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Three weeks + - where would you go?
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Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Three weeks + - where would you go? on 01/07/2012 13:28:10 MST Print View

Hello all -

I may have an opportunity in the next couple of years to take 3-4 consecutive weeks (plus a couple of days for travel) off from work to go backpacking. With this in mind, where would you go? I'll strongly consider the JMT, although I've done it before (but it was great).

Where would you go? What kind of adventure would you plan?

Thanks for your suggestions!


Richard Scruggs
(JRScruggs) - MLife

Locale: Oregon
Re: Three weeks + - where would you go? on 01/07/2012 13:52:56 MST Print View

Drive from Oregon to Pinedale, Wyoming, car-camping along the way, and then:

A week backpacking and fishing in Wind River Range;

then a week "off" at Jenny Lake in Tetons for day hikes and fishing, plus a shower at Colter Bay;

then a week backpacking and fishing in Beartooth Wilderness;

then a week "off" in YNP (Madison River campground) to laze around fishing, plus a shower at Old Faithul Inn;

finally, drive back to Oregon, car-camping and fishing along the way.

Edited by JRScruggs on 01/07/2012 13:58:28 MST.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
So many places on 01/07/2012 13:56:28 MST Print View

Hi Dirk. Since you're also in the PNW, I'll suggest chunks of the PCT you haven't done in this neighborhood ... ?

Here in WA state, consider starting in Canada and hiking the PCT as far south as you can get in that time? Depends on how much of that you've already done. I think the most miss-able part of the PCT in WA is the stretch that starts at the OR/WA border.

In some ways even better, just see if you can hike most of the state of Oregon on the PCT. Perhaps start at Crater Lake and hike north --- about 320 miles from there to the OR/WA border, and OR offers on the whole good quality trail without tons of elevation gain/loss overall.

Have you hiked the Wonderland trail yet? The West Coast trail? How about the Olympic coast?

I guess a related question is whether you're looking to hike just one long stretch in that time, or if you're open to going to one general area and then doing multiple trips?

And does the budget stretch to overseas adventures, or are you looking to stay domestic?

If you've kind of done the PNW and want to branch out a bit, consider the Colorado Trail.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
JMT on Steroids on 01/07/2012 14:20:25 MST Print View

How about the Sierra High Route?

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Hey thanks all! on 01/07/2012 22:26:03 MST Print View

Thank you all for the terrific suggestions.
@Richard - The Winds look mighty inviting. I have only read about them, never have actually traveled through them. That will be high on the list. The weather is all over the map, but that makes it an adventure, right?

@Brian - Ah, the PCT. I hiked it in 2009. Still a favorite. And really, I do parts of it again, particularly the parts north of Stevens Pass. It would be nice to do it when it wasn't snowing and freezing, but more so, when I didn't feel so worn down by months of hiking. I think I was mentally/physically exhausted near the end of that trip. As for the Oregon stretch, it would certain be easier. I recall most of Oregon to be easier than Northern California for whatever reason. But in my current shape (which is winter mode - way too much sitting around) I suspect it would be much easier.

@Greg - The SHR is high on the list as well. I will likely have my brother with me, and I wonder if he will be up for it. The snow situation in California is bad right now, which may make such an attempt easier. I hope the Sierra gets some storms soon!

Thank you all for the advice!


Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Re: Hey thanks all! on 01/07/2012 22:44:43 MST Print View

I know of several older outdoor professionals (guides and the such) that have traveled the world yet when this particular group gets together for their annual backpack trip, they invariably go to Wind River. They say the for all the exoticness of the world, it's still hard to beat the beauty. I would say maybe Torres Del Paine (pre-fire fiasco) is similar but obviously entails far more travel hassle and logistics for similar landscapes.

Jason Cravens

Locale: Cumberland Plateau
Re: Re: Three weeks + - where would you go? on 01/08/2012 10:27:03 MST Print View


I have never been to the PNW, but this trip sounds awesome! Sounds like you have made this trip before? Any pictures?

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Maybe not the CT on 01/08/2012 11:18:06 MST Print View

I like the CT but I kinda doubt it will offer you anything you didn't get on the JMT or PCT unless you just want another thru-hike. How about splitting a trip equally between the Glacier/Bob Marshall area and the Yellowstone area.

ed hyatt
(edhyatt) - MLife

Locale: The North
Three weeks + - where would you go? on 01/08/2012 12:16:03 MST Print View

The Pyrenees. Scotland. The Alps.

Steofan The Apostate
(simaulius) - F

Locale: Bohemian Alps
3 + Months on 01/08/2012 12:53:54 MST Print View

Plans are to start out in Stella NE and head up to visit the Head Smashed In Bison-kill Site in Canada. It should be a rather big walk. I'm going to Ireland for another 3 + month walk in 2013.

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: Three weeks + - where would you go? on 01/08/2012 13:27:45 MST Print View

You should get out the maps of your favorite range, and make up your own route. Look at the maps, at Google Earth, at all the photos you can find of the region, and come up with a route you like, whether on-trail, off-trail, or a mix. Find your own path, as it were.

Richard Scruggs
(JRScruggs) - MLife

Locale: Oregon
Re: Re: Re: Three weeks + - where would you go? on 01/08/2012 18:52:31 MST Print View

Jason --

There are so many great spaces to explore in the PNW that it's hard to imagine that there can be so much in such a relatively small area anywhere else in the world.

A lifetime could be spent wandering PNW's wildernesses areas, its national parks full of mountains, lakes and rivers, as well as coasts and islands.

It all seems limitless, and readily available within at most a two-day drive.

After finishing undergraduate education in the South, my wife and I decided to make our home in the PNW because it offered so much of what we enjoy doing, and without having to be rich enough to fly all over the country to get to.

Having worked at summer jobs in Yellowstone while in college, we looked for a place that offered endless opportunities to enjoy hiking, camping, fishing, great scenery. From our experience with Yellowstone and the Tetons, the standard for our decision was pretty high -- but easily met by Oregon and Washington. And best of all, Wyoming was a "not-too-long" drive away.

On the other hand, there for are a great many beautiful places elsewhere, and we sure hope to visit many of them one day, especially after reading trip reports and seeing photos of many other wonderful "must see" places, especially the Scottish Highlands, Spain, and Asia, and . . . and . . . and a whole lot more!

Pictures for the Teton/Wind River trip I outlined? You ask if I've got pictures?

Well . . . . . . . I sure do!

And you are correct, we have made the Wind River/Teton journey several times in recent years. I'll attempt to post the pictures below from some of those trips, but perhaps you might appreciate a few photos below, for compare and contrast --

First and foremost, crowds of people! Nice for a weekend with great music, but also heighten attraction of the remote, quiet, and beautiful places elsewhere --

Revisiting Austin, Texas, in the fall a few years ago, after and before wilderness escapes the year before and several time since ---


ACL Crowds

And Crowds even at the outhouses!!!!

Crowds at Outhouses

How about great views? NOT!!!

Great Views . . . NOT

Great Views . . . NOT2

Fun? Yep, for a weekend of music, rain, mud . . . even in the crowds --


But now for the really good times -- to PNW and the Winds, the Tetons!!!

First, last Fall in the Winds --

Barbara Lake (from Elkhart TH)

Barbara Lake

Hobbs Lake campsite (reached along Seneca Trail)

Hobbs Lake Campsite

Hobbs Lake, from "dinner site" near campsite

Hobbs Lake from "dinner site"

Hobbs Lake from shore below campsite

Hobbs Lake from shore

After "holing up" up through bad weather, hiked out in hail, then looking back

Hiking out of the Weather

Plan to return this year and finish above trip, into Titcomb lakes!!!

In previous years, made the "Wyoming Journey" to hike the Teton Crest Trail and Wind River's Cirque of the Towers. Absolutely stupendous!!!

Here's a few photos from those trips, just a few --

First, Wind River, from Big Sandy to Cirque

Camping at Big Sandy Lake

Big Sandy campsite

Jackass Pass

Jackass Pass

The Cirque

Cirque of Towers

Heading back to trailhead from over Jackass Pass, with hail, sleet, thunder and lightening all the way

Heading back from Jackass Pass

Jackass Pass 2

Just a few more photos to show Teton Crest Trail, including one of us on windy Hurricane Pass before starting the all-downhill trek to Jenny Lake, the "highpoint" of our Teton Crest trip --

Marion Lake

Marion Lake

Campsite at Death Canyon Shelf

Death Canyon Shelf Campsite

Trail along Death Canyon Shelf toward Meek Pass

Death Canyon Shelf Trail

Trail to Alaska Basin

Looking into Alaska Basin

Alaska Basin

Alaska Basin

Campsite at Sunset Lake

Campsite at Sunset Lake

Looking back at Sunset Lake . . . with Alaska Basin & Meek Pass further back

Looking Back at Sunset Lake

Tetons from Hurricane Pass

Tetons from Hurricane Pass

Having fun at Hurricane Pass

Closeup on Hurricane Pass in Teton Crest Trail

Trail down South Fork of Cascade Canyon to Jenny Lake

Schoolhouse Glacier

Upper South Fork of Granite Canyon



Cascade and Log


Nearing trail's end at Jenny Lake

Jenny Lake

Only downside to these Wyoming journeys is that we like to go there in the Fall to miss the crowds, but then we miss the best time for getting into wilderness areas in Oregon and Washington at that same time each year, also when crowds are down.

It's hard to cram so much into September and October!!!

Edited by JRScruggs on 01/09/2012 20:11:40 MST.

Ken K
(TheFatBoy) - F

Locale: St. Louis
Boundary Waters on 01/08/2012 23:27:42 MST Print View

JMT would be tops on my list, but I've only done part of it. Next would definitely be a paddle out/pack back trek through Boundary Waters.

I'd rent a canoe (or large kayak if going solo) from a local outfitter, and paddle out of Lake One or Farm Lake (near Eli, MN), make your way north to the border, and paddle northeast to the Gunflint Trail. Have the outfitter who rents your canoe meet you with resupplies at the Gunflint Trail. He takes the canoe and drops you at the eastern terminus of the Kekekabic Trail. You backpack back to Snowbank Lake.

With side-hikes and lazy days, this could be an amazing 2-week trek.

I can highly recommend an outfitter appropriately named Boundary Waters Outfitters ( I've only been up there once, but as easy as they made everything (taking three crews of 8 scouts/scouters each), I can't imagine anyone else could make it. They're on Farm Lake.

James Wall
(jimmyjam) - F

Locale: Mid Atlantic
+1 for the Boundry Waters Canoe Area on 01/09/2012 06:43:33 MST Print View

I spent a week at Iron Lake and the surrounding lakes. If you like fresh water fishing it's the place to go, just amazing. Also got to within about 50 ft of a moose. The Tetons look very tempting if I had 3 weeks.

David Noll
(dpnoll) - MLife

Locale: Maroon Bells
Boundary Waters on 01/09/2012 06:57:15 MST Print View

One thing to remember about the BWCA is that if you have to come out to resupply you have to get a new permit.

Richard Lyon
(richardglyon) - MLife

Locale: Bridger Mountains
Three choices on 01/09/2012 07:07:50 MST Print View

I'd divide my time among the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area, Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, and Yellowstone/Grand Teton National Parks.

Carl Zimmerman
(CarlZ993) - MLife
Where to go? on 01/09/2012 14:16:31 MST Print View

I'll piggy-back on some other comments (since you live in the NW): Drive over to Glacier Nat'l Park and do the Northern Circuit. Drive down thru Yellowstone and spend a day or two camping and sightseeing. Do the Teton Crest Trail in Teton Nat'l Park. Then, head over to the Wind River Range and pick a hike. Titcomb Basin is pretty spectacular. So is Cirque of the Towers. Really spectacular hiking area. No permit problems (unlike Nat'l Parks).

I've hiked in the Banff area of Canada before. Pretty nice. Torres del Paine in Chile is also nice. So is the Southern Island of NZ. I listed these three in order of 'cheapest' to 'most expensive.'

Jason Cravens

Locale: Cumberland Plateau
thanks on 01/09/2012 19:19:52 MST Print View


Thanks for the pictures, it looks awesome!

Deborah Marh
(Debby) - F
Africa :-) on 01/11/2012 04:14:09 MST Print View

Why not in Africa?
Last month i was in Marocco and Western Sahara.
Is big, beautifull, you can put the tents in the sand of the Sahara,
Is wonderfull.. and after is possible to go to Canary or Cape Verde :-)

Edited by Debby on 01/13/2012 14:50:18 MST.

Greg F
(GregF) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Canadian Rockies on 01/11/2012 08:57:35 MST Print View

I would go to the Canadian Rockies if you haven't been there before. Some fantastic hiking, significant chunks of it being above the treeline. If you are planning in the Glacier, Yellowstone area Banff is only about 3-4 hours north of Glacier.

For trips there I would recomend starting from Mount Assiniboine hike to egypt lake and then the rockwall. This is about 150k of hiking with all of the side trips you would want to do and lots of elevation. I would say at a brisk pace you could do it in 7 days with no re-supply. You would have to have a car shuttle or hitchhike back to banff which is quite easy.

This would work well as a 1 week section of a trip involving montanna and Wyoming.