Backcountry Sights https://backcountrysights.com Photos and stories from the outdoors Mon, 18 Jun 2018 14:09:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.6 https://backcountrysights.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/cropped-favicon-1-200x200.png Backcountry Sights https://backcountrysights.com 32 32 Mount Lowe via the Sam Merrill Trail https://backcountrysights.com/mount-lowe-via-sam-merrill-trail/ https://backcountrysights.com/mount-lowe-via-sam-merrill-trail/#respond Mon, 18 Jun 2018 10:00:47 +0000 https://backcountrysights.com/?p=6896

The Sam Merrill trail is a popular route for Altadena and Pasadena residents. From the trailhead, a short 2.5-mile walk delivers a hiker to Echo Mountain; walk another 2.5 miles further into the mountains and you reach Inspiration Point, a covered seating area with great views of Los Angeles. Having hiked up to Echo Mountain and Inspiration Point a few years ago, I decided to walk a bit further today and visit the summit of Mount Lowe. With a total distance of 13 miles and an elevation change of 4000 feet, this loop is a great day hike!

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Acadia National Park Day Hikes https://backcountrysights.com/acadia-national-park-day-hikes/ https://backcountrysights.com/acadia-national-park-day-hikes/#comments Mon, 28 May 2018 19:30:32 +0000 https://backcountrysights.com/?p=6853

Over two million visitors travel to Acadia National Park each year to visit the patchwork of islands, mountains, and seaside villages. The 47,000+ acres of conserved land are mostly forested, offering plenty of shade in the summer and beautiful color in the autumn. I visited in late May with a group of friends, just before the summer season kicked off on Memorial Day. Here are the highlights from our hikes along some of the park's most iconic trails.

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McInnis Canyons NCA: Rattlesnake Arches https://backcountrysights.com/mcinnis-canyons-nca-rattlesnake-arches/ https://backcountrysights.com/mcinnis-canyons-nca-rattlesnake-arches/#respond Wed, 09 May 2018 12:00:16 +0000 https://backcountrysights.com/?p=6801

As I round the bend, my boredom evaporates and I gape at the landscape in front of me: massive cliffs, ranging in color from tan to dark red, with the familiar smattering of dark green pines and junipers. On the opposing canyon walls, I spot a few arches and spires, dwarfed by the sheer size of Rattlesnake Canyon. It's an incredible vista, well worth the long walk.

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Colorado National Monument Day Hikes https://backcountrysights.com/colorado-national-monument-day-hikes/ https://backcountrysights.com/colorado-national-monument-day-hikes/#comments Tue, 08 May 2018 16:00:43 +0000 https://backcountrysights.com/?p=6769

Located just a few miles off the interstate, Colorado National Monument boasts sweeping canyon vistas, impressive stone monoliths, and plenty of hiking options. A campground nestled among the juniper and pinyon pine trees is a few tenths of a mile from the most impressive views, and the Visitor Center offers similarly excellent access to incredible vistas. I spent a day visiting the various overlooks and hiking a few trails; I certainly didn't see everything and would love to return again to see more!

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Smoky Mountains Winter Backpacking: Part II https://backcountrysights.com/smoky-mountains-winter-backpacking-ii/ https://backcountrysights.com/smoky-mountains-winter-backpacking-ii/#respond Wed, 14 Mar 2018 12:00:30 +0000 https://backcountrysights.com/?p=6743

We refill our water bottles at the nearby spring, and several of us take advantage of the privy at Double Spring shelter; there isn’t one at Silers Bald. While waiting, I spy a tent-shaped patch of grass out in the sunshine and walk over to investigate. To my great pleasure, I discover that the grass is dry! I waste no time stretching out on the snow-free, sun-bathed turf and sigh with satisfaction. This is the life.

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Smoky Mountains Winter Backpacking: Part I https://backcountrysights.com/smoky-mountains-winter-backpacking-i/ https://backcountrysights.com/smoky-mountains-winter-backpacking-i/#respond Sun, 11 Mar 2018 12:00:24 +0000 https://backcountrysights.com/?p=6632

Further up the trail we take shelter under some trees to eat lunch and rest. A few minutes after we've all made ourselves comfortable, a blast of wind shakes the trees and showers us with snow, eliciting gasps. We don't stay long; it's nice to rest, but walking keeps us warm!

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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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