Hiking News

Amanda Trail is a beautiful hike with a dark history on the Oregon coast

Posted by on Jul 8, 2016 @ 7:48 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

As you leave the city of Yachats behind, cross Highway 101 and climb into the sprawling forest of Sitka spruce alongside the rugged and beautiful Oregon coast, a question lingers at the back of your mind: Who is Amanda?

This scenic 3.7-mile stretch of the Oregon Coast Trail, running from Yachats up to the top of Cape Perpetua, is officially known as the Amanda Trail (also known as Amanda’s Trail). The legend of the trail is no secret, but it contains a darkness many Oregonians would rather forget.

Local trail managers allow first-timers to hike in mystery for the first mile and a half before reaching the iconic Amanda Statue and, posted on a sign nearby, the story of Amanda herself.

The trail runs through the former Coast Indian Reservation, established via treaty in 1855 with the Coastal Tribes of Oregon. The reservation ran from Cape Lookout south to Siltcoos, and was supposed to be a place where local tribes could live in peace. But as hostilities between the native population and settlers grew, volunteer militias known as the “exterminators” began to round up the tribes of southwest Oregon and confined them to the new reservation on the Pacific.

The trail officially opened in the spring of 1998, drawing a crowd of 120 people to Amanda Grotto, where the statue of Amanda De-Cuys stands proud, a representative of the people who first lived in what would become the state of Oregon.

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A Step by Step Guide to Using a Handheld GPS

Posted by on Jul 7, 2016 @ 10:30 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

A Step by Step Guide to Using a Handheld GPS

Are you into hiking technology but you still have no idea how to use a handheld GPS? Then, this is for you. A hiking GPS is not quite the same as Google Maps on your phone or the navigation system you use in your car. It’s a little more complex than that. Most GPSes or hiking watches have many features you can utilize to help you not only pinpoint where you are and where you’re going, but also record your trips.

The first thing to know before you use a handheld GPS is that it’s meant to accompany a map, not to be used as a replacement. Because it needs to attach to at least four satellites before giving a read out, you should not be so reliant on a GPS as your main mode of navigation. If you have a weak signal or you go in and out of service, you could risk receiving inaccurate information, which could ultimately mean you’ll end up very lost.

Reading coordinates isn’t too hard, but it’s helpful to know a little about them. Do you remember learning about longitude and latitude in middle school? Once you have a better grasp on coordinates, it’s time to understand how a GPS uses those coordinates. Basically, the GPS takes a set of coordinates and places it on a grid, to tell you your location based on its relative position north/south and east/west.

The great thing about choosing a good handheld GPS is that you can customize how you view your coordinates. Choose what’s best or what makes the most sense to you. What’s nice is that you won’t actually be the one internalizing these coordinates; your GPS will be using them to easily guide you.

If you’re eager to start using your GPS in the backcountry but need a little more help, take a look at this…


Help wanted: Volunteers spend free time fixing the Bob Marshall

Posted by on Jul 6, 2016 @ 7:25 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Help wanted: Volunteers spend free time fixing the Bob Marshall

Just getting to the edge of Rocky Mountain Front guarding the third-largest wilderness area in the continental United States requires miles of driving on rocky roads and through creek beds to find isolated trailheads. Those passing beyond the boundary must leave all motors and wheels behind. And yet, for two decades, thousands of people have hiked into this daunting territory to work – for free.

The land complex including the Bob Marshall, Great Bear and Scapegoat wilderness areas includes about 1.5 million acres spread along 200 miles of the Continental Divide south of Glacier National Park. It receives a fraction of the 2 million annual visitors trooping through that better-known neighbor. But it has more than three times as many miles of trail – about 1,700 at last count. All of which must be maintained by hand, using primitive tools and the occasional mule.

“The Forest Service hires trail crews on mainline trails or for more specific restoration work like bridges or turnpikes,” Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation program director Margosia Jadkowski said. “We come in to help with secondary trails that might not normally see trail crews on them every year.” BMWF started 20 years ago when some Forest Service retirees convened to provide extra help in a place they’d learned to love over their careers. Volunteer interest quickly grew beyond the Forest Service’s ability to organize, so the non-profit organization took on the role.

Today, BMWF sends about 300 volunteers a summer on 40 projects. Some car-camp on weekend stints renovating frontcountry campgrounds or trailheads. Others log 10 days in the deep backcountry, repairing eroded mountain passes or pulling weeds from valley meadows.

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The incredible technology that’s helping this paralyzed woman hike the Appalachian Trail

Posted by on Jul 3, 2016 @ 10:42 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The incredible technology that’s helping this paralyzed woman hike the Appalachian Trail

Most people would have given up years ago. She is not most people.

41-year-old Medina, Ohio, resident Stacey Kozel has undertaken an enormous task: hiking the entire 2,190 miles of the Appalachian Trail. For most, that would be a mighty feat unto itself, but Kozel has an additional obstacle, to put it lightly: her legs are paralyzed.

Kozel was diagnosed with lupus when she was 19 years old, and it has slowly stolen much of her muscle function during the past 22 years.

Lupus is an autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system to attack healthy tissue. It affects everyone differently, and symptoms can be cyclical. That’s how it has been for Kozel — every couple of years, she would have what she termed a “flare-up.”

In her case, the disease directly attacked her central nervous system during each flare-up, causing her to lose muscle function. In March 2014, the disease dealt her legs a death blow.

From her electric wheelchair, she desperately searched the Web for anything that could help. Eventually, she found the Ottobock C-Brace. To call it a brace is a little simplistic, because it functions more as a mechanical exoskeleton. It allows someone with paralyzed legs to walk again because, in essence, it does the walking for you.

As she wrote on Appalachian Trials:

“My goal is to bring awareness to these braces so people know they exist and hopefully it gives more people the ability to get out of their wheelchairs and out exploring the world. There are people that qualify for these braces that either do not know they exist or it gets stopped with an insurance denial. I hope WHEN I make it back to Mt. Katahdin on my thru hike, insurance companies will have a much tougher time telling others that the braces are “not necessary.”

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Green Mountain Club Trail Angels on the Move

Posted by on Jul 3, 2016 @ 7:49 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Green Mountain Club Trail Angels on the Move

Did you know there is a network of willing volunteers stationed across Vermont, working together to provide hiking knowledge, recommendations for the best places to get water or stay for the night, and transport to and from trailheads? And that they are motivated simply by a shared love of the trail and a desire to see others make that connection? Volunteers like this exist in the Green Mountain Club’s Shuttle Driver network, one arm of the legendary GMC Trail Angel community.

GMC Shuttle Drivers enable hikers to traverse the state to start their Long Trail hike or get back home at the end of their journey. They are often longtime hikers themselves, and GMC volunteers in other capacities. Some even open their homes to hikers to stay overnight in a clean bed or do their laundry on rest days. They provide valuable information to folks while promoting the work of the Club. Many refuse offers to be reimbursed for their time and instead ask hikers to support the GMC instead.

At the Volunteer Appreciation Picnic last fall, the GMC Shuttle Drivers were recognized as the 2015 Group of the Year. This honor is given to a group that collaborates with the Club to improve the Long Trail, increases access and awareness of the trail, or embodies the spirit of the GMC.

If you are interested in becoming a shuttle driver or anticipate needing one during your hike, please contact the GMC Visitor Center at 802-244-7037 or [email protected]



A Proposed Hiking Ban in Phoenix Draws Outrage

Posted by on Jul 2, 2016 @ 10:34 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

When the temperature hits the triple digits in Phoenix, AZ, hikers continue to hike. They snake their way up Camelback Mountain, which has a 2,680-foot summit with spectacular views of the city. They pack the picturesque mile-long trail up Piestewa Peak. They traverse the towering cactus dotting South Mountain Park. And some of them find themselves lost, parched, in distress.

Six hikers in Arizona died in a single weekend last month, and Phoenix firefighters have rescued 141 people from the city’s mountains and trails so far this year, many of them overcome by the summer’s stupefying heat.

To reduce the number of hikes that go awry, the city has tried offering safety tips (“plan ahead,” “don’t hike alone,” “avoid huffing and puffing”) and leaving free bottles of water and ice at the parking lots of some of the most popular spots.

Going further, city officials recently proposed closing trails altogether when the temperature hits 110 degrees. That plan drew considerable criticism. Opponents griped promptly and loudly, deriding the proposed ban as the actions of a nanny state.

At a meeting of the city’s Parks and Recreation Board to consider the proposed ban, the reaction was as searing as Arizona’s summer sun. With so much criticism, the city decided against banning hikers during extreme heat but did approve restrictions prohibiting hikers from taking their dogs and other animals on the trails when temperatures reach 100.

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10 miles of hiking trails at Bothe-Napa Valley State Park

Posted by on Jun 30, 2016 @ 10:50 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

In 1872, Dr. Charles M. Hitchcock bought a thousand acres of Rancho Carne Humana and built a country home along Ritchey Creek. He called it “Lonely.” Nearly 150 years later the beautiful trails along the creek remain as California’s Bothe-Napa Valley State Park. But you won’t be lonely there anymore.

Bothe-Napa Valley State Park is one of the most-frequented hiking areas of the Napa Valley. With nearly 10 miles of hiking trails, segmented into 12 interconnected loops, the park has become beloved by both locals and valley visitors. But you have to get out of your car and hike to fully appreciate all it has to offer.

The main access to the hiking loops is along Ritchey Creek on the Redwood Trail near the park’s visitor center. There is ample parking for day-use at this trailhead, and the trail is a gentle rise through redwoods and Douglas fir. The trail travels west beneath big leaf maple, madrone and oaks, and soon crosses a paved road and begins paralleling the road to the campground.

For visiting campers, this — instead of the trailhead — is the place where the adventure begins. Campers leave their tents, RVs or yurts and can continue up the Redwood Trail hill toward the Coyote Peak Trail.

Or they may cross back down the Redwood Trail to get to the swimming pool on weekends. Or, they may explore northward along the Vineyard Trail, which also reconnects to the Ritchey Canyon Trail. There are so many opportunities that it’s best to take along the trail map available at the entrance kiosk.

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Phoenix proposes hiking ban during hot temperatures

Posted by on Jun 30, 2016 @ 7:43 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Phoenix may close hiking trails in its more than 40,000 acres of desert preserves during intense heat that statewide already has claimed several lives this summer.

Temperatures reaching 110 degrees would prompt the closure of city trails for people, through a policy under consideration this week. Dogs would be stopped from hiking when the mercury hits 100 degrees.

The Phoenix Parks and Recreation Board, which has authority to implement the rules, will consider the change June 30, 2016.

The closures seek to ensure hiker safety and limit mountain rescues, said Gregg Bach, spokesman for the Parks and Recreation Department. But enforcement of the rules and the consequences for violating them still are “fuzzy,” he said.

More direction on how to manage the potential closures could come from the board meeting, Bach said.

The policy would escalate the city’s efforts to educate hikers about life-threatening heat, Bach said. The department also wants to limit the danger to first responders who perform mountain rescues, according to the meeting agenda.

The proposal comes after six hikers died statewide in one weekend earlier this month.

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Join CMLC for a ‘Bearwallow by Moonlight’ Hike – Sunday, July 17, 2016

Posted by on Jun 29, 2016 @ 11:35 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Join CMLC for a ‘Bearwallow by Moonlight’ Hike – Sunday, July 17, 2016

Join Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy for a celestial show atop CMLC-conserved Bearwallow Mountain on Sunday, July 17, 2016. Hike to the summit about 90 minutes before sunset in time to watch the full moon rise, then hike back down the gravel road about 60 minutes after sunset.

At 4,232 ft. above sea level, Bearwallow Mountain stands as the highest peak in the widely-visible Bearwallow Highlands range. Straddling the Eastern Continental Divide, it makes up part of the Blue Ridge Escarpment as well as the western rim of the Hickory Nut Gorge. Crowned with a grassy meadow at its summit, the mountain features a nearly 360 degree view that encompasses some of the southern Appalachians highest peaks including Mt. Mitchell in the Black Mountains and Mt. Pisgah in the Great Balsams range. Its breathtaking vista also includes a birds-eye view of Hickory Nut Gorge, as well as downtown Hendersonville. A historic fire lookout tower occupies the summit, as do grazing cattle who call the mountaintop home.

CMLC acquired a conservation easement on 81 acres at the summit of Bearwallow in 2009, forever protecting it from mountaintop development. An additional 85 acres were placed into a conservation easement on Bearwallow Mountain’s ridgeline in 2012. At the moment, CMLC has conserved a total of 165 acres and is working toward conserving more than 300 acres at Bearwallow Mountain by the end of 2016.

Total hiking distance is 2.0 miles. This hike is rated strenuous with a total elevation gain of 537 feet. Attendance is free and open to the public. Begin the hike Sunday evening before the sun sets, and then travel back down the mountain bathed in moonlight. Please note: because of the nature of this hike, plan to pack a flashlight and additional clothes, blanket/sleeping bag to stay warm while on the summit. It will probably be windy.

Learn more here…


A week-long, 80-mile walking tour of picturesque Brittany is a step back in time

Posted by on Jun 27, 2016 @ 10:20 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Centuries ago in Brittany, locals had plenty of motivation for canal building. With several wars negatively impacting the coastal waterways, they needed to link Nantes in the east and Brest in the west, both with military arsenals, and, in doing so, to improve the economic development of the rural communities in the interior.

This Napoleonic initiative took decades of work, with the construction of more than 200 well-engineered locks before the full canal opened in 1842. But eventually, as rail travel improved, transporting products via the canal fell from favor. Although the canal is no longer a preferred route for commerce, it’s a perfect venue for walking.

Each June brings a religious feast, Pardon, to Saint-Méen-le-Grand, as well as the onset of the nearby four-month-long Festival La Gacilly Photo. Thousands come to the town from all over for France’s largest outdoor photography festival, held there every year.

Set at regular distances along the towpath, the locks and accompanying lock-keeper’s houses have distinct personalities, with brightly hued shuttered windows and landscaping resembling miniature botanical gardens. Many beckon as postcard-perfect picnic spots or just places to rest and sunbathe.

A trek through bucolic landscapes in Europe is often chock full of dazzling surprises, but a riverfront may remind of a scene right out of “Downton Abbey.”

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Book takes a fresh look at Kansas hiking

Posted by on Jun 26, 2016 @ 3:09 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

When it’s too hot to play outside, the next best thing is to research where you can go when it cools.

Siblings Jonathan and Kristin Conard have made that easier with their “Kansas Trail Guide,” which covers hiking, mountain biking and horseback trails in all corners of Kansas. It doesn’t cover nearly all of the 2,000 or more miles, but the 80 trails selected are certainly some of the best.

Jonathan Conard got the idea for the guide when he couldn’t find a book on Kansas trails that included the many improvements made over the past decade. Raised in several central Kansas towns, he invited his sister to help with a one-year deadline to get the project finished. In that time one, or both, of the Conards traveled every inch of the trails listed.

Kansas Trail Guide is divided into geographical regions. Coverage of the trails gives solid details about lengths, and if it’s open to bikes or horses, and if pets are allowed.

Trail descriptions are direct and easily understood. The book provides area contact information and brief mention of other nearby trails. Nearby camping areas are listed and usable information is listed about state parks that contain many of the best trails.

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18 beautiful hiking trails in Massachusetts

Posted by on Jun 25, 2016 @ 9:16 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

From Great Barrington cave—where Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville used to hang out—to the state’s highest peak in Lanesborough, the Bay State offers an abundance of beautiful and historic hiking trails.

Whether you want to peep the Boston skyline from Dover, or soak in gorgeous beach views along the Cape Cod National Seashore, these 18 hiking trails in Massachusetts will make you want to lace up this summer.

For example, the Parker River Wildlife Refuge in Newburyport is made up of more than 4,700 acres of beach, dunes, cranberry bogs, forest, and freshwater marsh. And, 90 miles of the Appalachian Trail are in Massachussetts’ Bershire County.

See the complete list…


Smokies’ Balsam Mountain Road closes temporarily

Posted by on Jun 24, 2016 @ 10:29 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Great Smoky Mountains National Park maintenance crews will perform road maintenance along the gravel Balsam Mountain Road on Monday, June 27, 2016, Wednesday, June 29 and Wednesday, July 6, from 6-11 a.m. each morning.

The work will require a full road closure during these time periods to allow crews to place new gravel on the roadway.

The one-way, 15-mile Balsam Mountain Road is in the southeast area of the park accessed from the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. The road runs between the Balsam Mountain Campground/Picnic Area and Straight Fork Road near Cherokee. The closure will not affect use of Balsam Mountain Campground/Picnic Area or the Round Bottom Horse Camp located on Straight Fork Road.

Hikers using the Spruce Mountain Trail, Palmer Creek Trail, and Balsam Mountain Trail will not be able to begin or end their hikes from Balsam Mountain Road during the morning closures. However, these trails can be accessed in other areas of the park.


Hiking 4,600 miles across the country

Posted by on Jun 22, 2016 @ 11:50 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking 4,600 miles across the country

Dan and Ruth Durrough have nearly finished hiking the entire 4,600 miles of the North Country National Scenic Trail that expands across seven states. The couple started their journey in New York and will finish their lifelong hike in North Dakota by September.

At 69 and 72 years old, they claim, “We represent the ‘if they can do it anybody can do it’ group.”

The Dorroughs have been hiking the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCNST) for 17 years and by the end of this summer they will have finished the entire 4,600 miles.

Their journey began back in New York while they were walking on the Finger Lakes Trail near their home. Ruth did some research and discovered the trail ran all the way across New York and much further west beyond that; learning it was a part of the NCNST. “We never even knew the North Country Trail existed before that,” Ruth said. “We saw the blazes along the trail and we’ve been following them ever since.”

At first they were only hiking on the weekends but three years ago when Ruth retired that is when they became more vigilant about planning. They began leaving their home in April or May and wouldn’t return again until September or October. Once they committed to hiking the NCNST in its entirety they soon determined section-hiking worked best for them.

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After 30 years of work, Superior Hiking Trail nearly complete

Posted by on Jun 21, 2016 @ 10:53 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

After 30 years of work, Superior Hiking Trail nearly complete

Thirty years after work began on the Superior Hiking Trail, the 302-mile path is nearly complete.

This summer, volunteers are constructing the last two-mile portion of the trail southwest of Duluth. Winding atop the steep ridgeline along Lake Superior’s North Shore, the trail will connect the Canadian border to the Wisconsin border.

The trail’s completion comes at an ideal time for the Superior Hiking Trail Association, the Two Harbors-based nonprofit that built and maintains the trail with a team of over 300 volunteers.

“It seems like backpacking is experiencing a gigantic boost everywhere and we’re seeing that here for sure,” said Jo Swanson, the trail association’s outreach coordinator.

At least 25,000 people use the trail every year, said Gayle Coyer, executive director for the trail association. New lightweight backpacking equipment is boosting numbers. Hiking poles help older hikers manage heavy packs, and a Facebook page devoted to the trail is also likely increasing traffic. Backpackers are increasingly taking advantage of the trail’s 93 backcountry campsites, Coyer said.

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Three Ideal Hiking Spots near Croatia’s Capital

Posted by on Jun 20, 2016 @ 8:02 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The hilly areas around Zagreb are perfect for hiking for beginners and more experiences hikers alike.

The first and very obvious choice is Medvednica. Zagreb “lives actively” with Medvednica every day of every season. This protected oasis has numerous picnic areas and offers a variety of recreational opportunities, including active holidays, outings, and pretty much everything a modern person needs for a healthier life and stress relief. The highest peak is situated at an altitude of 1,033 metres above sea level.

Twenty kilometres west of Zagreb lies Žumberak, a nature park and natural border between Croatia and Slovenia. Following the easiest route through the highlands, the one made of asphalt curves, hikers will encounter numerous streams that Žumberak abounds in. Believe it or not, there are uninhabited villages around here. Population of Žumberak originates partly from Uskoks, who were retreating from Turks and settled in the area.

West of the capital there is another popular hiking destination – Oštrc. This one is located near Samobor, about thirty kilometres from downtown Zagreb. It is relatively easy to climb to the top of it, and a good chunk of the journey can be traveled by car, so it is a perfect place for families with small children. For those more ambitions climbers, an ascent from Rude, over Ptičiji Vrh, is recommended. This would be an hour and a half walk which offers a fantastic view of the Samobor highlands.



Trail to the past: Recreating a 1968 hike

Posted by on Jun 19, 2016 @ 9:28 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Last year, a former Eielson airman asked for help identifying the location of an Interior hill he climbed in 1968.

Fairbanks history buffs and hiking enthusiasts rushed to help him. First, they identified the location of his hike from his old photographs.Then, last month, they took him hiking there when he flew in from Kentucky to re-create the hike.

Bob Pettit’s main photograph from the 1968 hike is of fellow airman Werner “Bruce” Jasinski. Pettit has lost touch with Jasinski and doesn’t remember exactly how he spelled his name. In the photo, Jasinski is a muscular 18-year-old in jeans and a T-shirt, standing with his arms crossed on a rock outcropping near the Elliott Highway. A hill climbing to an alpine ridgeline is visible behind him.

Pettit is now 70 and lives in northern Kentucky. He had hoped to figure out where he had hiked that day based on the shape of the rocks on the ridgeline. He wanted to re-create the hike because it was a highlight of his time in Alaska.

“What made the hike so memorable is that you’re an 18-year-old boy from Kentucky and you’re out it the wilds of Alaska where there’s wildlife, and that’s unimaginable,” he said.

It turns out Pettit’s destination was Wickersham Dome, a well-known landmark today frequented by hundreds of hikers each year. It’s now on a developed trail in the White Mountains National Recreation Area, but that trail hadn’t been built yet in 1968. Pettit and Jasinski climbed the hill from a different location than most hikers do today.

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