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Backpacker October 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
hikers without borders

ON A STEEP HILLSIDE above Manang, one of the highest villages on the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal, a lone monk lived in a one-room dwelling made of stone. Locals said he’d taken a vow of silence more than two decades earlier and hadn’t spoken a word since. I climbed up to see the monk when I trekked the route—apparently he had a sweet tooth and appreciated visitors who brought him cookies. I found him sitting in his hut, and he grinned brightly when I deposited the treat on his small wooden table. He raised his hands to bless me, we smiled some more. Not much happened, really, but I remember the moment clearly 30 years later. Travel connects you with people in ways you can’t know until you set off across…

2 min

Free the Parks When Rachel Zurer argued in our August issue (“Free the Parks,” page 75) that the national parks should be free of charge to encourage use of this American birthright, she inspired a flood of Facebook comments, most arguing against getting rid of fees. “Can you imagine the Disneyland-like scene that would happen at the most popular parks?” Ed Callaert wrote. “They are almost un-visitable now in summer.” Lisa O’Toole suggested a possible fix: “How about doing volunteer work for a fee waiver?” she wrote. Bret Harvieux, on the other hand, said it didn’t matter to him. “The NPS can set entrance fees to $500 for all I care,” he wrote. “It’s not going to stop me from coming.” STAYING ALIVE In a desperate situation (page 50), your backpacking kit could…

1 min
hit a hole in one.

Everyone knows Moab is best in fall—that’s why the crowd at Corona Arch looks like a tailgate party. So here’s how to do one better in the October-perfect desert: Jeep Arch, less than 2 miles from Corona as the crow flies, yet still off the radar. The 45-foot-tall window sits undisturbed at the end of a slickrock canyon that’s a fun, 1.8-mile hike in its own right. Find the trailhead about a quarter-mile past the parking lot for Corona (near 38.5785, -109.6363). There, head north through the culvert to cross beneath the railbed, then find the trail splitting the redrock walls to the north. The cairn-marked route snakes up and over dry pouroffs and across the scrubby slickrock to a wide wall at the head of an amphitheater—with a jeep-shaped cutout…

4 min
empire building

Step off the subway and into a wilderness sparkling with lacy waterfalls and craggy summits—all thanks to the Long Path, a 358-mile work in progress stretching from 175th Street to John Boyd Thacher State Park upstate and linking the Hudson Highlands, Shawangunks, and Catskills. The trail is inching its way to the Adirondacks (72 miles to go), but that’s no reason to delay a visit (or five) to its top-tier bits, all aflame with the fall palette this month. THE INSIDER On a weekend trip in 2004, Andy Garrison discovered the Long Path when his 9-year-old son wondered what the “LP” icons all over their map meant. Captivated by the idea of a long-distance trip right in their own backyard, the pair hiked the whole thing over the next two years. Since…

1 min
prepare for winter.

✰ Red Squirrel Will bury anything for pine cones. No questions asked! Quick worker. Very discreet. Contact me: 4.4-mile John Pond Trail, Adirondack Park, NY ✰ Grizzly Bear Single mom looking for some extra fat for the winter. Good at digging dens, lifting heavy objects, and scaring people. Free quotes upon request, just leave my cubs out of it. Contact me: 6.2-mile Pelican Valley Trail, Yellowstone National Park, WY ✰ Beaver I offer pro tree removal services, with a clean job guaranteed. I’m a perfectionist—all I ask for in return is that I get to keep the branches for a personal construction project. Contact me: 10-mile Chapel Loop, Beaver Basin Wilderness, MI ✰ Pika I’m in a hoarding phase and looking to score some tall grasses. I run really, really fast, and I’m a great lookout if you need a scout, no judgment. Contact…

3 min
way off the beaten path

TANDEMSTOCK.COM I SHOVE MY WAY through one last patch of underbrush and the sky opens, revealing a dreamy meadow that unfurls like a runway to the glistening, white hulk of Mt. Rainier. A chain of green hillsides dotted with blue tarns roll over each other all the way to the edge of a glacier on the mountain’s north side. Above, the 14,410-foot summit wears a wispy scarf of clouds. Mt. Rainier National Park is a busy place. Looming above Seattle like a beacon on the horizon, it drew more than 1.4 million visitors in 2017. Of those, more than 55,000 were backpackers—making it the eighth-most popular park for our tribe. With 275 miles of trail to go around, that’s 200 backpackers per trail mile per year. The park has tried to smooth…