Forums Latest Auctions Members

A thread for backpackers

  1. Dan S

    Dan S Jul 8, 2019

    Posts
    4,361
    Likes
    10,954
    I'm sure there are many other OF members who love camping and hiking, so I thought I would start a thread for photos, tips, or anything related to backpacking. Please share your experiences!

    I'll start. While I did some car camping as a child and had one or two backpacking experiences in my teens and twenties, it wasn't until I moved to the mountains nearly 20 years ago that exploring the wilderness became a favorite activity. Many years of trial-and-error and exploration followed, and happily, despite the effects of aging, I am still able to spend time in the mountains each summer. The majority of my backpacking consists of 3-4 day solo trips, with canine companionship, although now and then I can tempt my wife or a friend to come along. My favorite places are high-country Colorado wilderness areas, where I can hike in and achieve complete isolation at timberline for a few days. I have gradually become more minimalist in what I carry, which has made a huge difference in my enjoyment of the experience, and also caused me to become a bit of a gear-head.

    To kick things off, here are some photos of my first 2019 trip, which covered about 50 miles over 4 days in the South San Juan Wilderness area in southern Colorado. It's a beautiful place and a great place to explore. It's also far enough off the beaten path that it isn't heavily trafficked; except for the immediate vicinity of the trailhead, I saw only one party of four hikers during my trip.

    After a long drive, I hiked in to camp at an alpine meadow.
    IMG_3228.jpg

    The next day started with a detour around Alverjones Lake with my seasoned hiking companion Zelda.
    IMG_3230.jpg

    The terrain in this wilderness has a lot of plateaus at 11,000-12,000 ft, split by a series of valleys. The high country is mostly rolling, with sparse forest.
    IMG_3231.jpg

    Ruybalid Lake would be a great spot to camp someday.
    IMG_3234.jpg

    Ruybalid Lake from above.
    IMG_3241.jpg

    Farther from the Continental Divide, there were only patches of snow in shady spots.
    IMG_3238.jpg

    As I moved towards the Continental Divide, the patches of snow became more frequent and the drainages were running high.
    IMG_3244.jpg

    Lovely campsite at Victoria Lake.
    IMG_3247.jpg

    Facing 5 miles of postholing on my planned route, I decided on a change of plans.
    IMG_3250.jpg

    Third campsite at a really beautiful off-trail lake with lots of trout. DM for details. ;)
    IMG_3255.jpg

    Cozy in the tent.
    IMG_3268.jpg

    A valley meadow on the return to the trailhead.
    IMG_3269.jpg
     
    Edited Jul 8, 2019
    inchpincher, DiiQue, w154 and 48 others like this.
  2. The Father

    The Father Jul 8, 2019

    Posts
    1,602
    Likes
    8,276
    Nice.
    What kinda bear spray do you carry
     
    Dan S likes this.
  3. CJpickup57

    CJpickup57 Jul 8, 2019

    Posts
    490
    Likes
    994
    I am not missing the opportunity...

    I carry:

    A935739B-B4BF-457E-B262-A7AB08DFD51B.jpeg

    That looks like an awesome trip. Would love to do that sometime. Hopefully my son will be interested in doing it with me when he gets a littler older (currently 5). I grew up on 64 acres getting lost in the woods till I figured out how to use a compass and pay attention to landmarks. I love getting out into the woods.
     
    Dan S likes this.
  4. JwRosenthal

    JwRosenthal Jul 8, 2019

    Posts
    2,532
    Likes
    4,388
    This is what life is about Dan! Good on you for exploring the wonders we have all around us. Anyone who actually spends time outdoors finds themselves awed by the majesty of our planet and emboldened to take on those who play fast and loose with its fragility.
    Although my days of tenting are behind me (had to do it for work- I’ll take fluffy towels and high thread count sheets any day now thanks), I still love a good “glamping” whenever I get the chance.
    And tips- do not bring anything with you that you don’t mind losing...that means only one watch strapped to your arm!
     
    Dan S likes this.
  5. Dan S

    Dan S Jul 8, 2019

    Posts
    4,361
    Likes
    10,954
    Ahh ... right to the heart of the matter. ;)

    Fortunately, we don't have brown/grizzly bears in Colorado, and the local black bears are not generally aggressive. We also have a lot of mountain lions, but they are rarely seen. It's true, one occasionally hears about weird attacks or other events, but the probability is minuscule; they almost all occur in jam-packed national park campgrounds where food/trash is regularly found. Not in the backcountry. When I first started backpacking, I did carry bear spray. However, even at the time, I had serious doubts about whether it would really be effective during an actual attack. Hundreds of nights in the wilderness later, I no longer bother to carry it. Some people do, and some people carry a sidearm as well. Not to be glib, but spending time in the backcountry involves calculated risks. One can't possibly carry everything needed to be perfectly comfortable and safe. And since my approach is minimalist, I have pared back to the essentials. Severe weather, injury, and serious navigational errors (and combinations of the three) are my biggest concerns.
     
    Edited Jul 8, 2019
  6. Dan S

    Dan S Jul 8, 2019

    Posts
    4,361
    Likes
    10,954
    He's almost old enough to start developing an appreciation for it. Car camping for a night, and if that goes well, an overnight where you hike in half a mile somewhere. It sounds like nothing, but it will seem like an incredible adventure to him.
     
  7. Dan S

    Dan S Jul 8, 2019

    Posts
    4,361
    Likes
    10,954
    A few nights in a tent makes you appreciate the luxuries that much more! And I always wear my trusty G-Shock DW-5600. It's a classic.
     
    nlogax likes this.
  8. JwRosenthal

    JwRosenthal Jul 8, 2019

    Posts
    2,532
    Likes
    4,388
    Totally agreed. Like Ass- warmers in a car on the east coast are not a luxury, they are a necessity. Once you live without them you appreciate them that much more :thumbsup:
     
    Dan S likes this.
  9. Observer

    Observer Jul 8, 2019

    Posts
    407
    Likes
    963
    We’re car camping right now. I lived a lot of years in the Sierra Nevadas (Mammoth Lakes) and backpacked when it wasn’t ski season. We even did a bit of backcountry ski packing. I’ll get the kid out there this year now that she’s old enough to carry some of her stuff. Love what you have in Colorado. There’s a youtuber called fireboxstove I used to watch for the Colorado fishing.
     
    Japanred and Dan S like this.
  10. Observer

    Observer Jul 8, 2019

    Posts
    407
    Likes
    963
    5622DC2C-13C5-4829-A0EB-F1C08F34079F.jpeg Obligatory pic with the camping watch from Barview Jetty CG on the Oregon coast.
     
    Spruce, Alpha, AveConscientia and 6 others like this.
  11. Dan S

    Dan S Jul 8, 2019

    Posts
    4,361
    Likes
    10,954
    The Sierras are spectacular.

    We do some alpine touring in the winter but we only overnight in the huts. No snow caves for me.
     
    Edited Jul 8, 2019
  12. KAP

    KAP Jul 8, 2019

    Posts
    210
    Likes
    507
    Looks like a great trip DanS. The Colorado Rockies are beautiful.

    The older I get the more I rely on lightweight gear and minimalist approach to backcountry trips. So continuing with the thread topic…

    For years, my wife and I head out on backpack trips of 7 to 10ish days in Alaska’s backcountry. Here’s a recent August trip in northern Alaska where my wife, a friend, and I flew to the headwaters of a river in the Brooks Range, day hiked from our base camp for several days before backpacking downriver to where there was sufficient flow to float in our whitewater packrafts for 3 days back to the road.

    This trip is in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Due to the 2017 Tax Act legislation, a part of the Arctic Refuge is to be opened for the first time to oil and gas drilling later this year.

    Here's some trip photos:
    Drop off on a tundra bench strip to begin our trip
    20120821_IMG_0614.JPG

    4 days of day hiking from our base camp 20120822_IMG_0630.JPG 20120822_IMG_0629.JPG

    Grizzly tracks in the silt along the river
    20120823_IMG_0666.JPG

    Back to base camp way over there
    20120822_IMG_0652.JPG

    Aufeis remnants with a mineral seep next to it
    20120822_IMG_0641.JPG

    A shed caribou antler and wolf track next to it.
    20120823_IMG_0659.JPG

    We backpacked 20 miles downstream until we found enough water to start floating. Here's a photo from my individual raft with my backpack tied to the front tube and a packraft downriver of me.
    20120828_IMG_0738.JPG

    Catching Arctic Char for dinner
    20120825_IMG_0705.JPG

    Drying gear out in camp after a couple days of rain and snow (looks like something exploded).
    20120828_IMG_0742.JPG

    Last day on the river. 30 miles later we get back to the haul road.
    20120828_IMG_0757.JPG
     
  13. JwRosenthal

    JwRosenthal Jul 8, 2019

    Posts
    2,532
    Likes
    4,388
    Grew up in LA and Big Bear & Arrowhewd were monthly treks with my parents. Skiing in Aspen and Vail every winter (back then both towns were sawdust on bar floors and rustic cabin mountain towns- not Gucci and Prada store towns). When in college at Cal we would drive to Tahoe for skiing every other weekend during the winter and down to Big Sur for hiking in the spring/summer/fall- that part of the country is magical.
    For any of our friends on the other side of the pond, if you ever make it to the US, bypass the tourist crap and head directly to the Pacific Northwest- you may not ever want to go back.
     
    Edited Jul 8, 2019
  14. CJpickup57

    CJpickup57 Jul 8, 2019

    Posts
    490
    Likes
    994
    We started the back yard camping this year. We pack the day before and then we head to our local corner store for snacks and ice the day of. Anything not packed in the car when we leave for the store we go without for the evening, so as to teach him the importance of necessary items and responsibility. So far, he really likes it. We have a fire and cook over the coals/fire or use my Coleman stove. So far, so good :thumbsup:.
     
    DaveK, KAP, JwRosenthal and 2 others like this.
  15. Dan S

    Dan S Jul 8, 2019

    Posts
    4,361
    Likes
    10,954
    What an awesome adventure and fantastic scenery. Alaska looks like a really amazing place ... nothing like it.
     
    KAP likes this.
  16. Dan S

    Dan S Jul 8, 2019

    Posts
    4,361
    Likes
    10,954
    Looks like you're having some nice weather!
     
  17. The Father

    The Father Jul 8, 2019

    Posts
    1,602
    Likes
    8,276
    How is cellphone coverage out in hills? Sat phone?
     
  18. The Father

    The Father Jul 8, 2019

    Posts
    1,602
    Likes
    8,276
    Bear were usually the least of my fears
    I hate rattlesnakes and high desert mountains
    upload_2019-7-8_17-20-42.jpeg
     
    Spruce, DaveK, voere and 4 others like this.
  19. Dan S

    Dan S Jul 8, 2019

    Posts
    4,361
    Likes
    10,954
    There is virtually never cell phone coverage, even at trailheads. I carry a satellite communicator for emergency use that allows me to send text messages or trigger an SOS. This is the one I have. Very compact (4" x 2" and 3.5oz) and it has the functions I need.
    [​IMG]
     
    lando, voere, waldo951 and 6 others like this.
  20. The Father

    The Father Jul 8, 2019

    Posts
    1,602
    Likes
    8,276
    Nice deal. I was worried a note in Zelda’s collar and “go get help” was the method.

    Very jealous of your hiking. My highlight is going to the mailbox.