Hiking News

Memorial Day Weekend Kicks Off Vermont’s Hiking Season

Posted by on May 26, 2017 @ 7:17 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Memorial Day Weekend Kicks Off Vermont’s Hiking Season

The holiday weekend is traditionally the start of the hiking season in Vermont. Hiking is one of the state’s top summer tourism draws and the Green Mountain Club (GMC) estimates 200,000 people visit The Long Trail each year. The official protectors and maintainers of the Long Trail, the 107-year-old Green Mountain Club is the premier Vermont hiking organization with numerous hiking guides and maps available to Vermonters and visitors alike.

From its rocky summits to its gentle valleys, Vermont is home to hundreds of miles of hiking opportunities. This is a great time of year to get outside and enjoy a favorite hike or explore some place new. Higher elevations may still have snow and muddy conditions, so please be prepared walk through puddles to avoid damaging the surrounding vegetation.

The GMC offers a few tips for early season hikers:

· Plan ahead and let someone know where you will be hiking.
· Bring a warm extra layer as mountain tops are chilly year-round and Vermont’s weather can quickly change.
· Stay hydrated and bring food for long hikes.
· Bring raingear; even an emergency poncho or garbage bag will help in a pinch.
· Carry out what you carry in and help protect Vermont’s special places.

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New ‘Hiking Alaska’ book offers more routes, more color — and more heft

Posted by on May 25, 2017 @ 11:59 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

New ‘Hiking Alaska’ book offers more routes, more color — and more heft

Just in time for the start of another hiking season, the third edition of the venerable guidebook “Hiking Alaska” has hit the shelves.

It’s easily the most comprehensive statewide resource for residents and visitors who are looking for the best places to put their feet to the ground.

Author Mollie Foster has greatly expanded the book from previous editions. The new version is nearly 100 pages longer than the last, which came out in 2006, and includes significant changes.

Foster said that the new version “received an overhaul of all elements of the book: text, photographs, maps, layout, and design.” She also added 12 trails not previously included.

The book has 100 entries, although there are actually more hikes than that since some of the routes offer two or more options at the trailhead. Each entry has a rundown of basic information such as distance, elevation gain, difficulty and the best time to visit. There are also directions for getting to the trail, a brief description of conditions and scenic features, as well as a map and an elevation profile for each route.

“This new version of the book is in full color,” Foster said, “from the photographs to the topographic maps, whereas the two previous editions were entirely black and white. A significant change is the number of photographs. The third edition has more than 175 full-color photos, while the previous edition included about 40 black and white images.”

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Francis Marion National Forest a great escape

Posted by on May 25, 2017 @ 7:25 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Francis Marion National Forest a great escape

Centered directly between South Carolina’s top two tourist destinations, Charleston and Myrtle Beach, the Francis Marion National Forest’s nearly 260,000 acres sprawl across Berkeley and Charleston counties and have enhanced the lives of visitors and residents for decades.

Officially designated in 1936, the area is named in honor of the fabled American Revolutionary War hero.

In the historic forest, the bright lights and noise of city life give way to peacefulness and calm. Dog walkers, runners, campers, bikers, hikers, horseback riders, fishermen and boaters enjoy the grounds managed by the United States Forest Service, perhaps on some of the very same spots Francis Marion craftily resisted and eluded the British nearly 250 years ago.

Around 1780, a British Colonel swore not even the devil could catch Francis Marion, who became known as the Swamp Fox.

Fortunately for locals and tourists alike, leisure and exploration aren’t as elusive in the Francis Marion National Forest today.

It is home to a variety of wildlife and remains a pristine landscape of pine stands, swamps and marshes beneath skyscraping bald cypress trees. Included in the wildlife is the endangered redcockaded woodpecker.

It’s home to four designated wilderness areas: Hell Hole Bay, Wambaw Creek, Wambaw Swamp and Little Wambaw Swamp. A wilderness area is a region where land is in a natural state, where impacts from human activities are minimal.

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The Road Mistaken: 6 Common Mistakes New Hikers Make

Posted by on May 24, 2017 @ 11:30 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The Road Mistaken: 6 Common Mistakes New Hikers Make

Trying any sport or hobby for the first time can be nerve-wracking; adjusting to a new set of rules, lingo, setting, and even physical demands can stir up chaos in our already frazzled brains, making us reluctant to try new and exciting things.

Hiking is an activity that continues to be a learning process. No matter how many summits you reach, you still find yourself encountering situations that you could’ve been better prepared for, or those you would never have seen coming, which is what adds to the sense of adventure and exploration of the unknown.

There are plenty of ways to get in shape, from biking to hitting the treadmill, all of which are guaranteed to make you stronger and build up endurance that can come in handy when out on the trails. However, there is no pre-trail conditioning quite like hiking itself; starting off small and working your way up to the big climbs is the best way to prepare yourself for major hikes.

Dressing for your adventures can be a bit tricky, you have to factor in weather, time of year, the distance and nature of your hike, as well as other things that pertain to your body, and your own personal comfort.

While we can’t prepare you for every little thing on your hike, here’s a list of mistakes first-time hikers often make, and how you can avoid making them yourselves.


Hiking trail improvements are on track in NY

Posted by on May 23, 2017 @ 11:26 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking trail improvements are on track in NY

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced $2 million in funding for projects to improve and expand State Park hiking trails and outdoor recreational access projects in State Parks across New York. The 2017-18 budget dedicates nearly $2 million to 12 projects to improve and expand State Park hiking trails and outdoor recreational access projects across New York. The trails projects are part of the Governor’s historic commitment to improving parks and expanding access to outdoor recreation through the NY Parks 2020 Plan.

“The New York State Parks system offers unparalleled natural beauty and world-class outdoor recreation in every corner of this state,” Governor Cuomo said. “With this funding, we ensure that our trails and parks remain second to none, and I encourage residents and visitors alike to get out this summer and explore the hundreds of miles of trails New York has to offer.”

New York State Parks feature more than 2,000 miles of trails, from challenging mountain climbs to gentle bicycle paths. Visitors can hike the popular Indian Ladder Trail in Thacher State Park then stop in the new Thacher Park Center, or ride along the new 8-mile Black Diamond Trail near Ithaca, or explore back country trails in thousands of acres of protected open space in the rugged Hudson Highlands. For more information on trails in State Parks, visit www.nysparks.com/recreation/trails.

“With Memorial Day here and summer around the corner, it’s a great time to hike, jog, bike or horseback ride,” Rose Harvey, Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation said. “State Park trails offer some of the best places to explore and discover New York’s great outdoors.

Get the list of trails here…


What Makes A Map Beautiful, According To A Parks Ranger

Posted by on May 23, 2017 @ 6:26 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

What Makes A Map Beautiful, According To A Parks Ranger

This national parks ranger and self-proclaimed cartomaniac shares favorites from his extensive map collection.

Clambering in the back of a van or station wagon and driving with your folks to your nearest national park used to be a summer tradition. Certainly, it was for Matt Holly, who grew up to be a national park’s ranger. “I come from a family that loved visiting national parks,” he says. “There was just something about driving through that park entrance and having the ranger hand you a map. You made it. You’re here now. Let’s have some fun.”

Holly’s obsession with National Park Services (NPS) maps is why he set up NPMaps, a website that serves as a resource for high-resolution downloads of all the national parks maps he can find, as Citylab recently pointed out.

The official map for every national park is designed at Harpers Ferry Center according to the agency’s Unigrid guidelines, which were created by no lesser designer than the legendary Massimo Vignelli. But those aren’t the ones Holly’s really fascinated with: It’s the regional maps created by the local rangers themselves, with highly specific goals unique to their parks.

One feature Holly particularly enjoys on some of the newer maps is the use of a mask to highlight the park area compared to the surrounding terrain. On the Death Valley map, it shows the topography both inside and outside the park, yet the park is still easy to distinguish and really jumps off the page. This is a great example of realistic coloring.

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7 of the Best Hiking Trails in New Jersey

Posted by on May 22, 2017 @ 11:45 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

7 of the Best Hiking Trails in New Jersey

For Dawn L. McClennen, there’s nothing like the feeling of being outside with just a pair of hiking shoes and a backpack.

“You’re away from technology, out in the fresh air,” McClennen said. “There’s this sense of adventure. You’re exploring sights you haven’t seen before.”

McClennen, 47, has been hiking for a little more than 20 years. She is the co-founder of NJHiking.com, a website dedicated to New Jersey’s large hiking scene that she created with her husband eight years ago.

She says the Hudson Valley doesn’t hold a monopoly on great hiking trails.

McClennen has hiked every spot featured on her site at least once.

“New Jersey is actually pretty diverse,” McClennen said. “It ranges from rugged rocky to hilly trails with views over forests and farmlands or views of the New York City skyline. There’s beachy trails on the coast and the Pine Barrens down south is an entirely different type of hiking, with flat, sandy trails dominated by pine trees.”

Learn about her favorite trails…


The Top Four Hiking Trails Of South Florida

Posted by on May 21, 2017 @ 7:03 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The Top Four Hiking Trails Of South Florida

For many people, the ideal Florida vacation includes beach, sun, sand and a cold beverage. While the beaches of South Florida are certainly some of the best in the world, there is much more to the region than beaches, theme parks and crocodiles.

Hiking in Florida might not be touted as the main tourist option, but if you get tired of sunbathing and Disney World isn’t something that you enjoy, consider one of these top hikes in South Florida.

Before you head out, however, there are a few things that you need to take into account to be best prepared for your hike, especially if you are planning your trip in the heat of summer. The temperatures in South Florida during the summer months can routinely reach into the high 90´s. Coupled with the humidity and the sun, hiking in Florida requires you to be prepared.

First and foremost, you´ll want to bring plenty of water. While this may seem like common sense, water is heavy. Sunscreen is also a must, especially for light-skinned people. If you are planning on making a backpacking trip out of your excursion into the South Florida wilderness, a lightweight camping hammock with a built-in mosquito netting will offer you a comfortable night´s rest while also protecting you from the sometimes vicious bugs.

So, where are the top trails?


Vail Nature Center expands hiking schedule

Posted by on May 20, 2017 @ 11:48 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Vail Nature Center expands hiking schedule

Walking Mountains Science Center and the Vail Recreation District’s hiking schedule kicks off in June 2017 with added trails, more peaks and learning on public lands.

The Backcountry Hiking program, centered out of the Vail Nature Center in Vail, Colorado, runs from the beginning of June through the end of October, catching the summer wildflower blooms along with peak fall color season. To view the full schedule and register, visit Walking Mountains Science Center.

Hikes are guided by certified interpretive guides, wilderness first responders and outdoor enthusiasts that have been experiencing the valley underfoot for years.

Back again this summer are the popular family hikes every Thursday through the fall. Individuals or families with children ages 8 and older are invited to join a naturalist on these shorter, yet equally beautiful and impressive treks on local trails. Family hikes return to the Vail area by early afternoon.

New to the already extensive portfolio of trails this year are hikes in the San Isabel National Forest. Hikers will have the opportunity to summit the highest peak in Colorado, Mt. Elbert, or spend a few days on the world famous Colorado Trail.

Another new trail in the San Isabel National Forest will bring hikers to the turn of the century resort town of Interlaken, on the shores of Twin Lakes. This luxurious ghost town is an impressive reminder of the wealth that was found in the mountainsides surrounding Leadville.

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Cradle of Forestry Offers Walks to Beaver Wetland

Posted by on May 20, 2017 @ 7:24 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Cradle of Forestry Offers Walks to Beaver Wetland

The Cradle of Forestry invites the public to a program, “Bogs, Bugs and Beavers,” on Saturday, May 27, 2017. The program begins in the Forest Discovery Center at 10:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. with an introduction about beavers’ adaptations to living in a watery world. Then naturalists will lead walks to elevated boardwalks along the Pink Beds Trail, interpreting the beavers’ wetland creating activities, the changing habitats they create, and the woods and water along the way.

Each program lasts about 1.5 hours with a walking distance of about 2 miles. Participants can use nets provided to dip for aquatic insects and salamanders from the boardwalk. Binoculars are welcome to observe birds, butterflies and dragonflies that thrive in the scenic Pink Beds valley.

The Pink Beds is part of the 6,500 acre Cradle of Forestry in America area of the Pisgah National Forest. Beavers have been active in the valley for over 20 years, creating early succession habitats and changing flow patterns of the South Mills River. The boardwalks, constructed largely by Forest Service volunteers, allow recreationists elevated access while protecting this fascinating wetland area.

Admission to the Cradle of Forestry is $5 for adults and free for youth under 16 years of age. America the Beautiful passes, Golden Age passports, and Every Kid in a Park passes are honored. Admission includes the Forest Discovery Center with hands-on exhibits, a scavenger hunt, a firefighting helicopter simulator, gift shop, historic cabins and antique equipment on two paved trails. It also includes the Adventure Zone, an activity designed to reach children with autism and engage young families. Lunch is available for purchase from the Café at the Cradle.

The Cradle of Forestry is located on Hwy. 276 in the Pisgah National Forest along the Forest Heritage National Scenic Byway, six miles north of Looking Glass Falls and four miles south of the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 412. For more information call (828) 877-3130 or visit www.cradleofforestry.com.


Smokies Park Reminds Visitors to be Bear Aware

Posted by on May 19, 2017 @ 12:37 pm in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Smokies Park Reminds Visitors to be Bear Aware

As the busy summer season approaches, Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials want to remind visitors about precautions they can take while enjoying the park to keep themselves and bears safe. Bears are particularly active this time of year in search for spring foods. Visitors should be prepared in how to safely observe bears without disturbing them during this critical season.

“Bears are very active right now, and we’re receiving reports across the park of bear sightings along trails and roadways,” said Park Wildlife Biologist Bill Stiver. “We ask for the public’s help by respecting bears’ space.”

Bears should be allowed to forage undisturbed on natural foods and should never be fed. Park officials remind visitors to properly store food and secure garbage. Coolers should always be properly stored in the trunk of a vehicle when not in use. All food waste should be properly disposed to discourage bears from approaching people.

Hikers are reminded to take necessary precautions while in bear country including hiking in groups of 2 or more, carrying bear spray, complying with all backcountry closures, properly storing food regulations, and remaining at safe viewing distance from bears at all times. Feeding, touching, disturbing, or willfully approaching wildlife within 50 yards (150 feet), or any distance that disturbs or displaces wildlife, is illegal in the park.

If approached by a bear, park officials recommend slowly backing away to put distance between yourself and the animal, creating space for it to pass. If the bear continues to approach, you should not run. Hikers should make themselves look large, stand their ground as a group, and throw rocks or sticks at the bear. If attacked by a black bear, rangers strongly recommend fighting back with any object available and remember that the bear may view you as prey. Though rare, attacks on humans do occur, causing injuries or death.

For more information on what to do if you encounter a bear while hiking, please visit the park website. To report a bear incident in the park, please call 865-436-1230.


Celebrate hiking on National Trails Day June 3, 2017

Posted by on May 18, 2017 @ 12:23 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Celebrate hiking on National Trails Day June 3, 2017

The New York-New Jersey Trail Conference and REI invite nature lovers and adventure seekers to an open house at trail conference headquarters on Saturday, June 3, in celebration of National Trails Day. The event includes tours of the headquarters at Darlington Schoolhouse, guided hikes through Ramapo Valley County Reservation, and stewardship opportunities to help make a difference at this popular park.

National Trails Day is an event held across the country recognizing the power trails have in connecting people with nature. In partnership with REI, the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference will be hosting a litter pickup and invasive species removal at the reservation, as well as a variety of hikes for all interests and abilities. Join them for a family-friendly nature hike, a yoga hike, a history hike, or a more challenging 3.8-mile hike of the Vista Trail Loop, part of which was recently built by Trail Conference volunteers.

Volunteers will also be leading tours of their 125-year old headquarters, where you can check out an art exhibition dedicated to the beauty of wildflowers. REI, as well as other partner organizations, will also be sharing ideas on ways to engage with trails and nature year-round. Refreshments will be available.

The National Trails Day Open House will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Trail Conference Headquarters, located at 600 Ramapo Valley Road in Mahwah. Free parking is available at Ramapo Reservation and Ramapo College of New Jersey’s south lot. Hikes and tours of Darlington Schoolhouse have a suggested donation of $5 for adults and are free for children. Space is limited, and preregistration is required. For details and registration, visit www.nynjtc.org.


Author publishes a beginner’s guide to mindful hiking in Sonoma County

Posted by on May 18, 2017 @ 7:14 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Author publishes a beginner’s guide to mindful hiking in Sonoma County

Paula Phillips Marks was almost 50 when she took her first real hike, and she remembers it vividly. A friend took her on what was supposed to be a short stroll in Annadel State Park. They didn’t have a map and got lost. Seven hours and 11 miles later they limped back to the car.

For many, a first hike of this sort might also have been their last, but not for Marks, who glimpsed what was to become a ruling passion in her life. She signed up for a beginning hiking class at Santa Rosa Junior College, known as The Walking Class, and after the teacher retired, taught the class herself for six years.

Hoping to give new hikers an easier start than she had, Marks has now gathered her favorite beginner hikes into a book called “Soleful Hiking: A Beginner’s Guide to Mindful Hiking.”

The book lists over 50 easy-to-moderate hikes in Sonoma, Napa, Marin and Mendocino Counties in California, preceded by a few chapters on trail etiquette, safety and gear, all charmingly based on Marks’ own hard-won experience. Don’t for instance, leave your hiking boots in the trunk of your car during summer — the heat will melt the glue and separate the soles from the shoes.

“The biggest thing, especially for the beginner, is to take their time and not feel like this is a marathon race back to the car,” she said. “If they can slow themselves down they’re going to pick up on things they would have never seen if they were racing through the parks — a blue heron or a beautiful butterfly or whatever else is going on around you that miss when you’re in a hurry.”

Read full story…


Harmon Den Timber Harvesting Project Resumes

Posted by on May 17, 2017 @ 11:56 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Harmon Den Timber Harvesting Project Resumes

The USFS has resumed a project that includes timber harvesting in the Harmon Den area of the Appalachian Ranger District of the Pisgah National Forest, approximately 25 miles northwest of Asheville, North Carolina.

Benefits of the timber harvesting include improved wildlife habitat for species including elk, deer, grouse and other species that benefit from areas of young forest in which sunlight reaches the forest floor. Harvesting is taking place pursuant to the Harmon Den Project Decision Notice that was signed by the District Ranger in 2010, following detailed project analysis and public involvement.

Exposed soil, freshly cut stumps and logging slash (tree tops) may be seen in the project area immediately following harvesting, however within one or two growing seasons these negative visual impacts will rapidly fade away and the areas will show a large increase in wildflowers, grasses, and healthy young tree saplings. A total of 96 acres of harvesting will take place between now and December of 2018 and all of the harvested areas will be reforested.

Timber harvesting for the Harmon Den project is being accomplished under a timber sale contract, in which the Forest Service has designated which areas will be harvested, as well as which specific trees within those areas will be cut. Timber sales are inspected frequently by Forest Service personnel throughout the life of the project to ensure contract requirements are met and natural resources are protected. In addition to the timber harvesting, the timber sale purchaser performs road maintenance and road reconstruction, including road grading and replacement of failing culverts and other road drainage structures.

A large portion of the money paid for the timber stays in the project area and is used for other forest improvement activities such as treating invasive weeds, timber stand improvement, wildlife habitat enhancement, road maintenance, and water quality improvement. The most recent timber harvesting in the Harmon Den area of the Pisgah National Forest was completed in 2006.

Log truck traffic may be encountered on Cold Springs Road (FSR 148), Brown Gap Road (FSR 148A), and along Max Patch Road (State Road 1182) through the duration of the project. Please exercise caution and drive slowly on these and all mountain roads.


6 ways to get the best workout while hiking

Posted by on May 15, 2017 @ 9:00 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

6 ways to get the best workout while hiking

Modern workout machines, like treadmills, offer flat and predictable workout surfaces. Although you can adjust the incline slightly, it does not offer a consistent challenge. In fact, most people fail to see expected results after months of using their treadmill. Hiking engages the entire body as it requires the use of hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps, abdominals, calves, thighs and lower-back, as you navigate the terrain as well as whatever obstacles you may encounter. Every log you climb over during a hike will challenge you in a way treadmills never can.

Apart from facilitating calorie burning, being outdoors also offers other health benefits. For instance, exposure to sunlight supplies the body with Vitamin D, which reduces the risk of cancer, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s. Spending enough time outdoors also aids in resetting circadian rhythms, which helps cure insomnia and other sleep-related conditions. It has also been shown that outdoor activities help to improve attention span.

Hiking appeals to most people as it requires no special skills. In fact, it is easy to get started, although it does get much more intense if you’re willing to push yourself and tackle those advanced routes. However, to get maximum hiking benefits, you have to remember some simple tips. Here are some simple tweaks to use to speed up weight loss during hiking. They are scientific techniques that offer great muscle-toning benefits for every workout. Most of these techniques can jump start a lagging metabolism and ensure that you continue burning extra calories throughout the day.

Get the tips here…


Oregon club using hand tools to clear wilderness trail

Posted by on May 15, 2017 @ 6:59 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Oregon club using hand tools to clear wilderness trail

The sharp teeth of the cross-cut saw carve like a file through the thick fir log to the rhythm of Jason Middleton and Aaron Babcock pushing and pulling this antique tool of the backwoods. “We’d already be through it but we hit a knot,” Babcock says.

The knot proves to be no match for the seasoned saw, and the split log sloughs into the Middle Fork Trail, where Gabe Howe joins the men in hauling the log away to make way on the trail. That’s 1 down, 14,999 to go.

Babcock, Howe and other members of the Siskiyou Mountain Club are embarking on an ambitious task of reclaiming a historic 27-mile hiking loop through the Sky Lakes Wilderness Area in the southern Cascade Range of Oregon that is blocked with an estimated 15,000 blown-down trees, including thousands within 2008’s Middle Fork fire zone.

Three SMC crews will each log 10-day hitches in the wilderness area, armed only with cross-cut saws, axes and other hand tools, because chain saws and other mechanized tools are banned in federally designated wilderness areas.

They’ll be joined by volunteers as they work their way all summer from the Middle Fork Trailhead through the long loop created by a suite of other conjoining trails. “I think it’s a reasonable goal, but there are features that are out of our control,” says Babcock, a SMC crew leader.

It’s all part of the nonprofit club’s credo of stepping into Southern Oregon’s backcountry to reclaim wilderness trails left impassable amid years of U.S. Forest Service maintenance backlogs, particularly those where a lack of post-wildfire work could see historic trails disappear.

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Officials stress preparation for hikers, warn of tricky trail conditions

Posted by on May 14, 2017 @ 11:22 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Officials stress preparation for hikers, warn of tricky trail conditions

Law enforcement and search and rescue personnel encourage adventurers to plan ahead, use the buddy system and tell loved ones where they’re headed as they venture into the Columbia River Gorge or the Northwest’s other wonders as the weather warms. Trails can be tricky this time of year, a Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office spokesman said, citing slick and snowy conditions, as well as erosion caused by a wet season thus far.

Outdoor enthusiasts should keep watch for things like slippery rocks, downed trees, rockslides and erosion at edges of rocky outcroppings, Lt. Chad Gaidos, spokesman, said.

“While there are beautiful views out there, they can be treacherous this time of year because the rock that’s been stable the 15 to 20 years prior is not stable, as it’s been washed out,” he said of outcroppings people venture onto in search of views.

Conditions aside, hikers and others seeking an outdoor fix should stick to standard ground rules to keep themselves safe, officials said.

You’ll want appropriate clothes and footwear, extra food and water, a map and compass, sunscreen, first-aid supplies and other basic gear. The “10 essentials” are a good place to start.

You should also notify others of where you’re headed, what route you plan to take and when you plan to return. Bringing a friend and picking a trek that’s within your ability level are probably good ideas, too.

Get more safety info here…