Hiking News

Tips for keeping your hiking strength and endurance during winter

Posted by on Jan 31, 2018 @ 3:08 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Tips for keeping your hiking strength and endurance during winter

While we certainly need periods of rest and relaxation to thrive, becoming relatively inactive for months on end is rarely a good idea for your health and well-being, especially when you’ve spent the past several months hoofing it to amazing hiking destinations and building up your strength and endurance.

The good news is there are many ways to take the next step in your hiking journey by staying in peak hiking shape throughout the winter months. That way, when warm weather returns and your favorite trails are accessible again, you’ll be strong enough to enjoy them.

To maintain your hiking strength and stamina, the most important thing you can do is simply stay active. That activity can come in many forms and will vary depending on your interests and comfort level. Whether you want to hit the trails, hit the slopes or hit the gym, there are plenty of effective methods for staying active, healthy and energetic during the dark days of winter. No matter which options you choose, you’ll thank yourself come spring.

By far, the most obvious way to stay in great hiking shape is to keep hiking. Many of our favorite high-country trails are buried under snow right now, and trudging through the white stuff may not be within your comfort zone. It may seem simple to say, but go lower. Find out what elevation the snow line is in your mountains, and find trails below that elevation.

Get more tips here…


Wildlife along the Swamp Trail at Francis Beidler Forest, SC

Posted by on Jan 30, 2018 @ 12:14 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Wildlife along the Swamp Trail at Francis Beidler Forest, SC

The National Audubon Society’s Francis Beidler Forest located in Four Holes Swamp, South Carolina contains within its 18,000 acres the largest remaining stand of virgin bald cypress and tupelo gum swamp forest left anywhere in the world.

Wander along an elevated boardwalk that starts and ends at the visitor center past ancient trees, black water swamp, clear pools, and wildlife. Thousand-year-old trees and native wildlife abound in this pristine sanctuary that has been untouched for millennia.

A 1.75-mile self-guiding boardwalk trail allows visitors the chance to safely venture deep into the heart of the swamp… to experience the peace and serenity that have characterized the area for centuries… to hear the sounds of bird and bug and breeze that have echoed through the trees for ages… to take a relaxing and informative walk back into time… to see a swamp the way nature intended it to be.

Located in the heart of the South Carolina Lowcountry between Columbia and Charleston, Four Holes Swamp is a 45,000-acre matrix of black water sloughs and lakes, shallow bottomland hardwoods, and deep bald cypress and tupelo gum flats— and a major tributary of the Edisto River.

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What in the Blazes?. . .Information About Trail Blazes and What They Mean

Posted by on Jan 29, 2018 @ 2:40 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

What in the Blazes?. . .Information About Trail Blazes and What They Mean

For thousands of miles America’s hiking trails wander across ranges and rivers, reaching basically every corner of the country. The 11 National Scenic Trails alone offer almost 20,000 miles of hiking opportunities.

So how exactly does one successfully navigate these long trails? Anyone who has set foot on the famous Appalachian Trail has undoubtedly seen several of the infamous “white blazes”. The blazes are, at their simplest, trail “markers” to keep hikers on the right path.

A traditional blaze is 2” wide by 6” tall and is painted on trees, fence posts, rocks, or anything else available nearby. They can also be found in plastic or metal nail-up versions or as adhesive decals for carsonite posts.

A general rule of thumb is a single blaze should be visible at all times to a hiker on a well-marked trail, maybe two depending on the layout. Over-blazing (more than 2 blazes visible from one spot on the trail at a time) is considered overkill and can be classified as form of visual pollution.

Interpreting the blazes to find your way along a trail is fairly straight forward. A single blaze by itself just indicates that the trail ahead is fairly straight or obvious and you are traveling in the right direction. A double blaze indicates a turn in the trail, with the offset blaze (the top one) indicating the direction of the turn. Two blazes directly on top of each other with no offset just simply means “pay attention”, something about the trail up ahead may not be obvious.

Each long trail designates their own color for marking the trail, the AT famously adopting white. Spurs or loop trails often have a common but different color as well, in order to distinguish them from the main trail.

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Arches National Park Hikes and Travel Guide

Posted by on Jan 29, 2018 @ 7:10 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Arches National Park Hikes and Travel Guide

Arches National Park is 4 miles outside the small town of Moab, Utah. The park has over 2,000 natural stone arches and offers a variety of things to see, do and photograph.

With walks, hikes and drives ranging from 30 mins to a few hours, there is something to suit everybody.

The main scenic drive is a total of 43 miles and includes all spurs. Plan 2 to 3 hours to complete the drive. Add more time if you want to do any long hikes or serious photography. Most arches and landmarks can be seen from the parking lots and pullouts or a short walk.

Delicate Arch is always a must-see for most visitors since it is one of the most famous features in the world. The trail to see the arch up close is 3 miles round trip and climbs 480 feet in elevation.

Explore the narrow canyons and maze-like fins in the Fiery Furnace with a 3-hour, ranger-led hike. Advance reservations are necessary. The tour requires climbing over boulders, walking through sand, and navigating trails between rocks and along narrow ledges.

This post shares when is the best time to visit, where to stay, and points of interest including the best arches national park hikes to get you out and exploring the park.


A Guide to Exploring Utah’s Incredible Slot Canyons

Posted by on Jan 28, 2018 @ 7:15 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

A Guide to Exploring Utah’s Incredible Slot Canyons

There is something magical and sobering about exploring slot canyons in Southern Utah.

Hiking, swimming and sometimes squeezing through high sandstone walls carved by the elements over thousands of hundreds of thousands of years makes you keenly aware of how powerful the natural world around us is.

Don’t worry though, if the thought of squeezing through a 10-inch crevice 100 miles from civilization inspires panic like that time your brother zipped you into your sleeping bag while he watched Saturday morning cartoons, there are plenty of incredible slot canyons like the Zion Narrows that don’t require any squeezing.

For the thrill seekers out there, there are several options to bring your rope and harness for some canyoneering.

Whatever your speed is, a day spent exploring the cool, winding depths of any of these Utah slot canyons is one you won’t regret.

See a comprehensive list…


New hiking trail to open in Chattanooga this weekend

Posted by on Jan 26, 2018 @ 11:51 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

New hiking trail to open in Chattanooga this weekend

  A new hiking trail climbs the eastern edge of Prentice Cooper State Forest, ascending more than 1,000 feet with two main water crossings and several smaller ones sprinkled throughout. The climax of the rocky hike comes in the final mile: a 30-foot waterfall that rains down before the trail connects to the Cumberland Trail System’s Pot Point Loop.

The “moderately strenuous” 2.5-mile Ritchie Hollow Trail connects the Tennessee River to the top of Suck Creek Mountain. It opens with an 11 a.m. ceremony and hike Saturday at the trailhead near Pot Point Cabin.

The project adds to the growing trail network in the area and gives hikers a more advanced hiking opportunity. That’s something the Southeast Conservation Corps believes the area could use. The corps helped build the trail. The group did much of the technical work that would have been too difficult for most volunteers. For instance, the group helped create a path through a rock garden.

The trail goes through a historical moonshine-making area. Several moonshine stills remain in the woods along the trail and can be seen on the hike. Eventually, the corps wants to add more signs to highlight the history.

Plans are in the works to extend the trail later this year to Davis Pond campground and parking lot. That will give trail access at both the top and bottom of the mountain.

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‘Sedated by software’: Few know how to read maps anymore, experts say

Posted by on Jan 26, 2018 @ 6:57 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

‘Sedated by software’: Few know how to read maps anymore, experts say

Are you au fait with Ordnance Survey? Know how to read a six figure grid reference? If you were left on a moor with just a compass and a map would you find your way home safely or wander aimlessly, eventually getting eaten by wolves?

The Royal Institute of Navigation are concerned about the nation’s cartographical know-how and have suggested schools start teaching basic navigation to address the issue.

They believe we’re all too reliant on technology, expecting smartphones and satellite navigation systems to do the hard work for us and becoming “sedated by software” in the process.

“It is concerning that children are no longer routinely learning at home or school how to do anything more than press ‘search’ buttons on a device to get anywhere,” Roger McKinlay, president of the Royal Institute of Navigation said.

“Many cannot read a landscape, an Ordnance Survey map, or find their way to a destination with just a compass, let alone wonder at the amazing role astronomy plays in establishing a precise location.”

“Instead, generations are now growing up utterly dependent on signals and software to find their way around.”

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Sinai Trail: Bedouin bet on Egypt’s first thru-hike

Posted by on Jan 25, 2018 @ 9:08 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Sinai Trail: Bedouin bet on Egypt’s first thru-hike

Seen from above, Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula is a dun-colored triangle of desert, a vast wedge that splits Asia from Africa.

Move in closer, and the desert resolves into a landscape of high peaks and sandy valleys, dunes and rocky peaks.
Tracing a route across that terrain is the Sinai Trail, Egypt’s first long-distance hiking path, which was established in 2015 and winds roughly 143 miles from the Gulf of Aqaba into the mountainous interior.

This past November, 17 men and women undertook a 14-day thru-hike of the Sinai Trail, the first crossing of the full length of the trail. Led by male members of three Bedouin tribes and an Italian organizer, the group was as varied as the topography, a convivial assortment of novice hikers and fit backpackers, mainland Egyptians and foreigners.

They started near the Red Sea community of Beer Sweir, climbing the Sinai’s coastal mountains with hazy views of Saudi Arabia at their backs. After two weeks of hiking, their travel reward was a frosty 6 a.m. sunrise from the slopes of Mount Katherine, the highest mountain in Egypt.

The Sinai Trail crosses the territories of three Bedouin tribes – the Tarabin, the Muzeina and the Jebeleya – pastoral nomads whose lives have traditionally been shaped by the search for rain-fed grazing land and other desert resources, and who have guided Sinai travelers for generations.

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How to Be Prepared for the Wildlife Shot of a Lifetime

Posted by on Jan 24, 2018 @ 6:50 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

How to Be Prepared for the Wildlife Shot of a Lifetime

Some of the best photographic opportunities happen when you least expect them. In this video see valuable tips on how to always be prepared for the surprise wildlife photo of a lifetime.

The first step for capturing any split second rare image is to have your camera out of the bag and turned on. Perhaps you’ve been guilty of coming upon wildlife in perfect light on a hike but your camera was stored away in your bag.

When this situation occurs it’s even more difficult to get set up because you have to move very slowly in order to not scare the animal away. And as you can imagine, by the time you get the camera out, turned on, dials set for the scene, and perhaps mounted on a tripod, you’re pointing the lens at an empty landscape.

The author suggests having your camera default settings optimized for the “worst case scenario.” He describes this as the times when there is very little light to work with and wildlife pops out.

This means having your ISO at the limit of acceptable quality for the camera, aperture is set wide open, and the shutter speed dictated by aperture-priority mode. The resulting image may not be technically perfect, but with your camera at the ready, there’s at least a chance you’ll get something incredible instead of fumbling with gear and enjoying neither the moment with an animal or any photo to take home.

See the tips video…


Stairway to heaven: hiking ancient pilgrimage trails in southern Japan

Posted by on Jan 23, 2018 @ 12:17 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Stairway to heaven: hiking ancient pilgrimage trails in southern Japan

Mountainous Kumano is the holy ground of Japan and pilgrims have been trekking there for centuries. Shrines, mist, forests and waterfalls combine to create an entrancing hike.

Kumano is the traditional name for the southern part of Japan’s Kii peninsula. It contains pilgrimage routes dating back more than a millennium. The first pilgrims were adherents of Shinto who traveled to worship beside the natural wonders of the sacred Kii mountains. Later pilgrims followed an amalgam of Shinto and Buddhism.

The Kumano Kodo has a low profile outside Japan; the Camino de Santiago in north-west Spain is much better known, but that is changing: more visitors are coming to walk it, Unesco has designated it a world heritage site and it has been twinned with the Camino de Santiago.

There are a variety of routes to choose from and treks often take between three and six days. Go for three days on the Nakahechi route, the most popular of the six main historic trails. The most demanding is the 80km Omine-Okugakemichi route: suitable only for expert hikers with mountaineering experience. Another route is a total of 15km through a wide range of terrain, some of it quite challenging. It is a pick-and-mix experience; you can walk as little or as much as you like, because buses run between many points on the trail network. Guides are available but most trekkers are self-guided.

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Explore five of Northwest Montana’s prettiest winter destinations

Posted by on Jan 21, 2018 @ 9:05 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Explore five of Northwest Montana’s prettiest winter destinations

Northwest Montana is famous for its unmatchable beauty in the summer, but winter offers its own kind of magic. Mother Nature starts with a bare canvas by throwing down a snow blanket to hide the melancholy of landscapes drained of color and strewn with shriveled gardens and fallen leaves. She then constantly rearranges and redecorates, refreshing the landscape with each snowfall, like a newly painted room.

Intricate ice trinkets dangle from logs and rocks, while glistening sheets of ice cover lakes. Hoarfrost’s delicate petals and feathers form winter floral gardens, and the wind and sun carve new patterns into snow and ice.

Winter presents its challenges: mustering enough time, energy and desire to play in the snow after you dig yourself out of your driveway or chip ice off your windshield, for starters. But romping in snow will make you love winter more.

If you don’t snowshoe, skate, ski or ice fish, just tug on your warmest boots and find a country road, a quiet wildlife refuge or a place with low snowpack and go exploring in the woods. Winter is a mysterious time, with delightful surprises around every corner, from the delicate frost that flutters on a blade of grass to the varying textures and shapes of lake ice and the snow-covered evergreens set against crystal-clear blue sky.

Here are just a few of winter’s many magical wonderlands…


Appalachian Trail to be accessible throughout government shutdown

Posted by on Jan 20, 2018 @ 11:41 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Appalachian Trail to be accessible throughout government shutdown

The Appalachian Trail (A.T.) will remain accessible to the public across the approximately 700 miles managed by the National Park Service (NPS) and over 800 miles managed by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS).

A.T. visitors will be able to access and hike on the Trail itself, but no visitor services, maintenance or other management activities will be conducted, and emergency and rescue services will be limited.

Any entry onto NPS and USFS property during this period of a federal government shutdown is at the visitor’s sole risk.

All NPS and USFS volunteer programs are also suspended. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) will not be able to engage with volunteers in activities on the Trail, Trail facilities or Trail lands.

National parks are treasured by Americans nationwide. They not only protect our national heritage, but they are important to local economies and the federal government has a responsibility to keep them both open and adequately funded. Congress and the federal government should together in the best interests of the country to re-open promptly.

For more information on the shutdown’s effects on the A.T., visit appalachiantrail.org/updates.


A Perilous Shutdown Plan for National Parks

Posted by on Jan 19, 2018 @ 1:44 pm in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

A Perilous Shutdown Plan for National Parks

During the 21-day government shutdown of 1995-1996, an enormous blizzard left up to three feet of snow in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park—and no one was there to shovel the parking lots. But that was the least of Bill Wade’s problems. The park’s superintendent at the time, Wade knew that several campers had entered the Shenandoah backcountry before the shutdown. “They were caught back there, and we couldn’t get to them because we had limited staff,” he recalled. “Fortunately we didn’t have any injuries or fatalities, but it could have been a real situation.”

Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is reportedly drafting a plan to make sure the parks and monuments remain open if there’s a shutdown. People would still be able to birdwatch in the Everglades and hike in Death Valley—both of which are in peak season—but there wouldn’t be any non-essential National Park Service staff available to help them. That means no educational guides, no maintenance workers, and no park rangers aside from law enforcement. Campground sites, full-service bathrooms, and visitors centers would be closed.

Protecting visitors from danger is one worry, but so is protecting the parks from the visitors. “The biggest question in my mind is protection of resources,” Wade said. National parks are protected for a reason, the larger ones often containing sensitive ecosystems, endangered species, coveted petrified wood, and artifacts. Poachers and vandals may see an opportunity in the lack of trail guides and other staffers who monitor the parks. “Archeological resources become more vulnerable for looting, the risk of illegal hunting increases,” Wade said.

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Serial mountain rescue faker who took a selfie while being winched to safety is jailed for 16 months

Posted by on Jan 16, 2018 @ 11:58 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Serial mountain rescue faker who took a selfie while being winched to safety is jailed for 16 months

As a means of attracting attention, staging accidents on various mountain ranges is not overly common. But that is likely to be of little consolation to the crews who have raced to the aid of Michael Cuminskey, a serial mountain rescue faker with a penchant for taking a selfie as he is winched to safety.

Mr. Cuminskey’s antics have cost tens of thousands of pounds, with unnecessary rescues from mountains in Snowdonia, the Lake District and the Scottish borders, a court heard.

The 23-year-old, from Darlington, UK pleaded guilty to causing a public nuisance after staging accidents in the Lake District in March 2016 and three days later at Llanberis in Snowdonia. The estimated cost of the coastguard rescue helicopter call-out in Snowdonia came to £33,000.

Brett Williamson, prosecuting, told Caernarfon crown court Cuminskey had started behaving “irrationally” while climbing in the Vivian Quarry, Llanberis, and was found by a man at the bottom of a 130ft drop, claiming his back was painful.

Twenty mountain rescue team volunteers were assembled but as Cuminskey was winched aboard the helicopter he tried to take a mobile phone selfie.

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Where to go Hiking on Cape Cod

Posted by on Jan 15, 2018 @ 12:05 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Where to go Hiking on Cape Cod

As avid outdoorsy people, we are always looking for hidden-away spaces to explore that aren’t teeming with other people. During visits to Cape Cod, you will find an array of natural areas. The secret is talking to the locals, who are always willing to let you in on the local gems, those places still undiscovered by your average visitor.

For example, Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary is a nature area that spans hundreds of acres. In addition to being a protected area for wildlife, is a wonderland for hikers. With its system of 7-miles of trails, Allens Pond is located near the Westport shoreline and offers stunning views of Buzzards Bay and the Elizabeth Islands.

Trails run through a variety of environments including farmland, beach, meadow, salt marshes, and forest. Bird lovers will especially appreciate the wide variety of protected birds. Some 300 species of birds have been sighted at Allens Pond. In this area, migratory birds spend stopovers during their long journeys.

Allens Pond seems to be less frequented than other areas on the Cape. Perhaps due to its status as a protected nature area, where activities like horseback riding, picnicking, and swimming are prohibited, it is less popular with the public.

Here are additional noteworthy hiking areas on Cape Cod…


Turning Australia’s old rails into new trails

Posted by on Jan 14, 2018 @ 9:18 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Turning Australia’s old rails into new trails

In the Australian countryside, it is not unusual to stumble across the relics of a vast abandoned rail network that once connected the nation before cars and trucks replaced trains as the preferred mode of transport.

These remnants of a forgotten past can range from rail tracks hidden in farm paddocks to majestic stations overlooking silent platforms that have not been used in decades.

This ghost rail network spans thousands of kilometres – a reminder of the population’s shift over the past century from rural townships to bustling coastal cities.

But there has been a growing push in recent years to find new uses for the old lines, particularly as so-called “rail trails”, where the routes are converted into bike tracks, hiking trails and horse-riding paths. Meanwhile, old stations have been given new uses, including as cafes or museums.

The aim is to preserve the heritage while attracting tourists and visitors to remote areas that are often otherwise inaccessible.

The federal and Queensland state governments last year approved funding to complete the country’s largest trail, a 161km track near Brisbane. The trail is due to be completed by June along a line that was built in the 1880’s and closed almost 30 years ago.

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Planning a Thru-Hike? Here’s Some Insta-spiration

Posted by on Jan 13, 2018 @ 11:55 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Planning a Thru-Hike? Here’s Some Insta-spiration

  If you’re among the thousands who will attempt to conquer a long-distance hiking trail in its entirety within the 2018 hiking season, then you’re probably already busy training, saving, planning, and steeling yourself for some serious communing with nature. In the United States, the term “thru-hiking” is most commonly associated with the Appalachian Trail (AT), the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), and Continental Divide Trail (CDT)—although there are plenty of other satisfying end-to-end hikes to tackle.

Hikers hitting America’s most sought-after thru-hike typically head to the AT’s southernmost point in Georgia within three weeks on either side of the spring equinox, so as to complete their 2,189-mile trek before October, which is when its northern terminus, Mt. Katahdin in Maine, closes. Northbound PCT hikers tend to journey to the Mexican border in April or May, with hopes of arriving in Canada, 2,660 miles later, in September. Tackling the CDT? Experts suggest you start the 3,100 miles spanning Antelope Wells, New Mexico, and Glacier National Park between mid-April and mid-May. (You don’t have to take the northbound approach, but most thru-hikers opt to start from the south.)

Before setting out on what is by all accounts a completely transformative experience, you’ll need to muster up some serious courage—along with reliable gear, good maps, and moral support. Planning a thru-hike can be seriously daunting, but keep in mind, you’ll experience profound rewards—just think of the beneficial effects of all that flora, fauna, exercise, trail bonhomie, toughening, and self-reflection. Plus, you’ll get to use the coveted #thruhiker hashtag when posting jaw-dropping landscapes and/or anecdotes worthy of a cocktail party at trail angel stops.

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