Notes from the trail

Welcome to American Backcountry’s Notes from the Trail. Here we share stories and thoughts from some of our favorite contributors. Each mountain is different and each trip has a different story – these are notes collected along the trail.

Think You’re Leaving No Trace? Here’s Something You Might Have Missed

October 19, 2016

When backpacking in alpine environments, or anywhere for that matter, I’m a stickler for following Leave No Trace principles. Let me rephrase that, I’m a pain in the bottom about it. Yet until recently, I didn’t realize I was inadvertently violating one of those principles – Leave What You Find.   I’ll explain. There is a statement under that subhead that states, “Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.” So I thought this meant stuff I could see and perhaps even intended to haul off. I didn’t think of the dirt on my feet or caked to the chassis of my

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Promoting Conservation in our Everyday Life

October 19, 2016

My life is wildly spinning as of late, but a news story caused me to pause and read when it flittered across my desk this weekend. For the first time ever, bees were placed under the protection of the Endangered Species Act. We’re not talking about wolves or black rhinos; we’re talking about bees. You know, the insect that transfers pollen and seeds from one flower to another, making a large portion of our food possible?   According to the US Fish and Wildlife Services, a species gets added to the Endangered List by evaluating the following criteria:   Has

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My [growing] Collection of Top Utah Hiking Trails by Erika Wiggins, from The Active Explorer

August 23, 2016

In this post I share my top Utah hiking trail posts organized by area, season, difficulty and even one for dogs who hike. Most I published on Ski Utah’s blog under my name or as the “Yeti,” their ultra cool mascot.   The lists are simple collections of the most popular hikes or others I’ve discovered are worth lacing up your boots and strapping on your pack. My goal is to make finding the right trail easy, so I’ve listed dozens of carefully picked hikes instead of hundreds. I don’t know about you, but I get overwhelmed when I’m offered

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Longs Peak: The Keyhole Route by Heather Balogh, From Just A Colorado Gal

August 23, 2016

For years, Longs Peak has been watching me.   In college, I embarked upon the grandiose and delusional plan to climb all of Colorado’s 14ers before graduation. Surprise; it didn’t happen. But, I managed to tick a large number of the peaks off the list before I was 22. Unfortunately, Longs Peak wasn’t one of them, and it wasn’t for lack of trying. We attempted the Loft Route twice: once my partner suffered from some knee pain, and a thunderstorm chased us off the second time.   Years passed and I became less voracious in my quest to conquer all of the

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Appalachian Trail

July 18, 2014

So I am back out on a section hike of the Appalachian Trail this weekend looking to unplug and recharge the mental batteries after a very busy spring.  This year I am looking to knock out 120 miles on the AT and started southbound from a little hamlet called Ceres, VA.  My friend and neighbor Jeff (Cascio) and I (Trailworthy) have  been slogging out sections for a few years now and find we are in same spot so have chosen to join up to make the logistics of section hiking a little easier.   As we trekked south we knew

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Do you #Hikerchat?

July 16, 2014

If you are active on Twitter and the great outdoors, keep up with all your Tweet Chat adventures on Travelogx.   THIS MONTH’S FEATURE FROM @USATodayTravel   Beat the Heat: Swimming Holes, Waterfalls and Lakes Around the USA   From outdoor bloggers, to hiking enthusiasts, thru-hikers, first timers, brands and outdoor non-profits/organizations the #HikerChat group is diverse. At almost any point during the day you can search #HikerChat and find a good conversation centered around the outdoors and hiking. Our home page features these #Hikerchat tweets as they happen. We encourage anyone to participate in sharing tips, tricks, stories and

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Dolly Sods Wilderness

January 1, 2014

Dolly Sods Wilderness Area in Monongahela National Forest Tee Shirt with list of great trails

As we enter into our 20th Anniversary, it has become a time for us to reflect on where we are and how we got here- the mountains we climbed and the storms we hiked through. We hope you will enjoy our new homepage where we will feature new items, our stories from the backcountry, other’s stories from the backcountry and more.   Back in 1989 when I was still a young buck to the professional world I went on a backpacking trip in Dolly Sods Wilderness of West Virginia.  The trip coincided with aftermath of Hurricane Hugo and the wrath

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Hydrating for Extreme Adventure by Erika Wiggins, from The Active Explorer

February 25, 2013

Headaches, nausea, and confusion are wearing you down and you can’t continue. “I have to turn back,” you mumble, calling an end to your bucket-list adventure trip. Months of hard work and training are wasted, and you ask yourself how this could happen. The answer is likely dehydration.   Dehydration, commonly perceived as a heat-related illness, can strike under many other conditions such as high altitude, cold and high-humidity. “Traditionally a 2% or more body water deficit was thought to produce cognitive performance decrements; however, recent literature suggests that even mild dehydration – a body water loss of 1–2% –

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The Reality of Returning Home by Heather Balogh, From Just A Colorado Gal

February 1, 2013

Walking Tals this weekend, it was hard to imagine that I hadn’t seen the gigantic Colorado sky in over a month. Truthfully, it’s almost like we returned from our month-long road trip to a different world. When we left the state in January, knee-high snowdrifts covered our neighborhood with icy ribbons dancing down the sidewalk. Now, Denver is flaunting some ridiculously warm temperatures so birds are chirping, bulbs are blooming and weeds are sprouting in our yard. Quite the contrast from the frigid cold temps I remember a mere 30 days ago!   I spent the entirety of February exploring

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