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Backpacking 101: Winter Hiking Guide

Usually during the winter months I have the urge to retreat into the coziness of my apartment, but there is something about a snow-covered landscape that brings me such joy and so, even though I’d like to stay in, I head out! In past years I’ve gone on a skiing or winter camping trip about once a month, but this year I’ve made a concerted effort to go on as many winter hikes as the weather allows.

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A Winter Wonderland: Mount St. Helens Summit

I’m not a peak bagger, I don’t suffer from summit fever, and I have no burning desire to stand on top of the highest mountains. I actually prefer looking at mountains from below, staring up at their lofty peaks, being overwhelmed by their impossibly massive walls, and admiring their powerful presence. But, sometimes I make an exception and that is exactly what happened a few weeks ago when Alex and I set out with a group of friends with the goal of summiting Mount St. Helens and skiing off the summit.

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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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