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Backpacker Magazine – February 2008

365 Days of Adventure

Traverse the Yukon Territory's Tombstone Range, sea kayak Baja, trek Torres del Paine, Patagnoia–all in 2008. Plus, monthly adventures closer to home.

by: The Backpacker Editors

Yosemite, Michael Melford
Yosemite, Michael Melford
Gauley River, Pat & Chuck Blakely
Gauley River, Pat & Chuck Blakely

June

8
Run the Dipsea trail race
Mill Valley, CA
dipsea.org

Waterfalls
When snow melts, wilderness cascades roar. These classic falls peak in June.

Vernal and Nevada Falls, Yosemite, CA
Follow the Mist Trail to thundering Vernal, which humidifies hikers on the 1.5-mile approach. Continue 2 miles to Nevada. nps.gov/yose

Mina Sauk Falls, MO
Missouri's tallest waterfall tumbles 132 feet over a series of rocky ledges. mostateparks.com/taumsauk.htm

Multnomah Falls, OR
Of all the cascades of the Columbia Gorge, 620-foot Multnomah is the tallest; a 1.2-mile trail climbs up to blown-open gorge views. fs.fed.us/r6/columbia

July

7-13
Rocky Mountain Blooms
Crested Butte, CO
CB's annual flower fest (crestedbuttewildflowerfestival.com) celebrates the best of Colorado's most glorious posies, and it's the perfect time to head to the Maroon Bells/Snowmass trailhead on Schofield Pass Road and hike 4 miles (one way) on the West Maroon Pass Trail, which follows the East Fork of the Crystal River upstream to an alpine basin painted with kaleidoscopic blooms.

18-20
Targhee Fest
Grand Targhee, WY
grandtarghee.com

August

11-12
Spy Shooting Stars
August's two-week-long Perseid meteor shower is the best such show in North America, peaking at some 60 streaking stars per hour. Camp in Utah's Natural Bridges–the world's first International Dark-Sky Park–for the best and brightest. nps.gov/nabr

15
All You Can Eat Blueberries
Bald Mountain, ME
The rocky hills surrounding the central Maine town of Weld are carpeted with blueberries this time of year. Scarf down the state's most celebrated bounty. (207) 585-2347

15-17
Lyons Folk Festival
Lyons, CO

Hummingbirds Take Wing
Coronado National Forest, AZ
Hike Madera Canyon in southern Arizona's Santa Rita Mountains to witness the peak of the southbound hummingbird migration, when 16 of the country's 22 hummingbird species buzz through. The Super Trail wanders through the highest concentration of birds; hike upcanyon for 4 miles to Sprung Spring for the buzz. fs.fed.us/r3/coronado

September

6
Rapid Transit
Gauley River, WV
After Labor Day weekend, the Gauley delivers some of the nation's premier whitewater–but only for six weekends. That's when Summersville Dam releases 2,800 cubic feet per second into the Gauley River Gorge. The first rapid–a V+ called Initiation–serves as your rite of passage, and the next 15 miles churn up plenty more Class IV and V. Be there the first Saturday. nps.gov/gari

13-14
Ashford, WA
Rainier Mountain Festival rainierfestival.com

Hike Hawaii
Haleakala National Park, HI
Daytime temps around 65°F. Precip less than 2 inches a month. An enormous eroding crater with vivid spatter cones and trippy lava tubes. To experience Maui's most exotic natural features, take the Sliding Sands Trail down to cabins and campsites at Paliku, then head back toward Holua on the Halemauu Trail. nps.gov/hale

Fall Foliage Float
St. Croix River, ME
You can canoe this easy Northwoods waterway–the eastern border between Maine and Canada–from May to October, but high time is when the trees turn red and gold. Go it alone (check mainerivers.org for info) or book with allagashguide.com.

On a Larch
Banff National Park, Alberta
For most of the year, larch trees (one of only two deciduous conifers in North America) look like any other evergreen. But in fall, their needles turn golden yellow, like aspens–then drop to the ground. For the ultimate photo op, hike 2.6 miles from Moraine Lake to Larch Valley. pc.gc.ca/banff

Hike the Narrows
Zion National Park, UT Slot canyons like the 16-mile Zion Narrows are way cool–but flash floods are not. Hit this sandstone passage now, when clear skies signal that flood danger is past, and the Virgin River still holds a bit of summer's warmth. nps.gov/zion

October

Elk, In a Rut
Rocky Mountain National Park
For elk, autumn is the season of love–when males show off by bugling and butting heads. Watch the reality show from the Cub Lake Trail, a 4.6-mile out-and-back past open meadows and changing leaves. nps.gov/romo

Migrating Monarchs
St. Marks Wildlife Refuge, FL
Waves of monarch butterflies migrating south to Mexico take a rest stop here before circling past the Gulf of Mexico, and the half-mile Levee Trail boasts the refuge's thickest concentration: Butterflies are drawn to the cedar trees lining the trail, where they roost overnight. Come mid-morning, they sip from saltbush along the coast side of the trail. fws.gov/saintmarks

19
Black Diamond Gear Swap
Salt Lake City, UT bdel.com/store

Turning Leaves Loop
Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, MI The Porkies, at 60,000 acres, contain one of the biggest virgin hardwood forests east of the Rockies, and 100-plus species of trees (maple, oak, sycamore–and more). Loop 20 miles around Big and Little Carp River Trails–which have lots of tent sites and even backcountry yurts–and, while you're at it, wet a line for native brookies. michigan.gov/dnr

Raft the Big Ditch
Grand Canyon National Park
The Colorado River sees the most traffic from June through August–but with 110°F temps, it isn't actually the ideal time to put in. October is your plum month: Not only do daytime highs hover in the 80's, but September 15 is the last launch date for motorized boats. Goodbye ripping engines, hello sweet silence. oars.com/grandcanyon

Hike Through Clear Skies
Great Smoky Mountains, NC
Hot, humid air stagnates over GSMNP in summer, fogging the mountains' primo views. For the best shot at clear air, hike here now. According to Jim Renfro, the park's Air Quality Specialist, October's cool breezes blow both clouds and pollutants off the high peaks–and promise the year's best panoramas. From 6,642-foot Clingman's Dome, strike out on a 25-mile loop with the park's best vistas: Hike clockwise on the Forney Ridge Trail to Goshen Prong, and bed down at Camp Rock. Day 2: Head to Three Forks. Day 3: Follow Rough Creek and Sugarland Mountain for views all the way to Tennessee. nps.gov/grsm




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READERS COMMENTS

Anonymous
Sep 14, 2008

365 DAYS OF ADVENTURE and.......... 3 pictures

Pamela Meath
Aug 31, 2008

I am looking for an article (short) that was in one of your spring magazines about a 3 day hike, where you walk across the Golden Gate Bridge, go south. You mention places to stay and eat. At the end you can take a bus back into the city to get your car. Do you know which article I am talking about, I have lost that magazine.
thank you,
Pamela Meath

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