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Backpacker October 2016

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
mind games

ABOUT HALFWAY UP the East Ridge Trail on Mt. Sanitas, in Boulder, Colorado, the path squeezes through a gap between car-size boulders. The opening is so narrow you have to turn sideways to pass through. The rock is cut at an awkward angle—you need to take a sharp left and then a right going up—so it’s easy to scrape your knuckles or knees if you try to shoot the gap too fast. I’ve left some skin there when I wasn’t paying attention. I know the spot well because 6,863-foot Sanitas is just a mile from my house. A local hike like this keeps my legs and spirit fresh, so I do it a couple of times a week. I start on the Goat Trail, a short path that ascends a steep-sided…

3 min

States of Play This month, we collected our favorite state park hikes across the country (see page 56). But there are more where those came from. The National Association of State Park Directors counts 10,234 statepark-managed areas in the country. That means more opportunities for adventure than we could fit in one magazine. Try these eight reader-submitted state parks: Ramble On Sixteen years ago, then-59-yearold Dub Bludworth saw a list of 20 American long trails in BACKPACKER (“A Guide to the Land’s Greatest Hikes”, December 2000). Fastforward to today, and the former Army paratrooper (pictured here on the PCT) has finished 16 of them, covering 19,000 miles in the process. We sent him a care package, including Mountain House meals and Mountainsmith Pyrite trekking poles , to help him on his latest mission,…

1 min
1 hang onto hiking season.

Fall in the mountains is glorious—and bittersweet. The bugs and crowds have abated and the weather is stable, but that’s how you know the end of hiking season is coming. Make it last in the Wasatch Range, where the aspens are starting to light up like Christmas trees. By mid-October, entire slopes will transform overnight. Catch the show by taking the 3-mile Lake Blanche Trail to its namesake tarn, tucked below 10,320-foot Sundial Peak. Photographer Cole Gleave suggests camping here and allowing time to summit Sundial via its east face. It’s about a mile of nontechnical scrambling, but there’s a 300-yard knife-edge ridge at the top. It might slow you down, but that’s OK—if this is the end of your season, you don’t want to hurry. Contactbit.do/twin-peaks-wild…

4 min
boundary waters done right

No. 3 Eat up. Really, go ahead and gorge yourself. It’s what our wild friends are doing this month as they prep for hibernation. Turns out humans aren’t the only species that appreciate an all-youcan-eat buffet. YEARS FROM NOW, Abby will chuckle at the father-daughter “bonding” we enjoyed on Ogishkemuncie Lake in the Boundary Waters last September. As Minnesota’s late-afternoon winds turned a mild rain squall into survival-mode canoeing— with horizontal hail and 4-foot whitecaps—my earlier insistence on fishing just a little bit longer was starting to look like another one of dad’s overambitious miscalculations. We’d enjoyed a successful day hunting walleye, smallmouth, and northern pike with our group of four, but now faced miles of open water to reach camp, an effort that felt as long and arduous as the big…

6 min
pasted: the death march

WE STOPPED TALKING TO EACH other somewhere near Dick Creek. The trail hugged a sun-blasted slope that ran down toward the dirty maw of Mt. Rainier’s Carbon Glacier—a sight that, on a normal day of hiking, would have wowed us. Instead, I watched Brad’s boot heels kick up volcanic dust. I tapped each interminable stone step with my poles. The sun was on the move, but our only map—the cute, illustrative kind from the entrance station—couldn’t tell us how far we had to go. There were no contour lines. We’d already gone the length of a middle finger, and there was at least an index finger left. It started the way all death marches do: unintentionally. Our plan was to backpack 8 miles through a huge, wildflower-studded meadow called Grand Park…

1 min
9 get in the mood.

Go ahead and bring a friend on a hike to 37-foot Mohawk Falls, but be prepared for long periods of silence. The cascade in northeastern Pennsylvania has a way of quieting conversation. “It’s a feast for all your senses,” says photographer Eduardo Di az. On cool October mornings, the cascade’s mist mingles with the fog to create an altogether dreamlike haze, and nothing you can say will be enough. See for yourself on the 7.2-mile Falls Trail loop; Mohawk is near mile .2 (or 7, if you prefer a longer buildup). Set aside at least twice the amount of time you think you’ll need—the path passes 21 cascades. Contactbit.do/ricketts-glen-sp…