Caring for Alpine Lakes

Pristine alpine lakes – we take them for granted. But in the backcountry, lakes are popular destinations. These areas already have extreme weather conditions and short growing seasons, making them slow growing environments for plant life. It doesn’t take too many footsteps for shorelines to degrade and the water’s edge to become a muddy bog. […]

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Backcountry Campfires

Crackling wood, dancing flames, flickering light – there is no denying the innate appeal of a campfire. But with lightweight, efficient and reliable backcountry stoves doing most of the cooking these days, having a campfire in the backcountry is becoming more of a luxury than a necessity. We rarely have fires when backpacking, but on paddling […]

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Leave What You Find

There are seven major “leave no trace” principles. Number four is “leave what you find.” I broke the rule. Backpacking into a remote subalpine lake was a joy – until we reached the camping area and discovered huge bough beds hacked by a careless backcountry visitor from nearby conifer trees at the lake edge. I couldn’t […]

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National Trails Day

Saturday, June 4th is National Trails Day and there are thousands of planned events across the country and millions of miles of unstructured hiking opportunities for you to enjoy.  The American Hiking Society offers four ways to make the most of the day. 1. Get Active Hike, bike or paddle your favorite trail or discover some place […]

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Hiking Etiquette

Day 1 – we waited with bated breath as the numbers were drawn for the next day’s ten hiking permits. Not ours. Day 2 – an extra ball in the bingo-style draw. No go. Day 3 – three numbers and the confidence it was ours. Not today. Day 4 – the permit had to be […]

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What is a Cairn?

Rocks on rocks – that’s essentially a cairn. But more than that, they are known to be traditional waymarkers that help guide the way. Which way do I go? Piling rocks is a simple, yet effective method of marking a route – and it’s something that is done around the world. The word “cairn”, comes […]

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Trail Etiquette

Have a great ski. Enjoy your day. Thanks! Simple words; simply polite. Even a smile or a nod goes a long way. It’s amazing how many people we pass on ski trails can’t be bothered with the pleasantries of trail etiquette; let alone be willing to move from two or three abreast to single file […]

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Leave No Trace

Tracks in the snow are an unavoidable sign of human presence in the middle of winter. Fortunately, they’ll disappear with the next snowfall, windstorm, or after a few day of hot sun. Energy bar wrappers and metal strips from wax containers are avoidable signs of human presence. They don’t disappear. But picking up garbage is […]

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