Hiking News

Fire Danger Increasing in Western North Carolina

Posted by on Oct 13, 2016 @ 5:04 pm in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Fire Danger Increasing in Western North Carolina

The U.S. Forest Service and the North Carolina Forest Service are warning the public of increasing fire danger in western North Carolina.

Last weekend’s rainfall was not widespread and not enough to alleviate the dry conditions and persistent drought that has resulted from low rainfall in the past few months. Fuels in the forest will readily burn if ignited. Fire danger is predicted to remain high for the rest of October and into December.

Both agencies would like to remind the public to use caution in any outdoor burning. Even when burn-bans are not in effect, conditions may not be advisable for outdoor fires. The public is discouraged from burning yard waste during periods of low humidity or high winds.

For people who choose to burn debris, the N.C. Forest Service offers the following tips to protect property and prevent wildfires:
* Always consider alternatives to burning.
* Obtain a burning permit at an NCFS office or online
* Check the weather – don’t burn on dry, windy days.
* Know your local burning laws.
* Be prepared with water, a shovel and phone.
* Stay with your fire until it is completely out.

Studies have shown that taking these and other measures can greatly reduce wildfires and the loss of property associated with them. Take time now to prepare your home against wildfires. Tips on protecting your property can be found at www.firewise.org.

Additionally, campfires can be a source of wildfires. Follow these guidelines to help prevent wildfires:
* Allow the wood to burn completely to ash, if possible
* Pour lots of water on the fire, drown ALL embers, not just the red ones
* Pour until hissing sound stops
* Stir the campfire ashes and embers with a shovel
* Scrape the sticks and logs to remove any embers
* Stir and make sure everything is wet and they are cold to the touch
* If you do not have water, use dirt. Mix enough dirt or sand with the embers.
* Continue adding and stirring until all material is cool.
* Do NOT bury the fire as the fire will continue to smolder and could catch roots on fire that will eventually get to the surface and start a wildfire.

Learn more about fire safety at http://ncforestservice.gov/fire_control/fc_firesafetyoutdoors.htm and www.smokeybear.com. Remember…only YOU can prevent wildfires.

 

The Three Best Exercises to Get in Shape for Hiking

Posted by on Oct 12, 2016 @ 9:04 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking seems easy—after all it’s just walking for a while—but it can be a big challenge. From varying and sometimes difficult terrain to the fact that you use different muscles for longer periods of time than normal, a good hike takes working up to. Here are three exercises you can do to make sure you’re in hiking shape.

Besides being able to hike hilly terrain without having to stop every few feet to catch your breath, it’s important to be in shape so that you can get to safety quickly if there’s a weather change or emergency. Add these exercises to your workout so you’re ready for whatever your hike holds.

  • Lunges: Works on your legs and balance. Take this exercise to the next level by holding weights.
  • Poor Man’s Leg Curl: Strengthens your core and helps you maintain balance and coordination.
  • Band Walks: Improves your coordination, core strength, and legs.

If you plan to go on really long hikes, you should also work on your endurance by increasing the length of your workouts or adding cardio. Since you’ll usually carry a pack, even if it’s small, adding a weighted bag during your workouts to better simulate hiking conditions.

Cite…

 


Boxing is a great form of exercise. Need some gloves?


 

80-year-old error in land records wipes out popular Minnesota trail

Posted by on Oct 11, 2016 @ 9:24 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

An 80-year-old clerical error has wiped out minnesota’s ownership of a popular area used for hiking, cross-country skiing and boat access to Rainy Lake near International Falls.

When the Polar Polers, a local ski club, recently began planning to enhance the Tilson Bay recreational area by building a boardwalk across a tamarack bog, they found a surprise when they checked the property records: The state had sold the land in 1935.

But whoever recorded the sale for Koochiching County back then failed to note the new owner in land records. And the buyer, a prominent International Falls businessman, apparently lost track of the purchase amid all his wheeling and dealing.

“It never occurred to anyone that this wasn’t state land,” said Matt Wappler, a forest manager with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Over the years, the state opened the land for hiking and cross-country skiing and built public boat access to Rainy Lake.

Michael Jaksa, a local attorney said the new owner “is a nice person” who “has basically agreed to gift the area south of the highway to the state, which clears up any ski trail issue, and also opens up the probability of the boardwalk.”

Read full story…

 

Italian Riviera finding new ways to manage tourism impact on historic hiking trails

Posted by on Oct 10, 2016 @ 11:58 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

It’s part of 120 miles of undulating trails that flit through pine-scented forests, flirt with postcard panoramas of the blue Ligurian Sea, and snake alongside terraced vineyards as they crisscross the Cinque Terre National Park.

The park, which was established in 1999 and is a UNESCO reserve, encompasses more than 9,500 acres and connects five of the Italian Riviera’s most picturesque coastal villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore.

While the trails nearest the park’s borders outside the villages can be relatively peaceful, the path from Monterosso to Vernazza teems with a steady stream of hikers from around the world. There are Americans, Brits and Australians, many of whom seem surprised at the arduousness of the trails.

The emphasis is on Cinque Terre’s winemaking heritage, seeming to be exactly the sort of tourism that park officials hope to encourage, while at the same time they’re struggling to cope with wear and tear on the most popular coastal trails.

Such is the concern about the influx of visitors to the Cinque Terre, which has only 4,000 permanent residents, that park president Vittorio Alessandro implied in February that limits would need to be imposed.

Read full story…

 

Shelters on the Ouachita National Recreation Trail

Posted by on Oct 10, 2016 @ 7:07 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Shelters on the Ouachita National Recreation Trail

The Ouachita National Recreation Trail (pronounced as wosh-i-taw) is a 223-mile backcountry trail, running east and west the length of the Ouachita Mountains. It lies primarily within the Ouachita National Forest, with 177 miles of the trail in Arkansas and 46 miles extending into Oklahoma.

Both ends of the trail are in State parks. The eastern terminus is in Pinnacle Mountain State Park, west of Little Rock; the western terminus is in Talimena State Park, Oklahoma.

Originally intended as a foot trail, the entire length is open to both day hikers and backpackers. Since 2000, mountain bikers have been given access to western portions of the trail, currently about 140 miles, and have joined other trail users as good stewards of the trail.

In addition to the State parks, Forest Service recreation areas provide campground facilities along the trail. A string of overnight shelters further enhance the experience for backpackers. The goal is a shelter every 10 to 12 miles to foster multi-day excursions.

Friends of the Ouachita Trail (FoOT) has partnered with the Ouachita National Forest to maintain and enhance the trail since 2004. Part of the enhancement effort has been a trail shelter project. The project called for adding 12 additional shelters covering approximately 120 miles on the western end of the Ouachita Trail.

Read full story…

 

Mark your Calendars: 2017 is the MST’s 40th Anniversary!

Posted by on Oct 9, 2016 @ 11:25 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Mark your Calendars: 2017 is the MST’s 40th Anniversary!

On September 9, 1977, Howard N. Lee, then Secretary of Natural Resources and Community Development, made an audacious speech to a National Trails Symposium at Lake Junaluska which has fired the imaginations and energy of NC trail enthusiasts ever since. In that speech, Lee recommended that North Carolina build a “trail from the mountains to the coast, a trail leading through communities as well as natural areas.”

Almost forty years later, that trail has become a reality. Nearly 700 miles of trail have been built, and people now walk across North Carolina, using back road connections where trail has not yet been built. Every year new trail opens, and more and more people enjoy the trail for day hikes with their families, overnight backpack trips with friends, and cross-state treks which become adventures of a lifetime.

To celebrate the accomplishments of the last forty years and prepare for the future, Friends of the Mountains to Sea Trail is planning a series of fun, informative events as well as publishing a complete set of hiking guides. Mark your calendars now, and sign up for registration materials so you can get involved.

Gathering of Friends – Friday, March 24 to Sunday, March 26, 2017 – Elkin
40th Anniversary celebrations kick-off with an expanded annual meeting in Elkin.

Regional Trail Guides – Release date – Friday, March 24, 2017
Friends will be publishing trail guidebooks for three regions of the trail – mountains, piedmont, and coastal plain/Outer Banks.

MST Communities Conference – Thursday, May 4 to Friday, May 5, 2017 – Elkin
The 2nd biennial conference will provide an opportunity for elected officials, government staff, and tourism leaders of communities along the MST to learn how to support hikers and make the trail a success in their area.

Jennifer Pharr Davis Hikes the MST – August to November – North Carolina wide
National Geographic 2012 Adventurer of the Year Jennifer Pharr Davis, who lives in Asheville, will hike the entire MST starting in August. She will spend 3 to 4 months on the trail, and along the way MST Friends will have an opportunity to meet her at special events and hikes and read about her adventures as she blogs, posts on facebook and instagram, and speaks to local media.

MST in a Day – Saturday, September 9, 2017 – North Carolina wide
Forty years to the day that Howard Lee gave his original speech, you and hundreds of other trail enthusiasts are invited to walk or paddle a portion of the trail so that, through our collective efforts, 100% of the trail will be covered in a single day. You will be able to register to hike your favorite section or sign up to explore a new area starting at the Gathering of Friends in March.

 

What every hiker should know (by now)

Posted by on Oct 8, 2016 @ 7:56 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

People seem to believe that Nothing Will Go Wrong when they hike in the Grand Canyon. They’re just going to dash in and out for just a few miles. Shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours. Ah, but what if it does? What if someone sprains an ankle? Trips over a waterbar on the trail?

In 2015, Grand Canyon answered 318 calls for assistance, involving 271 injured or ill persons. The park boasts the most search-and-rescue incidents of any national park. Cost: over $875,000, for just that year.

Grand Canyon sees from 12 to 20 deaths a year. Contrary to popular belief, most are not from falls but from heat and heart attacks.

It is expected that, in a national park, someone will rush to our rescue if we get in over our heads. During the height of the season, park rangers may get 30 calls a day for assistance. Most of these involve a sympathetic talking-to and a bottle of water. Two to three times a day, for a true medical emergency, the helicopter may be summoned, at great personal risk to all involved.

Should venturing into the backcountry be completely safe? Not at all. Part of the wilderness experience should be getting cold, or hot, or tired, or thirsty, or hungry, or scared, or worried. There should always be that tiny frisson of potential peril.

Know what to do…

 

Best fall hikes in North Georgia

Posted by on Oct 7, 2016 @ 7:29 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hike to these North Georgia mountain summits and waterfalls to catch the best fall leaf color in Georgia. Top 10 favorite autumn hiking trails from Atlanta Trails.

Autumn is the favorite hiking season of many in North Georgia, as days become cooler, nights become crisp, skies become brilliantly blue, and the cool air triggers a spectrum of leaf color in deciduous trees in the mountains.

Autumn’s cool air makes for comfortable fall hiking, camping and backpacking, as Georgia sheds its summertime heat. Fall leaf color explodes throughout the state’s rolling southern Appalachians, painting the valleys and mountains in yellow, orange and red. And there’s just something about the Fall that goes hand-in-hand with hiking (and pumpkin-flavored everything)… it’s by far the favorite season to hit the trail.

Temperatures and elevations range across the state, so peak leaf change will vary throughout. Leaf change starts with high-elevation mountain summits in early fall, and moves down to lower creek valleys and more southern latitudes as the season moves on. Most of northern Georgia sees peak leaf color in mid-October to mid-November.

See the favorite hikes…

 

Move To Change Access To Fiery Furnace In Arches National Park Draws Ire

Posted by on Oct 6, 2016 @ 7:16 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

A move Superintendent Kate Cannon believes will lead to better management of visitation to the Fiery Furnace in Arches National Park has drawn the ire of guiding businesses and a member of Congress, who see the changes as unnecessary and economically crippling to the guides and damaging to the unique geologic niche of the park.

A red rock maze of fins, arches, and canyons in the heart of the park, the Fiery Furnace long has been a highlight for many visitors to Arches in southeastern Utah. Up until 2008 or 2009, according to the superintendent, 125 people were able to enter the Fiery Furnace each day: 50 went with ranger-guided tours, and the remaining 75 were individual parties that succeeded in landing a permit (currently $6 per person 13 and older, $3 for those aged 5-12). But then, 25 permits were taken away from the general public and distributed to commercial guiding services, explained Superintendent Cannon.

Since that option was added, the number of guiding businesses holding Commercial Use Authorizations (CUAs) for leading hikes in the park rose dramatically, to nearly 90 today, she said.

“When you get that many people with the potential (to seek permits), there gets to be competition between the different companies. And it gets pretty hard to manage. There’s not really a good way to manage it,” she said. “We’ve just manufactured an untenable management scheme. I don’t think when the decision was made to start with CUAs we ever thought that it would get so large that there’s no reasonable way to fairly distribute those few spaces.”

Read full story…

 

Avoid most popular hiking trails in Adirondacks this fall

Posted by on Oct 3, 2016 @ 7:33 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

New York conservation officials are urging Adirondack hikers to stay off the most popular trails in the High Peaks region this fall and range into other parts of the six-million-acre park.

Growing numbers of hikers in the Adirondack Eastern High Peaks region are trashing trails, crowding summits and negatively affecting the experience for others.

The Department of Environmental Conservation says less populated routes offer equally great fall foliage and a less crowded backcountry experience.

Its suggested alternatives include Rocky Peak, where the East Trail in the Giant Mountain Wilderness ascends 6.7 miles and 3,600 feet from the trailhead on Route 9N to the summit.

Another is Baxter Mountain, with a mile-long trail in the Hammond Pond Wild Forest that ascends 725 feet from the trailhead on the State Route 9N to the top.

The DEC offers a total of 13 alternative, less-crowded hiking routes…

 

Tall Trees Trail added to Kaien Island network

Posted by on Oct 2, 2016 @ 7:29 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The view from the top of the Tall Trees Recreation Trail may arguably offer the best lookout in the Prince Rupert, BC area.

The trail itself was built in 1991, but over the years it became overgrown with fallen trees blocking the route at points. In 2005, the trail was decommissioned — although that didn’t stop some Rupertites from exploring it.

When Pacific NorthWest LNG applied to build a liquefied natural gas facility on Lelu Island, the proponent also began investing into the community, spending $125,000 to support the project to re-open the trail.

The Provincial Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations oversaw the construction and the proponent’s funding went toward the design, removing and replacing stairwells, bridges and boardwalks, clearing the overgrown brush and replacing sections of the 4.6km trail. They also installed signs and benches.

“We heard from the community that there was not enough access to nature in the Prince Rupert area, and that a number of the local trails had not been adequately maintained,” said Tessa Gill, head of external affairs for Pacific NorthWest LNG. “The restoration of the Tall Trees Trail creates increased access to nature for the community and First Nations, as well as education and informative environmental activities.”

Read full story…

 

Safety Reminders That Can Save Your Life Outdoors

Posted by on Sep 30, 2016 @ 7:17 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

There are a lot of things that can happen when hiking. Most of the time, a blister and a scraped knee should be the least of your worries. Despite the fact that people have easier methods of getting help or dealing with dangers on the trail, it seems like every time we read the news, someone has sadly lost their life while backpacking. Here are a few safety precautions we should always take on the trail, regardless of how obvious they may be.

  1. Touch Base with Friends and Family
  2. Don’t Take Selfies in Questionable Areas
  3. Drink Lots of Water
  4. Don’t Walk Near the Edge
  5. Don’t Joke Around
  6. Follow the Signs
  7. Don’t Think You’re Invincible
  8. Don’t Underestimate the Weather

Get more details about each here…

 

USGS releases new maps covering Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Posted by on Sep 27, 2016 @ 11:49 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

USGS releases new maps covering Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Newly released topographical maps of Great Smoky Mountains National Park are now available online from the United States Geological Survey.

For the first time, the maps covering the Park display trails, campgrounds, visitor centers, boundaries and other visitor information. The maps can be found here.

“The nationwide similarity in the look and feel of the maps, as well as a very widespread understanding of how to use them, make USGS topographic maps the best mapping tool for Park employees, emergency personnel and visitors,” said GSMNP Superintendent Cassius Cash.

 

Fall is phenomenal in Fremont-Winema National Forest, thanks to rare Oregon aspen

Posted by on Sep 27, 2016 @ 9:38 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Tamara Schmidt is a Colorado native, and knows a thing or two about aspens in the fall. “It’s just spectacular,” she said. “It adds that bright pop of gold to the forest. They’re special.”

Schmidt, now the public affairs officer with Oregon’s Fremont-Winema National Forest, is fortunate enough to work within some of the state’s rare stands of quaking aspen, found scattered throughout the southern Oregon forest.

According to a 2013 report, an estimated 24,000 acres of aspen exists in the 2.3 million acre forest, making up the majority of the roughly 35,000 acres of quaking aspen in all of Oregon.

We know little about how common quaking aspen once was in the state, but researchers believe it was much more widespread than it is now, its population affected by the suppression of wildfires and the hunting of big game – both of which help the tree compete with bigger, longer-lasting conifers.

But a recovery effort has helped the aspen thrive in Fremont-Winema, making fall in the national forest a special kind of experience not often seen in the Pacific Northwest.

Head down to the National Forest from late-September to mid-October to see the aspens turn a vibrant yellow, Schmidt said. And while there are stands scattered throughout the area, here are a few places to go to find them.

 

10 great fall foliage hikes in Michigan

Posted by on Sep 25, 2016 @ 11:11 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

A myriad of Michigan hiking trails offer at least one of the following — eye-popping Great Lakes beach views, scenic overlooks that stretch for miles, picturesque rumbling creeks, powerfully flowing rivers, a canopy of majestic hardwoods, a peaceful thicket of pines or wide array of wildlife.

Come autumn, of course, the state’s pathways add their finest feature, beginning a transformation that leaves them ablaze with color.

Typically, fall’s hues reach their peak the first week of October in the Upper Peninsula and later in the month farther south.

Here are 10 of Michigan’s best fall foliage hikes…

 

A privy problem: Maine group races to replace outhouses on Appalachian Trail

Posted by on Sep 24, 2016 @ 11:57 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

A privy problem: Maine group races to replace outhouses on Appalachian Trail

Spiders fled from the outhouse as Craig Dickstein of Caratunk, a trail maintainer for the Maine Appalachian Trail Club, sliced through its back wall with a reciprocating saw on a recent Saturday, carving up and around the seat, then over to the side wall, which was covered with graffiti left by Appalachian Trail hikers.

“The stuff of nightmares,” said Carrington Rhodes of Washington, another MATC trail maintainer, as he watched a particularly large arachnid scamper out of the old building. “You’re never going to feel safe in a privy again.”

The small wooden privy had stood by the Appalachian Trail at the base of Pleasant Pond Mountain for 30-some-odd years, its plastic roof filled with holes left by falling tree branches, ice and snow. But three weeks earlier, Dickstein had hiked up to the privy and nailed the door shut.

Its contents had reached as high as the seat. “Privy closed,” read the sign Dickstein tacked to the door. “This facility has been deemed ‘Code Brown’ and is closed for business.”

Fortunately, the Pleasant Pond privy was next on the list to be replaced by the Maine Appalachian Trail Club as a part of the organization’s privy replacement initiative. Launched in 2013, the plan is to replace all 42 privies the MATC maintains along the AT in Maine with new, more sustainable and environmentally friendly privies.

The reason is simple: they’re filling up and falling apart.

Read full story…

 

Hiking the Smoke Ring Trail Around the GSMNP

Posted by on Sep 23, 2016 @ 11:52 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

“It won’t rain on me,” said Travis “Shepherd” Hall, the long-distance hiker as he descended the Smokies’ Chestnut Top Trail. Hall, who hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2000 (north to south), has made this same claim to fellow hikers who were worried about the weather. When he left a shelter, he says, they would watch in amazement as the rain stopped.

The Smoke Ring Trail (SRT) is Hall’s brainchild, an idea he began to develop seven years ago, to map a route that goes around the perimeter of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Hall, a hair stylist in high demand who works out of Hairpeace in Knoxville, didn’t get a chance to do the 260-mile long trek until last April.

He started on Chestnut Top on April 2, and on April 23 he descended Roundtop Trail and waded across the Little River, his finish line, to complete the circle.

The SRT uses parts of 51 official park trails and a couple of stretches of roads. Hall recommends the park’s $1 trail map for hikers to make sure they turn the right way at trail junctions.

Many people want to hike the AT but can’t get away for six months, he says. The SRT gives you the same biodiversity, scenery, and immersive trail magic as the AT, but you can do it in three weeks, and there are multiple access points where you can see loved ones or go into town or quit, if you have to.

Read full story…