Hiking News

NY official raises idea of charging hiking fee

Posted by on Oct 13, 2012 @ 7:35 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

If you want to hike in the Adirondacks, Crown Point Town Supervisor Charles Harrington thinks you should pay for the privilege. He wants to explore charging a fee for use of public hiking trails. “This should be thoroughly explored,” he said. “This (public discussion) is the channel we should be using.” He said fees could generate a lot of revenue for the state.

“The parking areas at the trailheads are usually quite packed,” Harrington said. “It’s (most hiking) well planned and organized.” He said hikers could buy permits using PayPal, an Internet-based payment system. “The technology is out there.”

The state trails, pointed out Moriah Supervisor Thomas Scozzafava, are administered by the State Department of Environmental Conservation. And he said hikers spend money in the areas around the trails, and fees would likely decrease hiking.

“Those vehicles you see at the trailheads, those people are eating in Essex County, staying overnight in Essex County,” Scozzafava said. “DEC has a difficult time doing what they have to do now.”

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Zion National Park Property Protected

Posted by on Oct 13, 2012 @ 10:46 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

A 30-acre private parcel in Zion National Park has been protected from potential development and will be added to the park. An anonymous donor, working with the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) and The Trust for Public Land, donated $825,000 so the land could be purchased and given to the park.

The land was an inholding, meaning it was a privately owned piece of property that was completely surrounded by Zion National Park. Currently, hundreds more inholdings remain in national parks, many of which have been turned into large trophy homes.

“There are lots of places to build large homes with great views, but national parks like Zion aren’t one of them,” said a spokesman. “These parks are for all of us. And now, thanks to a generous donation from a private individual, the view of Tabernacle Dome will remain forever unspoiled.”

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Bump on the trail: 10 tips for hiking while pregnant

Posted by on Oct 12, 2012 @ 9:25 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

This has been a terrific hiking season for the author so far, but it’s different from previous years. This year she has a little hiking buddy: her soon-to-be kid! She calls her Dragon.

Dragon and the author have covered a lot of ground in the past 34 weeks. They closed out winter at the Millcreek yurt, back when she was just a little tadpole making her sick. They scanned the horizon from high in the West Desert, explored a slot in Escalante and climbed down red rock waterfalls in Capitol Reef. They hiked through lacy groves of mahogany in the Raft River Mountains and went backpacking in Logan Canyon. They followed deer trails through autumn leaves in American Fork, and last week they got a lesson in humility on Mt. Olympus. In between, they did dozens of little weekday hikes close to home.

They’ve made some mistakes and learned some lessons. They’ll tell you more about their biggest adventures in subsequent posts, but for now the author offers some general pointers for hiking while pregnant.

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Popular trailhead closing in Glorieta surprises hikers

Posted by on Oct 11, 2012 @ 12:34 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

The trailhead of a popular public hiking and mountain biking trail to Glorieta Baldy peak has been closed to the public by the private LifeWay Glorieta Conference Center since August. It will reopen to the public when the conference center property, where the trailhead is located, reopens next June, said Director Hal Hill.

But trail advocates say this presents a problem for people who see the trail listed on maps and trail guides, make the drive from Santa Fe and then find access blocked.

People usually drive about one and a half miles through the LifeWay Glorieta Conference Center property to reach the Glorieta Baldy trailhead and then walk on the private property another half a mile or more to reach the Forest Service trail leading to the peak.

The closed trailhead is just one more ramification of the conference center’s troubles. The center was once a mainstay of the local community and open year-round for programs and a variety of public uses. But the board of trustees for the Southern Baptist Church, which owns LifeWay, voted last November to shutter the financially strapped center for most of the year, keeping it open only during June and July. The property is for sale, and several interested buyers are vying to purchase it, Hill said.

The uncertain future of the conference center manifested as closed access to a once-public trail.

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From ‘lighthouse to lighthouse,’ Couple completes 4,767-mile hike

Posted by on Oct 11, 2012 @ 12:04 pm in Hiking News | 1 comment

From ‘lighthouse to lighthouse,’ Couple completes 4,767-mile hike

Julie Obear and her friend Barry King have completed a 250-day continuous hike of the American Discovery Trail, which runs across the entire middle of the United States from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.

The pair, who over the last seven years have completed three other intense hikes together, have called their most recent journey the “Lighthouse to Lighthouse Tour.” It began this past February 1 at the Cape Henlopen Lighthouse in Delaware and finished October 7 at the Point Reyes Lighthouse in California after a 4,767-mile hike from coast to coast.

Picking a start date is crucial, Obear said of the planning process.

“For this trip you want to start as early as you can to beat the snow before it comes during this time of year,” Obear said. “You also don’t want to start too late and hit the snow in Colorado.”

Obear said the mild winter was in their favor but the heat in Utah and Nevada was very difficult to hike in. To beat the heat while hiking, Obear and King would trek at night and try to sleep during the day.

Water can be scarce on the trail and the American Discovery Trail Society strongly recommends hikers bury water jugs that are sealed along the trail, Obear said.

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Old Smokies’ homesites slowly succumbing to time and elements

Posted by on Oct 10, 2012 @ 8:58 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

As Don Casada veered off-trail and began bushwhacking his way over fallen logs and through overgrown shrubs along the shore of Lake Fontana, he barely glanced at the trusty GPS unit in his hand.

He’d been this way before, many times, and knew just where he was going. Casada finally stopped at a clearing marked by a looming stone chimney, all that is left of a cabin that early Appalachian settlers had once called home.

The reliable chimney once spewed smoke and radiated heat for the family that lived inside, now long gone. Casada approached the chimney and touched one of its stones, as if to remind himself it was real. He recalled that it was several feet shorter than when he first stumbled up upon it several years ago, with pieces of the chimney breaking off and falling to the ground around it as the clay and mortar deteriorate with time.

“History will fade; chimneys will fall; time will cover bottles; and metal will erode.” Casada said of the looming historic relic and others like it found inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

He works alongside fellow amateur historian and Swain County resident Wendy Meyers. Her task is to hunt down the stories and oral histories of the people who once accompanied the artifacts for which Casada endlessly searches.

Together, their mission is to not only to record as much of the oft-forgotten human history of the park before the layers of time cover and degrade it even more, but also give it credence.

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Hiker thrilled after note he left on peak in 1972 is found

Posted by on Oct 8, 2012 @ 6:44 pm in Hiking News | 1 comment

Forty years after he left a note on a mountaintop deep in the Sierra Nevada backcountry, asking its finder to write him, Tim Taylor has gotten his wish.

Taylor, who was raised in La Cañada Flintridge, was hiking solo in Sequoia National Park in August 1972 — his Boy Scout troop bivouacked a short distance away — when he put a pencil to a lined sheet of paper: “Tim Taylor climbed to this peak, Thursday, August 17, 1972. Age 13 yrs. Anyone finding this note please write.”

Taylor placed the note in a metal film canister and left it on the 12,000-foot peak before rejoining his troop for trout fishing in a nearby lake.

Last month, another intrepid hiker, Larry Wright, 69, of Oakland, found the metal canister with the note inside. He sought out Taylor, and on Monday, Wright and now-San Diego County Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor spoke about their visits — separated by 40 years — to the rugged region known as the Great Western Divide.

The day he left the note stands out not only for his mountaineering, but because of his return to the lake where his troop was camping — the same lake Wright was headed toward when he found the note.

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Hiking confrontation reminds everyone to follow the rules

Posted by on Oct 8, 2012 @ 10:17 am in Hiking News | 1 comment

As the weather begins to cool down, more and more folks are getting out of the house and enjoying the city’s numerous hiking trails.

With the number of hikers increasing, it’s even more important that people respect the laws and their fellow hikers.

One Phoenix, AZ woman recently reminded everyone of the importance of obeying the rules and staying respectful.

After a fellow hiker with a video camera confronted the woman about not keeping her dog on its leash, the woman was seen aggressively approaching the man and shoving his camera.

While the woman wasn’t charged with a crime, authorities said the clip, which made its way to YouTube, is a great reminder to follow the rules.

Officials say following the rules and using common sense is a great way to keep yourself off YouTube, or the local news.

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E. Coli contamination a hidden danger in the Virgin River

Posted by on Oct 7, 2012 @ 5:08 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

On any given day during the height of the summer visitor season, thousands of people wade and play in the Virgin River at the Narrows in Utah’s most popular national park. Hardy adventurers, too, seek the “other worldly” experience by making the complete 16-mile trek through the Narrows, wading through the rushing water and picking their way over boulders and rocks to gaze at the spectacular sandstone scenery.

“We think a national park where people play in the water is pretty darn important,” said Dave Sharrow, hydrologist for Zion National Park.

But there’s a threat here, and it has nothing to do with falling rocks or narrow terrain. Levels of E. coli contamination in the river are “off the chart” and far exceed state water quality standards.

That’s prompted park officials to issue warnings along with permits to backcountry hikers to avoid contact with the water as much as possible.

“We are concerned that levels of E. coli bacteria that we are finding in the river exceed the state standard for swimming-type recreation,” Sharrow said. “And when that happens, the risk of coming down with a disease associated with playing in that water is too high. We would like to protect visitors and get the water cleaned up to the point where we meet the standard.”

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Archaeologist tries to protect park’s treasures

Posted by on Oct 7, 2012 @ 4:53 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Archaeologist Tom Des Jean is fighting a constant battle to protect Native American relics at Big South Fork National Recreation Area. He says that looters are common, especially at out-of-the-way rock shelters contained in the 120,000-acre preserve that straddles Tennessee and Kentucky. Located on the Cumberland Plateau, Big South Fork has an estimated 1,500 archaeological sites, which is more than other national parks in the Southeast.

Des Jean says some sites have been destroyed by looters, who dig pits and sift the dirt looking for whole pieces of prehistoric artifacts such as arrowheads and pottery. He says everything else is thrown out.

He said destroying the items is not just a crime, it’s a tragedy. For example, the floor of a rock house called Mountain Dew is filled with pits and dirt piles. A ranger found the shelter in 2009, but looters had already been there. Around the floor are bits and pieces of history, including a fragment of a mussel shell, a chert flake that was probably used as a paring knife.

“This site has been supremely destroyed,” he said. “The relic collectors dig their pits, then sift the dirt and throw out anything that’s not intact. When you come onto public lands and take things, you’re taking from the American people as well as from researchers. You’re taking things that can never be recovered again.”

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Walking trails in the Brecon Beacons, Wales

Posted by on Oct 6, 2012 @ 11:09 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

It’s time to get your boots on. The roads are empty and autumn is casting orange, yellow and russet motifs across the landscape like a favorite bedspread.

Wales is the ideal place for some fresh air before winter and the Brecon Beacons National Park especially is a haven for walkers. The park, a 45-mile stretch of heather-capped plateaus and verdant, brook-washed valleys, offers trails for all abilities.

Call into the National Park Visitor Center, south-west of Brecon on the A470, to swot up on hiking trails and gain wildlife-spotting tips. The Beacons form one of four ranges in the park. You could head for Black Mountain to the west for more remote treks, while Forest Fawr — given geopark status by Unesco — offers woodland walks to a soundtrack of waterfalls.

Off the beaten track, the Vale of Ewyas cuts a secluded valley swathe through the heart of the easterly Black Mountains. The 13th-century ruins of Llanthony Priory are a focal point for rambles. There’s lots of other great walking in Wales. While the Beacons are typically lush, Snowdonia has a more rocky, rugged feel but no less diversity in terms of routes.

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Partners Announce Expanded Irene Restoration Work

Posted by on Oct 5, 2012 @ 11:10 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

For the last year, many organizations have worked diligently to repair the major damage done to the White Mountain National Forest from Tropical Storm Irene. The National Forest Foundation announced that it has adopted the forest as one of its “Treasured Landscapes,” in an effort to bring additional resources to this major recovery effort.

In 2009, the National Forest Foundation (NFF) launched its national Treasured Landscapes, Unforgettable Experiences campaign to focus on building public-private partnerships in support of large-scale forest and watershed restoration across America’s National Forest System. This work is concentrated in 14 iconic sites from Alaska to Florida, with the White Mountain National Forest becoming one of the campaign’s newest sites this year.

In August 2011, Tropical Storm Irene brought torrential rain that had significant impacts across the White Mountain National Forest. Flooding carried woody debris and sediment, rolled boulders downstream carving out wider banks and jumped stream banks to find new routes – often rushing down adjacent roads or trails to cause extensive erosion. The debris caught up in that high water created jams, clogged culverts, and backed up behind bridges, causing bridges to fail, rivers to divert, and flooding in areas that are normally high and dry. Roads and trails seemed to have just washed away, leaving behind gaping holes in the path.

During the last year, many partners have stepped up to repair the significant storm damage and continue to make the White Mountain National Forest a great place to visit. However, lots of work remains to be done across the forest, especially in those areas hardest hit. As part of its Treasured Landscapes campaign, the NFF has committed to raising $1 million in private funds for the White Mountain National Forest site, which will be matched 1:1 by the U.S. Forest Service, for a total $2 million project.

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What gear do I need to start hiking?

Posted by on Oct 4, 2012 @ 5:06 pm in Hiking News | 1 comment

Hiking ill-prepared can be miserable. Matador lines out the basic gear you need.

 

Footwear

Proper footwear for hiking should keep you comfortable and safe, and depends on the length of your trek.

 

Water

Common wisdom is to drink at least two liters of water per day while hiking, although that varies by length.

 

Backpack

Your choice in a backpack is contingent upon the length of your journey. You want a backpack that can fit everything you need comfortably without resorting to over-stuffing.

 

Map & Compass

Even in a world of GPS, Google Maps, and SPOT locator devices, there are still places in the world that technology doesn’t touch.

 

Cash

“Cash? I thought hiking was free!” Though it often is, carrying some spare cash can get you everything from a taxi ride back to where you parked your car to an unexpected meal or bottle of water when you realize you under-packed.

 

High-energy snacks

Hiking burns calories and you’ll need to replenish your body.

 

Proper clothing

When it comes to clothing for hiking, “cotton is rotten.” Slow-drying fabric which fails to wick moisture from your skin, polyester clothing, or anything that isn’t made of cotton is going to be the best bet.

 

Sun protection

Not only are sunburns annoying, they’re dangerous.

 

Extras

While there is a large distinction between casual day-hiking and lengthy overnight trekking from a gear perspective, consider duct tape, carabiner, lighter, bandana, head lamp, bug spray, moleskin, toilet paper, first aid kit, pocket knife.

 

Get more details…

 

Gorges State Park unveils new visitor center

Posted by on Oct 4, 2012 @ 12:59 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Gorges State Park, born just more than 10 years ago, is now finally on its way to becoming one of the premiere parks in the North Carolina system. The most recent addition — a 7,100-square-foot, eco-built visitor center opening this week — stands as a testament to the potential for the only state park west of Asheville.

The state’s purchase of the tract in the 1990s put thousands of acres of unique gorges and waterfalls along the southern Blue Ridge escarpment into public ownership. The forest was once logged for its hardwoods, and the infrastructure was primitive, a terrain dissected by old logging roads and lacking adequate accommodations for thousands of visitors.

Although a few hiking trails traversed the area, they were rugged, long-distance trails used primarily by backpackers.

In the 15 years since the park’s dedication, the slow process of developing the 7,000 acre tract into a site that would suit visitors traveling from across the state, and the country, began to take form.

During the past five years, the park has paved and properly graded primary roads through the park, built two picnic shelters and bathrooms, and constructed new maintenance facilities for the park. This month, the crowning jewel — the visitor center — will open after 1.5 years of construction.

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Hiking trails system to be built for Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge

Posted by on Oct 4, 2012 @ 12:48 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

The public is invited to join Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge in partnership with General Electric Hands on Houston Volunteers and the City of Liberty in celebrating National Wildlife Refuge Week Oct. 13, 2012, at 9 a.m.at the Liberty Municipal Park, Liberty, TX.

Volunteers are encouraged to join in and help build the first step in a primitive hiking trails system that will link the Liberty Municipal Park to the Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge. The park is located at the end of Cook street.

The City of Liberty and Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge have been collaborating in ways to make nature and the outdoors more accessible to the local community.

From this, the From Crosswalks to Boardwalks Project was designed. Most people do not realize the Refuge borders one-half of the city and is open to the public for exploration, hiking, bird-watching, and photography.

However, formal trails have not been built. The Refuge and the city are taking action. Several trailheads will be placed in neighbors and schools around the City of Liberty, making hiking accessible to those who want to experience some solitude or take the kids out to the woods.

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Longs Peak hiker Lisa Foster shares tips for all seasons

Posted by on Oct 3, 2012 @ 7:08 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Many hikers put away their boots when the aspen shiver bare-branched and the snowfall starts shifting from a dusting to something measurable. Not Lisa Foster.

Tall, with a chiseled face and a lean, angular body, Foster lives by her version of the Swedish axiom, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.”

She has climbed Longs Peak 49 times, by 15 different routes, including two technical routes up the face of the Diamond. Last winter, when she stood on Longs’ summit on Dec. 8, she set a new standard by becoming the first woman to reach its summit in every month of the year.

Foster, a National Park Service biological field technician, has hiked and climbed to every named destination in the park — every mapped mountain peak, pass, lake, meadow and ridge.

Her 2005 book, “Rocky Mountain National Park: The Complete Hiking Guide,” describes each of those destinations, with detailed information about each trail, its history and geology. She takes pride in having personally hiked and climbed every inch of the routes described in the book, a feat that can’t be claimed by all guidebook authors.

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Morningside Shelter to host Hike for the Homeless

Posted by on Oct 3, 2012 @ 6:58 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Morningside Shelter will host its second annual Hike for the Homeless fundraising event on Saturday, Oct. 6 (with a rain date of Oct. 7) on Mount Wantastiquet in Hinsdale, N.H.

The event will feature spectacular fall-foliage views of downtown Brattleboro, with options to hike to the summit of Mount Wantastiquet or walk along the river trail at its base. Participants may begin their hike at the Mountain Road trailhead (an immediate left after the second bridge on Route 119 when coming from downtown Brattleboro, VT) anytime between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

All proceeds will benefit Morningside Shelter.

Having been in operation for over 30 years, Morningside is the only year-round homeless shelter in southeastern Vermont. Morningside has 29 beds for homeless families and individuals at the shelter, and also runs a number of outreach programs focused on homelessness prevention.

Those who wish to participate in the Hike for the Homeless, whether by fundraising, hiking, or by supporting a participant with a contribution, should visit Morningside’s fundraising website.

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