Size isn’t everything in a mountain. Neither is topographic prominence, or isolation, or vertical rise, or geologic age, or symmetry, or wildness.
The best mountains, of course, are those that get lodged in your heart so that you feel them even when you’re far away, and lodged in your subconscious so that you dream about them. Maybe it’s the Grand Teton or Denali; maybe it’s that anonymous desert butte or that glorified hillock you keep coming back to—a personal sacred summit, “stats” be damned.
If you’re heading to the backcountry this Thanksgiving, you don’t have to forego a traditional holiday meal just because you’re away from civilization. With a bit of early meal planning and a trip to the grocery store, you can feast on turkey and all the trimmings while you’re enjoying a night under the stars.
With this meal plan, you won’t spend a great amount of time prepping and cooking. But, you might need to pack a few items that aren’t as lightweight as what you’d typically carry into the backcountry. No, you don’t have to tote a Dutch oven, but you might need to carry a few canned goods, as well as extra pots and bowls to prepare and serve all of the food. If possible, eat your Thanksgiving feast the first night of any multi-day trip so you don’t have to carry the food weight for long. Also, you’ll need to adjust the following recipes to suit the size of your group.
There’s nothing quite like hiking during the autumn months. The bugs and crowds of summer have largely disappeared, and the wonderful mix of explosive colors, crisp, nostalgic breezes, and deep blue, cloudless skies have taken their place. Here are 10 amazing hiking destinations that will be perfect for witnessing the change in seasons.
A few months back, I picked up a copy of “Life on the Edge” by Jim Whittaker.
Mt. Rainier is a centerpiece of the first few chapters, which got me curious about the mountain itself. After doing a bit of research, I concluded that it could be a good challenge at this point in my uphill habits.READ MORE
There’s nothing like a scary story or creepy folklore to add some extra spirit to your hike. And there’s no better season than fall—the time for haunts and haints—to point your hiking boots in the direction of the spooky trails across the United States. The these hikes all feature some association with the supernatural (or, in one case, with a resident creature called a “cryptid”), from a little but mighty portentous black dog to a caterwauling spirit giving voice to her grief alongside one of the greatest canyons on the planet.
America’s National Parks are home to beautiful vistas, miles of backcountry adventures—and stories that nightmares are made of. Wait, what? That’s right: Dig a little deeper into the history and legends of these beloved outdoor playgrounds, and you may find yourself quickening your pace on the trail. From creepy creatures to mysterious curses to downright terrifying tales, here are some of the spookiest spots in our national parks.
When you first start camping, it’s not easy to know what you will need. Plus, you have to decide which items you should buy, and what you can rent or borrow from your own household supplies. To help you get started, we’ve put together a list of gear that you should take on any camping trip, whether you’re car camping or backpacking.
Of course, these aren’t necessarily the only things you might want to carry, but these essentials will put you on the path toward a successful camping trip. You can rent most of the equipment here, but if you plan to start camping regularly, some things (like a good tent and water bottles) are worth the investment.
From the rocky outcrops of the Talladega National Forest to the waterfalls of the Sipsey Wilderness, Alabama is home to many excellent backpacking trails that practically beg for an overnight adventure.
If you’ve only done day hikes, however, a longer overnight trek through the backcountry can seem slightly intimidating. But with a little research and planning, your first backpacking trip can be an amazing experience that paves the way for future adventures.
The rewards are well worth the planning and effort. Deep in the woods, you’ll discover the kind of scenery, solitude, and natural wonders that many people never experience. At night, beneath the stars, far away from civilization and crowds, you’ll savor a sense of calm that’s hard to find in today’s fast-paced, tech-saturated world.
To help you launch your first outing, we’ve compiled 10 insider tips to help you plan your route, choose the right gear, and travel comfortably and safely in the backcountry. Follow these guidelines, and your first backpacking trip will likely be the first of many.
For those on the West Coast, 4,000-foot peaks might not even be worth blinking at. Not so, in the East. With our cities, and even most of our trailheads, sitting at less than 1,000 feet above sea level, it’s the comparatively small 4- and 5,000 footers that tower above. But even if these ancient, weathered peaks may be somewhat modest in size compared to the behemoths of the West, it certainly doesn’t make them any less spectacular.READ MORE
There is a string of mountains in Colorado I hold near and dear to my heart, where green high-alpine valleys dotted with wildflowers like confetti meet dizzying rock spires, and steep, grassy hillsides tumble into the shimmering waters of untouched lakes. The effort to reach this pristine wilderness is not for the faint of heart: Getting there often involves steep elevation gains, poorly maintained trails, or sometimes, no trail at all. It took me four years to find these spots, and I could spend a lifetime discovering every valley, ridgeline, and high alpine creek among them.
This glorious sense of discovering something new is at the heart of exploring the wilderness, but it’s getting harder and harder to do these days. People are getting outdoors in record numbers, which is generally a positive, but one downside is the increasing difficulty of finding that “secret” spot that no one knows about. But it’s these very places that keep the adventure alive. Here, a few tricks to finding your secret wilderness spot.READ MORE
What’s better than a vacation on a tropical island, walking barefoot down a soft sandy beach, listening to the soft lapping of waves and seagulls, or spying breaching dolphins and curious seals in the surf? Ditching the beach crowds for your own private wilderness, and forgoing the ritzy resort hotel with its fuzzy bathrobes and redundant oceanside pools for a tent and a bed on the world’s best natural mattress—the sand.READ MORE
What’s a hiker’s worst and most common enemy? Bears? Weather? No! It’s the common, but painful, blister.
Even a short day hike can seem like a death march when you have blisters, but there are ways to prevent this suffering, or at least reduce the pain. The key is to know potential pressure points where a blister can form, and to know how to recognize when one might be forming. Plus, you can take certain precautions before hitting the trail.READ MORE
So there is plenty to be said about the benefits of merino wool! We can talk about it’s ‘fabled warm when wet’ properties. We can talk about the ultra soft, non-itchy texture. Or how about it’s durability and breathability. Even its moisture wicking and temperature regulating properties. All of which have been well documented, tested, and talked about. All of which has made merino wool the most versatile and sought after outdoors fabric… But what about the smell?READ MORE
Even the most experienced hiker has had the unfortunate experience of being out in nature unprepared. Whether it was getting caught in an unexpected storm, having a piece of gear break, or running out of water on a hot day, we’ve all been there. And that’s what inspired the creation of hikeSafe, “a joint program between the White Mountain National Forest (WMNF) and the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department (NHF&G).” Originally developed in 2003, hikeSafe strives to educate people before they head out into the White Mountains and wilderness in New Hampshire.READ MORE
One of the most important things when owning a dog, especially a large breed, is finding the time to exercise them in your busy life. Having a yard is great, but if your dog is anything like mine, she needs true adventure to fulfill that call of the wild. Weekly hikes and walks in the woods are a must for Kya and that time outdoors does wonders for my own health and stress levels as well! There’s many times when Kya being rambunctious inspired a hike that made myday better.READ MORE
For many of us, menu planning for a backpacking trip is a last minute consideration. Stop off at a grocery on the way up to the mountains and grab the essentials: mac and cheese, ramen, oatmeal, and, of course, bars, bars, and more bars. But the longer your hike (around the third day of a backpacking trip is usually when it becomes tough to eat another energy bar), the more important it is to vary your diet, both to maintain a high interest in your food and to keep your energy levels up and active. If you’re planning your first long hike, whether it’s for six days or 60, you’ll want to spend some time considering what to eat, how much, and when.READ MORE
Weekend backpacking trips are one of the greatest gifts of the summer. You can get so much in just two to three days: a breathtaking vista, a serene mountain lake, a secluded old-growth forest. The only problem is that all too soon you’re back at the trailhead, preparing for the long drive home and wondering how you’ll get through five more days before your next big adventure.READ MORE
Hiking the 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail, which begins on Georgia’s Springer Mountain and runs all the way north to Mount Katahdin in Maine, is certainly a hardcore adventure. But making it through the 100-Mile Wilderness in Maine—generally considered the wildest, most remote section—earns another level of bragging rights. Signs posted by the Maine Appalachian Trail Coalition at either end of the trail sum it up nicely:READ MORE
Whether you’re hiking in the mountains, the desert, or anywhere in between, preparation for the natural elements is a big part of planning any outdoor trip. Exposure on a hike can mean many different things, none of them good: lack of shade or shelter, prolonged time spent at altitude or in extreme temperatures, natural obstacles, and biting or stinging insects. They can vary from mild annoyances to possibly life-threatening injuries—and all should be taken seriously. It’s important to reduce your risk where you can and plan for the worst-case scenario when you’re far away from help. Cover these bases, and you’ll be well on your way to making sure you remember your outdoor adventures for the right reasons.READ MORE
Winter doesn’t mean the camping season is over. With proper gear and planning, savvy outdoor lovers can immerse themselves in nature year-round—and savor the solitude and serenity of a winter landscape almost all to themselves. Cold weather camping is quiet and peaceful, and comes at slow, even introspective pace, since most other campers are long gone, but the sunsets are every bit as beautiful, and the campfires are even more comforting. Here’s how to do it, without dropping a bundle on gear.READ MORE
Temperatures flirting with 20 below and winds gusting over 50 miles per hour aren’t exactly what you might expect when you start the drive up I-93 north from Boston under cool, but clear, winter skies. But in just a few hours of driving, you can quickly be transported into what, without hyperbole, can be described as the world’s worst weather.READ MORE
In fact, I couldn’t do much physical activity because of asthma and other health issues. Any moderate exercise would have me gasp for air, like a heavy smoker. Gym class was always challenging for me to the point where I ended up avoiding it entirely in high school. I came to the logical conclusion that sports were just not for me and focused on other hobbies instead.READ MORE