Gary S. Williams first got hooked on hiking when he was a child, berry picking with his mom near Dover.
Fast forward several decades, and Williams has formalized his hobby on the pages of a new book, “Hiking Ohio,” which describes in detail 83 recommended trails throughout the state.
Each suggested hike includes a description of the trail, including length and any historic or geographic highlights; amenities (restrooms, camping, etc.); a map; GPS coordinates and more. In addition, each hike is rated for its degree of difficulty, from one boot (easiest) to five (most difficult).
Williams, a retired librarian, lives in Wintersville, just west of Steubenville, and is a volunteer with the Buckeye Trail Association, which maintains and promotes the 1,440-mile trail that winds through Ohio. He has previously self-published four books on early Ohio history.
The 22nd anniversary of National Trails Day, America’s largest trail celebration, is slated for June 7, 2014. Events throughout the U.S. will join this nationwide observation of America’s wealth of trail types and experiences while encouraging the public to enjoy a trail.
According to State Trails Coordinator Mike Sprague, “The kick off to Arkansas’s celebrations will begin a week earlier on Saturday, May 31, with trail events of all kinds in Little Rock and North Little Rock. A schedule of the events slated for May 31 in the metro area is posted on the Arkansas Trails Council website.
Sprague said, “The Arkansas Trails Council provides a unifying voice for members of the trails’ community within Arkansas. Each year, members of the Council are joined by other trail enthusiasts from around the state to celebrate Arkansas Trails Day.” He continued, “Diverse trail types like hiking, bicycling, equestrian, river, and off highway vehicle trails represent just a few of the many varieties available in Arkansas.
There are even trails on the water to enjoy here in our state.” Sprague emphasized, “Arkansas’s trails provide many benefits and experiences including recreation, health and fitness, wildlife observation, alternate transportation, and tourism.”
As soon as British Columbia’s Vancouver Island Spine Trail is completed, Rumon Carter plans to run all 700 kilometres of it. At 50 kilometres a day, he anticipates being able to cover the proposed trail from Victoria to Cape Scott in two weeks.
Carter, a director of the Vancouver Island Spine Trail Association, told the Georgia Straight that the long-distance trail will be the island’s version of the Pacific Crest Trail and the Appalachian Trail in the United States and the Camino de Santiago in Spain.
“Each of these trails are huge shining lights for tourism in those regions, and great attractors and feathers in the caps of outdoor adventurers—whether they’re thru-hiking the trails in their entirety or just exploring various portions of them,” Carter said by phone from Victoria.
On May 31, VISTA will host the inaugural Vancouver Island Trails Network Conference in Courtenay. A Trails Day Out event in Cumberland on June 1 will follow the conference.
Gilbert Parker, VISTA’s past president, formed the organization in 2008, after hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, which runs 4,265 kilometres through California, Oregon, and Washington. According to Carter, their goal is to finish building the Spine Trail by 2017, the 150th anniversary of Canada.
Stancy DuHamel remembers when her parents insisted that she and her five siblings head outside. These days she doesn’t need any prompting.
“It’s a great way to clear the mind and discover,” said DuHamel, a resident of New York City and long-term weekender in Wingdale, NY. “Plus the air is fresh.”
Millions of people agree with DuHamel. The Outdoor Foundation’s 2014 Outdoor Recreation Participation Topline Report shows 142.6 million Americans participated in at least one outdoor activity in 2013 and jointly made 12.1 billion such outings. Favorite activities among young people were running, biking, fishing, camping and hiking.
For DuHamel, who volunteers with several conservation and outdoor groups, hiking is an outdoor activity that relieves stress and connects her with nature’s flora and fauna. All you need, she said, is a backpack for binoculars, bug repellent, water, a compass and maps. And don’t forget to wear good hiking shoes.
“My tips are give yourself enough time to relax,” she said.
“I ’m not a particularly fast walker,” Heather Anderson said – much to the relief of her interviewer – as she hiked a North Idaho trail last week. “The difference between me and the thru-hikers who have a fast pace is that I walked 3 mph all day and into every night, averaging 5 hours of sleep, without a rest day.” For two months!
That’s how Anderson, 32, beat the unsupported backpacking speed record on the Pacific Crest Trail by four days. Starting June 8, 2013, at the U.S-Mexico border, the Bellingham hiker averaged nearly 44 miles a day gobbling up nearly 2,700 miles along the PCT to arrive at the Canada border in 60 days, 17 hours and 12 minutes.
“Once I realized this was not a backpacking trip – that it was all about pain and suffering – it was easier to cope,” she said.
She’s already proved herself to herself – hiking through obesity, fear of the dark, self-doubt, a marriage and the triple crown of the USA’s long-distance trails. She started from scratch 12 years ago.
“Never in my dreams did I imagine setting a record of any kind, much less an athletic record,” she said, noting that she grew up in a relatively inactive Michigan family. “I weighed 200 pounds when I graduated from high school.”
Her epiphany came that summer after she landed a job at Grand Canyon National Park. “I fell in love with the trails,” she said. “I had never hiked before.”
American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day® is the country’s largest celebration of trails. Mark your 2014 calendar for Saturday, June 7 to prepare for this year’s big celebration. National Trails Day events include hikes, biking and horseback rides, paddling trips, birdwatching, geocaching, gear demonstrations, stewardship projects and more.
With miles of hiking and bridle trails crisscrossing the Watchung Reservation in Mountainside, NJ maintenance and repair is an important, on-going task. The Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Department of Parks and Recreation have the perfect opportunity for trail users who want to “give something back” to the trails they enjoy. Read more…
In celebration of the 22nd Annual National Trails Day, Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area, TN invites the public to help with trail maintenance on Hillman Heritage National Recreation Trail. Volunteers will meet at Hillman Ferry Campground gatehouse at 9:00am for a tailgate safety briefing. Volunteers will need to bring lunch, drinking water, and wear appropriate clothing, i.e., long pants, hiking boots, etc. Read more…
In conjunction with National Trails Day, Tennessee State Parks will host free, guided hikes, encouraging outdoor enthusiasts to participate in several planned activities across the state. Each state park will host its own hike, offering a variety of family-friendly activities including historical hikes, educational programming, re-enactments and wildlife watching. Read more…
Look for special events in your area. State parks in every state host celebrations, cleanups, group hikes and trail maintenance to encourage all of us to get out there for National Trails Day.
On the last Monday of May, our nation will come together to observe Memorial Day and honor the men and women who gave their lives in service of our country. Throughout the National Park System, many sites will hold events in-memoriam of the greatest sacrifice made by these brave American veterans, while other sites stand as permanent tributes to fallen soldiers year-round.
This year, five national parks will continue their Civil War 150th celebrations by observing Memorial Day with special events. National parks such as Andersonville National Historic Site (Georgia), Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park (Virginia), and Monocacy National Battlefield (Maryland) will host programs paying tribute to the American veterans who were lost on the battlefield.
From the first days of the American Revolutionary War to the lives lost on September 11, 2001, the National Park Service protects the memory of those who sacrificed themselves to protect our nation. Invite your friends and family to join in reflecting on the last full measure of devotion made by our fellow Americans.
by Outdoors writer Gillian Scott
One sunny fall afternoon on the summit of Black Bear Mountain near Inlet, I lay my head on my pack, pulled my cap down over my face and drifted off to sleep.
While my husband, Herb, was thrashing through the brush somewhere, checking for more views, I was indulging in one of my favorite hiking activities: the summit nap. When the dog got restless a little while later, I opened my eyes and lifted my cap to look around. Not a creature stirred on the rocks, but I was startled to see vultures circling overhead. Apparently, the summit nap is not without its risks.
Hiking with another person can be challenging. There’s the matter of figuring out a pace that works for both of you — a fast person can always go slower, but a slow person can’t always go faster. There’s also the issue of deciding where to hike — mountain or pond? Easy or hard? Trailed or bushwhack?
A lot of harmonious hiking has to do with compromise. But there’s also a healthy dose of recognizing your hiking partner’s style and learning to live with it.
The Picos de Europa (“Peaks of Europe”) are relatively unknown in America—and that’s a pity. The mountain range, located just a few miles from Spain’s northern coast, occupies less land than New York City yet contains some of the most rugged terrain on the Iberian Peninsula.
The rocky limestone peaks and tiny villages below them are as breathtaking as anything you might find in the Alps, Dolomites or Pyrenees. The grandest mountain in the Picos, Naranjo de Bulnes, is an 8,264-foot-tall monster with vertical stone walls, tempting only for experienced rock-climbers. Surrounding it is a well-marked network of less-intimidating trails; travelers can easily spend weeks trekking from one quaint hamlet to the next.
Most English-language guidebooks on Spain provide basic information on popular hikes in the Picos; trailheads are well marked, and routes easy to follow. For longer treks, local maps and guidebooks are available, but few are in English. A number of tour companies offer multi-day hiking trips to the Picos, good options for the less intrepid.
Vacationers in the White Mountains this holiday weekend are being asked to look for clues in a cold case murder dating back 13 years. “It’s vast territory and a lot of weather in between,” said hiker Ginny Teneyck. “You never know what you’ll find.”
After arriving at the Joe Dodge Lodge at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center back in November 2001, Louise Chaput quickly went on a hike. She never came back. Her body would be found days later near the Glen Boulder Trail. The 52-year-old Canadian woman had been stabbed to death.
Many of her belongings were never found and state investigators with the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office hope hikers this weekend will keep an eye out. Hikers are urged to be on the lookout for Chaput’s dark blue “Kanuk” brand sleeping bag; a back pack with a Canadian insignia on it; her car keys for a Ford Focus; and a pendant with an “S” design, according to Ben Agati, New Hampshire Assistant Attorney General.
“Pretty unlikely to find something like that,” said hiker Will Adams. “But you never know if you have enough people look, you might have some good luck there.”
It’s unclear why investigators have put out the request now, but it is something they have asked in the past.
Appalachian Trail hikers were not expecting to meet a fourth grade class when they reached the Appalachian Trail crossing on Remount Road near Front Royal, VA.
But the class worked all year for hikers just like them. These hikers were on their way home to Massachusetts after starting the trail in Georgia, and met with the children responsible for having a “hikers crossing” sign installed on the busy highway intersecting the trail.
Cathy Harron, their teacher at Ressie Jeffries Elementary School, participated in the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Trail to Every Classroom program and was able to bring them to the crossing in order to see the results of their work.
When Harron’s students took a trip to the trail to see the signs, they were also able to meet several hikers going through, heading across the road and avoiding traffic with the assistance of the signs.
Who needs headlamps? From a bioluminescent bay in Puerto Rico to a Japanese trail lined with glowing mushrooms, these ten hikes are at their best when it’s dark out. Pack your camera (leave the flash at home) and prepare to be amazed.
Ready… Set… Go…
Just in time for Memorial Day, the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) unveiled the Forest Trail Explorer, a searchable web application (web app) that combines details on three popular trail systems in western North Carolina with the state-of-the-science information the SRS Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) unit collects on the region’s forests.
SRS, the Forest Service National Forests in North Carolina (NFNC) and the University of North Carolina Asheville National Environmental Modeling Analysis Center (NEMAC) collaborated on the project. The new web app can be found at www.nctrails.org.
“The Forest Trail Explorer illustrates how Forest Service research, the national forest system, and partners can collaborate to create innovative products for today’s outdoor enthusiasts,” said SRS director Rob Doudrick. “This site uses today’s technology to benefit visitors and communities, and it could serve as a model for other national forests interested in using FIA data to inform and enhance the user’s outdoor experience.”
Hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders and others will find trail information they need to have a safe and enjoyable trip, including trail type, length, difficulty, elevation, and fly-overs of some trails. In addition, users can download files of the trails and view them on their computers or tablets using Google Earth. The files allow users to see the trails and terrain in a detailed interactive format.
The U.S. Forest Service plans to conduct a major trail renovation of the lower section of Trail # 127 Black Mountain Trail from the intersection with Trail # 603 Thrift Cove Loop in the Pisgah Ranger District, Pisgah National Forest. This section of Black Mountain trail will be closed for at least two weeks from May 28 to June 10, 2014.
This project, in partnership with Pisgah Area SORBA, will help protect water quality, address erosion issues and overall sustainability of the trail. Public safety during this work is the number one concern. The public should avoid this area and heed all posted trail closed signs. For more information please contact the Pisgah Ranger District at 828-877-3350.
At 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 21, 2014 the Blue Ridge Parkway will close from MP 393 (at NC191) south to Mt. Pisgah Country Store at MP 408.
On Thursday morning, May 22, 2014 a convoy of construction vehicles with park ranger escorts will deliver components of the comfort station to the construction site at Graveyard Fields Overlook (MP418) for assembly and installation.
Park rangers plan to re-open the motor road as the convoy passes various gated sections headed south on the Parkway that morning.
In many parts of the country, abandoned train tracks have been repurposed into multi-use exercise trails. The best of them — a little more than two dozen routes in all — are in the Rail-to-Trails Conservancy Hall of Fame, and several of those are located in the Northwest region of the United States, in Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.
Some routes are within earshot of an interstate or overrun with tumbleweeds. Others take you outside of city limits, perhaps following a river around a mountain pass, offering an opportunity to see and hear birds in remote marshlands or spot wildlife in an open meadow. And since the original tracks had gradient limits for locomotives, the trails are relatively flat, making for an easy bike ride, hike or run.
The Hall of Fame trails, selected between 2007 and 2011, were chosen for reasons of “scenic value, high use, trail and trailside amenities, historical significance, excellence in management and maintenance of facility, community connections and geographic distribution.”
The fourth class of Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame honorees will be inducted on Friday, June 6, 2014 at the annual Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame Banquet at the Allenberry Resort in Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania.
Honorees in the 2014 Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame class are A. Rufus Morgan of Franklin, North Carolina; Charles R. Rinaldi of Boca Raton, Florida; Clarence S. Stein of New York City, New York; and Pamela A. Underhill of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.
Three classes were previously elected to the A.T. Hall of Fame. The Charter Class, elected in 2011, was comprised of Myron Avery, Gene Espy, Ed Garvey, Benton MacKaye, Arthur Perkins and Earl Shaffer. Members of the 2012 class were Emma “Grandma” Gatewood, David A Richie, J. Frank Schairer, Dr. Jean Stephenson and Major William Adams Welch. The 2013 Class was Ruth Blackburn, David Sherman, David Startzell and Everett (Eddie) Stone.
Last year, Hendersonville, NC resident Matt Kirk beat a 23-year-old record for “self-supported” hikes along the Appalachian Trail, hiking from Maine to Georgia in 58 days, nine hours and 38 minutes. He did it wearing an ultra-light pack he designed and built himself.
The homemade pack worked so well, Kirk decided to share the materials and instructions on his blog so other “fast-packers” — minimalists who shun heavy gear in exchange for traveling freedom — could adapt it to their uses. In March of this year, Kirk went one step further, offering his “Sub-60 Fast Pack” for sale online.
With help from an Asheville seamstress and fellow entrepreneur who makes her own lightweight tents and rain gear, Kirk manufactured 59 of his Sub-60 Fast Packs in a kit that can be customized to hikers of any size, including children.
With no marketing or advertising, all but 16 of Kirk’s packs were quickly spoken for. Although he’s given away a few packs to friends, Kirk has shipped the majority of his inaugural production run to hikers across the U.S. as well as in Germany, Australia and Canada.
“Overall, the feedback has been very favorable,” he said, adding that not every customer was focused on “fast-packing or breaking speed records. But they were all conscientious hikers who are minimalists with their gear.”