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How to protect yourself on hiking trails

Posted by on May 20, 2019 @ 10:12 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

How to protect yourself on hiking trails

Alarming headlines about missing hikers, or worse, can trigger panic about trail safety and the risks of exploring remote areas. The potential for danger exists no matter where you are, but the best way to guard against it is to be prepared and alert. Here are some tips for how to stay safe while hiking in remote areas, culled from the National Park Service and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Whether you’re alone or in a group, it’s wise to tell someone else where you’re going and when you intend to return. Establish a...

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The Quest to Complete the Greater Patagonian Trail

Posted by on May 19, 2019 @ 3:06 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

The Quest to Complete the Greater Patagonian Trail

In late 2017, German engineer Jan Dudeck was just completing a decade-long quest to create a new long trail through South America. The Greater Patagonian Trail (GPT), as he named it, would come to be 1,900 miles, stretching through the southern Andes from Santiago to the Argentinean climbing mecca of Mount Fitzroy. “This trail rewards the humble,” Dudeck says, “and humiliates the proud.” Stories were emerging from some of Dudeck’s collaborators of glacial river crossings, trailblazing, and frontiersman-like bushwhacking on the GPT. These...

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Plastics are sealing the planet’s fate

Posted by on May 18, 2019 @ 6:59 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Plastics are sealing the planet’s fate

It’s impossible to imagine modern life without plastics. From the moment the day begins, we are using plastic. It’s in our toothbrushes, our shower curtains and our phones. We use it on the way to work in bus seats, car dashboards, and bicycle helmets. We see it at lunch in takeout containers and disposable utensils. Whether you’re in your living room controlling the TV with a plastic remote or on the top of Mount Everest wearing cold-weather gear made with plastics, it’s there. We rarely think about where it all comes from, but we should....

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This lodge in the Oregon wilderness is anything but wild

Posted by on May 17, 2019 @ 9:09 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

This lodge in the Oregon wilderness is anything but wild

Minam River Lodge is a rare piece of private property within Oregon’s 360,000-acre Eagle Cap Wilderness, which itself is located within the 2.3 million-acre Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. It was founded as a hunting camp in 1950 and even today the only ways to get here are to hike, ride a horse or have local rancher Joe Spence fly you there in his three-seat Cessna 206. Once at the lodge, which is open from late May into October, there is no cellphone reception, Internet or television; power in the cabins and main lodge comes from an array...

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Help Make History on National Trails Day June 1, 2019

Posted by on May 16, 2019 @ 7:37 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Help Make History on National Trails Day June 1, 2019

By pledging to improve a trail you’ll join a nation-wide movement to set a world record and (more importantly) sustain America’s remarkable trails system. With your help, we can preserve beloved trails for future generations. Plus, everyone who commits to improving trails will be entered to win weekly giveaways of awesome outdoor gear. How does this pledge work? Make your commitment to improving a trail by simply submitting the online pledge. After National Trails Day®, we’ll ask you how many miles of trail you helped to improve to establish...

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Bears Ears’ only visitor center isn’t run by the feds

Posted by on May 15, 2019 @ 7:17 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Bears Ears’ only visitor center isn’t run by the feds

With the monument facing stripped-down protections and sky rocketing visitation, a local nonprofit built its own guerrilla visitor center to educate the masses. The terracotta mesas and umber buttes reveal that this is an exceptional place. Yet not one sign from the Bureau of Land Management or the U.S. Forest Service, the two federal agencies that jointly manage Bears Ears National Monument, indicates where it’s actually located. There are no federal facilities dedicated to the rising tide of visitors. “It’s managed by Google,” says Josh...

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How to Prevent and Treat Blisters While Hiking

Posted by on May 14, 2019 @ 7:11 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Keeping yourself healthy while hiking requires playing the long game, especially when it comes to blisters. You should do everything you can beforehand to prevent them and then stop them from completely hobbling you when they do pop up. “Socks are almost as important, if not more important, than shoes,” former women’s Appalachian Trail speed record holder Liz Thomas says. “I know people who like more padding. It really depends on your body, hiking style, how much you weigh, how your feet turn when you walk, and what sort of trail you’re on.”...

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Epic 3,700-mile nature trail will one day allow you to hike coast-to-coast

Posted by on May 13, 2019 @ 7:19 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Epic 3,700-mile nature trail will one day allow you to hike coast-to-coast

Outdoor enthusiasts rejoice. An ambitious, historic new plan will one day allow you to run, bike or even rollerblade coast-to-coast. Rails to Trails Conservancy (RTC) unveiled its 3,700-mile off-road trail this week. When fully completed, the “Great American Rail Trail” will become the nation’s first cross-country multi-use trail. The trail will travel from Washington D.C. through 12 states: Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and Washington. RTC settled on the entirely...

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Study finds 96% of national parks have hazardous air quality

Posted by on May 12, 2019 @ 7:15 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Study finds 96% of national parks have hazardous air quality

Millions of tourists will head out into America’s national parks this summer in search of fresh mountain air. But according to a new report they should instead expect dangerous levels of pollution; roughly 96% of the nation’s parks are struggling with significant air quality issues. The report, released by the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), found that some of the most popular parks, including Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Joshua Tree national parks and Mojave national preserve, were among the worst offenders. Last year, these...

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2 men endure 71-day hike to document the Grand Canyon

Posted by on May 11, 2019 @ 7:22 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

2 men endure 71-day hike to document the Grand Canyon

This year is the 100th anniversary of Grand Canyon National Park. Six million visit each year, but fewer than 5 percent actually hike into the canyon. More people have walked on the moon than have walked the entire length of the Grand Canyon, 750 miles, the vast majority without trails. “It’s a hostile place and water is the key,” said photographer Pete McBride. It took McBride and writer Kevin Fedarko 71 excruciating days to complete their journey. “I came in with some attitude. Like, ‘We’ll just –...

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Smokies Park Invites Volunteers to an Appalachian Trail Work Day

Posted by on May 10, 2019 @ 7:40 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Smokies Park Invites Volunteers to an Appalachian Trail Work Day

Great Smoky Mountains National Park staff and partners invite volunteers to participate in a service opportunity in celebration of National Trails Day on Saturday, June 1, 2019. The national park is once again working with the Friends of the Smokies, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy Regional Office, and the Smoky Mountain Hiking Club to host this large volunteer event on the Appalachian Trail. This annual work day event has taken place in the park for 23 years and highlights the important work done by volunteers and the importance of trails...

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U.S. agency considers more visitors to The Wave along Utah-Arizona border

Posted by on May 9, 2019 @ 9:08 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

U.S. agency considers more visitors to The Wave along Utah-Arizona border

The Bureau of Land Management is weighing increasing its daily visitor limits from 20 to 96 people a day at The Wave, a popular rock formation near the Utah-Arizona border. A 6-mile round trip hike through tall sandstone buttes and sage brush is required to get to the Wave, a wide, sloping basin of searing reds, oranges and yellows in the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. The agency is asking for public comment and changes could be implemented as soon as October, 2019, an agency official said. Applications to hike The Wave have drastically...

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Trillium Gap Trail Rehabilitation Begins May 13, 2019 at Smokies Park

Posted by on May 9, 2019 @ 7:21 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Trillium Gap Trail Rehabilitation Begins May 13, 2019 at Smokies Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced that a 2-year trail rehabilitation project will begin next week on Trillium Gap Trail. Due to the construction process on the narrow trail, a full closure is necessary for the safety of both the crew and visitors. The trail and associated parking lot along Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail will be closed May 13 through November 15, 2019 on Monday mornings at 7:00 am. through Thursday evenings at 5:30 p.m. weekly. The trail will be fully open each week on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and on...

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Hiking Can Seriously Improve Your Mental Health

Posted by on May 8, 2019 @ 7:18 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking Can Seriously Improve Your Mental Health

Too often when we weigh the benefits of exercise, we tend to focus on the aesthetic. There’s a persistent pressure to exercise to look “good”—to whittle ourselves down to a smaller size and to shape our bodies in a way that pleases someone else. Not only can that mindset be detrimental to our physical health by encouraging destructive habits, but it also takes our attention away from a far superior benefit of exercising: the betterment of our mental health. Fortunately, the tides are starting to shift (albeit slowly), and...

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One million species face extinction, U.N. report says. And humans will suffer as a result.

Posted by on May 7, 2019 @ 6:51 am in Conservation | 0 comments

One million species face extinction, U.N. report says. And humans will suffer as a result.

Up to 1 million plant and animal species are on the verge of extinction, with alarming implications for human survival, according to a United Nations report released this week. The report’s findings underscore the conclusions of previous scientific studies that say human activity is wreaking havoc on the wild kingdom, threatening the existence of living things ranging from giant whales to small flowers and insects that are almost impossible to see with the naked eye. But the global report by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on...

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A Small Town’s Battle Against Radioactive Fracking Waste

Posted by on May 5, 2019 @ 8:46 am in Conservation | 0 comments

A Small Town’s Battle Against Radioactive Fracking Waste

After an illegal dumping of close to 2,000 tons of dangerous sludge and contaminated materials across the street from two schools, a Kentucky community struggles with what to do next. Estill County isn’t the kind of place you’d think would have a radioactive waste problem. Half of this quiet, unassuming nook of eastern Kentucky is covered like a quilt with farmhouses and churches, while the other half rests in the shade of Daniel Boone National Forest. In Estill’s center, nestled between the Appalachian foothills and the Kentucky River, sits...

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Norway’s ‘Home of the Giants’ Is for You, Too

Posted by on May 4, 2019 @ 9:10 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Norway’s ‘Home of the Giants’ Is for You, Too

The Besseggen ridge juts from the earth as a curved spine of sharp, dark-gray stone and carves its way between two blue lakes in Jotunheimen, one of Norway’s many spectacular, wild national parks. “Jotunheimen” translates as “home of the giants,” and everything here is oversize, including the lakes. They are separated only by a narrow slice of the ridge yet have very distinct colors: Gjende is a long sweep of aquamarine; Bessvatnet is a dark royal blue. Besseggen, a worthy destination for its otherworldly beauty alone, is also immortalized in...

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What is tree crown shyness?

Posted by on May 3, 2019 @ 7:39 am in Conservation | 0 comments

What is tree crown shyness?

Sometimes trees can be a little too respectful of one another’s boundaries. Or maybe they just stop growing when they get too close. The phenomenon is called crown shyness — when the tops of individual trees avoid touching in the forest canopy, creating separation lines and boundaries in the sky. Experts aren’t exactly sure why the naturally occurring phenomenon happens, but they’ve been studying it for decades and have a few theories. The first has to do with competition for resources — especially light. Trees have a highly...

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This Gorgeous New 186-mile Trail Takes Hikers Through the Best of the Alps

Posted by on May 2, 2019 @ 9:25 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

This Gorgeous New 186-mile Trail Takes Hikers Through the Best of the Alps

While there are trails you can hit around the world to immerse yourself in nature, hiking in the Alps is about to become an ultimate destination. The country of Slovenia has opened the 186-mile Julian Alps Hiking Trail, just in time for your warm-weather getaway. The new long-distance trail takes you through alpine valleys, pastures, local towns, and small villages in Slovenia. This massive trail is the latest addition to Slovenia’s 700-plus trails that you can take around the country. Starting in Rateče, a small town on the Italian...

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For hikers, Yosemite National Park rewards originality

Posted by on May 1, 2019 @ 8:45 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

For hikers, Yosemite National Park rewards originality

If Yosemite Valley bisects the park, the Mariposa Grove takes you on a steep jog to the south and east. Not far (which, in Yosemite, is a relative term) from Mariposa is Glacier Point, which wins the distinction of being the easiest of the Easy Day Hikes in “Best Easy Day Hikes: Yosemite National Park.” A short jog from there is Sheldon Dome, which lands squarely in the middle of the two dozen easy hikes. There is a brand-spanking-new Visitor Center at Mariposa Grove. The area had been closed for several years while renovations were done,...

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South Korea opens hiking trails on world’s most heavily armed border

Posted by on Apr 30, 2019 @ 9:08 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Travelers looking to experience the abundance of wildlife that’s thriving on the Korean Peninsula’s Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) – oft described as the world’s most heavily armed border – have a new option to consider. The United Nations Command (UNC) has approved phase one of South Korea’s “Peace Trail” project, which includes plans to open three routes along the DMZ. The first approved trail is located in Goseong, in Gangwaon Province on the east side of the Korean Peninsula. Visitors begin their...

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Couple Spends 20 Years Planting an Entire Forest and Animals Have Returned

Posted by on Apr 29, 2019 @ 8:02 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Couple Spends 20 Years Planting an Entire Forest and Animals Have Returned

Nearly 30 years ago, Brazilian photojournalist Sebastião Ribeiro Salgado returned from East Africa, where he was on location documenting the horrors of the Rwanda genocide. Following this traumatizing project, Salgado was to take over his family’s sprawling cattle ranch in Minas Gerais—a region he remembered as a lush and lively rainforest. Unfortunately, the area had undergone a drastic transformation; only about 0.5% was covered in trees, and all of the wildlife had disappeared. “The land,” he tells The Guardian, “was as sick as I was.”...

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Man and his blind dog complete thru-hike of Florida Trail

Posted by on Apr 28, 2019 @ 7:59 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Man and his blind dog complete thru-hike of Florida Trail

While Kyle Rohrig’s little canine hiking companion, Katana, recently lost her eyesight, she has kept her spirit of adventure. The pooch is a Shiba Inu, a Japanese breed of hunting dog. Glaucoma caused her to lose one of her eyes at age 5 and her other eye shortly after she turned 8 late last year. In earlier years, Katana had joined her owner for long-distance treks on paths such as the Appalachian Trail, on which she was able to walk more than 30 miles per day on her own. Her total blindness came about two months before Rohrig’s planned hike...

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Eight colorful hikes to celebrate National Wildflower Week

Posted by on Apr 26, 2019 @ 8:54 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Eight colorful hikes to celebrate National Wildflower Week

Warmer mornings and longer evenings are telltale signs that spring is in the air, bringing with it an array of colorful explosions, as wildflowers cover hillsides and prairies with bright blooms. The first full week of May is set aside as National Wildflower Week, the official recognition of our country’s floral bounty. Sure, you could admire the blossoms from a distance, but why not celebrate by lacing up your hiking boots and getting right into the thick of things? You’ll find hikes of varying lengths and on differing terrains — but all...

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Thousands of acres in Kentucky and Tennessee will be protected as wildlife habitat

Posted by on Apr 25, 2019 @ 7:29 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Thousands of acres in Kentucky and Tennessee will be protected as wildlife habitat

The Nature Conservancy, a nonprofit aimed at conserving land and water, is acquiring 100,000 acres of forest split between southeast Kentucky and northeast Tennessee. It will be one of the largest land conservation and ecological restoration projects for the organization in the Central Appalachians. It will double the amount of Kentucky acreage the organization has protected, either through acquisition or conservancy easements that prevent certain development of the land. The group plans to manage the property, known as Ataya, as a working...

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Smokies Park Announces 2019 Synchronous Firefly Viewing Dates

Posted by on Apr 24, 2019 @ 7:40 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Smokies Park Announces 2019 Synchronous Firefly Viewing Dates

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials have announced the dates for firefly viewing in Elkmont. Shuttle service to the viewing area will be provided on Thursday, May 30 through Thursday, June 6. All visitors wishing to view the synchronous fireflies at Elkmont must have a parking pass distributed through the lottery system at www.recreation.gov. Every year in late May or early June, thousands of visitors gather near the popular Elkmont Campground to observe the naturally occurring phenomenon of Photinus carolinus, a firefly species...

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How to backpack Arizona’s eerie Superstition Wilderness

Posted by on Apr 23, 2019 @ 8:11 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

How to backpack Arizona’s eerie Superstition Wilderness

Arizona is home to some serious scenery: the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Antelope Canyon. While those are far from any major city, just an hour from Phoenix sits an untouched swath of pristine Sonoran Desert. The Superstition Wilderness, with its eerie red spires and lanky saguaro cacti, offers equally stunning vistas, is full of wildlife, and has miles of trails to explore. Pristine Sonoran Desert habitat is getting harder to find in Phoenix. But within easy reach of the country’s sixth-largest city lie the Superstition Mountains. They’re...

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101 things to do in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Posted by on Apr 22, 2019 @ 7:20 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

101 things to do in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most-visited national park in the country for a good reason: there are countless things to do spread across two states and thousands of acres. But sometimes it can be difficult to pick just one thing to do in the park. Other times you may find yourself in a rut doing the same thing over and over. So here is a list of 101 things to do in the Smokies to give you a little inspiration, a lot of suggestions, and maybe help you create your next adventure. Here are a few to get you started: 1. Visit the...

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Earlier Springs Heighten Allergy Misery in East Tennessee

Posted by on Apr 21, 2019 @ 7:40 am in Conservation | 0 comments

In the heart of South Knoxville sits one of eight Allergy and Asthma Affiliates clinics scattered across Tennessee. Allergist and immunologist Dr. Trent Ellenburg is already being kept busy at his family-owned business, where patients have started coming in suffering from spring allergy symptoms. “As we’re seeing warmer, milder weather, and lots of rain, we do see earlier seasons that are occuring in our region,” Ellenburg said. “Patients have longer to be exposed, but also the pollen they are being exposed to is actually stronger.” For...

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Hiking through history: Little Cataloochee offers a window to the past

Posted by on Apr 20, 2019 @ 8:38 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking through history: Little Cataloochee offers a window to the past

One hundred years ago, the parking area and campground just past the fields in Cataloochee Valley where elk often hang out was better known as Nellie, a remote community in what is now the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. As anybody who’s ever driven the steep and narrow access road from Jonathan Creek can imagine, it was hard to get in and hard to get out in the days when horsepower came mainly from actual horses. People didn’t have much, partly because of how difficult it was to transport outside goods up and over the ridge. When...

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Hiker’s Handbook: Best U.S. Hiking Cities

Posted by on Apr 19, 2019 @ 9:22 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Most of us will never have the time for a 6-month thru hike, but a good day hike can be as refreshing as a week in the backcountry. And if you know where to look, trails abound—even near a concrete jungle. Here are some of the best U.S. cities for getting that backcountry fix in easy-access doses. Portland Smack in the middle of town, Forest Park, Portland’s 5,200-acre urban wilderness, is laced with 80 miles of hiking trails. An hour’s drive to the south, in Silver Falls State Park, the 7.8-mile Trail of Ten Falls hosts ten waterfalls that...

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N.C. Arboretum receives $1 million grant for statewide outreach

Posted by on Apr 18, 2019 @ 9:34 am in Conservation | 0 comments

N.C. Arboretum receives $1 million grant for statewide outreach

All across Western North Carolina, teachers and students are headed outdoors to find, observe and photograph local wildlife as a part of ecoEXPLORE, a citizen science program developed by The North Carolina Arboretum. Kids in grades K-8 who participate in ecoEXPLORE can earn prizes and help professional researchers by cataloging the plants, animals and insects that they find in the wild — or even their own backyards. The project has been so popular that this year the N.C. GlaxoSmithKline Foundation donated $1 million to the arboretum with the...

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The disease devastating deer herds may also threaten human health

Posted by on Apr 17, 2019 @ 7:42 am in Conservation | 0 comments

The disease devastating deer herds may also threaten human health

Scientists have called this neurodegenerative disease, which attacks deer, elk and moose, a “nightmare” and a “state of emergency.” Lately, the media’s been calling it “zombie deer disease.” Lawmakers are calling it a “crisis” and currently considering at least three bills at the national level to combat it. Researchers, resource managers and others worry it could hurt hunting, alter the landscape, or even jump across species to infect people. Mountain lions know that something is wrong. A number of years ago, ecologists studied which deer...

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Time’s running out to hike this amazing hot springs trail near Las Vegas

Posted by on Apr 16, 2019 @ 7:33 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Time’s running out to hike this amazing hot springs trail near Las Vegas

Las Vegas visitors who like a challenge will find rejuvenating hot springs, spectacular vistas and, right now, abundant wildflowers on an arduous hiking trail along the banks of the Colorado River that’s about an hour’s drive east of the Strip. Go now if you want to catch spring because the trail closes in mid-May and doesn’t reopen until September. The Gold Strike Hot Springs Trail near Hoover Dam is a challenging 6-mile out-and-back route that descends nearly 1,500 feet through steep and narrow crevasses. Rated as “difficult” on hiking...

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Hiking to the Summit of Bulgaria’s Belogradchik Fortress

Posted by on Apr 15, 2019 @ 10:28 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking to the Summit of Bulgaria’s Belogradchik Fortress

One of Bulgaria’s most interesting historical monuments is the Belogradchik Fortress. It’s located on the slopes of the Balkan Mountains, and the area’s phenomenal rock formations serve not only as natural protection but also as an integral part of the fortification itself. It’s believed that these ancient rock formations were formed over a period of more than 200 million years, and they’ve now become unique obelisks, reddish sandstone castles, and oversized stone figures that soar high into the sky. A fortress has existed here since Roman...

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Who is responsible for Hong Kong’s disappearing trails?

Posted by on Apr 14, 2019 @ 8:47 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Who is responsible for Hong Kong’s disappearing trails?

Hong Kong is dense with trails criss-crossing the territory. There are the major ones, like the MacLehose, Wilson, Hong Kong, and Lantau trails, then the minor ones and their tributaries. What we may be less aware of is that many unofficially designated trails are at risk of disappearing for good. For centuries, residents of the territory have inscribed their marks onto its topography by walking the land over and over again. As the city developed, trails took shape when construction teams erected pylons for overhead cables and built cable car...

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