Many of Gossamer Gear’s Trail Ambassadors like hiking off trail. It’s actually quite easy to get hooked once you try it. I decided to ask a few of them why they like hiking off trail or bushwhacking, as it’s called back east. Here’s what they had to say.
Hiking in the Weminuche Wilderness
Will Rietveld – My backyard is the Weminuche Wilderness in southwest Colorado, the largest wilderness area in the state. Since its close I hike there a lot. Frankly, I find trail hiking a bit boring, but trails are handy to get to “the good stuff” – alpine areas, where I love to wander and explore. Ironically, it seems like 95% of wilderness users stay on trails (carrying heavy packs), but that leaves a lot of pristine wilderness for more adventurous (and enlightened) types. I love to plan routes and then see if they go through; usually they do. For me, it’s an addiction, I simply love being there to revel the serene beauty, explore the nooks and crannies, and enjoy the physical challenge. Hiking off trail is not easy, I hike and camp above 12,000 feet and typically do 4000 feet of elevation gain in a day while hiking through high passes, crossing slide rock, and some scrambling. Needless to say, an ultralight backpack makes this a lot easier and a lot more enjoyable. As a Gossamer Gear Trail Ambassador and US Forest Service volunteer wilderness ranger, I get to share my passion for the wilderness and UL backpacking whenever I encounter other hikers, which is usually when I am hiking a section of trail.