Blog

Backpacking 101: Personal Hygiene in the Backcountry

Back with another addition to my Backpacking 101 series! This time we're going to talk about personal hygiene. How clean (or dirty) you want to be in the backcountry is entirely up to you, and possibly how much stench your companions are willing to endure. Some people love to embrace the dirtiness but others like to try to stay as fresh as possible. This post will include some tips you can choose to follow or ignore based on where you fall on the cleanliness spectrum!

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Backpacking to Dusy Basin in Kings Canyon National Park

After Alex’s and my trip to Sahale Glacier we decided to head south for a quick mini-moon backpacking trip in the Sierra. We were hoping that we would have more luck than we did in Washington and that we would get to experience more fall weather. Well, it turns out our trip to Kings Canyon National Park was a repeat of our trip to the North Cascades, but that doesn’t mean it was a bust. Far from it! Once again we were able to experience the height of fall colors and then wake up to a fresh dusting of snow on the peaks.

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Sun and Summer Snow: Backpacking the Teton Crest Trail

As Alex and I neared Jackson the sky grew dark and angry, sending down torrents of rain that our faulty windshield wipers had trouble mopping away. We were on our way to pick up our backcountry permits for the Teton Crest Trail, permits I had applied for the moment they became available for reservation on January 3, 2018. After nearly eight months of anticipation it became an increasing reality that the weather could foil the hike I had spent more than half a year dreaming about.

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Kayaking through the West Arm of Glacier Bay National Park

“We’re ahead of schedule, get your stuff ready to go. Now!” One of the deckhands barked as she appeared out of nowhere and startled us. Alex and I hadn’t finished eating our lunch yet so we scarfed down the last few bites of our sandwiches and quickly headed to the deck below to gather our 13 dry bags and 3 stuffed-to-the-brim bear canisters. Standing at the bow of the boat, with a pile of gear at our feet Alex started up his camera and pointed it at me, “how are you feeling?”

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Backpacking Coyote Gulch

The main goal of Alex's and my trip to Escalante was to tackle a backpacking route we’ve been wanting to do for awhile: Coyote Gulch. The gulch is 25 miles long and drains into the Escalante River which in turn drains into the Colorado River. Coyote Gulch is located in central, southern Utah so it had some similarities to the Paria Canyon hike but it was also different enough that it didn't feel repetitive. 

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Squeezing Through the Slot Canyons of Escalante

“Where are we supposed to go? Do we go over or under these rocks?” Alex asked. I looked around at our surroundings, to either of our sides towering sandstone walls shot up from the ground and surrounded us, enclosing us into a space no more than a couple feet across, ahead of us was a pile of fallen boulders that looked impenetrable, it seemed we hit a dead end. I fished my phone out of my pocket and consulted my AllTrails route. A flashing blue dot that indicated our location was nearly on top of the waypoint marked “tight squeeze”. 

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Backpacking 101: 10 Blunders to Avoid on Your First Backpacking Trip

Since I get many questions from readers asking how they can begin backpacking I've decided to put together a "Backpacking 101" series where I will share posts that will hopefully make the overwhelming process of getting into backpacking just a bit more manageable. Last week I shared all of the gear I use backpacking and this week I will share all of the mistakes that are easy for beginning backpackers to make so you can avoid them! 

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Backpacking 101: My Backpacking Gear

One of the more frequently asked questions I receive is "What gear do you take backpacking?" My gear closet is a constant evolution, I'm always trying new pieces (I still am not sure I have found a water filtering system I love) and upgrading old, heavy gear I bought when I first started backpacking. However, I know how overwhelming it can be when you walk into REI to buy backpacking gear for the first time only to discover the store feels like a bottomless pit and wait, there are how many different tents?!

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Crater Lake Circumnavigation Attempt

In May of 2016 Alex and I visited Crater Lake for the first time. We hadn't done much research so we were surprised to find most of the park still buried in snow and the entire length of the rim road was not yet open so we were confined to the Rim Village and a few miles of road along the West Rim. We visited over Memorial Day weekend and it seemed thousands of others had the same idea as us as the park was filled to the brim with visitors.

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