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Backpacker May 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

Happy tails For some, spring isn’t just the start of hiking season. It’s the start of hiking-with-your-four-legged-best-friend season. Go to backpacker.com/doghiking and learn how to: Get your dog ready for her first hike Keep your pet safe from the trail’s biggest dangers, including animals, traps, and stomach illnesses Kit your pooch out in the latest canine gear Keep your dog hiking happily into his twilight years • • • • • BACKCOUNTRY VERSE Sure, some trails are still gloriously muddy. But that didn’t stop readers from celebrating the new hiking season by writing their own haikus. The sadness so deep Potatoes dehydrated There is no water –John Kay My boot has a leak Wet sock sliding under heel Ten more miles blisters soon –Dana O’Dell Dancing trout take fly Hiked in snow and almost died Wood fired fish I try –Christopher J. Currie • • • • • Geared up @backpackergear Tag your ’grams #trailchat for…

1 min
spring into action

Spring into action. PISGAH NATIONAL FOREST, NORTH CAROLINA Every season in the Smokies has its virtues, so we hate to pick sides. But spring glory is tough to beat: mild weather, surging waterfalls, slopes painted a hundred shades of green, and, yes, the occasional well-timed rainbow. Go now and visit the 30.1-mile Art Loeb Trail, which undulates through the Appalachians’ balds, knobs, and meadows from the Davidson River Campground to Camp Daniel Boone. The first 12 or so miles are the most rugged, a roller coaster of relentless ups and downs below treeline, but after a night on the slopes of 2,421-foot Pilot Mountain, it gets really good. You’ll crest Pisgah Ridge and embark on an airy traverse across Black Balsam Knob (pictured, mile 18), Tennent Mountain (mile 19), and the seemingly endless…

4 min
tour de california

I UNFOLD A TOPO MAP to scope out two clearly distinguished mountain ranges. To the southwest, the Caliente Range rises more than 5,000 feet, and to the east, the Temblor Range more than 4,000 feet. Between them is a broad, 50-mile swath of grasslands, the last of its kind in California’s Central Valley. No backcountry trails spiderweb through its interior, just one gravel road bisects the area, and those two ranges effectively block it offfrom, well, everyone. But in the bottom-left corner, on the edge of some old maps—not all—there’s a squiggly, dotted line that seems to lead into the Calientes before fizzling out just before the Carrizo Plain National Monument. For years it’s intrigued me. If that little, unnamed trail connects the Cuyama River valley to the Carrizo, then you could…

3 min
terra incognita

We welcomed the Northeast’s most pristine watershed to the national park system last August with itchy feet. Now go see what the fuss is about. Hint: old-growth forests, craggy peaks, hidden waterfalls, and A-list wildlife. The insider What is now a national monument was until last fall Lucas St. Clair’s backyard. “I spent my childhood canoeing, hunting, and fishing here,” says the lifelong Mainer. His mother, Burt’s Bee’s founder Roxanne Quimby, donated it to the federal government last year. In 2011, St. Clair took responsibility for the campaign to turn it into a park and spent his days showing it to congresspeople, National Park Service reps, school groups, and more. In the process, he’s hiked, skied, and biked every inch of the park’s 150 miles of trail “and then some.” Cascade hike Waterfalls are a…

1 min
shore up

This month, the Beaver State combines winter’s solitude with summer’s mild temperatures—but where should you go first? Simplify the decision with two great choices (this page and opposite). Option A: the coast. Just an hour and a half from Portland, this easy-access slice of Pacific grandeur features caves, tidepools, and roughly 3 miles of beach, all fit for a day’s worth of exploring. (Sorry, no camping.) Photographer Ray Shirley recommends ducking through this tunnel in Maxwell Point near the beach entrance because it’s nearly always accessible, regardless of tide. Bonus: May is nesting season for tufted puffins and pupping season for harbor seals. (Both hang in secluded corners of the beach; keep your distance and don’t disturb them, of course.) Contact bit.do/oceanside-beach-or…

2 min

IT WAS HARD NOT TO FEEL GIDDY. The northern Minnesota sky was clear and blue, and the water slid beneath our canoes with only a gentle swish. In a few hours, I knew, these same lakes would hold reflections of one of the country’s most legendary night skies. I wanted to look up and see the galaxy spread out before me. Like all wilderness, the Boundary Waters doles out a feeling of smallness, of insignificance, and reminds us that we are part of something bigger and older than ourselves—not the center around which the whole thing turns. Over the last few decades, however, that feeling has become increasingly rare as light creeps into the darkest corners of the wild. Light from cities and streetlamps adds to the glow that dims the stars.…