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Backpacker May 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

in this issue

3 min
everyday badasses

THE VIEW FROM Mackinnon Pass, on New Zealand’s Milford Track, is supposed to be a true jaw-dropper, one of the hiking wonders of the world. Or so I’d heard. When I reached it on an early spring trek, the pass was wrapped in swirling snow; visibility was reduced to just a few feet. I was there with a British hiker I’d met a few days earlier, and he was even more disappointed than me. Chris was backpacking around the world, knocking off life-list hikes and recording the journey with a photo of himself doing a headstand in front of each trail’s best view. It was not the kind of endeavor that would set any records. Red Bull would not be calling him. But it was his thing, and he would not…

1 min

Mud Season Spring is in the air, and that means mud is in your boots. And clothes, tent, and everywhere else. We break down the best and worst parts of the season with a little help from our Twitter followers. (Get our experts’ advice for keeping the wet out at backpacker.com/aprilshowers.) • • • • • DESERT HAVEN @backpackermag Tag your ’grams #trailchat for a chance to be featured here and on our Instagram feed. @pingzer | Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas To capture this view, Pierce Ingram hiked 6.5 miles to the top of Bush Mountain, Texas’s second-highest peak. “Guadalupe Mountains is truly a backpacker’s park,” he says. “No roadside scenery.” • • • • • PAY TO PLAY Starting on May 1, the entrance fees at 17 popular national parks—including Yosemite, Grand Canyon, and Great Smoky Mountains—will…

1 min
spring to life

Dust off your boots because, like a juicy red serviceberry, the hike to Sams Throne ripens early. Come April, the Ozarks are made anew by spring’s rain and mild temps, and the dogwoods and redbuds are blossoming. Get an eyeful on the 2-mile out-and-back to 1,888-foot Sams Throne (pictured, middle), where the catwalk-like approach offers near-constant views over the Boston Mountains. From the trailhead off AR 123, head south on the easy-to-follow (though unmarked) user path, tracing the ridge past a collection of exposed, 50-to 75-foot-tall bluffs to Sams Throne. Turn around here and snag a dispersed campsite on top of the sandstone escarpment on the way back (free; first-come, first-serve; BYO water) so you’re sure to be in the best spot for sunrise. CONTACT www.fs.usda.gov/osfnf…

4 min
go green

THE INSIDER It’s Ryan Ojerio’s job to know the trails in the Columbia River Gorge. As a Regional Manager for the Washington Trails Association, the Portland native has managed the maintenance and construction of local paths and led advocacy, outreach, and education in the area for the last decade. BEST DAYHIKE “If I could teleport somewhere, I’d choose Table Mountain,” Ojerio says, which should tell you a bit about the views from the 3,417-foot summit—and how hard the peak is to get to. The 7.2-mile approach includes crossing various creeks, negotiating boulder-fields, and, of course, climbing up and around Table’s iconic south face: a sheer, 800-foot-tall plate of basalt. To do it, start from the Bonneville trailhead and hike.6 mile to meet up with the Pacific Crest Trail. Follow the PCT through a…

2 min
light up the night: seeing bioluminescence

AT FIRST, I thought it was a trick of the eye. Or maybe a reflection as the sunset faded. Or did someone in camp flash a headlamp toward the waves? But as dusk settled and the light grew stronger, I could tell it was no illusion: Every time a wave broke, the surf glowed green as if lit from within. The water got brighter as the night got darker, leaving a sparkling sheen on the sand as each wave receded. And the show was just getting started. I was camping on Isla Carmen off the coast of Baja, night one of a winter sea kayaking adventure in the Sea of Cortez, when my friends and I chanced upon a bloom of bioluminescent plankton. The tiny organisms glow in the dark when jostled…

1 min
play the name game

As any long-distance hiker knows, it’s a time-honored tradition to assume a trail name for your journey. The best ones are given for a reason—Potato Thief, for example—but if you want to kick-start the process, you’ve come to the right place, Commander Moose. Find your nickname below according to the first letters of your first and last names. John Muir, for instance, would be Wild Mountain (of course). FIRST A. CLEVER B. DOCTOR C. IMPOSSIBLE D. FROZEN E. DISTANT F. BOLD G. FIGHTIN’ H. SWEET I. GRIZZLY J. WILD K. FEARLESS L. CAPTAIN M. SIDEWAYS N. SLIM O. ITCHIN’ P. GREEN Q. SALTY R. COMMANDER S. EARLY T. SCREAMIN’ U. EVIL V. ARCTIC W. SLEEPY X. TINY Y. OLD Z. LOST LAST A. TURTLE B. MOOSE C. TRAIL D. BOOTS E. DOG F. BUT NOT IN CHARGE G. STUFF H. COYOTE I. EAGLE J. GOOSE K. HIKER L. LOBSTER M. MOUNTAIN N. LIZARD O. SKY P. GUTS Q. HAWK R. FOX S. BEAR T. BUTTER U. PILOT V. BIRD W. GOAT X. GHOST Y. STRANGER Z. AND PROUD OF IT…