Discover Long Distance Trails: Bigfoot Trail & Ozark Trail

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You have completed your ultralight set-up, now it’s time to hit the trail, but unless you have had your sights set on a particular long distance trail, where to go? From a week to a few months, these hikes will help you scratch the backpacking itch and stretch your legs.

The Bigfoot Trail, 360 miles - Northern California


bigfoottrailmapDoes your imagination run wild when you are on a backpacking trip? Maybe the Bigfoot Trail is for you. This 360 mile trail could put you face-to-face with the mythical beast, or more likely, will submerge you in a world of incredible biodiversity. Either way, this “shorter” trail in Northern California is a great option for those looking for a more remote experience in the backcountry.

Proposed by avid hiker and naturalist Michael Kauffman in 2009, the Bigfoot Trail winds through the Klamath Mountains passing through six wilderness areas, and a national & state park. The true wonder of this route though, is in the 38 different species of conifers hikers will encounter. Diverse habitats are the direct result of the mix of five different biotic regions: the Cascades, Coast Range, Great Basin, Central Valley, and Sierra Nevada. This mixture of geology, time, and diversity add up to over 3,500+ species of plants including the conifer, and a rich variety of wildlife.

The trail briefly connects with the Pacific Crest Trail in the Marble Mountain Wilderness, but because many of the trails and roads the route travels on haven’t been maintained regularly, some of the navigation may be tricky, and the hiking more time consuming. It’s worth it though, and as the Bigfoot Trail Association grows and more hikers head out on this route, the trail will continue to develop.

The Bigfoot Trail Association sells maps and a guidebook, and includes information on water sources, conifer species, resupply points and more; a new forum page on the website is a great place to find out more information on the trail. So brush up on your navigation skills and head to Northern California for your next big adventure.

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Packrafting with the Flex Pack

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smithrockpackraftPackrafting has been a great new adventure that has helped me explore the wilderness in a new way. By combining my love of backpacking, and my boyfriend’s love of kayaking, we’ve found the perfect combination to satisfy both of our preferred modes of travel.

We’ve been using Alpacka’s Llama packrafts, which weigh about 8-9 pounds after we installed thigh-straps, a few more tie-down points, and the cargo-fly, which allows you to pack all of your gear INSIDE the boat instead of on the bow of the boat. The packraft itself has a whitewater spray skirt to keep water out of the boat, and because we do tend to take the boats on rivers up to Class IV, we carry helmets, life jackets, throw-bags, patch kits, paddles, and dry bags. All those items can add up even though the rest of our gear is a light-weight backpacking set-up

In order to fit all that boating and hiking/camping gear into a pack for the “packing” portion of any trip, we have tried a variety of different backpacks, sometimes strapping most of our gear to the outside, or turning our backpack into the “leaning tower of Pisa” to fit everything in. The load can be quite heavy, and most of our configurations have been quite uncomfortable.

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