Hiking News

Six Years, Four Sore Feet, 2,650 Miles

Posted by on Sep 4, 2018 @ 8:48 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Six Years, Four Sore Feet, 2,650 Miles

America’s glory is its cathedral of wilderness. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, visionary Americans like Teddy Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot fought to protect public lands for collective use.

The upshot is that today every American inherits a stunning patrimony, a piece of some of the most beautiful terrain in the world. You may not be able to afford a weekend house, but you’re already a shared landlord of spectacular wilderness. For a day at a time, my daughter and I “owned” dazzling camping spots that even Jeff Bezos or Warren Buffett can never buy. On our public lands, no one can pull rank on you — except a bear.

Speaking of which, on the Pacific Crest Trail over the years we spotted: two bears, one cougar, one pine marten, one fisher, one lynx, 14 rattlesnakes, and surprisingly few humans.

Nature offers perspective. In America, we live in a world where we mostly control our environment. If we’re warm, we may adjust the thermostat by a single degree.

In contrast, the wilderness is almost always too hot or too cold. It is vast and unbending, reminding us that we are not the lords of the universe, but atoms in the firmament. We are put in our place.

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Arizona canyon famed for waterfalls to reopen after flooding

Posted by on Sep 2, 2018 @ 9:40 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Arizona canyon famed for waterfalls to reopen after flooding

Weeks after flooding rushed through a world-famous gorge off the Grand Canyon, sending tourists fleeing to higher ground, the Arizona tribe that calls the area home is ready to welcome visitors to its reservation known for towering waterfalls that cascade into blue-green pools.

The Havasupai reservation has reopened for the first time since July 11, 2018, when about 200 people had to be evacuated by helicopter as water surged through the campground. Footbridges collapsed, tents were buried in sand and debris was strewn about.

The brunt of the damage was on an 8-mile trail that leads to the tribal village of Supai. Heavy rain wiped out the switchbacks and left behind large boulders, Tribal Council member Carletta Tilousi said.

Tourists can reach the reservation only by foot, mule or helicopter. An estimated 30,000 to 40,000 people visit annually. The tribe has spent the past few weeks cleaning up with the help of neighboring tribes and volunteers, Tilousi said.

The reservation lies amid a series of creeks and canyons that make it susceptible to flooding.

A 2008 flood shut down the reservation for more than nine months. Hundreds of tribal members and tourists — some of whom were stranded for a couple of days — had to be flown out. A waterfall was lost and smaller ones formed. Kurt Schonauer of the U.S. Geological Survey said a Colorado River tributary was flowing at 100 times its normal base flow. More evacuations came after an October 2010 flood that caused $1.6 million in damage and closed the reservation for three weeks.

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Why you need to hike the Wind River Range in Wyoming

Posted by on Sep 1, 2018 @ 8:53 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Why you need to hike the Wind River Range in Wyoming

When most people think of backpacking in the West, their minds drift to destinations like Colorado’s iconic 14ers, John Muir’s Sierra, the Pacific Crest Trail, or the jagged North Cascades in Washington. Very few have heard of the Wind Rivers in Wyoming — and those who have like it that way. Here’s what they’re missing.

The Winds stretch for over 100 miles along the Continental Divide, just southeast of much more popular places like Yellowstone and the Tetons. They are a truly wild and rugged wilderness, protected by two National Forests and the Wind River Reservation. All told, the range has more than 30 peaks higher than 13,000 feet and over 130 glaciers dispersed across three-quarters of a million acres of public land.

It’s a backpackers’ playground. There are nearly endless reasons to visit this part of Wyoming. Solitude is ample, trips will push your limits and challenge your skills, and the range is downright gorgeous. Tall granite spires, serene lakes, and endless wildflowers create picturesque views around every corner. The wildlife is abundant — including the notorious mosquito swarms.

There are two well-trodden zones in the Winds — Cirque de Towers and Titcomb Basin — for good reason. While most of the range is objectively beautiful, these two areas seem to be pulled from another world.

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There Could Be A New Normal In The Future Of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

Posted by on Aug 31, 2018 @ 11:37 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

There Could Be A New Normal In The Future Of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

With Tūtū Pele seemingly having come to the end of her latest eruptive run, staff at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park are working to get back to the business of running a national park, not responding to an erupting volcano. But it won’t be business as usual at the park now, or for the foreseeable future, as repairing the damage carries a bill of an estimated $100 million, at least, and some areas might not reopen for a long, long time.

For nearly four months the park’s Kīlauea volcano has been spewing lava and fracturing the surrounding landscape with earthquakes. Since May 11, the bulk of the park has been closed for public safety. Though the eruptions have ended, the damage to the park and the limited reopening scheduled for September 22, National Public Lands Day, has park staff rethinking how visitors should experience Hawai’i Volcanoes.

“Our resource is so dynamic that we’ve always been about change. It is an active volcano, and so we’ve always had to adapt and be flexible in terms of how we manage that resource in terms of vistiation,” Superintendent Cindy Orlando said during a phone call earlier this week. “Before the event in early May (when this year’s eruptions started), we had the highest visitation in the state. We were the most-visited attraction in 2017. We had 2 million visitors.

“So, for me, I guess I see this as an opportunity,” she went on. “The landscape is changed, but our footprint has always been limited. And now it’s even more so. In that regard, it’s like, ‘Wait a minute, maybe we don’t want to see 2 million visitors a year at this park. Or do we?'”

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North Carolina’s New Headwaters State Forest to open Sept. 6, 2018

Posted by on Aug 31, 2018 @ 6:53 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

North Carolina’s New Headwaters State Forest to open Sept. 6, 2018

After years of work, state and federal officials finally get to cut the ribbon on the Headwaters State Forest in Transylvania County, North Carolina next week.

A ceremony will be held Sept. 6, 2018 to mark the opening of the new state forest, the Conservation Fund and the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced.

Located near the border with South Carolina, the 6,730-acre forest was made possible with funding from the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Legacy Program, through the Land and Water Conservation Fund and state and private funding.

The forest’s protection will help preserve and maintain water quality in the headwaters of the French Broad River, which flows 218 miles from Transylvania County into Tennessee. Headwaters State Forest also provides expanded opportunities for public outdoor recreation, including hiking on a section of the storied Foothills Trail.

Adjacent to more than 100,000 acres of existing conservation lands in both North Carolina and South Carolina, the area provides habitat for federally endangered plant species and other federal plant and animal species of concern. A portion of the forest will also serve as working forestland, ensuring that timber revenue and jobs stay in North Carolina.

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Karel Sabbe Smashes Appalachian Trail Record By 4 Days

Posted by on Aug 30, 2018 @ 5:45 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Karel Sabbe Smashes Appalachian Trail Record By 4 Days

The Appalachian Trail (AT) speed record now stands at 41 days, 7 hours, 39 minutes. Karel Sabbe crossed the trailhead at Mt. Katahdin on August 28, 2018, completing the 2,189-mile AT faster than anyone before him.

The previous record of 45 days, 12 hours, 15 minutes, set by Joe “Stringbean” McConaughy in 2017, still stands as the self-supported AT record.

And this isn’t the first time the 28-year-old Sabbe has topped a major thru-hike record. In fact, it’s not the first time he’s bested McConaughy. Sabbe also beat McConaughy’s supported record on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in 2016 — a record that still stands.

And with his performance on the AT, Sabbe is now the only person to hold both AT and PCT FKTs at the same time. Heather “Anish” Anderson holds both records for women on the AT and PCT.

Sabbe began his AT attempt on July 18, heading north from Springer Mountain in Georgia. He claimed his intent on FastestKnownTime.com and used a tracker to mark his progress. He also updated his Strava data as cell service allowed to verify the record.

For the FKT, Sabbe averaged a blistering pace — roughly 53 miles per day for more than 41 days straight.

Cite…

 

Appalachian Trail hikers asked to not climb Katahdin on Labor Day weekend

Posted by on Aug 29, 2018 @ 9:09 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Appalachian Trail hikers asked to not climb Katahdin on Labor Day weekend

Appalachian Trail hikers planning to end their long trek atop Katahdin on Labor Day weekend 2018 are being asked to change their plans by summiting early or delaying their hike until Tuesday. This request is being made by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy in partnership with Baxter State Park so AT hikers don’t disturb a longstanding annual ceremony conducted by the Penobscot Indian Nation on the mountain from Sept. 1-3.

Each year, members of the Penobscot Nation participate in the Katahdin 100, a spiritual pilgrimage that spans about 100 miles, starting at Indian Island (just north of Bangor) and ending at Katahdin, Maine’s tallest mountain and a sacred place to the Penobscots. To facilitate this tradition, Baxter State Park has closed Katahdin Stream Campground to overnight guests Saturday, Sept. 1, and Sunday, Sept. 2, so that the Penobscots can conduct their ceremonies at the campground without an audience. The campground is located at the base of the AT, which follows the Hunt Trail to end atop Katahdin.

This request for AT hikers to avoid summiting Katahdin during Labor Day weekend has been made in years past. The Birches, a satellite campground reserved for long-distance AT hikers, will remain open throughout the weekend, with space for 12 hikers each night but that “the area will be very busy” and “congestion will make it difficult for drivers coming to pick up hikers and for hikers seeking rides out of the park.”

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Wine Hiking and Vineyard Hopping In Vienna

Posted by on Aug 28, 2018 @ 2:42 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Wine Hiking and Vineyard Hopping In Vienna

Vienna, Austria has more than 1730 acres of vineyards, all within in the city limits. Something like 190 winegrowers tend Vienna’s vineyards clustered around the Kahlenberg, Nussberg and Bisamberg hills.

Every autumn the Wiener Weinwandertag (Vienna Wine Hiking Weekend) takes place. In 2018, on September 29 and 30, three routes covering just over 15 miles will open to visitors. Wine and outdoor enthusiasts are invited to hike among the vineyards; learn about the city’s wine growing culture and terrain (the Danube River and the nearby Vienna Woods, tourism experts say, provide the ideal climate for vines to thrive); and sample the local wine and regional culinary delicacies at wineries and wine taverns.

Other highlights along the trail include stops at palaces, estates and a children’s farm; expansive landscapes; and views of the city.

The three routes range in length from about two and a half miles to just under seven miles. Walkers who prefer smaller adventures don’t have to commit to the entire length of each route; they can explore shorter sections. The wine trail is suitable for nearly all travelers, from families with young children and senior citizens to people with mobility issues. (There are special signposted paths for wheelchairs.)

Cite…

 

A border fence from ancient times: Hadrian’s Wall in England

Posted by on Aug 27, 2018 @ 9:01 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

A border fence from ancient times: Hadrian’s Wall in England

Hadrian’s Wall — named after the emperor who commissioned it — was begun in the second century, in the year 122. Soldiers toiled for a decade or so, piling stone upon stone until it stretched from coast to coast, across the very top of what’s now northern England: a distance of 118 kilometers (73 miles).

It stood up to 4.6 meters high (15 feet) with walls 3 meters wide (9.8 feet). It bristled with towers, forts and watch posts, called milecastles, and gave commanding views of the surrounding countryside.

The wall let the Romans control who and what came into the empire. And it kept the peace. Beyond it were war-mongering communities in what is, today, Scotland, itching to ravage the settlements of refined Roman Britain and bring down fire on the hated invaders. Hadrian’s Wall kept them out.

Almost 2,000 years on, long sections on Hadrian’s Wall still stand, remarkably well-preserved. The thick stone line snakes for miles across rugged uplands, and down into wooded valleys. UNESCO named it a World Heritage Site in 1987 for its “extraordinarily high cultural value.”

It’s a six-day trek along the wall’s entire length, coast to coast.

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10 Amazing Crowd-Free Trails

Posted by on Aug 26, 2018 @ 9:53 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

10 Amazing Crowd-Free Trails

Humans were born to walk. As a species, we’ve evolved a curved and forgiving spine, a skull set straight and upright, an efficient metabolism—all uniquely suited to propel us long distances. But it wasn’t until the advent of the automobile that we began hiking long distances recreationally, says Robert Moor, author of On Trails: An Exploration. “Once the predominant form of transportation was no longer ambulatory, we realized what a precious thing walking really is,” he says. “In the wilderness, hiking literally became the physical embodiment of freedom.”

And it’s never been more attractive. In 2013, about 34 million people walked our nation’s countless trails. By 2017, that number had risen to over 42 million. Meanwhile the number of people completing through-hikes on major routes is booming: last year a record-setting 4,917 people set out to tackle the Appalachian Trail, and hikers are expected to shatter that number again this year. Last year hikers from all 50 states and more than 40 countries set out to trek the Pacific Crest Trail. And the Continental Divide Trail has witnessed a steady 25 percent increase in traffic every season for the past five years, with 300 people expected to attempt it in 2018.

It’s getting crowded out there. But a sense of solitude and solace can still be found on all these trails. “Hiking lets us disconnect for a bit and reconnect with ourselves,” says Kathryn Van Waes, executive director of the American Hiking Society. “Then we are better able to go back and give our full selves to the causes we care about.”

See the list…

 

5 of Europe’s Top Mountain Hikes

Posted by on Aug 25, 2018 @ 7:22 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

5 of Europe’s Top Mountain Hikes

While the U.S. has plenty of awesome hiking routes, Europe certainly isn’t short of a few amazing hikes either. Right across the continent, there are mesmerizing walks with magnificent mountain scenery to enjoy. Don’t let the word mountain mislead you to think that you need Sherpas to help you along the way. There are plenty of hikes on high that are very manageable for families, provided you’ve brought good footwear and ample water.

My new friend Helen from Irish company Ireland Walk Hike Bike created this infographic profiling five of the best mountain hikes in Europe, from their own land in the west across to the eastern nations of Montenegro and Slovakia. If you want to explore Europe at its most authentic, why not give these routes a try?

 

5 top European mountain hikes

 

The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Hiking

Posted by on Aug 23, 2018 @ 2:14 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Hiking

There’s nothing as reinvigorating as a morning spent outdoors surrounded only by rocks, trees, and wildlife.

The great thing about hiking is that it can be exactly as relaxing or as challenging as you make it.

You can simply decide to wear your old sneakers and wander around a local forest, or you can go all-out and spend months at a time in the wilderness—or anywhere in between.

Hiking can be a major adventure, or just a short moment of peace, a defining period of calm.

Wherever or however you choose to go outside, it may brings you peace and a deeper feeling of contentment.

This is not just happiness, but rather something quite deeper.

You might want similar experiences, but how? Isn’t it expensive? Isn’t is difficult or dangerous?

Check out this handy guide to find out…

 

Big Brother–Style Tech Is Helping Hikers Avoid Crowds

Posted by on Aug 23, 2018 @ 6:41 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Big Brother–Style Tech Is Helping Hikers Avoid Crowds

When you head out for a hike this summer in many areas in the mountains just east of Seattle, a government-sanctioned program will be watching your Flickr photos and Instagram posts, noting where you’ve been and what you’ve been up to. While this sounds like creepy Big Brother invading your privacy, the researchers aren’t actually interested in you personally.

Instead, they’re training the tools of Big Data on social media in hopes that the information they gather can improve your future visits to public lands.

The program in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest is the first of its kind in the country. Mount Baker-Snoqualmie, which lies on the west side of Washington’s Cascade Range between the Canadian border and Mount Rainier, is one of the most popular national forests in the nation.

Managers already have some useful tools to estimate the use of public lands, such as the National Visitor Use Monitoring Program, which measures use on a broad, often forest-wide scale every five years. But that doesn’t tell managers precisely when hikers and snowshoers were in a particular spot or exactly where they went.

Researchers have counted more than a quarter-million visitors and gathered data from tens of thousands of social media posts from 32 spots within the forest. By using that data and trip reports from the popular Washington Trails Association website, the scientists are creating visitor models that show how many people are using specific trails and when.

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Hike Will Bridge Age Gap on Grandparents Day

Posted by on Aug 22, 2018 @ 12:39 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hike Will Bridge Age Gap on Grandparents Day

Looking for a way to bridge the age gap on National Grandparents Day September 9? Take a hike on the NC Mountains-to-Sea Trail. (MST)

“We have trail sections for all skills and ages from the Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks and in between,” said Jerry Barker, organizer of the MST Birthday Hike, which will be held that same weekend. He added, “Love of the outdoors is something one generation can pass on to another, whether it is hiking to a waterfall, hilltop, or quiet spot in the woods.”

Between September 7 and 9, 2018, not only grandparents and grandkids, but all North Carolinians can be part of the 41st birthday celebration of the MST. Last year over 1,700 people joined together to hike the 1,175-mile trail in one day on the trail’s 40th.

This year will be more informal, with hikers walking the trail anytime over the weekend with a group goal to accumulate a large number of miles hiked over the weekend. All hikers are invited to record their mileage and/or share their trail experiences at mountainstoseatrail.org/birthdayhike.

Or, you can share photos using the hashtag #mstbirthdayhike on Facebook or Twitter.

Suggested hikes, frequently asked questions and more information are online at mountainstoseatrail.org/birthdayhike. Trail guides for the entire trail are downloadable on the same website.

The MST goes from Clingmans Dome in Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Jockey’s Ridge on the Outer Banks. About 700 miles of the route—more than half the planned length—are currently on natural surface or greenway trail, unpaved forest roads, or beach. A series of connectors on bicycle routes, paddle routes, and backroads knits together finished sections to span the state. It goes through four national parks, two national wildlife refuges, ten state parks and three national forests.

Friends of the MST is a non-profit organization whose volunteers work more than 35,000 hours annually to build and maintain the trail.

 

What is Preventative Search and Rescue?

Posted by on Aug 21, 2018 @ 6:30 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

What is Preventative Search and Rescue?

You’ve probably heard of Search and Rescue before, but some national park rangers are involved with Preventive Search and Rescue. Basically their job is to help visitors avoid needing to be rescued by providing education about the hazards of hiking in the parks, and the time and equipment necessary to complete a planned hike.

The PSAR program was started in 1997 at Grand Canyon National Park as an effort to reduce the hundreds of heat-related illnesses park visitors were experiencing every summer. It has since been adapted at other parks as well. Some of those illnesses resulted in deaths that could have been avoided with better preparation and planning. PSAR Rangers patrol the upper portions of the main corridor trails, such as the Bright Angel and South Kaibab Trails, and ask hikers questions about their hiking plans.

* Where are you hiking today?

* Do you know how far that is and how long it will take you to complete the hike?

* Do you have enough water and food with you?

* Are you drinking your water?

* Do you have a flashlight and a jacket?

* Do you know what temperatures to expect?

Although information about the trails is available at the Visitor Center and on signs posted at the trailheads, many hikers are still surprised when a PSAR Ranger talks to them about their planned hike. If you meet a PSAR Ranger on your hike remember the goal is not to discourage you but to help you have a safe and positive experience.

PSAR Rangers are also EMT’s and are often the first park personnel on scene with an ill or injured hiker. PSAR Rangers carry basic medical gear and can call for additional personnel if advanced medical or technical rescue skills are required.

 

How to Enjoy a Ski Destination When It’s Not Ski Season

Posted by on Aug 20, 2018 @ 8:07 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

How to Enjoy a Ski Destination When It’s Not Ski Season

Just because the slopes are bare doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit a ski resort. From wildlife tours to stargazing, many have more to offer in the warm months than you may think.

Vail, Colo., Jackson Hole, Wyo., and Park City, Utah, may all be mainstay skiing destinations, but trips to their resorts — or those in any other ski spot in the United States for that matter — shouldn’t be confined to ski season. Top ski locales offer plenty of diversions in the summer and fall, too.

Ski resorts are a hiker’s haven, with dozens of possible treks ranging from easy to strenuous. The slopes that are so much fun when covered in snow are great to explore when the ground is bare, and many resorts even offer hiking tours off-season. Your hotel’s concierge or the local tourist office will be able to give you a list, along with maps, of all of your options.

And there’s beautiful scenery in store for those willing to hit the trail: You’ll walk through an abundance of colorful wildflowers. They’re a stunning sight. While you’re up in the hills, enjoy lunch at a mountain restaurant and then save your knees by taking a gondola or tram back down, a perk that many ski resorts offer to hikers in the spring and summer.

Unlike the winter, wildlife is replete in ski destinations come summer and fall, with high chances of spotting herds of antelope, bison, moose, elk, deer and big horn. You may even get a glimpse of a bear.

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A Himalayan journey – trekking to Shangri-La

Posted by on Aug 19, 2018 @ 9:11 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

A Himalayan journey – trekking to Shangri-La

At the top of the Miyar Valley in the high Himalayas, a chain of seven tiny turquoise pools nestle below the snout of a formidable glacier. Each one looks deceptively inviting. Plunge in and your shouts, as you brave the icy water, echo off walls of rock into empty air; there is no one but your group around to hear. For miles in every direction there are only mountains; their white peaks, sheer slopes and pockets of high hidden valleys are filled with wildflowers for just a few months of the year, mainly June and July, when their cape of snow melts away.

Most stunning are the fragile, brilliant blue Himalayan poppies, which inspire such devotion that there is a book, Blue Heaven, dedicated to them. Some are scattered among the rocks around the pools, above the grassy meadows which feel like your own private heaven.

In 1933 the British author James Hilton coined the term Shangri-La to describe a secluded Buddhist mountain utopia. The word, and the dream it represented, escaped the pages of his novel Lost Horizon and became embedded in popular culture, idealized, constantly reinterpreted and appropriated. Few of them bear much resemblance to the rural idyll Hilton describes. In the Miyar Valley though, Hilton might have recognized something like his forgotten, isolated paradise.

For visitors who want to see the high Himalayas, but might be wary of their steepest passes, the Miyar Valley makes a great trip. It’s relatively accessible for novice trekkers because it is unusually long and relatively flat, but can also be the start of a much longer, more demanding trek. If you continue up the glacier, you reach the Kang-La pass, which leads down to the fabled Tibetan kingdom of Zanskar.

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