We're almost ready. After numerous small trips (of escalating difficulty and complexity), skills work, planning sessions, gear shakedowns, shakedowns, and more shakedowns, we're on the homestretch. Within 72 hours, we'll all be headed for Colorado, and then New Mexico, for a two-week expedition. The training has paid off. We've managed to get a bunch of…Read more New Mexico or Bust
Enjoying a moment of solitude at the end of a long day backpacking. Little Stoney Creek, in GWNF along the VA/WV border. Little Stoney Creek drains the basin between Little Sluice Mountain (east) and Mill Mountain (west), and was a welcome sight after spending the day high and dry among the ridgetops. We also happened…Read more Little Stoney Creek
The great thing about backpacking is that it's an individual sport. The only things to overcome are your own physical and mental limitations. The rewards include immersion in wilderness, a sense of accomplishment like no other, and satisfaction that comes from knowledge and confidence in one's self. Except... for all the focus on self-reliance and…Read more Teamwork on the Trail
Enjoy historic views on this this 10.4-mile loop as a dayhike or a leisurely overnight on the prominent north end of the Massanutten Mountain ridge in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Massanutten is a fifty-mile long ridge that stands alone in the center of Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. Because of its length, Massanutten forms a significant…Read more Hiking Signal Knob, Massanutten Mountain, VA
The first clear view on Virginia's Wild Oak Trail comes after about 8 miles and 4,000 feet of climbing. The trailhead is in the notch left of center, directly under the sun, and the trail wraps around these mountains from left to right, climbing up and over three mountains in the process. Get Out There!…Read more Wild Oak from Little Bald Knob, VA
It had been a long time since I'd climbed a hill this steep, this high, for this long. My legs reminded me of this inescapable fact with every step I took. As long as I kept my head up and focused on the yellow and red trees, it didn't matter. My outdoor adventures had been…Read more Backpacking the Wild Oak Trail, VA
You can't have a true adventure without a little bit of risk. It's the exploration of something new and getting out of your comfort zone that builds memories! Don't turn back because something is a challenge - just understand and make sure you can accept the consequences of failure (like getting everything wet during a…Read more Boundaries
It started off a little ominously. The morning was dreary, with a foggy overcast that threatened rain. We had assembled a team of 6 new backpackers, one with a few trips under his belt, and three experienced leaders, including myself. One of the crew lost a split ring off a cotter pin on his older…Read more Pond Run (or… What Happened to Those New Backpackers)
The best views are those where you can see for miles, and it's ALL nature! Looking west from Mill Mountain, off the Tuscarora Trail in West Virginia.
It's been a while since I've done a full-on backpacking plan for a group of more than, say, four. This weekend, I've got 10 people headed out, many first-timers hitting the trail for the first time. It's a whole different dynamic when you can't rely on singles or pairs being self-sufficient and just sharing the…Read more A Group of First-Time Backpackers
A nice lunch spot along Quantico Creek, Prince William Forest Park, Virginia.
We have just entered the fourth season of the year, and it's one of my favorites! This is based on the 8-season model I wrote about earlier in the year, where we consider both temperature AND sunlight. In "Bright Spring", we enjoy some of the longest days of the year - at my latitude we…Read more “Bright Spring”
One of my favorite places in the world is the one I carry with me. My tent, and the rest of my backpacking setup, allow me to escape to almost anywhere. This particular spot was a great one - 20 miles from the nearest pavement, high in the Colorado Rockies, easily one of the quietest…Read more My Favorite Place
Taken on day six of eleven along the Appalachian Trail in Virginia, this was atop Stony Man Mountain in Shenandoah National Park. Though I was tired, run-down, and smelled even worse than I looked - there's no place I'd rather be! This was posted in response to the Daily Post's Weekly Photo Challenge - I'd…Read more No Place I’d Rather Be…