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#174900 - 02/09/13 09:34 PM National Park Tour
OhioBiscuit Offline
newbie

Registered: 02/09/13
Posts: 7
Hey everyone! I'm new to this board, and I was hoping you guys could help me out with some much-needed advice. I'm about to graduate from college here in early May, and I've been thinking about seeing some national parks before I join the rat race.

That being said, I'll be leaving from Columbus, OH then on to the following:
Mammoth Cave, KY
Big Bend, TX
Guadalupe Mountains, TX
Carlsbad Caverns, NM
Grand Canyon
Here I am a little stuck as to where I should split my time in Utah and Colorado. Obviously a ton of great stuff here, would love some input.
Death Valley, CA
Yosemite, CA
Lassen Volcanic, CA
Redwood, CA
Crater Lake, OR
Mt rainier, Olympic, and north cascades, WA
Glacier, MT
Yellowstone, WY
Grand Teton, WY
Badlands, SD

It's ambitious, I know, and my funds might dictate other options. I'll be leaving around May 10 and hoping to return by June 25. My only other goals are to camp in the parks as much as possible, and take overnight hikes wherever possible. I should also mention I'm doing this alone, with no real backpacking experience outside of day hikes and camping trips with friends. I am in pretty good shape though.

My questions for you guys are these: what kind of gear should I invest in on a tight budget? I have an inflatable sleeping pad already, but need just about everything else. I'm not going to be spending a thousand dollars before. What are the necessities, and where can I get them cheap?

Are there any parks I should include/ignore? National forests, BLM land, etc are fair game, too.

Has anyone hiked glacier, north cascades, or any of the northern parks in June? How limited will I be?

What kind of food do you bring on multi night backpacking trips? Does anyone bring a fishing rod with them on similar trips?

I would really appreciate any advice you guys might have. I've got a few months to prepare, so feel free to call me out on my noobishness. Thanks in advance!

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#174908 - 02/10/13 06:14 AM Re: National Park Tour [Re: OhioBiscuit]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
Retired NPS piping up here. My personal reaction is to advise you to scale it back but that depends entirely on what your overall objective might be. Even so, that is a lot of parks, most of which are quite large and varied, to visit in the time you have available.

I am you will fall into the category of a visitor I contacted once at Mesa Verde NP who asked, "We have fifteen minutes to spend here...What should we see?. Well, at that park, fifteen minutes is not enough time to even do a decent job on the museum. I advised them to go have a good cup of coffee and relax.

I suspect that you are following a model that would proclaim that National Parks are first rank attractions, followed in some order by National Monuments, Forests, BLM stuff, and perhaps privately administered attractions. That might hold in a perfectly rational and ordered world, which this one is most assuredly not (you knew that already, I am sure). While nearly all National Parks are pretty neat places, they are political creations. Need I say more?

I would suggest scaling it back a bit. Pick an area, go there, and bore in. Take a regional approach and regard the entire landscape. Pay attention to weather. Neither Death Valley nor Glacier will likely be optimum within your time window.....

You could do a lot worse than taking a map of the western US, throwing a dart at it, and going to that locality. That said, I notice that you have Badlands on your list, which is adjacent to the Black Hills. You could do worse than spending much or most of your time there. You have wind Cave NP, Mount Rushmore Nat Mem, Jewel Cave NM (actually more impressive than Wind Cave IMHO), Custer State Park (a superb property - should be joined with Wind Cave), Black Hills NF, and a whole lot of other stuff, some of which is definitely tourist schlock. I have dug seasonally at one of the better places, The Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, SD. It is a non-profit, operating independently, and could easily be a significant property in the NP system. Politics (and random chance) again. If you were a month later I will be there and would look forward to meeting you and showing you around.

Visiting a NP and experiencing a NP are not the same thing.

To return to your actual question - If you actually visit the parks you have listed, you will be traveling so fast you won't have time for any extensive hikes. Bring your book pack, a pair of sturdy walking shoes (the nature trails are pretty well groomed), a canteen, and the ten essentials or a reasonable facsimile, and you will be set.

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#174912 - 02/10/13 09:14 AM Re: National Park Tour [Re: oldranger]
ETSU Pride Offline
member

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 931
Loc: Knoxville, TN
I can't speak for a lot of those national parks since I haven't been west of the Mississippi, but I cannot help wonder if some of the backpacking gears will be varying greatly for certain parks. For instance: in Texas it's likely to be really warm while in North Cascade, Yosemite, etc., it'll be colder, thus, sleeping bags would have to be swap out? Of course it would depend on what elevation you will be camping.

It's a lot of driving time reaching those parks in a short span. If it was up to me, I'd drive straight to Washington and explore all three national parks there for a couple weeks.

Edit: You might be able to find a tent here


Edited by ETSU Pride (02/10/13 09:15 AM)
_________________________
It is one of the blessings of wilderness life that it shows us how few things we need in order to be perfectly happy.-- Horace Kephart

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#174915 - 02/10/13 09:52 AM Re: National Park Tour [Re: oldranger]
OhioBiscuit Offline
newbie

Registered: 02/09/13
Posts: 7
Oldranger- Thanks a lot for your input. I'm getting a lot of responses saying to scale it back a little bit, which is probably a good idea. The last thing I want is to spend fifteen minutes at a park and consider it a success. At the very least, I would like to spend one night at each stop. Ideally, I would like to do some multi night hikes wherever possible as well.

What do you think I should cut out? I chose mammoth to start because it's right in my backyard. Big bend would be my next stop, as it's one of the warmer parks on my list. You said Death Valley and glacier will not be optimal at this time...would the same go for the PNW? How would camping be in WY/CO/UT during this time?

Thanks for the recommendations, though. It is exactly what I was hoping to find on here.

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#174917 - 02/10/13 10:38 AM Re: National Park Tour [Re: OhioBiscuit]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3886
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Sounds like you'll be driving right by the Buffalo River NP in Arkansas on your way to Texas. May is usually a great time for a float trip there.
_________________________
--

"You want to go where?"



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#174921 - 02/10/13 11:08 AM Re: National Park Tour [Re: billstephenson]
balzaccom Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 1726
Loc: Napa, CA
Great advice here...

And as I wrote in another forum to you:

Just a few thoughts:

1. They are national parks because they are remarkable. I've been to most of them, and every one that I have visited has been worth it.

2. If you really want to backpack, some are going to be easier/more interesting than others. You can see most of Lassen with a couple of major day-hikes--and backpacking in that park isn't as rewarding as hiking in the two wilderness areas nearby. The same is roughly true of Mammoth Cave, Carlsbad Cavern, Crater Lake...

3. In the same vein, the wilderness areas OUTSIDE of the national parks in the Sierra Nevada have wonderful backpacking--in most cases rivalling the national parks, and usually with less red tape. Look at the John Muir, Ansel Adams, Hoover, Emigrant and Golden Trout wildernesses for some exceptional hiking and backpacking.

4. You could easily spend a month in Yosemite, or SEKI, and hike every day to new and wonderful places. And the same is true of Glacier, Yellowstone, and the Cascades...
_________________________
balzaccom

check out our website and blog: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/home

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#174924 - 02/10/13 12:02 PM Re: National Park Tour [Re: OhioBiscuit]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
The thing is that in the West, the big determinant of climate is elevation, not latitude. Big Bend in May will actually be getting a bit on the toasty side. Death Valley will be steaming hot (wait! It's a dry heat, actually), while Glacier will just be snowplowing their roads. This means that you can live somewhere like Tucson or Los Angeles on a pleasant winter day (like today) and think.... 1) I could go to the beach and launch the sea kayak, go up into the hills and go for a hike or do a little rock climbing, go higher and put on the snowshoes or skis, or I could just sit here and surf the internet! You may not have all these options as readily available in Ohio today. I spent my freshman year in Ohio, transferring the next year to the U of Arizona - the change in recreational options was startling.

By the way, you have another superb gem just NW of your location - Isle Royale NP. It isn't easy to access, but it is superb country and it will be opening up during your window of opportunity. I am a persistent booster if IR on this forum, the result of a three week project on which I worked thirty years ago.

Do your homework. Get on the internet and check out the web page for each of the parks - start with the official NPS page and branch out from there. Look realistically at your time and pick out that which is most appealing. You are in a huge candy store and there are many flavors available. As far as equipment and gear is concerned, there is a lady who occasionally will respond by exhorting posters to check the home page for this forum and pay attention to the material posted there.

BTW, I agree with Balzacom's post completely. I have long enjoyed the USFS Wilderness locales, the Gila Wilderness, especially. Bill Stpehenson's comment re Buffalo River is right on, as well. When I think of BR, I think of caves - there is lots of neat stuff there.

Once you get west of the 100th meridian, you can't lose....

Once you get beyond

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#174927 - 02/10/13 02:34 PM Re: National Park Tour [Re: oldranger]
ETSU Pride Offline
member

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 931
Loc: Knoxville, TN
Oldranger is right. I wanted to so badly recommend adding the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The rhododendron would be in full bloom by June. The beauty of the flowers and Blue Ridge Mountains combined with easier hiking compared to the west. Then the venture into Western North Carolina, is just plain remarkable. The reason I didn't mention it is because if I had the option to go west, I'll go west in a heartbeat. cool
_________________________
It is one of the blessings of wilderness life that it shows us how few things we need in order to be perfectly happy.-- Horace Kephart

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#174931 - 02/10/13 04:08 PM Re: National Park Tour [Re: ETSU Pride]
balzaccom Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 1726
Loc: Napa, CA
Of course, one thing you are seeing in these replies is a bit at odds with your initial question.

You are young, and you are asking about a trip that would allow you to say that you "have done" all this. As you get older, you will realize that it is much more important to do things than to have done them.

Your goal is to visit all of these parks...and the advice you are getting is to visit fewer of them, but in more depth.

And you are young enough to do both. Take this trip and see as much as you can...and then come back and really spend time in the places that you love best.
_________________________
balzaccom

check out our website and blog: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/home

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#174932 - 02/10/13 05:08 PM Re: National Park Tour [Re: balzaccom]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
I'm not sure you understand the magnitude of the trip you have planned. I think it is far too ambitious, especially for someone with limited experience.

First of all, you seem to have no idea how much driving is involved, how much time it will take or how much it will cost. I've driven from Ohio to Texas a couple of times (takes two very long days with no stops except for gas and 1 overnight) and from Ohio to California and back, plus a lot of other cross country trips. There are websites now that will give you the distance, time and estimated costs. Use them to see what you are up against. It is not easy to drive 500 miles a day. I've done it many times. You need a reliable and comfortable car. Do not rely on GPS for shortcuts. Too often the roads it will put you on are not somewhere you want to be. Join the AAA or another auto club that provides maps and breakdown services.

Second, if you plan on camping or staying at a hotel or motel in a park, most, if not all of these parks require reservations in the summer. Yosemite is definitely one. Waiting until you get there will likely mean staying outside the park. Start making reservations now.

Third, the forums on this site are not really the best way to learn the basics of camping. Start reading books like Backpacking for Dummies or The Complete Walker. Your local library should have them or something similar. At this point, you don't even know what you don't know. I could give you a gear list, but it would be useless and misleading. There are general gear lists on this site and dozens of others.

May-June sounds like summer in most places and is, but in the mountains, you might still encounter snow in some places. Spend some time on the websites for each of the parks you want to visit, get the weather records which they should have posted and plan accordingly. Here are examples-
http://www.nps.gov/deva/planyourvisit/weather.htm
http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/weather.htm
http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/tiogaopen.htm

What gear and clothes you need are weather and activity dependent. As long as you no further than about an hour from your car or shelter, you can get away with cheap gear and a minimum of clothes, any further than that, you need to be prepared with clothes and equipment sufficient to enable you to survive overnight.

BTW, if you think I'm being a wuss about your plans, my experience includes travel in South America, New Zealand, Australia and the Western US.


Edited by TomD (02/10/13 05:55 PM)
_________________________
Don't get me started, you know how I get.

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#174934 - 02/10/13 09:53 PM Re: National Park Tour [Re: TomD]
OhioBiscuit Offline
newbie

Registered: 02/09/13
Posts: 7
TomD- Don't think you're being a wuss, I just think you're assuming I am. Believe me, I'm well aware how long the drive is. I've driven to California, Wyoming, and all up and down the east coast. Driving is not really an issue for me, though I definitely don't want it to dominate my trip. That being said, I am going to scale it down quite a bit. That seems to be the overwhelming advice I'm getting.

So, my revised route is looking something like this:
Mammoth cave
Buffalo river
Big bend
Guadalupe mountains
Carlsbad caverns
Grand Canyon
Zion
Capitol reef
Canyonlands
Grand Teton
Yellowstone
Isle royale

I think that's a little more reasonable in terms of driving hours. There's a bit of a gap between canyonlands and teton, but I kind of assumed I could easily find good camping spots on the way. Look forward to hearing some more feedback from everyone!

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#174941 - 02/11/13 12:08 AM Re: National Park Tour [Re: OhioBiscuit]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1146
Loc: Washington State, King County
Quote:
"Look forward to hearing some more feedback from everyone!"


The one bit of ~feedback that I have is the request that you please summarize your experience for us here after you finish!

What you did, what you wish you would have done, what advice you would give if someone asked you how they should plan for a trip like this, that sort of thing.
_________________________
Brian Lewis
http://postholer.com/brianle

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#174956 - 02/11/13 12:52 PM Re: National Park Tour [Re: BrianLe]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2745
Loc: California
It costs to get into most national parks. Calculate if it is cheaper to buy the annual pass (be sure to get the one that covers ALL parks) or pay each time. In general you are better off with the annual pass.

Loop the trip so that you visit the warmer (southern) parks first. Your trip timing is at the cusp of summer. A few weeks can make a big difference.

If you get to the parks in the morning (instead of end of day) there are more available campsites, and you can also get an overnight backpack permit and just start your backpack, so avoid camp fees at the campgrounds. If you want to do some of the more popular trails, reserved permits are needed. However, if willing to take some less used trails, walk-in permits are usually available for one person. I rarely reserve permits.

Do your homework. If you have the access and details nailed down you will waste less time just going around in circles being confused.

Realize that speed limits within parks are really slow. Yellowstone in partiular, is large, and do not expect to make very good time on the roads. An average of 30 mph is about what you can expect, without traffic.

When I do a combined car-camping/backpack trip, I usually have a minimalist backpack ready to go with its own set of clothing and the little stuff (personal gear, etc) already packed. I have a separate ditty bag of personal gear for car-camping. That means doubling up, but it also makes it fast and easy to head out for a backpack without sorting through all your stuff. For overnight backpacks, I would not bother with cooking - just take non-cook stuff. This will simplify your efforts.

In parks where food storage is required be careful with not having too much food in the car and keep it in easy-to-carry containers. You have to move all that food into storage boxes that are provided in the campgrounds. Smelly hygiene items (toothpast, etc) also have to go into animal-proof storage.

I would pack pretty minimal for the car camping too. After a few days you can see what you would like to add and simply buy that stuff along the way.

Truck stops are great places to take a shower. Also, many gyms will let you shower for $5. And public swimming pools (unfortunately they may not be open yet), just pay for swimming (usually a few dollars), skip the swim and shower.


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#174957 - 02/11/13 01:00 PM Re: National Park Tour [Re: OhioBiscuit]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
+1 on what BrianLe said.

Right now you are looking at 76 days and 12 NP's giving you a little over 6 days per NP with driving. That seems like plenty of time to me even throwing in some socializing at local pubs along the way. Now some of these NP's are close to one another, some won't take as long for you to check out as others, local conditions may limit access to some, and some just may not interest you as much. True, right? You just won't know until you get there. I suggest that you are flexible with your trip plans and use your current list as a "base list", but getting details on the other NP's you were interested in hitting. You can go on the fly to additional NP's as you see fit if you are ahead of schedule especially if you have estimates as to how long it will take you to get there and can connect these into some sort of reasonable loop with your base list. If you decide that you want to actually backpack through an area, you can shorten your list as needed after the backpack. It's totally up to what is happening on the trip.

Now I know people who absolutely hate doing stuff like that, and that is fine. Each to his or her own. But I find that this flexibility allows me to take advantage of opportunities that arise along the way. Especially if you are camping...the whole purpose is to check stuff out and experience the parts of these NP's that interest you.

One note though. In some National Parks, it may not be wise to hike at night. I would ask the Rangers about good places to night hike just to avoid potential unwanted human/wildlife interaction.

Looking forward to the trip summary!
Chris

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#174963 - 02/11/13 02:37 PM Re: National Park Tour [Re: OhioBiscuit]
topshot Offline
member

Registered: 04/28/09
Posts: 242
Loc: Midwest
I'll agree with the others it is an ambitious plan, but if you're an ambitious person it can be done. I'll share some gear thoughts later but first let me share 3 trips I've been involved with. The first was a month-long science trip after my freshmen year of high school several decades ago. We started at Mammoth Cave (from NE Ohio) and then went to Carlsbad Caverns, White Sands, Petrified, the big Crater, Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce, Cedar Breaks, Arches, Dinosaur, Tetons, Yellowstone, Rushmore, Devils Tower, Badlands, etc. - you get the idea. Awesome trip! Looks like you have 45 days so it's POSSIBLE you could keep your original destinations, but I would NOT recommend it.

Last summer my son and I took a 20-day road trip to Lassen (it took me 2 16-hour days to reach it from IN), Lost Coast Trail, Redwoods, Oregon Caves, Crater Lake and Dinosaur. Another awesome trip. I'd encourage you to check out our trip videos since you're hitting most of the same spots.

This summer we're taking 24 days to hit Arches, some easy slot canyons in Escalante, Bryce, GC, Zion, Hoover Dam, Death Valley, Bristlecone NF, hike the last 60 miles of the JMT into Yosemite and then Great Basin on the way home.

As for your proposed destinations:
1. I'd leave off Big Bend to save time though it would be better than Guadalupe Mtns. There doesn't seem to be a whole lot to see there, but it's close to Carlsbad so you may as well (though I'm pretty sure we skipped it on my high school trip - would have to look at that schedule which I do still have).
2. The Petrified Forest and whatver that crater is called can be quickly visited on the way to GC if they're of any interest to you. There's also the cliff dwellings a ways east of GC you might check out.
3. Grand Canyon. You'll only be able to dayhike here unless you're lucky enough to get a walk-up permit for a below-the-rim campsite. A general note for ALL of this southwestern hiking. Please be smart and know your limits, wear appropriate clothing and carry (and DRINK!) lots of water. A general note for ALL popular NPs like GC, Zion, Yosemite, Yellowstone, etc - you're late in getting reservations for campgrounds (or to backpack in some parks) so you'll be lucky to find a spot. To save money, you can camp on nearby NF or BLM land or sleep in your car (where it's legal). We did the latter quite a bit.
4. After GC, I'd go to Bryce and then Zion or just the latter.
5. Death Valley will be very hot so you'll do minimal dayhiking here. We plan to hit mostly the Star Wars filming sites early in the day and then backpack up to Telescope Peak.
6. Yosemite Valley will be very crowded. Snow may block high passes.
7. Lassen. The trail to Lassen Peak is only open at specific times right now because they're rebuilding it. Our trip last year was dictated by reaching the park at a point when it was open.
8. After Redwoods, if you time it for a Fri (or Sat?) evening take a candlelight tour of Oregon Caves.
9. Crater. Highly recommend the Wizard Island tour.
10. High country of Cascades, Glacier, Yellowstone and Tetons may have lots of snow. You should be able to do lower dayhikes though - perhaps out and backs if a pass is involved.

I'm going to assume you will only be sticking to popular tourist type areas, but if you intend to hit some out of the way trailheads, make sure your vehicle can get there as some require high clearance or 4WD. You should carry extra water/food in your vehicle nonetheless. Note those areas (eg, Yosemite) with strict bear regs - NO food allowed in cars overnight and must use a canister in backcountry (they rent them).

As for inexpensive gear, it's designed for Scout backpacking, but my paper should be helpful in this area. I'd try to borrow as much as you can from family and friends. If you're not overly concerned with weight you can cobble together quite a bit. Is your pad insulated or essentially an air mattress? If the latter, it won't be suitable for the higher elevations which could easily get down to freezing at night.

Unlike Scouts, you could use an alcohol stove, which is very simple and cheap. Search youtube for Super Cat alcohol stove.

As for food, my paper touches on that but directs you to a website. I never follow the recipes there exactly - just cobble together stuff that seems like it should work that I'd like - very tasty! If you do the suggested freezer bag method, I'd practice in advance and play with recipes to find out which ones you like. Being a college student, you may be tired of ramen at this point, but it's my favorite base to work from. Yes, many people fish while backpacking, but you'll need a license for each state you choose to do so.

That should give you more than enough to digest (no pun intended!) right now. As I mentioned, you're biggest issue right now is getting reservations. I submitted our's the first day I could, which is generally the only way you have a chance at some parks. I just received our Grand Canyon permit today, in fact. The only permit I have yet to get is for the Zion Narrows since they only reserve up to 3 months out instead of 6.

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#174967 - 02/11/13 04:01 PM Re: National Park Tour [Re: OhioBiscuit]
topshot Offline
member

Registered: 04/28/09
Posts: 242
Loc: Midwest
If you stick with your revised itinerary, here's a few comments (not counting the ones above that still apply):
1. Buffalo. I assume you mean to canoe this also or just hike?
2. After Zion add Bryce
3. After Canyonlands, add Arches and maybe dinasour museum in Vernal (skip the NM unless you want to see the wall of fossils). Being so close to the Wind River Range, it would be a shame not to try a night there. Park at Elkhart Park trailhead and at least take the Pole Creek Trail (very easy but very boring, too) to Photographers Point. You'll be overlooking one of the bucket list backpacking spots in the world.
4. Maybe add Theodore Roosevelt NP - depends on what you're looking for.
5. Isle Royale. I wouldn't go that far out of the way or spend that much ($100+ for ferry shuttle) unless you're planning to spend several days there. Prepare for bugs!

I'd recommend Andrew Skurka's book to learn more about backpacking gear and skills. Good info for a newbie and easy and quick to read. I've heard the Kindle version isn't a good transfer so stick to the hard copy.

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#174980 - 02/11/13 11:59 PM Re: National Park Tour [Re: OhioBiscuit]
Glenn Roberts Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1362
Loc: Southwest Ohio
As a fellow Ohioan (being a Miami of Ohio alum, I'm somewhat pathologically opposed to calling myself a Buckeye smile ), I'd suggest:

1. If you're going to be living in Ohio, Kentucky, or Indiana when you settle down, skip Mammoth Cave for now - the backcountry is pretty, for sure, but you can hike most of it and see the cave in a long (4-day) weekend, including drive times. Do it later, and hit the parks out West that will be harder to get time for after you're working (and married, and a homeowner and parent...)

2. Consider leaving Isle Royale for later. It's beautiful, and my favorite place, but it's a time-consuming trip: drive time to Copper Harbor, MI (or other port), losing a day over and another day back on the ferry to the island, and (except in August) being forced to spend longer on the island than you might want, since the ferry doesn't run every day. It's also expensive - I just checked the website, and it's $130 round trip. Make this NEXT summer's Big Trip. Your time, and money, might be better spent heading west.

I'm not trying to discourage you from hiking our own area - we've got places like Zaleski, Tar Hollow, Shawnee, and Old Man's Cave, and in neighboring states we've got the Red River Gorge, Hoosier National Forest, Knobstone Trail, Sheltowee Trace, and Cumberland Gap, just to name a few. But, with this kind of time to lavish on a trip, before other responsibilities have to be considered, go west and make the most of it. Then come back here to Live.

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#174981 - 02/12/13 12:15 AM Re: National Park Tour [Re: OhioBiscuit]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2745
Loc: California
Here are a few websites to keep an eye on snow-melt out west. Grand Teton, Yellowstone and Glacier can still be pretty snowy in early June.

http://www.nohrsc.noaa.gov/nsa/

http://www.wrds.uwyo.edu/wrds/nrcs/

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#174982 - 02/12/13 01:24 AM Re: National Park Tour [Re: OhioBiscuit]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Originally Posted By OhioBiscuit
TomD- Don't think you're being a wuss, I just think you're assuming I am. Believe me, I'm well aware how long the drive is. I've driven to California, Wyoming, and all up and down the east coast. Driving is not really an issue for me, though I definitely don't want it to dominate my trip. That being said, I am going to scale it down quite a bit. That seems to be the overwhelming advice I'm getting.

So, my revised route is looking something like this:
Mammoth cave
Buffalo river
Big bend
Guadalupe mountains
Carlsbad caverns
Grand Canyon
Zion
Capitol reef
Canyonlands
Grand Teton
Yellowstone
Isle royale

I think that's a little more reasonable in terms of driving hours. There's a bit of a gap between canyonlands and teton, but I kind of assumed I could easily find good camping spots on the way. Look forward to hearing some more feedback from everyone!


Nope, not a wuss, just overly ambitious and not taking into account any possible problems. For example, on one of my trips, I blew an engine outside of Toledo that had to be replaced. The good news was it was my Beetle so it only took a couple of hours to do it.
Your new plan sounds a lot more feasible, but still that's a lot of driving. The big jump is up to Yellowstone and the Tetons.
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#174983 - 02/12/13 08:39 AM Re: National Park Tour [Re: TomD]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
I'll bet you will have a great time, especially if this is your first venture out west. Just stay flexible and take advantage of whatever opportunities may present themselves. You've got lots of time to return, perchance to even settle, and dig deeper into the spots that catch your fancy.

Don't feed the wildlife (that includes the rangers)!

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#174999 - 02/12/13 04:00 PM Re: National Park Tour [Re: oldranger]
OhioBiscuit Offline
newbie

Registered: 02/09/13
Posts: 7
Topshot- Thanks for all the great info! The alcohol stove looks very simple to make and use. I'll definitely be fooling around with that soon. I really appreciate the link to the paper too--makes me wish I would have done scouts as a kid! I'm sure I'll be returning to it many times over the next few months. I also think I'll skip buffalo river, as I only really included it because it's on the route.

I am getting a lot of mixed reviews on Isle Royale. It seems like one of the most appealing places to explore, but also one of the most difficult to get to. I'm leaving it on for now, but that could easily change after six weeks on the road.

As for food, right now I'm looking at ramen noodles at granola bars for every day in the backcountry. A lot of these freezer bag recipes look great, but will they hold up after weeks on the road? Any other cheap food suggestions?

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#175001 - 02/12/13 04:26 PM Re: National Park Tour [Re: OhioBiscuit]
ETSU Pride Offline
member

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 931
Loc: Knoxville, TN
I take Easy Mac a lot. Instead of 8oz of water as used in the cup, I boiled 4oz on the trail. I think it has to do with water evaporating in the microwave is reason why it 8oz in the cup.

I learned the first time I put Easy Mac in my mug, that 8oz was a lot of water and 4oz was just the right amount.
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It is one of the blessings of wilderness life that it shows us how few things we need in order to be perfectly happy.-- Horace Kephart

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#175005 - 02/12/13 08:40 PM Re: National Park Tour [Re: OhioBiscuit]
topshot Offline
member

Registered: 04/28/09
Posts: 242
Loc: Midwest
Originally Posted By OhioBiscuit
I am getting a lot of mixed reviews on Isle Royale. It seems like one of the most appealing places to explore, but also one of the most difficult to get to. I'm leaving it on for now, but that could easily change after six weeks on the road.

As for food, right now I'm looking at ramen noodles at granola bars for every day in the backcountry. A lot of these freezer bag recipes look great, but will they hold up after weeks on the road? Any other cheap food suggestions?
You might want to ask around about needing ferry reservations for IR. I don't know if you can get a ride if you just show up.

As for freezer bag meals, they'll easily last that long. I know I used a rice-based one that was over 4 months old (leftover from a trip with my boys). I won't say that length of time is recommended and SOME ingredients may not do well together. I've done some where a couple ingredients made a hard clump after a week because I didn't keep those with a little moisture (parmesan cheese maybe?) separated from the others. That's OK for a night or two.

I'd also mix the meals and snacks up more. You'll get tired of just ramen-based and granola bars. Instant rice, instant potatoes and couscous are the other popular freezer bag bases as well as the Lipton Pasta/Rice Sides. You can make some very yummy meals. Made my wife some butter rice with salmon for our anniversary (her first BP trip in 30 years). Also pay attention to your environment. In the desert you'll need more salt/potassium to make up for all you'll be sweating.

For breakfasts, I usually eat pop tarts with carnation breakfast drink (2 packets and using Nido for milk). Thus, I don't need to cook and can get going early. That will be important in the desert especially, but I also like photography and the light is better in the morning and evening.

I normally don't eat lunch per se but snack on trail mix and a power bar during the day. I'll admit to not eating a whole lot and for whatever reason not having an issue with "bonking". I hiked all day in Maroon Bells and realized that night the only thing I'd eaten was 2 power bars and a piece of jerky! I often skip breakfast or lunch and doesn't seem to bother me so I'm learning to take less food. I only lost 1-2 pounds that trip, too! I wouldn't recommend that for you, of course, since you don't know how your body will react. If you use only dehydrated foods for the most part (the exception being packets of tuna, chicken, salmon, etc) and repackage items (except those meat packets), you should not need more than 2 pounds per day. I use 1.2 PPD. Most people are near 1.4-1.5 PPD.


Edited by topshot (02/12/13 08:58 PM)
Edit Reason: added more food info

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#175007 - 02/12/13 09:51 PM Re: National Park Tour [Re: topshot]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
I know this is a backpacking light forum and what I am about to say borders on heresy. For relatively short trips (one or two nights out on the trail) you can carry just about anything, especially for your evening meal. The ingredients for a lot of fine light weight meals can be obtained at any supermarket. There are some dandy recipes right here on this forum.

Just a word about island parks like Isle Royale. The trip over the water really cuts down on visitation; Isle Royale is frequently the least visited of the National Parks; Channel Islands National Park, where I worked for several years, is often third from the bottom. Unlike the drive by parks, some planning is required. You do avoid the teeming hordes however. And, for that matter, the trip across the water can be a significant highlight of the trip.

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#175008 - 02/12/13 10:24 PM Re: National Park Tour [Re: oldranger]
rockchucker22 Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/12
Posts: 749
Loc: Eastern Sierras
Originally Posted By oldranger
I know this is a backpacking light forum and what I am about to say borders on heresy. For relatively short trips (one or two nights out on the trail) you can carry just about anything, especially for your evening meal. The ingredients for a lot of fine light weight meals can be obtained at any supermarket. There are some dandy recipes right here on this forum.

Just a word about island parks like Isle Royale. The trip over the water really cuts down on visitation; Isle Royale is frequently the least visited of the National Parks; Channel Islands National Park, where I worked for several years, is often third from the bottom. Unlike the drive by parks, some planning is required. You do avoid the teeming hordes however. And, for that matter, the trip across the water can be a significant highlight of the trip.
You sir are officially shunned!







J/k laugh
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