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Backpacker Magazine – May 2013

First Night Out: Year of the Reader

Three readers who hit the trail for the first time (newbies!) in 2013 as part of our Year of the Reader celebration.

by: Sarah L. Stewart and Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan

Yolanda Irizarry, New York, NY
Yolanda Irizarry, New York, NY
Jonathon & Erin Runcan, Lancaster, OH
Jonathon & Erin Runcan, Lancaster, OH
Logan Condron, Parsonburg, MD
Logan Condron, Parsonburg, MD


Logan Condron, Parsonburg, MD


The trip Red Creek Trail loop, Dolly Sods Wilderness, WV, August 2012. This 9.3-mile loop links several trails through a creek- and cascade-packed forest and tops 3,800-foot Breathed Mountain. Highlights for 11-year-old Logan: Wading into Red Creek for an up-close look at crayfish and scrambing up the rocky peak. “I was nervous because I didn’t know if I would like it or not,” says Logan. “But it was fun.” The idea Logan’s dad, Dana Condron, 42 (a ranger at Assateague Island National Seashore), planned the trip to introduce Logan to the backcountry. “The best part was being able to connect with him, to get away from the world so it was just him and me bonding as a father and son. It’s something I’m never going to forget.” What I learned “Don’t push kids too hard. Be patient—if they want to stop and smell the flowers, stop.” Dana allowed five days for the loop and left the itinerary open so they weren’t locked into any particular campsites. Next time The Condrons plan to backpack the Bigelow Range in Maine this summer.

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