October 2009 Table of Contents

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Your Daily Tread

Fantasizing about your next big backcountry epic, but it’s still months away? That doesn’t mean you can’t hit the trail now–right now. Find wilderness close to home on the country’s best metro-area trails in New York, Atlanta, Phoenix, and 19 other cities. Plus: Bill Donahue discovers the wild secrets of Portland’s Forest Park.

National Parks Project – Part 5, Yellowstone

We challenged our scout to go deep into the country’s first and oldest national park–a wilderness BACKPACKER has covered often–and find an unknown hike with zero crowds, life-list wildlife, and accessible terrain. By Michael Behar

National Parks Confidential

On the eve of his new film, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, Ken Burns sits down with BACKPACKER to discuss the heroes and history of our park system, the challenges the parks face now, and how you can help save them. PLUS: a companion hiking guide for all six episodes airing this month on PBS. By Jonathan Dorn and Tracy Ross


Go behind the scenes of the Dartmouth Outing Club’s one-day Appalachian Trail thru-hike. Plus: Ultrahiker Justin Lichter faces lions on a trek across Africa and Portland trail pioneer Jim Thayer blazes a route to the sea.

Stay Comfortable in Any Weather

Want to triple your trail time without quitting your job? Learn how to hike and camp in all conditions–rain, snow, cold, heat, humidity, and high winds–and you can enjoy the wilderness all year long. Here are 115 tips from veteran guides and weathered staffers on the gear and skills guaranteed to keep you outdoors–no matter what the forecast. By Molly Loomis

Tents for Every Trip

Thirteen testers endured four months of rain, thunderstorms, snowfall, and pole-snapping winds to winnow the field to the best shelters in five categories: solo, ultralight, mountaineering, family, and bargain. Plus: the world’s toughest map, a waterproof cap, a two-for-one pack, a versatile trail runner, a super secure dry sack, and gear to outfit young hikers.


Top 3 Battlefield Hikes

Hike through history on three trails where epic clashes were fought on American soil.

Natural Wonders: Freaky Bats, Dry Falls, Winter Witch Hazel

Explore the miles-wide drop of what was once the world’s biggest waterfall. Plus: See rare bats and exploding seed pods.

Rip & Go Weekend Adventures

Load your pack. Print out the page. Go. This month: Mt. St. Helens, Montana’s Beartooths, and the Everglades.

The Peak: Mt. Le Conte

It’s not the tallest peak in the Smokies, but spend a night on its summit (no tent required), and you’ll agree it’s the finest.


The Manual: Wild Photography

Get magazine-worthy wildlife pictures with expert tips from pro shooters.

Dirtbag/Gourmet Potatoes

Turn instant spuds into flavorful meals with wasabi, sesame seeds, and sausage.

Recipe: Sesame-White Bean Potato Cake

Recipe: Italian-Style Potatoes

Recipe: Wasabi Potatoes with Salmon

Build a Thru-Hiker Body at Home

Eat for All-Day Energy

Find the Trout: Scouting a Stream

Plot an Off-Trail Route

Gear School: Rainshells

The right jacket can make or break a trip. Here’s how to choose, use, and repair your waterproof/breathable layers.