Originally Posted by MattL
I used to do quite a bit of backpacking in my early twenties. It's been a while but I am in the process of gearing up (and getting my son geared up as well) to get out on the trail again. We only have time for some weekenders right now but I want to do a week.
I also continue to dream of the 5 month through hike on the AT or the PCT. Life tends to get in the way on those.
Anybody here backpacking? Where are you hiking?
I'm hoping to be heading to Yellowstone at the beginning of July and from there perhaps down to the Teton Wilderness (not Teton National Park). Next down to the Wind River Mountains for an extended sojourn. I'm really out of shape, overweight and not in the best of health so I'll be moving pretty slowly. The Winds have a lot of lakes to hike into and serve as basecamp , a great place to hang out. Yellowstone backpacking is pretty regulated so, while potentially a great experience requires reservations for designated campsites etc. Not exactly the kind of free unprogrammed experience I prefer.
Around here in New Hampshire though there are many possible hikes in the White Mountain National Forest. National Forests are great places to back pack. The Appalachian Mountain Club publishes a White Mountain Guide which contains trail descriptions, maps etc. They also maintain a system of mountain huts if you prefer that kind of thing.
As and addendum to the above, there are the Adirondacks (Adirondack Mountain Club guidebook) in new York to consider as well as the Long Trail (There is a guidebook for that as well.)in Vermont. The Mount Mansfield are around Stowe Vt. is also a great area for hiking. The Long trail which passes over Mt, Mansfield has shelters and lodges and sometimes tent platforms along the trail.
Another thing to consider if your time is limited and you are considering a trip in the West is taking advantage of the horsepacking outfitters in many areas. I've never done so but these guys will spot pack you and your gear into a remote area and pick you up after you've been out for awhile or you can hire them for the full boat guided experience.
The West is probably a great place to introduce kids to this kind of thing because in the summertime the weather is far more consistent Even though you may have mosquitos in the evenings to deal with there as well you are far less likely to encounter a week of rain or an endless slog through mud. The trails tend to be graded for stock use rather than the straight up the mountain, over rocks and roots and bog kind of thing we have a lot of here. The actual mountain climbing though is likely to be real mountaineering rather than the aforementioned rough trail hike we have a lot of in the East.
Compared to when I was a kid, there is a lot of great lightweight specialized equipment available for backpacking now so you aren't looking at the need to hump a 60 lb pack for a week long outing.
Edited by oisin - 5/21/11 at 12:58pm