas. In this class, instructors deliver step-by-step guides on how to help an injured hiker so you never have to think, “I wish I’d known.” Outdoor Photo School Shoot like a pro with tips from a pro. Adventure photographer Adam Barker walks you through every aspect of taking better photos, from composition and lighting to gear and processing, for landscapes,…

2 min

Sacred trails the world over help hikers discover deeper truths about the world and themselves. But what truly makes a path transformative? ELISABETH KWAK-HEFFERAN treks a new 170-mile loop in Montana in search of the pilgrimage she needs. • • • • • Healing Hikes When we shared Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan’s story of looking for peace on the Sacred Door Trail in the wake of her divorce (“The Long Way ‘Round,” May 2017), readers immediately empathized with her experience. “My life, her words,” wrote Kari Rockwell. “The trees heal the pain.” Daniel Lewis shared his own story of looking for solace in the wild. “I retreated to the forest within hours of a breakup and backpacked my heart back to health,” he said. “Shenandoah National Park was my fortress of solitude.” And one reader…

1 min
cure summit fever.

The window is short on the biggest mountains, so take advantage of late summer’s perfect conditions and go now. Ready for its close-up: Mt. Blum in the North Cascades. The 7,685-footer is dotted with tiny, snowmelt-fed hanging tarns and smashed between crinkle-cut ridges, offering a top-of-the-world vantage over the Cascades, including 7,060-foot Hagan Mountain (far right on ridge) and 10,781-foot Mt. Baker (out of the frame, to the right of the photographer). It’s just 4.8 miles to the glacier-encrusted summit, but you must climb more than 7,000 feet in that span. From the Baker River trailhead, follow the silty waterway .5 mile north, then cross over to the east side via a suspension bridge. There, a vague social path follows Blum Creek 2.8 miles to the Blum Lakes, half a dozen…

3 min
the dragon’s lair

THE MEADOW IS PERFECT. Coconut palms sway in the breeze, revealing flat-topped peaks behind them, the ground so plush that the sleeping pads stay rolled up. After a 6-mile trek through a rainforest, I’m happy to be inside a tent, the ocean breeze rustling through the mesh and a chorus of bullfrogs serenading me. I lie back and enjoy the peaceful moment, wondering why I was so anxious about camping on an active volcano. That’s when I feel the earth move. I sit up and see a narrow plume of smoke twist into the sky from the crater of Volcán Telica, 300 yards away. It’s nerve-racking, but this is what we asked for. My husband, son, and I wanted to hike on living earth. Unlike Hawaii’s strictly regulated lava zones and Indonesia’s…

1 min
cool off.

Midsummer in the Arizona backcountry doesn’t have to be an exercise in heat tolerance—if you know where to look. Photographer Elias Butler took the Calloway Trail (#33) 1 mile to its terminus at West Clear Creek. Then, where others turn around, he kept going. Boulder-hop, swim, and follow social paths 5 miles downstream (west), and you’ll land at this watery oasis, he says. It’s slow going, so plan to camp en route when you find a flat section of high ground. (Note: This area can flash flood. Turn to page 43 for tips on how to avoid catastrophe.) Contact bit.do/coconino-red-rock-district…