Books
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Return to the WILDS What if you lived your whole life in an organized, safe, bland and boring place—then one day you walked into a BRAND NEW WORLD? What if the Keeper asked you to SAVE IT? When the gates … Read More

Commentaries & Newspaper Articles
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Professional Outlets 2020: Have protection designations outpaced management? (poster designed for Wild11 World Wilderness Congress in India cancelled at last minute in March due to COVID19)   pdf attached 2020: WILDERNESS: Why we go, what we see, where it’s headed (presentation … Read More

After the thru-hike, what’s next?
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So, you finished the Appalachian Trail (AT), John Muir Trail (JMT), Arizona Trail (AZT) or another thru-trail and want to do more backpacking. What’s next? Hike somewhere with fewer people? Or embellish your next thru-hike with short ventures into adjacent wilderness areas? We can design a thru-hike OFF THE BEATEN PATH… Read More

Free Trip Planning Service
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We started backpacking in the mid-1970s; since 2012, we have visited, posted, and mapped trips in nearly 70 wilderness areas in the Western and Eastern U.S. Now we want to help you see them too! We can help you customize your visit to a wilderness area that we have posted on this website.… Read More

Free GIS for map display
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Google Earth is a workhorse that we use for many things. All our wilderness visit tracks are available for download as Google Earth kmz files. It is also invaluable for route planning and for displaying kmz files available from other … Read More

Recent Wildfires
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MTBS or Monitor Trend in Burn Severity is a website that benefits from the billions of dollars spent on fire control every year by federal agencies. The MTBS site includes a wealth of information on every wildfire in the U.S. … Read More

Real-Time Streamflow
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U.S. Geological Survey has a complicated website on water monitoring information that is scheduled to be changed within a year or so (we hope for the better). So we will not spend too much time trying to explain present system. … Read More

Trip Planning Aids
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Offering tips on complicated information Apps We use many websites for planning trips. All are listed here with introductory information. If you need more specific step-by-step guidance on how to use aids feel free to contact us at .

Trip Planning Services
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Offering Help to Plan your Dream Trip The United States boasts 772 wilderness areas, but many are unknown or underutilized. Because it’s tough to get good information, many backpackers gravitate to popular areas with good trails/ information but often hordes … Read More

Cedar Bench Wilderness, backpacking, agency sign, March
Cedar Bench Wilderness, 2022
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As we researched a trip to Cedar Bench Wilderness, we were delighted with Prescott National Forest personnel who were familiar with trails and gave advice on best access. As we hiked up a rocky road climbing steeply from the Verde … Read More

Cabeza Prieta Wilderness, backpacking sign, January
Cabeza Prieta Wilderness, 2022
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I awoke in predawn dark to two owls calling—lower and higher pitch indicating desert courtship. My mouth was dry, but I took just a sip from my bottle. We were 14 miles past our last water stop in Cabeza Prieta … Read More

Rincon Mountain Wilderness, sign, December
Rincon-Ramble “70”, 2021
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Since we have concluded we “need wilderness,” once we settled for our first full winter in Tucson, David was anxious to hit the trail, not having backpacked since September. Cindy—temporarily derailed from backpacking after a knee replacement—suggested a 70-mile solo … Read More

Hemingway-Boulders Wilderness, Sawtooth National Forest sign, September
Hemingway-Boulders Wilderness, 2021
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The Boulder Mountains which form a wavy line of soaring granitic ridges along scenic State Highway 75 between Ketchum and the Sawtooth Valley. Not many people visit these mountains because there are few maintained trails into the Boulders; day hikes … Read More

High Uintas Hurt Ends an Era
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It happened on the third day of a three-week trip in the High Uinta Wilderness in northern Utah. I was coming down Red Knob Pass—the second, steep thousand-foot descent of the day. The first was a skittery scramble on washed-out … Read More

John Muir Wilderness, backpacking, near Italy Pass, September
Finding Sierras Solitude: Off the Beaten Path
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Avoiding crowds in popular areas is always a challenge; and California’s iconic High Sierra mountains have always drawn people. First, they are only hours from the heavily populated California coastal cities. Second, their iconic splendor graces many scenic calendars. And … Read More

Cranberry Wilderness, welcome sign, August
Cranberry Wilderness, 2021
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We expected to get wet in the Cranberry Wilderness, a series of ridges (with red spruce forest on the highest elevations) punctuated by two rivers and many creeks in southeastern West Virginia. Most of our spring and summer trips in … Read More

wilderness sign
High Uintas Wilderness, 2021
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On our first visit to the High Uintas in summer 1975, we covered about 78 miles in five days, enjoying mellow trails. Long leisurely approaches up bright green meadows; winding switchbacks over high passes; smelling damp earth and seeing stately … Read More

Sierra Ancha Wilderness, backpacking, Forest Service sign, December
Sierra Ancha Wilderness, 2021 & 2017
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I have vague memories of a 1975 overnight trip with University of Arizona friends to the Sierra Ancha Wilderness in central Arizona: a long drive on backroads, short hike through a clearing marked by “Sierra Ancha Experimental Forest” sign, a … Read More

Saguaro Wilderness, backpacking, National Park sign, February
Saguaro Wilderness, 2021
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Dave first showed up Wednesday night when trips were reported and new ones planned. Richard and I had proposed a three-day trip to the Rincon Mountains east of Tucson; up the backside (southeast) to Happy Valley Saddle, climbing Rincon Peak, … Read More

Rincons: sad reminder of aging
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Last month we celebrated my birthday with a backpack trip in Saguaro Wilderness east of Tucson—perhaps my 14th visit since 1970s hikes with the University of Arizona Ramblers. The area—astride the Rincon Mountains that roll up from 2,700 feet at … Read More

Hells Canyon Wilderness, 2020
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The roar of the jet boat reverberated against the canyon walls. We stood on a gravel spit, watching our transport disappear up the river. The roar of the jet boat reverberated against the canyon walls. We stood on a gravel … Read More

Pioneer Wilderness Study Area: 2020, 2017 & 1987
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The wind howled fierce and cold across Baptie Lake, at 10,000 feet our highest and coldest campsite on a nine-day loop in the Pioneer Mountains (Pioneers). All day we’d hiked through early winter in September. Chased out of Moose Lake … Read More

Jarbidge Wilderness, backpacking, Forest Service sign, July
Jarbidge Wilderness, 2020
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Three signs—two on the outskirts of Jarbidge, Nevada and one near our trailhead for a weeklong wilderness trip—illustrate the infamy of disputed but rarely visited Jarbidge Wilderness. Mahoney Guard Station: Built by a sheep operation, the Forest Service occupied it … Read More

Private land access conundrums
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We try to stick with public lands on our hikes; private land often spells trouble. In the 1980s, a week-long backpacking trip on national forest land in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains ended abruptly at a landowner fence. On a 1990s … Read More

Pioneers-Craters Trek, 2020
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It took three tries over three years, but we finally made it. Our weeklong journey across public and private land in the Pioneer Mountain area (Pioneers) provided nearly exclusive access to vast fields of flowers, high grasses and sagebrush, lofty … Read More

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