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Off-trail backpacking
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Dale Johnson
(djohn7000) - F
Off-trail backpacking on 05/12/2009 18:13:19 MDT Print View

A wager has been made among some of us old-time backpackers that NO-ONE ever does, or used to do, cross country, off trail backpacking. In an attempt to settle the dispute, I’m inviting any serious backpackers to comment on the practice. For those who would like to know what I’m talking about, visit the following web site: http://www.backpackingofftrail.com/
Look that over for the specific type of trips I mean and let me know what you think. If this is of no interest to you, please pass this message along.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Off-trail backpacking on 05/12/2009 20:15:03 MDT Print View

Hi Dale

It's an interesting web site you have created, but the font is appalling! Gimmicky and hard to read, at least under Firefox.

I have no idea whether off-route walking is common around your way, but I can speak for Australian walkers. Sometimes we use existing tracks, but for much of the time we are off-trail. In some areas there are NO trails, and we work hard to keep those areas like that.

However, I think you will find that many BPL members do go off-trail, in all four seasons, at all altitudes.

Cheers

George Phoenix
(perrito)

Locale: Joisey
Re: Off-trail backpacking on 05/12/2009 20:34:14 MDT Print View

"A wager has been made among some of us old-time backpackers that NO-ONE ever does, or used to do..."

I'm sure that John Muir did a bit of bushwacking. Hehehe

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Off-trail backpacking on 05/12/2009 20:50:08 MDT Print View

"A wager has been made among some of us old-time backpackers that NO-ONE ever does, or used to do, cross country, off trail backpacking."

Hi Dale,

I would second Roger's comments. Off trail travel in high places is pretty much a niche pursuit, which is probably why you haven't run across other hikers. Indeed, it is one of the reasons at least some of us are drawn to it. On a properly selected route, only bad luck will bring you in contact with other hikers, IMO. Very nice country in those pictures on your website, BTW. Makes me want to spend time in the Rockies. If it weren't such a drive. Sigh... :-(

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Off-trail backpacking on 05/12/2009 23:03:39 MDT Print View

"On a properly selected route, only bad luck will bring you in contact with other hikers, IMO."

Which is why such routes should be kept to one's self. :)

Richard Gless
(rgless) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Off-trail backpacking on 05/13/2009 00:21:33 MDT Print View

I've often used the number of days we didn't see any other people as a measure of quality for a trip in California's High Sierra. Best so far was 5 days and 35 miles without seeing anyone, obviously not on trail. Didn't see a tree for three days in a row on that trip. We saw more people in the three hours we were on the John Muir trail than the other 12 days we were in the mountains that time.

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: Off-trail backpacking on 05/13/2009 00:53:13 MDT Print View

Dale,

"A wager has been made among some of us old-time backpackers that NO-ONE ever does, or used to do, cross country, off trail backpacking."

Not true. In the late 60's much of the NOLS travel was off trail in the Wind Rivers. I heard from someone there a few years later that, as a result, there were use trails just about anywhere one would want to go in the Wind Rivers. Not sure what they do today.

More recently, I have commonly gone off-trail in the Sierras. Sometimes a day in on trail, and part of the last day out on trail, but the whole rest of the time off trail. In such a case, I never see anyone once off trail except perhaps near a peak.

--MV

James Byrnes
(backfeets1) - M

Locale: Midwest.... Missouri
Sneeky on 05/13/2009 01:43:41 MDT Print View

I suspect that someone is putting material together for a book or Route/guide, and gleaning feedback from our unsuspecting forum members. As for myself, I prefer a more direct honest approach. It would seem a certain amount of effort, preparation, and imagination has been applied to the work thus far. Issues of interest, as pertains to off trail travel for me, are more along the lines of risk management, differences in rate of travel on challenging terrain, time management/weather exposure, description and explanation of skills needed (self arrest, glissade,ect). I can't offer ansewers unless I know the question.