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Born in Oregon 1969
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Cave No Trace

by John Waller With a heavy clunk, Phyllis removes a metal bar that gates a cave entrance in the Guadalupe Mountains of New Mexico. It’s a small entrance, with an upward grade and not much room to spare when a body wiggles through. At the age of 77, Phyllis Bonneau is an unlikely character to push forward into this dark hole. With a few grunts and the sound of knee and elbow pads grating across limestone, she emerges through the hole: A cave system, miles in length, sprawls before us in the blackness. I’m with my buddies Scott, Liam, and … Continue reading

Backpacking in America’s National Parks

You can have an amazing time in the extraordinary national parks of the United States without setting foot on a hiking trail, let alone spending a night (or seven) in the backcountry. But there’s no question that these expressions of “America’s best idea” offer some of the very finest backpacking opportunities anywhere. Backpacking may be your only choice to truly explore large portions of big, remote parks. It can also allow you to shed the crowds in some of the most popular ones, such as Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Great Smoky Mountains, and discover solitude and deep quiet. And backpacking can … Continue reading

Bataan Death March: 26 Miles in the Desert

Mountain House Employees pay tribute to The Greatest Generation In April of 1942, in the early days of World War II, 60-80,000 Americans and Filipinos were captured by the assaulting Japanese forces after the Battle of Bataan. These prisoners of war were then forced on a 65 mile death march north to various camps.  Wounded, malaria ridden and lacking essential survival supplies many did not survive the journey.  Many others were summarily executed by their captors for minor offenses.  The ones that survived the trek spent the remainder of the war struggling in some of the most austere prisoner of … Continue reading

Getting in Shape for Hiking Season

Maybe you’ve spent the winter regularly hitting the ski slopes, cross-country trails, or snowshoe loops; maybe you’ve even been summiting some iced-over mountaintops. If so, you’re likely well primed for the upcoming summer-through-fall peak hiking and backpacking season. Perhaps, though—like oh so many of us—you haven’t been out playing in the snow quite as much as you would have liked, and challenging winter weather has mostly seen you just daydreaming about great hikes you want to tackle in a few months (and top off with our tasty backpacking food!). Perhaps you haven’t been hitting up the gym very often—or at … Continue reading

A History of Modern Backpacking

Today we’re turning the Mountain House blog into a history classroom, but don’t worry, it’s a topic we don’t think is going to provoke any glazing-over of the eyes. Our focus — certainly near and dear to our hearts — is the backstory of backpacking. Now, on one level backpacking is as old as our species: Humans have been toting the gear they need to survive (not to mention babies) on foot for a staggeringly long time. (We also came to muster dogs, horses, cattle, and other beasts of burden into the task of hauling equipment and supplies, of course.) … Continue reading