Backcountry Retreats

It doesn’t take much distance to lose the crowds. After joining friends in an established campground, we headed out into the backcountry. Over the course of the next five days, we saw a grand total of three day hikers on day one and three people at a horse outfitters camp and two travellers on horseback on day four. That’s it, that’s all.

You might think we were in a remote or difficult to access location. Nope. One night we were only five and a half miles from a frontcountry campground. The trail to our camping area that evening was an old roadbed used to access a coal mine.

You might think we were in a less than spectacular hiking destination. Check out the picture below!

A blissful backcountry retreat. (Photo: B.Kopp)

The truth is that some areas are loved… to death. There are countless backcountry areas that are as spectacular as those “top 10” locales – perhaps even more so when you add in the value of having it all to yourself.

4 tips for getting away from it all:

  1. Know how to use a map and compass
  2. Accept that routes will be strewn with fallen logs, unbridged stream crossings and muddy stretches.
  3. Be prepared to scramble and gain a little elevation.
  4. Go where the popular hiking guidebooks don’t go!

The only difference between a “top 10” hike and an “off-the-beaten-track” escape can be as simple as the amount of effort it takes to get there.

© 2011

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