ZINIO logo

Backpacker November 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

1 min
1. go far, far away.

Or at least feel like you are when you venture out to this corner of the Eastern Sierra, where a massive soda lake looks like a scene from an alien planet. Mono Lake has absurdly high pH levels and salt concentration—and no outlet—which have given rise to the knobby, castle-like formations and towers that dot the water. Pay a visit this month, when highs in the 50s keep casual visitors away and the aspens and cottonwoods in the Sierra’s foothills turn vibrant yellow. Hop on the 1-mile South Tufa Trail to get the best vantage of the limestone Shipwreck formation (pictured) in Mono Lake’s shallow waters. Like what you see? Set up your tent for a view that never ends: Dispersed camping is allowed anywhere above the 1941 shoreline (where…

4 min
2. canyon confidential.

No other trail town is as synonymous with desert paradise as Moab: Within easy striking distance of Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, the Bears Ears buttes, and acres of empty Bureau of Land Management land, the town sits at the heart of A-list canyon country. You can’t keep real estate like this secret for long, though, and in recent years, parts of the wilderness have become downright crowded. The good news: There’s plenty of redrock utopia to go around—if you know where to look. EASY DAY TRIP With a high rock art-to-effort ratio but a low number of hikers per mile, the South Fork of Sevenmile Wash adds up to a Coronella favorite. There’s no official trail on this BLM land, so just follow the sandy bottom up to 5 miles (one…

1 min
3. …in which we honor the best hiking clubs in the country.

Martha Sundquist, the former Tennessee Governor Don Sundquist’s wife, is said to love hiking so much that there’s a state forest named after her. Though she just turned 80, she still gets out—but never more than 5 miles, her self-proclaimed limit. That’s something the 65 members of Townsend-based 5-Mile Hikers can get behind. The trekkers, most of whom are retirees, like to tread over the Appalachians, explore Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and venture into the Nantahala and Cherokee National Forests on sub-5-mile trips year-round. Sometimes, when they’re feeling spry, they even take on 10-mile treks. To tag along for a 5-miler, request to join the private “Townsendites 37882” Facebook group and inquire within. Think your club deserves some ink? Write in to tell us why at intheclub@backpacker.com.…

3 min
4. surf and turf

AT FIRST, I’M SURE it’s a trick of the light. But there really is a cluster of shells embedded in the white rock 10 feet above our heads. The sight of fossilized sea life is a welcome distraction from our current predicament: Our hiking party is temporarily marooned on an 8-foot-high rock shelf, trapped here by the advancing tide. Our guide explains that we’re standing on an ancient seabed, compressed by time and uplifted by tectonic plates to reveal the ocean floor hanging in the sky. We’ve been traversing the bluffs of Isla del Carmen, a 20-mile-long island in the Sea of Cortez, hunting for fossils like imprints of trilobites and coral outlines. As I scan the wall for shells, I hear happy shouts and turn around to spot the rest…

1 min
5. go house hunting.

Animals 1. BLACK BEAR Preferences: privacy, long-term comfort 2. CALIFORNIA CONDOR Preferences: good views, solitude 3. MEADOW VOLE Preferences: nightlife, warmth, room to run 4. LEOPARD FROG Preferences: chill vibes, easy cleanup 5. BOBCAT Preferences: mobility, kitten-friendly atmosphere Winter homes A. 1-7 guests Refrigerator-size cave “A bunch of us fit in the main space—priority to new mamas!—but we have access to ‘auxiliary’ dens in hollow logs and under rock ledges nearby if we fill up. My friends like it so much, they return year after year.” Prime real estate Beartown State Forest, MA B. 1-4 guests Hand-dug den “I carved this hollow into a hillside with my own claws. Oak roots provide the structure, I provide the warmth. It’s quite cozy—about 4 feet wide—perfect for a small family or a solitary winter retreat.” Prime real estate Shenandoah National Park, VA C. 15 guests Underground burrow “The more the merrier! I…

1 min
7. watercolor.

To see one of the season’s last color shows, you need a paddle. Tucked away in southern Louisiana, a 1.4-million-acre swamp serves up some of the South’s most electric fall foliage when the thickcrowned tupelos and cypresses blaze red and copper come mid-November. There’s no wrong way to stage a trip into Atchafalaya Basin, and with the constantly changing currents, nothing is a given, anyway, but you can do as photographer Chris Moore did. He overnighted at one of the five canoe-friendly campgrounds at Lake Fausse Pointe ($25; reserveamerica.com), then explored the blackwater bayous by boat. If you’re looking for a more remote (and challenging) adventure, find the Morgan City levee break off Levee Road (near 29.7953, -91.1719) and launch your boat where Little Bayou Sorrel spills into the Intracoastal…