Hiking News

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.

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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.

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Reach the Peaks Challenge Set for September 24, 2016

Posted by on Sep 22, 2016 @ 7:23 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

If you’re looking for the ultimate recreational challenge, look no further than Hanging Rock State Park and the 4th annual “Reach the Peaks” hiking/trail running challenge scheduled for Saturday, September 24, 2016.

Reach the Peaks, offering a strenuous 10+ mile route, will challenge participants to summit the five major peaks of Hanging Rock State Park, including Moore’s Knob, House Rock, Cook’s Wall, Wolf Rock, and Hanging Rock, all in one day. Organized by the Stokes County Arts Council and Friends of the Sauratown Mountains, for the second year this event will offer two participant options, trail running and hiking.

The event will begin at the Visitor’s Center Parking lot with day of check in/registration taking place for trail runners beginning at 7:30am and for hikers from 8:30am to 10:00am. The trail run will begin promptly at 8:30am, with the hiking portion beginning with a staggered start from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

“This trail challenge is as unique as the Sauratown Mountain range. There is just something special about it,” stated park superintendent Robin Riddlebarger. “The greatest thing about this hike is the positive spirit on the trail. It is not easy for anyone to hike ten miles up five mountain peaks. But the camaraderie and attitude of everyone encouraging each other is awesome and contagious. Hikers will want to keep going, to conquer the next ascent, find inspiration in the scenery, and to challenge themselves.”

Learn more here…

 

Louisiana hiking club for ladies explodes with popularity

Posted by on Sep 21, 2016 @ 11:01 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The terrain of Southwest Louisiana does not exactly set itself apart as a hiker’s paradise, yet a newly-formed hiking club for women is exploding, just one month into its existence.

It is called the “No. 1 Ladies Hiking Society,” and it is free, for any woman with an interest in hiking, and it offers a lot more than a hiking excursion.

“A good hike for me is one where I don’t know what’s next,” founder Clare Coleman said. “I like to be surprised when I turn around the corner, because I feel like it’s a destination rather than just a workout.”

Coleman recently hiked with her husband through the rolling hills of Ireland and came back with a spark to share this interest with other women.

“There are probably other women locally who are interested in this kind of thing,” she said. “Let’s start a hiking club, just thinking it would be something where we could share resources. It’s become bigger than that!”

Coleman and her traveling friend, Mary Richardson, created the No. 1 Ladies Hiking Society and held their first meeting in August. They were shocked at the turn-out.

“I don’t personally know that many women locally who love to hike,” said Coleman. “I was going to be excited if we had 20 and we had 90…90 showed up for the first meeting.” In just one month, the club now has grown to 150 women.

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Local Author of North Carolina Waterfalls to Speak

Posted by on Sep 21, 2016 @ 7:24 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Local Author of North Carolina Waterfalls to Speak

On Tuesday, September 27, 2016, Kevin Adams will hold a presentation about Waterfalls in WNC.

The presentation begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Lord Auditorium at Pack Memorial Library, 67 Haywood Street in Asheville. The event is free and open to the public and is part of Buncombe County’s efforts to promote outdoor activities and recreation for citizens of all ages.

Mr. Adams has established a well-known reputation as a photographer, naturalist, writer and teacher. The presentation will include highlights of over 250 of the best waterfalls found in North Carolina.

Mr. Adams’ presentation comes on the heels of his latest book, North Carolina Waterfalls, which was released in its third edition earlier this summer. Mr. Adams’ book provides a comprehensive source of waterfall information and offers readers verified and ground-truthed details on the falls. The author visited each of the waterfalls in his book in preparation for its release allowing him to offer first hand details of each experience. He also assessed each of the waterfalls for photographic opportunities, making his work stand out from other guidebooks on the market.

Those attending the lecture will be able to learn from Adams’ first-hand experience on finding these falls and gaining insight into the art and science of waterfall photography.

Mr. Adams’ books, map and other products will be available for purchase.

 

Did An Unknown Hiker Just Break Every A.T. Record?

Posted by on Sep 20, 2016 @ 7:58 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Did An Unknown Hiker Just Break Every A.T. Record?

Her story seems inconceivable. She has no GPS tracking and is an unknown in the world of record-breaking thru-hikes. But this weekend, on the heels of Karl Meltzer, Kaiha Bertollini trekked to the top of Springer Mountain at the southern end of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia and proclaimed a world record time of 45 days, 6 hours, and 28 minutes.

If her claims hold up, Kaiha “Wildcard Ninja” Bertollini just broke every record ever set on the Appalachian Trail. Not only would this be the fastest self-supported through-hike of the A.T. (beating Heather “Anish” Anderson’s 2015 record of 54 days), but it even tops every supported hike (beating ultra-running legend Karl Meltzer’s day-old record of 45 days, 22 hours, and 38 minutes).

While the verdict is still out among the A.T. community as to the veracity of her claims, her story is incredible, and it begins with an alleged sexual assault in 2010.

According to Bertollini’s blog, Hike for Our Lives:

In 2010 while I was serving in the military I was sexually assaulted by multiple men in my unit while stationed at Fort Stewart Army Base in Hinesville, GA. The events of that night forever changed the way I connect with the world around me. However, with time the events from that night also lead me down a path of self-empowerment, self-love, and self-respect that no one will ever be able to take from me again. Although, some things will never be the same. I am no longer afraid to speak out against sexual assault and oppression of any kind. Standing up for all of our rights to exist.

Now that the hike is completed, Bertollini faces the new challenge of defending her Fastest Known Time claims. She’s put the call out on social media to ask those who saw her along the trail to come forward and validate some of her claims.

Regardless how history washes out, and whether her feat is regarded as a record, carries an asterisk, or is outright rejected, her mission to give victims the courage and strength to speak out publicly against sexual assaults, rape culture, and gender inequality appears well intentioned.

Gear Junkie is following this story…

 

Cleanup on Columbia River Waterfront Renaissance Trail

Posted by on Sep 19, 2016 @ 10:26 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Cleanup on Columbia River Waterfront Renaissance Trail

Volunteers cleaning up the Columbia River Waterfront Renaissance Trail filled 53 garbage bags in three hours and hauled away a tire, a motorcycle jacket and a Buddha statue.

About a dozen volunteers in rain jackets scoured the stretch of trail from Who Song and Larry’s restaurant to the condominium complex to the east, picking up beer cans, soda bottles, fishing line and various other trash littering the waterfront. They also cleaned up tarps and tents in abandoned camps and removed eight hypodermic needles, said Joe Morse, Centennial Volunteer Ambassador at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.

“We still got a lot done, especially considering we didn’t have a ton of people and it was wet outside,” said Morse, who organized the cleanup. “The turnout was amazing considering the massive amount of rain we got.”

The cleanup event was a collaboration between the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site and SOLVE Oregon, a statewide nonprofit that organizes more than 1,000 cleanup and restoration projects throughout the state. The organization also partners with local organizations throughout Southwest Washington. Vancouver Police Department was also involved in the effort, providing a sweep of the area to ensure it was safe for volunteers.

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Karl Meltzer Sets New Appalachian Trail Speed Record

Posted by on Sep 18, 2016 @ 10:36 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Karl Meltzer Sets New Appalachian Trail Speed Record

Ultra runner and Red Bull athlete Karl Meltzer set a new Appalachian Trail thru-hike speed record early this morning, Sept. 18, 2016, when he arrived to Springer Mountain in Georgia at 3:38 a.m. Karl started at 5 a.m. on Aug. 3 at the north end of the trail at Mount Katahdin, Maine. The new record set by Meltzer is 45 days, 22 hours and 38 minutes.

The 48-year-old runner began his assault in early August, hoping to best Scott Jurek’s mark of 46 days, 8 hours, 7 minutes set last year for the 2,189-mile trail that stretches from Maine to Georgia. In recent days, Metzler has enjoyed the support and company of former AT record-holder David Horton, as well as support from Jurek, the current record-holder.

“His company on the trail has been greatly appreciated; the strong bond among the ultra community is at work here,” said Meltzer on the Day 44 update of the Red Bull site that tracked his progress.

For the final stretch, Meltzer ran 83 miles nonstop (23 hours and 48 minutes) beginning Saturday, Sept. 17 at 3:50 a.m. until Sunday, Sept. 18 at 3:38 a.m.

In total, Karl ran 2,190 miles through 14 states supported by a small crew consisting of his father and crew chief Eric Belz.

 

Magical hiking trail in the Colorado High Country

Posted by on Sep 18, 2016 @ 9:36 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

In the mountains near Breckenridge, CO where the trees grow tall is a village where the houses are very, very small.

It’s called the Fairy Forest. It’s on a trail that can be a really good time. There are dozens and dozens of houses, some with a pool. The trail steps lead to a more magical moment that only a fairy village brings full of happy fairy things. There is even a network of small wooden tree house bridges.

How this village got here is a mystery for most, but not to Mai Ly Hagan who lives down the trail. She says the Fairy Forest was started by a neighbor and added to by other kin. “They started doing it a few years ago and eventually other neighbors joined in,” Hagen said.

All of it is free, just don’t take anything. The fairies want you to leave it where it’s at so others can keep coming back to see new things.

If you’re looking for the Fairy Forest, it’s in Breckenridge. The easiest way to see it is to drive to 4 O’Clock Road and park at the base of the Snowflake lift. Walk up the road from there, and when you see trail signs for 4 O’clock trail take it and follow it up the hill until you see the Fairy Forest sign.

Cite…

 

National Forest Trail Bill Approved by House Committee

Posted by on Sep 16, 2016 @ 9:29 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The U.S. House Committee on Agriculture has unanimously approved the National Forest Service Trail Stewardship Act of 2015 (HR 845). The bill, introduced by Congresswomen Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Tim Walz (D-MN), would direct the Forest Service to take several actions to help address the current trail maintenance backlog that is adversely impacting all trail users on many National Forests.

A June 2013, study by the Government Accountability Office found that the Forest Service has deferred trail maintenance needs that exceed half-billion dollars, and only one-quarter of the agency’s 158,000 miles of trails meets agency standards for maintenance. This maintenance backlog is causing access and safety issues for trail users on national forests.

The National Forest Service Trail Stewardship Act would direct the Forest Service to develop a strategy to more effectively utilize volunteers and partners to assist in maintaining national forest trails. It will also provide outfitters and guides the ability to perform trail maintenance activities in lieu of permit fees.

Additionally, the bill would address a liability issue that has discouraged some national forests from utilizing volunteers and partner organizations to help perform trail maintenance and would direct the Forest Service to identify and prioritize specific areas with the greatest need for trail maintenance in the national forest system.

Read full story…

 

Celebrate Michigan Trails Week with a ‘Hike Between Da Falls’

Posted by on Sep 15, 2016 @ 11:35 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Tahquamenon Falls State Park is celebrating Michigan Trails Week with its annual 5-mile hike Sept. 24, 2016 along the Tahquamenon River, between the Upper and Lower Tahquamenon Falls in Luce and Chippewa counties.

“This spectacular hike is a very popular event at Tahquamenon Falls State Park,” said Theresa Neal, park interpreter. “It allows us to showcase not only the breathtaking north woods splendor we have here, but also a slice of the tremendous opportunity Michigan has to offer as the Trails State.”

The River Trail parallels the mighty Tahquamenon River, and is also part of the North Country National Scenic Trail, which winds 4,540 miles across seven states from New York to North Dakota, the longest national scenic trail in the United States.

The River Trail is also part of Michigan’s signature Iron Belle Trail, which stretches from Belle Isle to Ironwood. When completed, the Iron Belle Trail will feature a 1,273-mile hiking route and a 791-mile bicycle route.

Tahquamenon Falls State Park (46,179-acres) is located off M-123, about 21 miles northeast of Newberry.

At the Upper Falls, the roughly 200-foot-wide river drops a roaring 50 feet, with peak water flows measured here at over 50,000 gallons per second. Downstream, the Lower Falls cascade over a staircase of five waterfalls.

For the “Hike Between Da Falls,” participants park their vehicles at the Lower Falls parking lot and take a free shuttle to the Upper Falls trailhead. From there, hikers explore the beauty of the River Trail as they make their way back to their vehicles.

Beginning at 9 a.m., the shuttle will run every 30 minutes, with the last shuttle departing the Lower Falls at 1 p.m. Members of the Hiawatha Shore-to-Shore Chapter of the North Country Trail Association will be on hand to promote hiking in Michigan and provide activities at the Lower Falls.

In addition to Sept. 24 being the closing day of National Trails Week, the day also marks National Public Lands Day and North Country National Scenic Trail Day.

For more information on Tahquamenon Falls State Park, visit the park’s webpage or call the park at 906-492-3415.

 

Meet Earl, The Gatekeeper to Paradise

Posted by on Sep 14, 2016 @ 7:26 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Paradise, population one, is halfway along the Magruder Corridor, one of the roughest roads in the US West. This 163km primitive dirt track winds through the largest wilderness area in the continental US, climbing over steep mountains and crossing snow-fed streams along the Montana and Idaho border.

Along with his dogs, Harrison and Ozzie, 64 year-old Earl is the only permanent resident of this remote outpost during summer. He is the Bitterroot National Forest’s camp host, welcoming the motley crew of hikers, hunters, fishermen and river rafters who brave the bumpy, serpentine road.

While his primary responsibility is handing out permits to boaters on the Selway River, he also doles out free advice on the must-see trails that lace through the wilderness. And if you ply him with a second cup of coffee, he’ll regale you with stories of windsurfing in Puerto Rico, kayaking in New Mexico or a few of his other varied adventures around the globe.

A retired industrial electrician, Earl has spent nearly three decades backpacking the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, often using Paradise as a launch point. On one of his summer trips, the couple who used to host the Paradise campground told Earl they weren’t coming back.

“I asked how to apply for the job, and here I am. Six summers and counting. It’s a dream come true,” Earl said.

Read full story…

 

Introducing the Firebiner, Now Live on Kickstarter

Posted by on Sep 13, 2016 @ 11:25 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Introducing the Firebiner, Now Live on Kickstarter

We all love a good carabiner. We use them to clip our keys, our camera, our water bottle, or a myriad of other products to our backpacks, to shelves, to fences, to belt loops or to whatever we need at the moment.

You want your carabiner to be strong, lightweight and maybe have some other functionality like a bottle opener. The Firebiner is all that PLUS it has the ability to make fire easily with EverSpark technology. It has a titanium-coated stainless steel body construction rated for up to 50 pounds of gear (not for climbing or hanging anything with a beating heart). And, don’t forget the small utility blade. It is even designed in a screwdriver tip for the next round of prototypes.

Here are some of the Firebiner special features:

•Very strong stainless steel construction with a up to 50 lbs capacity
•Extremely durable titanium coating
•Lightweight, only 1 oz
•EverSpark spark wheel technology to help start fires easily
•Replaceable ferro rod, with extra rods
•Utility/safety blade to easily cut paracord, fishing line, string and much more – stainless steel, replaceable
•Bottle opener, for refreshment time
•Hang slots to connect keys or anything else with an appropriate ring or clasp
•Strong, thin, stainless steel wire gate that stays closed but is easy to open when needed
•Screw-driver tip to be added on next round of prototypes
•Patent-pending
•Meets TSA requirements for airline travel
•3 colors: Black, Gold & Blue

The Firebiner is now live on Kickstarter. Some prototypes were taken to the Outdoor Retailer Show this August and received incredible reviews and a ton of support. This is true innovation on the trusted carabiner.

 

Beginners’ guide to hiking the Appalachian Trail in Georgia

Posted by on Sep 13, 2016 @ 8:30 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Beginners’ guide to hiking the Appalachian Trail in Georgia

When you hear about people who have hiked the Appalachian Trail, it might conjure up the image of worn and weathered thru-hikers retiring after a long, arduous journey. Although it’s always an honor to meet one of these fearless, determined and dedicated long-distance hikers, you don’t necessarily have to take six months off work in order to enjoy hiking the AT. With some portions of the Appalachian Trail stretching only a couple of miles, even beginners could do it in an afternoon. After all, it’s right in your own backyard.

The southernmost trailhead of the Appalachian Trail begins at Springer Mountain in Fannin County and stretches 78.6 miles through North Georgia. You’ll know that you’re at the trailhead when you see the famous bronze plaque embedded in a stone at the entrance to the trail. Along the entire length the AT, you will also notice white rectangular markers, or blazes, across trees and rocks to lead you along the path. If you look carefully, you might discover the Springer Mountain trail log located in a special vault along the trail. Feel free to add your name to the list of other AT hikers.

In the spring and summer, you’re likely to see stunning wildflowers, mountain laurel, thick rhododendron and vibrant greenery galore. In the autumn, prepare yourself for a rainbow of fall delight as the surrounding sugar maple, white oak, tulip poplar and yellow birch trees show off their true colors. No matter what time of year you plan on hiking, moss-covered boulders, gorgeous waterfalls and towering forest canopies abound throughout the primeval forests along this southern portion of the Appalachian Trail.

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Canada to complete world’s longest recreational trail

Posted by on Sep 12, 2016 @ 11:45 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Cyclists in Canada will soon be able to pedal from Newfoundland on the Atlantic coast to Vancouver Island in the Pacific Ocean, without having to share a road with a single car. The Great Trail, as it’s known, is set to open in 2017 in time for Canada’s 150th birthday. Once complete, the trail will stretch 15,000 miles (24,000km) through each of the country’s 13 provinces and territories and touch three oceans, becoming the longest recreational trail in the world.

Besides biking, hiking and horseback riding, the path will be open in winter for cross country skiing and snowmobiling. And with a quarter of the trail on water, canoes, kayaks or other water craft can also be used.

Formerly called the Trans Canada Trail, the Great Trail is made up of newly designated pathways, along with some 400 community trails that have been linked together, such as the Galloping Goose in British Columbia and the Petit Témis in Quebec.

A large portion of the trail is located on defunct rail lines donated by Canadian Pacific and Canadian National Railway. No single entity owns the trail. Instead, it’s managed and maintained by trail and conservation groups, as well as local, regional and national government bodies, making it one of the largest volunteer projects in the country.

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So. What is Anish up to these days?

Posted by on Sep 12, 2016 @ 8:24 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Meet Heather “Anish” Anderson. It should be said right away that Anderson is not your typical backpacker. On Sept. 24, 2015, she set the self-supported speed record for hiking along the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia: 54 days, 7 hours and 48 minutes. Two years earlier, she set a record on the Pacific Crest Trail, a 2,650-mile path that runs between Mexico and Canada along some of the most unforgiving terrain in the western United States.

So what did Anderson do after adding the AT record to her PCT record?

Two days after flying home to Seattle, she set off on a four-day climbing trip in the Glacier Peak Wilderness. Along the way, she scrambled up seven mountains, three of them above 9,000 feet in elevation.

That type of schedule would seem extreme to even the hardiest of Northwest trekkers. But for Anderson, being in the mountains as much as physically and mentally possible is life’s main objective. And, as it turns out, there isn’t much that’s impossible for her.

Anderson doesn’t just hike. She also runs 100-mile ultramarathons and is roughly two-thirds of the way through climbing Washington’s 100 highest mountains, known as the Bulger List. It’s not uncommon for her to hike more than 20 miles in a day — with a full pack and significant elevation gain.

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Trail Improvements Continue at Catawba Falls

Posted by on Sep 9, 2016 @ 2:23 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

The Pisgah National Forest begins the next phase of construction on the Catawba Falls Trail on the Grandfather Ranger District on Monday, September 12, to improve the trail and crossing of Chestnut Branch with a new footbridge.

The Catawba Falls Trail is a popular hiking trail near Old Fort, NC. Chestnut Branch is the last creek crossing before visitor reach the lower falls.

Weekday visitors can expect delays and short closures for work on the trail and to accommodate construction equipment as well as delivery and placement of the new bridge. Visitors should stay on established trails and avoid the construction area. Weather pending, construction is not planned on weekends.

Work is expected to be completed by November 1, 2016. Please check the National Forests of North Carolina website for temporary closure notices.

This construction is part of a larger effort to provide safe access to Catawba Falls. A new footbridge was installed over the Catawba River in July in partnership with McDowell County, North Carolina State Parks, and a federal Recreational Trails Program grant.

The Forest Service and its partners are continuing progress towards making this area more accessible and safe for forest visitors though the route to the upper falls remains dangerous and the public is warned against attempting it. Every month, McDowell County Emergency Management responds to at least one critical rescue at the site from the public seeking access to the upper falls.

The best way to enjoy a waterfall is from a safe distance. Stay on established trails and be aware of the extreme danger posed by attempting a closer view of the waterfalls. Never climb on or jump off waterfalls. Don’t swim or dive in waterfall pools or wade in streams above waterfalls because of hazardous rocks and currents.

For more information contact the Grandfather Ranger District at 828-652-2144.