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Backpacker March 2018

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
Back issues only

in this issue

1 min
this land is your land

FOR 150 YEARS, the dominant story of public lands in the United States has been one of expansion and protection. Since Yosemite became a refuge in 1864, we’ve pioneered the world’s first national park system and created wilderness areas that are the gold standard for preservation. These places are so deeply embedded in the American psyche that we’ve taken them for granted. Now they’re under threat, not just from development and divestment plans, but from climate change as well. Suddenly, that 150-year story is in danger of reversing course. If ever there was a time to stand up for public lands, it’s now. These are the places that transform our lives, the places where memory mingles with air, wood, water, and rock. Regardless of our differences, hikers can all agree on…

17 min
now or never

SEE IT Putting foot to trail makes anyone a believer. Find out for yourself on these go-now hikes, get big-trip tips from an Alaska guide, and learn about one Congresswoman hitting a long path. • • • • • [EASY ALASKA] Edge of the Glacier Trail Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska LAST SUMMER, EXIT GLACIER looked more like a snowball bobbing in a pond than the once-mighty arm of the Harding Icefield. Last year alone, the glacier retreated 293 feet, which isn’t even the most alarming part. Melting now continues into winter: October through May, daily temperatures at the glacier’s foot now stay above freezing half the time. Twice, park officials even extended the Edge of the Glacier Trail to chase Exit’s toe. Hike the easy, 2-mile round-trip now to ogle the glacier’s gullies of blue…

1 min
remember everything

DON’T FEAR THE BLANK PAGE. Write as if you’re recounting the day to a friend on the phone. Start with a scribble or simple description; it’s OK to be messy. Your style will likely change during the trip anyway. “You grow into what you like,” Kirk says. GET INTO A HABIT. Routine is essential. Set aside time each day to get the camera out or record the day’s events. FIND BALANCE. Capture the landscape, camp life, your hiking partners, trail milestones, and failures as well as successes. You want a well-rounded view of the trip. GET GRITTY. The most memorable moments often happen when the weather is bad or people are working hard. When you’d rather not get out the camera, you probably should. • • • • • CHOOSE YOUR WEAPON JOURNAL It’s cheap, light, and batteries are not…

4 min

FOR LESS THAN A YEAR, Utah’s Bears Ears National Monument described a 1.3 millionacre swath of canyons brimming with the highest density of ancient native artifacts in the country. Last December, by order of President Donald Trump on the recommendation of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Bears Ears was replaced with two monuments with a combined area some 85 percent smaller than the original. The remainders returned to their designations as BLM or U.S. Forest Service land, making them eligible for new energy and road development. (Nearby, 1.9 millionacre Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument was diminished by about half). A reduction of this size is unprecedented in our history (it faces legal challenges), and the rhetoric around the issue has been heated, given that the monument status didn’t change existing uses for grazing, mining,…

16 min
common ground

IT DID NOT TAKE LONG for word to spread in the small, isolated town in New Mexico that I call home. Whether quaffing a Belgian ale in the brewpub, or sipping a fair-trade latte in the java emporium, or inspecting organic cabbages in the food co-op, members of my dirt-worshipping social circle would approach and ask, suspiciously, “So... I hear you’re going hiking with a Republican?” I’d brush off the blatant stereotyping. Besides, I argued, these are divisive times and here was a chance find out if trails can transcend politics. At issue was my acceptance of an invitation to spend a day on the Arizona Trail (AZT) with Congresswoman Martha McSally, whose National Environmental Scorecard rating for 2016 from the League of Conservation Voters was an almost impossibly low 3 percent. McSally…

1 min
the payoff

Irresistible Glacier National Park, Montana YOU FEEL THE COLD before you hit the water. You feel it before you even jump, and your skin will tingle long after you emerge. But when glacier, mountain, and sunshine conspire to create perfect conditions at Cracker Lake, you can’t resist going in. It’s challenge and reward in one, something you won’t find at the neighborhood pool. Get here on a 12.2-mile round-trip from Many Glacier Hotel and be ready for what may happen when you see it for yourself. Info nps.gov/glac…