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Hiking & Backpacking

Post about your trip planning, post-trip reports, pics, gear, whatever...

Here's a pic of me crossing a creek from a few years back. (holy sh!t that was cold)



My favorite summer pastime finally gets underway in about 24 hours. A very heavy snow year has caused a few changes to our itinerary, but we are planning to stay in a meadow for 4 days with some day hiking exploration to some high elevation lakes. I anticipate quite a bit of snow at the lakes, hence the idea of camping at a lower elevation.
 
I just did my first backpacking hike last weekend. It was only 1 night, but a good one. I've done a lot of day hikes over the last 6-7 years, but never an overnight. Did Owl's Head Mtn in the White Mountains (NH). I'm working my way through the 4000 footers list (this was #28 of 48). We hiked 7 relatively flat miles (including a bushwhack to avoid 2 difficult water crossings), set up our tent, switched to small packs, and walked another mile to the base of the Owl's Head slide. The slide was no joke (1500ft elev in 1mile) - done a few slides like this in the past (Tripyramids) but nothing ever truly prepares you to come down something that steep with loose gravel/scree. Fortunately made it back to our tent just as thunderstorms started. Then the next day we walked out in more t-storms. All in all, a great trip, but I'm much more excited for our next overnight later this summer, the Bonds traverse, since there are actually amazing views. Owl's Head is a hike I'll never forget though.
 
I just did my first backpacking hike last weekend. It was only 1 night, but a good one. I've done a lot of day hikes over the last 6-7 years, but never an overnight. Did Owl's Head Mtn in the White Mountains (NH). I'm working my way through the 4000 footers list (this was #28 of 48). We hiked 7 relatively flat miles (including a bushwhack to avoid 2 difficult water crossings), set up our tent, switched to small packs, and walked another mile to the base of the Owl's Head slide. The slide was no joke (1500ft elev in 1mile) - done a few slides like this in the past (Tripyramids) but nothing ever truly prepares you to come down something that steep with loose gravel/scree. Fortunately made it back to our tent just as thunderstorms started. Then the next day we walked out in more t-storms. All in all, a great trip, but I'm much more excited for our next overnight later this summer, the Bonds traverse, since there are actually amazing views. Owl's Head is a hike I'll never forget though.
Awesome, I'd love to hike in NE someday. Our trip tomorrow is about 8+ gradual miles. Then a fairly steep 4-5 miles to the upper meadow on Thursday. Depending on how extensive the snowpack is, we will day hike to about 7000+ feet on Friday and Saturday. I don't mind hiking on a few inches of snow. But I have no desire to posthole...

One plus of backpacking here in far Northern California is that thunderstorms are not common. Out of all of my trips over the last 20+ years, I've only experienced one. It was awesome and scary at the same time! There were some around us on our hike out last year. I was a little nervous hiking out on an exposed ridgeline, but the storms never really got close.
 
I find that hiking on hard packed snow/ice with microspikes is sometimes actually easier than the same trail without snow. obviously posting is a concern though, especially with a heavy pack. we hiked Mt. Pierce in NH a couple months back and there was still monorail, but it was quickly deteriorating. In some spots the ice was just barely wide enough for a boot, which made for a pretty shitty experience when someone came the other direction. But I do enjoy hiking on snow/ice in shorts.

Fortunately, the t-storms we had last weekend were while we were at a low elevation and in the trees. I definitely would not want to be above tree-line when one of those storms rolled in. I've heard horror stories from people. We may have t-storms, but you have grizzlies...we have black bears but they will leave you alone if you make enough noise. ( thankfully i've never crossed paths with one while on a trail)
 
I find that hiking on hard packed snow/ice with microspikes is sometimes actually easier than the same trail without snow. obviously posting is a concern though, especially with a heavy pack. we hiked Mt. Pierce in NH a couple months back and there was still monorail, but it was quickly deteriorating. In some spots the ice was just barely wide enough for a boot, which made for a pretty shitty experience when someone came the other direction. But I do enjoy hiking on snow/ice in shorts.

Fortunately, the t-storms we had last weekend were while we were at a low elevation and in the trees. I definitely would not want to be above tree-line when one of those storms rolled in. I've heard horror stories from people. We may have t-storms, but you have grizzlies...we have black bears but they will leave you alone if you make enough noise. ( thankfully i've never crossed paths with one while on a trail)
I grew up in Southern NH and used to camp up in the White Mountains quite a bit. We had a few ursine visitors over the years along the Kancamagus but usually only when people in adjacent campsites were dumb enough to leave food out, heh. (BTW, I see you're from Ayer; I have a bunch of family in Fitchburg/Lunenburg. Welcome to DDT!)

The wife and I decided to do a little spontaneous one-nighter tomrrow for the 4th of July. We're heading down to Mt. Jefferson area and we're going to try and snag an alpine meadow campsite near Russell Lake. The views look pretty legit and the hike in is a somewhat strenuous but short 6 miles. I figure if we get there by lunch we will have a chance to snag a campsite and catch a nap. I'll be sure to post photos if we get some decent ones.
 
I grew up in Southern NH and used to camp up in the White Mountains quite a bit. We had a few ursine visitors over the years along the Kancamagus but usually only when people in adjacent campsites were dumb enough to leave food out, heh. (BTW, I see you're from Ayer; I have a bunch of family in Fitchburg/Lunenburg. Welcome to DDT!)

The wife and I decided to do a little spontaneous one-nighter tomrrow for the 4th of July. We're heading down to Mt. Jefferson area and we're going to try and snag an alpine meadow campsite near Russell Lake. The views look pretty legit and the hike in is a somewhat strenuous but short 6 miles. I figure if we get there by lunch we will have a chance to snag a campsite and catch a nap. I'll be sure to post photos if we get some decent ones.
Yup in Ayer - moved here just over a year ago after living in/around Boston for 20+. Actually planning to relocate up to VT within the next year or two though. We dig the area, but my wife has abnormally severe allergies that are forcing us to move north in the nearish future. Next time you're in Fitchburg, check out River Styx (if you like adjunct heavy stouts). They're relatively new and one of the only breweries in the immediate area. Nothing to go out of your way for, but worth a visit if you're already in the area.

Sounds like a fun July 4th! Enjoy your hike! We are avoiding trails this weekend since it's going to be a mob scene. Plus we've got Phish at Fenway:)
 
I find that hiking on hard packed snow/ice with microspikes is sometimes actually easier than the same trail without snow. obviously posting is a concern though, especially with a heavy pack. we hiked Mt. Pierce in NH a couple months back and there was still monorail, but it was quickly deteriorating. In some spots the ice was just barely wide enough for a boot, which made for a pretty shitty experience when someone came the other direction. But I do enjoy hiking on snow/ice in shorts.

Fortunately, the t-storms we had last weekend were while we were at a low elevation and in the trees. I definitely would not want to be above tree-line when one of those storms rolled in. I've heard horror stories from people. We may have t-storms, but you have grizzlies...we have black bears but they will leave you alone if you make enough noise. ( thankfully i've never crossed paths with one while on a trail)
No Grizzlies where I am, they'be been extinct for many years in CA. We do have black bears though. Most of the time they want nothing to do with you, but I had one bad experience where a bear (had to have been a cub) was able to knock down and ransack what I thought was a pretty solid bear hang. The good thing was the food I hung was mostly extras, and my main source of food was safely stored in a bear canister.
 
My wife and I love backpacking. One of our favorite trips was in one of the more underrated parks in the states, Cumberland Island off the coast of Georgia.

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We spent 4 days on the island, which provided us time to explore some amazing beaches, plantations, and an insanely diverse collection of ecosystems for such a small island. If we ever go back, I would probably make it a full week.
 
Extended forecast is looking good to hike Mt Washington (NH) on Saturday! Time for the big hike I've been "training" for all spring. I completely changed my approach to food and what I'm consuming on a regular basis and have lost over 40 pounds since February (without having to give up beer). We will go up the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail and come down the Jewell Trail. It doesn't look so intimidating when looking at the numbers: about 7.5mi with ~3800 elev gain. But having already hiked the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail to the Lakes of the Clouds AMC hut (and then up Mt Monroe) a few years ago, I know it's not an easy climb. Plus, from the hut, it's 1.4mi of rock scrambles to the summit. But I'm probably in the best shape i've been in in almost a decade, so I'm ready to go!
 
The overnight July 4th trip up to Jefferson Park was awesome and a great way to spend the evening. It was a ~14 mile total out-and-back that climbed steadily about 3000 feet over the first 5-ish miles to a ridge line before descending 500 feet or so into Jefferson Park. Jefferson Park is an expanse of little lakes and alpine meadows at the base of Mt. Jefferson. We were able to snag a designated campsite right on Russell Lake that afforded us a mountain view on one side and a lake view on the other. There was a fair amount of snow on the ground at elevation which was enough to keep the crowds away, despite the fact that it was a holiday weekend and this lake was right off the PCT. I suppose this is far enough north for NOBO hikers to not really be here yet. At any rate, we had almost complete solitude. The trailhead was a super easy 2 hour drive from Portland too, so we'll definitely be back to explore more of this area. It's coming up on 2 years in PDX for my wife and I and I still have to regularly remind myself that this is my backyard now.

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The overnight July 4th trip up to Jefferson Park was awesome and a great way to spend the evening. It was a ~14 mile total out-and-back that climbed steadily about 3000 feet over the first 5-ish miles to a ridge line before descending 500 feet or so into Jefferson Park. Jefferson Park is an expanse of little lakes and alpine meadows at the base of Mt. Jefferson. We were able to snag a designated campsite right on Russell Lake that afforded us a mountain view on one side and a lake view on the other. There was a fair amount of snow on the ground at elevation which was enough to keep the crowds away, despite the fact that it was a holiday weekend and this lake was right off the PCT. I suppose this is far enough north for NOBO hikers to not really be here yet. At any rate, we had almost complete solitude. The trailhead was a super easy 2 hour drive from Portland too, so we'll definitely be back to explore more of this area. It's coming up on 2 years in PDX for my wife and I and I still have to regularly remind myself that this is my backyard now.

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Awesome! My younger brother just moved to PDX and has been researching backpacking spots. I'll be sure to relay this area to him.

The trailhead (Stuart Fork) where I started my hike was chock full of cars when I cruised out late Saturday. But the side trail we took about 8 miles in afforded us a lot of privacy. One weary-looking young couple showed up and our camp late on the 4th looking for a place to crash for the night. We let them sleep just downhill from our fire ring. Figured I needed to repay some karma since a friendly solo hiker shared his spot when a friend and I needed a campsite in the Marbles years ago. They ended up being really cool people that we kept bumping into during our day hike.
 

YaKnowBrady

The Best
Staff member
I had a Lowe Alpine internal frame 60L that I loved for years while in the Boy Scouts, but sadly it has seen better days, and I am looking for an upgrade, especially since my eldest is now in the cub scouts and I'm a leader in the pack. I expect many, many more campouts and hikes in my future.

Looking for good build quality and longevity, along with customizable carrying positions (the Lowe Alpine strap system would quickly allow me to adjust the waist and shoulder tightness to allow me to better balance when shifting inclines on a hike). Any suggestions?
 
I had a Lowe Alpine internal frame 60L that I loved for years while in the Boy Scouts, but sadly it has seen better days, and I am looking for an upgrade, especially since my eldest is now in the cub scouts and I'm a leader in the pack. I expect many, many more campouts and hikes in my future.

Looking for good build quality and longevity, along with customizable carrying positions (the Lowe Alpine strap system would quickly allow me to adjust the waist and shoulder tightness to allow me to better balance when shifting inclines on a hike). Any suggestions?
What kind of loads as far as weight and volume are you expecting to carry?
What region/ecosystem will you be in most of the time?
What features are most important to you, beside load lifters and an adjustable hip belt?
What is your budget?
 

YaKnowBrady

The Best
Staff member
What kind of loads as far as weight and volume are you expecting to carry?
What region/ecosystem will you be in most of the time?
What features are most important to you, beside load lifters and an adjustable hip belt?
What is your budget?
Between 45-65 lbs
Varies. I live in the North East, but I expect to travel with it as well over time. Multi-terrain, multi-purpose. Will also need a rain cover, so an integrated one isn't a bad thing.
I like lots of separation internally, external attachment points are a plus, pocket for a camelback bladder, water-resistant and taped seams a plus
Budget is negotiable, but looking to spend under $400 if possible. (I will spend more for good build quality)
 
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I recently got an Osprey Stratos 50 (i have a smaller stratos for day hikes). I really like the Osprey Airspeed suspension feature - it holds the pack off your back so you sweat less. It's pretty light and not overly expensive. Comes with a rainfly. If a 50L pack isn't big enough, Osprey makes others with the same mesh suspension back panel.
 
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