Hiking News

88-year-old woman recalls 40 years of ‘Trail magic’ hiking the Appalachian Trail

Posted by on Oct 10, 2015 @ 8:35 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

North Carolina native Nancy Weaver has always loved the outdoors, so camping and hiking seemed natural to her.

In more than forty years of hiking sections of the Appalachian Trail, Weaver, now 88, has learned a few things: be prepared for rain and the occasional bear, pack lightly, and expect kindness from strangers. “Trail Magic,” they call it, and it comes in all forms.

She first started hiking the trail with her late husband, a Boy Scout leader, and two of their five children. Later on, they went with other couples, then she went with women friends.

Eventually, you choose a trail name or someone chooses it for you. Hers was “Lady Slipper.”

On the Appalachian Trail, you can expect rain and bears. The rain bothered her more than the bears, since hikers get drenched. A bear runs away, but the rain stays on.

When hikers finally come off the trail, they’re beyond dirty. Weaver’s husband got a ride into town one day, looking like a tramp. He got picked up anyway. Here’s where the Trail Magic comes in. One fellow hiked up to the shelter where their group was staying, hauling fresh peaches for everyone. Another placed a cooler with iced-down soft drinks on the trail, and a sign reading, “Help Yourself.”

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Late Fall Hiking Safety Tips

Posted by on Oct 9, 2015 @ 3:40 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

As October gives way to November, winter begins to arrive in the high country. The fall color fades and the trees shed their leaves. The summits and peaks get their first serious dusting of snow, and dirt trails vanish under a white or leafy blanket.

As a result, hiking in the mountains changes. Backcountry exploration in late fall can present dangers that far exceed those of hiking in the summertime. Rain can quickly turn to white-out, snowy conditions – disorienting even for the most experienced of hikers.

Trails buried under snow can be difficult to follow. Ice can make the tread slippery. Steep side slopes covered in unstable snow are a recipe for a very nasty fall. And it gets dark early.

Despite the increased risks, hiking can be a pure joy in late fall. It’s easier to find solitude, which also increases your chances of glimpsing wildlife. The air is crisp and exhilarating. And with the trees bare, new views open up.

Still, hikers need to do plenty of advanced planning and take precautions before hitting the trail.

Here are some tips for safer backcountry exploration in late fall…


Train for the trails to make most of hiking season

Posted by on Oct 8, 2015 @ 9:22 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Fall is a great time to hit the trails. Colorful scenery, cooler temperatures, less bugs and lower humidity all contribute to make a very pleasant experience. But, are you ready to take to the trails?

Hiking, particularly in mountainous regions, may lead you to strenuous climbs that will require some serious integration of muscle activity. These muscles include, but are not limited to, your calves, hamstrings, quads, glutes, low back and abdominals. Before you can experience all these trails have to offer, you may need to put in work for the reward.

Getting yourself ready for hiking involves a three-pronged approach that includes strength training, cardiovascular training, and nutrition.

Squats and dead lifting the appropriate weight (for you) will help your body adapt to and handle the stress placed on the muscles during a hike. An adequate program will allow you to blaze the trail with very little breakdown of the body during and after the work, leaving you only with the feeling of success post hike.

Do not be fooled, moving up or down the mountain can leave you gasping for air if you are not prepared. Integrating steady bouts of cardiovascular activity that mimics the activity of hiking is a great way to prepare for hiking. An incline treadmill or a stair mill can be used to imitate a hillside climb. Just simple walking around your neighborhood is invaluable exercise.

Healthy carbohydrates, fats and proteins in your regular diet will help sustain your body from start to finish. Depending on the length of your hike, you should consider packing a healthy snack. Protein bars or fresh fruit and nuts can easily be transported on your hike. Do not forget to hydrate properly and bring enough water for the distance you wish to travel.



Dominica announces status of hiking trails

Posted by on Oct 7, 2015 @ 11:37 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Dominica announces status of hiking trails

Discover Dominica Authority, in collaboration with the Forestry Division of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, has announced that a number of Dominica’s hiking trails are open.

Seven segments of the Waitukubuli National Trail, the Caribbean’s longest walking trail, are ready to welcome the adventurous hiker. Some trails were closed after the passage of Tropical Storm Erika which caused obstructions and infrastructural damage. The Forestry Division has worked tirelessly to ensure that trails are accessible. Segments Three, Four, Six, Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen and Fourteen, totaling nearly 50 miles, are open to hikers. Trail users are advised to exercise caution when hiking the open segments of the trail as some landscape features may have changed.

Other popular attractions which involve some level of hiking are now accessible and operational. They include: Trafalgar Falls, Emerald Pool, L’Escalier Tete Chien, Middleham Falls, Freshwater Lake, Cabrits National Park and Syndicate Nature Trail. The trek to the famous Boiling Lake-a level 4 (difficult) hike across towering mountain ranges, hot streams, hot boiling mud, mini geysers and forests-is open and considered a “must do” for the trekking enthusiast. Guides are recommended as there are landscape changes on certain trails. Hikers are encouraged to use appropriate hiking gear when trekking in Dominica.

The Forestry Division continues to assess the island’s hiking trails and will provide updates once assessments have been made and necessary repairs have been completed.


Trails for hiking, biking, riding horses to be highlighted in new plan for Kentucky

Posted by on Oct 7, 2015 @ 11:27 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Gov. Steve Beshear, first lady Jane Beshear and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray announced a Kentucky statewide trail master plan.

The master plan would connect Kentucky’s existing 12,000 miles of trails and would allow people to hike, cycle or ride horses across the state, Jane Beshear said. The plan was put together by the Office of Adventure Tourism and will be an outline for cities and groups interested in developing trails.

In the plan, there would be webs of trails across the state, with continuous paths from east to west and north to south.

The next step will be for towns and cities to receive “trail town” designations so they can be trailheads, the governor said. Nine communities are designated as trail towns, and 30 more are applying, he said.

The plan will help local governments highlight assets, such as canoeing creeks or ATV trails, and help market the trails once they are done.

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Trek of the Americas: Woman prepares for 5-year walking trip from Argentina to Alaska

Posted by on Oct 6, 2015 @ 12:46 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The night before Bethany Hughes started on the Pacific Crest Trail, a 2,650-mile hike from Mexico to Canada, she was so wired that she kept rifling through her bags. Everyone else was asleep, but Hughes thought a “real” backpacker knew where to find anything she needed. So she kept pulling out gear, then repacking it. Over and over, all night.

Eventually, another hiker said, “You’re like a 5-year-old the night before Christmas,” and her trail name of “Fidgit” was born. It has never fit better.

Five years later, the 29-year-old with the curious inability to sit still is preparing to depart on her next daring expedition: She will attempt to become the first documented woman to travel the length of the Americas — from Ushuaia, Argentina, to Barrow, Alaska — entirely by non-motorized means. The 20,000-mile trek will begin in December and take an estimated five years to complete.

Along the way, Hughes plans to spend time in local villages and bear witness to their way of life, promoting education, opportunities for women and other social issues. “I really want to inspire others to pursue their own audacious goals,” she said.

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Hiking in Wisconsin’s Kettle Moraine

Posted by on Oct 4, 2015 @ 9:04 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking in Wisconsin’s Kettle Moraine

Wisconsinites might grimace at how rough winters can get these days, but 20,000 years ago much of the state was under a sheet of ice thicker than a mile in some places. This Laurentide Ice Sheet extended south of Chicago. One of the most fascinating marks it left as the ice melted was the Kettle Moraine.

A “kettle” forms when debris from a grinding glacier gathers in a deposit as the ice melts away. In this case, a chunk of ice at the center lasts a bit longer under the pile and when it finally does shrink, it creates a sunken bowl-shaped middle to the moraine. This long north-to-south area between the crushing forces of two major ice lobes — the Green Bay and Lake Michigan lobes — is so rife with them that the entire region took the term as a proper name.

Geneva and Pike lakes are two of the largest kettles. The extensive collection of moraines, eskers and kames is a natural geological textbook, and much of it has been set aside as state forest. When the mosquitoes and hot temperatures are gone for the season, hikers head for Kettle Moraine for its excellent fall colors.

Five units make up Kettle Moraine State Forest: the Northern, Southern, Lapham Peak, Loew Lake and Pike Lake units. Covering 56,000 acres, the units extend 100 miles along glacially altered lands from Elkhart Lake in the north to just south of Whitewater. But the state forest does not encompass the entire Kettle Moraine and several areas outside park borders make excellent hikes as well, particularly along the rustic footpath of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, or IAT.

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4 Yoga Poses for Hikers

Posted by on Oct 3, 2015 @ 8:58 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Practice these four poses pre-hike to improve strength and stability for a safer journey and post-hike to ease any tight spots.

Mountain vistas, fall foliage, glistening lakes—the sights along a good trail are worth the inevitable sweat stains and muddy boots.

But beyond the aesthetic reward, hiking can also complement your yoga practice: It requires both focus and stamina, making it 
a powerful moving meditation.

And doing some key poses before you hit the trail will help prep you for sthira (steadiness) to maintain balance on uneven surfaces and sukha (ease) to move with fluidity and agility on the path’s twists and turns.

See the poses…


Free day for seniors at national parks

Posted by on Oct 2, 2015 @ 8:31 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The National Park service is encouraging senior citizens to enjoy the outdoors. On Oct. 8, 2015 all national parks will grant complimentary access to seniors 62 and older.

“Spending time in parks has demonstrated benefits for physical and mental health, and the National Park Service is helping Americans make this connection,” says National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis.

It’s part of a partnership with Humana Inc., a Louisville-based health and well-being company that is serving as the official sponsor of the National Park Service’s Centennial celebration. The park service turns 100 on Aug. 25, 2016.

“National parks are great resources offering a range of healthy experiences for people of all ages, and they represent a simple way to enjoy being healthy and active,” says Humana President and CEO Bruce Broussard.

Not a senior yet? Don’t fret. The National Park Service offers several free days for visitors of all ages during the year. Plus only 127 of the 408 national parks usually charge an entrance fee.

If you are a senior, take advantage of this fee free day, and while you’re there consider purchasing a Golden Age Passport. It’s just $10 and allows access to all national parks for the rest of your life. Now that’s one of the best recreation bargains going.


Crossing New Bridges

Posted by on Oct 1, 2015 @ 10:47 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Piedmont Hiking & Outing Club steps up to support new span at Doughton Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Just in time for a fall hike or backpacking trip, there’s a new bridge on Doughton Park’s Grassy Gap Trail. In the past, the crossing at Basin Creek was often difficult, with only a long, precarious log spanning the waterway for hikers. Thanks to generous donations to the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation by members of the Piedmont Hiking and Outing Club, the 30-foot bridge now makes the trek safer and more accessible.

It’s an inspiring example of a group recognizing a need on the Parkway and working together to make a project a reality. Under the direction of the National Park Service, the bridge was constructed by a crew from The Student Conservation Association.

This important connector provides access to the popular Basin Creek Trail up to Caudill Cabin and the rugged Bluff Ridge Primitive Trail that leads to the Bluff Mountain shelter near the Blue Ridge Parkway. Grassy Gap Trail is also the route from Longbottom Road to the backpacker campground at the confluence of Basin and Cove creeks.

To explore this area of Doughton Park, you get there from Longbottom Road between McGrady and Traphill, make the gentle but long hiking descent from the Parkway via Grassy Gap Trail, or take a steep trek on Bluff Ridge Primitive Trail.

Here is a map…


Pull on your boots and hit the trail to celebrate the Pennine Way’s 50th anniversary

Posted by on Sep 30, 2015 @ 7:17 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Pull on your boots and hit the trail to celebrate the Pennine Way’s 50th anniversary

The UK’s oldest national trail hit its 50th birthday earlier this year, and tourism bosses are urging walkers to celebrate the anniversary by pulling on their boots and visiting the route.

The path, which runs from Edale in Derbyshire to Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders, was officially opened at a ceremony on Malham Moor in the Yorkshire Dales in 1965. The trail passes through three national parks, the North Pennines area of outstanding natural beauty, two national nature reserves and 20 sites of special scientific interest.

Highlights include the Peak District’s highest hill Kinder Scout, scene of the 1932 mass trespass that was instrumental in the campaign to open up Britain’s hills to the walking public, Malham Cove, the 80m (260ft) limestone crag that forms a spectacular natural amphitheatre in the Yorkshire Dales, High Cup Nick, the deep chasm cutting into the Cumbrian Pennines and dubbed ‘England’s Grand Canyon’ and the nearby Cross Fell, highest point on the route and home to the a unique meteorological phenomenon, the Helm Wind.

A draw for visitors every year from both the UK and abroad, this remarkable national trail stretches through some of the most spectacular northern landscapes this country has to offer, through the Peak District and Derbyshire, Cumbria, Yorkshire, Northumberland and County Durham, forming an important link between many towns and rural communities.

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Anatomy of a flash flood

Posted by on Sep 30, 2015 @ 3:05 am in Hiking News | 1 comment

Last week 20 people died in a wave of flash floods in southern Utah, eerily similar to a summer in Arizona 18 years ago. Of those who died, seven were in a narrow canyon in Zion National Park and another 13 were lost when their cars were swept away from around the town of Hilldale. The seven in Zion were geared up with helmets and ropes, not the most trained group, but certainly capable. The 13 from around Hilldale were drivers and passengers who found themselves unexpectedly swallowed by a flood that dammed itself with debris and then burst through Short Creek. It was the desert announcing itself yet again.

Most people don’t think of the desert as flood prone. But most people don’t live in the desert. Yet the strange, Roadrunner-cartoon topography is directly and indirectly caused by flooding. Storms break over ground that holds little vegetation. Rainwater flies across the land looking for any downhill passage. Arroyos and washes funnel together, as the contents of thunderheads arrive in tight, narrow spaces: a canyon where you can touch both walls, or a storm drain dry almost every day of the year, until suddenly it is not.

This is where the word flash comes from in flash flood. A canyon can be dry for months or even years. A storm lands far away. The water comes all at once.

Samples taken from the floods that August of ’97 were sometimes only 10 or 20 percent water. The rest was mud. The earth was being reduced and transported. Where a flood hit the town of Kanab, Utah, not far from Hilldale, a scientist waded into one of its red-brown eddies with specimen bottles. Viscous mud draped down his legs. He was wearing the earth.

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Rogue River National Recreation Trail, Oregon

Posted by on Sep 29, 2015 @ 7:30 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The Rogue River National Recreation Trail runs 40 miles along the Rogue National Wild and Scenic River in southwestern Oregon. The route offers a variety of amazing landscapes and rewarding hiking experiences.

In addition, the western 16 miles cross the Wild Rogue Wilderness. These national designations recognize and help protect the Rogue’s outstanding scenery, fisheries, and recreational resources for present and future generations. The trail and the river are co-managed by the Bureau of Land Management’s Medford District and the US Forest Service’s Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.

The Salem, OR Statesman Journal describes the setting: “The mountains encase the valley in thousand-foot walls, and the river glides deep and green past wildlife, forest, and a civilization of rustic lodges built beginning in the 1930s.”

The Rogue River Trail is managed for hiking and backpacking only. Most of the trail is well constructed and has moderate grades. The average hiker takes 4-5 days to walk the 40 miles.

Backpackers will find a number of campgrounds along the way. Many campsites are sandy beaches next to the river. These sites may also be used by boaters. Private lodges along the trail can also accommodate hikers who make reservations.

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Unique characters abound on Continental Divide Trail

Posted by on Sep 27, 2015 @ 9:28 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Unique characters abound on Continental Divide Trail

Through hikers, those hiking from the Mexican border to the Canadian border or vice versa, on the Continental Divide Trail are a loosely organized, yet tight knit group.

Sometime around the second week of April, around 150 hikers depart from Silver City, N.M., bound for the Canadian border in Glacier National Park. Another 50 or so depart on the reverse journey.

Of the roughly 30 percent who finished, many wrapped up their hikes in the past couple of weeks. To celebrate, CDT Montana, a branch of the Montana Wilderness Association that works to maintain and complete portions of the trail in Montana and Idaho, hosted the Hiker Hoopla, a sort of end-of-year hurrah to celebrate everyone’s accomplishments. Held just off Marias Pass at the Summit Mountain Lodge, the Hoopla was a chance for hikers to reconnect with other hikers they met along the way.

Thru hikers faced an epic year on the CDT. Many were delayed by the fires burning in the Bob Marshall Wilderness and elsewhere on their route, and nearly everyone battled the deep snowpack in Colorado. Thru hikers are a diverse group with many stories to tell. Hikers typically earn a trail name sometime during their journey, and most are best known to other hikers by that name.

Here are a few snippets of their adventures…


WVU Students To Conduct Vistor Surveys on National Forests

Posted by on Sep 27, 2015 @ 8:53 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Through a partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, West Virginia University will conduct voluntary surveys of visitors recreating on the George Washington & Jefferson National Forests.

Beginning Oct. 1, 2015 WVU students, and employees will host survey stations at developed recreation areas, trailheads, and along Forest Service roads. People who agree to participate in the survey will not be asked their names, and all responses are confidential. The basic interview lasts about eight minutes, and every other visitor is asked additional questions related either to economics or satisfaction, which may take an additional five minutes.

The information gained from the survey will aid the Forest Service in analyzing recreation needs and trends and assist state and local governments with tourism strategies and planning. In addition, the survey will provide National Forest managers, partners, and Congress with an estimate of how many people recreate on federal lands and what activities they enjoy while there. Other important information includes how satisfied people are with their visit to the national forest and the economic benefits on the local economy. The data gathered by this program is also used, along with other factors, in determining how funds for recreation management are allocated to the national forests.

Although the survey is entirely voluntary, the Forest Service hopes as many people as possible will stop to answer survey questions. It is important that the Forest Service gather information from both the local and out-of-area national forest users so that all types of visitors are accurately represented in the study. There are about 300 survey dates scheduled beginning October 1 and continuing through September 30, 2016.

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Some cool hikes across the USA for fall foliage

Posted by on Sep 25, 2015 @ 9:11 am in Hiking News | 1 comment

If you think summer is the only season for hiking, it’s time you experience the pleasant temperatures, sparse crowds and incredible beauty that comes with fall.

Thanks to more reasonable temperatures, heat related issues are typically less of a threat and you probably won’t have to call it a day due to mid-afternoon heat. Trails are usually less crowded in the fall when the kids are back in school and people are back at work from their summer vacations. And let’s not forget those stunning yellows, oranges and reds that dot the tips of trees.

Most of us will admit that the scenery is at least half of the reason we go hiking in the first place and there’s no better time to take it all in than autumn. Your camera loves the brilliant hues presented by the deciduous forests.

Here are some highlighted hikes from across the U.S. that show a particularly incredible display of fall colors so you can make the most of the fall hiking season wherever you are.

Get the list…


Anish Breaks the Appalachian Trail Unsupported Speed Record

Posted by on Sep 24, 2015 @ 7:54 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Today, at 5:25pm on top of Springer Mountain, history was made.

Heather ‘Anish’ Anderson just set the record for the fastest unsupported hike of the 2,285-mile Appalachian Trail, finishing in 54 days, 7 hours, and 48 minutes. She averaged about 42 miles a day over the course of the trail.

History repeats itself, and so does Anish. In 2013, Anish set the record for the fastest unsupported thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail, hiking the entire 2,663 miles in only 60 days, 17 hours, and 12 minutes.

Which means… Anish is now the first person to hold the unsupported record on the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail simultaneously.

Supported hikers are followed by a team of people who meet them at road crossings with food, water, and shelter. Unsupported hikers carry all of their own gear and walk into towns to resupply instead of accepting rides – technically, they do more walking than most actual thru-hikers, who hitch into towns from road crossings.

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