Hiking News

If you pick hiking over shopping on Black Friday, you get in free to 49 California state parks

Posted by on Nov 21, 2015 @ 9:13 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

There’s a bargain to be found in the woods this holiday season.

The San Francisco nonprofit Save the Redwoods League is offering free passes on Black Friday – Nov. 27, 2015 – to redwood parks from Monterey and Santa Cruz to the North Coast. The idea is to offer individuals and families a chance to start a new Black Friday tradition by walking among big trees instead of big-box stores, the organization says.

Big Basin Redwoods State Park near Santa Cruz, Andrew Molera State Park in Big Sur and Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park in Crescent City are among the 49 parks on the freebie list for one day only.

The alternative Black Friday movement started with outdoor retailer REI, which in October decided to close its 143 stores nationwide on that day and encourage Americans to #optoutside. More than 900,000 people have signed on to the company’s online campaign.

The Redwoods League, which has been protecting the big trees since 1918, decided to up the ante by making it even easier to get outdoors by offering free entry. Also, The East Bay Regional Park District announced that its 65 parks stretched along 119,000 acres will waive fees on Nov. 27.

National parks are getting in the act as well, including Olympic and Rainier in Washington.

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Oregon hiker aims for calendar-year triple crown

Posted by on Nov 21, 2015 @ 12:33 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Mary Moynihan has the math all worked out. She will need to average 21.8 miles per day, which comes out to about 12 hours per day. She will need to hike at a speed of 2½ to 3½ mph. And if her math is correct, she will hike a total of nearly 8,000 miles — in one calendar year.

It’s called the Calendar Triple Crown, and only a handful of hikers have ever accomplished the feat — all of them men. Moynihan hopes to be the first woman.

The 31-year-old Bend, OR resident and manager at the Patagonia outdoor clothing and gear store in Bend plans to solo thru-hike the Appalachian, Pacific Crest and Continental Divide trails, all in 2016.

If she has anything going for her, it is that she has completed all of those hikes before. She hiked the 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail in 2006, the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail in 2007 and the 3,100-mile Continental Divide Trail in 2011. Her book about hiking the CDT, “Married to the Trail,” was released this fall, and she also has her own hiking website.

The idea has been a few years in the making. When Moynihan returned to Bend after hiking the 1,850-mile Te Araroa Trail in New Zealand in 2014, she was asked the same question numerous times.

“Every person would say, ‘What’s next?’” Moynihan says. “And it’s a beautiful question, but sometimes it gets overwhelming. For a few years, I’ve had the idea to re-hike these trails.”

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The Third Trail

Posted by on Nov 20, 2015 @ 9:32 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The Third Trail

In 1968, the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails became the first “National Scenic Trails,” but ten years later Congress designated the third. Splitting the country’s midsection like a corkscrew, tight-roping the Rocky Mountains from Mexico to Canada, the 2,700-mile Continental Divide Trail is acclaimed as the third jewel in the hiking world’s Triple Crown.

The CDT has a split personality. The path careens like a pachinko ball veering from jaw-dropping scenery to moments when it claws you in the back. The CDT’s informal slogan is: “Embrace the Brutality.”

In Wyoming, the Wind River Range’s surreal, shark-toothed white granite nearly supplants California’s Sierra Nevada in natural beauty. In New Mexico, the trail swoops you up sheer cliffs out onto broad mesas the equal of better-known Zion and Bryce. And in Colorado, on the summit of a 13,000-foot slab-sided peak, you may look down at a helicopter struggling for elevation near its flight ceiling.

Today there are 30 National Scenic and Historic Trails. Our Forest Service lands have 158,000 miles of trails. I could give you chapter and verse on the conservation, environmental and health benefits of trails. But what will really strike you is the economic benefit of trails.

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Appalachian Trail Conservancy unveils new help resource for Pennsylvania

Posted by on Nov 20, 2015 @ 9:17 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Appalachian Trail Conservancy unveils new help resource for Pennsylvania

In June 2008, the PA Appalachian Trail Act was amended by Act 24, requiring the 58 PA municipalities along the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (A.T.) to take action to preserve the natural, scenic, historic, and aesthetic values of the Trail and to conserve and maintain it as a public natural resource. The legislation was prompted by a Commonwealth Court case related to a proposal to construct a country club for sports car enthusiasts, which threatened a portion of the A.T. in Monroe County, Pennsylvania.

Act 24 requires such actions – including the adoption, implementation and enforcement of zoning ordinances as the governing body deems necessary – to preserve those values. The PA Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED) was directed to assist municipalities with implementation. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) now manages the Act 24 implementation project with oversight from the National Park Service (NPS).

DCED appointed a Task Force to design a program to implement the intent of Act 24. The Task Force identified the need for resource material to assist municipalities in developing the most appropriate zoning and other conservation strategies. The resulting Conservation Guidebook for Communities Along the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (Guidebook) identifies seven characteristics of communities that are most likely to be effective in addressing issues associated with the Trail. Those characteristics – also known as the Seven Principles – provide the basis for a suggested checklist for municipalities to use in making their own assessments of how well the Trail experience is conserved in their community.



Hikers Pack 1,000 Pounds Of Trash Off Appalachian Trail

Posted by on Nov 19, 2015 @ 9:15 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The trio of do-gooders — Seth Orme, Joe Dehnert, and Paul Twedt — named their effort the Packing It Out initiative. Their goal was the removal of more than 1,000 pounds of litter as they hiked from Georgia to Maine.

They hit the trail in March, and by August 15th had met the goal. To remove this much debris they relied on the help and generosity of good samaritans who packed litter out to trailhead garbage cans and recycling bins near the route.

Orme said people were more than willing to help once they found out the cause. The men were even offered food and housing along the way.

To weigh the trash the three used a cheap (and light!) luggage scale. They estimated that at certain parts of the trail you could collect 1 pound of garbage per mile.

The idea to pick up garbage while hiking was born out of Orme’s desire to hike the Appalachian Trail as a young boy. But over the years he noticed his local hiking trails were getting gummed up with trash.

Seth’s premise is simple — if people start to clean up trails from years of discarded waste the cleaner environment may deter the next person from littering.

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A Hiking We Will Go: Exploring Jersey’s Trails

Posted by on Nov 19, 2015 @ 8:51 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

A Hiking We Will Go: Exploring Jersey’s Trails

The Skylands Region is home to rolling hills and endless acres of farmlands. It also boasts the highest point in New Jersey—aptly named High Point State Park in Sussex County.

The Gateway Region is the most urban part of the state, but that doesn’t mean it offers less hiking than the state’s other regions. The best thing about hiking these parts is the potential for skyline scenery in the distance.

The Delaware River Region, which encompasses five counties, borders the Delaware and includes part of the Pinelands—a National Reserve made up of more than one million acres of land and home to dozens of rare plant and animal species.

While the Shore Region does encompass more than half of New Jersey’s beaches, it’s also home to some great hikes. Hartshorne Woods Park is known for its extensive network of trails—almost 19 miles in just under 800 acres.

Its claim to fame may be Atlantic City, but this southern New Jersey county isn’t all casinos and beaches. At Estell Manor Park there are more than eight miles of hiking trails, which include about 1.5 miles of boardwalk.

Situated between the Atlantic Ocean and the Delaware Bay, the southernmost New Jersey counties of the Southern Sore Region have a flat mix of sand and marshland terrain.

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Arches vs. Canyonlands: The rocky relationship of two national parks

Posted by on Nov 16, 2015 @ 9:22 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Arches vs. Canyonlands: The rocky relationship of two national parks




There is a sign at Arches National Park featuring a quote that reads: “Let the people walk.”

It’s a line taken from Ed Abbey’s 1968 nature writing classic “Desert Solitaire.” It might seem like an odd choice: Arches, and its nearest city, Moab, Utah, have become virtually everything “Cactus Ed” hated. The asphalt road ribboning through the park has turned Arches into an epitome of “windshield tourism,” allowing visitors to see nearly every attraction without walking. Once-sleepy Moab has become a hub for “adventure travel,” where outfitters offer mountain biking, zip lining, off-road driving – just about everything except plain old hiking.

But the quote is fitting if taken as an admonition, an interpretation that likely would have suited the curmudgeonly writer, who spent two seasons working as a ranger at Arches. In “Desert Solitaire” and other best-selling books, Abbey championed the untamed spaces, making him the conscience of Moab and a favorite of desert dwellers.

Southeastern Utah has become more developed since Abbey’s era, but visitors can still find ways to enjoy the starkly beautiful red-rock country that sent him into rapture – be it by foot, bike, boat or car. This corner of the state is known for its fantastic rock formations. Moab is also unique in that it has two national parks just outside city limits: Arches and Canyonlands, on opposite sides of U.S. 191 about 10 miles apart.

Arches and Canyonlands represent dramatically different visions of what a national park can be. Canyonlands is less developed than Arches, making it more work to see. But explorers will be rewarded. Hardcore hikers will appreciate Canyonlands while less-active travelers will prefer the easy access of Arches. Any true desert lover should see both.

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Hiking with Your Dog in Northern Colorado

Posted by on Nov 16, 2015 @ 9:04 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking Horsetooth Rock is a rite of passage for northern Colorado residents, and it’s especially spectacular at sunrise.

The wind was fairly calm that morning, but it can be gale force – so make sure to have layers with you. There were only four other people up there for sunrise, and no other dogs.

Getting down Horsetooth with a 75-pound dog is much more difficult than getting up. Fit your dog with gear that assists in getting her up and down the rocks. Alma wore a Ruffwear pack that had a handle on the back, which was excellent for hauling her up and steadying her on the way down.

Also consider that your dog should be in fairly good shape for the hike: Alma is a 4-year-old couch potato doodle and she did just fine, but she has youth on her side.

The hike is five miles, round-trip, and it’s fairly steep. You gain 1,441 feet in 2.5 miles, going from 5,815-7,256 feet. There are lots of stairs, ruts and a Class 3 scramble at the end that has some pretty decent exposure on the back side of the mountain. I have a healthy fear of heights, and that was enough to give me some butterflies.

This trail is OK for kids that have their wits about them, but parents should keep a close eye if they are 10 and under: There are several spots you can fall hundreds of feet.

Read about more dog friendly trails in Northern Colorado…


Green Mountain Club publishes 5th edition of Vermont’s Long Trail Map

Posted by on Nov 14, 2015 @ 9:33 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Green Mountain Club publishes 5th edition of Vermont’s Long Trail Map

The Green Mountain Club said they listened to member feedback to improve and update their most celebrated publication, without changing the features hikers value.

This is the most complete map of the entire Long Trail system in Vermont. “We are not only excited about the detail of the map but the aesthetics are wonderful as well.”

Still printed on quality waterproof paper, the Long Trail map is durable in all Vermont weather. It increased in size from six to eight folding panels allowing for more detail, including significant Long Trail relocations through the Winooski River Valley and in Smugglers’ Notch.

For hikers looking for a short excursion, thirty-five suggested day hikes and directions to trailheads are highlighted. For those planning to section hike, or hike the whole trail, The Long Trail Map combined with the Long Trail Guide and the End-to-Ender’s Guide provide the most comprehensive resource.

Proceeds of this map and other GMC publications support the work of the Green Mountain Club to protect and maintain Vermont’s hiking trails. The new map can be purchased from the Green Mountain Club website.


Take a journey on one of Ohio’s most isolated, wild hikes

Posted by on Nov 14, 2015 @ 9:26 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Lamping Homestead may be one of the most isolated hikes in Ohio. It is a long ways from anywhere, in rugged southeast Ohio. The 5-mile loop doesn’t cross any roads in the rolling Appalachian foothills between Haney and Pleasant ridges in southwest Monroe County.

It is managed by the U.S. Forest Service as part of the 240,900-acre Wayne National Forest that includes 12 Ohio counties. The national forest lies within an 834,000-acre tract established by Congress in 1934.

The Lamping Homestead Recreation Area is off state Route 537, about two miles from state Route 26. It is about 35 miles from Marietta as the crow flies over the heart of what’s called the Switzerland of Ohio due to the number of Swiss immigrants.

The main trail begins on the other side of a pond and cuts through the picnic area. You will hike through a white pine plantation and into a beech-maple forest. Ravines are numerous. The trail crosses hills, goes down and up in hollows, across ridge lines and along the side of steep hills. The area is heavily wooded with small streams crossing the trail. If the leaves have fallen, you may get glimpses of the Clear Fork of the Little Muskingum River.

Not far away is one of the best backpacking trails in Ohio: the tough 11-mile Archer’s Fork Loop with its massive natural rock bridge. The hike in Washington County includes at least seven climbs of more than 250 feet, crossing between the Ohio River and Little Muskingum watersheds.

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Woman injured on NC hiking trip returns to thank rescuers

Posted by on Nov 13, 2015 @ 8:33 am in Hiking News | 1 comment

More than a month after a Tennessee woman was injured on a solo hike in the Cold Mountain area of a Haywood County, NC, she visited the sheriff’s office yesterday to thank the rescue crews who spent days searching for her.

Julie Hays and her husband Craig personally thanked Sheriff Greg Christopher and others yesterday.

More than 200 people from more than 60 local, state and federal agencies helped search for Julie after she didn’t return from a day hike in late September.

The search continued for two days until she was found injured about 100 yards off a trail in the Lenoir Creek area on Sept. 21, 2015.

“These guys put their lives on hold, they stopped everything that they were doing to save Julie,” Craig Hays said. “It really has changed us because without them, she wouldn’t be here today; she wouldn’t be alive today.”



Trevor “Fronkey” Rasmussen Reneges on Kickstarter Campaign Leaving Sponsors in the Lurch

Posted by on Nov 12, 2015 @ 5:12 pm in Hiking News | 5 comments

In spring and summer 2014 Trevor Rasmussen, known also by his trail name Fronkey, used the crowdfunding resource Kickstarter to finance his thru hike of the Pacific Northwest Trail, and to pay for production of a documentary film detailing his adventures. 130 contributors donated a total of $5,262 to his project.

The original Kickstarter requirement was only $1,700, so Rasmussen used the extra contributions to improve his camera equipment inventory, ostensibly to enhance the production quality of the documentary film. In the summer of 2014 Rasmussen and his dog Tala completed the 1,200 mile journey from Glacier National Park in Montana to the most western point of the United States along the Washington coast.

Rasmussen’s Kickstarter pledge was to have his film available to his supporters in April 2015. That time came and went, with no updates from Rasmussen on the status of the project. Spring 2015 passed. Summer 2015 passed. Still no film, and still no communication from Rasmussen to his backers about the status of the project.

The Kickstarter Support team was contacted in October 2015 to make them aware of the negligence exhibited by Rasmussen with this particular project. The support team reached out to Rasmussen and offered their assistance in nudging the project along, and encouraged him to communicate with his sponsors. That has not happened. Still total silence from Rasmussen.

Inquiries via the Kickstarter comments page have gone unanswered. Inquiries on Facebook have been met from Rasmussen by blocking the accounts of those inquiring. Simply put, Rasmussen has chosen to ignore any communications about his Kickstarter project, and leave those who donated their money in the lurch.

It’s a shame too. It leaves a bad taste in the mouths of those 130 who trusted him. It was a tremendous opportunity to give recognition to the beautiful Pacific Northwest Trail and those pioneers like Ron Strickland and Jon Knechtel who made it happen. For those who believe in the system of crowdfunding by fine organizations like Kickstarter, it has been more of a kick in the teeth. Unfortunately, Rasmussen’s inaction makes people less likely to contribute to worthy Kickstarter campaigns in the future. Once burned, twice shy, and all that.

It’s still not too late for Rasmussen to honor his commitment. If anyone reading this happens to know Trevor Rasmussen, I would encourage you to reach out to him and tell him that there are folks out here that are still interested in his project. Just tell him, better late than never.


Appalachian trail gets a new section in Bear Mountain

Posted by on Nov 12, 2015 @ 8:45 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Appalachian trail gets a new section in Bear Mountain

There is a new section of the Appalachian Trail in Bear Mountain, NY that will open this weekend, thanks to nine months of work by volunteers.

The New York-New Jersey Trail Conference’s Long Distance Trails Crew, an all-volunteer group, contributed more than 3,000 hours this year to relocate a 0.2 mile section of the historic trail in Bear Mountain State Park.

The section was heavily used and deeply eroded, said Chris Reyling of Hartsdale, who’s the head of the Trails Crew team. The relocated route was built with natural stones to minimize erosion, he said. “We hope what we designed is going to last for a long time,” Reyling said.

The Appalachian Trail runs for nearly 2,200 miles from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine, passing through 14 states, eight national forests and six national parks.

The Bear Mountain section of the trail was originally built in 1923 by the Trail Conference, and the organization has been working on multiple trail renovation projects in recent years. The opening of the new section will be celebrated with a ribbon-cutting event at noon Saturday, November 14, 2015.



How to be a good citizen on the hiking trail

Posted by on Nov 11, 2015 @ 7:34 pm in Hiking News | 1 comment

Nothing spoils a good walk in the great outdoors like someone who simply doesn’t know, or doesn’t care, about the rules of the trail. They’re not hard to learn. They’re not overly cumbersome. Most of them aren’t even rules as much as they are fervent suggestions.

Still, when you’re hiking, whether it’s a short day trip on a mile loop in the closest state park or a thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail, you have to know them. You have to know that, for example, blasting Metallica from a wireless Bluetooth speaker strapped to your backpack is not cool. And it’s not because it’s Metallica. It’s you.

You don’t have to be Johnny Backpack to see that many people don’t know the basics, though. Go out on a day hike. Head out on an overnighter. Too often there are too many people mucking it up for others.

Noise, like the guy with Metallica, is one problem that crops up from time to time. But keeping the wilderness clean is a constant challenge, especially for the part-timers out there.

A big key to etiquette on the trail is making sure everyone knows that the outdoors are out there for everybody, not just the guy flicking his cigarette butt or the woman going to the bathroom too close to the stream — and then covering it, toilet paper and all, with a rock.

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Hiking a challenge at Granny’s Acres

Posted by on Nov 10, 2015 @ 10:22 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The trails at Granny’s Acres Conservation Area near Warsaw, Mo., wind through woodlands, up and down steep hills, and across shady valleys cut by small streams. This oak and hickory-dominated woodland is a pretty place for a late autumn or winter walk. The signed hiking loops range from 2.6 to 4.1 miles in length.

“It’s kind of a unique area,” said Jake Willard, department resource forester and area manager. “The trails go way back in and it’s fairly remote.”

Hikers should be aware that the terrain is challenging and rugged in places. They will encounter steep hills. Often loose rock is underfoot on the trails. The rewards are pretty scenery and relative solitude in the woods. Wildlife can be spotted such as deer and armadillos. A variety of birds can be seen in the area.

About 46 acres of glades, open areas with unique plant communities associated with limestone rock, have been restored. A woodland ecosystem is one with open areas between trees with native plants and shrubs.

Granny’s Acres is in a general area of Missouri where historically America’s eastern woodlands met the prairies and intermingled.

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Smoky Mountains Park visitors get warning as bears range wider for food

Posted by on Nov 9, 2015 @ 8:48 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Black bears of the Smoky Mountains are starving this fall and their foraging is bringing some of them practically muzzle-to-face with residents and tourists near the most visited national park in the U.S. While bear attacks are rare, officials are concerned and warning people to be careful.

Bears near the park have climbed into cars, ripped open garbage, tried to enter cabins and even chased people. A periodic problem of nature—a collapse of the natural crops of cherries, acorns, hickory nuts and walnuts that bears love to eat—is driving bears out of the park into surrounding areas, said the park’s wildlife biologist Bill Stiver.

The area’s supply of bear nosh is particularly low, probably due in part to random climate factors like late freezes or isolated periods of drought that can impact the trees, he said. Many cubs of the park’s more than 1,500 bears are severely undernourished and their mothers are trying to find food for them, according to biologists, who tracked one bear that walked in the middle of the day through the downtown of Sevierville, Tenn.—about 12 miles from the edge of the national park.

If you encounter a black bear, you should make yourselves “large and loud,” shouting, waving your arms and blowing a whistle if you have one, said Dana Dodd, board president of the Townsend, Tenn.-based Appalachian Bear Rescue, which cares for orphaned or injured black bear cubs until they are healthy enough to return to the wild. “Then back away very slowly. If you run, you can look like prey,” she said. “Everybody with food has to be careful; it’s a desperate situation.”

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MSU students trek Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail

Posted by on Nov 8, 2015 @ 9:56 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

MSU students trek Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail

Biochemistry and microbial biology are majors that require a fair bit of studying. The workload can be stressful. You’ve got to really know your stuff. You can ask Montana State University seniors Colleen Rooney and Emma Sirr. It was after a particularly stressful day during sophomore year that Rooney jokingly suggested to Sirr that the two take off for the West Coast to hike.

The Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail begins in Olympic National Park at Cape Alava, the westernmost point in the contiguous U.S., and terminates in the high country of Glacier National Park. The trail covers more than 1,200 miles in Washington, Idaho and Montana. It looked like a tangible goal, as did tacking on a leg of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, which would allow the hikers to arrive on foot back in Bozeman. Total distance: 1,523 miles.

Rooney and Sirr began planning the trip for the summer of their junior year. They tested ultralight backpacking equipment on a trip to Zion National Park and got out for training hikes between cramming for exams and putting together lab reports. They’d need the same determination they’d mustered for school, and a whole lot more, to complete the route from the West Coast back home.

The amount of foot traffic on the PNT pales in comparison to the number of hikers navigating the Pacific Crest Trail and there’s a relative dearth of information on the former. The trail was first developed in the 1970s, but the PNT wasn’t designated a National Scenic Trail until 2008. The route is still very much in its infancy. Finding information as essential as reliable maps was a challenge.

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