Backcountry Sights https://backcountrysights.com Photos and stories from the outdoors Mon, 12 Feb 2018 01:54:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.4 https://backcountrysights.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/cropped-favicon-1-200x200.png Backcountry Sights https://backcountrysights.com 32 32 Cottonwood / Marble Canyon Loop https://backcountrysights.com/cottonwood-marble-canyon-loop/ https://backcountrysights.com/cottonwood-marble-canyon-loop/#comments Sat, 13 Jan 2018 17:00:55 +0000 https://backcountrysights.com/?p=6575

I crunch through the gravely soil and am startled when a gray blur speeds out from behind some sagebrush. The small mammal continues to bound away as I shout, "jackrabbit!" Its quite large for a rabbit - much larger than the ones that live in the flat grasslands of northern Indiana. We're also on the lookout for kangaroo rats but don't see any, though I do spot another small herd of wild horses on the ridge!

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Morgan-Monroe SF: Low Gap Trail https://backcountrysights.com/low-gap-trail/ https://backcountrysights.com/low-gap-trail/#respond Sat, 16 Dec 2017 17:00:43 +0000 https://backcountrysights.com/?p=6350

When I received an email on the Purdue Outing Club mailing list about a backpacking trip in mid-December, I was not immediately enthusiastic. However, after noting that the weather forecast called for sunshine and temperatures in the upper 40’s, I warmed to the idea. The plan was to hike the Low Gap Trail, a 10-mile […]

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Shades State Park https://backcountrysights.com/shades-state-park/ https://backcountrysights.com/shades-state-park/#comments Sat, 02 Dec 2017 17:00:52 +0000 https://backcountrysights.com/?p=6333

I struggle to make time for hiking during the academic school year. It seems like there is always something going on, and it’s easier to stay in town on the weekends and liesurely tick chores off of my to-do list than travel to a trail and go hiking. However, when the forecast predicted a December weekend […]

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Spelunking in Doghill-Donnehue Cave https://backcountrysights.com/doghill-donnehue-cave-spelunking/ https://backcountrysights.com/doghill-donnehue-cave-spelunking/#comments Sat, 23 Sep 2017 16:00:52 +0000 http://backcountrysights.com/?p=5955

I wait my turn to try squirming through the minuscule passageway. One guy gets stuck for a minute or two but manages to free himself with some coaching from the others. I remove my helmet as I crawl forward; the tunnel is no more than 12-inches tall and my head doesn't really fit with the helmet on. In fact, if I want to keep my eyes looking forward, I have to turn my head sideways.

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Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness Loop https://backcountrysights.com/mark-o-hatfield-wilderness-loop/ https://backcountrysights.com/mark-o-hatfield-wilderness-loop/#respond Fri, 25 Aug 2017 16:00:45 +0000 http://backcountrysights.com/?p=6040

It's a warm, sunny morning in Cascade Locks on the banks of the Columbia River. Diane and I pull our packs from the trunk of the rental car in a small parking lot beneath the Bridge of the Gods. The Columbia River is not swift, but it is massive. Its serpentine form disappears into the hazy morning air far to the east and west of the bridge. On our side of the river, pine-covered slopes rise steeply toward the sky, forming one side of the Columbia River Gorge. We're both eager to get going, so we shoulder our packs, cross a busy street and stride up a grassy slope toward the trailhead.

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John Muir Trail – At Altitude https://backcountrysights.com/john-muir-trail-altitude/ https://backcountrysights.com/john-muir-trail-altitude/#respond Mon, 07 Aug 2017 16:00:15 +0000 http://backcountrysights.com/?p=5875

As I navigate the switchbacks, I leave the lakes, trees, and then vegetation in general behind. The climb is hard work, but I'm rewarded with incredible views and a sense of adventure; there's something inherently gratifying about trekking through this barren alpine landscape. Even though the trail is clearly defined, it feels as though nobody else has ever been here.

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John Muir Trail – Rainy Days https://backcountrysights.com/john-muir-trail-rainy-days/ https://backcountrysights.com/john-muir-trail-rainy-days/#respond Thu, 03 Aug 2017 16:00:19 +0000 http://backcountrysights.com/?p=5869

To read about earlier or later segments of my John Muir Trail thru-hike, use the navigation links below. Beginning Resupplies Rain Altitude Ascent to Evolution Lake August 3, 2017 | 17.1 mi | +4100′ / -1100′ | View On Map My watch alarm beeps annoyingly at 5:30, alerting me that it’s time to get up. […]

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John Muir Trail – Between Resupplies https://backcountrysights.com/john-muir-trail-resupplies/ https://backcountrysights.com/john-muir-trail-resupplies/#comments Mon, 31 Jul 2017 16:00:13 +0000 http://backcountrysights.com/?p=5798

I hike the John Muir Trail from Red's Meadow to Muir Trail Ranch, crossing Silver Pass and Selden pass along the way. Part 2 of 4 of my JMT thru-hike.

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John Muir Trail – An Alternate Beginning https://backcountrysights.com/john-muir-trail-alternate-beginning/ https://backcountrysights.com/john-muir-trail-alternate-beginning/#comments Wed, 26 Jul 2017 16:00:06 +0000 http://backcountrysights.com/?p=5706

Unable to acquire a permit to begin the John Muir Trail at the usual trailhead, Dad and I begin at an alternate location and trek to the famous route.

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Snow-Ready 2017 JMT Gear List https://backcountrysights.com/jmt-gear-list-2017/ https://backcountrysights.com/jmt-gear-list-2017/#comments Tue, 18 Jul 2017 12:00:47 +0000 http://www.backcountrysights.com/?p=5230

To prepare for a thru-hike of the John Muir Trail (JMT) this summer, I've been examining my backpacking gear and identifying ways to cut weight where I can. My setup is not as light as it could be, but I've made a lot of progress since last year. I've had to adjust a few items to accommodate the heavy snowfall the Sierra Nevada received this winter, but this list is generally applicable for any backpacking trip.

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