Great Smokies offers Black Friday hiking

You know the last place you want to be the day after Thanksgiving is fighting traffic and stampeding hordes of deal-obsessed shoppers in the malls. So instead, head outdoors for some respite from the crass commercialism of Black Friday. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park – by the way, the most popular national park in the country, for many good reasons, one of...

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Hidden grove showcases largest trees in Columbia Gorge

To find the largest waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge, all that’s required is a drive out Interstate 84 to the many viewpoints and trailheads east of Portland, OR. To find the largest trees in the Gorge, however, you’re in for a lot more work. In an area with a long history of logging, precious few groves of old-growth trees remain intact. The ones that...

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If you pick hiking over shopping on Black Friday, you get in free to 49 California state parks

There’s a bargain to be found in the woods this holiday season. The San Francisco nonprofit Save the Redwoods League is offering free passes on Black Friday – Nov. 27, 2015 – to redwood parks from Monterey and Santa Cruz to the North Coast. The idea is to offer individuals and families a chance to start a new Black Friday tradition by walking among big...

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Oregon hiker aims for calendar-year triple crown

Mary Moynihan has the math all worked out. She will need to average 21.8 miles per day, which comes out to about 12 hours per day. She will need to hike at a speed of 2½ to 3½ mph. And if her math is correct, she will hike a total of nearly 8,000 miles — in one calendar year. It’s called the Calendar Triple Crown, and only a handful of hikers have ever accomplished the...

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The Third Trail

In 1968, the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails became the first “National Scenic Trails,” but ten years later Congress designated the third. Splitting the country’s midsection like a corkscrew, tight-roping the Rocky Mountains from Mexico to Canada, the 2,700-mile Continental Divide Trail is acclaimed as the third jewel in the hiking world’s Triple Crown. The CDT has...

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Appalachian Trail Conservancy unveils new help resource for Pennsylvania

In June 2008, the PA Appalachian Trail Act was amended by Act 24, requiring the 58 PA municipalities along the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (A.T.) to take action to preserve the natural, scenic, historic, and aesthetic values of the Trail and to conserve and maintain it as a public natural resource. The legislation was prompted by a Commonwealth Court case related...

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Hikers Pack 1,000 Pounds Of Trash Off Appalachian Trail

The trio of do-gooders — Seth Orme, Joe Dehnert, and Paul Twedt — named their effort the Packing It Out initiative. Their goal was the removal of more than 1,000 pounds of litter as they hiked from Georgia to Maine. They hit the trail in March, and by August 15th had met the goal. To remove this much debris they relied on the help and generosity of good samaritans who...

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A Hiking We Will Go: Exploring Jersey’s Trails

The Skylands Region is home to rolling hills and endless acres of farmlands. It also boasts the highest point in New Jersey—aptly named High Point State Park in Sussex County. The Gateway Region is the most urban part of the state, but that doesn’t mean it offers less hiking than the state’s other regions. The best thing about hiking these parts is the potential for...

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Arches vs. Canyonlands: The rocky relationship of two national parks

      There is a sign at Arches National Park featuring a quote that reads: “Let the people walk.” It’s a line taken from Ed Abbey’s 1968 nature writing classic “Desert Solitaire.” It might seem like an odd choice: Arches, and its nearest city, Moab, Utah, have become virtually everything “Cactus Ed” hated....

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Hiking with Your Dog in Northern Colorado

Hiking Horsetooth Rock is a rite of passage for northern Colorado residents, and it’s especially spectacular at sunrise. The wind was fairly calm that morning, but it can be gale force – so make sure to have layers with you. There were only four other people up there for sunrise, and no other dogs. Getting down Horsetooth with a 75-pound dog is much more difficult than...

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Green Mountain Club publishes 5th edition of Vermont’s Long Trail Map

The Green Mountain Club said they listened to member feedback to improve and update their most celebrated publication, without changing the features hikers value. This is the most complete map of the entire Long Trail system in Vermont. “We are not only excited about the detail of the map but the aesthetics are wonderful as well.” Still printed on quality waterproof...

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Take a journey on one of Ohio’s most isolated, wild hikes

Lamping Homestead may be one of the most isolated hikes in Ohio. It is a long ways from anywhere, in rugged southeast Ohio. The 5-mile loop doesn’t cross any roads in the rolling Appalachian foothills between Haney and Pleasant ridges in southwest Monroe County. It is managed by the U.S. Forest Service as part of the 240,900-acre Wayne National Forest that includes...

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Woman injured on NC hiking trip returns to thank rescuers

More than a month after a Tennessee woman was injured on a solo hike in the Cold Mountain area of a Haywood County, NC, she visited the sheriff’s office yesterday to thank the rescue crews who spent days searching for her. Julie Hays and her husband Craig personally thanked Sheriff Greg Christopher and others yesterday. More than 200 people from more than 60 local, state...

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Trevor “Fronkey” Rasmussen Reneges on Kickstarter Campaign Leaving Sponsors in the Lurch

In spring and summer 2014 Trevor Rasmussen, known also by his trail name Fronkey, used the crowdfunding resource Kickstarter to finance his thru hike of the Pacific Northwest Trail, and to pay for production of a documentary film detailing his adventures. 130 contributors donated a total of $5,262 to his project. The original Kickstarter requirement was only $1,700, so...

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Appalachian trail gets a new section in Bear Mountain

There is a new section of the Appalachian Trail in Bear Mountain, NY that will open this weekend, thanks to nine months of work by volunteers. The New York-New Jersey Trail Conference’s Long Distance Trails Crew, an all-volunteer group, contributed more than 3,000 hours this year to relocate a 0.2 mile section of the historic trail in Bear Mountain State Park. The...

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How to be a good citizen on the hiking trail

Nothing spoils a good walk in the great outdoors like someone who simply doesn’t know, or doesn’t care, about the rules of the trail. They’re not hard to learn. They’re not overly cumbersome. Most of them aren’t even rules as much as they are fervent suggestions. Still, when you’re hiking, whether it’s a short day trip on a mile...

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Hiking a challenge at Granny’s Acres

The trails at Granny’s Acres Conservation Area near Warsaw, Mo., wind through woodlands, up and down steep hills, and across shady valleys cut by small streams. This oak and hickory-dominated woodland is a pretty place for a late autumn or winter walk. The signed hiking loops range from 2.6 to 4.1 miles in length. “It’s kind of a unique area,”...

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Smoky Mountains Park visitors get warning as bears range wider for food

Black bears of the Smoky Mountains are starving this fall and their foraging is bringing some of them practically muzzle-to-face with residents and tourists near the most visited national park in the U.S. While bear attacks are rare, officials are concerned and warning people to be careful. Bears near the park have climbed into cars, ripped open garbage, tried to enter...

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MSU students trek Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail

Biochemistry and microbial biology are majors that require a fair bit of studying. The workload can be stressful. You’ve got to really know your stuff. You can ask Montana State University seniors Colleen Rooney and Emma Sirr. It was after a particularly stressful day during sophomore year that Rooney jokingly suggested to Sirr that the two take off for the West Coast to...

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Hiking can be just as fun in rain, but be kind to trails

Even on trails, hiking the right way is sometimes counter-intuitive. Especially this time of year. Take, for example, a familiar and notorious fall hiking obstacle: the mud puddle. What is the best way to pass? Toss a big branch over the puddle to create a makeshift bridge to keep your boots from getting muddy? Skirt the edge of the puddle? Walk through the puddle as if...

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One Of Austria’s Top Hiking Spots Transforms Into A Majestic Lake

Watch your step. A hike in the park could turn into a scuba trip if you walk slow enough in Grüner See, a mountainous Austrian park that turns into a lake every year. Grüner See, which means “Green Lake” in English, sits at the base of the Hochschwab mountains near the town of Tragoess in Austria, and everything in the park – the benches, grassy knolls,...

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Check out New Zealand’s stunning hiking trails in this new Street View imagery

Unless you happen to live there, New Zealand is a long way away from just about everywhere, its distant geographical location for many a barrier to visiting the land of the long white cloud. Although Google’s Street View has offered couch-based travelers a good chunk of the nation’s jaw-dropping scenery for some time now, most of the content has been limited to the...

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How one epic hike turned this woman into an athlete

Long hikes through the Grand Canyon are notoriously treacherous. Hikers can suffer heat exhaustion, dehydration, elevation sickness, injury and worse if they haven’t adequately prepared, usually with months of cardio training. So when Kristin Salzman, 44, decided she was going to complete a two-day, 48-mile hike with the non-profit Project Athena, she started...

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Power Of The Peak

Why do we seek out mountains and, in some cases, challenge ourselves against them? Biologist E.O. Wilson argues that we’re hardwired to feel a special connection with natural systems, something he calls “biophilia.” Because of how we evolved, he says, certain natural settings can be inviting at a deep, biological level. These settings embody the “connections we...

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What You Need to Know About Hiking the Skyline Trail in Jasper National Park, Canada

Those who make the journey to isolated Jasper National Park are in for a treat — but you’re definitely going to be roughing it here. Located in western Alberta, it is the largest park in the Canadian Rockies, an expansive 4,200 square miles. Despite being significantly larger than its southern-rival Banff (2,500 square miles), Jasper received about 1.5 million less...

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On the Longest Hiking Trails, a Woman Finds Equal Footing

It was a busy summer on the Appalachian Trail. The movie “A Walk in the Woods” made its debut, the path received national attention for a perceived party culture and the well-known endurance athlete Scott Jurek set an overall record on the trail. Then, quietly and relatively unnoticed, a woman named Heather Anderson hiked the trail by herself, averaging more than 40...

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Pilot Mountain’s newest trail circles the landmark’s lower slopes

Pilot Mountain State Park’s newest trail – a 4.5-mile loop near the base of the mountain – was inspired by a firebreak hastily constructed with a bulldozer in 2012 and recently completed by park staff and volunteers from Friends of Sauratown Mountains. The Mountain Trail rambles around the slopes at about 1,500 feet elevation, at one point connecting with the Grindstone...

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Patagonia’s controversial new national park

The creation of the Parque Patagonia conservation area – the brainchild of a billionaire US couple – is a step to creating one of the world’s largest national parks. But what’s the hiking like? “Pain?” asks Jorge Molina, my hiking guide. Yes, there is a little pain, but it’s too late for cold feet. Or, more accurately, it’s too late not to get cold feet, because we’re...

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Park Asks Visitors to View Bears Responsibly

Great Smoky Mountains National Park wildlife biologists remind the public to allow bears to forage undisturbed on natural foods during this critical feeding period before winter hibernation. Bears depend on Fall foods such as acorns and grapes to store fat reserves that enable them to survive winter. This year, these foods in the park are extremely rare leading bears to...

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Man In Norway Finds 1,265-Year-Old Viking Sword While Hiking

Here’s a good reason to go outdoors this weekend. Earlier this month, Goran Olsen was on a hike in the Norwegian village of Haukeli when he caught sight of a 30-inch object under some rocks. It turned out to be a 1,265-year-old, wrought iron Viking sword. The artifact is believed to be from A.D. 750, Norway’s Hordaland County Office said. It’s in...

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