Cleo’s Nature Trail a “vibrant faith adventure”

It’s one of those places you probably pass by all the time and don’t even realize it’s there. There are no road signs marking it. It’s a cheerful trail hidden and tucked away from sight. They call it a vibrant faith adventure, and that it is. Happy words of encouragement surround you along Cleo’s Nature Trail. It’s a whimsical spot on...

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Forest Service Closing Graveyard Fields to Overnight Camping due to Recent Bear Encounter

PISGAH FOREST, N.C., Mar. 20, 2015 – The U.S. Forest Service is temporarily closing the Graveyard Fields Area at milepost 418 on the Blue Ridge Parkway to overnight camping. This closure, issued in consultation with the N.C. Wildlife Commission, has been implemented due to human safety concerns after a bear entered a tent and removed a hiker’s backpack. No...

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Man pursues 1,700-mile trail, with section through SD

Denizens of the wide-open stretches of western South Dakota and Nebraska and others parts of the High Plains should not be surprised if one of these days they see a Toyota Tacoma with Colorado plates parked on the side of a gravel road. It’ll stick out, not unlike a fanny pack at a rodeo. But a closer inspection will show that while the driver may be an interloper, he is...

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Trekking to the top of Junipero Serra Peak in California’s Ventana Wilderness

Along the trail to Junipero Serra Peak in the Ventana Wilderness of South Monterey County, there is some stuff to see. Like goldfields flowering, hummingbird sage blooming and sharp cacti appropriately called Spanish sword cutting a sharp profile against the increasingly steep grade. And the massive pine needles, bird tracks and rock formations that enjoy supernatural...

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When Simon Beck stomps through fields of fresh snow, art happens

In his first trip to North America, the British snow artist was invited by Banff Lake Louise Tourism to create a series of large-scale designs in snow. Beck has been making snowflakes, leaves and geometric designs with his snowshoes for the past decade, mostly in the Alps. He stomped out a huge snowflake at Peyto Lake in the Canadian Rockies that took more than six hours...

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Extreme Weather Makes Mount Washington a Hiking Challenge

Gary Gustafson leans on his ice ax to catch his breath. His legs and lungs, straining from nearly five hours of climbing and 4,000 feet of elevation gain, plead for rest before he spies the top of an antenna on the summit. Soon, the crampons of his mountaineering boots are once again digging into the icy terrain as he and a partner make the final push to the granite...

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WV walking, hiking trails ready for spring traffic

The first rays of sunshine have burst through the clouds to melt the snow, and people and animals are emerging from a sleepy winter. While many walking and hiking trails carved through northern West Virginia are well known, such as the Panhandle Trail, Montour Trail and Mingo Creek County Park trails, others are hidden treasures. Enlow Fork is tucked away in Greene...

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Introverts Like Mountains, Extroverts Like The Beach

The stereotype of the quiet, introspective mountain loner and the beach-going partier may have truth to it: These different personalities are drawn to different physical terrains, according to new research. Researchers at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology say your choice to be on a drunken booze cruise or tucked away in the Catskills all depends on your...

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Smokies Park Announces Spring Opening Schedule

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials have announced the spring opening schedule for park facilities for the 2015 season. Campgrounds and secondary roads will begin opening Friday, March 13. The schedule is here…...

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Pennsylvania hiking trails featured in four films at Keystone Trails Association gathering

The Keystone Trails Association’s second annual KTA Membership Celebration and Film Festival will feature four films about Pennsylvania trails. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 19, at the Wesley Center of Camp Hill United Methodist Church, Camp Hill. The four films will include the following. Best of Pennsylvania – 1000 Steps Hiking Trail is a...

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Glorious views along Austria’s hiking trails

For lovers of natural beauty, there is little to beat taking a gondola up into the mountains, going for an alpine walk then stopping for lunch on the sunny terrace of a mountain hut. That’s just one of the many hiking options in Austria. There are waymarked routes that cover everything from gentle lakeside strolls to breath-taking high-mountain challenges. You can wander...

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Rain washes out Laurel Falls Trail in Smokies

One of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s most popular trails is temporarily closed because of storm damage. After weeks of snow and ice saturated the soil, this week’s rains washed out a portion of the Laurel Falls Trail just before the falls. A park volunteer discovered the damage on March 11, 2015. “Our trail crews are experienced with these...

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Roughing it: Trekking in Nepal offers adventure

Dawn’s golden light caught the tops of the snowcapped Himalayas and gradually crept downward as the rising sun lit up a sweeping arc of soaring peaks, at once forbidding and starkly beautiful. The stunning vista from the top of Poon Hill — at 10,475 feet, the highest point of a six-day trek in Nepal — was among many highlights of a “Lord of the...

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Parkway Foundation’s Kids in Parks receives national honor

Kids in Parks, a signature program of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, is continuing to draw national attention for its work helping to bring kids outdoors and getting them active. Kids in Parks is based in Asheville, NC. The group received the Association of Partners for Public Lands 2015 Partnership Award for Outstanding Public Engagement at a ceremony recently in...

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You Think Your Winter Was Rough?

In October, two young Americans set off on the most daring and foolhardy wilderness expedition since, oh, maybe Lewis and Clark. They were trying to become the first people ever to backpack from Canada to Mexico on the Pacific Crest Trail in the dead of winter. Once before, in 1983, two people set out to traverse the trail in winter. They never made it. Their bodies were...

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Fire-damaged trails in San Marcos, CA reopen

Several hiking trails in San Marcos, California that burned in the massive Cocos Fire last year are now open again. “The views up there are just outstanding,” said hiker John Page as he returned from hiking the Double Peaks Trail. It has been 10 months since he or anyone else has hiked it. “They were burnt pretty bad where we had to keep people...

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Environmental problems on hiking trail to cost Georgia county six figures

After a three-year dispute with the state environmental agency, Walker County officials will be in the clear once they absorb one last hit. It’s going to hurt. Like, $100,000 worth of pain. Maybe worse. The Georgia Environmental Protection Division first alerted Walker County in 2012 that there were problems with the construction of the Durham Trail, a hiking route...

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This might not be your year to see Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch at Arches National Park is one of the icons of the National Park System. It’s showcased on Utah’s license plates, and a must-see for visitors to the park. But construction this year at the arch’s parking area could force you to put off your up-close-and-personal experience with Delicate Arch until another year, say park officials. Simply...

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Fontana Dam, North Carolina to be Designated as Newest Appalachian Trail Community™ on March 26

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), along with the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club (SMHC), invite the public to attend the official designation of Fontana Dam, North Carolina, as the newest Appalachian Trail Community™. The ceremony will be held on Thursday, March 26, 2015, and is free and open to the public. The event will kick off at 11 a.m. with music from the Larry...

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Hiking the Great Wall of China, the wild and free way

We’re in Huairou, a rural district in the mountainous outlying regions of Beijing. It’s here, a two- or three-hour drive from downtown, that you’ll find some of the most spectacular sections of the Great Wall. For hikers across Beijing, the Great Wall is as functional as it is legendary. Thick, dry shrub covers the mountains here, and a trail with a view is a rare find....

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10 Things You Should Know About the Appalachian Trail

On March 3, 1925, roughly two dozen outdoor enthusiasts meeting at the Raleigh Hotel in Washington, D.C., formed an all-volunteer organization charged with building the Appalachian Trail. Though work at first proceeded only in fits and starts, the Trail eventually skyrocketed in popularity, attracting the attention of prominent politicians who protected it from...

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Meet The Three Hikers Who Saved A Woman’s Life

Saylor Guilliams is only alive today because last year she dyed her hair red. One afternoon last March, the 22-year-old was hiking a trail in Santa Barbara, California, with her friend Brenden Vega, also 22. Their inexperience showed: The terrain was more treacherous than they had planned for, and as it began to grow dark, they struggled to find a way back to their car....

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Tap into Sedona’s ‘energy’ with hikes, memorable dining

Sedona has often been proclaimed the “most beautiful place in America.” The natural beauty of the tiny town — halfway between Phoenix and the Grand Canyon — nearly escapes description. But, if you put a list together, surely picturesque canyons, rivers, red rock formations met by crimson-colored earth and azure skies paint the splendor of Sedona. Add to that “painting”...

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The joyous, muddy end of an epic Pacific Crest journey

A 17 percent chance turned into a sure thing Sunday, March 1st in a remote part of Southern California at the border with Mexico. That’s when Shawn “Pepper” Forry and Justin “Trauma” Lichter trudged up a muddy hillside during a desert downpour to reach the southern terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail. The two men had just completed...

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Swannanoa Valley Museum launches 2015 Rim Hike series

Beginning in March, the Swannanoa Valley Museum will launch the sixth year of its Rim Hike Series, which features 11 hikes across the ridges and peaks surrounding the Swannanoa River valley in North Carolina. The series sprang from museum founder Harriet Styles‘ popular wildflower hikes along many of these same paths. After Styles passed away, the museum decided to...

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Hiking New Zealand’s Lake Waikaremoana

Anyone who has trekked in New Zealand truly understands that this beautiful, rugged country offers several opportunities to explore a fantasy realm. The nine Great Walks – designated inconic hikes in New Zealand – feature an unparalleled diversity of color that highlights the unique landscape and sets your imagination adrift; it’s like actually living a work of fiction....

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Interview with the two guys that are nearing then end of a remarkable winter thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail

Justin Lichter and Shawn Forry are 180 miles from the Mexican border and the completion of their remarkable winter thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. They started in October 2014 and have been snowshoeing, skiing and hiking ever since. Journeys on the PCT are remarkably personal. The trail is truly a place to see what makes you tick, from physical to emotional to...

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Hiking Safety Tips – What to do when you see a wild hog?

Invasive hogs can be aggressive, especially when defending their young. They may weigh up to 300 lbs, have sharp tusks, and can charge very quickly. Be alert! Know the signs and tracks of hogs and avoid heavily used areas, especially at dusk or dawn when hogs are most active. Avoid water sources that have been used by invasive hogs – humans can contract multiple diseases...

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The seven hardest day hikes on the Appalachian Trail

When you picture the mountains that span the Appalachian Trail, what comes to mind? Massive, majestic, daunting peaks? Likely not—and you’d be right. It is for this reason that the uninitiated confuse the 2,189 miles that make up the United States’ original long trail as easy hiking. Some of it is. Most of it, however, is excruciatingly difficult. In fact, of the three...

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The joy of trekking became a book of hikes around the globe

Authors Robert and Martha Manning have produced a masterful work in “Walking Distance: Extraordinary Hikes for Ordinary People,” a large format, full-color treasure trove of dream hikes from around the globe. As the subtitle of the book suggests, each of the 30 treks described are indeed extraordinary hikes for ordinary people – super hiker status not required. Amazing...

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Half Dome hiking permits: How to enter the preseason lottery

The pre-season lottery for Yosemite’s coveted Half Dome hiking permits opens March 1, 2015. Those who submit applications in the month of March will be in the pool when Yosemite National Park issues 225 day-hike permits for each day of the hiking season. Lottery winners will be notified by mid-April. Preseason applicants can request permits for up to six people and...

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Israel parks authority launches 50 new hiking paths, revamped vision

Spanning the country’s northernmost to southernmost tips, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority has launched 50 new or improved hiking paths for members of all population segments to enjoy. The paths are divided into four categories: those tailored for families, those meant for hikers, those for cycling and 4×4 travel and those accessible to people with...

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