Apr 11, 2010 at 4:46 pm #1257588
Several years ago I brought mom to Scotland to hike the West Highland Way with me. The reason this worked was precisely because the trip (a) didn't involve any major climbs (b) she didn't have to carry much in the way of gear (c) we slept indoors at night at small inns. This worked out well.
Inn the United States, and particularly in the west, what would people recommend as great opportunities to slack pack, either from inn to inn/hut to hut? Anyone have any suggestions?
Thanks in advance!
DirkApr 11, 2010 at 4:58 pm #1596851
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
Personally, I have never heard that called slack packing. Hut-to-hut hiking can be done. A variation of that is hut-to-hut cross-country skiing. There is a series of huts in the Lake Tahoe (California) Region. They are owned and managed by the Sierra Club and sit on Forest Service land. They are pretty rustic. Typically all you'll find at each one would be bunk space for 10-16 people, one or two wood stoves with some firewood, and possibly a picnic table. Outside will be an outhouse. I believe they charge a few bucks per night to stay there, and there is a reservation system.
These can be convenient, since they are near the PCT, and some of them are about one day's travel apart by skis. There used to be one in the back between Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, but it had to be demolished and replaced by a newer one northeast of Squaw Valley.
–B.G.–Apr 11, 2010 at 5:22 pm #1596862
@bcampriniLocale: Southern Appalachians
I've been curious about this one but don't know any more than what's on the website…the Catamount Trail…it's a cross-country ski / snowshoe trail the goes the length of Vermont. Not sure if it's able to be hiked or if it's a winter only type thing. Plenty of nice inns along the way, for a price of course.Apr 12, 2010 at 11:28 pm #1597339
Thank you for the heads-up about the huts you can rent! I hiked through the Tahoe area last year, wondeful hiking. I really appreciate the information.
FYI.. I've heard slack packing in reference to hiking for several days without your gear. For example, when your pack/gear is carried ahead (on horse, by car, etc) and you just hike into your next stop (whether it be a cabin or camp) without a load. That is what we did in Scotland. There is a service that delivers your gear each night to your next destination along the course of the Highlands hike. We just had to carry day packs, which really made the trip possible for my mom. Our luggage (we were traveling throughout Scotland for several weeks) traveled ahead.
Thanks again for the info, I will be sure to hunt down these possibilities on the web and if things work out, perhaps get mom to go on another trip with us. Thanks for your answer to my question!
DirkApr 12, 2010 at 11:34 pm #1597340
I checked out that website – pretty amazing, I had never heard of it. I gotta think that would be one heck of a cross country ski trip. As it crosses a lot of private properties and makes use of a ton of roads, I am not so certain how great it would be during the summer hiking season, but I must admit to being pretty interested in the challenge of doing it on skiis. (note to self – learn to cross country ski).
Thanks for the information, it is much appreciated! I wonder if anyone on this site has actually skied the entire length of Vermont?
DirkApr 12, 2010 at 11:37 pm #1597341
@foundLocale: Sacramento, CA
One option would be to hire a horse packing outfitter. They can set up tents, carry gear and cook food for you. It's not the same as staying in a building, but it can be VERY luxurious.
I don't know of any specific places that run slack packing shuttles between inns though. How many days are you looking for? If it's just an overnight I can probably recommend plenty of them.Apr 12, 2010 at 11:46 pm #1597345
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
You may want to consider the High Sierra Camps in Yosemite National Park. Each camp is about one day's walk to the next one. They offer bunks and meals. Each hiker simply needs to carry lunch, a rain jacket, and a water bottle to go from one to the next. I've seen a number of little old ladies making it along the circuit. I think the reservation system books up a long time in advance.
–B.G.–Apr 12, 2010 at 11:47 pm #1597346
Hiring a guide service to bring in the gear might be the best way to go. The issue isn't sleeping outside as much as the weight of the gear and the cardiovascular stamina to do climbs. Mom isn't as spry as she used to be!
The challenge is to find an area that has a lot of scenery per mile that doesn't require a huge elevation gains. Part of this can be achieved through low-mileage days, I suppose, but honestly, I am interested in finding a hike that has only moderate gains and drops. You hike a ton in California – and mom lives down in the Bay Area, do you have any suggestions as to good places to target?
She's hiked the Lost Coast, for example. But finding something in the mountains would be great that don't involve huge gains. I am almost thinking that sections of Tahoe Rim trail might work, especially if we can hike in from a pass.
But certainly, there are other areas south of there that are really quite a amazing but of course, involve substantial climbs.
DirkApr 12, 2010 at 11:59 pm #1597349
@foundLocale: Sacramento, CA
Ah, there are many beautiful choices for such adventures! It becomes complicated though when you also try to find flat hikes that outfitters have permits for. Yosemite, out of Tuolumne likely has nice choices. Definitely look it to the High Sierra Camps in the park, they're pretty much exactly what you're looking for.
Rock Creek, on the East Side of the Sierra would be an option. Call the outfitter. I've had a NASTY interaction with some of their employees though so can't recommend them. Some of the other east side canyons would work as well.
If you want to hire a friend of mine, who is AWESOME, he guides all over. He would likely be willing to facilitate trips where clients carry only day packs, as deep into many wild areas as you'd like. His website is http://www.rnadventure-expeditions.com/Apr 13, 2010 at 7:21 am #1597402
@acrosomeLocale: Back in the Front Range
There are the 10th Mountain Division huts in Colorado, too.Apr 14, 2010 at 12:24 am #1597808
Thank you for the information. I am not certain whether the trip with mom will occur this year or not – I am hoping so, but I will keep your friend's website as this may be really useful. I appreciate the other suggestions as well – my real concern is to keep it something manageable by mom. I need to keep the goals realistic and conservative.
Hey, I see on your website that you are planning to hike the CDT this year? Is that still in the cards?
DirkApr 14, 2010 at 12:28 am #1597809
I looked it up, and there is indeed a nice reservation system although the lottery for 2010 has ended. The information can be found here regarding the 10th mountain division huts (although I suspect you already knew this) at http://www.huts.org/.
Thanks for the suggestion, as mom used to live in Colorado I am curious as if she ever did much venturing in these areas.
DirkApr 14, 2010 at 1:05 am #1597811
@biointegraLocale: Puget Sound
Near Mt. Rainier, there is a hut-to-hut system that operates on a reservation basis and has huts open during the summer months and even allows mountain biking on certain sections. It is chiefly known as a winter destination for skiing and snowshoeing. I've gone on skis and enjoyed it very much. As I recall, it runs about $10/night. The huts are quite nice and well stocked with cookware, spices, etc..
Link:Apr 14, 2010 at 11:53 am #1597930Apr 14, 2010 at 2:16 pm #1597997
@saparisorLocale: Pacific Northwest
Below is a link to an article in today's Oregonian newspaper for the Blue Mountain Heritage Trail.
The Blue Mountains sit in the north-east corner of Oregon, Washington and Idaho and include Eagle Cap Wilderness Area, the Elkhorn Mountains (with a national scenic trail) and Hells Canyon, the deepest canyon in North America.
It will probably be years before this is complete but I thought I'd pass it on here.
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