Hiking News

Humpback Rocks: A hiking hot spot on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Posted by on Jul 7, 2013 @ 8:17 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

For the inexperienced hiker, the task might be a bit rigorous. But for anyone, be it a novice or a seasoned mountain climber, the reward for reaching the peak is spine-tingling.

Humpback Rocks, a hiker’s picturesque paradise, draws tourists from all over to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Located just outside Waynesboro, VA, about 6 miles down the parkway at the northern end, the 2-mile trail is considered one of the best representations of the natural and cultural resources seen along the parkway corridor.

The monstrous rocks at the summit, hanging off the mountain’s edge at 700 feet of elevation, require roughly a 45-minute hike up and provide a view that is breathtaking and at times slightly intimidating, with a 360-degree glimpse of the Shenandoah Valley and the Shenandoah National Park resting below.

“It is a nice spot on the Blue Ridge Parkway to be able to get some great views for just a little bit of effort,” said Adam Anderson, who operates Virginia Trail Guide with his wife, Christine. “Since it is one of the first hikes on the northern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway, it is an extremely popular spot. … On a clear day from the summit, you can see panoramic views of the parkway, mountain ranges and farmlands. It’s a great introduction to the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

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Fluke Fire Burning Atop Sequoia Tree Leads To Small Closure Of Congress Trail At Sequoia National Park

Posted by on Jul 6, 2013 @ 8:25 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

A fluke fire burning in the crown of a giant sequoia has prompted the partial closure of the Congress Trail at Sequoia National Park.

The fire is a hold-over from the Circle Meadow Prescribed Fire, conducted last summer to maintain a regular fire cycle that improves forest health by reducing the amount of dead, woody debris that can lead to larger, more intense fires, park fire officials said.

An unusual combination of conditions enabled the fire to smolder through the winter and flare up as the weather became warmer and drier, they said, adding that “the severe drought conditions of the past winter created the dry environment that allowed this fire to continue to burn within the giant sequoia. This is an unprecedented event unknown to have occurred previously in the 45-year history of the parks’ prescribed fire program.”

While the fire burns park managers have partially closed a short section of the Congress Trail in the Giant Forest. Park staff are escorting visitors through a short section of the trail. These restrictions are necessary due to the hazard of falling debris from the burning tree, a park release said.

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Renovated Rosendale trestle reopens, reconnecting long-sundered Wallkill Valley Rail Trail

Posted by on Jul 6, 2013 @ 8:43 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Renovated Rosendale trestle reopens, reconnecting long-sundered Wallkill Valley Rail Trail

“A great day for Rosendale” is how supervisor Jeanne Walsh characterized the grand opening of the renovated railroad trestle spanning the Rondout Creek, linking the northern and southern portions of the nearly completed 24-mile Wallkill Valley Rail Trail from Gardiner to Kingston in New York.

Four years after the Wallkill Valley Land Trust (WVLT) and the Open Space Institute (OSI) teamed up to purchase 11½ miles of railbed in the towns of Rosendale and Ulster, including the 940-foot-long, 150-foot-high trestle, it finally became possible for walkers, cyclists, cross-country skiers and equestrians to traverse the Rondout Gorge safely without a long detour via local streets.

The stretch of trail leading from the Binnewater Kiln parking lot along the flank of Joppenbergh Mountain to the north end of the trestle was still a bit muddy following more than a week of muggy, thunderstormy weather. But shortly before the 11:30 a.m. scheduled start to the ribbon-cutting ceremony, cicadas began to trill as the clouds parted, the sun peeked out and a refreshing breeze swept the gorge.

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New trail christened at Baker Lake, ID

Posted by on Jul 5, 2013 @ 2:53 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

The Baker Lake Trailhead northeast of Ketchum, ID gives recreationists access to serene views of crystal-blue alpine lakes and stunning vistas of the Boulder Mountains. Now, hikers have more options off of this versatile trailhead.

The Idaho Trails Association worked to complete an extension of the Osberg Ridge trail system. Hikers can now begin at the Baker Lake Trailhead and trek into Ketchum via the newly completed Osberg/Warm Springs Ridgeline Trail. Association volunteers constructed a brand-new trail under the guidance of a U.S. Forest Service Recreational Forester.

The trail is named after Gloria Moore Osberg, a longtime trails advocate known for her hiking book called “Day Hiking Near Sun Valley.” The trail runs 10 miles along the ridge between Fox Peak and the Baker Lake trailhead, connecting the Warm Springs drainage and the south side of the Baker Creek drainage.

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What it’s like to be a national park ranger

Posted by on Jul 5, 2013 @ 7:02 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

What it’s like to be a national park ranger

As a park ranger for the National Park Service, you share the science, history and beauty of this natural wonder with thousands of visitors from around the world.

National parks are like outdoor museums. They preserve some of America’s most beautiful and historic places. Park rangers protect the parks’ animals, plants, land, buildings, artifacts and people. They have a variety of jobs, depending on where they work and what they studied during college.

Interpretive park rangers teach people about what makes each national park special and what we can all do to take care of it. They lead hikes, teach school field trips, work at visitor centers and help people stay safe during their visit. Many interpretive park rangers studied science, natural resources or history in college.

Protection rangers make sure visitors follow the rules while exploring the parks. They complete special law enforcement training to do their jobs. They may also rescue stranded or sick visitors, provide medical care, fight wildfires and work at large events such as the presidential inauguration in Washington.

Rangers who work in smaller parks might do many of these jobs at once.

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Appalachian Trail Biennial features music, culture, trails

Posted by on Jul 4, 2013 @ 4:47 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Appalachian Trail Biennial features music, culture, trails

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Biennial Conference invites the public to attend live music, dancing, presentations about hiking trails, and a Cherokee storyteller July 21-25 at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC. Events each evening begin at 8 p.m. Nightly tickets are $7, and children younger than 12 are admitted free.

Some of the highlights:

• On July 21, Jennifer Pharr Davis, who holds the record for speed hiking the 2,180-mile Appalachian Trail, will talk about her experiences during the 46-day journey, while there will be a contra dance in the Reid Gym with music performed by Asheville-based band Appalachian Storm.

• On July 22, author Danny Bernstein will present a slide show of her 1,000-mile hike of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, and there will also be music by string band Southern Exposure.

• Buncombe Turnpike will play traditional and contemporary bluegrass on July 23.

• On July 24, Pleasure Chest, named for a 1950s era cooler, will play high energy rock ‘n roll blues, and Darcy Douglas presents a slideshow on the 288-mile Benton MacKaye Trail that runs from north Georgia to Davenport Gap in the Smokies.

• Eddie Swimmer, an accomplished Cherokee dancer, storyteller, and public speaker will present an evening of entertainment on July 25.

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Acadia reopens hiking trails

Posted by on Jul 4, 2013 @ 12:45 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking trails at Valley Cove and Jordan Cliffs in Acadia National Park, ME, closed earlier this spring to protect peregrine falcons, have been reopened.

Falcons had been observed defending and engaging in courtship behavior at Valley Cove and Jordan Cliffs areas in April and May but have failed in their nesting attempt, Superintendent Sheridan Steele announced. The species is listed as an Endangered Species under the Maine Endangered Species Act.

The closures at both cliff areas,had included the North Section of the Flying Mountain Trail and Jordan Cliffs Trails.

The cause of the nest failure is not known, but the adults observed in early spring are clearly not defending nesting territories at either location.

Closures at the Precipice on Champlain Mountain remain active to protect nesting activities by the adults. The area will remain closed until the fledglings are determined to be independent of their natal cliff and the support of the adults.



Move your downward dog to the hiking trail this summer

Posted by on Jul 4, 2013 @ 9:51 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Move your downward dog to the hiking trail this summer

Considering hiking is truly about the journey, Steve Tsilimoss is taking each step in the right direction. The new Hiking Yoga program he’s introduced to the Vail Valley this summer brings eastern philosophy to the Western Slope of Colorado, where mindfulness meets movement.

“I think this program adds an important element to what yoga was founded on — serenity in being one with yourself and with nature — simply finding peace,” said Tsilimoss, a certified yoga instructor. “I think being up here, or anywhere, outside on a beautiful day creates more benefits than being in a studio.”

Tsilimoss’s most recent Saturday morning group excursion led hikers to Booth Falls out of the East Vail trailhead. The three-hour hike was taken at a moderate pace, stopping at three designated “yoga platforms” (relatively flat areas with stunning backdrops), one on the way up and one on the way down.

“It was so nice to do yoga outdoors, and what great views we had along the way,” said valley local Jay Hoff. “I don’t like to go indoors to exercise much — especially in the summer — so to do yoga on the side of a trail was perfect.”

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One-night trips into the Smokies

Posted by on Jul 4, 2013 @ 3:00 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

For day hikers who want to take the next step or for a seasoned backpackers who can’t find the time or resources to make that long trip this year, outdoor author Jim Parham is offering up the solution that is just right: the short backpacking trip.

His recently published book, Backpacking Overnights, details 50 one- and two-night trips in the Carolina Mountains. The premise of the book, and Parham’s philosophy, is that backpacking should be easy, accessible and fit into the schedule of the 9 to 5 working stiff.

Instead of keeping the old backpack in the closet collecting dust and waiting for the day you promised yourself you’d hike entire the Appalachian Trail or limiting yourself to short, out-and-back jaunts, Parham recommends spending a night in the woods. Although day hiking is better than no hiking, there’s no equal to sleeping under the stars.

“It’s half the experience, part of it is the hike and the other part is going to sleep with the crickets chirping and the creek gurgling beside you,” Parham said. “You miss that on a day hike.”

Backpacking Overnights introduces readers to 50 different one night and weekend backpacking trips in Western North Carolina and upstate South Carolina. It also includes a section introducing readers to the basics of backpacking, maps of each hike, GPS coordinates and a mile-by-mile synopsis of landmarks and points of interest along each route.

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Maine author traces Thoreau’s steps in new hiking guide

Posted by on Jul 3, 2013 @ 6:25 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

“I have met but one or two persons in the course of my life who understood the art of Walking,” Henry David Thoreau wrote in the mid 1800s.

Thoreau, a Massachusetts man, was many things — an author, philosopher, naturalist, historian, transcendentalist — but perhaps more importantly, he was a walker. And if Thoreau hadn’t learned “the art of walking,” his life and legacy would have been far different.

“I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits unless I spend four hours a day at least — and it is commonly more than that — sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements,” Thoreau wrote.

This sentiment struck a chord with John Gibson, a seasoned hiker from Hallowell and the author of “In High Places with Henry David Thoreau: The New Hiker’s Guide to Thoreau’s Mountain Travels,” published in June by Countryman Press.

Divided into sections, the book covers 12 treks Thoreau took in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine, including Mount Kineo and Katahdin.

“The book provides insight into how [Thoreau] traveled and appreciated the woods and the mountains, which he found absolutely essential to psychological health,” said Gibson in a recent interview. “There’s a lesson in the book that you’ve got to get out there, that this sort of staying indoors and playing video games is not a life.”

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An angel for trekkers

Posted by on Jul 3, 2013 @ 11:33 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Wiffer’s Wayside is really just a condo. But for hikers trekking across North America on the Continental Divide Trail, it’s truly a luxury hotel.

Sharon Henschen of Sidney, Ohio, is well-known to the hiking community as “Wiffer,” a trail name she was given because of her keen sense of smell. She makes her vacation condo – two miles north of Purgatory, CO at Durango Mountain Resort – a home away from home for hikers in need of rest.

Henschen is one of many trail angels who exist along the Continental Divide Trail. Being a “trail angel” has proved to be a perfect fit for Henschen, who is in her fourth year of offering up motherly love to those in need.

In June alone, Henschen housed 21 through-hikers, anywhere from one to three nights, as they rest and take advantage of the hospitality she offers.

Hikers are about 800 miles into the trail when Henschen greets them at Stony Pass, a half hour’s drive from Silverton, in her bright orange Jeep.

Being a part of the hiking community is a role Henschen happily accepts. Meeting new people and knowing she has been one stop in their journey to Canada, accompanied with all the great trail stories she hears, keeps her motivated. She finds that no two hikers are alike.

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Wildflower Festival Coming To Cedar Breaks National Monument

Posted by on Jul 3, 2013 @ 9:23 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Wildflower Festival Coming To Cedar Breaks National Monument

At 10,000 feet and above, wildflowers bloom a wee bit later than, for instance, at sea level. That’s why Cedar Breaks National Monument’s 8th Annual Wildflower Festival is just beginning on July 6th.

“During this spectacular display, visitors to the Monument will be able to see paintbrush and primrose, lupine and larkspur, and a spectrum of other flowers in meadows, woods, and marshes,” said Park Superintendent Paul Roelandt of Utah’s Cedar Breaks near Zion and Bryce Canyon.

The festival runs through July 21. Volunteers will be available to lead guided walks each festival day at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. The walks, approximately one hour in length, will focus on the latest bloomers and how they live and survive in the subalpine habitat.

On festival weekends from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., a variety of family-friendly activities will be offered in the Visitor Center area.

Cedar Breaks National Monument is located 23 miles east of Cedar City, Utah, along Highway 148 between Highway 14 and Brian Head. The park entrance fee is $4 per person, ages 16 and older. Those traveling to the festival should come prepared for cool weather at 10,000 feet.

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5 Facts You May Not Know About California’s National Forests

Posted by on Jul 3, 2013 @ 9:08 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

In California, we rely on our National Forests for half of our water.

That is one of the many reasons why the National Forest Foundation is working to restore the valuable resources in the forests that contribute to $37 billion in food and commodities.

From their work in the Tahoe on aquatic, forest and rural communities to their work in the Angeles National Forest to reforest and restore native plant communities, they are improving the value of the lands that cover 20 percent of California.

The California National Forests not only provide critical ecosystem services, but they support 38,000 jobs in the outdoor industry.

By promoting sustainable recreation that protects natural resources, the National Forest Foundation is ensuring local economies succeed while fish and wildlife thrive.

More information…


Group of teachers, coaches take hiking challenge

Posted by on Jul 3, 2013 @ 8:34 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Group of teachers, coaches take hiking challenge

Hiking 34 miles in steamy, hot temperatures probably isn’t what most schoolteachers dream about doing on their summer vacation.
For five Hampton School District teachers and coaches, though, it was their idea of a “challenge.”

The group got together June 22 for the 17th annual Rachel Carson Trails Conservancy Challenge – a 34-mile hike between North Park and Harrison Hills Park in Harrison, PA through woods, across highways and in creeks.

Hikers have 15 hours and 4 minutes to complete the challenge officially, but participants are allowed to continue as long as there is daylight.

The teachers were among nearly 600 hikers this year braving the uncomfortable heat. Another 200 hikers attempted the 18-mile Homestead Challenge between Springdale High School near the homestead of Rachel Carson and Harrison Hills. About 100 hikers participated in the Friends and Family Challenge, an 8-mile course.

This year had a higher number of participants who did not complete the event, with the high temperatures blamed as the cause. Last year, 85.9 percent of the participants successfully completed the Challenge within the allotted time limit; this year only 70.8 percent did so.

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Hike Florence Nature Preserve with CMLC

Posted by on Jul 2, 2013 @ 3:17 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hike Florence Nature Preserve with CMLC

Join Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC) on Saturday, July 13, for a guided hike through CMLC-owned Florence Nature Preserve. Hikers will trek a lollipop-route, circumnavigating the Preserve to reach two of FNP’s most scenic locales: Rattlesnake Knob and Little Pisgah Point. These rock outcroppings feature scenic views of the rugged Hickory Nut Gorge. This hike is open to CMLC members as well as non-members, so bring a friend.

Comprised of 600 acres on the southern slopes of Little Pisgah Mountain, Florence Nature Preserve was generously donated to CMLC by Dr. and Mrs. Florence in 1996. The Preserve boasts more than five miles of hiking trails that feature scenic rock outcroppings, pristine cascades, and old-growth forest. The entire Preserve is part of the state-designated Little Pisgah Slopes Significant Natural Heritage Area.

Total cumulative hiking distance is 4.5 miles. This hike is rated as moderate in difficulty, featuring a total elevation gain of 1100 feet. This is a public hike open to CMLC members and non-members alike.

Participants are required to be in reasonable physical condition and capable of completing a four mile hike over uneven, forested terrain. Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate dogs on this hike. Hikers should wear sturdy walking shoes (no flip-flops), bring several layers of clothing in preparation for changing warm and cold temperatures, pack plenty of water as well as a snack/lunch to eat during the hike. Hikers who attend are required to participate in the entire duration of the hike.

CMLC’s Online Hike Sign-Up Form


Mount Hood book guides hikers safely around the mountain

Posted by on Jul 2, 2013 @ 1:32 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

A handy, pocket-size book that has long been in many a Portland hiker’s collection has gotten an upgrade and a facelift.

“Around & About Mount Hood” is a new edition of an old classic that was first published in 1997. The author is Sonia Buist, with Emily Keller.

Lots of things have changed around the mountain since the previous version of the book appeared, including the 2006 washout of the Eliot Creek crossing on the Timberline Trail.

This book is written to tell users how to get the most out of the Timberline Trail, without endangering themselves and others with a freelance crossing of the robust river.

Six shorter hikes (some for the whole family, including children) have been included to encourage people who might be intimidated by the thought of hiking on Mount Hood to get introduced to the mountain.

Information about the receding glaciers, including future projections have been added, as well as about how the forest recovers from a fire. The mountain has had several burns in recent years that impact on some of the trails.

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Hiking enthusiasts flock to Mount Fuji as climbing season opens

Posted by on Jul 1, 2013 @ 6:35 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hikers flocked to Mount Fuji on Monday as Japan’s highest mountain, which last month was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List, opened for the climbing season.

At the 3,776-meter summit, climbers cheered as the sun broke through the clouds at around 4:40 a.m. Monday.

They trekked up the mountain, which straddles Shizuoka and Yamanashi prefectures, after three of its four climbing routes opened at midnight Sunday. Another route, from Fujinomiya, Shizuoka Prefecture, will be completely opened by midnight next Sunday.

The mountain’s registration on the world heritage list is expected to attract more climbers this year, so the authorities will face a greater challenge to ensure adequate safety measures are in place and to protect the environment.

To help preserve the environment and fund safety measures, the two prefectures will charge a ¥1,000 admission fee on a trial basis for about 10 days from July 25 near the halfway points, and conduct a survey of climbers about the admission fee.

About 350,000 to 400,000 people climb the mountain every year, according to the Yamanashi Prefectural Government.

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