We’ve been thinking about some of our favorite mountain places to explore come fall, and realized that there are a variety of ways we love to explore them. There’s the day hike: spending a day to see as much as possible, then heading home. There’s the basecamp trip: Either establishing camp in a campground or hiking in a short distance in full pack and setting up camp, then doing day hikes from there. Or, there’s the point-to-point backpack trip. Since we all explore differently, we thought, why not look at all three options? So today, we do.
It is the season that inspires our great philosophers. Friedrich Nietzsche, for instance, wrote: “Notice that autumn is more the season of the soul than of nature.”
Or this, from a more contemporary purveyor of percipient thought:
“It’s the first day of autumn! A time of hot chocolatey mornings, and toasty marshmallow evenings, and, best of all, leaping into leaves!”
Fall is prime backpacking season in the Southeast. Warm days, cool nights, cloudless skies and lots of autumnal color make this the season to explore the backcountry — and spend the night in the most remote locations. If you’re a backpacker with some experience, we’ve got several trips for you this fall. And if you’re not a backpacker but want to be, we’ve got you covered as well.
Last week, we extolled the virtues of basecamp backpacking : that is, hiking in a short distance with your camping gear to establish a basecamp, then doing day hikes from there. You get the advantage of backcountry camping minus the burden of hauling 35 pounds with you wherever you go.
You know why you haven’t taken up backpacking?
Because you think you have to hike with 40 pounds on your back with every footstep you take.
Well, you don’t. If every backpack trip we took involved lugging a full pack for days on end, we wouldn’t backpack, either.