Hiking News

Draft Assessment Report Available Online

Posted by on Sep 20, 2013 @ 3:54 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

The U.S. Forest Service National Forests in North Carolina has made the draft Assessment Report, prepared as part of the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forest management plan revision process, available online at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/nfsnc/nprevision.

Over the last year, the Forest Service has gathered information and compiled it into a draft Assessment Report. The document evaluates the current condition and trends of the ecological, economic and social conditions of the Forests. This information will help identify revisions that may be needed in the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forest management plan.

The agency received an extensive amount of information from other agencies, scientists, partners and interested publics throughout the process. Forest Service employees appreciate the high amount of interest surrounding this plan revision.

The draft is a work-in-progress, and some sections are still under development. Some of the information included in this report has been summarized, and additional detailed reports will supplement information found in the summary.

The Forest Service is sharing the draft report in advance of the next Plan revision session scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013. The public workshop will be held from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the North Carolina Arboretum, 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, Asheville, N.C. 28806. Find more documents related to the Oct. 5 meeting, including an agenda and need-for-change statements, at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/nfsnc/nprevision.


Missoula duo completes 3,100-mile border-to-border trek on CDT

Posted by on Sep 19, 2013 @ 3:28 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Missoula duo completes 3,100-mile border-to-border trek on CDT

On Friday the 13th, Leland Earls and Rachel Renne ran out of trail.

They also ran out of Continental Divide in the United States. It took 150 days to walk the spine of the nation, from the Mexican border to Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada.

“The Pintlars, the Wind River Range, the San Juans, the Bob Marshall — it seems every big-name wilderness, we got to walk through it,” Earls said of the 3,100-mile journey. “It’s the longest, most difficult trail in the U.S., and so remote that you don’t run into a lot of people. But it’s a gorgeous, perfect trail.”

Earls and Renne met on the Pacific Crest Trail in 2011. They found themselves compatible hiking partners on that 2,600-mile Mexico-to-Canada journey, so they tested the relationship on the 1,000-mile Florida Trail.

“It’s really good to have a hiking companion,” Earls said. “These trips can get hellishly lonely.”

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Three Idaho hikes to find autumn colors

Posted by on Sep 18, 2013 @ 8:19 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

No bugs. Impressive color. Mild temperatures. Falling leaves. Empty trails. How can you not love the serenity of fall hiking? Most people associate Labor Day with the end of mountain play, but veteran hikers know this is the most spectacular time of the year to enjoy the woods.

Depending on where your fall itinerary takes you, here are three excellent hikes in Idaho mountain havens. Your best bet for peak fall foliage is the third week of September through the first two weeks of October.

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New guides available for local day hikes on Mountains-to-Sea Trail

Posted by on Sep 17, 2013 @ 9:41 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hikers hoping to explore a portion of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail in North Carolina without lugging an overnight pack now can consult a detailed series of online day hike guides.

The new guides focus on three sections of the 1,000-mile trail, including the 60-mile Falls Lake Trail. The guide for Falls Lake features 18 day hikes that range from shorter than one mile to seven miles, while most are between two and three miles.

The information for each day hike includes distance, degree of difficulty, connecting trails, descriptions of the trails, photos and maps.

For example, an overview of the Falls Lake day hikes notes the diversity of the trails. A hiker who covers all 60 miles can encounter coves, beech groves, hardwood forest, pine and holly. The names of the trails, including Flipped Car, Blue Jay Point and The Swamp Connection, give an indication of what each offers or where it is.

Kate Dixon, executive director of Friends of the North Carolina Mountains-to-Sea Trail, said day hikers make up the vast majority of the trail’s users. The guides are designed to make hiking easier for them and also to attractdraw in people who may not realize how close they are to the trail.

The guides are available at ncmst.org.

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Earthquake Swarm Rattling Yellowstone National Park

Posted by on Sep 16, 2013 @ 8:18 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

More than 100 earthquakes have shaken Yellowstone National Park since last Tuesday, with the strongest, a tremblor of 3.6 magnitude, felt Sunday, according to the University of Utah Semisograph Stations.

The quake occurred at 9:53:02 a.m. Sunday; the epicenter of the shock was located in Yellowstone’s Lower Geyser Basin area, 8 miles north of Old Faithful, and 15 miles southeast of West Yellowstone.

According to the seismograph station, the swarm began September 10 and has included quakes near Lewis Lake, the Lower Geyser Basin, and in an area northwest of Norris Geyser Basin.

“A total of 130 earthquakes of magnitude 0.6 to 3.6 have occurred in these three areas, however, most have occurred near the Lower Geyser Basin,” park officials reported. “Notably, much of the seismicity in Yellowstone occurs as swarms. The University of Utah Seismograph Stations continues to monitor Yellowstone earthquakes and will provide additional information if the earthquake swarm activity increases.”



Encounter solitude on solo hikes

Posted by on Sep 15, 2013 @ 10:33 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Of all the really good backpacking safety advice, there’s one tip worth disregarding from time to time: Don’t hike alone.

When Karen Povey tells people she spent a week by herself in the summer of 2012 hiking 93 miles around Mount Rainier, she’s sometimes treated like a daredevil.

And it makes her laugh.

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” said the 50-year-old Point Defiance Zoo education curator. “I’m a scaredy cat.”

Povey finds joy in being alone in nature. She can sit for hours watching pikas play in the rocks without having to worry about her hiking partner growing impatient. She can take time to reflect. And Povey, a fit and fast hiker, doesn’t have to bother herself with letting others keep up.

There were times on the Wonderland Trail when she met people who expressed shock that she was out there alone.

“Some people might be thinking about security, but I think a lot of them mean, ‘Isn’t nature a scary place?’ ” Povey said. “For me, nature is where I feel safest. I love being out there.”

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Veterans on Warrior Hike finish Appalachian Trail in Maine; aids transition to civilian life

Posted by on Sep 14, 2013 @ 8:16 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Veterans on Warrior Hike finish Appalachian Trail in Maine; aids transition to civilian life

After six months, four U.S. military veterans have completed their hike of the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine, ending with a celebration at the summit of Mount Katahdin.

The 2,185-mile Warrior Hike, called “Walk Off The War,” gives veterans a chance to process their wartime experiences while hiking with others who have been through the same thing. It is designed to help them transition from military to civilian life.

“They are changed people,” Marine Corps Capt. Sean Gobin said Saturday of the veterans who completed the hike.

Gobin founded Warrior Hike while deployed to Afghanistan. In 2012, he hiked the trail to support wounded veterans and realized it would beneficial for other veterans, too.

“First and foremost is that you’re just out in nature and you’re hiking for eight hours a day,” said Gobin, who joined the veterans for their final hike up Katahdin. “And being by yourself with your own thoughts and being outside in the mountains, your brain has no other option but to process all those experiences that you had overseas.”

Fourteen started the hike in Georgia; four finished and two others who left the trail returned on Friday for the final hike and celebration.

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Rocky Mountain National Park Closed By Ongoing Storms

Posted by on Sep 13, 2013 @ 6:59 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

An unrelenting storm system Friday, September 13th forced the closure of Rocky Mountain National Park, where rangers were escorting visitors out of the park.

Rangers were working to escort what few remaining visitors were left in the park in the wake of major rainfall in the park and flooding in neighboring Estes Park, Superintendent Vaughn Baker said.

They likely wouldn’t go far, though, as Estes Park was isolated by the storm, which has closed off the highways leading out of the resort town.

Superintendent Baker said Trail Ridge Road, the route that connects the park’s east and west sides over a 12,183-foot summit, remained open but only to official and emergency traffic. But because rain and flooding have close all routes leading into Estes Park at the east entrance to the park, he said the park was allowing community residents who need to leave to use Trail Ridge Road to exit the area to the west.

“Our first priority is the well-being of all park visitors and staff,” Superintendent Baker said in a prepared statement. “The heavy rainfall and flooding of streams and creeks have saturated the soil and made movement in and around the park a significant safety concern. We hope to reopen as soon as the danger and disruption have passed.”

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Groups interested in preserving Mount Major hiking trails

Posted by on Sep 13, 2013 @ 6:36 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Each year, thousands of people hike the four trails leading up to Mount Major in New Hampshire to enjoy the stunning view.

“You can see from the top, Lake Winnipesaukee,” said hiker Jenaya Paradise. “It’s really a wonderful view.”

The lush landscape, the waterfalls and the trails of Mount Major are all part of an outdoor experience that’s unmatched. But it’s also privately owned.

“It’s just been by the grace and goodwill of the landowners that they let us on this land for so long, but that could change if the land is sold or if something happens,” said Brenda Charpentier of the Forest Society.

The state owns the Mount Major parking lot and the summit, but the land in between is owned privately. While there is no current threat to close any of the trails, the Lakes Region Conservation Fund and the Forest Society said they want to make sure it never happens.

$1.8 million, would buy the four trails and hundreds of acres.

“If we are successful, we can address permanent protection,” said Dave Anderson of the Forest Society.

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A vision for trails overlooking the Golden Gate

Posted by on Sep 12, 2013 @ 3:32 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

A comprehensive trails and bikeways plan was developed for the Presidio, a former military base which has been transferred to the National Park Service to become part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco.

The Presidio Trails and Bikeways Master Plan will provide park visitors, neighbors, and Presidio residents with an interconnected, safe, and enjoyable trails and bikeways system, while protecting and managing the Presidio’s natural and cultural resources. The plan is a joint effort of the National Park Service and the Presidio Trust), the two agencies responsible for managing the area.

The NPS and Trust carried out extensive on-site evaluation of the existing trail system, identifying physical and structural problems, use patterns, safety concerns, and trail destination and connection opportunities. Presidio resources were evaluated to determine constraints to potential trail alignments and opportunities to correct existing problems or create new recreation, commuter routes and interpretive experiences. This analysis also reviewed trail corridors relative to geologic and hydrologic factors, biological resources, traffic safety, and cultural and scenic resources.

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Volunteers add 80 Miles to the iconic Colorado Trai

Posted by on Sep 12, 2013 @ 3:26 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Volunteers add 80 Miles to the iconic Colorado Trai

The U.S. Forest Service had a need, the Colorado Trail Foundation (CTF) saw an opportunity, and trail users are the winners.

Last year, the CTF, with Forest Service blessing, added 80 miles of tread to The Colorado Trail, an increasingly popular long-distance track spanning nearly 500 miles of spectacular Colorado high country between Denver and Durango.

The “new 80” will not extend the end-to-end length of the trail. It will, however, offer users an exciting alternative to the existing route that skirts the eastern side of the Collegiate Peaks, part of the Sawatch Mountain Range that features a dozen of Colorado’s 14,000-foot-plus peaks. Together with the “old 80” (the two routes are now referred to as Collegiate East and West) it also creates a 160-mile loop sure to become popular with multi-day users who don’t want to hassle with shuttling vehicles.

The Collegiate West isn’t new trail, although it has been undergoing extensive rerouting and improvement over the past few years. It is, in fact, part of the 3,000-mile Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, with which The Colorado Trail has long shared more than 230 miles of tread.

When the Continental Divide Trail Alliance, a nonprofit that oversaw the building and maintenance of the CDNST, dissolved in early 2012, the CTF saw an opportunity to add to its existing mileage in keeping with its long-held concept of creating a Colorado Trail “system.”

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Monsoon damage keeps Kaibab hiking trail closed

Posted by on Sep 11, 2013 @ 11:43 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking trails in Grand Canyon National Park experienced heavy rain damage from recent monsoons, and one remains closed to visitors.

The South Kaibab Trail, just below Cedar Ridge, was temporarily closed until crews cleared debris from the area.

The North Kaibab Trail below Supai Tunnel remains closed off until trail work is complete, which officials say will be early October.

This restriction does not affect the North Rim mule operations conducted by Canyon Trail Rides between the trailhead and Supai Tunnel, according to a news release.

Hikers are asked to use caution during or after heavy rain, as wet, muddy and debris-scattered trail conditions may cause slips, trips and falls, authorities warn.



Chestnut trees highlight of hike

Posted by on Sep 11, 2013 @ 2:38 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Chestnut trees highlight of hike

Take a walk along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The National Park Service will take hikers on a journey to explore the mighty chestnut tree and its future in Western North Carolina.

Parkway rangers will lead the easy-to-moderate hike at 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 13 along two miles of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Participants will learn about the chestnut trees once-critical role in the southern Appalachian Mountains and research efforts to help it regain its throne as king of the forest.

Once numbering in the billions, the towering trees were a vital part of the forest ecology, a key food source for wildlife and an essential component of the human economy. Chestnut blight decimated the species in the mid-1900s. Several attempts to breed a blight-resistant tree have taken place unsuccessfully. Since then, however, recent breakthroughs offer new hope.

At one time, the trees stood up to 100 feet tall and numbered in the billions in the Southeast, until an Asian fungus, known as chestnut blight, wiped out about four billion trees by the 1950s. Now, assisted by nearly 6,000 members, volunteers, and partners, The American Chestnut Foundation is planting potentially blight-resistant trees in select locations.

Hikers will meet at the Mills River Overlook, near Milepost 404.5 and should bring water, wear good walking shoes and be prepared for inclement weather. More details are available by phone: 828.298.5330 x304.



Great Smoky Mountains National Park To Mark 80th Anniversary Of Civilian Conservation Corps

Posted by on Sep 9, 2013 @ 3:02 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Great Smoky Mountains National Park To Mark 80th Anniversary Of Civilian Conservation Corps

Saturday, September 14 at Great Smoky Mountains National Park a look back at the Civilian Conservation Corps is planned for the 80th anniversary of the workers’ program. The day’s events will take place in and around the Sugarlands Visitor Center from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. All the activities are free to the public.

The activities will include an interpretive program, a panel discussion, and a hike to the site of one of the park’s many CCC camps.

The CCC was established in 1933 as a federal work project during the Great Depression, employing young men in conservation work on federal and state lands. The program provided gainful employment and education to the enrollees from all over the country while also providing much-needed work on public lands throughout the nation.

In Great Smoky Mountains National Park, as many as 4,000 enrollees were assigned to 22 CCC camps at various times from 1933-1942, building roads, trails, fire towers, and structures. The legacy of the CCC is enormous, and the work of these young men remains clearly evident today.

For more information about the event, please contact the Sugarlands Visitor Center at 865-436-1291.

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Family-friendly hiking trails in Maryland

Posted by on Sep 9, 2013 @ 2:43 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

It was pretty much a given that Joe Vogelpohl’s kids would love hiking. As a ranger at Patapsco Valley State Park, Vogelpohl spends most of his days on trails and often takes his children, Isaac, 4, and Cecelia, 1, along on weekends. Cecilia is usually strapped to Vogelpohl’s back, while Isaac can hike four miles, walking most of the way and being carried every now and then. “We have done lots of hiking,” says Vogelpohl. “I started them early.”

He lets his children set their own pace and encourages exploration and detours along the way. Isaac often stops on the trail to skip rocks in the stream or look for bugs. Sometimes they bring their fishing poles and stop for 15 minutes to fish along the trail.

Front packs and backpacks are ideal for holding babies and toddlers. Once they can walk, children should be allowed to explore, and at least walk for part of the hike.

Kids are generally capable of “hiking their age,” meaning a 5-year-old should be able to hike five miles, says Jennifer Chambers author of children’s hiking books. It’s important, however, to start slow and simple, says Chambers, who lives in Silver Spring with her husband and two children, who often hike long distances. The distance a child can hike is dependent on his or her temperament, physical ability and experience with hiking, she says.

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Bridges & Structures for Trails: A Tribute to Carroll Vogel

Posted by on Sep 8, 2013 @ 9:24 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

If, as trailbuilders and advocates, we believe that trails form a critical piece of our green infrastructure, an essential component in the fabric of American life, then suspension bridges make a unique contribution to that fabric and infrastructure. They carry us over rivers, valleys and through treetops. They link together important destinations and communities. They can span much greater lengths than more rigid structures and they make crossings possible that no other structure can. Without them, many of our important trails would not be possible, many of our destinations unreachable.

Being visually appealing and providing access to otherwise unreachable heights, they often become a major trail feature in their own right. Their symmetry is demanded by the structural needs of the bridge itself. From a distance they appear as thin ribbons of steel that push and pull against each other in a symphony of loads and stresses that work together to form a completed whole a whole that is dramatically greater than the sum of its individual parts. In form they are two gentle parabolas, strung together and arching towards each other in a discordant harmony and perpetual tug-of-war, neither one able to move when bound to the other. Each piece contributes to the overall strength and stability of the structure. There is no waste. Even the deck that we walk on contributes significantly to its stability.

Carroll Vogel showed us that in the world of suspension bridges we are still looking for the boundaries, we are still finding new structures, applications and uses of materials.

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Fall is prime time to view new stretch of Superior Hiking Trail

Posted by on Sep 8, 2013 @ 5:51 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Fall is prime time to view new stretch of Superior Hiking Trail

Working alongside geologists and ecologists to complete the last two segments of the Superior Hiking Trail taught volunteer Leon Pitzen to see the 296-mile-long footpath along the North Shore ridgeline in a new light.

“Most people come up and run from one vista to the next,” said Pitzen, a former St. Cloud resident who retired to Two Harbors. He’s learned to appreciate elements of his surroundings — even when they don’t include expansive views of Lake Superior. “That’s what’s so fabulous on the Duluth section, if you like a variety of plant life and wildlife.”

While Pitzen said he enjoyed building the trail during the summertime — he’s not just building a trail but leaving a legacy — Pitzen is among those who prefer to hold off on hiking until the temperature drops and the insects disappear.

Later in the season, the fungi will persist, but the bunchberries and bluebead lilies and ferns bordering the trail will turn deep gold and rich rust, contrasting with pines and spruce and whatever berries remain.

September is an ideal time to explore the Superior Hiking Trail.

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