I'm always interested in other people's outdoor experiences, so I figured I'd ask what everyone favorite nature spot and why. Or, even if you have one at all.
I personally have a few favorites, all of them out west in the Montana, Wyoming, Idaho area as well as parts of Alaska now, but I think I can say with confidence my favorite is definitely the Sawtooth National Forest area around Stanley, ID. I remember camping in the area when I was a kid, one time spending two straight weeks out there living it up as far as I'm concerned. I can't help but feel happy and have darn near no worries at all when I'm there. At least more so than other places I've camped and backpacked in, which is saying quite a bit I think.
In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.-Aristotle
Top of Beartooth Pass sitting on my bike on the side of US 212 on a night with a full moon looking down at the switchbacks and stars reflecting in alpine lakes on an early August night so cold you could see your breath and so clear you could just see the aurora far off on the northern horizon. I parked there for an hour.
On the hottest day of the year, sitting in the cold air flowing through Devil's Den with a headlight reading "The Shining" and getting the stuffing scared out of me by a fellow "spelunker" right at the scariest part.
Walking a portion of the Ouachita Trail just past Sugar Creek (heading east) that looks like a wood from a Tolkein book. I half expected to see elves or hobbits flitting between the trees or peering over the rocks.
I have had the opportunity to visit some special places over the years. Sorry, but I will not share those over the internet. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif" alt="" />
Sometime when we are watching a sunset across a lake above timberline I will share some of those spots with you. Maybe even where I have asked my daughter to scatter my ashes. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
A "favorite" spot is hard to pin down. Every time I've got to hike into a place that has a semblance of what it used to be like I've enjoyed myself. There are a few that stand out...
Malibu Creek State Park, CA, in the years before they built all the campsites, was a lot of fun for me. I hiked it, biked it, fished it, and swam in the swimming hole below the water fall for several years and often had it almost all to myself.
I got to spend several weeks a couple times at Peck's Cabin in the Sequoia Forest. That's about as good as it can get anywhere you can go.
There is a spot in the Buffalo River NP in AR, just upstream from the mouth of Richland Creek where one of the best swimming holes in the world just sits there waiting for anyone who takes the time to get there. I try and go there at least once each year.
There is a canyon in the Leatherwood Wilderness in AR where, right now, all along the creek bed the Witch Hazel is in bloom and just the scent of it must be as close to heaven as I will ever get. I've been there twice.
There are our own 15 acres behind our house that border public land and Bull Shoals Lake in Taney County MO. That is my current "Favorite Nature Spot". Unless they grind all these mountains down around me I'll probably hang here till the end.
Sure, like I'm going to post on the INTERNET my favorite backpacking spots so it can be overrun by turons <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" /> What ya' smokin' up there in Alaska Matt? <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif" alt="" /> We all know it's legal up there, but please for the sake of our sanity, don't smoke then post here <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />
PEPPER SPRAY AIN'T BRAINS IN A CAN!
He's not asking for BPing spot, just nature spot... at least I think that's what he was asking.
One of mine sadly no longer exists. I grew up in the woods around Morgan Creek in Chapel Hill, NC. I spent a great deal of time just wandering through the woods, following "landmark" trees (giant oaks left standing in the days when the pine woods were once farm fields), creeks and remains of old cabins and barns. There was a particular old foundation I used to walk to on a regular basis... it was a "thinking spot" for me. Sometime in the '90's a new development went in across the creek from my parent's house, and I was back wandering the streets, annoyed at the loss of "my" woods. Sure enough I came upon my secret spot from the opposite direction, within easy view of the new street. I'm sure that old foundation was long ago razed for a "new" house. It made me cry.
Another favorite spot is the top of Jane Bald, just up from Carver's Gap on the AT in NC. One of the few true accessible balds in that area... on a clear day you can see for miles and miles and miles (ok, I'm channeling an old song... sorry <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />).
YMMV. Viewer discretion is advised.
Loc: Portland, OR
I dunno. I am torn. Not the same way as others who won't share for fear of their beauty spot being overrun, but differently torn. I find that, if you take nature onm her own terms, any spot that is reasonably undisturbed and healthy is pretty wonderful.
More and more as I grow older I find that I would rather be in a place that doesn't have a calendar photo view, but one that just feels 'right'. This gives me a huge choice of places that I can go and enjoy nature in solitude. Even burned forests can be pleasant, provided the fire wasn't too catastrophic and sad.
I remember hiking a trail on the side of Cascade Head at the Oregon Coast on a rather raw day. As I was sitting by the trail eating a few handfuls of trail mix, another hiker came up the trail and asked me if I knew where the view was. I remember thinking (but was too polite to say), buddy, there's something worth seeing every step of the trail.
Instead I explained that if he kept going another 1.5 miles or so, there was a brief break in the trees where he could look out at the nearest ridge and a bit of the ocean. He seemed unhappy to hear that was it.
So, these days, my favorite place is usually where I am hiking. So much nicer that way. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
Lol, no, it isn't quite my favorite backpacking spot, I don't have one of those. midnightsun had it right. I really can't describe what I'm asking here I guess. The best I can do in that department would be by saying it is a place that makes you feel undescribable maybe. I'm comfortable giving the spot out anyhow simply because it isn't like it is anything remote and not well known.
And I kind of wish I was able to do some smoking. The Army doesn't look highly on that though, hehe. People do like to let their cars run all of the time up here this time of year though, so maybe the fumes from the exhaust are getting to me. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />
In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.-Aristotle
In general, my favorite nature spot is on the beach, off season, (preferably a wild life refuge), when it's cloudy and gray outside, rough waters and wind. I like to watch the dolphins play in the waves or the pelicans fly so low to the water in this wonderful formation.
Mountains are good too, but there's nothing like the taste of salt air on your lips.
If there are no roads, or people, or sounds of roads and people, I am good. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />
That is what separates car camping from backpacking. With car camping, there are lots of other people, trying to show off how much stuff they can bring and turn their little spot into a house without walls. Then they have their stupid music blaring all night. I go to the woods for solitude and quiet. I don't want to hear music in the woods, I want to hear the woods. I want to see animals that aren't drunk and making fools of themselves. But, that is just me... <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.
> That is what separates car camping from backpacking. With car camping, there are lots > of other people, trying to show off how much stuff they can bring and turn their little spot > into a house without walls. Then they have their stupid music blaring all night. I go to the > woods for solitude and quiet. I don't want to hear music in the woods, I want to hear the > woods. I want to see animals that aren't drunk and making fools of themselves. But, that > is just me...
Actually, pretty good summary of why I started backpacking instead of car camping. There are still a few good car camping areas in the Ouachitas (you won't find them on maps), but if you walk a mile or few you're guaranteed all the privacy you want.
Yeah, I used to have one. It was on top of Mt.Mitchell. It was around 1975 when I was there and my favorite time was first thing in the morning....watching the sun come up. That's all changed now. There is a resort up there now. What a drag man...sabre11004...
The first step that you take will be one of those that get you there.... <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" />
The first step that you take will be one of those that get you there 1!!!!!
10-4 on the solitude of not having too much stuff and a thumpin I pod blaring. The last time I went car camping was what cured me and sent me down the trail of going light. I carried a pickup load of stuff. I had 3 large rubbermaid containers full of food and cooking gear eg. a two burner propane stove, iron skillet etc. A large tent that 5 could sleep in. I had 2 coolers full of ice, drinks, fresh eggs, backon, ground beef and fruits and vegetables. All for a two nite camp out. It was totally stupid but I must say we ate good. I made a big load of spagetti with meat sauce, zuccine with toasted garlic bread. My camp buddy came with a bottle of makers mark. We weren't hammered and stupid, Just full and docile. But my truck was in view the whole time. Not anymore!
I go to enough nice places, I love them all. Favorites are probably more sentimental than anything else.
If I had to pick *one* it sadly no longer exists today. it was Roughly the Centre of This.. Before all those cutblocks were there (about 25 years ago) I used to get up into there in the late fall hunting. the small creek draw in the middle of the map I used to walk up into with hoarfrost all over the trees, snow everywhere, and me miles from anywhere. Probably more a state of mind at the time for me, in combination with the place, than anything else, since strictly objectively, it's just another patch of canadian bush, and certinaly nothing as breathtaking as all the places I tromp in the Rockies. If anything it's special to me since as a young kid, It was probably one of the first places I just sat there for hours thinking nowhere else on earth looks exactly like this - for no other reason than I could, and realized just how cool it was to do that.
I still find lots of places like that - just that one has sentimental value.
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
I still like car camping. My neighbor and I rented the Shiloh group campground at Greers Ferry Lake, Arkansas for a week in June this year. We've invited all our family and friends to come down. There won't be any blaring boom boxes but there will be lots of live Bluegrass pickin' going on. We'll both bring every gizmo and gadget we have down there that doesn't need electricity and lots of time will be spent on really good food when we're not in or on the water.
I'll car camp when and where the timing is right. I've sure learned when to not go. I used to drive out and spend nights camping and fishing at the beginning of Castaic Lake in CA in the Winter and Spring a lot. Again, I always had the place entirely to myself. I went there once the night before Memorial Day weekend and hadn't really thought about the holiday. At 7:00 am the next morning I heard, then saw, at least 150 boats racing towards me at full speed. Within 10 minutes every nook and cranny of the shoreline was occupied. I knew I couldn't come back until after Labor Day. Since then I've tried to remember to take notice of holidays when I'm making plans to head out. (Shhh... Here's a secret, one of the best times to car camp is the weekend before a holiday.)
For family gettogethers car camping can be great. I haven't done the family reunion thing in many years. If I'm not backpacking, I go to a little house we have close to Hardy Ark. No phone, fireplace for heat. It has central air but seldom used. We no longer have electronics for entertainment since someone ransacked the place and made off with everything, including my inflatable pontoon boat. I go there to fish and enjoy my solitude after I drop the family either at the pool or in town to look at antiques. I hope the meth heads that took my stuff made enough $$ to overdose.
Loc: California (southern)
I have two that are special to me. Really wild and isolated, with many personal associations:
1) Baboquivari Peak in Southern Arizona. Spectacular, rugged summit with fantastic views. The easiest route to the summit requires technical work The Tohono O'otam consider the peak the center of the universe. They have it about right.
2) Point Bennett - most westerly point on San Miguel Island, California. A huge seal rookery placed amid thrashing waves pounding against a rocky coast. Archeological sites on the land and shipwrecks in the water. Stung by the perennially powerful winds, you can really feel Nature's power here.
Neither of these spots will be overrun by tourons in anything like the foreseeable future.... <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
Loc: California (southern)
Thanks for digging up the wonderful album. Brought back many happy memories. I am sure you are right about excessive ingestion of peyote on the summit, although I can't say from personal experience. I can say that moderately excessive consumption of Roma Zinfandel can render the descent more challenging. I shake my head at some of the dumb stuff I did in my youth.... <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
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