Hiking the Zen Path

Long ago the Zen master Yunmen (864–949) purportedly admonished his disciples: “If you sit, just sit; if you walk, just walk—but don’t wobble.” It’s hard not to be scattered, especially in lives that are way too busy. Some of us may even wear our scurrying as a badge, as if it indicates that we’re important and doing impactful cutting-edge things in the world. When...

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The Rapid Decline Of The Natural World Is A Crisis Even Bigger Than Climate Change

Nature is in freefall and the planet’s support systems are so stretched that we face widespread species extinctions and mass human migration unless urgent action is taken. That’s the warning hundreds of scientists are preparing to give, and it’s stark. The last year has seen a slew of brutal and terrifying warnings about the threat climate change poses to life. Far less...

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A Beginner’s Guide to the Compass

Whether you are out walking or cycling or simply driving somewhere new, being able to use a compass is an great skill that will always come in handy. Rather than just showing north, modern compasses have many features to assist in planning and navigation. Without a compass, you can still use your map by relying on visible features, but a compass allows you to be more...

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Hiking 630 miles of English coast, with nothing left to lose

Raynor Winn’s life as she knew it turned an abrupt corner in 2013. She and her husband Moth lost the home they raised their children in, a small farm that was also their livelihood. The next day, Moth was diagnosed with corticobasal degeneration, a rare degenerative brain disease with no treatment aside from pain management. The doctor estimated he had only up to...

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Woman’s Solo Hiking Trip Shockingly Doesn’t Have To Do With Inner Journey Or Anything

Confusing her friends and colleagues as to what could possibly drive her to undertake such an expedition, sources confirmed that aspiring explorer Jillian Greene’s solo hike through Yosemite National Park has evidently nothing to do with soul-searching, an inner journey, or any other form of self-discovery. “Naturally, I assumed she was attempting to deal with a...

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This Phoenix hike shows how water carves up the desert

For Arizonans especially, the fear of running water should rank right up there with snakes and heights. Although storm water raging through usually-dry channels solicits choirs of oohs and ahhs, the flows are definitely not something to mess with. If the human brain has a “dangerous things archive,” an image of a roaring desert wash ought to be seared into it. They can...

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Resupplying and Accessing Towns Along the Appalachian Trail

Resupplying on the Appalachian Trail is easier then you might think. While the heart of the AT takes you through the Appalachian mountains and there are certainly remote parts of the trail, it also takes you within practical distances from dozens of towns and communities along the way. The AT takes hikers within reach of a town every three to seven days on average. These...

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President Signs Bill Permanently Reauthorizing Land and Water Conservation Fund

In an historic victory for public lands and close to home recreation, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) was permanently reauthorized on March 12, 2019 as part of a sweeping public lands package signed into law by the president. The legislation, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in the House (363-62) and the Senate (92-8) last month, was signed...

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How to Finance a Pacific Crest Trail Thru-Hike

One of life’s biggest stressors—both on and off the trail—is money. Don’t bring that stress with you during a thru-hike, or at least try to minimize the impact. Running out of money will end your adventure. This most frequently asked question is also one of the hardest to answer. Running out of money is one of the leading reasons people cite for not completing the trail....

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Nearly $675 Million Spent On Deferred Park Maintenance, Yet Backlog Still Nearly $12 Billion

Proof of the challenge the National Park Service faces in trying to catch up with deferred maintenance across the National Park System can be found in the agency’s latest report on the matter: Nearly $700 million was spent during Fiscal 2018 on maintenance projects, yet the backlog still is nearly $12 billion. Congress had a chance last year to give the Park...

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Is the border actually lawless? This father and son are hiking all 1,954 miles to find out.

Nearly 2,000 miles of hot, dry and mostly inhospitable terrain, the United States’ border with Mexico is not a top tourism destination. It is a landscape in which one is more likely to find people who are compelled to be there: immigrants crossing into the United States illegally; growing numbers of Border Patrol agents assigned to police and secure the area; vigilantes...

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In the path of the Gods: Hiking South Korea’s tallest mountain

Thousands of years ago, the spirits of a beautiful mountain towering over a deserted island created three male demi-gods. These holy men spotted a ship approaching the island while climbing the mountain. On it were three princesses sent by a master of a foreign kingdom. They married the three demigods and founded their own empire at the bottom of the mountain widely...

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Egypt just opened its first long-distance hiking trail and it’s stunning

Egypt has just opened a new hiking trail. The 105-mile Red Sea Mountain Trail will be the first long-distance trail in mainland Egypt, and takes visitors through the remote mountainscapes west of the beachside resort town of Hurghada. Its aim is to give hikers an authentic, rugged Egyptian experience in a part of the Middle East that is largely ignored by tourists, and...

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Spring Hikes in North Carolina State Parks

Spring brings the hustle-bustle back to North Carolina state parks. The best way to enjoy spring blossoming across the state is to check out the parks that are less likely to be crowded. Fortunately, some of the most beautiful state parks are also some of the least crowded in the early spring. Spring is a great time at the parks for all kinds of activities. The thaw...

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Eight Tips for Introducing Your Kids to Backpacking

Hiking is a great way to explore the outdoors with your children, but there is something extra special about backpacking that makes you feel like you’re really getting away—watching sunsets and sunrises, cooking a simple meal at the end of a day on the trail and sleeping under the stars in the backcountry. Even for an experienced backpacker, the idea of embarking...

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How To Avoid Ticks While Hiking Without Wearing Like 10 Layers Of Clothing

Getting outside, breathing fresh air into your lungs, getting your heart rate up, and being one with nature on a wilderness hike is one of life’s simple pleasures. Unfortunately, the prospect of getting bitten by a tick turns that simple pleasure into a gamble with your health. Trying to avoid ticks while hiking is like trying to avoid cars while driving, the...

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Most ponds and landfills holding coal waste across the U.S. have leaked toxic chemicals into nearby groundwater, report finds

The vast majority of ponds and landfills holding coal waste at 250 power plants across the country have leaked toxic chemicals into nearby groundwater, according to an analysis of public monitoring data released by environmental groups. The report, published jointly by the Environmental Integrity Project and Earthjustice, found that 91 percent of the nation’s coal-fired...

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Popular trailhead access to Mount Mitchell to close temporarily for major overhaul

The love for North Carolina’s Pisgah National Forest, its trails, rivers, campgrounds and other amenities, shows no sign of slowing down. It’s not just Bent Creek Experimental Forest’s parking lots in Asheville that are full to overflowing on the weekends, and even weekday afternoons. The dilemma is spread across the forest’s range through Western North Carolina. A...

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Hike or backpack to Panther Creek Falls, one of North Georgia’s most beautiful and popular waterfalls

It’s one of North Georgia’s favorite waterfall hikes, and for a good reason: this 7-mile adventure travels to a series of cascading falls set in a beautiful forest, framed by towering trees and mossy boulders. This adventure hikes to Panther Creek Falls, a series of broad, multi-tiered waterfalls that tumble into a deep pool on a sandy beach. The level, sandy flat below...

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Smokies Park Recruits ‘Adopt-a-Plot’ Volunteers

Great Smoky Mountains National Park rangers are recruiting volunteers to adopt a monitoring plot in areas throughout the park. In an effort to track nature’s calendar, or phenology, volunteers will collect information as part of an important research project tracking seasonal biological data such as plant flowering dates and the presence of migratory birds. Previous...

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Chattanooga native named first female Chief Ranger of Great Smoky Mountains National Park

GSMNP officials say Lisa Hendy will oversee employees in the Resource and Visitor Protection Division who perform law enforcement duties, wildland fire operations, emergency medical services, search and rescue operations, backcountry operations, and staff the emergency communications center. The GSMNP says Hendy brings a wealth of experience to the position after serving...

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An Appeals Court Has Rejected a Request to Hold a New Hearing for an Appalachian Trail Pipeline

  A federal appeals court denied a request to reconsider a ruling throwing out a permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to cross two national forests, including parts of the Appalachian Trail. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a request from lead pipeline developer Dominion Energy and the U.S. Forest Service to hold a full-court rehearing. In...

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The 12 Best Hikes in Utah’s National Parks

From natural arches, hoodoos, and hanging gardens to balanced rocks and towering mesas, slot canyons and vast chasms, the desert Southwest holds in its dry, searing, lonely open spaces some of America’s most fascinating and inspiring geology. The writer “Cactus Ed” Abbey no doubt had this region in mind when he said there “are some places so beautiful they can make a...

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Five lessons from the government shutdown about national parks

For now the threat of another government shutdown has ended (even as legal showdown over an emergency wall looms). Hundreds of thousands of federal workers are breathing a sigh of relief — including 16,000 National Park Service employees, most of whom were told to stay home while the parks remained open but understaffed during the longest shutdown in U.S. history. The...

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Treating Water and Managing Hydration on the Appalachian Trail

Water is the most important resource thru-hikers must learn to manage on the Appalachian Trail. Water is typically easy to find—as hikers meander through the woods they’ll cross numerous fresh springs, streams, ponds, rivers, and lakes from which they can draw water. It is not uncommon for hikers to pass multiple water sources in a single day. Shelters and popular...

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New Visitation Record Set Once Again at Smokies Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park saw a record 11,421,203 visitors in 2018. That slight, 0.7 percent increase over 2017, was attributed to the opening of the new section of the Foothills Parkway between Walland and Wears Valley in November. In just two months, nearly 200,000 visitors experienced this new park opportunity, which resulted in record-setting visitation in...

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Updates Planned for Mountain Bike Trails in North Carolina’s Pisgah Ranger District

In the coming year, three the of the most popular mountain biking trails in the Pisgah Ranger District—Avery Creek, Buckwheat Knob and Black Mountain—will receive some much-needed maintenance. Pisgah Area SORBA (Southern Off Road Biking Association) will devote $190,000 to maintaining and rerouting several of the region’s most beloved trails with funds from the...

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New North Carolina state natural area achieves milestone

  A recent 1,500 acre land purchase by the Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina and North Carolina State Parks marked acquisition of the first chunk of the new Bobs Creek State Natural Area in southeastern McDowell County, North Carolina. Over the course of several years, a conservation enthusiast purchased 6,000 acres in the area with the intention of...

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GPS study: nearly all bears leave Smokies for food

Researchers have completed a breakthrough study that used GPS collars to track black bears in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The results are shattering some long-held beliefs about where the animals travel for food. It may also force entire counties to rethink their bear-proofing policies. “We always thought there were two kinds of bears. You had...

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How a South Pasadena matron used her wits and wealth to create Joshua Tree National Park

Nobody looks at the mural. Tourists keep their heads down as they walk past. They scan maps, reach for keys, tell their children to use the bathroom. Considering possible destinations, they say, “Did you want to do Hidden Valley and Keys Ranch?” Or, “We can start at Skull Rock.” They don’t notice the image of a gray-haired woman in a wide-brimmed hat staring out at them....

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This map shows you what your city will feel like in 2080

What will your city feel like in the year 2080? If you’re a frequent traveler in these United States, you might already know. A study in the science journal Nature Communications breaks down future warming by drawing parallels for 540 North American urban areas. In 60 years, New York could feel like today’s Arkansas. Chicago is on a crash course for Kansas City. San...

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Wilderness Skills Institute Seeks Trainees Dedicated to Conservation

Dedicated individuals seeking to further their skills and experience in environmental conservation are invited to apply for the 2019 Wilderness Skills Institute (WSI), a two-week training course that provides a variety of instruction on basic to advanced-level skills necessary for working in wilderness environments. Held on May 20-24, 2019 and May 28-31, 2019 at the...

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