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Backpacker Magazine – May 2011

Going to Extremes

Can you ever really have too much of a good thing? Once you've seen the biggest tree, largest glacier, and deepest canyon, nothing else compares.

by: Ted Alvarez

Mt. Washington's Nelson Crag Trail (Jerry and Marcy Monkman)
Mt. Washington's Nelson Crag Trail (Jerry and Marcy Monkman)
Emerald Lake in the Weminuche (Tad Bowman)
Emerald Lake in the Weminuche (Tad Bowman)
White Fringed Phacelia in the Smokies (Paul Rezendes)
White Fringed Phacelia in the Smokies (Paul Rezendes)


Alaska
It’s all extreme

• Highest Peak Mt. McKinley 20,320 feet
• Coldest Temp Prospect Creek Camp -80°F
• Largest National Park Wrangell-St. Elias 3.2 million acres
• Largest National Forest Tongass 17 million acres
• Rainiest Place Yakutat 160 inches a year
• Most Remote Spot St. Matthew Island 209 miles from nearest inhabited island
• Largest Glacier Bering Glacier 2,250 square miles
• Most Earthquakes 5,000+ per year A 5.2 quake was recorded in Denali NP on Jan. 23, 2011.
• Most Bald Eagles 40,000—half the world’s population hot spot: southeast coast and islands
• Highest Tides Cook Inlet up to 40 feet
• Most Volcanoes 130+ most active: Akutan, with 33 eruptions
• Most Lakes Over 3 million larger than 20 acres biggest: 1,012-square-mile Iliamna Lake

→ Biggest backcountry lake:
Lake Shoshone in Yellowstone NP

→ Buggiest wet: Isolated Isle Royale NP hosts biting insects in pre-1900s sizes and densities. Pack deet.



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READERS COMMENTS

Tammy Vanden Heuvel
Jun 30, 2011

I just was at Black Canyon in May 2011 and hiked to the bottom. The only animals I saw were the birds, squirrels and pikas. But there were posted signs around that the park was having an issue with a problem bear.

Don't let the predators scare you off - this is an absolutely gorgeous park. Take time and the right gear and hike to the bottom.

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