Backpacking and Tenkara Part 1by Graham Moran March 24, 2017 3 comments
The weather is warming up and so is my need to be outside. Backpacking allows me explore waters I may not be familiar with. An activity backpacking allows me to find tenkara waters far from the madding crowds. Loading up a backpack and heading into the backcountry also give me a chance to slow down mentally and recharge my mind and body.
Simply talking about backpacking is one thing, but gearing up is a whole separate endeavor. I find that gearing up can be just as much fun as as the actual backpacking. Maybe it is the anticipation of the trip or it could be the opportunity to delve into gear I am not familiar with. Gearing up for a trip to an unknown destination increases the level of anticipation and excitement for the experience of new environs.
Working in the last independently owned climbing and backpacking store in the Metro Denver area gives me the opportunity to observe this first hand. Within the walls of Wilderness Exchange Unlimited we have very extensive backpacking and backcountry use departments. Watching customers get excited about their future trips as they learn more about the gear they will need is infectious.
Planning A Backpacking Trip
Choosing a destination to combine backpacking and tenkara is not always the easiest thing to do. But, therein lies the fun. At least for me the fun comes from finding a thin blue line on the map and discovering what it has to offer.
I am currently in the process of planning a trip into the Flat Tops Wilderness located in Western Colorado. The trip planning has involved tracking down resources in print and online. Finding these resources is worth the time and effort in the long run.
For this trip I am using are the book The Fly Fishing Guide to Colorado’s Flat Tops Wilderness. I am also using the Trails Illustrated Flat Tops North, and the Trails Illustrated Flat Tops South.
Having something in print allows me to get an idea of the kind of terrain I am going to be dealing with. Knowing what kind of elevation gain and loss I am going to experience while backpacking will help in my gear selection. With this knowledge I can also be planning likely camping spots along the route I am going to be taking.
Looking at maps and reading descriptions about the waters I am curious about raises my level of excitement to a palpable level.
I frequently use the internet to do research on the locations I am looking to backpack into. For the trips I am planning right now I am using a few really good sources. Finding these sources has taken some time and effort to really find out how useful they really are.
One of the sources that I frequently go to is the United States Forest Service website. I am able to research the Flat Tops using the Flat Tops Wilderness- White River pages. The pages found here let me learn about any special regulations I should be aware of. Some of the pages also let me know about camping spots and access points.
A very useful online resource is Google Earth. Using Google Earth I am able to get satellite images of the areas I am potentially exploring. Being able to see in advance of what is I am going to be experiencing is a key factor in a successful trip.
I also use Stream Map USA from Gogal Publishing on my Android phone. When I am unable to get cell service I will sometimes use my Android as a GPS unit. Stream Map USA allows me to set waypoints in the app before, during, and after my trip. I can also download a copy of all my waypoints to my computer.
I utilize Stream Map USA Mountain West for a number of different reasons. With a wide range of maps available I can use everything from USGS data to satellite data giving me a visual cue of the conditions I will come across. Using the Google Maps function built into both my phone and the app I am able to use the turn-by-turn directions to get to the waypoints I have set in the app.
During my backpacking trips I am also able to set waypoints along my route. Setting these waypoints allows me to return to specific spots in the future. This is especially helpful if I caught more than my normal number of fish.
Pre-Trip Planning for Backpacking Conclusions
Having figured out a destination for a backpacking trip is just the first step in the process. Using all of the resources I have covered I am able to start getting the details fleshed out.
Looking at maps, reading books, and utilizing online resources raises my excitement and expectations for a successful trip. Doing these things also will help me in the process of gathering the appropriate gear for my backpacking trip as well.
In Part 2 of the Backpacking and Tenkara Series I will cover the backpacking gear that I will need.