Author Archives: Howie

How to Pick the Perfect Yellowstone Backpack Trip, Part One

Congratulations! You’ve decided to experience Yellowstone the old-fashioned way, as our ancestors did, on foot and fully submersed in a real wilderness environment. You will happily leave the roads, cars and tourists behind. And you will experience the real Yellowstone, a wondrous and primitive landscape like no other. That’s because over 95% of the park […]

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Gila Wilderness Backpacking in 2017

Our nation’s first official Wilderness was the Gila Wilderness, protected administratively by the Forest Service in 1924 at the urging of legendary conservationist Aldo Leopold. The Big Wild Adventures guided New Mexico hiking tour in the Gila Wilderness is offered every other year. So begin to plan now for 2019! Our 2017 adventure was led […]

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Alaska Backpacking Highlights 2017, Part Two

Unlike most of our Yellowstone backpacking trips, our northern Alaska adventures are all off trail, simply because in most of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the only trails are those created by the hoofs of caribou and other 4-legged animals. Also, we access our hiking areas by airplane (we work with a really great bush […]

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Alaska Backpacking Highlights 2017, Part One

In the far northeast corner of Alaska lies the immense Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the iconic wilderness that is in the news these days as conservationists try to protect this amazing place from Trump Administration plans for massive oilfield development. More on this later.  At 19 million acres — an area about the size of […]

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Thunderstorms and Safety, Part 3

You’re on the trail enjoying a Yellowstone guided hiking tour deep in the wild and beautiful Yellowstone backcountry. What began as a clear morning with blue skies and a few wispy cirrus clouds has morphed into early afternoon cloudiness, with big dark-bottomed cumuli bubbling upward toward the stratosphere. The wind is picking up and you […]

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Thunderstorms and Safety, Part 2

As previously discussed, thunderstorms are common in the high country. They often seem to materialize out of the clear blue, and that is exactly what they do! That’s because under the right conditions, which are frequent in the summer, a clear blue sky morning can quickly become a stormy afternoon with lots of thunder and […]

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Thunderstorms and Safety, Part 1

Thunderstorms are a part of the wilderness experience in most high mountain regions during the warmer months of the year. This is certainly true in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE), which includes Yellowstone National Park and  surrounding mountain ranges such as the Absarokas, Beartooths, Wind Rivers, Tetons, Gallatins and Gros Ventres. A couple of geographic/meteorological […]

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Avoiding Hypothermia in Yellowstone, Part 2: Stay Dry!

The Big Wild Adventures Clothing/Personal Gear List instructs our clients to utilize a time-proven layering system for warmth and safety in mountain environments, or, for that matter, in any area where cold wet conditions are possible. Begin with wool or synthetic long-johns (top and bottoms) that wick moisture away from your body. The next layer […]

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Avoiding Hypothermia In Yellowstone, Part 1: The Basics

Hypothermia is the lowering of the core body temperature below 98 degrees F (98.6 is considered “normal”). Feeling cold is the obvious first symptom, followed by shivering and then by a loss of coordination and eventually reductions in the victim’s “level of responsiveness”. When the shivering stops (unless it stops because the person has warmed […]

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Guided Backpacking At Altitude, Part 2

In the previous installment, I discussed some of the basic principles of Acute Mountain Sickness, or AMS for short (the medical field loves acronyms). I also mentioned that most of our clients on our Wyoming, Montana and Yellowstone backpacking trips come from near sea level, which means they need to acclimate. Fortunately, there are a […]

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