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Surly official camping and backpacking thread

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Just now stumbling across this topic as I spend the bulk of my time in the football forum.  As time allows I will go back and read the preceding 20+ pages.  Glad that I came across this.

I have only been hiking for the last 5 years or so and have only done one multi-day hike (Grand Canyon with some older work buddies) that required sleeping on the ground.  Would like to do more and plan on doing so in the near future.  My issue is that 99.9% of my hikes I do alone. When I do hike with others it is usually with my girlfriend who is a novice at best.  I am 54 years old, a dad, and a grandfather so I hike prepared for just about anything which tends to make my pack much heavier than I need it to be.  Since I hike alone there is no load-sharing.  Plus, with the flexibility of my job I often hike during off-times when there may not be anyone else on the trail.  Most of my hikes have been between 5 to 15 miles long.

In the past year I have hiked the following areas/trails:

El Malpais

Obed: Lilly Bluffs Trail

Cumberland Gap: Hensley Settlement Trail and the White Rocks/Sand Cave Trails

Buffalo National River:  Tyler Bend Area (ticks were horrible), Ponca Wilderness Area (Hemmed-In Falls/Buffalo River)

Petrified Forest National Park

Saguaro National Park

Sedona: Cathedral Rocks and Munds Mountain Wilderness

Smoky Mountain NP: Alum Cave, Mt LeConte/Myrtle Point

In late October the girlfriend and I are driving from East Texas to the Grand Teton NP and Yellowstone NP.  I just hope the weather holds off as I am only driving a 2-wheel drive Silverado.  We plan on driving through the parks and doing a daily hike.  We will be in Yellowstone for 3 days and the Tetons for 2 days.  Any thoughts on some easy to moderate hikes?

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Can't really help you on the hikes since we were just there with an almost three year old and 10 month old and didn't get much hiking in, but for a great dispersed camping spot check out Pacific Creek Trail in the Grand Teton. Drive down the road until you see a sign indicating that You are in the National Forest instead of the National Park. There is a map showing dispersed camp sites and a paid camp site at the end of the road. You will see three or four roads off to the right of the main road. These lead to the dispersed camp sites which are better (and free) than the paid camp site at the end of the road. I think we stayed a site number 8, which even had a bear box. As a side note, mother is room for more than one group to camp at each site, so don't get too thrown off if somebody is already in the spot. The Forest Service folks didn't care as long as you are being responsible and not leaving food out and stuff.

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18 hours ago, mininghorn88 said:

Just now stumbling across this topic as I spend the bulk of my time in the football forum.  As time allows I will go back and read the preceding 20+ pages.  Glad that I came across this.

I have only been hiking for the last 5 years or so and have only done one multi-day hike (Grand Canyon with some older work buddies) that required sleeping on the ground.  Would like to do more and plan on doing so in the near future.  My issue is that 99.9% of my hikes I do alone. When I do hike with others it is usually with my girlfriend who is a novice at best.  I am 54 years old, a dad, and a grandfather so I hike prepared for just about anything which tends to make my pack much heavier than I need it to be.  Since I hike alone there is no load-sharing.  Plus, with the flexibility of my job I often hike during off-times when there may not be anyone else on the trail.  Most of my hikes have been between 5 to 15 miles long.

In the past year I have hiked the following areas/trails:

El Malpais

Obed: Lilly Bluffs Trail

Cumberland Gap: Hensley Settlement Trail and the White Rocks/Sand Cave Trails

Buffalo National River:  Tyler Bend Area (ticks were horrible), Ponca Wilderness Area (Hemmed-In Falls/Buffalo River)

Petrified Forest National Park

Saguaro National Park

Sedona: Cathedral Rocks and Munds Mountain Wilderness

Smoky Mountain NP: Alum Cave, Mt LeConte/Myrtle Point

In late October the girlfriend and I are driving from East Texas to the Grand Teton NP and Yellowstone NP.  I just hope the weather holds off as I am only driving a 2-wheel drive Silverado.  We plan on driving through the parks and doing a daily hike.  We will be in Yellowstone for 3 days and the Tetons for 2 days.  Any thoughts on some easy to moderate hikes?

Meant to respond to this yesterday.

I don't know what the weather will be like in October, so my recs may be worthless.  I was there last June and got 6 inches of snow in 2 hours at Old Faithful.

That said, for the Tetons, Cascade Canyon on the other side of Jenny Lake in the Tetons is a popular hike.  You can go as far as you want and turn back.  There's also some low elevation trails just north of there along String Lake and Leigh Lake.

For Yellowstone, it's so huge, there are a billion options.  I did a nice trail through Biscuit Basin and up to Mystic Falls that gave a great view of Old Faithful from about a mile away.  3.5 miles round trip.

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You can easily fill up three days in Yellowstone without doing any serious hiking just by driving around to all the stuff there is to see. There is seriously just so much there. Also, don't skip out on the bear tooth scenic highway. 

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15 minutes ago, NotActuallyALonghorn said:

You can easily fill up three days in Yellowstone without doing any serious hiking just by driving around to all the stuff there is to see. There is seriously just so much there. Also, don't skip out on the bear tooth scenic highway. 

Weather will certainly dictate what we do as I will be driving in from Texas.  It has already snowed there and we will not be there until late October.  Right now the plan is to enter the Park in the Northeast (Silver) Gate and drive to Mammoth Hot Springs where we will spend 2 nights beginning Sunday evening.  All day Monday and Tuesday we will do the Northern Loop and then drive to Jackson Hole Tuesday evening.  From there we will do the Grand Tetons and the Southern Loop in Yellowstone.  I would like to get at least one hike in if possible.

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12 minutes ago, mininghorn88 said:

Weather will certainly dictate what we do as I will be driving in from Texas.  It has already snowed there and we will not be there until late October.  Right now the plan is to enter the Park in the Northeast (Silver) Gate and drive to Mammoth Hot Springs where we will spend 2 nights beginning Sunday evening.  All day Monday and Tuesday we will do the Northern Loop and then drive to Jackson Hole Tuesday evening.  From there we will do the Grand Tetons and the Southern Loop in Yellowstone.  I would like to get at least one hike in if possible.

In this case, I would recommend the Cascade Canyon hike in the Tetons, or something similar.  It's easy to get to and you get a nice boat ride across Jenny Lake.  Sounds like for Yellowstone you'll mostly be driving, which as NAAL said, there is so much to see, even just driving.

Keep in mind that drive from Jackson up to Yellowstone is an easy hour, if not more, so start early.

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You can easily fill up three days in Yellowstone without doing any serious hiking just by driving around to all the stuff there is to see. There is seriously just so much there. Also, don't skip out on the bear tooth scenic highway. 

This is what I just did for 3.5 days. Didn’t even really hike, just did the various boardwalks and went down to the brink of upper and lower falls.

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