Hiking News

At The Wave, competition for hiking permits is fierce

Posted by on Feb 15, 2018 @ 7:14 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

At The Wave, competition for hiking permits is fierce

Ranger Ron Kay glanced at an anxious crowd crammed into a U.S. Bureau of Land Management office in Kanab, Utah.

“All these hopeful faces,” he murmured as the minutes counted down to a drawing for permits to hike to The Wave, an iconic basin of striated orange sandstone just south of the Utah-Arizona state line.

More than 80 applications were stacked in front of Kay on this Thursday morning in late December, with up to six names on each request. Only 10 people would get permits. Losers could try again, but the next day, nearly 400 applications poured in.

The Wave has rapidly gained renown as one of the most spectacular destinations in the American Southwest — and its biggest appeal may be that it remains crowd-free. Divided between a monthly online lottery and the daily walk-in drawings, only 20 people each day are allowed.

The BLM began requiring permits in the late 1980s, to comply with the Wilderness Act, which requires protected areas have “outstanding opportunities for solitude.” That was incompatible with growing interest in The Wave.

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10 Tips for Hiking Downhill

Posted by on Feb 14, 2018 @ 6:49 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

10 Tips for Hiking Downhill

Hiking downhill is often taken for granted. In the minds of some it represents the equivalent of “backcountry gravy“; the reward that follows the exertion of a long, challenging ascent.

Yet hiking downhill takes its toll. Twists, slips and tumbles are most likely to occur while descending and no other type of hiking causes more wear and tear on the joints and muscles.

By learning how to hike downhill efficiently in all types of terrain, the hiker can minimize impact on the body and decrease the probability of falls and/or mishaps occurring.

As a bonus, descending with good technique means that you move faster and feel lighter, without having to put forth any extra physical effort.

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How the Chattanooga region’s trails are built and maintained

Posted by on Feb 12, 2018 @ 11:57 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

How the Chattanooga region’s trails are built and maintained

Mason Boring and Clayton Morgan held adjoining handles of a perforated lancetooth two-man saw, pulling the more-than-70-year-old piece of equipment back and forth.

The two were clearing a fallen tree from Fodderstack horse and hiking trail in Cherokee National Forest. Boring estimated it had been five years since a crew came to clear the path. That’s what brought the two men here, miles from civilization, hiking and pulling a saw older than many of the surrounding trees.

Boring works for Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards (SAWS) – a nonprofit partner of the forest service, where Morgan works. The groups are forbidden by the Wilderness Act of 1964 from using mechanized or gas-powered equipment in the wilderness area.

The purpose is to keep wilderness areas wild. Congress and Wilderness Act supporters wanted to ensure the areas weren’t overworked, SAWS Executive Director Bill Hodge said. They would rather see overgrown paths with downed trees than a well-manicured, overworked man-made trail system that only slightly resembles the natural landscape.

“In these wilderness areas, it’s great to see what America looked like before man got here,” Boring said.

Wilderness areas represent an extreme of trail building and maintenance. However — despite the stringent regulations and abstract rules — the overall process is similar to most trail building and maintenance projects in the region: research the audience and terrain, find funding, acquire land, design the trail, build it and keep it relatively clear of debris.

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Nova Scotia blessed with trails for outdoor adventurers for all ages

Posted by on Feb 11, 2018 @ 8:59 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Nova Scotia blessed with trails for outdoor adventurers for all ages

It’s very easy to take to the warm and cozy of the couch during Nova Scotia winters: ripe with freeze and thaw, rain and snow and bone-chilling cold snaps.

However, more often these days there has been a growth in those that dare to venture out of the house and on to the trails that criss-cross the province.

For more than 10 years Hike Nova Scotia, a non-profit hiking and walking promotion group, has been offering a collection of guided hikes, walkabouts and workshops to allow those looking for a push into, or a hand-hold alongside, nature.

“We started off purely as a volunteer organization — very small — and decided a few years in that if we wanted to get people hiking the good way to do that is to offer guided hikes,” said Hike N.S.’s executive director, Janet Barlow. “We strive to be the voice for hikers in the province.”

Back in the day, according to Barlow, there were several organizations that represented those who took to the trails on a regular basis — cyclists, snowmobilers and others — but there wasn’t a group that represented the most common trail users — hikers.

“Hike N.S. doesn’t own or maintain trails ourselves, but we advocate better hiking trails and we have initiatives to motivate people to get out there,” she said.

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A hiking trail connecting NYC to Canada is in the works

Posted by on Feb 10, 2018 @ 11:47 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

A hiking trail connecting NYC to Canada is in the works

During his 2017 State of the State address, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo laid out an ambitious proposal to develop 350 miles of new biking paths and hiking trails that will connect New York City to both Canada and Buffalo through Albany.

Dubbed the Empire State Trail, the whole project will stretch 750 miles and include roughly 400 miles of existing trails. It’s scheduled to be completed by 2020, and state officials and developers are beginning to make moves to hit that deadline.

Cuomo doubled down on his support for the trail in his proposed 2019 fiscal year budget, calling out a lack of environmental funding from Washington in the process. His proposal puts up $300 million for the state’s Environmental Protection Fund—the most in its history—and also includes funding for a sprawling 407-acre state park on the coast of Jamaica Bay.

On Tuesday, February 13, 2018, the New York State Canal Corporation is hosting a public meeting in Little Falls, New York, to pitch its latest design for the construction of a key part of the path that will connect Albany to Buffalo.

When it’s completed, the Empire State Trail will be the longest path of its kind in the entire country, and it will give cycling and hiking nuts in New York a direct path to “the scenic natural beauty” that is “vital to our future and part of who we are as New Yorkers,” according to the governor.



Nine Tips for Hiking Havasu Falls

Posted by on Feb 10, 2018 @ 9:37 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Nine Tips for Hiking Havasu Falls

Havasu Falls sits atop the desirable adventures for many hikers from the first time they see a picture of the aqua blue water cascading down red rock walls into the crystal pool below.

On the hike, you will see Navajo Falls, Havasu Falls, Mooney Falls and Beaver Falls which are some of the most picturesque waterfalls and dramatic scenery found in the Grand Canyon.

There is also Supai Village, a remote Indian village that is only accessible by hiking, horseback, or helicopter. Havasupai is roughly translated to mean, “People of the blue-green water”. The Havasupai people are an Indian tribe who have lived here for at least the last 800 years. If you are lucky enough to obtain a permit and view this magical place, you will understand why they have never left.

The water from Havasupai rises from an spring that has been stored underground for over 30,000 years in limestone caverns. While underground, the water obtains calcium, limestone and magnesium. This causes the water to reflect sunlight and make the water appear amazingly blue.

Hiking the trail to Beaver Falls is like hiking back through time. The canyon has been virtually untouched for thousands of years by man. Nature, when given enough time, can produce some of the most beautiful places you will ever see.

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Hiking across the greenest island in the Caribbean

Posted by on Feb 9, 2018 @ 11:41 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking across the greenest island in the Caribbean

“They say: stand still in the soil too long in Grenada and even you’ll start to grow.”

The southern Caribbean isle of Grenada, with its volcanic earth and generous lashings of both “liquid” and regular sunshine, is ludicrously lush. Every backyard, mountainside, valley and verge seems rife with nutmeg, cocoa and soursop, banana palms, guava, ginger lilies and dreadlock crotons; the island is like one big Christmas tree, baubled with scarlet immortelles and strung with bougainvillea.

The majority of people visit lovely, laid-back Grenada for rest and relaxation – and why not? However, you can also spend time away from the beach to explore the Spice Island’s wild forests, hill-perched villages, headlands and history via a series of short hikes. The idea being that you can learn more about a place at walking pace. And the strolls you’d be tackling aren’t too long, so there is still time for more traditional Caribbean beach-lounging each afternoon.

The island was first discovered by the Spanish in 1523, but it was the French and British who fought over ownership throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, with the latter eventually victorious, and in charge until Grenada gained independence in 1974.

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Blue Ridge Parkway’s Linn Cove Viaduct to Close for Repairs

Posted by on Feb 9, 2018 @ 6:35 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Blue Ridge Parkway’s Linn Cove Viaduct to Close for Repairs

The National Park Service announces the closure of the Linn Cove Viaduct on the Blue Ridge Parkway for surface repaving and bridge maintenance from March 1, 2018 through May 24, 2018. These projects require a full closure of the Parkway, including closure of the trail below the bridge; with the reopening coinciding with Memorial Day weekend. The Linn Cove Viaduct is located at Milepost 304.

A traffic detour will be put in place from Milepost 298.6 (Holloway Mountain Rd) to Milepost 305.1 (US 221). Gates will be located at MP 303.6, Wilson Creek Overlook on the north and MP 305.1, US 221 on the south end of the work zone. Within the closed area, including the trail areas beneath the viaduct, the Parkway will be closed to all uses including motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians. The public’s cooperation with these closures will provide for the most efficient work schedule and will ensure the safety of staff and visitors.

During the closure, crews will remove and replace the asphalt pavement, waterproofing membrane and joints on the bridge. Repairs to the supporting structure, stone curb, railing and drainage features will also be made.

The Linn Cove Viaduct was completed in the mid-1980s, and is commonly known as the “missing link” that signaled the completion of the entire 469-mile Parkway route. The Linn Cove Viaduct is often celebrated as an engineering marvel with the road wrapping around the contours of Grandfather Mountain. It is 1243 feet long, contains 153 segments weighing 50 tons each, and is supported by seven permanent piers.

For more information about the Linn Cove Viaduct: http://go.nps.gov/linncove


Montana’s Weatherman Draw offers winter hiking, ancient exploration

Posted by on Feb 8, 2018 @ 9:27 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Montana’s Weatherman Draw offers winter hiking, ancient exploration

Winter hiking often involves snowshoes, but not if you wander along the southeastern edge of the Beartooth Mountains into Weatherman Draw.

Weatherman Draw creases one of the driest areas in Montana — a place where rain and snow are rare visitors. That makes it a great place to hike when more popular mountain trails are snowed in. By summertime, it’s too hot to hike there, so it’s the perfect off-season spot.

Also known as the Valley of the Chiefs and Valley of the Shields, the public land overseen by the Bureau of Land Management is protected as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern. That’s because it contains scattered pictographs and petroglyphs, some of which date back 10,000 years to American Indian tribes that lived in the region.

The name Valley of the Shields comes from pictographs of warriors behind large shields, depictions that are believed to date to before the arrival of the horse in North America. Why this particular area was the scene of so much art is a mystery, but there is a mystical, harsh beauty to the place.

Once threatened by oil and gas development, and then with a loss of access when property along Cottonwood Road was offered for sale, the public has continually rallied to protect this sacred, spiritual, sandstone enclave.

Learn more here…


First look at Pacific Crest Trail after Columbia Gorge fire

Posted by on Feb 7, 2018 @ 9:26 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

First look at Pacific Crest Trail after Columbia Gorge fire

Branches flew. Trail tools smoothed the earth. Stones tumbled downhill, crackling like Rice Krispies as gravity took hold. The trail workers are back.

Hardhat-clad crew leaders began work last month on a section of Pacific Crest Trail that’s been closed near the Columbia River Gorge tourist town of Cascade Locks since a wildfire ripped through the region last summer. The Eagle Creek fire covered nearly 49,000 acres and left the West’s most famous footpath marred by downed trees and rockslides, among other dangers.

But crews have begun to spruce up a few miles of the treasured trail by filling in stump holes, clearing brush and making other improvements.

A nearly six-mile hike is required to get to the PCT, which includes time on the Herman Bridge and Herman Creek trails. There is hearty evidence of the historic blaze: scorched rocks sit exposed, their mossy covering burned away, and downed trees look like they weathered a massive bonfire. Wide swaths of greenery have been singed.

It’s difficult to understate how drastically the scenery has changed. Before-and-after photos reveal scenes that sharply contrast one another. But those expecting a bleak moonscape, barren and lifeless, won’t find it here.

Moss and other vegetation line parts of the trail. The canopy remains green. And the PCT offers many of the same redeeming qualities it did before the blaze.

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Trekking Patagonia: from glaciers to temperate forest, it’s a world of its own

Posted by on Feb 6, 2018 @ 12:11 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Trekking Patagonia: from glaciers to temperate forest, it’s a world of its own

It’s said that if you eat the berries of the calafate bush you will return to Patagonia. Patagonia is a place that’s wild and windswept and so capacious it could constitute its very own country.

There are two Patagonias, the forest-cloaked Andes straddling Chile and Argentina, and the Argentinian steppe that flares eastwards for about 400 kilometres before petering out into the Atlantic Ocean. Capping this tableau like a rough-drawn border between two countries is the Southern Patagonian Icefield, a vast freshwater reserve that oozes into valleys and basins, carving out a geological history as it goes.

“If you come here [to the icefield] in November and December you can see orchids and hummingbirds – and glaciers!” says a guide.

It’s a marvel, for despite the frigid icecap and the chilled air arising from it, this is a temperate region filled with forests of beech and 10 species of orchid and that portentous, yellow-flowered calafate bush. Foliage curls between the boardwalk slats at Parque Nacional Los Glaciares, while Perito Moreno Glacier is caught mid-surge, a tsunami frozen in time. One of the world’s few advancing glaciers, the five-kilometre-wide behemoth calves into Canal de los Tempanos, sending waves and splinters of ice heavenwards.

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Linked to the landscape: Community envisions Plott Balsams’ future

Posted by on Feb 6, 2018 @ 7:00 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Linked to the landscape: Community envisions Plott Balsams’ future

The doors opened, and the room filled — with hikers, bikers, ecologists, conservation workers, economic development professionals and Cherokee tribal members alike who were intent on making their voices heard during a public forum last week, which took input on plans that will impact the future of Waterrock Knob and the Plott Balsams.

“What I love is the passion that people bring to conversations like this,” said Leesa Brandon, spokesperson for the Blue Ridge Parkway. “Their love of these places, their hopes for the future and the fact that the (National) Park Service is here hearing that along with all of these other community partners — it makes me really excited for the resource.”

In August 2016, the Park Service announced that land donations from a quartet of conservation organizations would add 5,329 acres to the Blue Ridge Parkway at Waterrock Knob, and that announcement spurred efforts to plan for the future on a regional scale.

While the Waterrock Knob addition will represent the largest expansion of the Parkway in 60 years, it’s far from being the only piece of conserved land along its length. The stretch from Waterrock to Maggie Valley has drawn particular attention from a litany of conservation organizations, with blocks of conserved acreage — as well as undeveloped tracts of private land being eyed for conservation.

Planning for the Plott Balsams won’t be completely focused on future generations and future use, however. A key part of the planning effort will be deciding how to interpret the past — the settlers who scratched out a living in these mountains years ago and the Cherokee people who called them home for millennia before that.

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Trails in the South Carolina Lowcountry you may not know about

Posted by on Feb 5, 2018 @ 8:46 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The Lowcountry is an ideal place for anyone who loves the outdoors; visitors and resident alike enjoy the subtropical climate while biking, swimming, kayaking and golfing.

Both amateur and expert hikers can find many opportunities to hike in the Lowcountry, too. All a hiker needs is a pair of shoes and perhaps some company, and he or she is ready to walk through enormous oaks decorated with Spanish moss under the South Carolina sun.

Beaufort County has its fair share of trails. One of the longest trails — the Spanish Moss Trail — will eventually stretch 16 miles, connecting the Sands Beach in Port Royal to the Whale Branch River. So far, only 10 miles of the Spanish Moss Trail have been built.

But Spanish Moss isn’t the only trail in Beaufort County to offer picturesque views. Listed here are nine other trails in the county worth checking out. None of them are strenuous hikes, so even the littlest ones in the family can join.


An artist is reimagining the UK’s national parks in the style of J.R.R. Tolkien’s maps

Posted by on Feb 4, 2018 @ 11:52 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

An artist is reimagining the UK’s national parks in the style of J.R.R. Tolkien’s maps

J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are iconic fantasy adventures, and readers return to them time and again because of the rich detail that defines the world. Tolkien’s prose is aided by his beautiful maps of Middle-Earth, which comes with simplified, beautiful forests, mountains, and typography that has set the standard for fictional cartography ever since. That influence extends beyond just fantasy novels: an English artist is using Tolkien’s style to reimagine the UK’s national parks for his own beautiful maps.

Dan Bell says that he began reading Tolkien’s books when he was 11 or 12 years old, and fell in love with them. “The most appealing thing about them is that they allow your imagination to run wild.” In particular, he was struck by Tolkien’s maps.

“I love the detail, and the thought processes behind them.” Bell explains, and says that he began drawing his own copies of the maps. After receiving positive feedback from friends, he thought about adapting the art style to some real world locations, such as the UK’s national parks.

To start his maps, Bell says that he works from an open source Ordnance Survey map, and begins drawing by hand. “I try to emulate his typeface as closely as possible, but have modified his mountains in an effort to develop a little bit of my own style.” He adds in additional details, such as forests, Hobbit holes, towers, and castles.

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Nature Conservancy Sets Stage to Add 955 Acres of Public Access to Jones Gap State Park

Posted by on Feb 4, 2018 @ 7:17 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Nature Conservancy Sets Stage to Add 955 Acres of Public Access to Jones Gap State Park

In warmer months, it’s common to see a line of cars waiting outside Jones Gap State Park as early as 9 a.m. on the weekend. Jones Gap has only 36 parking spaces; when those are full, the park is considered “at capacity” and the gates close until more visitors can be accepted. With 415,852 visitors welcomed to the Mountain Bridge Wilderness area last year – a figure that has nearly doubled since 2014 – getting outdoors is getting harder to do. Now, the park’s capacity likely will get a sorely needed boost.

The Nature Conservancy has purchased 955 acres in northern Greenville County known as the Gap Creek property. The Conservancy plans to transfer the property to South Carolina State Parks in 2018 to be added to Jones Gap State Park. The Gap Creek addition will increase the size of the park by nearly 25 percent.

“Gap Creek is a dual gift for Upstate residents and visitors,” says Phil Gaines, South Carolina state park director. “Its 955 acres include flat land that is ideal for more parking, facilities, trail heads and other visitor amenities. This property can help the Park Service meet its vision for expanding visitor service and making this wilderness area accessible to more South Carolinians.”

Gap Creek has been a high conservation priority for decades because of its size, connection to other conserved lands and unique natural features. The property is home to healthy, contiguous hardwood forests that provide habitat for animals such as black bear, migratory songbirds and even bats. Headwater streams and a series of cascades on the property support cold-water fish, salamanders and frogs before eventually making their way to Saluda Lake.

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Scientists discover ancient Mayan city hidden under Guatemalan jungle

Posted by on Feb 3, 2018 @ 11:42 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Scientists discover ancient Mayan city hidden under Guatemalan jungle

Researchers using a high-tech aerial mapping technique have found tens of thousands of previously undetected Mayan houses, buildings, defence works and pyramids in the dense jungle of Guatemala’s Peten region, suggesting that millions more people lived there than previously thought.

The discoveries, which included industrial-sized agricultural fields and irrigation canals, were announced by an alliance of US, European and Guatemalan archaeologists working with Guatemala’s Mayan Heritage and Nature Foundation.

The study estimates that roughly 10 million people may have lived within the Maya Lowlands, meaning that kind of massive food production might have been needed.

Researchers used a mapping technique called Lidar, which stands for light detection and ranging. It bounces pulsed laser light off the ground, revealing contours hidden by dense foliage.

The images revealed that the Mayans altered the landscape in a much broader way than previously thought; in some areas, 95% of available land was cultivated. The extensive defensive fences, ditch-and-rampart systems and irrigation canals suggest a highly organised workforce.

The mapping detected about 60,000 individual structures, including four major Mayan ceremonial centres with plazas and pyramids.

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North Country Trail Association offering online maps

Posted by on Feb 2, 2018 @ 12:24 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

North Country Trail Association offering online maps

Following the blue blaze markers along the North Country Trail is a good way to stay on the trail, as is a good old-fashioned waterproof, tear-resistant paper map. A little technology, though, can’t hurt.

Matthew Rowbotham, the North Country Trail Association’s Geographic Information System coordinator based in Traverse City, also encourages accessing and using the NCTA’s online trail map as well as mobile apps.

The reason behind the NCTA’s online mapping efforts is to deliver trail users a unified mapping system and offer map content in as many modern popular platforms as possible — desktop computers, laptop computers, smart phones and the like.

The NCT is the longest trail in the National Trails System, stretching 4,600 miles seven states from the Vermont border of New York to the middle of North Dakota.

NCTA uses ArcGIS Online, a collaborative web GIS that allows people to use, create and share maps, scenes, apps, layers, analytics and data. A user can click on the “Launch the online map” button at northcountrytrail.org/trail/maps/ and get lots of helpful information.

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