Hiking News

Taking in the White Mountains, every step of each trail

Posted by on Sep 11, 2017 @ 7:02 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Taking in the White Mountains, every step of each trail

In 1907, the Appalachian Mountain Club published a little book called “Guide to the Paths and Camps in the White Mountains.” As its rather wordy title made clear, it was a collection of maps and descriptions of trails through the Presidential Range and beyond.

Through printing after printing, the book changed titles — the 30th edition of what is now known simply as the “White Mountain Guide” was just published — but its basic structure remained largely unchanged: It was an adventure book without a plot.

Then some hikers decided that it most certainly did have a plot, a very long and simple one: To finish the book, you must walk every trail in it, all 1,420 miles. Called “redlining” — the idea being that you draw a red line over every completed trail — it has become increasingly popular over the last decade.

“It used to be this obscure thing, but I have people coming into the shop all the time now asking about it,” said Steven Smith, the owner of the Mountain Wanderer Map and Book Store in Lincoln, N.H., and the editor of the latest edition of the guide. He’s also the seventh person to redline, a feat he finished in 2010, using the 28th edition of the guide.

Redlining is indeed a challenge, one that took Smith 30 years to accomplish. You’ll need to climb all 48 of the 4,000′ peaks, probably more than once because there may be several routes to the top and many side trails and spurs. Redliners say you’ll easily walk 3,000 to 4,000 miles trying to complete all the trails.

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The Layering Equation: Dressing for Winter Comfort

Posted by on Sep 10, 2017 @ 11:26 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The Layering Equation: Dressing for Winter Comfort

Calculating how to layer on clothing for maximum comfort while venturing outside can be a tricky equation.

There are lots of variables, like unknown or changing weather conditions and activity levels that can range on a given day from strenuous boot-packing or snowshoeing to long sedentary chairlift rides or winter camping.

Everybody’s different, too, with different comfort and exertion levels, so there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the layering question. Lucky for us, we can leave our Number 2 pencils at home, because this is a trial-and-error sort of thing. Once you figure out the layering options that work best for you, your time outdoors becomes that much more enjoyable.

Today’s baselayers are highly breathable, which allows them to wick moisture and makes them perhaps the most important piece of your arsenal when it comes to pure temperature regulation. The right baselayer complements the rest of your layering system, making the whole system as versatile as possible.

Though it might seem counterintuitive, thicker doesn’t always mean warmer. Baselayers come in different weights and thicknesses, and many people prefer the thin and lightweight variety. Most modern baselayers are meant to have a close fit without being overly tight.

Here’s an overview of some different layering options, some study material to help you make the most of your layering decisions.


A free series of fall foliage hikes is planned across New Hampshire in the coming weeks

Posted by on Sep 9, 2017 @ 12:18 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

A free series of fall foliage hikes is planned across New Hampshire in the coming weeks

Following the leaves as they turn color from north to south in New Hampshire, the Five Easy Hikes series will catch the early reds of turning maples in Bethlehem, take in a full-moon hike near Lake Sunapee, catch the breathtaking views over Lake Winnipesaukee in Alton, explore a less-traveled trail on Mount Monadnock in Jaffrey and end with a pre-Halloween visit to a property some believe to be haunted in Chesterfield.

The Five Easy Hike fall series is sponsored by the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests and WMUR. They are all free.

Reservations are required by calling 224-9945 or by going to event registration.

The first hike in the series is planned for Sept. 24 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Rocks Estate in Bethlehem. The foliage usually turns color first in the north of the state and the series is designed to follow the peak foliage from north to south.

The first hike will allow for an early glimpse at the foliage, set against the White Mountains. The views from the sprawling fields of this historic estate are magnificent in late September and the days are often warm.

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China’s Mars will feature zero gravity, hiking trails and an amusement park

Posted by on Sep 9, 2017 @ 7:03 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

China’s Mars will feature zero gravity, hiking trails and an amusement park

The space race just got closer to home. China recently unveiled plans to recreate Mars in a 35,000 square mile region of Tibet.

The $61 million project is expected to be both a tourist destination and training grounds for future astronauts.

Located near the westernmost tip of the Great Wall, the replica will be built in Qinghai province, an arid, rocky stretch of desert land described by China’s official news agency as “the most Martian place on Earth.”

“People dream about migrating to Mars, so what we want to do is give people a high-end experience of what it would actually be like to live in outer space,” said the director of lunar and deep space exploration at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Attractions are expected to include a Mars-themed amusement park, hiking trails, some type of zero-gravity experience and a camping area where visitors will sleep in “module-like accommodations.” At least one section of the cold, dry region will dedicated to astronaut training and research.



National Public Lands Day 2017—less than four weeks away

Posted by on Sep 7, 2017 @ 12:11 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

National Public Lands Day 2017—less than four weeks away

NEEF’s 24th annual National Public Lands Day (NPLD) is just a few weeks away. Where will you be on September 30, 2017 when hundreds of thousands of people join in the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands? Take a moment to check out NPLD events in your area and register your event today.

Whether you are interested in learning about nature, spending time with your family, getting exercise that is good for your health, connecting with your neighbors and others in your community, or giving back to the lands that offer all these opportunities and more, there is a National Public Lands Day event for you.

National Public Lands Day is supported by seven federal partners: Bureau of Land Management, Department of Defense, National Park Service, US Army Corps of Engineers, US Environmental Protection Agency, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and US Forest Service. Each year, several federal partners award grants to support select NPLD sites.

In addition to federal partners, NEEF also works with more than 250 state, county, city, university, and school partners, as well as many parks and recreation departments.

To encourage people to join in and visit their public lands, NEEF’s National Public Lands Day is a fee-free day for all federal public lands and many state parks. Whether you volunteer on NPLD, enjoy some boating, hiking, fishing, or camping, or simply learn more about your public lands and the plants and wildlife that live there, NPLD is an opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors and celebrate the lands that give us so much.


Conquering the Florida Trail in a skirt

Posted by on Sep 7, 2017 @ 6:36 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Conquering the Florida Trail in a skirt

Out on the trail, hiker Gretchen Matt is known as “Dirty Bowl.”

It’s a long-standing tradition among serious hikers to adopt a nickname. (Matt’s harkens back to her days as an Outward Bound instructor who was lackadaisical about cleanliness.) And Matt is a serious hiker. In her 28 years she has completed two of the most intimidating and respected hikes in the U.S. — the Appalachian Trail (2,190 miles) and the Pacific Crest Trail (2,659 miles). In January 2017, she decided to attempt the lesser known Florida Trail — one of the country’s 11 designated National Scenic Trails.

Florida’s tropical climate makes the 1,100-mile trail one of the ideal winter thru-hikes and the biodiversity the route offers as it snakes through the heart of Florida and around the panhandle is unrivaled.

But the Florida Trail can push a hiker’s endurance and nerves to her limits. Those 1,100 miles rely heavily on painfully long stretches of road walking — taking hikers through busy towns and along car-packed two-way roads. And if hikers go south to north, which is recommended, they start with the toughest piece of trail — nearly 40 miles of waist-deep, alligator-populated bog known as Big Cypress Swamp.

But Matt was up for the challenge. She would give herself 40 days. She booked a flight from her home in Spokane, Washington, and used an online hiker forum to get a ride from the Miami airport to the trail’s southern starting point. She would be hiking alone.

Read full story…


It’s Almost Time for Mountains to Sea Trail In a Day

Posted by on Sep 6, 2017 @ 11:44 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

It’s Almost Time for Mountains to Sea Trail In a Day

There will be boots and boats on all 1,175 miles of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail on September 9, 2017, from Clingmans Dome atop the Smokies to Jockeys Ridge on the coast. What a great way to celebrate the day 40 years ago when Howard Lee, N.C. Secretary of Natural Resources at the time, first proposed the idea of a statewide trail.

As time neared filling all 300 legs of the trail, Friends of the MST noticed that the total of hikers and paddlers was nearing 1,000. Another couple hundred hikers and they could have a hiker for every mile of trail as well. So they created a secondary goal of enlisting at least 1,175 hikers for MST in a Day. If you know someone who would like to hike but hasn’t signed up, give ’em a nudge to sign up at MSTinaDay.org.

Where parking permits, they have added more slots to certain Segments. In Segment 10 through the heavily populated Triangle, for instance, they’ve added 65 openings on 12 legs. If there was a leg you wanted to hike but it was full, check again: it may have an opening.

On September 7, Friends will send a guide to each hiker (hopefully at least 1,175 of you) who has signed up going over pertinent safety and logistical issues. In the meantime, you can get most of your questions answered via the MST in a Day FAQ.

As you prepare for September 9, it is recommended that you download the Trail Guide for your Segment. To find your leg(s) of the trail in the guide, check the beginning and ending mileage markers on the Meetup site where you signed up, or on your Segment page at mstinaday.org. All significant twists and turns will be noted on that page. There will be more detailed instructions on how to use the guide later in the week.

And yes, they are keeping an eye on the weather. They will be in touch with you if it looks like it might affect your day on the trail.


Looking Back at the History of Hiking in America

Posted by on Sep 5, 2017 @ 12:18 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Looking Back at the History of Hiking in America

“Why would anyone enjoy deliberately walking around in nature?” is an initial question. As a longtime junior high school teacher, it was a challenge to bring 14-year-olds to a mental place where they could appreciate “just walking” around in the backcountry. At first, many wanted to keep riding in cars, skateboarding or at least biking — hiking was rather stupid.

Hiking, or leisure walking, began as a chosen social activity only when Americans were freed from the necessity of travel by foot. When public transportation improved after the Civil War, and when automobiles became very common after World War II, many citizens suddenly awakened to the idea they could drive to a trailhead and just walk right out into nature. It’s not such a simple concept if you mull it over. We aren’t thinking of Jim Bridger or Jedediah Smith, but urban sorts venturing out of the city.

Silas Chamberlin’s well-written tome with the catchy title, On the Trail, offers a concise, 204-page survey of the ways organized hiking or nature walking grew in the United States after the 1860s. Until the late 1960s, this was an East Coast story. The author’s main thesis is that the social aspect of the new 19th-century hiking clubs had been lost by the 1970s with the rise of hiking as a mass phenomenon. The United States developed from fewer than 2 million walkers to more than 34 million dayhikers/backpackers today.

When did the idea of choosing to hike out into nature increase to the point that by the 1960s, the old-style hiking clubs couldn’t handle the masses (or, the masses rejected large-group social hiking)?

Learn more here…


Stewards needed to keep hiking trails clear after monsoon storms

Posted by on Sep 5, 2017 @ 7:13 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Stewards needed to keep hiking trails clear after monsoon storms

Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation needs help maintaining hiking trails near Tucson.

Monsoon 2017 has let up for now, but just weeks ago storms dumped lots of rain on southern Arizona. All that rain caused weeds and other plants to grow out of control.

County officials are looking for trail stewards to make sure these trails continue looking good.

Volunteers are needed to keep an eye on their assigned portion of the trail and clean it up when the trails start looking overgrown.

Volunteers will be asked to do minor maintenance by removing any weeds blocking the trail and let the county know if anything more serious is going on.

The trails program coordinator said the trails need to be kept under control. He said if they aren’t, hikers could be forced to make their own trails, which could destroy the wildlife there and put your safety at risk.

“Most of the people who come out here are able to handle the trails. Some of our trails are difficult by design and build but getting lost is a problem,” he said. “Especially in the Tucson Mountain Park where we have [unintended] social trails and we are really trying to address that…”

To volunteer, call 520-724-5000 and ask for Mark Flint with the Trail Stewards Program or email him at Mark.Flint@pima.gov.


Night hiking: Beating the heat in Grand Canyon

Posted by on Sep 4, 2017 @ 11:46 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Night hiking: Beating the heat in Grand Canyon

Below the Tapeats on the South Kaibab Trail is a great place to stop and rest called “Big Shady.” When it is hot, this spot is nice and cool. But folks are here huddled up above the trail in the shelter of a slight overhang in the cliff, trying to stay dry and wishing that there weren’t so many clouds in the sky. Rather odd given that it is the middle of August. But it is 2:30 in the morning and so far the 21 mile rim-to-rim hike across Grand Canyon is unfolding as planned.

With daytime temperatures soaring above 100 degrees, hiking the Grand Canyon in the summer is difficult. Knowledge of the area and planning are essential. For this hike, start in the late evening and count on crossing through the bottom of the canyon when it is relatively cool.

Part of the planning involves figuring out which direction to go. Many argue that hiking north to south is best in that you save yourself from having to hike up an extra thousand feet. But a strong argument can be made that the elevation difference actually favors a south to north itinerary. It is 6.8 miles and 4,200 feet to the north rim from Cottonwood Campground, while it is 7 miles and 4,800 feet to the south rim from Bright Angel Campground.

11:15 is a good time to start down the trail. You will likely have cool temperatures all the way to Phantom Ranch, where the forecast in August is for an overnight low of seventy-five degrees. Although this would seem to be the perfect time to hike, others don’t really seem to get the message. The vast expanse will seem wholly yours.

Read full story…


10 Exercises That Will Get You Ready For Any Hike

Posted by on Sep 4, 2017 @ 6:29 am in Hiking News | 2 comments

10 Exercises That Will Get You Ready For Any Hike

Preparing your body for a hike is often overshadowed by other hiking preparations, such as what gear to bring, which trail to take, and whether you have the right hiking shoes. As important as these preparations are, it is equally important to prepare your body for hiking by strengthening your muscles, increasing your cardiovascular capacity, and improving flexibility.

Hiking is a lot of fun, but it can be a challenge too. In order to make your hiking experience the best that it can be, it is smart to train your body for any hike, whether it’s a beginner 1-mile trail or an epic backpacking trek. Body preparation will prevent injury and soreness and ensure that you have a great time on your adventure.

If you want to get in shape for your next hike, these 10 exercises will target all the muscles you’ll use the most. For hikers, there is a lot of strain placed on the leg muscles: the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, and calves, especially if you are drastically changing elevation on your hike.

Follow this workout for 4 weeks leading up to your next outdoor adventure. Aim for 3 nonconsecutive days a week. Make sure to warm up with some dynamic stretches before the workout, and cool down with some static stretches after the workout. Note that you may feel sore after the first week. That’s normal and will improve with exercise consistency.

Get the 10 exercises here…


Greece Beyond the Beaches: The Undiscovered Epirus

Posted by on Sep 3, 2017 @ 11:51 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Greece Beyond the Beaches: The Undiscovered Epirus

Epirus is on the northwest side of the Greek mainland. Multicolored concrete culture in Athens switches into green-blue stone villages, ancient arched bridges, ramshackle castles, quiet mountains topped with snow, and clear river gorges. It’s pretty rugged and was not easily accessible for many years (even now, the only way to reach it is by bus or car.)

In Epirus you’ll feel like you’ve entered a realm where the past is charmingly present. 75 beautiful arched bridges are used to connect small villages to each other, and have the ability to quickly transport visitors to a bygone era.

Secluded from masses, embraced among the mountains, and so close to Gods, Epirus used to be home to an ancient oracle where priests and priestesses looked for signs that would lead them in the right direction. You can walk around the theater of Dodona and its nearby ruins.

If there is any advantage to Epirus’ poor infrastructure, it is definitely the pristine surroundings, where one barely notices the sparse human touch. The majority of the terrain is rough, often only marked by a path that belongs to the official national or international network of hiking trails.

One of the areas with the most stunning views, hiking trails, various animal species, and diverse vegetation is Pindos National Park. The highlight of the park is the 20km Vikos Gorge (its deepest point is 1,600ft).

Read full story…


Canada’s ‘Great Trail’ Is Finally Connected

Posted by on Sep 2, 2017 @ 12:06 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Canada’s ‘Great Trail’ Is Finally Connected

In 1992, three Canadians, inspired by their country’s 125th birthday celebration, thought up a crazy plan. What if they could connect all of Canada’s hiking trails, footpaths, rail trails, and boardwalks into one giant mega-trail that snaked from coast to coast?

It’s now 2017. Canada has celebrated its 150th birthday. And on August 26th, those three dreamers—along with the thousands of volunteers who helped clear brush, fix planks, put up signs, and do all the other little tasks that make wilderness passable—celebrated the coast-to-coast connection of what they’re calling the Great Trail.

The trail can be used for biking, hiking, and horseback riding in the summer, and cross-country skiing and snowmobiling in the winter. “First you build it, then get people using it and then it becomes an icon that will hopefully last forever,” Paul LaBarge, one of the original founders.

The path stretches 24,000 kilometers, or nearly 15,000 miles, criss-crossing southern Canada before forming a huge loop in the Northwest. A quarter of this length is water—wetland and river routes where hikers will have to trade boots for boats.

It’s also over five times as long as the West Coast’s famed Pacific Crest Trail, and over six times as long as the Appalachian.

Read full story…


Yosemite fires shut Glacier Point Road, road to park entrance and popular hiking trails

Posted by on Sep 2, 2017 @ 9:03 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Yosemite fires shut Glacier Point Road, road to park entrance and popular hiking trails

Should you be traveling to Yosemite National Park for the Labor Day weekend, be prepared for smoky conditions and trail and road closures.

Separate fires have shut Glacier Point Road, California Highway 41 leading from Oakhurst to the southern entrance into the park, a campground and popular hiking trails.

Yosemite’s website warns visitors about smoke conditions in Yosemite Valley and beyond: “Expect poor air quality and limited visibility due to fires in Yosemite. Avoid strenuous exercise outdoors and remain indoors when possible.”

“Dense morning smoke impacts, clearing in the afternoon” was predicted for Yosemite Valley by the U.S. Forest Service’s wildfire air-quality program.

Hotels, restaurants, visitor centers and stores in Yosemite Valley are open.

As of late September 1,2017, Inciweb.gov reported these fire-related park closures…

Couple this with fires in Glacier National Park, and at least two of America’s favorite national parks are suffering.


The 650-Mile Alabama Trail: Coming Soon to a Town Near You

Posted by on Sep 1, 2017 @ 11:29 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The 650-Mile Alabama Trail: Coming Soon to a Town Near You

In 2001, a small group of avid hikers met at the Open Pond Campground in Conecuh National Forest near Andalusia, Alabama. They had with them a state roadmap that they had picked up at an aging rest area along an interstate. Using an orange magic marker, they began to carefully draw a line on the map.

The line started in Florence, near the Tennessee state line, then headed south connecting several dots along the way—state parks, national forests, city parks, open public land—and finally ending at Fort Morgan on the Alabama Gulf Coast.

The result was a proposed new long trail in the state, a mountain-to-sea hike that they would eventually call the Alabama Trail.

Since that time, the Alabama Hiking Trail Society has been laying the groundwork for that trail to become a reality. Construction has gone in stops and starts over the years, the trail building is finally underway, bringing a dream years in the making to fruition. The final route of the path will determine its final length, but currently, AHTS estimates that it will more than 650 miles long.

An actual complete walk-in-the-woods from the Gulf to the mountains is still years off but AHTS is working to connect those dots with a temporary roadwalk between them. And when it’s finished, the route will delight hikers with all that makes Alabama an amazing outdoor wonderland: tranquil blackwater rivers, rich green swamps and wetlands, deep canyons, towering waterfalls, and mountains with spectacular views.

Learn more here…


AT Crushed: ‘Stringbean’ Sets Both Speed Records

Posted by on Aug 31, 2017 @ 9:17 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

AT Crushed: ‘Stringbean’ Sets Both Speed Records

Joe ‘Stringbean’ McConaughy, a well-known speed hiker, set a new record on the Appalachian Trail today. He hiked the 2,190-mile route in an unofficial fastest known time (FKT) of 45 days, 12 hours, 15 minutes.

McConaughy’s hike began the trail on July 17th at 6:31 a.m. EST, in Georgia (South to North). If verified by community-recognized officials who manage FKTs (and it likely will be), Stringbean’s hike breaks both the unsupported and supported records.

His new unofficial record would beat the old record of 54 days set by Heather “Anish” Anderson by an astounding nine days.

Maybe more remarkably, it also means that, under his own power and without outside support, McConaughy beat renowned ultrarunner Karl Meltzer’s record set in 2016 of 45 days, 22 hours, and 38 minutes. His effort raises the bar on through-hiking speed to an almost unfathomable level.

He averaged about 50 miles per day without outside assistance. Epic.

While his hike went on without the fanfare of Meltzer’s 2016 supported hike (in which ultra-runner Scott Jurek provided support), McConaughy is well known.

In 2014, he smashed the record on the Pacific Crest Trail, finishing the 2,660-mile journey in just 53 days, 6 hours and 37 minutes. He was 23 years old at the time.

Learn more about Stringbean here…


Volunteers are Vital Component to Rainbow Falls Trail Rehabilitation Project

Posted by on Aug 31, 2017 @ 7:16 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Volunteers are Vital Component to Rainbow Falls Trail Rehabilitation Project

Earlier this summer, Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials recruited for volunteers to assist the Trails Forever trail crew with a rehabilitation project on the Rainbow Falls Trail. Citizens from across the region responded and their volunteer effort has significantly helped in moving the project forward these past few months. In order to maintain the momentum, officials are now issuing a second request for volunteers.

Volunteers are needed every Wednesday from approximately 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Volunteers must register at least one week in advance by contacting Trails and Facilities Volunteer Coordinator, Adam Monroe, whose contact information is provided below.

The Trails Forever crew will focus rehabilitation efforts on several targeted locations along the 6-mile trail to improve visitor safety and stabilize eroding trail sections. Rainbow Falls Trail is one of the most popular trails in the park leading hikers to Rainbow Falls and Mt. Le Conte. The planned work will improve overall trail safety and protect natural resources by reducing social trails and improving drainage to prevent further erosion.

“Thanks to the generous support of volunteers along with the hard work of park staff, we have been able to progress nicely with this Rainbow Falls Trail renovation project,” said Tobias Miller, Trails and Roads Facility Manager. “Once complete, the trail will be a national treasure and volunteers will be a part of its legacy for generations to come.”

The Trails Forever program provides opportunities for both skilled and non-skilled volunteers to work alongside park crews to make lasting improvements to park trails. The Rainbow Falls Trail project provides a great opportunity to improve a part of the park that was damaged by the 2016 wildfires.

Trails Forever volunteers will perform a wide range of trail maintenance and trail rehabilitation work depending on volunteer experience level including installing drainage features, rehabilitating trail surfaces, constructing raised trail segments, removing brush, or planting vegetation. While these jobs may vary in complexity, all Trails Forever volunteers must be able to hike at least four miles and safely perform strenuous and often difficult manual labor.

Volunteers should be comfortable lifting heavy objects and using hand tools such as shovels, rakes, axes, and sledgehammers. The park will provide all the safety gear, tools and equipment needed for the projects. Volunteers will need to wear boots and long pants and bring a day pack with food, water, rain gear and any other personal gear for the day.

The Trails Forever program is a partnership between the national park and Friends of the Smokies. To sign up for a work day or for more information, contact Adam Monroe at 828-497-1949 or Adam_Monroe@nps.gov. Prior notice of your attendance is mandatory for project planning. More information and Frequently Asked Questions can be found at https://friendsofthesmokiesorg/trailsforever/volunteer/.