Hiking News

Hiking reveals subtle charm of Bull Creek Wildlife Management Area

Posted by on Aug 18, 2013 @ 8:13 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking reveals subtle charm of Bull Creek Wildlife Management Area

There was nothing subtle about the change a dozen hikers stepped into from shady pinewoods to open palmetto prairie in the Bull Creek Wildlife Management Area about 15 miles west of West Melbourne.

On a recent trek guided by Tony Flohre of the Indian River chapter of the Florida Trail Association, the group was able to enjoy the beauty of the area’s two dominant ecosystems without overheating because of an early morning start — and clouds.

But while pines and palmetto offered wildly different scenes, Flohre — who has led such hikes for almost a quarter of a century — wanted to make sure his nature-loving followers didn’t miss anything.

“Florida is very subtle,” Flohre said as the line of hikers drew to a halt. “Do you see those light-colored trees over there?” he said, pointing to a grove 100 yards away.

“That’s a cypress dome. Whenever you see those trees, there’s water. So, if you’re in need of water, look for cypress. And it’s all because the land is maybe inches lower than here.”

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The Portable Percussionist: Long Trail concert tour

Posted by on Aug 18, 2013 @ 12:08 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Vermont percussionist Jane Boxall will spend September and part of October hiking the Long Trail – all 272 miles between the Canadian and Massachusetts borders – and playing drum sessions along the way.

She’ll stop off and give solo concerts/clinics, for “portable” percussion. That means found objects, bits of wood, stones, ceramic flowerpots, etc.

The Long Trail is a hiking trail located in Vermont, running the length of the state. It is the oldest long-distance trail in the United States, constructed between 1912 and 1930 by the Green Mountain Club.

Look for updates at the Portable Percussionist…


The 10 Most Dangerous Hikes

Posted by on Aug 17, 2013 @ 8:30 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Talk to most mountaineers, trail runners, or mountain bikers, and they’ll tell you that hiking is the weak sibling of adventurous outdoor sports. A little too slow, a little too granola, not enough adrenaline. But that’s not always the case—some of the most dangerous adventures in the world involve simply putting one foot in front of the other.

Exposure, wild animals, guerrilla fighters, heat, bugs, crumbling trails—these are just some of the variables that can turn a walk in the woods or through the mountains into a flirt with death. Here are 10 of the world’s most dangerous hikes. Granola optional, guts required.



TAAN to explore new trekking trails in Mahabharat Range

Posted by on Aug 16, 2013 @ 6:08 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

TAAN to explore new trekking trails in Mahabharat Range

The Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN) is exploring new trekking trails in the Mahabharat Range. A 15-member team of the association will leave for Kavre on August 19 to explore Timal area of Kavre and the Mahabharat Range. Along with TAAN officials and trekking entrepreneurs, the team will include a videographer, photographer, cartographer and report writer.

According to Ambar Tamang, 2nd vice president of TAAN, the team will explore two trekking trails – The Great Buddhist Masters Trail and Mahabharat Rhododendron Trail. “We will also prepare a guide book, maps and documentary to promote the new trails in national and international arena,” Tamang said.

The five-day Great Buddhist Masters Trail will begin from Panauti and end at Lubughat. Similarly, the Mahabharat Rhododendron Trail, which can be completed in 8-10 days, begins from Sindhuli Gadhi and end at Khopasi.

TAAN believes that high peaks of Mahabharat range, dense rhododendron forest and diverse culture and lifestyle of people will attract tourists to the area. “We hope the new routes will be liked by domestic and foreign visitor alike because of their proximity to Kathmandu,” he added. “The route will be cheaper compared to other routes in the country.”

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Eight-mile trail opens at Big Bear Lake, first in two decades

Posted by on Aug 16, 2013 @ 5:52 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Eight-mile trail opens at Big Bear Lake, first in two decades

Hikers and bikers take note: Touted as the first new trail in Big Bear (northeast of Los Angeles) in 20 years, a new eight-mile single track opens Saturday, August 17. Located on the backside of Snow Summit, the new Skyline Trail is designed to become the backbone of a new south shore trails system. When completed, it will be part of a 15-mile loop with views of Mt. San Gorgonio.

The trail can either be accessed by driving a car or riding a bike to U.S. Forest Service Road 2N10. Take Moonridge Road to Clubview Drive. Stay on Clubview Drive until it ends and becomes 2N10. Take 2N10 to the intersection of 2N10 and 2N06.

Another option is to take Snow Summit Scenic Sky Chair to the top of Snow Summit, and then either take a short walk or bike ride to the Skyline Trail trailhead.

The grand opening ceremony takes place at 10 a.m. Immediately after, leaders of the Big Bear Cycling Assn. will lead three different rides on Skyline Trail for beginner, intermediate and advanced.

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Hiking in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison: Curecanti Creek Trail at Pioneer Point

Posted by on Aug 16, 2013 @ 7:29 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

One of the best ways to hike from the rim to the river at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison is the Curecanti Creek Trail at Pioneer Point.

While there are easier and shorter ways to the water, if you want to hike rim to river, the Curecanti Creek Trail drops 900 feet in two miles AND it ends with a view of one of the canyon’s features, the Curecanti Needle, a rock formation featured on the logo for the scenic railroad that went through part of the canyon.

The Black Canyon stretches 48 miles between Gunnison and Montrose. Part of the canyon is protected as a National Park, part of it as a National Recreation Area. The Curecanti Creek Trail is in the aptly named Curecanti National Recreation Area.

At Pioneer Point, visitors will see a sign directing them left or right for the overlooks and right for the Curecanti Creek Trail. The overlook to the left features a view of the Curecanti Needle and the river channel. The overlook to the right shows you the canyon hikers will take to a cove next to the river. You’ll also see the Curecanti Needle from here.

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New recreation map details Cherokee National Forest

Posted by on Aug 15, 2013 @ 6:28 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

A new recreation map for the Cherokee National Forest is now widely available to the public.

At 650,000 acres, the Cherokee National Forest covers more of East Tennessee than the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The “Cherokee National Forest Adventure Map” takes this 10-county mountain region and highlights the natural and recreation features most likely to appeal to families and first-time visitors.

Sites at the southern end of the national forest include Bald River Falls, the Cherohala Skyway, Hiwassee River gorge, and the Ocoee Whitewater Center.

Sites at the north end of the Cherokee National Forest include Max Patch and Laurel Fork Falls.

The maps cost $5.65 apiece and are available by calling the forest headquarters at 423-476-9700.


South Carolina Upstate hiking trails closed

Posted by on Aug 15, 2013 @ 6:22 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Caesars Head and Jones Gap State Park have closed all or parts of several trails. Rangers are working to clear debris and reroute high water.

TRAIL CLOSURES: Please see the following list for closures:

Raven Cliff Suspension Bridge – Open route of Gum Gap to Naturaland, the rest of Naturaland closed
Cold Spring – Trail closed until water recedes.
Dismal Loop – Trail closed.
Rim of the Gap from Frank Coggins to John Sloan – Trail closed until water recedes.
Pinnacle Pass – Closed

Raven Cliff overlook, Mountain Bridge Passage Bill Kimball (two blowdowns but can pass), Frank Coggins, Jones Gap, Falls Creek(to the Falls), Rainbow Falls and Tom Miller trails are all currently open.


Hiking with Chimps in Uganda

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

One of the best places in Africa to hang with our closest relatives is Uganda’s Kibale Forest National Park, home to more than 1,400 chimpanzees and the continent’s highest diversity and density of primates. Most safari travelers opt for one of the twice-daily, ranger-guided, three-hour chimpanzee hikes. But as rewarding as this experience is, you are limited to spending just one hour with the primates once the guide locates them to avoid provoking stress or transmitting human-borne diseases.

To help travelers learn more, and to increase the chances of better sightings for future visitors, the park is offering fit hikers the chance to spend an entire day in the company with researchers studying a chimpanzee family undergoing habituation for tourism.

A chimpanzee’s natural behavior is to run or climb as far from humans as possible (in Uganda and other countries, local people illegally hunt and eat wild chimps and steal their babies to sell as pets). It takes at least two years of constant daily observation to get a chimpanzee troop to feel comfortable enough with human presence for safari chimpanzee treks to succeed. Chimpanzees share 98 per cent of human DNA and much of our behaviors, which is why observing these primates in the wild is so engaging: the Shakespearian politics of a dominant male and his sidekicks, infants playing, sibling rivalries and adolescent posturing, and the incredible athleticism of the great apes as they swing from tree branches or race effortlessly over terrain that would leave an Olympic marathoner panting.

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Pedro Point Headlands Workday and Native Plant Hike

Posted by on Aug 14, 2013 @ 9:13 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Pedro Point Headlands Workday and Native Plant Hike

There are two opportunities in August to enjoy, give back, and learn about the Pedro Point Headlands and all are welcome. There will be a Habitat Restoration workday and/or a Native Plant hike on Sunday, Aug. 25, for anyone up for hiking and working on the rugged steep hilled property with spectacular vistas and breathtaking incline and declines.

To pitch in and help restore habitat on Aug. 25, meet at the Pedro Point Firehouse on Danmann Avenue in Pedro Point District at 9:45 a.m. You will collect seeds, remove french broom and invasives and water the newly planted plots on the middle ridge. Work until noon and then have refreshments. Volunteers can either return to the firehouse or continue on with the Native Plant hike. The Habitat Restoration workday is sponsored by the Pacifica Land Trust, funded by the CA Coastal Conservancy and supported by the Pedro Point Community Association.

If you prefer to do the Native Plant hike only, meet at the Pedro Point Firehouse at 12:45 p.m. There you will be metand taken to join the other group on the headlands. For the Native Plant hike, plan to explore the unique biological reserve of plants at the Pedro Point Headlands. Mike Vasey and Jake Sigg will team up to lead this hike to the northern most headland peak to see the famed coastal prairie land just below.

Volunteers and hikers are encouraged to wear long pants, long sleeve shirts and sturdy shoes.

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Thoughts on recent JMT and PCT speed records

Posted by on Aug 13, 2013 @ 5:47 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Andrew Skurka is an accomplished adventure athlete, speaker, guide, and writer. The 31-year-old is most well known for his solo long-distance backpacking trips, notably the 4,700-mile 6-month Alaska-Yukon Expedition, the 6,875-mile 7-month Great Western Loop, and the 7,775-mile 11-month Sea-to-Sea Route.

New Fastest Known Times (FKT’s) were recently set on both the John Muir Trail (JMT) and Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). The PCT record has been especially big news within and beyond the hiking community.

On the JMT, ultra runners Hal Koerner and Mike Wolfe covered the 220-mile distance in 3 days, 12 hours, and 41 minutes, which was 92 minutes faster than Brett Muane’s time from 2009.

On the PCT, Heather Anderson set a new time of 60 days, 17 hours, and 12 minutes on August 7, a day before Josh Garrett arrived at the Canadian border 32 hours and 13 minutes faster, for a cumulative time of 59 days, 8 hours, 59 minutes. The old record of 64 days and change was set by Scott Williamson in 2011.

Here are Skurka’s thoughts on these new records…


Mount Fuji, So Popular It Hurts

Posted by on Aug 13, 2013 @ 11:46 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The words printed on the buses that drive through Kawaguchiko, a scenic town in the foothills of Japan’s tallest and most sacred mountain, were as reassuring as they were disconcerting: “Preserve the Nature of Mt. Fuji.”

The message was a reminder that despite years of effort, the millions who visit the mountain and nearby towns each year and the plethora of businesses that serve them continue to have a profound impact on the environment, whether through mounting trash, poor air quality or suburban sprawl.

Mount Fuji, or Fujisan as it’s known to the Japanese, is the nation’s most recognizable natural landmark, a conical volcano immortalized by artists like Katsushika Hokusai and Utagawa Hiroshige. These days, the mountain, less than two hours from Tokyo, is a playground for rich and poor. Climbing the mountain is on many hikers’ bucket lists.

But easy access to the mountain — drivers can park about halfway to the peak — has been a mixed blessing. Last year, nearly 320,000 people made the climb, yet 25 died trying. Illegally dumped garbage fills the forests. Traffic chokes surrounding roads and paths to the peak.

This summer, climbers were asked to contribute a fee to help preserve the environment. But the measures will do only so much because the parade of visitors is likely to continue, especially now that Mount Fuji has been added to Unesco’s World Heritage list as a cultural asset.

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Earn college credit for hiking Appalachian Trail

Posted by on Aug 12, 2013 @ 5:12 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Earn college credit for hiking Appalachian Trail

Kasi Quinn did it. So did J.B. “Jason” Hibbitts. They thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail. Both also came back to Emory, Va., and reported on their hikes – even earning college credit – through a program called Semester-A-Trail at Emory & Henry College.

Jim Harrison, the college’s director of outdoor programming, calls this “a special studies opportunity that allows degree-seeking students to attempt a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail while remaining fully enrolled in an academic semester.” Harrison thru-hiked the AT in 1997.

J.B. Hibbitts, 30, relayed his experience. A resident of Bristol, Tenn., Hibbitts tore off on the trail in 2006 – restless, yet wanting to get out and see the woods of the world. A U.S. Air Force veteran, Hibbitts used the G.I. Bill to get through college. He also needed to stay in school full time, so Harrison made plans to help as Hibbitts hiked the trail.

Turns out, that’s how Semester-A-Trail was born. Today, this program is listed in the course catalog at Emory & Henry.

“The Semester-A-Trail Program offers students the opportunity to build independent studies and projects with broadened field-based implications. Student hikers have developed imaginative projects across the curriculum in ecotourism, human physiology, water quality, wellness, and photography.”

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Gordons Pond Trail trekking toward start

Posted by on Aug 12, 2013 @ 4:53 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

The Gordons Pond Trail project will create 2.7 miles of improved trail connecting Gordons Pond to Herring Point in Cape Henlopen State Park, Delaware. The Junction & Breakwater Trail and Gordons Pond Trail will be linked, becoming a major segment of a 15.5-mile loop forming a regional trail system connecting Rehoboth Beach and Lewes.

The trail is aligned and designed to protect rare plant and animal species and archaeological sites from wayward bikers and hikers, with a 900-foot boardwalk-bridge spanning an environmentally sensitive area.

Boardwalk-bridge decking is expected to be a fiberglass grid with a nonskid surface to allow sunlight and rainwater to reach vegetation growing underneath.

The entire trail is designed to be accessible to people with disabilities, and people with strollers, bikes with skinny tires and rollerbladers. The new segment is designed to be surfaced with stone dust like that already used throughout the trail.

Work on Gordons Pond Trail is expected to begin in the fall.

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A major Maine — and national — mystery

Posted by on Aug 11, 2013 @ 10:24 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Geraldine Largay, 66, an experienced hiker on the Appalachian Trail, left the Poplar Ridge Lean-to shelter near Rangeley, Maine on Monday, July 22, a beautiful, sunny day. She checked in with her husband via text message as she headed toward the Spaulding Mountain Lean-to, eight miles north. She had already hiked from Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, almost 1000 miles, with her final destination the AT terminus at Katahdin.

Three young men hiking south on the trail remembered seeing her that afternoon near Lone Mountain, about three miles from the Spaulding shelter. To them, Largay — a longtime Georgia resident who recently moved to Tennessee and whose trail name was Inchworm — seemed fine.

Then she vanished. Hikers who went through that section of the trail later that day did not see her, the Maine Warden Service said. Hikers who stayed at the Spaulding lean-to told wardens she didn’t stay there Monday or Tuesday night.

Thereupon began one of Maine’s largest missing-person searches in memory. Over 11 days it involved hundreds of people on foot and on ATVs and horseback, a helicopter, and airplanes. It ended with a fine-tooth-comb “grid” search in the Lone Mountain area on Sunday, August 4, by 115 trained search-and-rescue personnel and nine search dogs.

Gerry Largay was not found. The night of the 4th, the warden service announced that, for now, it had done what it could in terms of large-scale searching. Henceforth, it would only follow new leads.

Rita Hennessy, assistant manager of the National Appalachian Scenic Trail, which is a 2200-mile-long national park, said from her office at Harpers Ferry that she had never heard of a disappearance like this on the trail.

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Breaking the cycle of poverty starts on the Appalachian Trail

Posted by on Aug 11, 2013 @ 9:29 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Breaking the cycle of poverty starts on the Appalachian Trail

Cierra Schell, an incoming junior at Philadelphia’s High School of the Future, finished her ninth day of backpacking limping down the Appalachian Trail. She was in misery but so proud of it.

“This is ridiculous,” she said. “I feel dirty. My feet got blisters all over. But it was worth it. I reached my breaking point yesterday. I fell. I didn’t want to get up, but I did it for my team. So we could reach camp and get some sleep… I felt I couldn’t go on, but I pushed myself, and I made it.”

This West Philadelphian had never seen a mountain, much less climbed one. Nine days without a shower evolved from unthinkable to unimportant. “I don’t even smell myself anymore,” she said.

Cierra and 19 other city juniors, in two groups, were sent into the wilderness two weeks ago by a nonprofit group, Summer Search. This trip was the first big step in a five-year effort to push these teens to see and achieve lives they never imagined possible.

Summer Search serves 2,000 teens annually, 35 a year in Philadelphia. Its mission is to break the cycle of poverty and dependency among urban poor, to launch them on a path toward college and success. It is based on a philosophy that character – self-control, conscientiousness, and tenacity – is a better predictor of success than grades and tests, particularly among low-income students.

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Your Own Private Idaho

Posted by on Aug 10, 2013 @ 10:21 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The “Entering Stanley, Idaho” sign seems more like a friendly warning than a welcome. “Population 63,” it reads, as if to say: Congratulations, you’ve made it to the middle of nowhere. Stanley is the entry point to the Sawtooth Valley, a time warp of a place with four saloons, five mountain ranges and not much else.

Established by Congress in 1972 and managed by the federal Forest Service, the 756,000-acre Sawtooth National Recreation Area, which includes the 217,000-acre Sawtooth Wilderness, is arguably more rugged and wild than any national park — in large part because it’s not one.

Though equal in size to Yosemite, the Sawtooth National Recreation Area estimates just 1.5 million visitors. And since there are no welcome gates or entrance fees, Ed Cannady, the Forest Service recreation manager for the recreation area, said that figure is probably inflated, as it includes cars just passing through; he estimated the actual number of annual visitors is closer to around 700,000.

With 700 miles of trails and only a fraction of the annual visitors actually hiking them, even the easiest, most accessible trails in the recreation area still feel like the backcountry compared with Yosemite’s valley floor. It came close, but the Sawtooths dodged the national park designation decades ago. And that’s a lucky thing, say locals, who proudly tout its unofficial slogan: “The Tetons, without the handrails.”

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