Hiking News

12 Reasons You’ll Love (and Hate) Night Hiking

Posted by on Oct 28, 2020 @ 7:11 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

12 Reasons You’ll Love (and Hate) Night Hiking

The second full moon of October, the Blue Moon, will fall on Halloween night this year. What better way to celebrate the convergence of a rare lunar phenomenon and the spookiest night of the year than with a moonlit night hike this weekend?

Night hiking isn’t something to fear or avoid. In fact, it can be pretty darn glorious in its own way (think starry skies, moonlit vistas, and endless cricket serenades). And for backpackers trying to put in big miles, it can become a necessity as the days get shorter heading into winter. Whether you start hiking before the sun comes up or stay on the trail for hours after sundown, hiking by headlamp can be a magical and unique experience.

Since you’ll be using your headlamp a lot as a night hiker, you should get one with plenty of features, like adjustable brightness, tilting, and red light settings. Eighty to 150 lumens is plenty of brightness for night hiking for most people. Still, it’s not a bad idea to get a headlamp with 200 to 400 lumens of output on the brightest setting. The super-bright light setting can come in handy with hard-to-follow trails or when you need to find something you dropped on the ground.

But night hiking also has a (figurative and literal) dark side. It’s important to be ready for potential pitfalls so you have a safe, fun journey, rather than a terrifying, insect-ridden horror fest. There are many reasons to love and hate night hiking.

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How exploring the hikes and waterfalls of Taiwan connected this writer to her family’s immigration story

Posted by on Oct 26, 2020 @ 6:57 am in Book Reviews, Hiking News | 0 comments

How exploring the hikes and waterfalls of Taiwan connected this writer to her family’s immigration story

After a number of attempts trying to fictionalize her family history, nature writer Jessica J. Lee found that her academic work in environmental history actually helped unlock how to tell the story.

“I had been trying for many years to write this story of my grandparents,” said Lee, the author of “Two Trees Make a Forest: Travels Among Taiwan’s Mountains and Coasts in Search of My Family’s Past,” which mixes family history, memoir and nature writing.

Lee’s maternal grandparents were both born in mainland China, emigrating first to Taiwan before ultimately settling in Canada, and Lee had attempted to write her grandparents’ story in various ways, from short stories to a novel.

She found the answer in nature. “I realized that structuring the book around landscape and nature allowed me to bring my own language into the story,” she said. “And to really say I might have had all these communication gaps with my grandparents but this is a language through which I can understand the places that mattered to them.”

Throughout the book, Lee merged the story of her family’s migration with her own experiences connecting to the nature of Taiwan, which developed in part through hiking.

Read full review…

 

Here’s the Ultimate Guide to Vegan Hiking Snacks

Posted by on Oct 25, 2020 @ 6:16 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Here’s the Ultimate Guide to Vegan Hiking Snacks

One important part of planning a day hike is to make sure that you’re fueling yourself properly, especially for tough climbs or long treks. Packing the right food can help make the day that much more enjoyable. These vegan hiking snacks are portable, easy to pack, and satisfying during and after a long day on the trail.

They also don’t contain any animal-derived ingredients, so you can enjoy the great outdoors knowing that you aren’t contributing to the suffering of cows, pigs, chickens, or other animals used for food. The best snacks are those with a good combination of protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates that will keep you full and give you lasting energy.

Trail mix is a classic hiking snack that is super simple to make at home, and you can customize it to include your favorite ingredients (even vegan chocolate chips) If you go for store-bought, double check the ingredients for honey and cow’s milk. Most trail mixes have the perfect mix of sweet and salty.

Vegan jerky can be made out of many different things, from mushrooms to soybeans. It’s great for a quick, salty snack, and the high protein content will give you sustained energy.

The protein and healthy fats in nuts and seeds are great for keeping your energy up during a day hike. Almonds, cashews, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds are just a few kinds that you might want to keep in your pack.

There are lots more suggestions here…

 

Lake Norman nature park to offer miles of hiking, biking

Posted by on Oct 24, 2020 @ 7:06 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Lake Norman nature park to offer miles of hiking, biking

Outdoors enthusiasts from across the Charlotte, NC region are the target market of a 606-acre nature park underway on the northern tip of Lake Norman.

Mountain Creek Park in Sherrills Ford will feature 19 miles of hiking and mountain bike trails when it opens next summer or early fall, along with kayaking and paddleboarding, picnic areas and a fishing pier.

The $8.5 million Catawba County park, on Little Mountain Road off N.C. 150, also will include dog parks, playgrounds, pickleball courts and a park office-educational center. The park is 40 miles from uptown Charlotte.

For more than a decade, Catawba County officials have envisioned the public park as a regional draw offering the types of outdoor recreation found in North Carolina state parks.

Much of the trail network will accommodate hikers, runners and bird watchers, officials said. Seven smaller segments will be for mountain biking only. A 1.2-acre mountain bike park will include a pump track and kids’ track.

Cite…

 

The Scariest Encounters Women Have on the Appalachian Trail Aren’t with Wildlife. They’re with Men

Posted by on Oct 22, 2020 @ 6:31 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The Scariest Encounters Women Have on the Appalachian Trail Aren’t with Wildlife. They’re with Men

Statistically the trail is one of the safest places in the U.S., but when a tent is all that separates you from a potential predator, the danger becomes terrifyingly real.

As a 30-year-old nurse who works with terminally ill patients, Julia (who prefers to remain anonymous) asked herself one day what she would be proud of doing if she too were given a diagnosis of only six months to live. Shortly after, she left Pittsburgh to start hiking the 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail—a highly coveted peacock feather in the cap of outdoor adventurers. But this epic odyssey from Georgia to Maine proved to be far more challenging for Julia because of one factor. Being female.

The Appalachian Trail is a microcosm of American culture but with far higher stakes. Statistically, women are way safer on the trail than on college campuses or in even their own homes. There’s only one rape reported every few years on the trail and the chance of getting murdered there is 1,000 times less than in America as a whole. And yet, the absence of deadbolts to lock oneself behind or of multiple witnesses around to deter violent men from attacking means the occasional trail creeper can be a million times scarier and more dangerous.

The only thing protecting a woman alone in a tent from that sketchy stranger she previously encountered on the trail or the seemingly cool one she’s been hiking with for weeks is a thin piece of nylon. “I physically ran into a bear,” says Julia, “and I’d take that over running into a crazy drunk dude any day.”

“Despite having overwhelmingly great experiences with trail men, all of the other women I spoke with encountered men, especially older white ones, who either made sexist, condescending comments or made them feel unsafe. I even got ‘smile more,’” Julia says. “It’s exhausting.”

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More Than 20 Rescued from Colorado Hiking Trail as Wildfires Continue in Western U.S.

Posted by on Oct 21, 2020 @ 7:08 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

More Than 20 Rescued from Colorado Hiking Trail as Wildfires Continue in Western U.S.

Rescue workers with the Juan County Sheriff’s Department and The U.S. Forest Service evacuated 23 people and three dogs from the San Juan National Forest in Colorado as a wildfire tore through the area. The U.S. Forest Service deployed helicopters for the evacuation.

According to the Office of Emergency Management in San Juan County, the blaze — dubbed the Ice Fire — started on Monday, October 19, 2020 just after 1 p.m. local time in the South Mineral Creek area above the park’s Ice Lakes trailhead, and burned 320 acres by 5 p.m.

Per their last update, the U.S. Forest Service had air and ground “wildland fire crews” working on containing the Ice Fire with “tanker planes and a hotshot squad.”

Just last week, thousands of Colorado residents were forced to evacuate their homes as the Cameron Peak Fire and the CalWood Fire ravaged the state along the Front Range.

The Cameron Peak Fire became the largest fire in Colorado state history — and has burned 204,404 acres.

Cite…

 

America’s Best and Most Beautiful Winter Hikes

Posted by on Oct 19, 2020 @ 7:03 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

America’s Best and Most Beautiful Winter Hikes

From Colorado to Oregon to Maine, these incredible winter hiking trails offer beautiful views, wildlife-spotting opportunities, and fewer crowds.

If you have a habit of stashing your hiking boots the moment cooler temperatures arrive, you’ve been missing out. In the winter, the nation’s best hiking trails clear out and you can walk for miles without seeing another soul. Strap on a pair of snowshoes and stomp across glittering, snow-covered fields, or avoid the snow entirely and head south, where you’ll find plenty of dry terrain that’s too hot to brave in the summer.

The secret to winter hiking is making sure you have the gear necessary to stay warm, kick through snow, and outsmart the sun. Appropriate footwear and versatile lightweight layers are key. And since the days are shorter, you’ll want to make sure you give yourself plenty of time to finish your hike before darkness falls and the views you came for disappear.

To get you started, here are some favorite winter hiking trails…

 

Paths to the past: National Historic Trails lead travelers through time, US history

Posted by on Oct 18, 2020 @ 6:36 am in Book Reviews, Hiking News | 0 comments

Paths to the past: National Historic Trails lead travelers through time, US history

One of the best ways to learn history is to literally follow in the footsteps of those who were there, says Karen Berger, author of the new book, “America’s National Historic Trails.”

“These are historic routes – a trail version of the National Park system,” she says. The 19 federally recognized trails range from 54 to 5,000 miles, and pass largely through rural areas, making them perfect for road trips and socially distant traveling.

A good example is the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail. Although the shortest trail at just 54 miles, this route resonates with many travelers, retracing 1965’s famous five-day voting rights march to the Alabama state capitol. The trail crosses the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, where the late Rep. John Lewis and others were beaten by police. Mostly following U.S. Highway 80, the route lets travelers delve into civil rights history at visitors centers, museums and memorials.

Another is the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, right here in North Carolina. During the latter half of the Revolutionary War, the British found themselves outmaneuvered and outsmarted by southern mountain men, who won 1780’s decisive Battle of Kings Mountain in South Carolina. The trail traces the route of the American fighters, known as the Overmountain Men.

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New hiking trails near Sedona, AZ hint at bigger things to come

Posted by on Oct 17, 2020 @ 7:09 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Occupying a hilly slice of high desert below the east flanks of Mingus Mountain, the new Blowout Wash trail system is shaping up to become a prime Verde Valley hiking destination.

The remediation project is a multi-agency collaboration of local, state and federal land agencies working together to improve recreational opportunities in Prescott National Forest southwest of Cottonwood, AZ.

Trail construction began in 2019. Before that, the wash-riddled foothills surrounded by popular recreation hubs in Sedona, Jerome, Dead Horse Ranch State Park and the Woodchute-Mingus Mountain complex of routes were rife with user-created paths, shooting, and dumping that were disrupting the ecosystems and decimating native vegetation.

The destructive, anything-goes arena is gradually being replaced with sustainable, non-motorized trails that reduce erosion, protect natural assets and promote responsible use.

A map at the trailhead teases with an overview of planned trail development, and a little loop that was completed in early 2020 provides a tasty tidbit of what’s to come.

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Teaching Kids to be Great Trail Stewards

Posted by on Oct 16, 2020 @ 6:07 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Teaching Kids to be Great Trail Stewards

Trails help keep us happy and healthy. No one wants to stay inside all the time, so we need places to go outside and explore. On trails you can get all your energy out, see cool plants, trees, and wildlife, and spend time with family and friends. It’s important we keep trails nice so everyone can enjoy them for years to come.

Trails are an important resource, but sadly we are increasingly seeing trails abused by littering and vandalism. American Trails has created a packet to teach kids to be great trail stewards so the next generation of trail lovers can help lead the way towards better care for our trails.

This packet is ideal for elementary age children, and will help teach the importance of trails, different kinds of trail users, and concepts such as trail sharing. There are also pages where kids can put into practice what they learned through worksheets, and a certificate of completion at the end.

If you can’t print this packet at home please contact trailhead@americantrails.org and they can send you a copy.

Cite…

 

Maine town apologizes after criticizing anonymous hiker who fixed bridge along its trail

Posted by on Oct 13, 2020 @ 6:19 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Maine town apologizes after criticizing anonymous hiker who fixed bridge along its trail

There’s a Maine town trying to identify the hiker who built a replacement bridge next to a collapsed one along a hiking trail on a popular 308-acre preserve. “When outside entities create trails and structures without notifying our department, that leads to confusion for hikers and others” using the Lowell Preserve, Windham town manager Barry Tibbetts posted on Facebook.

The post drew widespread criticism from Mainers who felt the town was targeting the hiker for wrongdoing, instead of thanking them for installing a safe crossing on a municipal trail that had become dangerous. The town’s post was edited the next day to apologize and “thank” the anonymous hiker for making the repairs.

Although its one-person parks and recreation department routinely receives calls about felled trees or animals along the path, Tibbetts said the broken bridge had not been reported to the town, which maintains the preserve with help from partners. The old bridge will be removed and the new one will be “inspected for functionality,” he said.

Tibbetts said that no one had offered information about the hiker yet, but they won’t face repercussions if identified. “If you want to find the person you might try interviewing people picking up litter off the sidewalks, giving lost strangers directions or shoveling the walkways of the elderly,” one commenter suggested.

Cite…

 

Easy ways to improve your safety while hiking

Posted by on Oct 12, 2020 @ 6:39 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Easy ways to improve your safety while hiking

Two recent deaths on Katahdin, Maine’s tallest mountain, have stirred conversation about hiking safety, raising questions like: “What kind of safety gear should you carry besides water, snacks and a headlamp?”

First of all, accidents happen, and sometimes they’re entirely out of our hands. On occasion, the most prepared hiker can become injured or worse. But there are many ways you can reduce risks while hiking.

Hiking safety is important to think about year round, but some aspects of it become even more important in the fall and winter, when days are shorter and the weather conditions are much harsher.

Before you hit the road — let alone the trail — learn as much as you can about your future hike. Study the trail map and read descriptions of the hike, like those here at Meanderthals. Check the weather report, as well as the time of sunrise and sunset.

Here are a few easy ways you can improve your safety while exploring trails.

 

The Best Winter Hiking Boots for Men and Women

Posted by on Oct 10, 2020 @ 6:26 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The Best Winter Hiking Boots for Men and Women

In the past, once chilly temperatures and snowy days started to arrive, hikers used to pack up until spring came along. But now that hiking gear is warmer and more weatherproof than ever, they can enjoy the Great Outdoors year-round.

If you plan on immersing yourself in nature this season, there are a few items that you should invest in prior to hitting the trails. In addition to an ultra-warm coat or jacket, you’ll also need to have a top-notch pair of winter hiking boots on hand. The perfect pair will not only keep your feet warm and toasty, but they should also help protect them from the elements.

Nothing can ruin a hike faster than the wrong shoes, so if you’re planning a route through an area that typically has a lot of snow on the ground this time of year, you should opt for a pair of hiking boots that are waterproof to stop the moisture from seeping into your shoe. Meanwhile, those walking through icy terrains should invest in a pair that offers ample traction.

To help you avoid dealing with frozen toes and painful blisters, Travel + Leisure Magazine turned to customer reviews to see which hiking boots they say kept their feet warm, comfortable, and supported through a full day of hiking in snow and slush.

Whether you’re looking for a pair of super warm women’s hiking boots or an ultra-rugged men’s style, these are the 14 pairs of winter hiking boots that shoppers say are the best of the best.

See the list…

 

Pair sets new hiking record with Tour de Smokies

Posted by on Oct 9, 2020 @ 6:36 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Pair sets new hiking record with Tour de Smokies

Nancy East and Chris Ford were greeted by an entourage of fans and supporters when they emerged from the woods in the Big Creek section of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, setting a new record for a unique long-distance hiking challenge.

The pair hiked all 900 miles of trails in the park in just 30 days. East, from North Carolina, said she is still getting used to the idea of being a record holder.

“While I’ve hiked thousands of miles, I’ve never hiked this many miles at once. It was immensely rewarding to achieve what I once thought was an insurmountable goal,” East said. “I dreamt and planned on attempting it for so long, and I’m still processing what it feels like to have achieved that goal. But in short, I’m elated and grateful.”

East undertook the extraordinary journey starting on Labor Day weekend with hiking buddy Chris Ford from Tennessee.

Their mission wasn’t just to hike all 900 miles of trail in the Smokies — they’d done that five times between them already. Nor was it to set a new record — although it was a nice capstone.

Their goal was to raise $60,000 in donations for Friends of the Smokies to support the park’s newly launched Preventative Search and Rescue program.

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New hiking challenge involves bringing your dogs to the Adirondacks

Posted by on Oct 7, 2020 @ 7:02 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

New hiking challenge involves bringing your dogs to the Adirondacks

  A new hiking challenge called “ADK-9” asks hikers to bring their dogs with them on the outdoor adventure and take a picture of them on the peak.

The ADK-9 hiking challenge provides 9 dog friendly hikes with views and offers a chance to explore lesser traveled peaks of the region.

Once you have hiked all 9 peaks, you are eligible to become an ADK-9 finisher where you will receive a ADK-9 patch, sticker and roster number.

There is also a first-time ever seasonal Fall photography contest where photos of your dogs must be taken on an ADK-9 mountain to be entered.

Photos must be taken from September 15-October 31, 2020. You can submit your photos on Facebook or Instagram by tagging the ADK-9 and using the hashtag #ADK9PhotoContest. Photos can also be submitted through adk9challenge@gmail.com.

 

New 100-mile Hiking Trail in Ireland Comes With a Remarkable History Lesson

Posted by on Oct 2, 2020 @ 6:37 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

New 100-mile Hiking Trail in Ireland Comes With a Remarkable History Lesson

This September, Ireland launched the National Famine Way, which follows the footsteps of 1,490 emigrants who walked from Strokestown, Co Roscommon, to Dublin, hoping to escape the famine. It now doubles as both a live history lesson as well as a hiking and cycling trail.

The trail follows the path of the 1,490 people who left Strokestown and joined ″some of the worst coffin ships” on their way to Liverpool and onward to Quebec, Canada. Only half of those who started the journey ended it alive.

Along the trail, walkers and cyclists can download the OSI Trail Map, which comes with interactive history lessons along the way. There is also a 14-page passport and guide available for €10. The passport comes with 27 stage stamps hikers can collect along the trail. Those who complete the hike and collect all 27 stamps will be awarded a completion certificate at The Irish Emigration Museum.

Walkers/cyclists are also given a ship ticket and information on one family whose footsteps they will follow, making the Trail especially evocative.

Cite…

 

What Makes an Appalachian Trail View Great?

Posted by on Sep 30, 2020 @ 6:50 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

What Makes an Appalachian Trail View Great?

Picture, in your mind, an Appalachian Trail (A.T.) view that inspires you. Now have a fellow A.T. hiker do the same. Did the view they selected look anything like yours? Most likely not.

Since the A.T. traverses so many regions, the views along its 2,193 miles vary significantly, sometimes even within a few miles. From craggy mountains in North Georgia, to rolling farmlands in Pennsylvania, to the rugged Saddleback Range in Maine, the Trail provides visitors with a diversity of views to admire, each tied to the environments surrounding the footpath. And while each view may differ in scope and composition, all of them are important to preserving the irreplaceable A.T. experience, and all of them inspire us for a wide variety of reasons.

Yet as inspiring as A.T. views are, it is easy for us to take them for granted. Most of these views have survived for centuries, after all, so many of us don’t stop to consider what it will take to protect them well into the future.

To better address looming threats, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the National Park Service (NPS) are taking a vital first step to ensure that they identify and accurately describe the scenic beauty along the A.T. by taking inventory of the current state of the Trail’s irreplaceable views.

Known as the “Enjoy the View” initiative, the ATC and NPS will be collecting data and taking in-depth photographs of over 1,400 viewpoints along the entire A.T. The initiative began in 2019 with an assessment of 70 scenic views at four very different sites along the Trail: Nantahala National Forest in North Carolina, the Virginia “Triple Crown,” South Mountain in Pennsylvania and the Saddleback Range in Maine.

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2,000 Miles, 650 Trails, No One in Sight: The Solitude of Hiking in a Time of Virus

Posted by on Sep 29, 2020 @ 7:14 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

2,000 Miles, 650 Trails, No One in Sight: The Solitude of Hiking in a Time of Virus

  It was well after dark on a recent evening when Philip Carcia, a record-breaking hiker, emerged from another 28-mile day in the woods, his legs streaked with mud and crisscrossed with bloody cuts, into a desolate parking lot near New Hampshire’s border with Maine.

Mr. Carcia, 36, has been living out of his red Toyota Yaris on the outer reaches of the White Mountain National Forest all summer, attempting to break the record on an obscure and extreme hiking challenge known as the Redline: a journey through all 650 trails in a guidebook of the White Mountains, for a total of 2,000 miles and half a million feet of vertical gain.

The trip almost didn’t happen. Like so much else canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic, serious hiking has been in doubt. In the early months of the outbreak, venerable organizations like the Appalachian Mountain Club closed their mountaintop huts, and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy emailed hikers attempting the trek from Georgia to Maine in March and asked them to stay home.

Mr. Carcia watched some of his hiking friends get off the trail. He thought about canceling his trip, but then decided to press on. The intentional isolation of hiking might hold some answers for the forced isolation of the virus.

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