What we're about

This group is for anyone interested in backpacking, camping, hiking, and wilderness adventures. All skill levels are welcome, from the true day-hiker beginner ready to make the very first leap into backpacking on a beginner-friendly overnight trip, to individuals wanting to do nice 1- and 2-night trips with moderate mileages, to the well-seasoned and traveled backpacker wanting to crush 18+ mile days on a multi-day trip. That said, not every trip will be suited for beginners. Any specific considerations for a given trip will be clearly disclosed in each and every trip write-up.

In this group, we will definitely be seeking out the roads less traveled - wilderness over development. That simply means that we will be focusing on getting into areas that aren’t always the most traveled. This is good because we get to see things that others typically will not. This can be frustrating as well, because there is not always a way to know trail conditions (blow-downs, snow, overgrowth, etc.) in advance. While it is my belief that there is a certain beauty in not knowing everything ahead of time, I do pride myself in trying to assemble as much information for a given trip ahead of time.

I need the outside world. I love the mountains. I love getting out and seeing as much as absolutely can while I’m on this spinning rock. I enjoy, truly enjoy, the relationship I have developed with the land over the years. It is my belief that without engagement, we lose sight of what is at stake. It is also my belief that if I do not help to foster engagement with the land, I simply am not walking my path.

I truly enjoy connecting others with the natural world. Whether it is introducing others to new things for the first time, or helping someone reinforce and solidify their connection with the natural world. This group is for folks whom desire to engage with the land.

I created my first backpacking adventure-based Meetup group back in 2013 – Arizona Epic Adventures & Backpacking. Starting with only myself, my pup, and an absolutely unquenchable wanderlust, I slowly grew the group into a really rad group of people with many incredible friendships. At our high-point we had in excess of 800 members and were getting out 3-4 weekends a month, all year long. While the group was Arizona based, we also spent a significant amount of time in New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, California, Wyoming, and Montana.

That was my first group. This will be my second.

My goal for this group is to bring together people whom already get out, people whom want to get out more, and people whom haven’t ever gotten out, and facilitate connection and relationship with the land. Through all of our adventures we will build this relation with the land.

While backpacking will be the focus, we are going to be hosting and having a variety of other outdoor based events as well. Everything from car camping in beautiful places and local in-town gatherings, to climbing events and trail runs. Keep in mind that I am only one person, and much of this will be evolving as the group does. I do not plan to run each and every trip the group hosts, eventually I would like to have additional trip and event organizers. Suggestions are always welcome.

This group is intended to be a free-formed, user-driven, laid-back adventure group with a focus on backpacking. I want to stress the laid-back nature of the group. I do not follow itineraries, there are no preset break-times, and no specific behavior guidelines. Basically, don’t be a creep and don’t be a dick. That’s really it.

If you want to bring some alcohol and booze it up a bit. Great! Just make sure and share!! Want to bring your puppers along? Absolutely! But they will be YOUR responsibility. If they cannot behave and listen off-leash, you will have them on-leash. If they cannot get along with other dogs and/or bark at any and everything around? I’m leaning more to no. Want to bring your kids along? Well, this just depends on the specific trip and the parenting style. Meaning that campfire conversation isn’t always PG13. I do not go out to be censored, nor do I go out to censor others. Additionally, not every trip, arguably most trips, will not be kid friendly due to pace, distance, aggressiveness of terrain, or other factors.

****PLEASE NOTE**** Backpacking and associated outdoor activities are not without risk. While every single attempt will be made to keep safety of our members a top priority while drawing on a breadth of experience that has been gathered over nearly 8,000 cumulative miles to date, I cannot guarantee your safety. The fact is, it is ‘safer’ to stay at home on the couch in the comfort of your own home without ever, ever leaving the house. That’s if you discount the health risks of an inactive and sedentary lifestyle. It has been my experience that there are far, far, far more ways to die in a city situation (including something as mundane as crossing the street while walking to a store) than there are in the wild, the truth is that people can die in the wild. PLEASE do not think of this as a scare tactic, it is not. This is simply an advisement that things can happen. I know.

Back in 2015 on Arizona’s Mogollon Rim just outside of Payson I was leading a group of 8 backpackers on a very routine, almost effortless backpacking trip on the East Cabin Loop. Stopping for lunch, we enjoyed cloudless skies and amazing views. Over the next couple of miles, a monsoon storm had built around us and we were forced to assume sheltering lightning positions. Not 2 hours after our beautiful lunch, a good friend of mine was killed and I found myself conscious but in full seizure, drowning from mucus in my lungs at an elevation of 7,400 ft before having my first of two complete out of body experiences. A bolt of lightning pegged at 850,000,000 volts hit a tree about 75 ft up, entered my friend killing her instantly, and absolutely wrecking me as it entered my jugular, bounced around, and exited my right boot at the metal Gore-Tex tag. The storm was so bad that SPOT devices did NOT and COULD NOT lock on to our location, hindering rescue efforts. 2 hours after the strike an army of first responders showed up. Another half hour and I was in the air on my way to the hospital in Flagstaff where I would stay for the next 6 days.

We did everything right. We followed protocol. We hunkered down. We waited for the event to pass. Unfortunately, it did not and we were just incredibly, incredibly unlucky that day. I survived. My friend did not. Others whom were present were understandably changed after the experience. Some continued to go outdoors. Some quit going outside altogether.

Again, this is not intended to scare anyone. This is simply fact. We will do everything we can to be and stay safe, especially when shit hits the fan. Still, as much as I wish I could say that I can absolutely guarantee your safety, I just cannot.

Upcoming events (5+)

Opal Creek Day hike 7.1 miles RT 600' aeg.

Tom's house

Beginning at the Opal Creek TH, this hike is on a gravel road through an old-growth forest of cedar trees. This trail takes you over a high bridge to the opal pool and you can loop around and go back through Jawbone Flats which is a fun little historic town to see. It is a great walk along an old road and an opportunity to explore an old mining operation abandoned over a century ago in this ancient forest. There are several little trail junctions that veer off the main trail that lead to swimming holes. Along the way you can also see Slide Falls and Sawmill Falls. This is a popular trail so do not expect to have the entire place to yourself. Parking is regulated due to the popularity of the site. BUT going on a weekday might be a different story. It takes a smidgen over two hours to get there. We'll stop at Rosie's Mountain coffee house along the way to stretch our legs and get provisions for lunch.

Camping at Driftwood CG (Three Creeks Lake), 1 nt.

Let's go car camping. The Driftwood Campground is located on the backside of Three Creeks lake, 16 miles south of Sisters. The campground is First Come First Served. I'd like to get there early and stake out a few sites. It is a beautiful setting. The lake becomes warmish as the season unfolds. It has a sandy bottom, and the visibility below is very good. I'll update everyone of the weather conditions. Skeeters aren't so much of a factor any more here at the lake. NONE two weeks ago. Bring your floaties, kayaks, paddle boards, and mountain bikes. >Kid friendly >Dog friendly It's gonna be a fun time! Happy Hour at 6pm. We car pool from my house.

Rosary Lakes to Maiden Shelter 12 mi RT, 1 nt (near Willamette Pass)

The tourists are gone! This trail has to be in my top three in all of Oregon. It offers a little of everything--climbs, mossy trees, mountain, lake views, and a unique shelter. The trail is a very popular and accessible section of the Pacific Crest Trail near Willamette Pass. It is great for summer hiking, swimming, fishing and backpacking, and in the winter it is the perfect trail for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Believe me, we'll return for a snowshoe adventure. I have only been on this trail twice, once in the wintertime. I can't wait to share that with you. We begin with a 2 mile gradual climb along the PCT (there are no switchbacks). At the top of the hill, we will be rewarded with amazing views of all three Rosary Lakes, Pulpit Rock, Odell Lake, Summit Lake and Diamond Peak. The plan is to camp at or near Maiden Shelter--its an octagonal 2-story log cabin with an unlocked door, a woodstove and solar lights. Its first come, first served. We may get lucky! If not, we'll camp nearby. I'll monitor weather conditions as we get closer. 2100 aeg. We'll need one or two volunteers to drive. We all pitch in for gas.

Steins Pillar Day hike 6m RT, 680' EG.

Tom's house

Steins Pillar is 350 feet tall and is named after Major Enoch Steen, who explored this area in the 1860s. His name was so often misspelled that the misspelling stuck, which is why it is now called Steins Pillar instead of Steens Pillar. The trail starts out flat, then starts gradually climbing. We reach a viewpoint at a switchback where we can see the top of the Three Sisters. The trail levels off, then starts climbing again. We'll pass through a landscape of red-barked ponderosa pines and the occasional jumble of car-size boulders. The trail levels off in a meadow at about the halfway point, then starts descending. We will reach a junction with a very short side trail to a viewpoint. Meander down the side trail to get partial view of your goal, Steins Pillar towering above the forest. Just before we reach the two mile mark, we will pass first one and then another rocky formation on your left. We'll continue to the base of Steins Pillar, which switchbacks down the hill on newly-constructed wooden stairs. It ends at the base of the pillar, where views are limited, but you can appreciate the sheer size of this stone formation. We'll have lunch inside the cave-like opening on the right side of the pillar overlooking the Mill Creek Wilderness. From there you can see another towering rock spire in the distance - the Twin Pillars in the middle of that small wilderness. We'll be carpooling from my house. I need a driver or two to volunteer their car. We will all pitch in for gas. The TH is located approximately 15 miles beyond Prineville.

Past events (10)

Canyon Creek Meadows to Three Fingered Jack, opt camp

Sisters Coffee Company

Photos (115)