Backpacking – Backcountry Sights https://backcountrysights.com Photos and stories from the outdoors Sat, 13 Apr 2019 03:16:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.1.1 https://backcountrysights.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/cropped-favicon-1-200x200.png Backpacking – Backcountry Sights https://backcountrysights.com 32 32 123251974 Backpacking Along the Teton Crest https://backcountrysights.com/backpacking-along-the-teton-crest/ https://backcountrysights.com/backpacking-along-the-teton-crest/#comments Mon, 27 Aug 2018 01:30:11 +0000 https://backcountrysights.com/?p=7460 The trail soon departs the airy ridge and begins descending, gradually at first but then more steeply, toward Alaska Basin. Along the way, Diane and I pass strange metamorphic rock that seems almost fluid, like the rippled surface of a slate-grey lake frozen in time. The entire plateau is covered with small, tile-sized pieces of the stuff as well as the occasional plinth protruding from the surface. Stranger yet, holes a few meters across and 1-2 meters deep lie scattered across the landscape; are these related to the volcanic history? Perhaps collapsed lava tubes? Yet another oddity: a murder of 30 or 40 crows sit perched on various rocks across the plateau, with a few floating just above the ground, riding the stiff wind like kites. Do they nest up here? Why are they all sitting around? I have so many questions and so few answers.

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The High Uinta Wilderness https://backcountrysights.com/high-uinta-wilderness/ https://backcountrysights.com/high-uinta-wilderness/#comments Sun, 19 Aug 2018 02:00:16 +0000 https://backcountrysights.com/?p=7590 Unlike many trailheads, this one is perched high in the mountains at 10,370'. With such a lofty starting point, the first mile of our trip is actually downhill, an easy beginning to the trek. The weather this morning is perfect: bright sunshine bathes the landscape, a light breeze wafts through the pines, and a few fluffy clouds drift overhead.

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Sierra High Route: Lake Country https://backcountrysights.com/sierra-high-route-lake-country/ https://backcountrysights.com/sierra-high-route-lake-country/#respond Wed, 08 Aug 2018 02:00:16 +0000 https://backcountrysights.com/?p=7400 From Cotton Lake, I follow Roper's instructions to descend a steep grassy slope to Izaak Walton Lake. The route instructions are oddly specific, but I understand why when I reach the lakeshore; most of the lake is surrounded by unassailable granite cliffs. Strolling around the southern shore, I can't help but admire the glassy water reflecting the nearby cliffs and distant, sunlit peaks.

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Sierra High Route: Whitebark Country https://backcountrysights.com/sierra-high-route-whitebark-country/ https://backcountrysights.com/sierra-high-route-whitebark-country/#respond Sun, 05 Aug 2018 02:00:06 +0000 https://backcountrysights.com/?p=7398 I soon locate the next landmark on the Sierra High Route: Lake Frances, a massive lake hiding up here above Evolution Valley. As I wander through the hilly terrain surrounding Lake Frances, I discover several other small ponds, twisted whitebark pines, and boulders scattered all around, the definition of pristine Sierra Nevada wilderness.

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Sierra High Route: Cirque Country https://backcountrysights.com/sierra-high-route-cirque-country/ https://backcountrysights.com/sierra-high-route-cirque-country/#respond Fri, 03 Aug 2018 00:44:05 +0000 https://backcountrysights.com/?p=7396 The views from the top of Potluck Pass prove to be well worth the effort. Ridge after ridge of serrated granite mountains stretch across the western horizon in front of me. Somewhere below is the John Muir Trail, that thoroughfare through the Sierra Nevada. The thought that dozens of excited hikers are passing by just a few miles away with absolutely no knowledge of this fantastic vista is a bit humbling; these mountains are vast and complex, and there will likely always be new spots and vistas to discover!

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Pine Creek to Piute Pass Thru Hike https://backcountrysights.com/pine-creek-piute-pass-thru-hike/ https://backcountrysights.com/pine-creek-piute-pass-thru-hike/#comments Sun, 22 Jul 2018 16:00:53 +0000 https://backcountrysights.com/?p=7292 A handful of small streams wind through the meadowlands, feeding the numerous lakes below. The evening light plays across the peaks, including the magnificent form of Mount Humphreys. The juxtaposition of the stormy clouds and soft light make for some great sights and photo opportunities!

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Sierra High Route: A First Taste https://backcountrysights.com/sierra-high-route-first-taste/ https://backcountrysights.com/sierra-high-route-first-taste/#comments Sun, 08 Jul 2018 12:00:50 +0000 https://backcountrysights.com/?p=7138 By the time we reach the top, Amanda and I are both exhausted. Breathing heavily, we take in the view and start laughing. Laughing at the ridiculousness of the fact that we're miles from the nearest trail, laughing at the terrain we have to cross next, a difficult slope of loose talus, laughing at the mind-numbing grandeur of the peaks that surround us; fear, awe, despair, excitement, exhaustion, pride... all kinds of emotions wrapped up in laughter. It's far too soon to continue hiking, so we sit for a while and admire the views while building the resolve necessary to navigate the next section of the Sierra High Route.

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A Night Atop Cucamonga Peak https://backcountrysights.com/cucamonga-peak-overnight/ https://backcountrysights.com/cucamonga-peak-overnight/#respond Sat, 23 Jun 2018 11:00:11 +0000 https://backcountrysights.com/?p=7068 With waning daylight, we set up our tents and cook/eat some dinner. The summit of Cucamonga Peak supplies tons of fantastic campsites, some beneath trees, others out in the open among rocks and chaparral. Coco and I set up our tent near a small stand of pines, but David and Nihal opt for a spot with more expansive views.

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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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