Hiking News

Hiking trails around Annapurna deemed safe after Nepal quake

Posted by on Jul 27, 2015 @ 8:46 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The most popular trekking trail in Nepal escaped damage during April’s devastating earthquake and is safe for hikers to return, an assessment team said. Kit Miyamoto of the California-based engineering firm Miyamoto International assessed the 125 miles of trekking trails around Mount Annapurna, and said that the only hazards were found at three spots and appeared to predate the quake.

Only about 3 percent of the accommodations on the trail were damaged by the April 25 earthquake. That quake, coupled with another in May, killed nearly 9,000 people. Nepal is hoping visitors will return in September, when tourist season begins.

Tulsi Prasad Gautam of Nepal’s Tourism Department said the assessment would help bring back trekkers, and it would be easier for them to get travel insurance — a major concern for people planning their trip to Nepal.

The trail around Mount Annapurna gets about 115,000 foreign trekkers, which is about 60 percent of all hikers who travel to Nepal every year.

The team is also assessing the route on the foothills of Mount Everest, and expects to complete work in two weeks.

Cite…

 

How To Prevent Your Dog From Overheating On The Hiking Trail

Posted by on Jul 27, 2015 @ 8:36 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

This summer has brought extreme temperatures to many U.S. states. Human hikers know that it’s important to carry enough water, wear loose-fitting clothes and wear a wide-brimmed hat when venturing out in temperatures that have been getting up to 100 degrees.

But what about their canine companions? They don’t have the same options to shield them against the heat; all they can do is to follow wherever they are led. Sometimes this can have deadly consequences.

The symptoms of an overheated dog include: Skin that is hot to the touch, heavy panting, excessive thirst, inability to move, salivation. In the worst cases, this can progress to vomiting, diarrhea, loss of coordination and unconsciousness.

Prevent these early signs of overheating from even happening by taking these steps…

 

Asheville hiker Davis elected to Appalachian Trail board

Posted by on Jul 26, 2015 @ 2:24 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Asheville hiker Davis elected to Appalachian Trail board

Record-setting speed hiker Jennifer Pharr Davis, of Asheville, has been elected to the board of directors of The Appalachian Trail Conservancy. The board is responsible for communicating the mission of the ATC, and enhancing the public standing of the ATC by ensuring legal and ethical integrity and practicing fiscal responsibility.

Davis is an avid hiker and Appalachian Trail enthusiast, having thru-hiked the entirety of the 2,190-mile Trail three times. On one of those hikes, in 2011, she set the fastest known time on the AT – 46 days, 11 hours, 20 minutes – earning her a spot on National Geographic’s Adventurers of the Year in 2012. Davis is the author of two guidebooks and two memoirs and runs the Blue Ridge Hiking Co.

“Spending time on the Appalachian Trail will certainly have a positive impact on your life, but as hikers we also need to constantly ask ourselves how our lives can positively impact the trail,” Davis said.

“The board of directors’ passion, expertise and guidance is critical to the mission of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the well-being of the Appalachian Trail,” said Ron Tipton, executive director/CEO of the ATC.

Read full story…

 

Thru-Hiking the Idaho Centennial Trail

Posted by on Jul 25, 2015 @ 10:07 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The Idaho Centennial Trail is more of an idea than a completed trail. Running from the desert bordering Nevada clear to the cool mountain forests of north Idaho, the trail covers between 900 and 1,200 miles of the state.

“I would guess 10 people have thru-hiked it,” said Clay Jacobson. “In history.”

Jacobson’s goal this summer is to join the ranks of those ambitious hikers. On June 30, 2015, he and his girlfriend, as well as two other friends, started out on the border of Idaho and Nevada—ready to begin their hike.

The trek will take them from the canyonlands of southern Idaho to the Sawtooth Wilderness, through 300 miles of the Frank Church-River of No Return and Selway-Bitterroot wildernesses, and along the Continental Divide Trail on the Idaho-Montana border. The trail ends in the Panhandle at the border of the United States and British Columbia, Canada.

It’s not exactly well maintained, though. “There are parts in the Frank Church where no one has been back for 10 years, so the trail is just gone,” Jacobson said.

The party expects to reach the trail’s end in 52 days, right around Aug. 20.

Read full story…

 

How Walking in Nature Changes the Brain

Posted by on Jul 24, 2015 @ 2:58 am in Hiking News | 2 comments

How Walking in Nature Changes the Brain

Taking a stroll in the park may soothe the mind and, in the process, change the workings of our brains in ways that improve mental health, according to a new study of the physical effects on the brain of visiting nature.

Most of us today live in cities and spend far less time outside in green, natural spaces than people did several generations ago. City dwellers also have a higher risk for anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses than people living outside urban centers, studies show.

These developments seem to be linked to some extent, according to a growing body of research. Various studies have found that urban dwellers with little access to green spaces have a higher incidence of psychological problems than people living near parks and that city dwellers who visit natural environments have lower levels of stress hormones immediately afterward than people who have not recently been outside.

But just how a visit to a park or other green space might alter mood has been unclear. Does experiencing nature actually change our brains in some way that affects our emotional health?

Find out here…

 

The Perfect Itinerary for Sequoia + Kings Canyon National Parks

Posted by on Jul 22, 2015 @ 9:10 am in Hiking News | 1 comment

California is fortunate to be home to nine national parks, more than any other state. With such a plethora of natural and national treasures, it may not come as a surprise that two of the state’s most spectacular parks, Sequoia and Kings Canyon, are often overlooked.

While typically referred to together, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are actually two distinct but contiguous parks located in the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains. Kings Canyon lies to the north and Sequoia to the south. Other than iconic giant sequoia trees that inhabit both parks, many of the highlights of Sequoia and Kings Canyon tend to be less known precisely because they are located within the rugged parks’ backcountry and are inaccessible by road. Having world-famous Yosemite lying to the north doesn’t necessarily help in winning the popularity contest either.

If you’re ready to hit the road to discover these hidden natural gems, use this sample itinerary, heading north to south, that packs in some of these west slope wonders.

 

Hiking the Great Walks on New Zealand’s rugged South Island

Posted by on Jul 22, 2015 @ 9:02 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Several items are essential for exploring the magical Southern Alps mountains that run across New Zealand’s South Island: insect repellent, rain gear and ear plugs.

The repellent is to ward off sandflies, those annoying black bugs that are the itchy scourge of hikers in Fiordland National Park. The park, which is bigger than Yosemite and Yellowstone national parks combined, is one of the wettest places on earth. It gets an average 280 inches of rainfall a year, compared to Seattle, Washington’s 38.

And while there’s plenty of peace and quiet to enjoy while hiking the region, you may want ear plugs to block the sound of snoring from exhausted hikers in the huts that offer lodging along the Great Walks. The Great Walks are routes featured by the country’s Department of Conservation for their “diverse and spectacular scenery.” Five of the nine Great Walks are on the South Island.

The Great Walks are highly regulated by the DOC, which maintains the trails, checks for hiking passes and staffs the huts with nightly educational talks. The huts on the most popular Great Walks are large, clean cabins with bunkrooms. They’re a great way to be social with like-minded tourists and hear languages from around the world.

One of the Fiordland Great Walks, the Milford Track, is a world-famous four-day route. Hiking it requires planning as much as a year in advance if you’re planning on visiting during peak Great Walks season, Oct.-April.

Read full story…

 

AccuWeather Launches AccUcast, Providing Exclusive Crowdsourced Weather Feature Worldwide

Posted by on Jul 21, 2015 @ 8:00 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

AccuWeather Launches AccUcast, Providing Exclusive Crowdsourced Weather Feature Worldwide

AccuWeather Global Weather Center – July 21, 2015 – AccuWeather, Inc., the global leader in weather information and digital media, today introduced AccUcast™, an exciting interactive crowdsourcing feature available in the AccuWeather universal iOS app where users can now share their local weather updates. AccUcast is the only crowdsourcing tool with live crowdsourced weather maps that provide current weather conditions submitted by users in a global animation display. AccuWeather designed and developed AccUcast to help people worldwide make more informed decisions, providing a new level of localization and user interactivity in weather forecasting.

“Our mission is to personalize the weather by making it more localized and more interactive for all of our users,” said Steven Smith, AccuWeather President – Digital Media. “AccUcast’s crowdsourcing capability gives app users an innovative and easy way to share their weather observations and to see what other followers are experiencing nearby. By combining AccuWeather’s Superior Accuracy™ with real-world observations from our users, we are empowering people worldwide to participate in weather forecasting to make the best decisions that improve and protect their lives.”

AccUcast is available for global locations through the AccuWeather universal iOS app. Users can submit their local weather and hazard condition observations through the app’s landing screen, map screen, settings menu, and AccuWeather MinuteCast® screen. Weather conditions include clear, partly cloudy, cloudy, rain, snow, ice, or hail, and hazard conditions include damaging winds, slippery roads, flooding, and reduced visibility. After the user’s weather report is submitted, it is visible on the map screen as a pin resembling a person, which distinguishes it from the other user-submitted weather observations on the map.

In the zoomed-out view of the crowdsourced weather map screen, users will see smaller color-coded condition points which can be animated globally. This is unique to AccUcast and allows users to see both national and international weather patterns. When viewers zoom in, they will see crowdsourced weather observations as pins that can be tapped to reveal additional details including the condition, location, and time since submission. Each color-coded pin displays the reported condition with a weather-specific icon for easy scanning of weather patterns in a localized area.

AccUcast joins a suite of innovative features within the AccuWeather app, including MinuteCast. Available for more global locations than any other minute-by-minute forecast, MinuteCast provides the only global minute-by-minute precipitation forecast for a given area over the next two hours. This unique and patented forecast provides hyperlocalized data specific to a user’s exact street address or GPS location and includes precipitation type and intensity, as well as start and end times. It is available for a growing list of international locations, including the contiguous United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Japan, France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Spain, Sweden, and Denmark.

The AccuWeather App is available on the App Store for Apple Watch, iPhone, iPad and iPod touch at App store.

 

Red Rock Country: What Locals Wished You Knew

Posted by on Jul 21, 2015 @ 11:41 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Red Rock Country: What Locals Wished You Knew

“There are two easy ways to die in the desert: thirst or drowning. This place is stained with such ironies, a tension set between the need to find water and the need to get away from it. The floods that come with the least warning arrive at the hottest time of the year, when the last thing on a person’s mind is too much water.”

The Red Rock Country of Southern Utah is high desert at 5,000 feet, and is sometimes called Color Country or Canyon Country. It’s known for its wide open views, hoo doos, arches, red rocks and sand, mesas, bluffs, as well as wave-like slick-rock, and slot canyons. Its beauty is astonishing, sunrises and sunsets are magical, and the landscape can make you feel like you’re on another planet.

You’ll never see anything quite like this region anywhere else in the world, and there is no way to appreciate the vast space and scale of the landscapes out here until you experience it for yourself.

Stand under an arch or a waterfall, be dwarfed inside giant alcoves, frolic with bunnies among riotous wildflowers, take pictures of blooming cacti in the spring, see pictographs and petroglyphs, find broken pottery and petrified wood in the sandy washes, explore ancient cliff dwellings, touch dinosaur tracks, hike to world famous destinations, rappel into slot canyons, climb to the top of bluffs and mesas for views into forever, see naked geology-in action, learn ancient history, swim in creeks, rivers, and lakes, including Lake Powell.

Get the survival tips…

 

Keeping Alive The Korean Love For Hiking, Thousands Of Miles From Korea

Posted by on Jul 20, 2015 @ 8:27 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Mountains cover 70 percent of the Korean peninsula, and in South Korea, an estimated 1 in 3 Koreans goes hiking more than once a month. Over the past few decades, hiking has become way more than a weekend activity. It’s part of the Korean national identity.

Across the Pacific Ocean in Southern California, second- and even third-generation children of Korean immigrants are keeping alive and well a tradition that connects them to their ancestral homeland.

LA’s Griffith Park comprises 4,000 acres where dusty trails weave up and down the bone-dry scrubland. Every day, but especially on early weekend mornings, you’ll find the trails packed with Korean hikers rocking hiking poles, face masks, and enormous visors to block the Southern California sun. There are Korean-Americans of all ages using the trails, but a good number of those hard-core hikers are in their 50s and older, immigrants from South Korea.

“You see grandparents, pushing their walkers up, walking with their canes,” says 26-year-old Moonyoung Ko, a second-generation Korean-American who grew up hiking in Southern California with her parents. One of Ko’s favorite short treks in Griffith Park is the Amir’s Garden trail. It starts so close to the I-5 freeway that you can hear the hum of traffic, and it offers a peaceful and verdant oasis at its end.

Read full story…

 

Hiking the Appalachian Trail: Meet on the ledges

Posted by on Jul 19, 2015 @ 9:23 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The Appalachian Trail north of Damascus, Virginia, follows a portion of the Virginia Creeper Trail, a popular 35-mile rail trail, before climbing into the high country of grassy bald summits and spruce-fir forests of the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, which contains 5,000 acres of terrain over 4,000 feet in elevation. At 5,729 feet, heavily forested Mount Rogers is the highest peak in Virginia.

The highlight of this beautiful section of trail, which also includes Grayson Highlands State Park, is the herd of feral ponies, about the size of Shetlands, that roam free amid the amazing mountain scenery. At several points you are able to get close enough to these beautiful animals to get some great photos, and perhaps earn a few thrilling nibbles at your leg.

A short distance behind the Mount Rogers visitor center is one of the most remarkable campsites on the trail, the Partnership Shelter. Attached to the log structure is a shower stall with hot running water. A sink out back, and a clothesline and clean toilet complete this hikers dream. Bonus: Hikers can order pizza for delivery from nearby Marion.

Virginia is home to 550 miles or roughly one-quarter of the entire Appalachian Trail. In the southwest corner of the state the trail winds through Jefferson National Forest, while in central Virginia it passes through George Washington National Forest. Together these federal lands encompass 1.8 million acres, much of it wilderness.

Read full story…

 

Temporary Trail Closure Announced Due to Wildfire in McDowell County, NC

Posted by on Jul 18, 2015 @ 11:58 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

NEBO, N.C., July 18, 2015 – An estimated 2 acre wildfire burning on Forest Service land near Bald Knob in McDowell County will require temporary closure of a section of the Mountains to Sea Trail between the footbridge over the North Fork of the Catawba River and Dobson Knob Road (Forest Service Road 106). The trail closure will be in effect until fire is declared controlled.

Forest Service officials are asking the public to avoid this area for their own safety and the safety of emergency response personnel on scene.

The Bald Knob fire is burning adjacent to multiple prescribed burn areas that have recently been treated which will limit the fire’s ability to spread rapidly. Firefighters will continue to monitor the wildfire throughout the weekend and into next week. Members of the public near Woodlawn and traveling along State Highway 221 can expect to see and smell smoke over the coming days.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation though firefighters believe ignition was likely caused by lightening from recent strong thunder storms. Four personnel are currently assigned to the fire. Cooperating agencies include the North Carolina Forest Service and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

 

Update July 20, 2015: The Bald Knob Fire, burning on Forest Service land in McDowell County, grew to approximately 20 acres over the weekend. Predicted hot and dry weather will increase the potential for fire growth over the coming days.

No structures are at risk and firefighters are closely monitoring the fire. A temporary closure of a section of the Mountains to Sea Trail between the footbridge over the North Fork of the Catawba River and Dobson Knob Road (Forest Service Road 106) remains in place.

 

Update July 24, 2015: The Bald Knob Fire, burning on Forest Service land in McDowell County, grew to approximately 40 acres since July 20. Rainy weather and high humidity has slowed the fire’s progression. The incident commander ordered an additional fire crew from out-of-state to help support the “confine and contain” strategy currently being employed.

A temporary closure of a section of the Mountains to Sea Trail between the footbridge over the North Fork of the Catawba River and Dobson Knob Road (Forest Service Road 106) remains in place.

 

Update July 31, 2015: The Bald Knob Fire, burning on Forest Service land in McDowell County, remains at 40 acres. The fire, which was reported on July 17, received minimal amounts of rainfall this week from isolated storms.

While rainfall stalled any additional spread of the fire, the amount of precipitation was not enough to extinguish the burning fuels that are sheltered in the rocky cliffs below Bald Knob. With dry conditions and low humidity predicted for this weekend and early next week, the fire activity may increase as leaf litter dries out. Members of the public near the communities of Woodlawn, Sevier and those traveling along State Highway 221 can expect to see increased smoke over the weekend, with heaviest smoke likely to occur in the afternoons when temperatures are high and humidity low.

Firefighters placed an information board at the Woodlawn picnic area off of State Highway 221 that members of the public can view to learn more about the fire and the benefits of natural ignition wildfire in fire-adapted ecosystems like Bald Knob.

A temporary closure of a section of the Mountains to Sea Trail between the footbridge over the North Fork of the Catawba River and Dobson Knob Road (Forest Service Road 106) remains in place.

 

Update August 3, 2015: The Bald Knob Fire, burning on Pisgah National Forest land in McDowell County north of Marion, NC, increased to 190 acres over the weekend. The fire grew in size as weather patterns brought dry, less humid conditions to the area.

The Bald Knob Wildfire was reported on July 17th in a remote area near Dobson Knob, north of Lake James. Wetter weather kept the fire activity low for the first two weeks. With dry conditions over the weekend, fire activity and smoke have increased. Members of the public near Marion, NC and those traveling along State Highway 221 can expect to see and smell smoke, with heaviest smoke likely to occur in the afternoons when temperatures are high and humidity low.

With no significant rain forecasted over the next several days, officials expect the fire to continue to move north-west towards Dobson Knob. Firefighters are scouting for potential containment lines on the west side of the fire and improving existing lines on the south end.

The fire is moving naturally across the terrain in an area where damage from Southern Pine Beetle created high levels of fuels, leading to increased smoke from the fire. This area is adjacent to multiple prescribed burn areas that have recently been treated as part of the Grandfather Restoration Project which will limit the fire’s ability to spread rapidly. The Columbine Wildfire Module, a specialized unit experienced in managing fires for multiple objectives, is assisting with the “confine and contain” strategy currently being employed.

Firefighters placed an information board at the Woodlawn picnic area off of State Highway 221 that members of the public can view to learn more about the fire and the benefits of natural ignition wildfire in fire-adapted ecosystems like Bald Knob.

A temporary closure of a section of the Mountains to Sea Trail between the footbridge over the North Fork of the Catawba River and Dobson Knob Road (Forest Service Road 106) remains in place.

The cause of the fire was likely lightning though the ignition source remains unconfirmed. Cooperating agencies include the North Carolina Forest Service, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, McDowell County Emergency Management, and The Nature Conservancy.

 

Update August 5, 2015: The Bald Knob fire, burning on Pisgah National Forest land in McDowell County north of Marion, NC, is now estimated at 375 acres. The fire was reported on July 17th in a remote area near Dobson Knob, north of Lake James.

Firefighters have finished fire lines on the south end of the fire and are actively constructing fire lines on the west side, as well as scouting for additional containment lines. 17 Firefighters are assigned to the Bald Knob fire. 1 Helicopter is being used between the Bald Knob and Wolf Creek fires.

A shift in wind direction has caused smoke from Bald Knob fire to settle towards the south, impacting areas around Marion and Nebo, NC, with the public seeing and smelling smoke as far south as Rutherfordton, NC. The public can expect to see smoke from this fire for several weeks due to drought conditions in the area.

A community meeting to provide information to the public for the Bald Knob fire will be held on Thursday August 6, at 6:30pm at the Woodlawn Baptist Church, 7873 US-221 North in Marion, NC. Firefighters continue to update the fire information board at the Woodlawn Roadside Park area off of State Highway 221.

A temporary closure of a section of the Mountains to Sea Trail between the footbridge over the North Fork of the Catawba River and Dobson Knob Road (Forest Service Road 106) remains in place.

 

Update August 6, 2015: The Bald Knob fire, burning on Pisgah National Forest land in McDowell County north of Marion, NC, is now estimated at 520 acres. The fire was reported on July 17th in a remote area near Dobson Knob, north of Lake James.

High wind on Wednesday afternoon increased fire activity ahead of the cold front entering the area today. Isolated thunderstorms near the fire produced strong downdrafts but no precipitation for the Bald Knob fire, pushing smoke to the north-northwest towards Boone, NC.

 

Update August 8, 2015: The Bald Knob fire, burning on Pisgah National Forest land in McDowell County north of Marion, NC, is now estimated at 897 acres. Improved mapping as smoke lifted from the area allowed fire officials to accurately map the perimeter of the fire yesterday, leading to the increase in acreage.

The Bald Knob fire was reported on July 17th in a remote area near Dobson Knob, north of Lake James. High wind on Wednesday afternoon increased fire activity ahead of the cold front that brought rain to the region Thursday. Close to 1 inch of rain was reported on the fire, stalling its progress yesterday but not extinguishing the flames. As dry weather returns to the area this weekend and next week, officials expect the fire to continue to grow in size.

Air quality improved yesterday and will likely remain good to moderate over the weekend. Communities near the fire, especially around Marion, Nebo, Lake James and Glen Alpine, NC, may experience some smoke in the mornings and evenings.

A temporary closure of a section of the Mountains to Sea Trail between the footbridge over the North Fork of the Catawba River and Dobson Knob Road (Forest Service Road 106) remains in place.

 

Update August 10, 2015: High humidity over the weekend limited growth of the Bald Knob fire, burning on Pisgah National Forest land in McDowell County north of Marion, NC. The fire now estimated at 1,000 acres.

The Bald Knob fire was reported on July 17th in a remote area near Dobson Knob, north of Lake James. Rainfall on Friday and high humidity over the weekend aided firefighting efforts but did not extinguish the flames. There is a chance of rain in the area today and tomorrow, however, with dry weather predicted to return to the area later this week officials expect the fire to continue to grow in size.

Air quality improved over the weekend and will likely remain good to moderate through Tuesday until dry weather returns. Communities near the fire, especially around Marion, Nebo, Lake James and Glen Alpine, NC, may experience some smoke in the mornings and evenings.

Due to the duration and complexity of this fire, management of the fire is being transferred from the North Carolina Type 3 Incident Management Team to the Southern Area Type 2 Gold Incident Management Team. In addition, officials are setting up a unified command center with the North Carolina State Forest Service.

 

Hartman Creek State Park, Wisconsin trails are up for adoption

Posted by on Jul 18, 2015 @ 10:45 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hartman Creek State Park, covering 1,500 acres in Waupaca and Portage counties in Wisconsin, draws visitors for many reasons.

With six lakes within park boundaries or adjacent to it, a stream and several wetlands, well maintained campgrounds (even a teepee), swimming beach, historic log cabin, interpretive programs by a trained naturalist and natural beauty for all senses in all seasons, what is not to like?

The park also offers some great trails, including specialty trails. And though these draw users from all over the state, and beyond, they may be less well known than some of the other park features. They also are park assets that take maintenance, and offer some wonderful opportunities for volunteerism.

The park has about 10 miles of hiking trails, a 3-mile segment of the National Scenic Ice Age Trail, a 7.5-mile long horse trail, about 15 miles of off-road bike trail (including almost 10 miles of highly rated single track trail), all requiring regular maintenance and monitoring, and after storms, sometimes significant cleanup.

Though many folks love the park, not as many know the vital role that volunteers play in providing those rich outdoor experiences, or that they too could join the ranks of this invisible workforce. The Adopt a Trail program is one such opportunity to volunteer.

Read full story…

 

Where to Go Hiking in Cape Town

Posted by on Jul 18, 2015 @ 10:38 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

There is no shortage of hiking trails and mountains in Cape Town, South Africa but make sure you know the basics before you embark on your voyage.

The walking and hiking trail options in Cape Town are virtually endless, from Table Mountain to Lion’s Head, Signal Hill to Kirstenbosch. Just make sure you do your research, carry water, and have a reliable map—and whatever you do, please don’t wear sandals. In the summertime, it’s best to schedule your hike in the early morning to avoid high temperatures and hordes of people (probably in sandals). Here’s what you should know about some of the city’s best hiking spots.

Lion’s Head is one of Cape Town’s most popular mountains to climb. Unlike Table Mountain, the top can’t be reached by cable car. While it isn’t a particularly strenuous hike, the climb to the top can be steep, with the use of chains at the end to help you ascend. But once you reach the summit, you’ll find the astounding views an apt reward. If you’re after something a little less challenging, head to the trail available at the base of the mountain. It’s a much quieter option with fewer people—extra reason to take a map.

Learn more about other trails…

 

Appalachian Trail record breaker summonsed on Katahdin

Posted by on Jul 17, 2015 @ 3:03 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The man who set a new record for speed traversing the Appalachian Trail, Scott Jurek, was issued three summonses by rangers on Mt. Katahdin. After completing his 46-day run, state park rangers issued him summonses for public drinking, littering and hiking with an oversize group. Katahdin is the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail and lays inside the boundary of Baxter State Park, which is managed as back country.

The Appalachian Trail is a National Park and federally regulated. The trail extends into the park by agreement of two agencies, with Baxter maintaining its right to manage its park as wilderness. Down through the years, pressure from through hikers, particularly the ultra-marathon community has created problems for Baxter State Park personnel. “They represent three percent of our use and about twenty percent of our effort,” Park Director Jensen Bissell said.

Park personnel was troubled by the size of Jurek’s group and the commercial nature of the activity. The Baxter State Park Authority notes that it is considering the pressure brought to the park by the AT. A statement says consideration is being given to ending the relationship between the AT and Baxter State Park.

Read full story…

 

A beginner’s glossary to hiking and camping

Posted by on Jul 16, 2015 @ 9:59 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Don’t know your karst from your krummholz? Do you think holloway is used solely as a surname? Brush up on your hiking and camping terms with our glossary.

That pile of rocks and gravel on a mountainside? There’s a word for that.

Wilderness travel takes more than a pair of strong legs; it requires common sense. An ability to read the land and a basic understanding of trail conditions can be the difference between embarking on a hard slog and pure bliss. Learning the lingo is part of the process, saving novices from grief and providing veterans with a cool vocabulary for the miles shared in the backcountry.

Before you go, boost your outdoors IQ with this glossary of hiking terms…

 

Conservationists Want You to Stop Building Rock Piles

Posted by on Jul 14, 2015 @ 5:08 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Cairns have a long history and purpose, one that newer stacks sometimes subvert.

The Gorham Mountain Trail at Acadia National park winds up through a forested mountain slope before bursting out onto one of the granite-boulder covered summits for which the park is famous. But once you get up there, following the loop back down would be tricky if it weren’t for rock stacks built by Waldron Bates — they feature a long flat rock supported by two legs and a smaller rock pointing in the direction of the trail.

For centuries, humans have been building such markers. But many trail aficionados have one thing to say to people building stone piles in the wilderness now: Stop. There is an annoying plague of rock stacks balanced carefully atop one another in wilderness areas throughout the United States.

These piles aren’t true cairns, the official term for deliberately stacked rocks. From middle Gaelic, the word means “mound of stones built as a memorial or landmark.” There are plenty of those in Celtic territories, that’s for sure, as well as in other cultures; indigenous peoples in the United States often used cairns to cover and bury their dead. Those of us who like to hike through wilderness areas are glad to see the occasional cairn, as long as it’s indicating the right way to go at critical junctions in the backcountry.

Pointless cairns have been a problem at Acadia, Aislinn Sarnacki writes for Bangor Daily News. Visitors have knocked down the Bates cairns and even built their own. That’s a problem Darren Belskis, supervisory park ranger, told Sarnacki. “They’re very important,” he says. “If you make your own cairn, it leads people in the wrong direction, and it could get people in trouble. So come out and enjoy the cairns, find them all, but please don’t disturb them.”

Read full story…

 

New Highpointing Speed Record

Posted by on Jul 12, 2015 @ 8:47 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Scott Jurek’s wasn’t the only new speed record today.

Josh Sanders and his sister Lindsay broke the world speed record for highpointing the lower 48 United States. Driving thousands of miles, hiking hundreds of miles, and climbing over 250,000 vertical feet of mountains in less than 23 days. They began on June 23, 2015 and finished on July 12. 19 days, 7 hours, 37 minutes. So they broke the previous record by three days.

Learn more about this unusual accomplishment here and here.

More information will be posted as it becomes available.

 

Jurek beats Davis’ Appalachian Trail record by mere hours

Posted by on Jul 12, 2015 @ 2:32 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Jurek beats Davis’ Appalachian Trail record by mere hours

Scott Jurek, renowned champion long distance runner, today broke the Appalachian Trail (AT) speed record previously set by Jennifer Pharr Davis of Asheville, NC in 2011 by just three hours. The difference, over the 2,189-mile AT, was akin to a photo finish.

Jurek climbed Mt. Katahdin in Maine on Sunday, July 12, 2015, the 47th day after he started at Springer Mountain, Georgia. To accomplish the feat, Jurek had to average more than 46 miles per day for six and a half weeks. Jurek’s, and Davis’, accomplishments will always be considered among the greatest feats in all of endurance sport.

This is not the only record on the trail however. And purists will have their quibbles. The gold standard for many hardcore hikers is Matt Kirk, who set the unsupported record (meaning he arranged all resupply logistics beforehand in true thru-hiker style) at 58 days, nine hours and 40 minutes from Maine to Georgia in 2013.

And it’s an odd thing to set out for a record on this trail, where community is such an important part of thru-hikers’ identities—much like spiritual practitioners, they find their unique trail name while on route and often share miles on the pilgrimage with strangers—and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy refuses to recognize any records on the trail.

But it is a sense of a higher purpose, something beyond simply hiking and record-setting that has rallied so many around Jurek as he approached his goal.

Read more about Jurek and his effort…

More information will be posted here as it becomes available.

 

Update: Jurek breaks Asheville runner’s 4-year AT speed record

 

Update: Jennifer Pharr Davis reaction:

“The effects of such an endeavor cannot be ranked or expressed in numbers. My greatest reward that summer was not the record. The lasting results I cherish the most are a deeper love for my husband, an increased appreciation for my support network, and a better understanding of the sacrifice it takes to accomplish something very difficult. And, like every hike, I finished the journey with a deeper sense of awe for the spirit and significance of the wilderness, and a stronger desire to give back to the trail community.”

“I want a lifelong relationship with the trail. I want to get as many people out on the trail as possible – especially women and children. And I want to be able to give back through service, financial donations, and trail maintenance projects. I am starting to realize that a true legacy is not so much about performing when the whole world is watching, as it is a dedication to your cause when no one is watching.”

My words to Scott are, “Congratulations. Cherish the experience and hold the record lightly.”

 

Hike through vineyards and lemon trees in Italy’s Cinque Terre

Posted by on Jul 12, 2015 @ 2:08 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

From the top of a steep hillside covered in lemon trees and grapevines, the village of Manarola tumbles out below, like a handful of pink, orange and yellow blocks that have been shaken, then poured from a toy bag.

Manarola is one of five hamlets strewn a few miles apart along the Mediterranean coast in Northern Italy. Each comes with its own personality, and the best way to see the lot is to pick one as a home base, then spend a few days hiking between them, pausing to sip wine, eat grilled octopus and cool off with a swim in the sea.

Hike up through steep terraces covered with vineyards. Pause to admire a chapel and sip lemonade in the pint-size village of Volastra. Then descend into Corniglia, where you can revive yourself with gelato before striking out for the next town up the coast, Vernazza.

It’s easy to imagine the days when pirates sailed up and down this coast. The people who once lived here used stone watchtowers to defend their homes, which are perched on cliffs and tucked into nooks and crannies molded by Mother Nature. It’s long been a wine-producing region, and farmers planted crops on terraces they cut into the hills.

Read full story…