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Backpacker The Complete Guide to Backpacking: Field-Tested Gear, Advice, and Know-How for the Trail
Return to Book Page. Preview — Wilderness Basics by Kristi Anderson. One of the all-time bestselling wilderness skills texts-newly updated and improved! Get A Copy. Published September 19th by Mountaineers Books first published January 1st More Details Other Editions 2. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Wilderness Basics , please sign up. Lists with This Book.
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What to Pack for Backpacking with Kids
Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. Sort order. Mar 13, Shobhit Dalal rated it really liked it. It covers all required details but it is more focused towards west coast hiking with examples and pictures from that region alone. Come prepared! The terrain is rough, uneven and unpredictable. After you have completed the pre trip research phase it is time to go for those permits!
Backpacking units are subject to availability so be sure to have a backup plan in the event that your first choice is full. The backcountry unit system does not apply during the winter or shoulder-season months, backpackers can camp anywhere. Our advice, arrive to the visitors center at 8am opening time the day prior to your departure for the best chance of getting your first choice unit. Once you have your permit you will need to go through a briefing about safe backpacking practices in Denali. This is in the form of a video and a discussion with a ranger.
You will learn all about how to handle yourself in bear country, what the biggest risks are for backpacking in Denali, and much more. Finally, after you have your magic ticket, aka backcountry permit, you are ready to purchase your bus ticket. We did this process in reverse and ultimately ended up missing our scheduled bus into Denali.
If this happens, you have to go through the hassle of getting your ticket changed, paying a fee and risking the chance that the next bus is full. Are more Alaska adventures in your future? The perfect complement to a Denali backpacking escapade! After you have completed the necessary steps for obtaining a permit, you are officially ready to embark on your first backpacking trip in Denali! The area of each unit is quite large. You will need to study the map beforehand so you are familiar with the boundaries of your unit. As luck would have it, the bus driver turned out to be our very best resource.
Wilderness Basics: The Complete Handbook for Hikers & Backpackers
He knew right where to drop us off and gave us advice on where to hike. This being said, it is possible to backpack Denali on a whim but not at all recommended. Although we chose to focus on one unit, we met others who obtained permits for multiple sites. Rather than hiking one unit, you can opt to split your time between several units.
This would entail spending one night in your designated unit, backpacking out the next day, flagging down a bus and moving to the next unit. If you choose to backpack Denali, get ready for the inquisitive looks and questions from other travelers riding the park shuttle!
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After concluding our backpacking adventure we hopped on the bus, which was full of tourists visiting the park as a day trip. We were soaking wet and a bit disheveled after multiple days of camping. Our sanity was silently being questioned by the looks and judgements we received from the other passengers. Were we crazy to even consider venturing into this wild wilderness? Of course, the thought of a bear attack crossed our mind more than once.
We will get into this later in the post. Hiking through tundra is an amazing feeling! Imagine the feeling of walking on a memory foam mattress. Your feet sink into the earth with each step, nearly eliminating the harsh impact that often is associated with hiking through unruly terrain. More often than not you will feel as though you are navigating through a landmine of unstable rocks, dense brush, and treacherous river crossings.
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Backpacking Denali requires your full attention at every moment. For backpackers accustomed to conventional trail hiking, navigation through the backcountry of Denali can be challenging. You need to be proficient at identifying features of the landscape both on the map and on the trail. If you are anything like us and are less than confident about your ability to navigate with a map and compass, not all hope is lost. A few of the units have river beds or drainages that can be followed into the wilderness, making it nearly impossible to get turned around.
We backpacked unit 11 and had the luxury of hiking alongside Stony Creek. This unit is ideal for less experienced backpackers. It is important to be conservative with time and distances when backpacking in Denali. Since most of the hiking is off-trail, travel is significantly slower. Plan for at least double the time it would take you to hike the same distance when following an established trail.
The reason that Denali has quotas for most backpacking units is to limit human-impact on the landscape. These are easy to spot as the vegetation has a matted look to it. Be cognizant of social trails and choose a different route or walk alongside the same route if you notice an excess of foot traffic. Denali requires all backpackers to camp in their designated unit in an area that cannot be seen from the park road. This requires at least 2 miles of hiking before you are out of sight, but most units require more than this.
Our first bear sighting was a Grizzly bear several hundred yards above us. We had just sent up our tent by the creek and were scoping out a place to watch the sunset. Naturally, we looked to the tallest peak that surrounded us and begin devising a plan to hike up the hill. In the midst of our planning we spotted a Grizzly bear moving at a rapid pace, seemingly straight towards us! We quickly made our presence known by making ourselves appear large, waving our hiking poles in the air and shouting as loud as our vocal cords could manage.
Luckily, the bear stopped in his tracks, turned around and scurried back up the hill. Knowing how to handle bear encounters is an essential part of backpacking in Denali. Eating in bear country is a scrupulous ordeal that requires preparation and thought. Never leave food of any kind in your tent. All food should be stored in bear-resistant backpackers food cache, which can be rented from the visitors center. All food and scraps kept at least yards from your camp. This goes for the food preparation area as well. Be sure to prepare your food in a wide-open space so that you are able to visualize your surroundings at all times.
Avoid excessively fragrant foods, such as bacon darn! Imagine a triangle- one angle is your camp, one is the cooking space and the other is the food storage area. Each point should be yards apart. As the saying goes in Denali, a fed bear is a dead bear. Bears that learn to obtain food often become increasingly aggressive, which ultimately leads to the bear being killed.
If you run it may trigger a predatory instinct to chase and attack.
There are different ways to handle an encounter with a black bear vs. Most bears avoid people and many hikers never even know that they nearly encountered a bear. The majority of encounters end peacefully with the bear and human departing in opposite directions. Upon registering for a backcountry unit you will learn that it is not bears you need to worry most about, but rather rivers. If crossing a river is on your backpacking itinerary, be sure to know the safest way to do so, i.
You will receive an in-depth explanation about safe river crossing practices before heading into the backcountry. Do you like off-the-beaten path travel experiences?
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Upon concluding your Denali backpacking adventure be sure to stop for a free sled dog demonstration. This is a must for animal lovers!
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