Hiking News

Pisgah Ranger District seeks public input on proposed recreation project

Posted by on Mar 31, 2018 @ 9:18 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Pisgah Ranger District seeks public input on proposed recreation project

The Pisgah National Forest will be holding an open house on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 from 5-7 p.m. at the Pisgah Ranger Station to discuss a proposed project to increase the sustainability of recreation.

“The project is not intended to address all possible improvements on the Pisgah Ranger District, but includes timely projects that consider the social, ecological, and economic elements of sustainable recreation,” said Dave Casey, District Ranger. “This includes construction of connector trails, re-routing trails, trail head modifications, change of authorized trail use, select roadside campsite closures, watershed improvements, road decommissioning, and heavy trail maintenance.”

The proposed changes to the trail system fit within the larger trail system goals below:

  • Reduce erosion and sedimentation associated with trails
  • Reduce trail user conflicts
  • Create beginner trail user and loop opportunities
  • Maintain clean/safe trails
  • Increase education about responsible trail use
  • Increase support of and recruitment of volunteers and partnerships

Public input will help to evaluate the proposed actions and identify potential issues. Comments for the project can be submitted by attending the open house on April 10 or by submitting them online here.

Comments can also be submitted by visiting the Pisgah Ranger Station from 9:00 am-4:30 pm or mailed to Pisgah Ranger District, USDA Forest Service, Attn: Jeff Owenby, 1600 Pisgah Highway, Pisgah Forest, NC. Comments will become part of the project record and may be released under the Freedom of Information Act.

To be most useful, please submit comments within the official 30-day scoping period which ends April 27.

 

Blue Ridge Parkway announces 2018 opening dates

Posted by on Mar 30, 2018 @ 9:07 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Blue Ridge Parkway announces 2018 opening dates

Cold but dreamy snowfalls punctuated by balmy, hurry-up-and-hike days made for an unpredictable winter on the Blue Ridge Parkway, but according to the calendar, it’s officially spring. Soon campgrounds, visitor centers, picnic areas, and historical sites will be ready for the influx of travelers. In 2017, more than 16 million came to experience the mountains and the communities along the way.

You can lay out the welcome mat for those travelers during the Project Parkway Campground Cleanup event from 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, April 21. The National Park Service is inviting Parkway fans to help with a variety of preparations, from leaf blowing and tree limb clearing to painting and trail work at all eight campgrounds.

The Linn Cove Viaduct at Grandfather Mountain is closed until May 24 for repaving and repairs. A traffic detour will be put in place from milepost 298.6 (Holloway Mountain Road) to Milepost 305.1 (U.S. 221). Gates will be located at milepost 303.6, Wilson Creek Overlook on the north and milepost 305.1, U.S. 221 on the south end of the work zone. Within the closed area, including the trail areas beneath the viaduct, the Parkway will be closed to motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians.

Each spring, Flat Top Manor is one of the first visitor stops to open along the Blue Ridge Parkway thanks to the Southern Highland Craft Guild. Starting March 30, be sure to visit the group’s Parkway Craft Center at the manor, which features handmade crafts from hundreds of regional artists as well as live demonstrations of quilting, pottery, wood carving, glass blowing, and more on the front porch. You’ll see a new layout inside Flat Top Manor this year with the main foyer cleared for an experience that more closely resembles the days the Cones were in residence.

Get the full schedule here…

 

Petrified Forest National Park: 10 tips for your visit

Posted by on Mar 29, 2018 @ 9:23 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Petrified Forest National Park: 10 tips for your visit

One of the largest concentrations of petrified wood in the world is found at Petrified Forest National Park in eastern Arizona, about 110 miles east of Flagstaff and 210 miles west of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Scientific studies show that the petrified trees found within the park date back 211 to 218 million years. Add to that dramatic, colorful geological formations and ancient art and you’ll quickly see why Petrified Forest National Park is a must-visit; last year, just over 643,000 people trekked through the park.

In December 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt created Petrified Forest National Monument, and 56 years later, in 1962, it was designated a national park.

A terrific way to experience the park is by lacing up your hiking shoes and hitting the trails. A one-way spur road from the main park road leads to Blue Mesa and a one-mile loop trail in a badlands setting. Additional hiking options include the one-mile round trip Painted Desert Rim Trail; 0.3-mile Puerco Pueblo loop; 0.75-mile Crystal Forest loop; 0.4-mile Giant Logs loop; 1.6-mile Long Logs loop; and the 2-mile roundtrip Agate House trail.

To make the most of your visit, check with park staff, and consider these 10 tips, whatever time of year.

 

Rocky Flats Wildlife Refuge, a former nuclear weapons plant, prepares to open hiking trails this summer

Posted by on Mar 28, 2018 @ 9:39 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Rocky Flats Wildlife Refuge, a former nuclear weapons plant, prepares to open hiking trails this summer

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to open the Rocky Flats Wildlife Refuge in Colorado to the public this summer despite attempts to block developing the refuge, which circles a shuttered nuclear weapons production facility.

Private tours have already started, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service refuge manager David Lucas said. No hard date exists yet for the full opening but it is expected to be this summer.

“The neat thing about Rocky Flats is it has been undisturbed for the past 70 years as opposed to lands on the other side that have been extensively grazed,” Lucas said.

In anticipation of the opening, the Fish and Wildlife Service is continuing to coordinate with Jefferson County to collect additional air, water and soil samples to ensure safety.

Lucas said local governments are also working to connect the refuge trails to the surrounding area, including Boulder County Open Space.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy contend that no lingering danger exists to humans from exposure to any residual contaminants, but critics have a long-running skepticism of those findings.

Rocky Flats is considered a globally rare habitat and is the largest undisturbed track of high prairie grass on the planet, Lucas said.

Read full story…

 

Tragically lost in Joshua Tree’s wild interior

Posted by on Mar 27, 2018 @ 1:06 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Tragically lost in Joshua Tree’s wild interior

In June 2010, Bill Ewasko traveled alone from his home in suburban Atlanta to Joshua Tree National Park, where he planned to hike for several days. Ewasko, 66, was an avid jogger, a Vietnam vet and a longtime fan of the desert West. A family photo of Ewasko standing at the summit of Mount San Jacinto, another popular hiking destination in Southern California, shows a cheerful man with a salt-and-pepper mustache, looking fit, prepared and perfectly comfortable in the outdoors.

Ewasko left a rough itinerary behind with his girlfriend, Mary Winston, featuring multiple destinations, both inside and outside the park. His first hike, on Thursday, June 24, was meant to be a loop out and back from a remote historic site known as Carey’s Castle, an old miner’s hut built into the rocks. Carey’s Castle is so archaeologically fragile that, to discourage visitors, the National Park Service does not include it on official maps.

Winston, a retired mortgage broker, was worried about that particular hike. From what she had read, the site sounded too remote, too isolated. She so thoroughly pestered Ewasko about his safety that, when he arrived in California, he bought a can of pepper spray as a kind of reassuring joke. Don’t worry, Ewasko told her. He would be all right.

The plan was that after he finished the hike, probably no later than 5 p.m., he would call Winston to check in, then grab dinner in nearby Pioneertown. But 5 p.m. rolled around, and Ewasko hadn’t called. Winston tried his cellphone several times, and it went directly to voice mail.

She knew he might still be in a region of the park with limited cellular access, but the thought was hardly reassuring. As night fell on the West Coast with no word from Ewasko, Winston tried to call someone at the park, but by then Joshua Tree headquarters had closed for the day. Her only option was to wait.

Read full story…

 

Tips for staying safe while hiking in Arizona

Posted by on Mar 27, 2018 @ 9:16 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Tips for staying safe while hiking in Arizona

Thanks to amazing weather and topography, southern Arizona can be a hiker’s dream. That dream can become a nightmare if you don’t take basic precautions or plan ahead, especially when the temperatures soar.

When the heat comes, hiking or other outdoor activities should be limited to early morning hours and be completed no later than 10 a.m.

Anyone planning on hiking should take the following precautions before heading out:

  • Know your limits.
  • Hike with someone familiar with the trail.
  • Let friends or family know where you’re going and when you expect to return.
  • Take plenty of water, approximately one liter per hour. Also, avoid alcohol the night before and drink before the hike.
  • Take food with you.
  • Wear proper clothing and shoes. You should wear hiking boots, hat, sunglasses and sunscreen. The sun can be intense.
  • Have a fully charged cell phone.
  • Take a first aid kit, which should include epipens, band aids and antibiotic ointment.
  • Keep a safe distance from wildlife.
  • Check the weather before going hiking as temperatures can rise quickly.
  • Avoid hiking at night. It’s easy to get lost and wildlife including snakes come out at night.

Cite…

 

Hiking: What to wear in the great outdoors

Posted by on Mar 26, 2018 @ 9:25 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking: What to wear in the great outdoors

There’s that saying, “you can never be too overdressed for any occasion,” while that saying is commonly referred to dates, dinners, events and other entertainment type activities it’s also 100 percent applicable for hiking but for a different reason.

When it comes to hiking clothes, you should think about where you are going and how challenging the terrain. Is it Winter and will you be playing in the snow among the giants? Is it Spring or Fall and you’re touring Joshua Tree National Park? Is it August, 95 degrees and are you heading to Yosemite? While these locations present different and sometimes unpredictable weather patterns, a person can be prepared for all three by following one simple rule — layering.

Experts suggest borrowing equipment instead of buying new when first starting out. Hold off on buying new until you’ve made the decision you want to continue hiking and camping.

There are a few key materials to look out for when picking out hiking apparel. It’s also important to understand what different material has different benefits. Four key words to remember are wicking, waterproof, breathable and insulating. Four key materials to remember are wool, polyester/nylon, fleece and no cotton. Dressing for hikes in the winter is different than in the summer, but one material will keep you comfortable during both seasons. “Wool keeps you warm in the winter and dry in the summer.”

“The first two layers let your sweat out. The third layer should be windproof and waterproof.” A person’s base layer should be lightweight and the material should be able to pull the moisture away from the body. It should also be able to dry quickly. The base layer includes underwear, shirts and pants.

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New ‘Celtic Camino’ spurs second coming for Irish pilgrim trails

Posted by on Mar 25, 2018 @ 1:22 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

New ‘Celtic Camino’ spurs second coming for Irish pilgrim trails

Did you know pilgrims don’t have to start their ‘Camino’ in Spain? That a ‘Celtic Camino’ allows you to kick off the route in Ireland?

For just over a year now, walkers who complete a ‘Celtic Camino’ – by walking at least 25km of a pilgrim trail in Ireland – can collect a special certificate issued by the Camino Society Ireland at St. James’ Church in Dublin.

The certificate – gained after walking routes like Tochar Phádraig, Co. Mayo or St. Kevin’s Way in Co. Wicklow – can then be taken to A Coruña and combined with a further 75km walk to receive the full compostela.

Typically, official Camino certificates are given only to walkers who complete at least 100km of the famous route. But the Cathedral of Santiago and A Coruña Tourism have agreed that 25km of Irish pilgrim trails can now be included.

“The Celtic Camino is a lovely idea, because you are linking the two countries together. It’s only a short hop down to Spain.”

Irish pilgrim paths are enjoying something of a second coming, as long-forgotten routes are cleared for use again.

Read full story…

 

Tanglefoot National Recreation Trail – Mississippi

Posted by on Mar 24, 2018 @ 11:58 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Tanglefoot National Recreation Trail – Mississippi

The Tanglefoot Trail is Mississippi’s longest rails-to-trails conversion, a ten-foot wide asphalt multi-use trail that runs 43.5 miles through the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in the Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area.

Visitors will experience a bit of local history as they pass through fields, forests, meadows, and wetlands along the path of the Chickasaws and Meriwether Lewis, later the route of a railroad built by Col. William C. Falkner, great-grandfather of Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner.

The Tanglefoot Trail is a former railroad line owned and operated by the GM&O Recreational District of North Mississippi. The Trail extends from Houston to New Albany, Mississippi.

Whistle stops serve as entrances to the trail in between larger municipalities and provide restrooms, water fountains, shelters with picnic tables, and parking. Interpretive signage for historic sites along the trail are being developed.

This trail first blazed by Indians was again followed by early explorers, Hernando De Soto and later, Meriwether Lewis. Ishtehotopah, the last Chickasaw king, built his home nearby. As Union troops made their way south, Col. Benjamin Grierson followed the same King’s Highway.

Cite…

 

Kolob Canyons at Zion to Close for Construction Projects

Posted by on Mar 24, 2018 @ 7:30 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Kolob Canyons at Zion to Close for Construction Projects

Access to portions of the Kolob Canyons District of Zion National Park will be restricted due to a construction project beginning May 1, 2018. The project involves reconstructing sections of the road, repaving the entire road, and adding accessible parking, sidewalk, and toilet facilities.

All of Kolob Canyons Road, the Visitor Center, and parking lot off of Interstate 15, will be closed to all traffic during the seven month project. The Taylor Creek Trail, the Timber Creek Overlook Trail, Lee Pass Trailhead and other areas served via the Kolob Canyons Road will not be available to the public.

Overnight permitted hikes will be drop off / pick up only, from April 15 through April 30, 2018. No vehicles or hiking will be permitted inside the closure beginning May 1, 2018.

Construction engineers and Park officials have determined that closing these areas during the project will be safest for visitors and workers, as well as expediting the work, so the area may open at the soonest possible date.

Visitors will be able to access the La Verkin Creek Trail and hike to the Kolob Arch via the Hop Valley Trail. Visitors may access the Hop Valley Trailhead from the Kolob Terrace Road. Overnight trips require a permit. There are many surrounding State Parks, Forest Service and public land scenic areas to consider as alternatives to Kolob Canyons during this closure.

 

Smokies Park Recruits Trail Volunteers

Posted by on Mar 23, 2018 @ 9:08 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Smokies Park Recruits Trail Volunteers

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced several volunteer workdays beginning April 5 through April 28, 2018 along heavily-used trails and nature loops as the park prepares for the busy summer season. These opportunities are ideal for people interested in learning more about the park and the trails program through hands-on service alongside experienced park staff.

Volunteers will help clear limbs and debris that have fallen over the winter months along with helping repair eroded trail sections. Workdays will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in North Carolina on April 5, April 7, and April 19 and in Tennessee on April 12, April 21, and April 28. Prior registration is required.

Please contact Trails and Facilities Volunteer Coordinator Adam Monroe at 828-497-1949 or adam_monroe@nps.gov for workday details and to register. Interested volunteers can also contact Monroe to learn about additional volunteer opportunities throughout the year including the ‘Adopt-a-Trail’ program and the Trails Forever ‘Working Wednesdays’ opportunities on Rainbow Falls Trail beginning April 25 through August 29. These opportunities are perfect for those with busy schedules who would like to volunteer once a month.

For the April trail workdays, volunteers must be able to safely hike while carrying tools up to 4 miles per day and be prepared to perform strenuous, manual labor. After receiving proper training, participants will be expected to safely use hand tools such as shovels, rakes, loppers, and hand picks. Minimum age of participants is 16. Those under 18 must be accompanied by a responsible parent or guardian.

Volunteers will need to wear boots or sturdy closed toed shoes, long pants and appropriate layers for cold and inclement weather. Volunteers should bring a day pack with food, water, rain gear and any other personal gear for the day. The park will provide instruction, necessary safety gear, and tools for the day.

For more information about the volunteering in the park, please visit the park website at https://www.nps.gov/grsm/getinvolved/volunteer.htm.

 

7 great Middle Tennessee trails for Spring Hike Day

Posted by on Mar 22, 2018 @ 11:54 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

7 great Middle Tennessee trails for Spring Hike Day

With spring officially here, shake off those winter blahs with one of Tennessee State Parks’ “Happy Spring” hikes, where all 56 of our state parks will offer at least one ranger-led hike on March 24, 2018.

Whether you are up for a strenuous all-day outing or a leisurely walk outdoors, or something in between, Tennessee parks have some great options. And many of them are family friendly.

Park officials said that all of the All Park spring hikes are free and will be guided by park staff members who can “speak to the natural, cultural and historical treasures that Tennessee State Parks has to offer.”

For example, join state naturalist Randy Hedgepath for his yearly “Collins Gulf Wildflower Pilgrimage,” which takes you into one of his favorite wildflower areas. Hedgepath says, “Flowers are very abundant, but there are also waterfalls and spectacular scenery throughout. The hike is a 5-mile round trip and is rated strenuous because of the rugged terrain and the 600-foot descent and climb out. This is a challenging hike but has great rewards.”

Learn more, with meetup times and other suggestions here…

 

Ozark Trail Association Taum-A-Hawk Hiking Race 2018

Posted by on Mar 22, 2018 @ 6:47 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Ozark Trail Association Taum-A-Hawk Hiking Race 2018

The Ozark Trail Association is proud to announce the 2nd annual Taum-A-Hawk Hiking Race, a one-day event open to the public, to take place on Saturday, June 9th, 2018 along thirteen miles of the Ozark Trail Taum Sauk Section from Taum Sauk Mountain State Park to Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park located in Iron County, Missouri.

Traversing through the most scenic and rugged areas of the entire state, mixed-gender teams of two, up to seventy-five teams in total, will hike a time-trial formatted race beginning in the morning at the summit of Taum Sauk Mountain, the highest point in Missouri, then heading down, alongside Mina Sauk Falls and west into the Taum Sauk Creek Valley, past the Devil’s Tollgate rock formation, and then back up across Proffit and Wildcat Mountains before finishing near beautiful Johnson’s Shut-ins State Park. The Taum-A-Hawk 2018 is patterned after team dynamic-based adventure races which require mixed gender teams for fairness.

The Ozark Trail Association Taum-A-Hawk 2018 is a one-day hiking race open to the public, not a trail running race. Participants must be over the age of sixteen in co-ed teams consisting of two people where classic hiking items will be required of each participant like a backpack, trail map, appropriate footwear, a minimum amount of carried water (1L), and other safety items like battery-powered flashlight/headlamp.

For more information on race requirements, rules, details on location, and where to officially sign your team up, please visit www.ozarktrail.com or contact Abi Jackson at abi.jackson@ozarktrail.com.

 

Maine trio completes Appalachian Trail’s remote 100-Mile Wilderness in winter

Posted by on Mar 21, 2018 @ 12:44 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Maine trio completes Appalachian Trail’s remote 100-Mile Wilderness in winter

At the end of February, three Maine men set out on snowshoes to hike the 100-Mile Wilderness, the most remote section of the Appalachian Trail stretching about 100 miles from Monson to Baxter State Park. They completed the arduous journey, over mountains and across half-frozen streams, in nine days, a feat very few hikers accomplish in the winter.

For February, the weather was mild, but that didn’t make traveling any easier. In fact, the three wished the weather had been just a bit colder. With the temperature hovering around freezing on most days, it was nearly impossible for them to dry out their clothing and boots. Snow would melt from the tree branches above, raining down on them non-stop.

They packed enough food for 10 to 12 days, but the trail was slow going, especially at high elevations, where the snow was several feet deep. To cover enough distance each day, they rose early, cooked up some powdered eggs and bacon, then hit the trail, snowshoeing often 10 hours before making camp.

One day in particular stood out to all three men as especially challenging — the day they hiked White Cap Mountain. Rising 3,707 feet above sea level, White Cap is famous for the spectacular view from its summit, which includes Mount Katahdin, Maine’s tallest mountain and the location of the AT’s northern terminus. Hiking toward White Cap, the three followed the ridgeline of Gulf Hagas, West Peak and Hay Mountain, where the snow was at least 4 feet deep, and the trail, cut through a thick forest of evergreens, had almost vanished.

“The green tunnel that’s normally 6 feet high was 2 feet high because we were on top of so much snow,” Koorits explained. “So we were basically crawling through the trees for 5 miles.”

Read full story…

 

Massachusetts-New Hampshire hiking loop nears completion

Posted by on Mar 20, 2018 @ 12:22 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Massachusetts-New Hampshire hiking loop nears completion

  If the array of trails in Massachusetts’ North Quabbin region, including those along the Millers and Tully rivers, could be connected to the network of trails up near Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire, New England would have a world-class hiking jewel of its own.

The North Quabbin Trail Association, in partnering with municipalities, naturalists and nonprofit organizations, is expected to announce the completion of the 240-mile “Q and M” Trail in the next year.

The Q and M Trail — the name stands for Quabbin and Monadnock — is set to connect Franklin and Worcester county trails with those of southern and central New Hampshire in one giant loop, and feature 30 to 35 overnight stops along the way.

Nearly all of the trailblazing has been completed. North Quabbin trails the association already has stewardship over — like the Tully Trail in Royalston or the newly completed Poplar Mountain Cliff Ridge in Erving — will finally become one, and also stretch up to Mount Monadnock, the second most hiked mountain in the world.

There will be eight interconnected regions: Tully River basin, Millers River basin, Swift River basin, Quabbin basin, Farley Ledge Loop, Mount Grace, Warwick Forest and the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail.

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11 tips for trekking in the Himalayas

Posted by on Mar 19, 2018 @ 6:39 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

11 tips for trekking in the Himalayas

The good news is you don’t need to be Sir Edmund Hillary to experience the Himalaya Mountains. In fact whatever your age, abilities or experience almost everyone can hike the Himalaya.

As the highest mountain range on the planet, the Himalaya have long been a draw for explorers heading to Nepal, India, Bhutan, Tibet, and Pakistan.

Furthermore, the countries the Himalayas span are exotic, with very different beliefs, languages, food, flora and fauna to Western countries.

While accessible to pretty much all, trekking in the mountains is not like a walk in the park. There are many things you can do to prepare yourself before you go; to improve your experience whether you go for full on trekking, easier hiking or just a walk in one of the many national parks.

Rocking up in the Himalayas without any prior preparation would be a recipe for disaster. Fitness goes hand in hand with enhancing your overall trekking experience. The fitter you are the more pleasurable your experience will be. Trekking in the Himalayas involves many days walking at a time, up to 8 hours, with distances upwards of 10km/day. The key is to build your endurance level over time.

Get the full list of tips for trekking in the Himalayas…

 

Cog Railway closure could impact recreation on Pikes Peak

Posted by on Mar 18, 2018 @ 1:11 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Cog Railway closure could impact recreation on Pikes Peak

In an unexpected turn earlier this week, the Pikes Peak Cog Railway, which had stopped operating for the winter for maintenance work, announced that it would not resume operations in the spring, and may not operate for several years — or ever again.

Other than a yet-to-be-seen impact to local tourism, both in visitor numbers and revenue, the closure of the railroad may also have an affect on outdoor recreation on the peak.

The Cog is more than just a tourist attraction; it’s a transportation system. Many Barr Trail hikers use the Cog as the return leg of their hike to the summit, saving their knees from the rigors of a long downhill trek. Those hikers also invariably stop at Barr Camp, the approximate halfway point on the trail.

Whether stopping in to take a break, chat with the caretakers or spend the night on the way up or back down, Barr Camp is an essential waypoint — often life-saving — for people venturing on the trail, and the Cog has been a vital part of the camp’s operations.

Other groups utilize the Cog as well. Medicine Wheel Trail Advocates relied on the Cog to deliver people and equipment while they were building the Lake Moraine Trail (formerly the “missing link” trail) last year.

Read full story…