Hiking News

Mountain highs: trekking without borders in the Balkans

Posted by on Sep 26, 2017 @ 6:44 am in Hiking News | 3 comments

Mountain highs: trekking without borders in the Balkans

The views from Kosovo’s highest peak are incredible. It’s a tricky thing to confirm in a blanket of murk and howling winds. This is the 2,656m summit of Mount Gjeravica, where a shabby concrete marker displays a defaced plaque commemorating Kosovo’s first and only Olympic medalist.

Climbing the tallest mountains in Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro, there’s more to the itinerary than peak-bagging. The majority of the walking follows one continuous 33-mile trail through Albania’s northern borderlands, criss-crossing between countries with no hint of a passport check. And with bad visibility happily confined to Kosovo’s battered apex, the week succeeds in showing why the region attracts outdoor-lovers. This is a thunderously beautiful pocket of Europe.

The hiking begins a few hours’ drive to the south, with an ascent of Albania’s highest point, the 2,751m Mount Korab. Functioning as an appetizer to the week’s main walk, the climb is a long, hot slog. The slopes are full of grasshoppers and buttercups. You pass tough-faced, welly-booted shepherds. There are snow patches in the higher cols. At the summit, just to muddle the multi-country element further, the panorama reveals the cushion-soft valleys of western Macedonia.

The range sounds like something from a Tintin book and looks the part, too: a roughshod Arcadia of limestone, with colossal blades of silver rock jagging above its meadows and tarns. It feels wilder than many of its western European counterparts.

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Cabin restoration completed at Smokies historic Elkmont

Posted by on Sep 25, 2017 @ 11:41 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Cabin restoration completed at Smokies historic Elkmont

  It still takes imagination to envision sitting among the suit-and-dress crowd listening to the orchestra on a Saturday night at the Appalachia Club House in the Elkmont Historic District of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Thanks to a National Park Service project, however, at least a part of what it was like during those 1910 glory days is being preserved.

Four structures have been opened after nearly a year of restoration at the district off Little River Gorge Road.

“We wanted to preserve the character of Elkmont,” said Historic Preservation Program Manager Randy Hatten. “We want people to know what it was like.”

Elkmont began as a place for loggers to live in the pre-national park days and evolved into a getaway resort for the Knoxville area’s finest families. In the early 1900s, families came here to cool off in the summer.

The community fell into disrepair, and it was once planned to demolish all of the structures here. Although more than 30 structures were brought down this past spring, the National Park Service is working to preserve more than a dozen buildings.

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In a Stunning Turnaround, Britain Moves to End the Burning of Coal

Posted by on Sep 25, 2017 @ 6:30 am in Hiking News | 1 comment

In a Stunning Turnaround, Britain Moves to End the Burning of Coal

Bigger than any medieval castle, with its 12 giant white cooling towers gleaming in the sun, the Drax Power Station dominates the horizon for tens of miles across the flat lands of eastern England. For four decades, it has been one of the world’s largest coal power plants, often generating a tenth of the U.K.’s electricity. It has been the lodestar for the final phase of Britain’s 250-year-long love affair with coal – the fuel that built the country’s empire and industrialized the world.

But no more.

The coal-devouring behemoth, and the endless trains of railroad wagons feeding it with fuel from coastal ports, is suddenly a relic of the past. In one of the greatest and fastest energy turnarounds in the developed world, the country that brought the world the industrial revolution – a revolution founded and sustained by burning coal – has cut the cord.

King Coal is, almost overnight, being banished from Britain.

Britain is phasing out its coal-burning power plants, with the last one slated to be shuttered by 2025, if not sooner. It is a startling development for the nation that founded an industrial revolution powered by coal.

The government says all of the U.K.’s remaining coal plants will be shut by 2025 – maybe sooner.

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Purchase opens 32,600 Arizona acres near Coronado Forest to hiking

Posted by on Sep 24, 2017 @ 5:14 pm in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Purchase opens 32,600 Arizona acres near Coronado Forest to hiking

The U.S. Interior Department’s purchase of a plot of private land will allow public access to 32,600 acres of previously isolated forest land in Arizona, a move that drew praise from wilderness advocates and hunters alike.

The deal opens up two parcels of public land, one in the Coronado National Forest and one northwest of Safford, that had been inaccessible because they were surrounded by private property. It was pulled off through a collaboration between state, federal and private organizations.

The newly accessible parcels in the Santa Teresa Mountains offer “some of the most pristine backcountry experiences” in the nation, said Mike Quigley, Arizona director for the Wilderness Society. The society is “very much about having people enjoy the public lands,” he added.

The Bureau of Land Management worked with the Arizona Game and Fish Department, the South Eastern Arizona Sportsmen Club and the Trust for Public Land over several years to acquire the land needed for access.

After years of planning by those groups, the deal came together this year when a 600-acre ranch bordering the forest land went up for sale in January. The trust bought the land, and the Sportsmen Club and Arizona Game and Fish spent months getting an easement for “a primitive road across the property and a spot for parking and camping.”

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Trails Around the World, the Magazine of the World Trails Network

Posted by on Sep 21, 2017 @ 11:52 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Trails Around the World, the Magazine of the World Trails Network

The World Trails Network strives to connect the diverse trails of the world to promote the creation, enhancement, and protection of outstanding trail experiences. The World Trails Network brings trail associations, trail advocates, walkers, hikers and people passionate about the outdoors together from around the world to foster global collaboration and networking for the betterment of the world’s trails.

The World Trails Network fosters global collaboration and networking among all trail types that serve to connect people with nature, the outdoors and cultural heritage around the world. The Network encourages: care for the environment; sustainable development practices; sharing best management practices and trail research; a commitment to quality experiences; connections with communities; accuracy of information; promotion of cross-marketing opportunities; and through sharing the common values of world trails, promoting active lifestyles in the outdoors and nature.

Hiking and walking are one of the most popular forms of outdoor recreation activities, and surveys reflect this popularity. Hiking combines several pursuits – an interest in scenery, wildlife, solitude, and discovery – all in a low-impact form of healthy recreation. Wilderness experiences are sought out by hikers to relieve stress, and outdoor experiences have been shown to decrease attention deficit disorder, obesity, and depression. Hiking and walking potentially reduces healthcare costs. Being outdoors promotes self-reliance and an increased awareness of one’s own coping abilities. Low-impact outdoor recreational pursuits, such as hiking and walking, also contribute to local economies, helping both developed world and developing world communities establish sustainable economic growth.

Trails Around the World, the magazine of the World Trails Network, is now up and available…


Thru-Hike Your City. Not As Crazy As It Sounds.

Posted by on Sep 21, 2017 @ 6:46 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Thru-Hike Your City. Not As Crazy As It Sounds.

In 2011, Liz “Snorkel” Thomas hiked the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine in 80 days and 13 hours, cementing a reputation as a trailblazing woman in the American hiking community. She has completed hiking’s Triple Crown, which in addition to the Appalachian Trail includes the Pacific Crest Trail and the Continental Divide Trail. Thomas estimates she has logged some 15,000 miles on long-distance trails.

This summer, she published a book about the art of thru-hiking called Long Trails. She is presently thru-hiking the Pacific Northwest Trail, which spans 1,200 miles from the Continental Divide to the Pacific Ocean. “I like the process of walking and seeing the world at two to three miles per hour,” says Thomas.

She wants more people to experience the same, even those who live in cities, far from a good trail system. The past couple years, Thomas has logged concrete mileage in more places than anyone, hoping to show urban dwellers the ease of recreating, no matter where. Her so-called urban thru-hikes have stitched together landmarks, such as her Denver, Colorado, meander through 65 breweries and a meadery. Thomas called it the Brew Thru.

Thomas is not alone in her cause. Powerful players like Michelle Obama and REI have been trying to get increasingly inert Americans, particularly youth and marginalized communities, into wide-open spaces—for their own physical and mental good. Trouble is, many of the prompts and programs for the back-to-nature movement are complicated and daunting and therefore don’t have much lasting effect.

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Featured Recreational Trail: Fisher Towers National Recreation Trail, Utah

Posted by on Sep 20, 2017 @ 5:06 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Featured Recreational Trail: Fisher Towers National Recreation Trail, Utah

The Fisher Towers Trail allows visitors to the Moab and Arches National Park area to hike among the world-renowned towers of the Colorado Plateau. Improvements to the trail have been funded with Recreational Trails Program dollars.

The Fisher Towers are among the most outstanding scenic features of Utah’s Colorado Riverway. These rock pinnacles soar above a maze of red and purple hued canyons. Visitors to the Fisher Towers Recreation Site will be rewarded with a sweeping view of the towers, Castle Rock, the cliff-enclosed Richardson Amphitheater, and the Colorado River.

The Bureau of Land Management administers the Fisher Towers Recreation Site, a small campground and trailhead, located at the base of the towers. Facilities at the recreation site include a vault toilet, fire grills, and picnic tables. There is no drinking water.

The hiking trail along the base of the towers offers excellent views of these carved piles of hardened mud and adjacent canyon systems. The trail is 2.2 miles long and it takes most people three to four hours to make a leisurely round trip. While there are numerous stopping points with striking views, an outstanding view of the area may be obtained by hiking out halfway along the trail to the base of the Titan.

While camping or walking the trail, listen to the scrub jays and the ravens. Notice a juniper tree growing out of a crack in the rock. Try to get a close view of a lizard. These living components of the environment are as much a part of the “scenery” as the Fisher Towers.

Learn more here…


Park Hosts Volunteer Trail Opportunity for National Public Lands Day

Posted by on Sep 20, 2017 @ 6:34 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Park Hosts Volunteer Trail Opportunity for National Public Lands Day

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is hosting a volunteer trail maintenance workday on Saturday, September 30, 2017 in celebration of the 24th annual National Public Lands Day. Participants are invited to participate on a trail rehabilitation project along the Clingmans Dome Bypass Trail from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Volunteers will perform trail maintenance including installation of drainage features, rehabilitation of trail surfaces, and removal of brush. While jobs may vary in complexity, volunteers must be able to hike at least 2 miles and safely perform strenuous manual labor. Volunteers should be comfortable lifting heavy objects and using hand tools such as shovels, rakes, pick-axes, and sledgehammers. Minimum age of participants is 16. Those under 18 must be accompanied by a responsible parent or guardian.

Volunteers should wear long pants, long sleeves, sturdy closed-toed shoes, and appropriate layers for cool weather. The park will provide gloves, safety gear, and tools for the day. All participants should bring lunch, water, and rain gear.

Interested participants should contact Trail and Facilities Volunteer Coordinator Adam Monroe at 828-497-1949 or adam_monroe@nps.gov for more information and registration.

National Public Lands Day is the nation’s largest single-day volunteer effort to improve and enhance the public lands across America. This year’s celebration is expected to draw more than 200,000 volunteers at more than 2,600 sites. For more information about National Public Lands visit https://www.neefusa.org/public-lands-day.


A New Trail Would Connect 3 States Across 1,650 Miles

Posted by on Sep 19, 2017 @ 11:50 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The NY-NJ-CT region features hundreds of parks and landscapes, from the Catskills and Pinelands to the beaches of Jersey and Long Island. Despite all of this open space, these recreational spots are disjointed from each other and from the communities that would use them.

A New York-based non-profit has proposed a plan to connect the state with Connecticut and New Jersey via a 1,650-mile network of hiking and biking trails.

With the new proposal, some 8 million residents would be within a half-mile of a trail, and 80 percent of residents in all three states would be within 2 miles of a trail.

While all three states have a plethora of trails and parks, these greenways are largely disconnected. The plan seeks to better integrate them so urban residents in particular can access trails — and stimulate the economies of trail towns. The new network would also facilitate migration for animals, enhancing the biodiversity of the region.

Approximately 50 percent of the routes proposed would be made up of trails that already exist. Another 23 percent would incorporate new segments, and a final 27 percent would use proposed or in-progress trails.

The network of trails would encompass some of the best loved natural spots in the tri-state area, including the Catskill Mountains, the Hudson River Valley Greenway, and local green spaces in Brooklyn and New York City.

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Hiking Etiquette 101: The 12 Trail Rules You Should Know

Posted by on Sep 18, 2017 @ 11:43 am in Hiking News | 1 comment

Hiking Etiquette 101: The 12 Trail Rules You Should Know

There are not many rules of etiquette that stretch across the world, but hiking etiquette is one of them. No matter where you are, people tend to abide by the same hiking rules, keeping the peace and helping everyone around them to stay safe. Of course, you might not always meet other people on your treks, but when you do it is important to know what to do and how to respond to the situation.

When you go out hiking you are going to meet people who think they own the wilderness and as though they have the right to do whatever they like. These include people who ride their bicycles far too quickly down the trails and give you no warning as they fly past. It is important to keep an eye out for the people who are more aggressive and less thoughtful of those around them.

However, while these are the ones that often make the biggest impression, it is important to remember that most of the people hiking are actually very polite and will be more than happy to stop and help if you need it. Remember to stay aware of your surroundings, and you will be just fine.

Hiking is a beautiful and enlightening experience. It allows you to escape the noise and business of city life, and get back to nature where it is tranquil and calm. People go hiking so that they can find some peace in an increasingly hectic world, and that is why it is so important that you follow hiker etiquette. Across the world, these rules will be useful when you are out on your trekking adventures. So stay safe, follow the rules, and be kind to your fellow hikers.

Here are 12 rules of Hiking Etiquette to teach you the ways of the trail…


Discover Oklahoma: State parks offer trails for outdoor exploration

Posted by on Sep 18, 2017 @ 7:06 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Discover Oklahoma: State parks offer trails for outdoor exploration

Autumn weather just gets us stirring around, doesn’t it? Perhaps it all originates with that preparation for the change of season. Various creatures such as squirrels start packing away supplies for the winter, but we humans may be seeking a little food for the soul as we can see the gray winter days that will keep us housebound coming straight at us.

The timing couldn’t be better as we all seem to receive this pre-winter burst of energy because, let’s face it, fall is arguably the best season for outdoor activity. The summer heat is behind us; leaves are changing, active wildlife abounds and the air is full of the aromas of the autumn season. And taking a hike along an Oklahoma trail is a very good way to welcome fall and enjoy the outdoors a few steps ahead of winter.

Now, when it comes to hiking, it’s certainly an activity that can be enjoyed all over the state throughout the year. But taking a hike while being able to enjoy the turning of the fall leaves, just makes the hike more peaceful it seems. When hiking, your mind can settle into the peaceful cadence of your leisurely stride. You can relish in the serenity of being outdoors and embrace the opportunities that lie ahead.

You can find more information on hiking, including articles that break trails down by difficulty, on the official website for the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department, www.travelok.com. While on the website, you can order the Oklahoma State Parks & Outdoor Recreation Guide, which includes a section on hiking.

See some recommendations…


Why it’s a real mistake to count on a cellphone when you go hiking

Posted by on Sep 17, 2017 @ 7:18 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Why it’s a real mistake to count on a cellphone when you go hiking

Sarah Savage was alone in the woods and didn’t know which way to turn. She had been eager to explore the Appalachian Trail when she moved to Pennsylvania and discovered that her house was near an access point. But not long after she took off from the trailhead, the path branched in different directions. She wasn’t carrying a cellphone or a map. Nervous, she turned back.

“I was afraid of getting lost. I didn’t know how to read a map or even that maps existed for where I was hiking,” said Savage, 49, who works in educational publishing.

But she liked the physical and emotional benefits of being out there, so she kept going back. She brought a map and followed the trail as best she could, yet she still felt apprehensive. “I had no sense of direction,” she said. “I wasn’t paying attention to north, south, east or west.”

Navigating is a use-it-or-lose-it skill and one that few hikers, cyclists or walkers employ anymore because of their increased dependence on GPS units, Garmin computers, Google Earth and similar technologies. According to a 2015 Pew Research Center survey, nine of 10 smartphone owners use their device to get directions or for other location-based services, up from 74 percent in 2013. That heavy reliance on devices can give people a false sense of security.

A GPS won’t tell you there is a mountain in the way or there is a huge river that won’t be safe to cross, but a map will. GPS units break. Batteries go dead. Phones get dropped in streams. Also, turn-by-turn GPS [navigation] in which you see only one route and are always going straight ahead doesn’t teach people to situate themselves on a route.

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Conserving Carolina’s Fall Hiking Series Begins September 22, 2017

Posted by on Sep 16, 2017 @ 6:22 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Conserving Carolina’s Fall Hiking Series Begins September 22, 2017

Join Conserving Carolina, formerly the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC), for five Friday hikes offered to the public, free of charge, this fall.

Conserving Carolina invites the community to enjoy the work that many conservation organizations have done for the preservation of areas of natural resources and take in the beauty of autumn.

Starting September 22, the first trek will head to Caesar’s Head State Park, part of the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area, for an approximately 6.7-mile, easy, out and back hike. This trail will take hikers through a hardwood forest to a suspension bridge over Matthews Creek and at the precipice of Raven Cliff Falls. After the hike, participants are invited to visit the overlook at Caesar’s Head State Park, an official Hawk Watch site, to search the skies for migrating raptors. Each year, thousands of raptors, especially Broad-winged Hawks, migrate over this site along the Blue Ridge Escarpment, using thermal currents formed by sun on the rock, to gain altitude and glide for miles over the Piedmont, expending very little energy.

South Carolina hikers interested in attending on September 22nd are asked to meet at the Spinx in Gowensville, SC (at the intersection of Hwy 14 and Hwy 11) at 8:30 a.m. to check in and start the approximately 45-minute drive to the Raven Cliff Falls parking area at Caesar’s Head State Park. North Carolina hikers plan to be at the Raven Cliff Falls parking area by 9:30 a.m. Hikers should be prepared to return to the area in the mid-afternoon.
On October 6, the hike will take place at Buffalo Creek Park in Hickory Nut Gorge. The trail at Buffalo Creek Park is on land owned by the Town of Lake Lure and protected by Conserving Carolina. It was completed in 2014 and is the first phase of a trail system that will offer over 13-miles of multi-use trails in Hickory Nut Gorge. This is a 4.7-mile, moderate, loop hike that ascends Weed Patch Mountain with a gain of 500 feet in elevation. It then passes through a large boulder field offering views of the surrounding mountains and Lake Lure, then descends the mountain back to the trailhead.


What would you expect to find in Hickory Nut Gorge?


South Carolina hikers interested in attending the October 6th hike are asked to meet in the parking area west of Home Trust Bank, 651 W Mills St, Columbus, NC 28722 at 8:30 a.m. to check in and start the approximately 35-minute drive to Buffalo Creek Park parking area. North Carolina hikers meet the group at the entrance to Buffalo Creek Park by 9:30 a.m.

On October 20, the 3.8-mile, moderate, out and back hike will take place along a portion of the Mountains to Sea Trail to the ruins of Rattlesnake Lodge, a 1900’s summer estate, offering a beautiful overlook view.

South Carolina hikers interested in attending the October 20th hike are asked to meet in the parking area west of Home Trust Bank, 651 W Mills St, Columbus, NC 28722 at 8:30 a.m. to check in and start the approximately 1 hour drive to the parking area off Ox Creek Road at Bull Gap. North Carolina hikers join the group at the trailhead by 9:30 a.m.

On November 3, hikers head to Pisgah National Forest for a 6-mile, moderate, out and back hike starting from the former site of George Vanderbilt’s Buck Spring hunting lodge near Mt. Pisgah. The hike crosses the summit of Little Bald Mountain before dropping down to Pilot Rock, offering beautiful mountain views.


Expect stunning vistas of the Cradle of Forestry and beyond from Pilot Rock.


South Carolina hikers interested in attending the November 3rd hike are asked to meet in the parking area west of Home Trust Bank, 651 W Mills St, Columbus, NC 28722 at 8:30 a.m. to check in and start the approximately 1 hour drive to the parking area near the former site of George Vanderbilt’s Buck Spring hunting lodge near Mt. Pisgah. North Carolina hikers join the group at the Buck Spring Gap Overlook, mile 407.7 on the Blue Ridge Parkway at 9:30 a.m. You may have to wait a bit for the South Carolina participants to arrive.

Finally, on November 17, the group will head to Pinnacle Mountain (Long Ridge) in Table Rock State Park. Pinnacle Mountain is the tallest mountain contained entirely within the state of South Carolina (SC’s highest point, Sassafras Mountain, is partially in North Carolina). The 5.5-mile, moderate hike will traverse areas affected by fires in the fall of 2016 and lead hikers to a granitic bald where, in the late 1990s, more than 600 prehistoric petroglyphs were discovered. The petroglyphs, believed to be created by the Hopewell culture, pre-date the Cherokees and are believed to be between 1,500 and 3,500 years old.

South Carolina hikers interested in attending the November 17th hike are asked to meet at the Spinx in Gowensville, SC (at the intersection of Hwy 14 and Hwy 11) at 8:30 a.m. to check in and start the approximately 40-minute drive to the parking area at Sliding Rock road. North Carolina hikers meet at the trailhead in Table Rock State Park by 9:30 a.m. Hikers should be prepared to return to the area in the mid-afternoon.

For your safety, do not attempt any hike beyond your ability and experience.  Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water. Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require.
In case of inclement weather, please contact the Southeast (Polk County) office by 8:15 on the day of the hike and/or the Conserving Carolina Facebook page to see if the hike will take place.

If you are interested in attending Conserving Carolina’s fall hikes and would like more information, please call the Southeast (Polk County) office at 828-859-5060 or e-mail Pam Torlina at, pam@conservingcarolina.org. You can also find information on Conserving Carolina’s website, www.conservingcarolina.org, and on Conserving Carolina’s Facebook page.

Conserving Carolina is dedicated to protecting and stewarding land and water resources vital to our natural heritage and quality of life and to fostering appreciation and understanding of the natural world.


The Mark Twain Trail through Nevada & California brings ups, downs and a new view of the author

Posted by on Sep 15, 2017 @ 12:17 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

The Mark Twain Trail through Nevada & California brings ups, downs and a new view of the author

Who flies to Reno on a spring evening, rents a car and heads into the mountains with no skis, no mountain bike and a backpack full of books? and Why? Because in 1861 a 25-year-old Missouri riverboat pilot named Sam Clemens boarded a stagecoach bound for the same territory.

He was going to dodge the Civil War for a few months, work for the government, do some writing, maybe dig for silver. Instead he stayed for almost seven years, emerged as Mark Twain, gave us “Huckleberry Finn” and won global fame as that sardonic old man with the white hair and droopy mustache.

But what do we know about the young Clemens in Nevada and California? Not much. That’s why this author had Twain’s Western memoir, “Roughing It” (1872), and two biographies in his backpack, and it’s why he spent the next four days on a 270-mile road trip and Twain pilgrimage.

He wanted to see some of what Clemons saw in those early travels — a dusty Nevada silver-mining town, the shores of Lake Tahoe, the hills of California Gold Country. And he wondered: After so much history, myth and marketing, how much Twain remains?

Near Incline Village, NV the Flume Trail is one of the most popular hiking and mountain biking paths in the region. Within minutes, you are surrounded by pines, a vast indigo lake sprawling below. When Twain and a buddy arrived here in 1861 (before his time in Virginia City), it was known as Lake Bigler. Now we know it as Tahoe.

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130 Miles, 8 Days, 1 Spellbound Hiker/Photographer on Kodiak Island

Posted by on Sep 15, 2017 @ 6:48 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

130 Miles, 8 Days, 1 Spellbound Hiker/Photographer on Kodiak Island

Kodiak Island, the second largest in the United States, is best known for the main quarry of this trip, the oversized subspecies of brown bear, the Kodiak bear, that is unique to its mountains and shorelines. This journey goes 130 miles along the notoriously rough shoreline of Shelikof Strait, across river drainages and bays, paddling packrafts through a series of lakes that end at Karluk Lake, which flows into its namesake river and the point of the start of the journey.

The Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge shares many characteristics with other wilderness areas in the United States in that it is largely untrammeled. Despite the occasional indication of human presence, the hinterlands remain much as they did when the glaciers from the last ice age began their inexorable retreat into the mountains, and the ancestors of the Alutiiq people settled the island some 7,000 years ago.

These places are best experienced one step, or paddle, at a time. Capturing the wilderness connects the present with a past beyond our own. It connects us all to the earth and our collective past.

Sitka black-tailed deer, a nonnative mammal to Kodiak Island, were first successfully introduced to the island in 1924 as were other nonnative species including reindeer, mountain goats, Roosevelt elk, beaver, red squirrel, snowshoe hare, and pine marten, between the 1920s and 1960s. They landed on Kodiak in an effort to increase subsistence and recreational hunting opportunities. The Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge estimates that 30,000 to 50,000 Sitka black-tailed deer live on the islands of the archipelago. And so do some predators.

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Columbia Gorge trails might be closed until spring

Posted by on Sep 12, 2017 @ 11:56 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Columbia Gorge trails might be closed until spring

Hiking trails affected by an Oregon wildfire in the Columbia River Gorge might be closed for months, authorities have said.

Landslide risk, potential for falling trees, root snags and severe erosion as the winter rains start will have repair crews busy until spring, Dawn Stender, a trail crew supervisor for the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area said.

The fire in the Columbia River Gorge has displaced hundreds of residents, shut down Interstate 84 and burned 52 square miles since it started over the Labor Day weekend in one of Oregon’s most treasured natural places. Eastbound lanes of I-84 will remain closed another week and officials on Sunday expanded the trail closures to all recreation areas.

The wildfire damaged the popular Angel’s Rest trail, leaving the steep, switchback path looking like a moonscape pierced with blackened tree trunks. Fire also burned a pedestrian tunnel near Oneonta Gorge.

It’s too early to fully assess the damage elsewhere, but many other popular hikes use trails that were in the middle of the blaze, including Eagle Creek, Wahclella Falls, Munra Point, Larch Mountain, Oneonta Gorge and Horsetail Falls.

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North Carolinians Team up to Complete MST Hike in One Day

Posted by on Sep 12, 2017 @ 6:33 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

North Carolinians Team up to Complete MST Hike in One Day

Over 1,600 North Carolinians collaborated on September 9, 2017 to complete in one day 100% of the 1,175-mile Mountains-to-Sea hiking trail from the Smokies to the Outer Banks.   

Most hiking legs were 3-5 miles long, although one hiker went over 20 miles. Officials with the American Hiking Society said the “one-day” hike was probably the first such event ever among America’s long distance trails.

The hike, organized by Friends of the MST, commemorates a September 9, 1977 speech by Howard Lee that became the catalyst for creation of the trail. Lee was NC Secretary of Natural Resources and Community Development at the time and told attendees at a national trails conference that North Carolina should create a “state trail from the mountains to the coast leading through communities as well as natural areas.” Lee, in his eighties, hiked the trail at Jones Lake State Park during the celebration.

Hurricane Irma did affect the event, as three persons on the alternative paddle route were called away to prepare for the hurricane as part of their jobs. 

“Hiking is physically and mentally healthy and low cost recreation,” said Kate Dixon, executive director of the Friends. “We believe the success of this event will inspire others to get outdoors, and reinforce the need to protect our state’s beautiful natural resources and scenic vistas.”

The MST was established as a state park in 2000. Friends will use funds raised in connection with the 40th anniversary of the Lee speech to build, maintain and promote the trail. Each year volunteers contribute over 30,000 hours to those tasks.