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Ancient Lakes Backpack

Looking northwest into the Columbia River Gorge from the top of the wall

Ancient Lakes is a popular east-side backpacking destination in Washington State, especially early in the season when the Cascades and Olympics are snowed under. The area consists of two 1.5-mile-long coulees (box canyons formed by eroding basalt) separated by a 300-foot-tall “rib” or wall. The western ends of the coulees …

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Climbing Mt Eisenhower in Winter Conditions

Front to rear - Eisenhower, Franklin, Monroe, Washington, Clay, Jefferson

Most winter hikers in the White Mountains check the weather a few times ever day, so they can grab a good weather window to climb the more challenging above-timberline peaks and enjoy the view. With temperatures forecast in the 30’s and a calm wind, I knew this would be a …

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Undercast in Franconia Notch

Franconia Ridge w/ undercast

When we crested Kinsman Ridge, the first thing we saw was Franconia Ridge floating above a billowy cloud of undercast. Also called a cloud inversion, undercast occurs when a cold layer of air is trapped in a canyon or mountain pass and topped with a layer of warm air, which …

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Backpacking a Gentian Pond Loop

Gentian Pond in Autumn

Gentian Pond is in the Mahoosuc Range, one of the hardest sections of the Appalachian Trail. I hiked a one night loop up to the AT shelter there, visiting two big waterfalls called Giant Falls and Dryad Falls on the way. My friend Ken and I had stopped by this …

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Backpacking a Speckled Mountain – Haystack Notch Loop

View of Mt Washington from Speckled Mountain summit.

Most of my backpacking trips this year have turned into guidebook chapters for Backpacking the White Mountain 4000 footers, instead of personal trip reports. But my latest backpacking trip through the Caribou-Speckled Wilderness doesn’t have what it takes to be a guidebook chapter. While scenic and wild, the route passes through …

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Backpacking to Sawyer Pond Trip Plan

Best Backpacks in the White Mountains Sawyer Pond

Sawyer Pond is a picturesque backcountry pond on the east side of the White Mountain National Forest, near Crawford Notch and Bartlett, NH. It’s easy to hike into, making it an ideal destination for families, small groups, or couples who want a quiet place to camp without undertaking a huge …

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