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Tag: lnt

Leave No Trace (LNT) is a set of outdoor ethics promoting conservation in the outdoors. It consists of seven principles: 1) plan ahead and prepare, 2) travel and camp on durable surfaces, 3) dispose of waste properly, 4) leave what you find, 5) minimize campfire impacts, 6) respect wildlife, and 7) be considerate of other visitors.

Mount Whitney with SQF wildfire smoke, september 2020

The Curse is Lifted

In 2013 I started an annual tradition of sleeping on top of the tallest mountain. I don’t know why, but year after year I went up. Pressure built to go up again the next year, and so on. These extended 14er summits were not easy for the obvious reasons, but almost every time it ended up being harder than hard because of surprises at the top. 2013: I had no idea what I was doing. It was very hard to get up that strange hill, especially since the notorious PCT clown Guino had dosed me with 200mg caffeine that morning (I’m caffeine-free). But it turned out to be bizarre and romantic, with a sunset and a sunrise akin to something… continue reading

woman hiking in Utah

Where trails come from, where they go…

I subscribe to Wired Magazine in digital form, where I learn all sorts of neat things each day. This morning I spent over an hour watching a video produced by Wired, where an astrophysicist explains gravity to five people, ranging from beginner to expert. What a brilliant way of teaching/learning a topic, by helping someone realize how much they don’t know, and expanding on a concept bit-by-bit over an hour. (I was about at the grade-schooler’s level of understanding, haha. How far can you follow the concept? By expert level, my mind was blown.) This afternoon, an opinion piece popped into the Wired newsletter. It’s right up my alley. If you’ve been reading my blog lately, you probably know I’ve… continue reading

Death Valley rock formations

Rock or Wood?

I just spent a couple of gloriously mild days in Life Valley, canyoneering and hiking, conversing with and admiring a lot of rock. The Valley also had quite a bit of water in it due to some recent storms, but this time of year the plants and animals have retreated and it’s time for the rock to shine. And there’s a lot of rock. The Valley’s valleys, as they show (or don’t show) themselves from the car, are enshrouded, modest, and less-than-tantalizing by reputation. If one is brave and stupid enough to venture too far from the road on foot and with rope, they open in dizzying, hypnotic displays of color and texture, enfolding you. It’s not so much that… continue reading

Figure it Out

The other day I noticed someone crowd-funded a movie about the Hayduke Trail. (Reading what I just wrote made me puke in my mouth.) Actually, it’s worse. let me rephrase that: someone crowd-funded a movie about his hike of the Hayduke Trail. I suffered through the movie, then I wrote my thoughts in a 1-star review:

High Sierra glacial basin

Nature : Museum

Discussing my latest backpacking trip with my guy, I came up with an analogy which I like very much, and which seems original and enlightening. I compared modern wilderness visits with museum visits of the recent past (pre-2010). My first memories of museums were of the Anchorage Museum as a young teen, then the Louvre and Musée D’Orsay, and the Met in NYC and Mutter Museum in Philly as an older teen. Even if relatively brief, I treasure those visits for several reasons. Be they small or petty reasons it doesn’t matter, the memories are large as a very deep breath. Memories of carefully-curated open space and light, surprises of color and subtle hushed sounds. Photos were disallowed and so… continue reading

mount morrisson sierra nevada

Dear PCT Class of 2019

I’m getting ready to go on a hike of my own, but I wanted to drop you a note to let you know it’s still snowing in the High Sierra. My 2017 blog post “Dear PCT Class of 2017” with tips about snow travel and whatnot definitely, definitely applies, since we got more snow (* see footnotes) this year than we did overwinter 2016/2017. I spent the winter shoveling, plowing, skiing, and snowshoeing in the Sierra, and I’ll tell you what: nobody who knows anything about avalanches or snow conditions (in brief, they suck) is going back there behind the Crest right now. I hope you read my 2017 letter and do all the other research and preparation you can,… continue reading

Colorado River Trip Out

Sometimes when I tell people my stories I fear they think I’m lying. But I don’t need to lie, it’s just chronic bonkers over here. Feb 23 I got off the Colorado River after a 20-day float. It’s taken a couple days to get home and I still don’t have my feet under me BECAUSE (here’s where it gets good)… On the first night out (incidentally at Lower Jackass beach) I lost my tent, beloved handmade down sleeping bag, Thermarest Neoair, iPhone, wallet, all of my casual clothes, and about $500 more worth of gear to the River in a sudden wind storm. I was seconds late to my tent, only to find stakes still in the ground and the… continue reading

GSENM

I knew the “president” would reverse the National Monuments so I’m not surprised. But I still feel like I’ve been punched. I’ve spent a little time walking in both the monuments he decimated, mostly GSENM (about 2-3 weeks total, living out of a backpack). I’ve grown to see why the lands were protected and why so many locals protest. 50-mile Mountain (second picture) sits atop one of the largest remaining coal deposits in the world. As you climb around it you will find gorgeous black coal just squeezing out of the ground. You also find many long roads not on the map – built illegally by prospectors. In 1994 before Clinton signed GSENM into federal protection, a Dutch coal mining… continue reading

How to Avoid the Crypto on the Arches Slickrock Route

Nic Barth has published some fairly loose GPS tracks for his “alternates” or shortcuts on the Hayduke. Some of them might be worth looking into. Myself having hiked the route back and forth more than twice, I frankly don’t think you’ll be missing out if you ignore Barth’s KMZ/GPS input entirely. If you want to miss out, his alts are in fact generous shortcuts. Barth’s “Arches Slickrock” route is popular. I see scenic advantages to both the Slickrock route and the official Hayduke route. Unfortunately publishing the “Slickrock” route opened the door for significant negative environmental impact. Some people have tried to tell me they have hiked it without killing cryptobiotic soil but they are 101% full of shit. There… continue reading

bison running across road

Grand Canyon Bison

Learn more about the GCNP bison plan, and possible lethal culling, here. I felt a little guilty rousing these giants from their sand baths. After all, they became a part of me overnight after I gave up on finding clean water and drank a broth of their poop from a drying-up spring gone foul. It was a bad water day from the start. Despite some other hikers offering to leave me behind half a gallon of jug water, I walked out of my way to a spring and filled up 3L to last me to the next spring (which later turned out to be dry). When I got to the jug it reeked of mold and despite attempts to flavor… continue reading

Little Package