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Backpacker Magazine – March 2014

Season Starters

These 17 trips ripen early. Dust off your boots to revel in mild temperatures, vibrant wildflowers, precious solitude, and far-reaching vistas unobscured by thick summer foliage.

by: Kelly Bastone

(Blackley) Mountain Laurels in Shenandoah National Park
(Blackley) Mountain Laurels in Shenandoah National Park
(Blackley) Mountain Laurels in Shenandoah National Park
(Blackley) Mountain Laurels in Shenandoah National Park
(Graham) Carrizo Plain National Monument desert grassland
(Graham) Carrizo Plain National Monument desert grassland
(Kirkendall) Old-growth Bigleaf Maples and Vanilla Leaf
(Kirkendall) Old-growth Bigleaf Maples and Vanilla Leaf
(Michael Clark) Look for fossils in Ojito's Morrison Formation
(Michael Clark) Look for fossils in Ojito's Morrison Formation
(Chuck Blackley) Mountain Laurel along the AT in June
(Chuck Blackley) Mountain Laurel along the AT in June

Richmond, VA Tag one of Shenandoah National Park’s highest peaks, 3,374-foot Trayfoot Moutain, on a 9.4-mile overnight loop from Blackrock Gap. Blooming mountain laurel wallpapers the trail in June, but March and April hikers will snag even better views of the park’s ancient mountains. Info; 2 hours drive

Charlotte, NC Snag summit views before trees leaf out along a 12-mile loop on the Uwharrie and Dutchman’s Creek Trails. Info; 1 hour drive



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