2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Backpacker Magazine – September 2003

A Hiker's Guide To Surfing and Snorkeling

Use your backpacking skills at the best surfing, climbing, trail running, and even paragliding spots

by: Jay Heinrichs, Michael Lanza, Mike Harrison, Dan A. Nelson, and Jonathan Dorn

Run: There and back again--in all due haste Jay Heinrichs

A wise person once said that a full pack makes a hiker as gear-dependent as a scuba diver. My corollary goes something like this: A near-empty pack makes a hiker faster, tougher, and far more skillful.

"I hope it also gives you a sense of direction," my wife said helpfully when I began experimenting with overnight trail runs 15 years ago.

I'm resistant to improvement, apparently. I still manage to get spectacularly lost and still whimper when I can't locate a thick bed of pine needles. But I do rely more on skill than equipment now, I can go farther without bonking, and I've acquired a ruthlessness in packing (and a tolerance for energy-bar diets) that pays dividends on longer hikes, summit bids, and jet-lagged business trips. What's more, with my light load I can move through the forest like a deer: swiftly, silently, almost effortlessly.

Surely the best thing about adventure running, though, is the chance to mess with time--both to stretch it and to shorten it. Once during a 2-day, 30-mile run through the Kinsmans in New Hampshire's White Mountains, I stopped by a stream that flowed over round babyheads and discovered that if I gazed at the water for more than half an hour I could make the rocks move, or seem to. I stared until my legs fell asleep and then ambled on, having enjoyed a long siesta but still well within reach of camp.

Other times, I've left the house before dawn Saturday morning, zipped through as much of a mountain range by Saturday noon as I would in a full weekend of walking, and still made it home on Sunday before my teenage kids roused themselves. Some might scoff at my Peanut M&M dinners, bivy-sack accommodations, and quick-footed pace, but to put a backpacker's spin on trail running is to declare that a compressed adventure is better than no adventure at all.

Harriman/Bear Mountain State Parks, NY

Just 35 crow miles from the Big Apple, these adjoining parks are not only a convenient outlet for jangled Tri-Staters, but also the perfect place to test your overnight running game. A 300-mile trail network offers endless loop opportunities, and numerous shelters let you leave the tent behind. A weekend is easily enough to cross the parks; add a day or two for a circuit that hits high ridges on either edge.

Guide: Harriman Trails, by William Myles ($17).

Contact: New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, (201) 512-9348;

Trinity Alps Wilderness, CA

Twelve lakes, six passes, three peaks. You can tag them all in 3 days on this 45-mile loop in northern California's granite- and water-rich (but crowd-poor!) Trinity Alps. Start at the Big Flat trailhead, and connect the Caribou Trail with Stuart Fork, Deer Creek, and Swift Creek. Steep switchbacks and superb views of Mt. Shasta punctuate miles of flower-lush meadows that offer the finest in high-country running.

Guide: Hiking California's Trinity Alps Wilderness, by Dennis Lewon ($19).

Contact: Shasta-Trinity National Forest, (530) 623 2121;

Timberline Trail, MT. Hood, OR

Mt. Rainier's Wonderland Trail is a stellar trek, but this 41-mile, round-the-volcano route gets our nod as the better weekend adventure. In 2 days of running and hiking, or 3 days of vigorous walking, you'll see plenty of wildlife (including black bear and elk), waterfalls, and wildflowers-and make it all the way around the mountain. Regular views of Hood's distinctive summit and sprawling snow fields will ease the pain of 8,600 feet of elevation gain.

Guide: Backpacking Oregon, by Douglas Lorain ($17).

Contact: Mt. Hood National Forest, (888) 622-4822;

Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Address 1:
Address 2:
Email (req):

Reader Rating: -


Your rating:
Your Name:


My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

The Political Arena
PTB time is upon us, agree?
Posted On: Aug 30, 2014
Submitted By: Bass
Trailhead Register
Arctic grayling won’t receive federal protection
Posted On: Aug 30, 2014
Submitted By: TravisNWood
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions