Hiking News

Trekking the Sinai Trail: The new hardcore hiking route trying to save Egypt’s Bedouin heritage

Posted by on Mar 2, 2017 @ 11:51 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Trekking the Sinai Trail: The new hardcore hiking route trying to save Egypt’s Bedouin heritage

The 220km-long Sinai Trail, or Darb Sina, is part of a Middle East-wide hiking network voted the number one new trail in the world by National Geographic. It’s neither the longest nor the hardest of the world’s long-distance routes, but hiking a landscape steeped in history, guided by Bedouin whose lives are intertwined with the same land, is definitely one of the most rewarding.

These days life is hard for the Bedouin of Sinai. Generations past had led pilgrims through the mountains to the ancient monastery of St Katherine, or beyond to the holy city of Mecca. More recently desert knowledge translated to guiding tourists. But the Arab Spring, revolution, coup d’état, insurgency and airliner bombing has curtailed tourism in Sinai. “This trail creates work in a difficult time,” says trail guide Mussalem. “But not just any work…”

“We are worried a little bit about our culture. The young Bedouin, they don’t know much,” said another guide, Nassr. “We want to keep travelling, living the simple life. We want to keep our tribes, our families together. Training new guides means there will be others to carry on.” The Egyptian government has had no hand in supporting the project; the trail is a collective endeavour of three Bedouin tribes, and has been championed by local volunteers and an NGO.

The route usually takes 12 days, ending on the summit of Egypt’s highest mountain, Jebel Katarina.

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Get Fit on the Fells

Posted by on Mar 1, 2017 @ 8:50 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Get Fit on the Fells

Fell running has been around since the 1800s, necessity demanded that shepherds could navigate hilly and mountainous terrain quickly, in all weathers. Events began to be held where locals would pit their skills against each other, and the sport of Fell Running was created.

The Lake District in the UK is the ideal place for Fell running, or even simple hiking, with a multitude of routes and an active fell running community. There are more gentle routes for those just starting out and contrasting, more challenging runs, including the Fairfield Horseshoe, which draws some of the best fell runners in the UK for an annual run in May.

The guide below is aimed at those new to fell running. Maybe you’ve heard about it but aren’t sure what it entails. Or perhaps you’ve decided to give it a go but aren’t sure where to start. This guide will give you all the information you need to begin, including advice on gear, trails and tips for tackling your first route. Lace up your boots and get ready to hit the trails.

The following infographic from Georgia Davies at Craig Manor Hotel shows the benefits of running or hiking on the beautiful Fells of Great Britain.



Friends of Mountains to Sea Trail to Kick Off 40th Anniversary Celebration

Posted by on Feb 28, 2017 @ 4:28 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Friends of Mountains to Sea Trail to Kick Off 40th Anniversary Celebration

The 40th anniversary celebration for North Carolina’s Mountains-to-Sea Trail will kick-off March 24-26,2017 at a Friends of MST annual meeting in Elkin.

On September 9, 1977 Howard Lee, then Secretary of Natural Resources and Community Development, proposed a “state trail from the mountains to the coast.” The annual meeting, called the Gathering of Friends, will be the first in a series of events this year to commemorate Lee’s speech and recognize the progress made on creating the trail.

Friday March 24 there will be a Hiking Boot Gala for members and a review of milestones in development of the trail.

The March 25 annual meeting will focus on long range planning and recognize those who have thru-hiked the 1,175-mile trail this year and in the past and outstanding volunteers. Jennifer Pharr Davis of Asheville, a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year, will be the keynote speaker.

The gala and annual meeting will be in Coley Hall at the Liberty, a restored tobacco warehouse and event space on Elkin’s Main Street.

Throughout the March 24-26 weekend the Elkin Valley Trails Association (EVTA) has organized Trail & Town Excursions, including seven guided hikes, Moonshine and Still search, REI mountain bike clinics, and winery tours. The area also has a variety of self-guided cycling and paddling trails.

To register for Gathering of Friends and learn more about Friends go to mountainstoseatrail.org. Trail & Town Excursion registration will open in the coming weeks for those who are registered for the Gathering.


Smokies park plans solar eclipse viewing at Clingmans Dome

Posted by on Feb 27, 2017 @ 9:25 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Smokies park plans solar eclipse viewing at Clingmans Dome

Where will you be on August 21, 2017 when the solar eclipse casts its shadow across the United States? At Great Smoky Mountains National Park, officials are planning a party to help you both view and understand the science of the eclipse.

The park is offering an opportunity to experience the total eclipse through a special, ticketed event at Clingmans Dome as well as informal eclipse viewing sites at Cades Cove and Oconaluftee. The park is partnering with NASA, Southwestern Community College, and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to provide a special program with featured speakers and storytellers that help explain the science and cultural connection to this unique natural event at Clingmans Dome.

At 6,643 feet in elevation, Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the park and offers the unique possibility of seeing the moon’s shadow approaching across the landscape. The area will be closed to all public vehicle traffic to better accommodate a safe, memorable experience for about 1,325 ticketed participants. The parking area will be converted into the special event site that will include a Jumbotron screen for participating in a national NASA TV broadcast, telescopes, educational exhibits, and stage for special featured speakers.

Beginning on March 1, 2017, tickets will be available for purchase on a first come first serve basis through www.recreation.gov for $30 each. You must have a ticket to attend the event at Clingmans Dome. Participants will be shuttled to the site from Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and Cherokee, North Carolina, by coach bus. The Clingmans Dome tower itself will be reserved for the media and live broadcasting teams to share the experience with the widest audience possible. Special presentations and activities will take place during the approximately three-hour period in the afternoon when the sun will be partially and, for a brief time, totally obscured by the moon.


Thru-Hikers in the Blast Zone: Pipelines Will Intersect the Appalachian Trail

Posted by on Feb 26, 2017 @ 12:24 pm in Hiking News | 2 comments

Thru-Hikers in the Blast Zone: Pipelines Will Intersect the Appalachian Trail

Two pipelines are planned to intersect the Appalachian Trail. The 300-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline will cut across the A.T. near Virginia’s Peters Mountain Wilderness Area. The 550-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline pipeline also is planned to cross the Appalachian Trail and the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia’s Augusta and Nelson Counties. Both pipelines will require clearing a 200-foot-wide right-of-way and building new roads through sensitive habitats to service the pipeline.

Beginning in West Virginia, the Mountain Valley Pipeline will span 300 miles from Wetzel County, W.Va., to Pittsylvania County, Va., and will scar views, watersheds, and habitats in George Washington National Forest and in the Roanoke area.

The Mountain Valley Pipeline will also pass through Jefferson National Forest in West Virginia and Virginia before entering the Appalachian Trail National Scenic Trail Corridor and ultimately the Peters Mountain Wilderness Area. In its wake, iconic viewpoints such as Angels Rest will look out across denuded clearcuts.

In addition to the Mountain Valley Pipeline and Atlantic Coast Pipeline, other pipelines are planned throughout the region in North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, South Carolina, and Florida. Protests around each of the pipelines are building momentum.



Hiking initiative in Bavarian Alps aims to integrate refugees

Posted by on Feb 25, 2017 @ 11:10 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking initiative in Bavarian Alps aims to integrate refugees

A new initiative in Bavaria hopes to improve integration among newly-arrived refugees by introducing them to the “alpine” way of life. Locals volunteer as guides on the mountaineering tour.

Many refugees who arrive in Germany have never seen snow in their life. A trip to the Bavarian Alps is therefore an unprecedented experience. But it’s not only the snow that is new. Bavaria’s alpine tradition and way of life are also very specific to the region.

The German Alpine Association (DAV) and the charity aid organization Malteser Hilfsdienst are now organizing tours to the Bavarian Alps to introduce refugees to a unique part of German culture.

The “Alpen.Leben.Menschen” project took off in mid-January, when the DAV youth hiking group “Climbären” was joined by a group of refugees from Syria and Eritrea. They went on a camping trip in Tennengebirge, a mountain range in Austria’s Eastern Alps.

The project aims to give refugees the chance to make new friends and feel welcome in Germany, while also to raising awareness about nature and environmental protection. Taking care of hiking paths or planting protection forests is traditionally part of the DAV’s mission.

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How bad will allergy season be this spring?

Posted by on Feb 24, 2017 @ 6:53 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

How bad will allergy season be this spring?

Suffer from seasonal allergies? Depending on where you live, you may already be sneezing, sniffling and rubbing your itchy eyes. And you may be in for a whopper of a spring.

The first pollen culprit each year is typically trees. If rainfall was good the year before, resulting in solid tree growth, that typically means healthy trees. Combine that with relatively warm forecasts with no more freezing temperatures on the horizon and it’s a perfect storm of pollen-filled trees.

Right now in late February, that means the spring pollen allergy season has already kicked in for most of the Midwest and Southeast, says Charles Barnes, Ph.D., director of the allergy and immunology laboratory at Children’s Mercy Kansas City.

“We’ve noticed this year there are pollen counts coming in even earlier than last year,” says Barnes. “It seems that the Midwest and Southeast are early and high, but the Northeast and far West are about normal.”

The spring allergy season has been starting earlier for years now, Dr. Clifford Bassett, founder and medical director at Allergy and Asthma Care of New York.

“In general over the last 10 years or more, we’ve seen an earlier start to the spring allergy season by about two weeks,” Bassett said. “Each year is different. You’re mostly seeing a longer season spring through fall because of warmer temperatures.”

To check the pollen counts so far in your area, check out the National Allergy Bureau reports.



Allegheny endurance hiking challenge is set for June

Posted by on Feb 22, 2017 @ 8:38 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Allegheny endurance hiking challenge is set for June

The eighth annual Allegheny 100 Hiking Challenge (A-100) is set for June 9-11, 2017. according to a news release from the Allegheny National Forest Chapter of the North Country Trail Association.

The A-100 challenges hikers to traverse 100 miles, 75 miles, 50 miles or 25 miles in a 50-hour time period. This challenge is for anyone, regardless of skill level, who wants to test themselves against the trail.

Those who pre-register starting March 6 will receive a membership in the North Country Trail Association, shuttle service to the start of the hike and a T-shirt. The pre-registration period for the A-100 ends May 12 or when 150 hikers have signed up.

In 2016, a record number of 100 milers — 25 — completed their challenge. Perfect weather was a big factor. Four hikers completed 75 miles. Fifty-two hikers reached 50 miles, and another 19 completed at least 25 miles. Many met their personal challenge and many more vowed to be back this year to attempt to achieve their goals.

For more information or to register, visit the NCTA website.


Hiking Romania: where you might meet bears

Posted by on Feb 21, 2017 @ 12:05 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Romania is developing its range of offers for tourists. Organizers are increasingly relying on tourism that’s close to nature, such as guided hikes in the Carpathian Mountains – with encounters with brown bears.

The snow is deep at an altitude of 1,700 meters (5,577 feet) in the Carpathian Mountains. There is no sign of a hiking path, but Radu Zaharie knows his way around here. The sun is shining and the moment is perfect. “We now have a clear view to the north. To the north-west we can see the Depression of Sibiu, and way off you can see the eastern Carpathians. On really good days, especially in the winter, when we have these really cold days, there is a chance to see the entire Carpathian Mountain range all the way to the Ukraine, a vista of over 600 kilometers,” he explains.

“If you think of crossing the Carpathians, then some for instance want a ridge walk in the Fagaras Mountains, which means hiking from hut to hut in the Piatra Craiului Mountains National Park. But then there are also packages designed for those guests who say they want a little more comfort. Rather than spending the night in a mountain-ridge hut on a plank bed, they prefer a nice guest house with a steam bath. And where they can watch wild animals, like bears, and more.”

Encountering bears while on a hike is a distinct possibility, but tourists should not be afraid of them, says our expert: “For brown bears, humans are of no interest whatsoever. Humans would have to do a lot of silly things for a bear to pose a threat to them. Remember we are talking about European brown bears. These are not to be confused with Grizzly bears.”

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‘Grounds Keepers’ To Clean Litter From Major Trails Nationwide

Posted by on Feb 20, 2017 @ 9:07 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

‘Grounds Keepers’ To Clean Litter From Major Trails Nationwide

Minnesota-based Granite Gear announced this month it will sponsor a crew of 15 dedicated “Leave No Trace” thru-hikers to clean up America’s hiking trails.

The brand selected its Grounds Keepers team to build on the success of the 2015 and 2016 Packing It Out (PIO) initiatives, which removed more than 1,700 pounds of trash from the Appalachian and Pacific Crest trails.

The Superior Hiking Trail, Pacific Northwest Trail, and Arizona Trail are among those set for cleanup this year. Grounds Keepers will also pack out trash along the AT and PCT.

The Grounds Keepers team is composed of experienced thru-hikers who have already traversed major trails. The first of the 2017 missions launched in January.

Last year, Seth Orme and Paul Twedt finished a thru-hike of the PCT. They searched, found, and packed out trash along the way. The year before that, the duo hiked the AT and hauled out more than 1,000 pounds of refuse.



Missing mailbox replaced on Washington’s Mailbox Peak

Posted by on Feb 19, 2017 @ 11:54 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Missing mailbox replaced on Washington’s Mailbox Peak

Eric Piggott of Washington hiked to the top of Mailbox Peak for his birthday this week – to replace a missing, legendary mailbox with a new, donated one.

“The last time I saw the previous box was three weeks ago on my last hike there,” Piggott said. “In my talks with various people, I’ve learned that there have been as many as eight other mailboxes over the years.”

The box at Mailbox Peak has drawn hikers for years. Hikers inscribed their names on the old mailbox, leaving treats and touching mementos. A 2008 Seattle Times report on the difficult hike says references to the mailbox began in the early 1990s.

The latest mailbox may have been swept away by recent high winds. If it’s found, the Department of Natural Resources would appreciate its return.

“Signing the box is a right of passage for those scaling the trail,” Piggott said. “The old box was covered from front to back in signatures. People also left treats for other hikers to come such as cliff bars or candy. In the past I’ve found little trinkets, snacks – even mementos of loved ones who enjoyed hiking but had passed away.”

Piggott likes to leave snacks for others to enjoy once reaching the top. The hike is a challenging one: steep and around 4,000 vertical feet from the trailhead to the peak.

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Friends of South Cumberland State Park kicks off 2017 hiking challenge

Posted by on Feb 19, 2017 @ 8:40 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Friends of South Cumberland State Park kicks off 2017 hiking challenge

For the past several years, Friends of South Cumberland has presented a hiking challenge each year, designed to encourage visitors to explore South Cumberland State Park’s over 25,500 acres scattered across four counties. Last year’s challenge was called Hike Into History and focused on historical aspects of the park.

This year’s challenge, Hiking in Mack’s Tracks, is dedicated to Tennessee’s well-known and admired State Naturalist Emeritus Mack Prichard. It recognizes the extensive work he has done across Tennessee, but especially in the South Cumberland region, as an advocate for nature.

The Friends of South Cumberland will host a kickoff event Feb. 25, 2017 at the Dutch Maid Bakery in Tracy City. At a 9:30 a.m. brunch, memberships (new or renewing) will be offered with a $5 discount. Following brunch, you can head over to the South Cumberland State Park visitors center on Highway 41 in Monteagle to catch a shuttle to Raven Point for a hike on the newly rerouted section of the Fiery Gizzard Trail. This will save you 8 miles of hiking in and out from the Grundy Forest trailhead just to get to that section of trail.

Again this year, there will be two categories of hikes: the Discovery Series and the Adventurer Series. The Discovery Series hikes are family-friendly, easy-to-moderate, self-guided hikes that follow some of the same routes where Prichard led expeditions in the 1970s when generating support for the creation of the park.

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Things to consider before hiking in deep snow

Posted by on Feb 18, 2017 @ 1:02 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Things to consider before hiking in deep snow

Hiking through deep snow, especially in remote locations where trails haven’t been packed down, is a great workout, but it can be frustrating.

Let’s start with the obvious. You’re going to sink down into the snow. There’s no avoiding that. But if you wear snowshoes, you won’t sink down quite as far as you would if you were just wearing boots.

Snowshoes come in all shapes and sizes. There are snowshoes with traction spikes — also known as crampons — which help gain purchase when climbing hills. When selecting snowshoes, keep in mind that different sizes of shoes are made to handle people of different weights. Heavier people will want bigger snowshoes. Also, if you’re dealing with deep snow, you’ll generally want bigger snowshoes because the increased surface area helps you stay afloat.

Why walk on two legs when you can essentially have four? In deep snow, it’s much easier to snowshoe if you use trekking poles, which will help you maintain balance and gain traction uphill.

In addition, it’s important to put snow baskets on your trekking poles. Snow baskets are little round devices that fasten to the ends of trekking poles and prevent them from tunneling all the way down to the frozen ground.

Here are a few more things to consider before hitting the trails after heavy snowfall…


Outdoor Retailer convention leaving Utah

Posted by on Feb 17, 2017 @ 3:51 pm in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Outdoor Retailer convention leaving Utah

After an unproductive meeting between Gov. Gary Herbert and outdoor recreation business representatives, industry leaders say they hope to find a new location for the Outdoor Retailer shows “as soon as possible.”

“Unfortunately, what we heard from Governor Herbert was more of the same,” according to a written statement by the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), which has close ties to the massive, twice-yearly shows in Salt Lake City.

“It is clear that the Governor indeed has a different perspective on the protections of public lands from that of our members and the majority of Western state voters, both Republicans and Democrats — that’s bad for our American heritage, and it’s bad for our businesses. We are therefore continuing our search for a new home as soon as possible.”

The show’s owner, Emerald Expositions, said in a news release that it would not include Utah in its request for proposals from cities hoping to host the trade shows, which bring about 40,000 visitors and $45 million to Salt Lake City each year.

OIA director Amy Roberts said “it is important to our membership, and to our bottom line that we partner with states and elected officials who share our views on the truly unique American value of public lands for the people and conserving our outdoor heritage for the next generation.”

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Roan Mountain State Park named Tennessee ‘Park of the Year’

Posted by on Feb 17, 2017 @ 6:55 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Roan Mountain State Park named Tennessee ‘Park of the Year’

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) recognized Roan Mountain State Park, located off TN Hwy. 143, as the 2016 Park of the Year for its demonstrated excellence in innovation, sustainability, interpretation, resource management and fiscal responsibility.

“All 56 Tennessee State Parks strive and succeed in achieving our mission to preserve and protect unique examples of natural, cultural and scenic areas,” said TDEC Deputy Commissioner of Parks and Conservation Brock Hill. “But Roan Mountain went above and beyond in 2016 thanks to the talent and skills of park staff and creative partnerships with local communities.”

In 2016, the park was designated an Appalachian Trail Community by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC). Roan Mountain is only the second community to receive this prestigious designation in the state, which highlights the park as a premier destination for hikers to access the Appalachian Trail. Over the course of the year, the park also strengthened its partnerships with the local community through the Carter County Tourism Committee, Chamber of Commerce and the Roan Mountain Citizens Club (RMCC) to enhance visitor experiences.

“Roan Mountain State Park is an iconic and enchanting park on Tennessee’s eastern border that offers experiences like no other for our visitors,” said Robin Peeler, East Tennessee parks area manager. “This recognition is not only a testament to the innovative ideas of park staff, but also the participation and energy the local community brings for this beautiful place.”

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In this ‘weird, lost corner of America,’ the beach of your dreams awaits in the remotest national park

Posted by on Feb 15, 2017 @ 11:49 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

In this ‘weird, lost corner of America,’ the beach of your dreams awaits in the remotest national park

National Park of American Samoa, 2,600 miles southwest of Hawaii, is spread over parts of Tutuila, Ta’u and Ofu. It attracted 13,892 visitors last year, about what Yosemite gets in a summer day.

Probably fewer than 300 of them found their way to the park’s greatest asset, a beach on Ofu with creamy sands, volcanic boulders, serrated mountain ridges and turquoise shallows.

Although the park does have rangers, trails and a few miles of road, there are no campgrounds or lodgings, no snack bar, no shuttle buses, no entrance gate, no admission fee — few of the conventions that Americans imagine when they hear the words “national park.”

“It’s probably the most remote culture you can visit that’s still in the U.S.,” park superintendent Scott Burch says. “It’s the only paleotropical rain forest in the U.S.

The park is 9,000 or so acres of rain forest and about 4,000 acres of coral reefs. Look for unusual wildlife like flying foxes (a.k.a. fruit bats) that steal bananas and papayas; the crown-of-thorns starfish that gobbles coral and wears a fearsome exoskeleton of venomous spikes; and the giant coconut crab, which climbs trees, weighs as much as 9 pounds, looks like “the world’s largest bug” and is prized as a delicacy.

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The most scenic stretch of the Oregon coast: Boardman State Park

Posted by on Feb 14, 2017 @ 2:58 pm in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

The most scenic stretch of the Oregon coast: Boardman State Park

It’s hard to pin down a specific stretch of coastline as the most scenic – isn’t the whole thing beautiful? – but then again, it’s hard to argue against Boardman State Park for the honor.

Officially the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor, the 12-mile stretch of coastline runs along the southernmost part of the Oregon coast, encompassing high cliffs, stunning seastacks, beautiful beaches and secret coves.

The area – once slated to become a national park – was established in the 1950s, named in honor of Samuel H. Boardman, the “father” of Oregon’s state park system, on the eve of his retirement.

Boardman was a key figure in the development of public lands in Oregon. He “felt a great responsibility to protects scenery for future generations.”

While many in the state and national government looked at parks as places of recreation, rather than preservation, Boardman was a staunch advocate for conservation and minimal development on park lands, arguing that “strange as it may seem, the more the world civilizes the primitive, the more barbaric we become.”

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