Hiking News

5 hikes to find Colorado’s last glaciers before they’re gone for good

Posted by on Sep 23, 2018 @ 9:04 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

5 hikes to find Colorado’s last glaciers before they’re gone for good

Time is running out to see Colorado’s year-round alpine glaciers before they recede into extinction — which is, in some cases, a couple decades off, according to a study from the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research.

In the Ice Age, glaciers carved much of Colorado’s alpine landscape. Wide mountain valleys — now dotted with towns and zig-zagged by hiking trails — are glacial byproducts of millennia past. But these days, only 14 tiny scraps of moving ice are left.

Many are nestled under peaks where the sun can’t heat them up and melt their surfaces, their shadowy locations also making them hard to reach. Late summer, early fall is the best time to see the remaining ones before they’re surrounded by snow.

The Arikaree is likely to melt in fewer than 20 years, but before it goes, you can still see it from the Arapaho Glacier Trail, located near Rainbow Lakes Campground on County Road 116 near Boulder. At the glacier overlook, the last little bit of moving ice is nestled just to the north of the Arapaho Glacier, to the right when facing the glaciers from the lookout at treeline.

Here are five glacier hikes worth investigating…

 

Cat hiking videos are the wholesome escape you need in your life

Posted by on Sep 22, 2018 @ 7:56 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Things you can reasonably expect to see on a hike: trees; rocks; streams. Thing you might not expect to see on a hike: A cat on a leash walking with its owner.

Turns out that hiking cats are more common than you might think. These adventurous felines can be found on YouTube and Instagram, where they explore rough mountain terrain, rocky beaches, and green pastures.

There’s Cezar, the traveling cat who’s been to France, El Salvador, and Malta. Then there’s Honey Bee, the blind cat who loves to spend time outdoors. Or Paul the cat, whose high-altitude hiking videos will put your own hiking abilities to shame.

While most cats are naturally pretty curious, not every cat is built to explore the outside world. Felines that possess a playful demeanor and an interest in the outside world — and are willing to wear a harness — might make solid hikers.

If you’re just looking for 15 minutes of nature footage and cute cats, watch a video or two and then daydream of one day climbing a mountain with Whiskers by your side.

Check out the videos…

 

Is this Europe’s most underrated hiking destination?

Posted by on Sep 21, 2018 @ 8:11 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Is this Europe’s most underrated hiking destination?

Just over a century ago a chap called Pedro Pidal, Marquis of Villaviciosa and an Asturian senator, returned from a visit to Yellowstone and Yosemite in the US with a burning ambition to introduce the idea of national parks to Spain. “If we do not guard the possessed paradise between the lost paradise and the promised paradise,” he said, “we do not deserve, like Adam, to have any paradise.”

In 1918, as a result of his efforts, Covadonga National Park was established in the Cantabrian Mountains, with the protected area extended in 1995 to its present boundaries, which take in chunks of Asturias, Cantabria and Castilla y León – a total of 250 square miles.

This year therefore marks the centenary of what is now called the Picos de Europa National Park, an extraordinary prickling of scenery that lurks just inland from the Asturian coast and is easily reached from the UK via Asturias, Santander or Bilbao airports. It’s an immensely popular destination for Spanish tourists, but other country’s citizens have yet to find it, which is a peculiar state of affairs when you consider the abundant virtues on show: staggering, razor-sharp peaks, endless hiking paths and adjacent Atlantic beaches.

The Picos range is split into three main massifs: the eastern, western and central peaks. The latter two are separated by the mile-deep Cares Gorge, with the village of Caín at one end. It’s one of the most popular day hikes in Spain: a six-hour route over 14 miles.

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This is what hiking 2,000 miles feels like

Posted by on Sep 19, 2018 @ 9:03 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

This is what hiking 2,000 miles feels like

Hiking 2,000 miles feels like waking up tired every morning, like eating the same food again and again until it loses all meaning. It feels like wondering with amazement when 20 miles became a short day. Like pushing yourself up the last climb of the day. Going faster and faster while your legs ache and sweat runs down your face and into your eyes, but you don’t slow down, you keep pushing because you’ve become so strong that you no longer know where your limit is, where the bottom of this energy sits and it feels good to dig way down deep, to where you forget what easy is and there is only the burning left.

And suddenly. Suddenly you’re at the top of the climb and the world erupts around you and a wave of endorphins threaten to overwhelm your more human side and you laugh away the urge to open up your throat to the heavens and howl. But the urge is there, it is right below the surface.

Hiking 2,000 miles feels like the merging of what you hoped would be and what is. Where you realize that you’re now doing all of the things you’d dreamed of when you planned this hike. All of those desires which you held at arm’s length, knowing that the odds for finishing the PCT are not in your favor and it would break your heart to admit to yourself how desperately you wanted this, only to not get it.

But now you’re here and it’s nothing like what you imagined, though all the better for it. Hiking 2,000 miles feels like making it to the playoffs, the final round of the spelling bee, it feels like the moment before the hero pulls off the big heist. You’re not there yet but you are so, so close. And if you can just be smart and lucky and hold your body together for a little longer, then you’ll make it. And that will be the best worst day of this whole thing.

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A Leave No Trace Principles Refresher

Posted by on Sep 18, 2018 @ 12:19 pm in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

A Leave No Trace Principles Refresher

Outdoor enthusiasts often prefer visiting different types of locations. Some love trekking high into the Appalachian Mountains, while others enjoy paddling through the river-carved rocks of the Southwest. Some may like to explore the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest, while others enjoy ambling about aimlessly amid the grass-dotted dunes of the Gulf Coast.

You like forests; your buddy prefers prairies. One of your kids likes the beach; the other prefers the bayou.

But these various locations all share one uniting characteristic, one about which all outdoor enthusiasts can agree: They offer you the chance to spend some time in an unspoiled place, which has suffered only a minimal amount of human impact.

Whatever types of places you prefer for hiking, trekking, camping or paddling, you surely appreciate that these activities all give you the opportunity to spend time in untouched wilderness areas.

However, careless use of these places will quickly ruin them. After all, they’re becoming more and more popular by the day. If those who visit these pristine places aren’t careful, they’ll destroy the very thing that they sought in the first place – natural, untarnished beauty.

Fortunately, a lot of outdoor enthusiasts have already begun taking steps to protect these places, and you can join right alongside them. You just have to embrace Leave No Trace Principles.

 

A day with long-haul hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail

Posted by on Sep 16, 2018 @ 10:45 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

A day with long-haul hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail

They’re easy to spot this time of year in the North Cascades: lean, fast-moving hiking machines in their trail-running shoes, ultralightweight backpacks and a look in the eyes that says they have places to go.

It’s the annual migration of thousands of northbound hikers traveling the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail from the Mexico border to Canada. Most of them began the journey in late spring, which means to reach their destination before the snow falls, they’ll need to average at least 18 to 22 miles per day.

Hence the look you get as they whoosh! past you on this well-traveled highway to heaven, their eyes clearly on the prize ahead.

“We call it the 10,000-yard stare,” said Katie, a spokesperson with the Skykomish Ranger Station. “And that’s kinda sad, because they’re coming into the most beautiful part of the Cascades.”

At this point, long-distance PCT travelers, or “thru-hikers” as they’re more often called, are just beginning to experience classic North Cascades hiking, with its signature glacier peaks and glistening, high-Alpine lakes.

Five years ago, 988 northbound permits were issued. In 2017 that count more than tripled to 3,496 permits.

Read full story…

 

Friends set off on 1000-mile UK journey without money or clothes

Posted by on Sep 15, 2018 @ 12:44 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Friends set off on 1000-mile UK journey without money or clothes

George Mahood and his friend Ben set off on a three-week journey from the bottom of England to the top of Scotland wearing nothing but a pair of Union Jack shorts. They didn’t have food, bikes or any money. The plan was to complete the 1,000 mile journey from Land’s End to John O’ Groats depending entirely on the kindness of strangers to provide them with accommodation, food, clothes, shoes, bikes and beer.

George and Ben eventually made it to Scotland and along the way, they met all kinds of generous people who provided them with the necessities to help them complete their journey. Their story appears in The Kindness of Strangers, a book of 25 stories from accomplished travelers and adventurers that tell of a time when a kind stranger came to their rescue when they were in need.

George says: “At every stage of our journey we were overwhelmed by the generosity of the people that we met, as they went out of their way to offer us food, accommodation, clothes, bikes, directions, beer or conversation. Britain is a melting pot of cultures, races and personalities, and this eclectic mix of characters should be embraced and celebrated. Britain is far from broken; it just needs a bit of love and affection.”

The Kindness of Strangers was put together by Fearghal O’Nuallain, a geography teacher and explorer from South London to raise money for Oxfam’s work with refugees. All proceeds from the book go directly to the charity.

Read full story…

 

Elsye “Chardonnay” Walker: Likely the First Black, Female Triple Crowner

Posted by on Sep 15, 2018 @ 6:45 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Elsye “Chardonnay” Walker: Likely the First Black, Female Triple Crowner

The ATC, the PCTA, the CDTC and the ALDHA-West—the organizations that oversee the long-distance trails we adore—don’t recognize any qualifier in front of the term “thru-hike.” They also don’t recognize any qualifier in front of the term “thru-hiker.” That has never stopped people from adding them, though.

Last year, Dale “Greybeard” Sanders became the oldest hiker to thru-hike the AT in a highly publicized attempt, while the Quirin family—Kanga, Roo, and Sherpa—made baby Ellie the youngest to traverse the trail. Even if the organizations that give us our thru-hike certificates don’t, it’s important to us to remind ourselves anyone and everyone can and does thru-hike.

Elsye “Chardonnay” Walker relatively quietly made her own significant mark on thru-hiking history this summer when she completed her thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. She is (very likely) the first African-American woman to finish the Triple Crown.

To hike the Triple Crown is to thru-hike the three most prominent United States long-distance trails: the Pacific Crest Trail, the Appalachian Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail. It’s very, very hard to do. ALDHA-West (American Long-Distance Hiking Association, which tracks and recognizes Triple Crowns, has just 334 Triple Crowns on the books.

Chardonnay got her trail name while bike packing in Iowa, long before she first hit the PCT. Just a glance at her Instagram or blog will tell you she got that name because she loves chardonnay. But the name works on multiple levels—she seems like someone you’d want to drink a lot of chardonnay with.

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This Little-Known Hiking Path Explores One of the Deepest Gorges in the World

Posted by on Sep 14, 2018 @ 12:22 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

This Little-Known Hiking Path Explores One of the Deepest Gorges in the World

Far off China’s beaten path, in the remote southwestern province of Yunnan, a winding bus ride from the UNESCO world heritage town Lijiang, lies one of the world’s most beautiful and spiritual hikes. But, chances are you’ve never heard of it. While gaining in popularity among tourists and hikers throughout Asia, Tiger Leaping Gorge remains far from the well-worn circuit, and if you ask the hikers along the climb — few and far between — they would like to keep it that way, thank you very much.

More than just an epic hike through breathtaking and back-breaking landscapes, a trek through Tiger Leaping Gorge is a journey into a China rapidly changing. As China’s most ethnically diverse province, Yunnan is a mixture of Bai, Naxi, and Dai people, along with dozens of other smaller groups of ethnic minorities who maintain many of their original customs and traditional dress. Far from the lights and wealth of Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, Yunnan is a pocket where the country’s rampant modernization hasn’t yet completely permeated. And there’s no better way to take it in than hiking through it.

A through-hike of Tiger Leaping Gorge will take at least two days, and the easiest method to find your way is to simply continue going up. Just follow the signs spray-painted on rocks pointing the way to Tibet and the strings of prayer flags hanging from almost every village dwelling. A full hike of the gorge — one of the deepest in the world — will land you in Shangri-La, the high-altitude Tibetan border town named for the mythical land depicted in James Hilton’s 1933 novel, Lost Horizon. Far from fictitious, the real Shangri-La’s beauty and mystery shine clearly through the mist. And its name alone makes it one of the most epic ways to end a hike.

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Mountains? Rain forests? Fjords? New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park has them all.

Posted by on Sep 13, 2018 @ 9:37 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Mountains? Rain forests? Fjords? New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park has them all.

Key Summit is one of many hiking trails — or as locals call them, tracks — that crisscross the South Island near Milford Sound, the green gemstone atop New Zealand’s wilderness crown. Milford Sound sits within Fiordland National Park, which in turn is part of Te Wahipounamu — South West New Zealand, a UNESCO World Heritage site that covers 10 percent of the country’s landmass.

Milford Sound’s mountains, rain forests and its fjord draw more than 500,000 visitors each year. Many of them are tour bus day-trippers from neighboring Te Anau or Queenstown who take a quick boat cruise, snap photos and head back to town. A landing strip and helipad accommodate sightseers who forgo the drive and whiz in and out. One lodge is available to those who prefer to stay a little longer.

To reach Milford Sound, depart Te Anau, a nearby lakeside town, and hit the road: the Milford Road, or State Highway 94, which is the only land-based route. Leave before sunrise to allow enough time to make a 9 a.m. Milford Sound cruise departure.

The nearly 75-mile journey stretches toward cloud-ringed mountains that glow pink in the predawn light. Fog drapes over lowland pastures, and yellow wildflowers frame the road. As you pass the Fiordland National Park entrance, the road twists through an enchanted fairyland of red beech forests and golden grasslands draped in stalky wild lupines. The Livingstone and Earl mountain ranges loom closer with every mile.

After many stops to gawk at the natural drama, you reach the nearly mile-long Homer Tunnel, which passes through a mountain into the Milford Sound area. The world’s only alpine parrots are highly intelligent and seem to hang around parking lots solely to tease camera-snapping tourists and dismantle their vehicles.

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Inside the Mind of Thru-Hiking’s Most Devious Con Man

Posted by on Sep 12, 2018 @ 9:23 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Inside the Mind of Thru-Hiking’s Most Devious Con Man

The purpose of this article is to warn others about potential con men, not to sensationalize the con. For more than two decades, Jeff Caldwell has lured in hikers, couchsurfers, and other women (and they're almost always women), enthralling them with his tales of adventure. Then he manufactures personal crises and exploits their sympathy to rip them off. The writer corresponded with Caldwell while he was still on the run, and came away with an intimate look at the life of a serial scammer who's found his easy marks in the outdoor community.

On a Thursday in late April, Melissa Trent, a single mother in Colorado Springs, Colorado, logged into her account on the dating website Plenty of Fish and had a new message from a user called “lovetohike1972.” “I can’t believe a woman as pretty as you is on a site like this,” he wrote.

Trent clicked open the man’s account. The photos showed a smiling, clean-shaven guy in a Marmot puffy with chunky glasses and shaggy hair curling up from under a baseball cap. Trent thought he looked cute. There were shots of him atop Pikes Peak, hanging out with thru-hiking buddies at a hostel in Seattle, and climbing into a tractor in Montana. “I love adventure,” he wrote in his profile. “Anything in the outdoors.” His interests included hiking, biking, skiing, craft beer, and the occasional toke.

A pattern emerged with each of Caldwell’s cons. He’d scope out a victim, share his tale of woe, then enthrall her with his adventures (“31 wolves talking to each other!”) and quixotic pursuits (“I’m buying land. 155 acres. You can come stay with me. . . putting up a yurt”). Next, he’d give her a sentimental gift—say, an Alaska shot glass or an Appalachian Trail patch—and send her selfies from the mountains. Finally, he would orchestrate a personal crisis that ranged from the plausible to the bizarre, and finish it off by asking for a small loan or else he’d just steal what was lying around.

Read full story…

 

Hiking a diverse trail: The great outdoors is finally drawing more people of color

Posted by on Sep 10, 2018 @ 7:39 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

With the Olympic Mountains on its western fringe and the Cascade Range to the east, the Seattle area is at the center of some of the most eye-popping landscape in the United States. Several million acres of wilderness lie within an easy drive, and in recent years, the increasingly crowded trails there have also begun to reflect a growing diversity.

A new wave of affinity groups and meetups for people of color have drawn growing numbers of trekkers, backpackers and outdoor enthusiasts. Facebook and Instagram posts feature photos of Asian women scaling the rocky crags of Little Si in the central Cascades or black hikers celebrating at the summit of Mount St. Helens. Such images spur more interest while challenging the myth that only white people seek the great outdoors.

And in response to the nation’s shifting demographics, major outdoor advocacy organizations and government agencies such as the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service are forging partnerships with schools, youth groups and these same affinity groups. Together, they aim to reach communities that have been long ignored or underserved.

The issues involved have broad implications. The most diverse generation in history will help determine the future of this country’s open lands. Yet people who have not used them — who have never seen the vastness of the Grand Canyon, for example, or the towering dunes of Cape Cod’s national seashore — may feel little connection and lend little support.

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Hiking to Måtind on the Stave-Bleik Coastal Trail, Vesteralen, Norway

Posted by on Sep 9, 2018 @ 9:36 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking to Måtind on the Stave-Bleik Coastal Trail, Vesteralen, Norway

Vesteralen is an archipelago located just northeast of the Lofoten Islands off the west coast of Norway. People travel there to get a glimpse of sperm whales and humpback whales. During certain parts of the year you can also see puffins nesting on the smaller, rocky islands.

The landscapes there are very similar to the Lofoten Islands. It seems like many people skip right past Vesteralen (and it’s awesome little neighbor Senja) to the Lofoten Islands. That’s a shame, for them.

Sure, the Lofoten Islands are dynamite, but they are missing out on some incredible scenery, quaint fishing villages, hiking trails, and those mighty whales. But it’s good for you. That means that there are fewer people on the trails, making this an awesome spot to go hiking.

The trail is named for its starting and ending points: the town of Stave in the south and the town of Bleik in the north. It is 9 km in length, taking hikers past coastal beaches and coastal cliffs. Måtind is the highest point along the coast and this is the spot where you get the best views. You can do this as a point-to-point hike, starting at one end and hiking to the other.

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Scouting mission begins for proposed Rio Grande Trail in New Mexico

Posted by on Sep 8, 2018 @ 7:02 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Scouting mission begins for proposed Rio Grande Trail in New Mexico

Hikers have embarked on a 500-mile expedition that will traverse New Mexico. The mission: Chart out the best route and identify what challenges might lay ahead as the state moves closer to establishing the Rio Grande Trail.

Following in the footsteps of other states, New Mexico is looking to capitalize on its vistas, mild weather and culture with the creation of a long-distance trail along one of North America’s longest rivers.

The Rio Grande stretches down the middle of the state, from the southern end of the Rocky Mountains near the Colorado state line to the bustling desert region where New Mexico and Texas intersect with the U.S.-Mexico border.

With its diverse scenery, supporters say the Rio Grande Trail has the potential to make the list of the country’s more famous long-distance routes. Neighboring Colorado and Arizona have their own namesake trails, and there are several others that are designed as national scenic trails.

While the official alignment has yet to be decided, this month’s expedition by volunteers with the Southern New Mexico Trail Alliance is aimed at scouting proposed segments and gathering as much data about water sources, camping spots, supply stops and not-to-be-missed scenery that could be incorporated.

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Sprawling Jenner Headlands Preserve on California’s Sonoma Coast opening to public

Posted by on Sep 7, 2018 @ 6:46 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Sprawling Jenner Headlands Preserve on California’s Sonoma Coast opening to public

Anyone who has ever driven past the hills that rise sharply near Jenner, California from the coast north of the Russian River outlet and wondered about the view from the top need wait little longer.

Today the gates to the Jenner Headlands Preserve will be open to the public, adding a large, open space to the mix of protected, accessible lands lining the scenic Sonoma Coast.

The step marks the culmination of more than a decade of planning and development, and the preserve — set aside with public and private money — offers some of the most stunning vistas to be found north of the Golden Gate, with a full suite of wildlife and natural habitat shielded in perpetuity from housing development.

And the highest peak on the Sonoma Coast, 2,204-foot Pole Mountain, overlooks it all, beckoning to hikers up for a strenuous 15-mile round-trip trek with significant elevation gain.

At 5,630 acres, the headlands property offers nearly 14 miles of trails across varied terrain that includes mixed conifer forest, coastal prairie and oak woodland.

It spans more than 2.5 miles of the coast just north of the Russian River mouth, with steep hills that rise from the eastern side of Highway 1, giving visitors sweeping views of the ocean and coastline stretching south to Point Reyes National Seashore.

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Old Railroad Set to Become a 300-mile Hiking Trail Through California Wine Country

Posted by on Sep 6, 2018 @ 10:29 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Old Railroad Set to Become a 300-mile Hiking Trail Through California Wine Country

Seeing the best of California’s North Coast is about to get easier and better than ever. A proposed bill could transform parts of the increasingly abandoned Northwestern Pacific Railroad into a scenic hiking trail.

The 300-mile-long trail, named the Great Redwood Trail, would stretch from San Francisco Bay to Humboldt Bay, cutting through Eel River Canyon. Part of the railroad is still in service, however, so areas of the trail will be parallel to the tracks rather than directly on top of them.

“From the San Francisco Bay, through the incredible beauty of wine country, alongside the glistening banks of the Russian and Eel Rivers, into the stunning old growth Redwood forests, and up to and around panoramic Humboldt Bay. This is truly an incredible piece of Earth.”

The bill is backed by the League of Conservation Voters, the Sierra Club, Trout Unlimited and the California Transportation Commission. The state senate unanimously voted in favor of the bill, which is great news for hikers and nature lovers in northern California, but it still must be approved by the governor’s office.

Cite…

 

Six Years, Four Sore Feet, 2,650 Miles

Posted by on Sep 4, 2018 @ 8:48 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Six Years, Four Sore Feet, 2,650 Miles

America’s glory is its cathedral of wilderness. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, visionary Americans like Teddy Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot fought to protect public lands for collective use.

The upshot is that today every American inherits a stunning patrimony, a piece of some of the most beautiful terrain in the world. You may not be able to afford a weekend house, but you’re already a shared landlord of spectacular wilderness. For a day at a time, my daughter and I “owned” dazzling camping spots that even Jeff Bezos or Warren Buffett can never buy. On our public lands, no one can pull rank on you — except a bear.

Speaking of which, on the Pacific Crest Trail over the years we spotted: two bears, one cougar, one pine marten, one fisher, one lynx, 14 rattlesnakes, and surprisingly few humans.

Nature offers perspective. In America, we live in a world where we mostly control our environment. If we’re warm, we may adjust the thermostat by a single degree.

In contrast, the wilderness is almost always too hot or too cold. It is vast and unbending, reminding us that we are not the lords of the universe, but atoms in the firmament. We are put in our place.

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