Easy Ways to Break in New Hiking Boots

You’ve got plans for a big hike—a multi-day backpacking trip or a long day hike to a high point—but your suitable footwear is either worn out or nonexistent. Here’s what not to do: buy brand-new hiking boots right before your outing, ensuring you have no time to wear them before you start trekking up a mountain. That almost guarantees trip-ruining foot problems like...

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Evidence of Many Varieties of Economic Benefits Linked to Trails

Trails and greenways impact our economy through tourism, events, urban redevelopment, community improvement, property values, health care costs, jobs and investment, and general consumer spending. Americans do spend a great deal on outdoor recreation. A 2006 Outdoor Industry Foundation study found that “Active Outdoor Recreation” contributes $887 billion annually to the...

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Panthertown Valley in Nantahala National Forest selected for recreation impact intervention

Panthertown Valley is one of 14 locations nationwide to be selected as a 2020 Leave No Trace Hot Spot. Hot Spots identify areas suffering from severe recreational impacts that can thrive again with Leave No Trace solutions. Each location receives a unique, site-specific blend of programs aimed at healthy and sustainable recovery. Since 2012, Leave No Trace has carried...

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Coastal Forests Face Rising Sea Levels, Increased Salinity

Ghost forests aren’t some spooky legend. They’re patches of dead and dying trees that haunt the coastlines of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia where sea levels are rising and land is sinking. USDA Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service scientists are working with partners across the coastal plain to understand where these watery graveyards...

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Explore the great outdoors by hiking

Why not get outside and take a hike this Sunday on National Take a Hike Day? Your mental and physical health might depend on it. If you knew that nature could make you happier, healthier, and more creative, would you make more of an effort to spend time outdoors? In her book, “The Nature Fix,” Florence Williams shows that nature does in fact make us happier, healthier,...

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The Best Day Hiking Near Seattle

Within an hour or two of downtown Seattle, you can be in desolate wilderness, hiking through evergreen forests with views of Puget Sound, Mount Rainier, and the Olympic range. The Seattle, WA area is full of great hikes, but some of them are more well-known and crowded than others. The hike up Mount Si is hardly a secret. You can find half of Seattle here on sunny...

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Get big views of downtown Phoenix on this less-used South Mountain hiking trail

South Mountain cuts an impressive profile in the skyline south of downtown Phoenix. The “mountain” isn’t a singular massif as the name implies, but a conglomerate of three parallel ranges that sit within the park boundaries and dovetail in a way that creates a fascinating environment of canyons, washes and rugged pinnacles. Over 50 miles of trails explore the park’s...

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Ghost Ranch provides a prime fall hiking destination

Scenes from more than two dozen films and television specials have been shot here, and it’s no wonder why. Taking in the majestic views while traversing the expansive ranch in the high desert of New Mexico, visitors feel immersed in a cinematic Wild West setting. The Ghost Ranch offers multiple trails that guide hikers along the area’s brilliant red, white and...

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How Egypt’s Red Sea Mountain Trail set new tracks into the wild

Finding a way to experience a country away from other groups of tourists is a challenge in 2019. It doesn’t take long for once underexplored areas to become popular as the word gets out. A surge in interest in long distance trails has seen long-established hikes such as Spain’s Camino de Santiago and even parts of the vast Appalachian Trail in the United...

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New Orleans veteran becomes first African American male to earn hiking’s Triple Crown

The Triple Crown is a fabled summit in sports, a seemingly impossible trio of wins in horse racing and an even more impressive collection of batting stats in baseball, but when it comes to hiking, few people have ever achieved that summit, known as the Triple Crown. “There are less than 450 Triple Crown hikers. More people have gone into space, more people have climbed...

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Taking a hike has many implications

The phrase “Take a Hike” no longer carries the same connotation as it did when you were young and your older siblings just wanted you to make a quick, and extensive, exit. It was defined simply as: buzz off. Today, that hiking expression more often means you have received an open invitation to explore a park, discover what is around the next bend, work on your cardio...

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All National Parks Are Free on Monday, Nov. 11 (For the Last Time in 2019)

Consider it your free national parks pass: On Monday, Nov. 11, 2019 all national parks across the nation will be free to enter. Every Park Service site that usually charges an entrance fee will offer free admission to all visitors as part of NPS’ Free Day program. This last free National Parks day of 2019 also marks Veterans Day. In addition to the role national parks...

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WiFi, Amazon and food trucks: Trump team’s vision for national parks

  A team of Trump administration advisers – consisting mostly of appointees from the private industry – are urging “modernization” of national park campgrounds, with a vision of food trucks, WiFi and even Amazon deliveries. “Our recommendations would allow people to opt for additional costs if they want, for example, Amazon deliveries at a particular campsite,”...

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Here’s the top reason unprepared hikers need to be rescued

  A hiker found herself in the dark, alone and lost for a second night in a row. She lacked a basic, fairly cheap piece of equipment: a headlamp. The night before, New York forest rangers found her in the High Peaks region of the Adirondacks after she called 911, escorted her out and gave her some friendly advice: A headlamp would have saved her — and the...

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The Best Hiking Spots Across Hawaii, from the Big Island to Oahu

With its 750 miles of total coastline presenting idyllic beaches, clear, warm waters, and some of the best surfing, fishing, diving, and snorkeling spots on earth, of course, many people associate Hawaii’s opportunities for outdoor recreation with the water. But if you fail to look inland, you’re missing out. Like the biggest mountain on earth, if you measure Mauna Kea...

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20 tips for safe hiking before you hit the trails this winter

Just because winter is here doesn’t mean hiking season is over. With the right gear and preparation, you can keep hiking through the snow and ice. The chilly temperatures might be challenging, but the blanket of snow makes everything simply beautiful. Snowy and icy conditions are more difficult than summer hiking since you slide around. Pick an easier trail than normal...

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New hiking trail unveiled at Flight 93 memorial

There is a new hiking trail at the Flight 93 memorial in Pennsylvania. The trail of remembrance is a half-mile long trail where the dirt road, skyline drive used to be and connects the memorial plaza to the site were the temporary Flight 93 memorial was first made. Nearly one million people came to visit the first, temporary memorial site, and visitors still come back to...

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Would banning frequent flyer programs help the planet?

We’re slowly getting used to sacrificing once-beloved traditions for the environment, like drinking from plastic straws and cooking on gas stoves. Could racking up miles through frequent flyer programs be the next to go? Boarding a plane will probably be the single most carbon-intensive thing you do this year. And while some climate activists are opting out of flying,...

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An October in Western North Carolina – A Photo Essay

Throughout the month of October, I traveled and hiked the high country of Western North Carolina seeking the seasonal change and corresponding forest color. One of the great things about the mountains is how you can follow the change as it lowers in elevation, starting with the highest peaks and ending in the lowest river valleys. My brother has been in the process of...

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Coyote Sightings Peak in October-November

Hearing or seeing more coyotes these days? You’re not alone, say biologists with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. According to them, it is common for North Carolinians to report seeing and hearing coyotes more often in October and November. Fall is the time of year when young coyotes – those born in early spring – are leaving their parents’...

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China’s first world-class hiking trail mapped out in Hunan’s Xuefeng Mountains

Foreigners are still a novelty in the Xuefeng Mountains. Laden with firewood, the villagers who pass react with curiosity and amusement at the sight of luyao (“donkey friends”) wandering through this remote part of rural western Hunan province, central China. Donkey friends (independent back­packers) may become a more common sight, though, because China’s first...

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Changes coming to LeConte, hikers explain appeal

Soon it may be easier to snag a treasured lodge reservation high up on Mt. LeConte. Dana Soehn from the National Park Service tells us the ‘standing reservation’ system has been slowly eliminated in the last few years. The process actually began in 1998. No more grandfathered weekends going forward. Starting next year, for the 2020 season, everyone will be on...

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Kids on the Mountaintop

  It was a schoolday, but the whole school was on top of a mountain. With panoramic mountain views all around, first grader Penelope was examining a strange plant. It was growing out of the open pasture on top of Bearwallow Mountain. It had tough, woody branches and green pods armored in thorns. The older pods had split open, revealing shiny, dark seeds. Other...

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Missing South Carolina hikers found safe along North Carolina border

Two teens who got lost while hiking at Jones Gap State Park in Greenville County, SC have been found safe. The teens, who are Bob Jones University students, showed up about 9 a.m. Monday, Oct. 28, 2019 at Terra Nova Center on Reasonover Road in Cedar Mountain, North Carolina, rescue crews said. They were found nine miles from where they started hiking. The search for the...

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From monarch butterflies to gray whales, animals are on the move. Here’s how travelers can tag along on their migratory journeys.

Pacific gray whales swim multiple marathons along the West Coast twice a year, covering 10,000 to 12,000 miles round trip. Monarch butterflies flap their orange-and-black wings from northern regions in North America to Mexico, defying their typically short life spans to complete the journey. Sandhill cranes can fly daily distances equal to the drive from Washington to...

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park Adopts New Regulation for E-Bike Use

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced the adoption of a new regulation to allow the use of low-speed electric bikes (e-bikes) in the park at all locations where bicycles are currently allowed. Both Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes, which can provide electronic assistance until the rider reaches a speed of 20 mph, are allowed under the new regulation. Park...

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Clean Water money to conserve WNC land

The latest round of awards from the Clean Water Management Trust Fund totals $14.3 million, with nearly $3 million of that going to conservation projects in Western North Carolina. • The Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy landed $1.2 million toward its effort to secure property on Chestnut Mountain in Haywood County currently owned by Canton Motorsports, LLC, and...

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This woman leads hikers along Egypt’s Sinai Trail

As Umm Yasser reeled off her household chores — collect wood, cook, make bread, shepherd goats — she stopped to say why she decided to also lead trail hikes through the mountains of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. “Normally, a woman’s role is to take care of the household, family and children,” Umm Yasser, a Bedouin member of the Hamada tribe, said recently. “Hiking is the...

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Stories of the Appalachian Trail: A Recommended Book List

Thru-hikers and section hikers always have a story about what brought them to the trail. The Appalachian Trail in particular is swarming with folklore, so nearly everyone remembers the first story they heard about the 2,000+ mile footpath that weaves uninterrupted from Georgia to Maine. Sometimes the magic is captivated in a single moment; for others several instances...

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Texas Trail Looks to Connect Austin to San Antonio

El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail is one of the most important trails you might have never heard of. The name might not exactly roll off the tongue, but people have been saying it for hundreds of years (although the National Historic Trail part was added much later). This well-traveled trail actually pre-dates both modern day Mexico and the United...

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Utah’s Capitol Reef National Park is like Zion without the crowds

Capitol Reef National Park gets less attention than Utah’s other national parks, in part because of its remote south-central locale and its relatively new stature as a park (Congress reclassified it from monument to national park in 1971). Like Zion, Capitol Reef offers spectacular ribbon-colored rock formations, jagged monoliths and gorge hikes that should be on any...

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Lend a Hand to Panthertown Valley

Enjoy fall colors in Panthertown Valley while helping to keep the trails maintained with a string of upcoming work days in the Nantahala National Forest near Cashiers, NC. Trail steward Charly Aurelia will lead the excursions, with trail maintenance activities occurring during a group hike from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dates are Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019 at the Cold Mountain Gap...

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