Hiking News

A hike through Peru’s Colca Canyon

Posted by on Jul 13, 2013 @ 4:10 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

The night before our trek, Rosas, a 5-foot-tall Quechua man, came to our hotel to brief us on our trip. Starting at 7:30 the next morning, he said in Spanish as I translated for Alex, we would hike from Cabanaconde down to the bottom of the canyon, a descent of approximately 3,300 feet. We’d cross the Colca River, have lunch in the town of Llahuar, hike up about 1,650 feet to the town of Llatica and then continue up another 600 feet to Fure, where we would sleep that first night.

The next day, we’d set out for the waterfall and then hike back down the canyon to the Sangalle oasis, where we’d spend the night. Then, early in the morning of the third day, we’d leave the oasis to hike up another 3,300 feet back to Cabanaconde and civilization.

It was a route that Rosas didn’t do often, but for the three days of guiding, he charged us only about $50 (lodging and food for the three of us averaged an additional $25 per night).

It seemed ambitious. Fortunately, we had no real idea of what we were in for.

Read the adventure…


Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, NC closed indefinitely (again)

Posted by on Jul 13, 2013 @ 11:22 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, NC closed indefinitely (again)

The Blue Ridge Parkway, in its second busiest month of the year, is closed from Milepost 375, a few miles north of Asheville, to Milepost 355 at N.C. 128/Mount Mitchell State Park.

“At Milepost 374, one mile north of Ox Creek Road, there’s an apparent slope failure below the roadway,” Steve Stinnett, parkway chief ranger, said. “There is a 2- to 4-inch-wide, 100-foot-long crack in the road, so we’re concerned about the road failing there. We’ll have to have it assessed by an engineer before we can reopen.”

Stinnett said the crack is located on the road’s center line just north of Tanbark Tunnel, and a ranger said he can see 6 feet down into the crack. “The ground below the crack is completely saturated and is starting to collapse,” he said.

Stinnett said he is not sure when the crack occurred, but it was just noticed Friday.

“It’s most likely due to the heavy rains. Like everywhere else in Buncombe County, the soils are saturated and prone to things like this.”

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National Park Service Recognizes Safety Excellence Award Winners

Posted by on Jul 13, 2013 @ 8:48 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Employees of four national parks were recently recognized by the National Park Service for outstanding public and employee safety achievement in 2012.

The Director’s Award was presented to Daniel Watson of Ice Age and North Country National Scenic Trails (individual category) and Canaveral National Seashore (group).

The Andrew Clark Hecht Public Safety Achievement Award for an individual was given to Robert Fleming of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the group award was given to the Preventive Search and Rescue Team at Grand Canyon National Park.

“The safety of our employees and visitors is a top priority for the National Park Service,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “I am proud to recognize the employees who exhibit great leadership and a superior work ethic to make national parks a safer place to work and visit.”

The Director’s Award recognizes significant achievements in the cultivation of a safe and healthful work environment for employees of the National Park Service.

The Andrew Clark Hecht Public Safety Achievement Award has been given since 1998 for significant achievement in efforts to prevent serious injuries or fatalities to park visitors. Funded by a small family foundation, it is presented in memory of Andrew Clark Hecht, an 8-year-old boy who died during a visit to Yellowstone National Park with his family.

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White Mountain National Forest offers free overnight outdoor photography hike July 15

Posted by on Jul 13, 2013 @ 8:37 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

As a prelude to being artist in residence for the White Mountain National Forest, photographer John Anderson is inviting outdoor photography enthusiasts to join him on a free hike in the Sandwich Wilderness along the Flat Mountain Pond Trail in North Sandwich, N.H.

The overnight trip will be led by experienced guide Lauren Estabrook.

The hike will begin Monday, July 15 at the Patricia Ladd Carega Gallery, 69 Maple St., in Center Sandwich.

At 10 a.m., Anderson will give an introductory talk about taking photographs on the national forest, particularly in wilderness. He will show images and discuss finding the best light in the forest, composition, equipment and technique.

Anderson will also answer questions about wilderness photography, with a goal of encouraging local participation in the national Wilderness Forever photography contest being conducted by the U.S. Forest Service as part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the Wilderness Act.

Details here…


Denali National Park’s History Rooted in Preservation

Posted by on Jul 12, 2013 @ 7:11 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Mention Denali National Park and the first image people may envision is the 20,320-foot mountain the park surrounds. While Denali, North America’s highest peak, may be the cornerstone of the park today, it’s not the reason the land was set aside nearly a century ago by congress. In fact, it was something much smaller that provided the reason for the land preservation.

It was 106 years ago when hunter and conservationist Charles Alexander Sheldon arrived in the interior Alaska town of Fairbanks. From there he traveled south by river boat and horse back to the gold fields of Eureka. A place that would later be renamed Kantishna. It was here that he hoped to find Dall sheep, an animal the Vermont-born Sheldon had become fascinated with.

Very little was known about this species of sheep. Sheldon planned on doing research, as well as hunt the animals, with specimens shipped south for further study. Sheldon finally found what he was after along the mountainsides near the Tolkat River.

During his stay Sheldon made an alarming discovery. He saw that market hunters were killing sheep in high numbers. The hunters sold the meat to mining camps to feed workers.Sheldon also knew that in the near future construction of a railroad line would also begin through the Interior. That would mean more workers to be fed. He felt the future of Dall sheep was under threat.

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For more than two decades, Lantana retiree has been working to clear Florida’s hiking trails

Posted by on Jul 12, 2013 @ 7:04 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

When you’re a trailblazer, it’s an early-to-bed, early-to-rise life. Just ask Bea Rogers, trail coordinator for the Loxahatchee Chapter of the Florida Trail Association.

The rugged outdoorswoman laces up her hiking shoes before dawn each morning for a 2-mile trek around her Lantana neighborhood — that is if she’s not clearing trails somewhere else. That somewhere else, many days, is the Ocean to Lake Hiking Trail stretching from Hobe Sound to Lake Okeechobee.

That trail is particularly dear to Rogers, 76, who helped build it with her friend Dean Drake, another longtime Florida Trail member, starting in 2002.

“He had the knowledge and compass, and I had the get-the-job-done (ability),” Rogers says. And she’s been getting it done ever since. She is responsible for maintaining 200 miles of the Ocean to Lake Hiking Trail, although she doesn’t do it alone.

Rogers leads a dedicated team of volunteers who go out to maintain the trail. Some use lawn mowers, others wield chainsaws, and others come with paint and brushes to keep the trail signs up to snuff.

“As trail coordinator, it’s my job to convince others to get wet and muddy to keep the trails clear,” she says. “We call it fun.”

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A historical pictorial of the Appalachian Trail at Chester, VA Library

Posted by on Jul 11, 2013 @ 9:16 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

The Appalachian Trail, celebrating its 75th year, will be the subject of discussion at Chester Library’s Morning Coffee Break on July 16th. A Pictorial History of Virginia’s Appalachian Trail with Leonard Adkins will provide a look at life in the mountains before and during the trail’s creation. The 2,174 mile scenic trail has been stated to be the most famous hiking trail in the world. It runs from Maine to Georgia with one-fourth of the trail passing through Virginia.

Adkins has hiked the entire Appalachian Trail five times, and is the author of 16 books about the outdoors, nature, and travel, including five concerning the trail. He has aided the Appalachian Trail Conservancy in identifying and protecting rare and endangered plants by being a Natural Heritage Monitor and a ridge runner. He has also been on the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club’s Board of Directors, a volunteer maintainer of a trail section near McAfee Knob, and as a field editor for the foremost guide for Appalachian Trail hikers that is updated annually.

Along with providing a pictorial history of life before and after the trail’s completion, his latest book, “Images of America: Along Virginia’s Appalachian Trail” takes a look in how it came into being, who its early champions were, the many relocations the trail has experienced, and the volunteers who have constructed and maintained it.

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Hiking restrictions begin as grizzly bears feed

Posted by on Jul 11, 2013 @ 11:42 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

It’s that time of year again.

From now until Sept. 15, seasonal trail restrictions are in effect for Lake Minnewanka Trail from Stewart Canyon Bridge to the east park boundary, Aylmer Pass Trail and the Aylmer Lookout Trail. Lake Minnewanka is a key area for grizzly bears in Banff National Park because it has lots of buffaloberries, which are in season. They are a vital food source for grizzly bears.

One has already been spotted in the area this week, according to Steve Michel, a human-wildlife conflict specialist with Banff National Park.

“We had a grizzly bear on a carcass in that area yesterday,” he said Tuesday. “Not related to feeding on berries, at this point, but definitely we have grizzly bears during the mid-summer months — particularly females with their offspring — that frequent that area quite regularly.”

To ensure public safety and protect the grizzly bears, hikers are asked to stay in tight groups of four or more, and carry bear spray at all times.

No cyclists are allowed on the Lake Minnewanka Trail and dogs are not permitted beyond the Stewart Canyon bridge.

Read full story…


Man Sentenced for Vandalism in NC National Forest

Posted by on Jul 11, 2013 @ 11:36 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

From the U.S. Forest Service:

The U.S. Attorney’s Office, in conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service, announced that Tyler Pace was sentenced to 90 days incarceration by United States Magistrate Judge Dennis Lee Howell for vandalizing parts of Max Patch, a scenic area in the Appalachian Ranger District, Pisgah National Forest North Carolina.

“This sentence sends a message to vandals that damaging our public lands will not be tolerated,” said United States Attorney Anne Tompkins.

Pace received the sentence during an appearance in U.S. District Court in Asheville on July 9, 2013. Prior to his sentencing hearing, Pace paid restitution for his share of the damage to Max Patch.

Pace was with a group of men who illegally drove vehicles in the Max Patch area in January 2013, causing more than $5,000 of damage to that scenic area. Pace facilitated that damage by tearing down the entrance gate and fence, thereby enabling the other persons to drive their vehicles into the protected area where vehicles are prohibited. Pace is 24 years old and a resident of Canton, North Carolina.

Max Patch sits next to the Tennessee state line in the Harmon Den area and is intersected by the Appalachian Trail. At 4,629 feet this bald offers 360-degree vistas of Mount Mitchell to the east and the Great Smoky Mountains to the southwest. An abundance of ferns and grasses blanket the area making it perfect for picnics.


Meanderthals Has New Interviews Section

Posted by on Jul 11, 2013 @ 9:47 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Meanderthals today introduces the new Interviews section of the Hiking Blog.

A few weeks ago, Meanderthals spoke with Ron Strickland Founder of the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail, author, and conservationist about helping us introduce this new section. Ron graciously agreed. The process was a remarkable education for me personally. I learned of Ron’s tremendous passion and drive, and the wit that has kept him sane through all the red tape he had to handle through the decades. Hikers all over the world can appreciate the efforts of Ron Strickland to accomplish this monumental feat that will last for generations to come.

There are more interviews already in the pipeline, so keep your eyes peeled for future updates. Better yet, use the Subscribe by Email button over there —-> to be notified whenever Meanderthals adds new content.


The Future of the Outdoor Industry

Posted by on Jul 10, 2013 @ 4:29 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Picture a huge corporation that has an absolutely enormous portfolio of incredibly valuable assets, a vast customer base, and a product that improves the health and quality of life of anyone who tries it. What if I told you that this company operates without anyone overseeing it all, without adequate financial resources, and without good collaboration among departments? Sounds a little far-fetched, huh?

This is the reality when it comes to outdoor recreation resources in the United States. Think about it. Our country has a veritable kaleidoscope of outdoor recreation assets—from the backyard to the backcountry. Local rivers and parks, bicycle trails, state parks, national parks, national forests, wetlands, high deserts and canyons, wild and scenic waters, greenways … the list goes on and on. But for the most part, public land agencies operate independently and with limited funding, which threatens their ability to manage the recreation resources under their watch.

It wasn’t always this way. Nearly 50 years ago, the federal government established a Bureau of Outdoor Recreation in order to create outdoor recreation opportunities in communities across the country. Too bad this commitment didn’t stick.

The harsh reality is that since 1980, federal funding for recreation access and conservation of America’s public lands and waters has declined by more than 50 percent. And the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation was eliminated in 1981. From our perspective, this stings a bit.

Not to mention, it sort of runs contrary to the reality that outdoor recreation contributes $646 billion annually to the U.S. economy and supports 6.1 million jobs. Since the 1960s, the outdoor industry has grown into an economic powerhouse, relying on the public lands legacy of the 1960s and early 1970s. If the outdoor industry has managed to grow, despite waning federal funding and commitment to outdoor places and outdoor recreation, it kind of makes you wonder how huge outdoor recreation would be if the outdoor industry and government worked together to promote it.

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Appalachian Trail conference serves up full buffet of hiking fare

Posted by on Jul 10, 2013 @ 11:43 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Appalachian Trail conference serves up full buffet of hiking fare

Coming to Cullowhee, NC soon: four days of total immersion in everything trail.

Camaraderie with fellow trail enthusiasts and taking in the region’s trails is the top draw that will land hundreds of hikers at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy Biennial conference held July 19-26 at Western Carolina University.

But the real trail geeks will revel in nitty-gritty nuances of trail construction or philosophical discussions on the human phenomenon of recreation hiking.

The event is hosted by the five southern Appalachian Trail maintaining clubs and convenes trail managers, hikers, and fans to celebrate and conserve the iconic footpath. Organizers expect 1,000 participants of all ages to come in celebration of the A.T. and take part in the many happenings. The event rotates its location among the regions of the A.T. This year, Cullowhee will host the Southeast’s festival and act as base camp to the Southern A.T. and the region surrounding it.

“This event is only held in the Southeast once every eight years,” said Morgan Sommerville, regional director of the ATC. “So the Appalachian Trail Conservancy is excited to bring this informative and entertaining event to North Carolina to showcase the Appalachian Trail and the surrounding beauty.”

The program will include nearly 150 organized hikes, more than 70 workshops and two dozen excursions, live music, dancing, and outings to some of the region’s best locations.

Go here to discover a sampling of what the conference will bring…


There’s a rumble in the jungle

Posted by on Jul 10, 2013 @ 4:25 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

There’s a rumble in the jungle. And it’s emanating from my stomach.

Breakfast feels as if it was a long time ago, which would explain the gurgling coming from my mid-section. And even then, it was only a few pieces of sweet roti and a slice of cassava cake. I’ve hiked for miles since eating it.

Perhaps sensing my hunger, or more likely hearing the evidence of it, Mr Epi stops on the jungle track and smiles back at me. “Don’t worry, Mr. Ben, we will have lunch soon. Edible ferns, eh?”

Ah, edible ferns. My favourite type of ferns. At least for eating.

Mr. Epi has been gathering handfuls of them from the side of the track, hacking at their base with his machete and tearing at their long green stems. He’s got a pretty decent handful now, which he assures me will make a smashing salad to go with our yams.

Except we haven’t found any yams.

By now you’re probably wondering pretty much the same thing I’ve been wondering: Where am I, and what am I doing here?

The first part is easy: I’m in Fiji, on the island of Ovalau, halfway up a steep hillside on an old walking track between Lovoni, a village in the centre of the island, and the town of Levuka on the coast.

The second part is more of a head-scratcher. Officially, I’m here for a hike, to experience life the way Mr. Epi’s fellow villagers did before the introduction of roads and cars, to tramp through the jungle on a track that used to be the only way to Ovalau’s version of the big city.

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Volunteers needed to repair hiking trails on Mount Monadnock

Posted by on Jul 9, 2013 @ 4:26 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

The annual Trails Week on Mount Monadnock, when volunteers help repair damage to trails on one of the most frequently hiked mountains in the world, is coming up.

In the annual event, conservation professionals and volunteers from the Forest Society and New Hampshire State Parks gather to work on restoring the heavily used trails, overseeing all volunteers – no experience necessary. Work ranges from light tasks such as repainting blazes and cutting back brush to heavy work such as moving rocks and digging drainage ditches, to skilled work such as building footbridges.

Trails week 2013 runs from Thursday, July 12, through Tuesday, July 16. Workdays run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There’s no cost, but advance registration is requested for planning. Email Carrie Deegan cdeegan@forestsociety.org.

Meet at Monadnock State Park headquarters at the end of Poole Road in Jaffrey. Wear old clothes, bring work gloves, a bag lunch, plenty of water, and bug spray. Trail tools will be provided.



Are Hikers the Key to Saving Nature?

Posted by on Jul 8, 2013 @ 5:14 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Two years ago, a major survey revealed trouble in ecosystems of the United Kingdom (U.K.). A third of their functions—such as providing habitat for wild species and clean water for people—are declining.

Now the same researchers show that protecting these ecosystem functions, and in particular outdoor recreation, significantly boosts the economic value of land. But putting those protections in place nationwide would be tricky.

The 2011 UK National Ecosystem Assessment was the most comprehensive attempt to describe the state of a country’s ecological systems. Led by Ian Bateman of the University of East Anglia in London, and Georgina Mace of University College London, a team took data from this survey and created a computer model of the economic value of natural land-uses in Great Britain. They compared the economic impacts of maximizing agricultural production versus preserving land for recreation over the next 50 years, as well as the effect on the diversity of wild birds.

If agriculture is the top national priority and environmental regulations made more flexible than they are today, the annual revenue from the land increases by $1.4 billion over 2010. But if outdoor recreation and reducing greenhouse gas emissions are made top goals, then the value of land increases by $29 billion a year. That more than covers the $1.5 billion cost of protecting land that is rich in biodiversity. “It costs money to save biodiversity, but it’s not as much as you’d think,” says Bateman. “That’s pretty good news.”

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