What are your Plans for spring and Summer backpacking?

6:13 a.m. on April 8, 2015 (EDT)
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So it's spring where I am at. We had a mild winter this year..I was backpacking up till a month ago and now were into spring temps  ranging from 60's to 80's right now.Not trying to rub it into my northern friends. But wanted to see what everyone has planned for spring and summer backpacking. Thought this may brighten people up and if you still in the snow belt bring up your spirits. So what ya doin?

6:55 a.m. on April 8, 2015 (EDT)
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Haha Denis...yeah I started looking back and realized I've been camping in snow or rain since October '14 (with only a couple exceptions). So I'm really looking forward to any trip with a dry campsite.

I hope to hit a few off trail trips this spring (before vegetation gets too crazy) mostly in the Smokies but I also have my eye on area in the Citico for off trail exploration.

My big summer trip plan is Glacier NP (pending permit lottery).


7:03 a.m. on April 8, 2015 (EDT)
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Mud season is likely going to run long this year so we probably will have to stay off the trails for the rest of April and a good part of May, but we'll see. That just gives me more time to plan. Right now I'm mapping out the big trips and then we'll fill in the gaps with smaller ones :)

June 5 day BSP Traveler Loop/Pogy Pond with the TX boys

Jul 7 day BSP/IAT Loop

Aug 17 day Family road trip, ME to San Diego and back, camping and burning a hole in our Access Pass hitting as many different parks as we can.

Sep 21 day LT

Not yet scheduled are a pretty certain start of the Grafton Loop, but I make no promises on a finish heh. Also solo and family trips to NH are pretty sure and I wouldn't be too surprised if another Baxter trip gets added. I have done an annual "trip of a lifetime" loop there for the last few years but haven't lined up a victim partner for it this year. This route is the only one I won't do solo so tradition may be broken there.

Lots of plans, lots of mapping. Once I call an end to winter camping season the mapping season begins. I have folders full of .gpx files, maps and profiles. Keeping focus on that is how I keep from tearing up the trails until they dry out.

7:54 a.m. on April 8, 2015 (EDT)
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Planning a climb in the French alps in early July... other than that, nothing is set in stone.

Likely a few multiday scramble/climb summit camp trips in Wales, northern England, and hopefully Scotland.

Might try to get a short trip to the Austrian alps at the end of July if possible.

Mostly annoyed that I didn't get to go out as much as I wanted when it was snowy and cold. I had an eye injury (cut retina), which meant that wind and cold made my retina open up and it felt like getting a papercut across my eye repeatedly (dont wish that on anyone!).

Now most of the places I want to go are just too muddy to be enjoyable, so other than a few days hikes, the next 4 weeks wont see any camping.

9:45 a.m. on April 8, 2015 (EDT)
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Three Sisters Loop, OR

9:52 a.m. on April 8, 2015 (EDT)
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Already started!

We did a few days in Death Valley, and then a trip into Yosemite before Easter during the dry weather.  We'll add in a trip to the Cordillera Blanca in Peru before summer starts...

In June we have a permit for the Northern part of Yosemite, and we also have plans to hit a few trailheads down the East side of the Sierra in the middle of the summer.  That will get us to mid-August, when I start teaching and we have to limit our trips to 2-3 days. 

10:00 a.m. on April 8, 2015 (EDT)
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During more normal years, around mid June in the eastern Sierra (US 395) the snow level is up to 11,000' with trails covered.  With most trail heads starting near 10,000 and near 12,000' passes about 6 miles in you have to plan for snow. Usually passes and trails are mostly clear at end of July.

This year, because of only 8% of the snow depth, I suspect the 11,000' date will be at least a month earlier.   Lack of water will be evident in all the stream beds this year. Flower shows will be short and for the rest of the year will be in small islands of protected damp. Many first timers could be disappointed. Yosemite Valley falls may not be very spectacular.  But then 1000 year cycle droughts make you consider doing different things.

I've planned to spend time in the Rockies and Cascades this summer.  Wrangell/St Alias would be wonderful if I can get enough time to tramp around some and get familiar with the area.  Certainly is a beautiful destination - from the road and small pokes into the edge.

It will be very much a different place than the Sierra this year.

10:41 a.m. on April 8, 2015 (EDT)
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Plan on going to Shenandoah Valley NP, meeting an old college roommate from Ohio (I'm in NC). Probably something for about a week, maybe throw in some local disc golf just before too.

I plan on being back at Linville Gorge at least one time and maybe somewhere in Pisgah Nat'l Forest (I'll be looking for some hot tips for that trip). 

Overall, I can't wait to meet back up with my friend, especially as that'll be the last time I see him as a bachelor, come October he'll be a married man! Oh, time goes by!

10:48 a.m. on April 8, 2015 (EDT)
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Hello Denis,

I just got back to Jackson Hole WY for another working summer season. Weekends I plan to do some day hikes and some overnighters here in the Teton and Gros Ventre Ranges. And a lot of bicycling around the Hole of Jackson. 

Snowed an inch last evening before sunset, first good snow here in quite a while, hopefully not much more till next winter. 

I may stay here next winter as well, something I have done about every 5 years in the 35 years I have been coming here. Been 6 years since March 2009 since I stayed a winter.

2:28 p.m. on April 8, 2015 (EDT)
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Had a late start at it but have been backpacking all winter. In June I am looking to do the Ruby Crest Trail. It's a 40 mile hike and it looks like standard procedure is to park a car at the north end of the trail, get a shuttle to the south end, and hike back to the car over four days. Would like to stay out longer so planning to hike north to south, spend the night, then hike back north. Make it an eight day, laid back, walk. This will be the first time I have gone backpacking on a designated trail where I am likely to see other hikers. If I like it, will plan a longer trip on another trail later in the summer. If hiking in a crowd is not to my liking, I'll wander off into my usual mountains and be glad for the experience. 

3:18 p.m. on April 8, 2015 (EDT)
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Dale you made me google the Ruby Crest Trail. Man, that looks awesome....

12:15 p.m. on April 9, 2015 (EDT)
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I have been invited to hike the Ruby Crest several times by friends, but it is 300 miles away and the Sierras are in my backyard.  Realize that the Rubies are pretty dry country especially considering the elevation. In normal years, there are some dry sections on the trail. After 4 years of drought lakes may be the only water sources.  Hiking it this year will require carrying more water than usual and maybe some forays off the trail to go find a lake somewhere.

10:50 p.m. on April 9, 2015 (EDT)
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Good advice ppine and thank you. I live a bit north of there and you are exactly right. Would like to do the trip as early as possible for that reason but spring is a busy time for us and June may be the earliest opportunity. I have pretty good luck getting water in the high desert drought or not. To some degree it goes along with how I make my living. I can not, however, guarantee that the strategies that find water here will work over there. That being said I have done exactly as you suggest and am set up to carry extra water on that trip. Thanks again for the input.

10:04 a.m. on April 12, 2015 (EDT)
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My college room mate from 45 years ago is coming out from Florida for a backpacking trip. We used to hike in the Appalachians back in those days. The Sierras are going to be really dry this year and lakes may be the main source of water there also.  We will stay high and in country with lake water available not far from the house.

3:01 a.m. on April 13, 2015 (EDT)
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A great thread, I read everyone's replies and I hope we all have a great time out of doors wherever we all are!

Lots of folks drive to trail heads & park to backpack, but here on the coast where I live many times you have to do that by boat. We don't have many foot trails & parking areas. We have a lot of waterways & water trails.

I am putting a mud motor on my jon boat so I can penetrate deeper into the wetland / swampy areas before setting off on foot and hopefully see some of the animals & plants that live in the more pristine areas that are very hard to get to.

I have also become a better navigator the past few years and plan to work on that some more.


12:11 p.m. on April 13, 2015 (EDT)
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Wow everyone has such cool plans..I hope most post a trip report when your done so I can see the coolness of your trips...

@Daniel I be in SNP in june for about 3 days..If you didn't know you should really treat your clothing the ticks are crazy there.Also get a Blackberry shake at a wayside they rock..

@ Patman I figured you were out more than most this year..Can't wait to see those trips and Hope you get the backcountry permit. 

@ Dale I had to look that up like patrick..Sa Weet looking trip...

@ Gary was wondering if you had moved for the summer..Cool love your photo's..

8:50 a.m. on April 14, 2015 (EDT)
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Not so much in-line with backpacking but this July/August I'm heading to Mt Lindsey in Colorado to tackle its 14,042ft summit.  I'll take the 4wd road to the trailhead and camp there.  There are places to camp in the basin a few miles from the trailhead buy my objective is the climb.  The route is relatively short, 8 miles rt.  I probably try fishing the Huerfano river while I'm there as well.  In October, time permitting, I may make a trip to the Pecos Wilderness in NM and access the headwaters of the Pecos River for some trout fishing.  That part of the wilderness is seldom accessed and rarely fished.  This will be a backpacking trip as I will have to hike in over 8 miles to get to an area above Pecos Falls.  Once above the falls I would set up camp there and fish the upper part of the river.  Only wild, native trout inhabit the headwaters.

10:00 a.m. on April 14, 2015 (EDT)
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Your access plans are unusual. Could you please give us some more information about your boat?  How skinny can the water be before you are too shallow?  Do weeds like Hydrilla give you problems?  How do you navigate the swamp country?  I took a boat into the Everglades once, and I will never forget it.

11:27 a.m. on April 14, 2015 (EDT)
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My husband and I are planning to drive to the Rockies from SC this June and do a few overnighters in Rocky Mountain NP, Grand Teton NP, and Yellowstone NP. 

5:31 p.m. on April 14, 2015 (EDT)
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@Denis, totally forgot about the possibility of ticks! You go a few months in cooler temps and it just passes your mind. I'll definitely do that, thanks!

10:59 p.m. on April 14, 2015 (EDT)
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@Rob that sounds like a 2 cool trips..I don't fish but it sounds really good..

@Ashley Haha I going to call you and Jeff the Park Bandits..It hit so many on trips I have to keep track..Nice...

@Lonestranger the winter I was finalizing with a friend and hiking with them for a trip.

@Trouthunter your trips are very interesting for the area and whats upbound in your state..Pretty awesome to see everything you post...

7:25 p.m. on April 15, 2015 (EDT)
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ppine said:


Your access plans are unusual. Could you please give us some more information about your boat?  How skinny can the water be before you are too shallow?  Do weeds like Hydrilla give you problems?  How do you navigate the swamp country?  I took a boat into the Everglades once, and I will never forget it.


I have a small 12' aluminum boat. It's an old Sears & Robuck Sea Nymph.

I am putting a used 18 HP air cooled 4 stroke motor on it designed to go through weeds, light mud, and such. The brand is 'Go Devil' and they are manufactured in Baton Rouge La.

Photo from the Go Devil Website, found here.

The boat will run in about 4-5 inches of water with just me and my backpack in it. 

As far as navigation goes the type of swamps we have here tend to be bottom land blackwater riverine swamps according to my field guides. It is a very wide (from 100 yards up to a mile or so) slow flowing river, and not the type that encompasses huge areas like Okefenokee or the Everglades. So the navigation is fairly linear, in that I am either traveling upstream or downstream.

At some point I just pick a spot to leave the boat hidden and backpack the rest of the way to where I want to camp, or until it starts to get dark. The land on either side of the swamp is usually soft but easy to walk on.

10:29 a.m. on April 16, 2015 (EDT)
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Thanks for the information.  You have a Tom Sawyer like system of travel that sounds very adventurous.  I was in some wet country as a kid but would have a lot to learn in that environment.

In the West the main way to travel on shallow water is with jetboats.  They are used for rivers mostly with lots of rocks, shallows and obstructions. Even large ones in the 24 foot range only draw about 3-4 inches of water while underway. They can travel across gravel bars and have enough power to go upstream through even major rapids.

10:59 p.m. on June 17, 2015 (EDT)
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Ruby Crest Trail mentioned by Dale is merit consideration

5:00 p.m. on June 19, 2015 (EDT)
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no long trips this summer - between work and some planned vacations, it will be day hiking or extended walks on beaches.  i have already been out quite a bit locally, though, and expect this weekend should be fine....with a forecast for 90 degrees and 'heavy rain' on sunday, i might just head out in board shorts. 

8:48 p.m. on June 19, 2015 (EDT)
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Nice variety of trips everyone has planned...I am going to have to live vicariously through you all and scatter some  day hikes and maybe a short overnighter or two into the family vacation, trips to move kids into college, and helping out a couple of aging parents. Looking forward to all your trip reports to keep me going until things ease up in the fall!

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