Free: Backpacker Magazines

Some may already know this, but here it is for those who do not. If you are interested in reading through older Backpacker Magazines, then you are in luck. Google has archived dozens, if not hundreds, of the publisher’s magazines. Best part? They are free for you to enjoy. Great way to “go back” to a time period to see the best gear for that season, how trails were being shown, trips that are still viable today, and more. Enjoy!

Google Books’ Archive of Backpacker Magazines (2009 and older)

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Plans in the Works?


Are you anxious to get outdoors? Ready to put on a pack and hike for miles in the wilderness this season? Great! It is good to start planning out your trips early. Not only do you become familiar with the route, gear, and maps, you’ll also be that much closer to getting outside! Check out the Preparation section for tips and info on how you can get ready this season. First time backpacking? Check out this free guide to help point you in the right direction.

Where are you planning on visiting this season in the Golden Trout Wilderness? Any long distance goals? Going to bag some peaks? Feel free to share!

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A Half Average Snow Report

kern april 2018

The important April 1 snow survey results are in…well most of the stations have reported their findings to the State of California’s CDEC. What are the results? For the Kern River watershed, the snow pack sits at 49% of normal. A nice jump up from last months norm, but not enough to hit at or close to our average snow pack conditions.

What will this mean for the summer backpacking season? Potentially one could see dryer conditions, lower flows in perennial creeks, lower lake levels, and a higher risk of wildfire danger. Users will need to plan their water stops accordingly and share information (hopefully share it with!). If the wildfire danger is elevated to certain levels, as we have seen in the past, this could eliminate camp fires for wilderness users. Stove use has been allowed even in fire restrictions. It is not certain when and if this will happen, but the past years of drought show a continual use of fire restrictions applied to the National Forests and Parks up and down the Sierra Nevada mountains.

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Book Added: The High Sierra Hot Springs Trail


Added a book about enjoying various hot springs. You will have to purchase this one for about $16. It is located in the preparation->books section of the site. Enjoy!

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Not Much Snow After All?


A few days have gone by and the snow survey has been partially updated for the Kern River Basin. It looks like most of the surveys were done before the “big storm” this last weekend. Assuming the rest of the basin was done prior to the storm, the snow pack is at 19% for March 1 and 17% for the April deadline. It is not looking so good. Even with one survey after the storm completed at Big Whitney Meadow, it only shows 15% of the April 1 norm.

What will this mean for the wilderness? As many users have experience, one can expect lower water levels later in the year. Lake levels will be lower too. Some may even dry up depending on climatic conditions. However, there is still one more month to go. Will it be a “miracle March” this time around? All we can do is wait and see.


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And the Snow Results Are…


Snow surveys have been completed up and down the State for the March 1 date. However, if one goes to the Kern River to see how the wilderness is fairing they would be left in suspense. Why? Well all the snow surveys have not been reported yet. Reasons are speculation, but one of them could simply be surveys were postponed till after weekend storm.

If the speculation is true, doing surveys after the storm would give a more accurate picture of what is there. The next larger drainage to the north, the Kings River, was surveyed anywhere from 1 to 7 days before the storm came through. Results of those surveys showed about 16% of normal for the month of March! As of this posting it is still unknown what the results are going to be for the Kern River. Stay tuned for updates!

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What to Do?


Marvin and Family by Tom Armstrong

The snow pack is not doing so great as of the February 1 survey. However, we still have this month and March to go. They are both typically the wetter months. If the snow pack does not improve significantly, what will you do? Will you plan an earlier trip into the wilderness or go at your usual time?

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Not Looking So Good


February 1 Snow Results for Kern River Watershed

The snow survey results are in for the state of California. As far as the Golden Trout Wilderness is concerned, the Kern River is the main watershed. How much snow is up there? Well if you have already been tuned into the news, we do not have much.

The average snow pack for the month of February is 14% of normal. If there is no more snow for the rest of the year, then the April 1 average is 9%. Remember that the April 1 date is important for the State regarding water allocations and planning for the summer months. Quite the contrast from last year! However, we do have two more months to get some snow on the ground. Let’s hope for a wet snow as that means more water!

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Into 2018 We Go!


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The 2017 Season Recap by Video

As 2017 comes to a close, it is a reminder of one backpacking season finished and another one coming soon. Here is a playlist of all the videos submitted via YouTube regarding places in the Golden Trout Wilderness. As you look back on 2017, may some of these videos remind you of a journey into the GTW. Enjoy.

DISCLAIMER: Videos are intended to be family friendly. No nudity, vulgar language, and/or inappropriate behavior are contained within the videos. However, if you find something that violates this ideal, please let me know. Each video has been reviewed, but human error is always a factor. Thanks!

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