Oregon club using hand tools to clear wilderness trail

The sharp teeth of the cross-cut saw carve like a file through the thick fir log to the rhythm of Jason Middleton and Aaron Babcock pushing and pulling this antique tool of the backwoods. “We’d already be through it but we hit a knot,” Babcock says. The knot proves to be no match for the seasoned saw, and the split log sloughs into the Middle Fork...

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Officials stress preparation for hikers, warn of tricky trail conditions

Law enforcement and search and rescue personnel encourage adventurers to plan ahead, use the buddy system and tell loved ones where they’re headed as they venture into the Columbia River Gorge or the Northwest’s other wonders as the weather warms. Trails can be tricky this time of year, a Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office spokesman said, citing slick...

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For Palestinian Hikers In West Bank, A Chance To Enjoy Nature And Escape Tensions

The hikers pile out of minivans on the side of a serpentine highway, climb a dusty hill, pass a Bedouin woman preparing morning bread in a tent, then turn the corner and find themselves embraced by the desert hills — a world apart. Outdoor exploration is a weekly Friday morning ritual for the group, which calls itself Shat’ha, or “Picnic” in Arabic –...

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Navigating the Ups and Downs While Hiking the Condor Trail

The Condor Trail is a wilderness route through the mountains in the Santa Barbara, California backcountry running more than 400 miles from Lake Piru in the south to Bottcher’s Gap in the mountains above Big Sur near Carmel. It goes through seven wilderness areas in the Los Padres National Forest. It is not an easy trail — in parts, there is no trail. Inspired by trails...

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Make Hiking Rugged Again

Leave your hydration monitor, bluetooth speaker, and autonomous drone at home. On the trail, you’ll only need your brawn, smarts, and a smattering of old-school gear for this sort of hiking trip. Hiking trails these days are overcrowded, sissified dirt highways of giant-backpack-wearing, ill-prepared softies. Did the great explorers of pioneer days need zinc on their...

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Abrams Falls Trail at Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

One of the most popular hiking trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Abrams Falls at the west end of Cades Cove has the full Smokies package all in one. Here you can find rich, bountiful forest with a floor of colorful spring wildflowers, a rushing creek that provides refreshing nourishment for all the plants and wildlife, good exercise as you climb up and over...

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The Case for the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

President Donald Trump’s national monuments executive order is an attack on American national parks, public lands, and oceans. One of its specific targets is the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah. Although some Utah politicians argue that this monument has had a negative impact on the surrounding area, the reality on the ground is quite different: By a...

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Zinke says monument designations have been an ‘effective tool,’ Hatch is confused

As he embarked on a tour of Utah to review two national monuments, Ryan Zinke said he sees no evidence Native American proponents of Bears Ears National Monument were exploited by special interest groups, as state leaders have suggested. “I think they’re smart, capable, passionate, and have a deep sense of tie to their culture and want to preserve it,”...

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Boise’s hiking Grand Slam

Tom Lopez created the Grand Slam peaks of the Boise, Idaho, area as a four-step training regimen for his summer climbs. Others have latched onto the concept as a goal unto itself, or a circuit worth completing against the clock. “When I redid the website a couple of years ago, the Grand Slam peaks page disappeared,” said Lopez, a retired attorney, mountain climber and...

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Trail photographers provide an eye into Oregon’s wilderness

Ever wonder what nature looks like when you aren’t watching it? If a critter scurries through the forest and there’s no one there to see it, is it still adorable? The answer is yes. We know this through the efforts of trail photographers who operate remote trail cameras that capture nature as it looks when no humans are there to disturb it. There is a part of...

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Vermont’s Green Mountain Club looks to the future

The Green Mountain Club, based in Waterbury, Vermont, is a membership based nonprofit organization that is responsible for the maintenance of the Long Trail system, including the 272-mile footpath through the wilderness, 185 miles of side trails and 70 backcountry campsites. The GMC also participates in maintenance and protection of Vermont’s 100-mile portion of the...

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Healing from cancer, inside and out, with hiking

After being diagnosed with an invasive, aggressive, triple-positive Stage I breast cancer in the fall of 2012, Patti McCarthy wasn’t sure she’d be able to continue her beloved hiking. And she’d had plans: She and her husband spent the previous months preparing to hike the whole Pacific Crest Trail, all 2,650 miles of it from Mexico to Canada. “After the diagnosis, I had...

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Tips for Hiking New Zealand’s 2,000-Mile Te Araroa

Thirty people attempted a thru-hike its inaugural year. The 2016-17 season saw more than 500 people try it. With the number of hikers on one of the world’s newest long-distance trails more than doubling year after year, chances are you will begin hearing more about Te Araroa. Even though it may be impossible not to fall in love with New Zealand, Te Araroa is challenging...

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Life returns slowly to Shortoff Mountain after fire

Topping out at just over 3,000 feet, its height alone does not make Shortoff Mountain one of the most famous peaks in all of Western North Carolina. It is also a destination for hikers, rock climbers, campers and lovers of wilderness adventure. Instead, Shortoff draws its fame from two outstanding physical features. One is its location at the southern end of Linville...

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Hiking race between Missouri state parks coming in June

The Ozark Trail Association has an upcoming event that hiking enthusiasts may want to join. The association has recently announced its inaugural Taum-A-Hawk Hiking Race set for June 10, 2017. A one-day event open to the public, hikers will traverse the 13 miles of the Ozark Trail from Taum Sauk Mountain State Park to Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park located in Iron County,...

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Copenhagen’s Forgotten Giants

Hiding giants is a tall order, but Thomas Dambo has managed to hide six in the area around Copenhagen, Denmark. Dambo is an artist who specializes in reclaimed and recycled materials, and the Forgotten Giants are no exception to this method, created from scrap wood collected from old, demolished buildings and felled trees. The sculptures were deliberately placed off the...

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There are diseases hidden in ice, and they are waking up

Throughout history, humans have existed side-by-side with bacteria and viruses. From the bubonic plague to smallpox, we have evolved to resist them, and in response they have developed new ways of infecting us. We have had antibiotics for almost a century, ever since Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin. In response, bacteria have responded by evolving antibiotic...

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Human noise pollution is everywhere, even in the national parks

In wintertime, the sounds of nature are so subtle they’re almost imperceptible: The whistling of the wind though craggy mountaintops, the whispering branches of the trees; the soft, delicate patter of an unseen animal’s paws across snowy ground. “It’s a really quiet experience,” said Rachel Buxton, recalling a recent winter hike in southwest...

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Idaho’s Black Butte is otherworldly destination

Instead of an actual trail, jumbled volcanic rock dictates that you meander through its obstacle course. Each turn brings you closer to the summit that tops out just up the road from the Shoshone Ice Caves, but progress was slow. The immense stone garden that is traversed continually changes. Early on, the ground surface contains enough soil interspersed between rocks to...

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The Green, Green, Greening of Spring – A Photo Essay

Pisgah National Forest comes alive in early May. It seems as though the greening happens almost overnight. Daniel Ridge Loop Trail is an amazing place to experience the changing of the forest from its sleepy, drab brown hues to the vibrant verdant that fills the senses. The creek along the pathway is the most picturesque in Pisgah Ranger District in my opinion, and the...

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Experts warn of increases in tick-borne Powassan virus

Summer is nearly here, and it’s bringing fears of a rare tick-borne disease called Powassan. This potentially life-threatening virus is carried and transmitted by three types of ticks, including the deer tick that transmits Lyme disease. Over the past decade, 75 cases have been reported in the northeastern states and the Great Lakes region, according to the US...

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Reported Snake Bites Nearly Quadruple in North Carolina

The Carolinas Poison Center, which offers assistance to venomous snake bite victims and the doctors who treat them, has reported a near quadrupling in North Carolina snake bite incidents compared to this time last year. According to a report filed by WLOS, the center received 71 calls throughout the month of April 2017. Compare that to the 19 calls the center received in...

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Rainbow Falls Trail Rehabilitation Begins May 8, 2017

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced that a 2-year trail rehabilitation project will begin next week on the popular Rainbow Falls Trail. The trail will be closed May 8, 2017 through November 16, 2017 on Monday mornings at 7:00 a.m. through Thursday evenings at 5:30 p.m. weekly. Due to the construction process on the narrow trail, a full closure is...

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2017 National Trails Day is June 3rd. Thousands of Events. One Shared Experience.

Fill up your water bottle and lace up your hiking shoes—National Trails Day is right around the corner. National Trails Day is the only nationally coordinated event designed to unite all muscle-powered trail activities with the goal of connecting more people to trails. Every trail beckons adventure and has a story to share with any person willing to discover it, and...

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Festival to celebrate new relationship between Appalachian Trail and Roan Mountain

The public is invited to visit the Roan Mountain community in Carter County, Tennessee for the debut of a new festival on Saturday, May 6, 2017 at 10 a.m. designed to celebrate the mountain town’s relationship with the Appalachian Trail and its enthusiasts. “This is a celebration of several community events in Roan Mountain,” a trail ambassador said. “It’s to celebrate...

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NCWF Governor’s Conservation Achievement Awards

The North Carolina Wildlife Federation is accepting nominations for its annual Governor’s Conservation Achievement Awards. The awards honor individuals, businesses, organizations and groups who have exhibited an unwavering commitment to conservation efforts in North Carolina, and are the highest natural-resource honors given in the state. Nominees should...

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Dreams by Cliff Williams of Argyle Multimedia

On a recent visit to Little Bradley Falls, I happened to meet and chat with Cliff Williams of the local video production company Argyle Multimedia. As Cliff demonstrated to me that day, he is quite adept at operating camera drones, just one more means of achieving priceless photography of the great outdoors. Cliff just put together a compilation video that includes some...

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National park plans to connect two major redwood groves

Two of the largest and most ancient redwood groves in Redwood National Park — Lady Bird Johnson and Lost Man Creek — will be connected through the acquisition of the Berry Glen Trail property near the Prairie Creek Scenic Corridor. According to the Save the Redwoods League chief program officer, the corridor, which is 5.9 acres, will provide access to the groves directly...

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How to hike Costa Rica’s pristine Osa Peninsula

Situated on the Pacific coast, close to Costa Rica’s border with Panama, the Osa Peninsula should be on every nature lover’s bucket list. Touted as the most biologically intense place on Earth, it crams an astounding 2.5 per cent of the planet’s biodiversity into an area roughly twice the size of Hong Kong. More than three-quarters of it is protected, mostly by the...

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Six ways to stay safe on mountain hiking trails

There was sad news this week for the Los Angeles hiking community. The body of Seuk “Sam” Doo Kim, famous for climbing Mount Baldy nearly 800 times, was found on the mountain after a few days missing. The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department was in charge of the search. Its spokesperson said that to lose such an experienced hiker was rare....

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