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Backpacker June 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

1 min

Share the love June 3 is National Trails Day—the perfect chance to enjoy and help preserve America’s paths with the American Hiking Society. Try one of these events, or find one near you at bit.do/trailday. >> Hike to an ancient pictograph at New Mexico’s Chaco Culture National Historical Park. >> Search for the golden hiking boot in Columbia, Missouri. >> Test your luck on the Poker Walk at the Circle M Campground in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. • • • • • Good clean fun In our Spring Gear Guide (April), we reviewed some of the best new sleeping bags on the market. If you follow reader Jim Foster’s advice, you may never need to buy one again. “When I first learned camping skills, my mentor was adamant about us bringing spare sleep clothes to protect our bags from…

1 min
see in color

“This spot has the postcard grandeur of the Alps,” says photographer Kennan Harvey. And that’s about where the similarities end, because we guarantee you won’t be shoulder to shoulder with other visitors. Alas, no midday espresso either, unless you pack it in: Island Lake is 4.2 miles from the nearest trailhead. Check conditions (snowfields may persist through June, though unlikely this year) and head out on the Ice Lakes Trail past its namesake basin, which should be filled with an array of blooms in summer, near mile 2. If you do it as an overnight (recommended), set up camp near Upper Ice Lake in a cirque below five Thirteeners near mile 3.5, then continue .7 mile north to Island Lake (pictured) in the morning. Cast for small cutthroat, see if…

4 min
in deep

WE LAUGHED AT THE SIGN, even though it predicted danger ahead. WARNING: DO NOT ATTEMPT THE BLACK HOLE DESCENT. The fine print explained that due to flash flood debris, “safe retreat or rescue may not be possible.” The sign is here because, while there are many hazardous places in the wild, this particular spot in southern Utah is proven deadly. You can get in over your head in a hurry and more than a few have. In 1996, a flash flood careened through the narrows, killing a teenage girl. In 2003, another left a logjam in the middle of the slot, making the canyon nearly impassable. The Bureau of Land Management erected the sign shortly after—and left it there even after another flood washed away the debris in 2006. Indeed, mishaps in…

3 min
the great wide open

In the stretch of mountains spanning northwest Montana up to the Idaho border, trout swim legendary rivers like the Blackfoot and the Clark Fork; wolverines, grizzly bears, and moose amble through the evergreen forests; and locals complain it’s too crowded if there’s one other car at the trailhead. In short, it’s paradise— especially in early summer, when wildflowers bloom and before August’s wildfire season rolls around. The insider If you live in northwest Montana and enjoy the outdoors, you either know Alden Wright or wish you did. The lifelong Missoulian holds (or has held) leadership positions in the Rocky Mountaineers hiking club, the Missoula Nordic Ski Club, and the Thursday Night Ride mountain biking group, amassing decades’ worth of knowledge about local trails. For most of the past 30 years, Wright has…

2 min
all aboard: party hikes

IT’S NOT THAT I DON’T LIKE CROWDS. Wait, no, yes, it is—especially in the backcountry, where I go to get away from the hordes, not join them. Which is to say, it took me a little while to wrap my head around the Fjällräven Classic USA, a two-night backpacking trip with more than 200 strangers. It was the United States’ first party hike of this magnitude, but it has a proven precedent. The original Fjällräven Classic, held annually in Sweden, attracts some 2,000 hikers. The Swedish gear brand created the event to celebrate a shared love of backpacking, and last year introduced it to America, in State Forest State Park, Colorado. It’s rare to have such a gathering of the tribe—in nature, no less—so I pocketed my apprehension. Anyway, I’m still too…

1 min
you’re invited

June 10, 2017 The park officially turned 100 in February, but June seems like a better month to celebrate the Last Frontier. Come to Summerfest to enjoy live music, check out pop-up exhibits that explain the park’s topography and history, or, of course, hike. Park rangers will lead twice-daily, off-trail treks into Denali’s backcountry, which promises to be a bushwhacking good time. Where Denali Visitor Center and nearby Murie Science and Learning Center Dress Code Hiking boots RSVP No reservation required and all events are free. Learn more at go.nps.gov/ Denali100.…