Before Blisters

Nothing can take a hiking trip downhill faster than a blistered heel… or toe… or… ball of your foot. Blisters suck. Once you get one on a trip, it’s there for the duration. The good news is that blisters don’t have to happen. How to Prevent Blisters Don’t plan a multi-day backpack trip and then […]

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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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Clouds and Weather Forecasting

It’s a bunny. No, it’s a bird. Wait, now it’s a dragon. Cloud-watching while lazing on an ridgetop can be filled with child-like wonder, but knowing that cirrostratus clouds usually means warm weather and stratocumulus means a cold front is on its way can be a valuable outdoor skill. Cirrostratus? Stratocumulus? Obviously forecasting weather involves […]

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Estimating Hiking Times

We were standing just off the parking lot, looking across the lake where we could see our destination. “It should only take about three hours,” my hiking partner announced. It ended up taking closer to five. Why? The rule of thumb (aka Naismith’s Rule) for coming up with approximate hiking times is 1 hour for […]

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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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River Canoeing 101

Bumper boats are a lot of fun – in amusement parks. Playing around in lakes can also be fun. But when it comes to moving water, learning how to handle your boat properly won’t just keep you dry, it just might save your life. What can go wrong? Whether you’re a novice scrambler, backcountry skier […]

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Backcountry Toilet Talk

How should I… you know… go to the… well… umm…? Let’s cut the crap, we’re all human with basic human needs for relieving ourselves of waste. But how is one supposed to properly go about this business in the backcountry? If you’re fortunate enough to stay at a backcountry hut with a pit toilet, the […]

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Finding Your Hiking Route

There are many ways to find your way in the backcountry. There are trails marked by signs with individual trails named and well-graveled routes that are easy to follow. Other trails have occasional markers along the trail that let hikers know they’re on the right path. Alpine areas may have cairns or poles or bright […]

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