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Backpacker July/August 2019

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
join the club

THOUGH MOST OF US find it hard to believe, not everyone loves backpacking. In fact, the vast majority of people in the United States don’t plan vacations with the goal of carrying a heavy pack all day, fending off bugs and bad weather, pooping in a cathole, and sleeping on the ground. That’s because it takes a certain type of person to reject a fridge full of food and the luxury of modern plumbing, if only for a weekend. I take pride in being part of this club and I'm sure you do too, because we know something the majority of people don’t: Backpacking is good for body and soul. We know that the time we spend outdoors—getting dirty, sweaty, hot, cold—makes us healthier and happier. The only thing backpackers routinely…

1 min
celebrate national summit day on august 3

1. THE VIEW OK, you don’t need us to tell you a good view is worth the effort. But climbing to a summit is about more than the scenery—it can give you a new perspective on life. Just ask Rick Sanger, a former backcountry ranger who climbed a mountain at just the right time in his own life (page 81). 2. THE COMMUNITY Looking for the ultimate bonding experience? Do something you love with others who share the passion. Hiking clubs all over the country are leading group hikes; find one to join at the website below. 3. THE CHARITY National Summit Day supports Big City Mountaineers, a nonprofit organization that mentors under-resourced youth on wilderness trips. 4. THE PRIZES Share photos and stories from your National Summit Day climb using the hashtag #nationalsummitday and you’ll have…

3 min
trail chat

High Regard After we published Will Cockrell’s story about Sam Kim, the hiker who set out to climb Southern California’s Mt. Baldy 1,000 times (“A Man and His Mountain,” May/June 2019), our Facebook followers chimed in with their own memories of the local trail legend. “Sam was my neighbor,” wrote Mark Galanty. “No one loved trails and the thrill of bottom-to-top-back-to-the-bottom days as much as Sam.” Tim Sandoval remembered Sam’s unique trail habits. “He loved his pictures. And his hard-boiled eggs and avocados,” he wrote. Sean Jagow recalled an encounter on Baldy: “I met him on a rainy day while descending from the summit. He was coming up the mountain and had his big poncho on, and he stopped to talk with us,” Jagow wrote. “He was a genuine man and…

1 min
1. walk through time

This isn’t the Yosemite meadow you’ve heard about. It’s better. Unlike Tuolumne and the park’s other famous greens, Dana Meadows remains virtually empty even in summer. The reason? It’s tucked away near the park’s east entrance, far from the busy zones. Go at daybreak like photographer Robb Hirsch did for ultimate solitude: Hop on the Mono Pass Trail and hike east through Dana Meadows, where kettles formed from the last of the Tuolumne glaciers 10,000 years ago fill with today’s runoff. Keep going 4 miles up 10,600-foot Mono Pass, where views stretch to rust-colored Bloody Canyon and the otherworldly spires that protrude from Mono Lake. Turn around at infinity pool-like Upper Sardine Lake for a 9-mile out-and-back dayhike. PERMIT None CONTACT nps.gov/yose…

3 min
2. ’round the mountain

The Timberline Trail is the most storied multiday backpacking trip in Oregon. It circles the 11,000-foot cone of Mt. Hood, dipping between alpine meadows, moss-shrouded waterfalls, and steep, rocky outcrops with panoramic views across the state and into Washington. In 1885, trail pioneers sketched out the first few segments, but it wasn’t until the 1930s, when Franklin Roosevelt created the Civilian Conservation Corps, that the route became a ring. But due to the hairy river crossings, few people have thru-hiked it. I myself have ticked off its best in bits and pieces, but was turned around on my last thru-hike attempt when the Eliot Branch, one of the trail’s five critical crossings, was impassable. While the majority of the trail is well-signed, the safest fords drift year to year as glacial…

1 min
3. little jerusalem badlands state park, ks

When pioneers passed through a 200-acre plot of chalk formations in the western Kansas prairie, they dubbed it “Little Jerusalem” for the holy land they imagined it resembled. State officials, who recently partnered with The Nature Conservancy to protect the area and its 85-million-year-old canyons and 100-foot rock towers, say it’s more like the Badlands. You can see what you think this summer: After years with no public access, Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park (namers tried to please everyone) opens this summer (no date has been set). Hike there to see ferruginous hawks, cliff swallows, and pronghorns, as well as the largest acreage of Great Plains wild buckwheat, endemic to western Kansas. For a sampler, try the 1.2-mile Rim Trail, which traces a ridge overlooking the bluffs. Contact bit.do/little-jerusalem-badlands-sp…