Hiking News

‘A sisterhood’ | Group of women hike through life’s ups and downs together

Posted by on Dec 15, 2020 @ 8:20 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

‘A sisterhood’ | Group of women hike through life’s ups and downs together

For the past few years, Amy Eversole and the ‘Trailblazers’ have been hiking all over the Great Smoky Mountains.

Some of them have earned their 500-mile pins from the park service. Others are following closely behind. All of them have been supporting each other through life’s ups and downs.

“They’re the best women ever,” Amy Eversole said. “They’re like sisters and I don’t know what I’d do without them.”

The group tries to organize hikes together at least twice a month. “We’re all different in so many ways,” Melanie Bissell said. “But, one thing we do have in common is a hiking trail.”

It’s also a chance for them to hang out, talk and enjoy the outdoors. “It’s just such a great bond that we have together, supporting each other through everything,” Stacy Dickerson said. “Whether it’s through sad times through illness through happy times.”

“We just support each other and everything we do,” Amy Eversole said. “Sisterhood is so important at all ages. Get outside and go play in the mountains. You don’t know what you’re missing.”

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New access proposed for Graveyard Fields

Posted by on Dec 14, 2020 @ 6:33 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

New access proposed for Graveyard Fields

Major changes may be coming to to Graveyard Fields. A project is now open for public comment.

The National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service are partnering on this effort to improve access at the often-crowded trail system on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Haywood County.

Under the proposal, the nearby John Rock Overlook would be used as an additional access point for Graveyard Fields with a pedestrian crossing over the Parkway. The crossing would be planned with safety as a priority, connecting the overlook to a short, new trail constructed on Park Service lands that lead to Forest Service lands. The additional access at the overlook aims to better distribute use of the area and thereby improve visitor safety.

The proposed trail project is just one piece of the larger Graveyard Fields project, which is divided into four categories of work: heavy trail maintenance, trail relocation and construction, stream restoration and red spruce restoration.

For more information and to provide comments, visit www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=55665. The comment period is open through Dec. 21. Comments may also be mailed to: Pisgah Ranger District, USDA Forest Service, Attn: Jeff Owenby, 1600 Pisgah Highway, Pisgah Forest, NC 28768. Comments will become part of the project record and may be released under the Freedom of Information Act.

To learn about the U.S. Forest Service Graveyard Fields project connection with Blue Ridge Parkway lands, visit https://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?projectId=98550.

 

Best easy day hikes in Phoenix: 5 fun, scenic trails for beginners or advanced hikers

Posted by on Dec 11, 2020 @ 6:34 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Best easy day hikes in Phoenix: 5 fun, scenic trails for beginners or advanced hikers

It’s the season where in Arizona we all want to be outdoors. The desert, so cruel for so long, welcomes us again with open arms. If the blast-furnace heat of summer kept you off the trails for months, you’ll want to ease into things. To work yourself back into hiking shape, start with some easy trails.

Just don’t let the rating undersell their attractions.

Even trails regarded as easy reward alert hikers in countless ways. Each of these five trails delivers the full desert experience. Watch for wildlife and enjoy plenty of mild winter sunshine. Savor the big scenic views and admire the saguaros as tall as office buildings. That’s all worth getting out and walking around for a while.

For example, everyone should take a walk on the Jane Rau Trail as a tribute to one of the people who spearheaded the effort to establish the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

Jane Rau is a longtime local community activist and educator. The trail that bears her name circles through a picturesque wash in the preserve, punctuated by tall saguaros and clumps of boulders. Brown’s Mountain, a slanted hump rising from the desert floor, and the smooth precision of neighboring Cone Mountain add vertical notes to the skyline.

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Central Virginia is planning a 41-mile trail from Ashland to Petersburg

Posted by on Dec 8, 2020 @ 6:14 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Central Virginia is planning a 41-mile trail from Ashland to Petersburg

When the Virginia Capital Trail was first proposed back in 1999, critics derided the idea of the 51.7-mile multi-use path as overly-ambitious and too expensive. Today, the east-west trail connecting Virginia’s first capital of Jamestown with the modern seat of government, Richmond, faces concerns about overcrowding, and there’s now a sister trail in the pipeline.

Far from being a waste of taxpayer dollars, the Capital Trail has become one of the state’s highest visited amenities. The only other multimodal path to receive more visitors on an annual basis is Virginia Beach’s oceanfront boardwalk. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is leading an effort to replicate the Capital Trail’s success with a north-south alignment, tentatively called the Ashland to Petersburg (ATP) Trail.

The success of the VCT inspired VDOT staffers and local officials across the region to explore a trail that could become the multimodal backbone of Central Virginia. The proposed ATP Trail would extend roughly 41 miles and pass through seven of Central Virginia’s localities: the City of Ashland in the north, Hanover County, Henrico County, the City of Richmond, Chesterfield County, and the Cities of Colonial Heights and Petersburg in the south.

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Hiking in Maine: Explore the Schoodic Peninsula, for the Acadia less traveled

Posted by on Dec 7, 2020 @ 7:07 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking in Maine: Explore the Schoodic Peninsula, for the Acadia less traveled

The Schoodic Peninsula is home to a remarkable landscape of dense spruce forests, jack pine woodlands, shrubby heaths, cobble beaches, granite headlands, deep harbors and rugged islands. Bounded by Frenchman Bay to the west, Gouldsboro Bay to the east and the Gulf of Maine along its southern margin, the peninsula is a true natural gem of Maine’s bold Downeast coastline.

Two towns make up the Schoodic Peninsula. Winter Harbor encompasses the southern reaches, which feature the extraordinary Schoodic District of Acadia National Park, the only mainland chunk of the park, while Gouldsboro takes in the lands on both sides of U.S. Route 1, stretching from the center of the peninsula north toward Tunk Lake.

The “quiet side” of Acadia National Park may be considered by most to be the west side of Mount Desert Island, but that label might be better applied to Schoodic. Despite having attracted increased attention when it expanded to 3,450 acres in late 2015 thanks to a large private donation of land and recreational infrastructure, Schoodic still sees just a fraction of the annual visitors that overwhelm the park proper – from Sand Beach to Jordan Pond to Bass Harbor Light – on MDI.

Enjoy the network of meandering trails and bike paths, amble in awe over the wave-splashed pink granite at Schoodic Point, check out the cool log and stone visitor information center and perhaps camp at the park’s Schoodic Woods Campground.

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Iowa’s Effigy Mounds park offers hikes of ancient history

Posted by on Dec 6, 2020 @ 6:48 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Iowa’s Effigy Mounds park offers hikes of ancient history

  If a love of hiking is the only thing that takes you to northeast Iowa’s Effigy Mounds National Monument — where 14 miles of trails wind through the elegant 2,526-acre monument — you won’t come away disappointed. The immaculately groomed trails, 4 feet wide, of fine gravel or wood chips, hairpin up and along 400-foot-high river bluffs, providing views of the Mississippi River and its many verdant islands as stunningly dramatic as vistas anywhere. Happily, the trails are also configured so you can choose the length of your hike.

But what sets Effigy Mounds apart, and is the main reason to go, beyond the sheer beauty of the rugged, thickly wooded landscape, is the fascinating history you pass as you walk. It’s a world of ancient mounds beginning some 3,000 years ago (during the Woodland Period and continuing into the Late Woodland, around A.D. 1250).

Walking the sometimes steep trail that zigzags through what could be a primeval forest, you pass many of the mounds: cone-shaped ones, linear ones that resemble giant green Twinkies and the more intriguing “effigies” of bears and birds, though the animal shapes are a little difficult to decipher from the trail. All lie under lush, carefully mowed grass, with nary a weed in sight.

Aerial photos taken in years past and displayed at the monument’s visitors center, show a procession of fetish-style bears trudging across this craggy landscape. Many of the 10 bears in this earthen parade — “The Marching Bear Group” — are more than 100 feet long.

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Hikers share tips for staying warm on winter walks

Posted by on Dec 5, 2020 @ 6:34 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hikers share tips for staying warm on winter walks

Frigid temperatures and even a flurry don’t have to send people scurrying indoors as a little preparation can go a long way toward enjoying the great outdoors all year long.

“I used to hibernate all winter because I was so convinced that there was no way I could ever really enjoy winter adventure,” Kristy Matheson said. “I joined the Dayton Hikers in the winter, so one of my first hikes was in a foot of snow. Much to my surprise, I really enjoyed it, and winter hiking has now become one of my favorite things to do.”

With COVID case numbers a significant concern, outdoor fitness continues to be among the safest ways to stay active – not to mention fun.

“This time of year, I love to get out and take a hike or a bike ride in the cooler weather,” said Jordan Hart, Five Rivers MetroParks outdoor recreation program specialist. Motivation and preparation are key.

“The hardest part of cold weather hiking is getting off the couch and getting to the trailhead,” said Andy Niekamp of the Dayton Hikers. “It takes motivation to leave a warm house on a cold day. But once you are at the park, you’ll find that cold weather hiking can be quite pleasant and the outdoors can be very beautiful. But it’s important to be prepared.”

Read more tips on how to enjoy winter outdoor adventure safely and happily…

 

A needed detour: NM volunteers reroute portion of Continental Divide Trail

Posted by on Nov 29, 2020 @ 7:03 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

A needed detour: NM volunteers reroute portion of Continental Divide Trail

Outdoor enthusiasts can now hike a brand new section of the Continental Divide Trail in the Gila National Forest.

The New Mexico Volunteers for the Outdoors partnered with the Continental Divide Trail Coalition earlier in October to reroute part of the trail in the forest’s Black Range west of Truth or Consequences.

The chairperson for New Mexico Volunteers for the Outdoors, said the 1.5 miles of new trail will take the Continental Divide Trail off of a dirt Forest Service road.

The crew worked for six days, using a technique called “benching” to make a passable trail in the difficult terrain.

“Because the trail is going along a steep slope, it involves cutting a lot of soil and rock out of the side of the slope to create the trail and then refining it with other tools and making it less bumpyhairperson for New Mexico Volunteers for the Outdoors, said the 1.5 miles of new trail will take the Continental Divide Trail off of a dirt Forest Service road.

A Youth Conservation Corps crew completed about half the trail before the volunteers took over.

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Blue Ridge Tunnel Trail soon to open to the public

Posted by on Nov 21, 2020 @ 6:53 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Blue Ridge Tunnel Trail soon to open to the public

The long-anticipated opening of the Blue Ridge Tunnel trail will soon be a reality.

The roughly 2.25-mile trail is scheduled to open to pedestrians and bicyclists Saturday November 21. A portion of the trail runs through a railroad tunnel that was constructed between 1850 to 1858, which was led by engineer Claudius Crozet. At a distance of nearly 1 mile, it was the longest tunnel in America at the time of its completion.

The trail project has been in the works since 2001.

“You know, we did have to postpone quite a few times, but now we just can’t wait for people to come and see it. You know folks will visit from all over the United States and even beyond,” Claire Richardson, director of Nelson County Parks and Recreation, said.

The eastern entrance of the trail is in Afton, while the western entrance is in Augusta County, near Waynesboro. There are parking lots at both ends.

It is recommended folks bring a flashlight or headlamp for the tunnel portion of the trail. The trail hours will be from sunrise to sunset.

Richardson does urge anyone visiting the trail to adhere to COVID-19 precautions and stay 6 feet away and wear a mask while visiting the trail.

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Popular hiking guide “100 Favorite Trails” updated for the first time in over two decades

Posted by on Nov 20, 2020 @ 6:57 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Popular hiking guide “100 Favorite Trails” updated for the first time in over two decades

100 Favorite Trails of the Smokies and the Carolina Blue Ridge, an essential guide for avid hikers, has been updated for the first time in 25 years.

The guide features a full-color map printed on waterproof paper for hikers to keep track of trails. 27 of the trails featured in the guide are found in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Originally created in 1966 by Bernard Elias, who hiked 10 to 12 trails a year and updated the information using a special shorthand he created. The map he made was an immediate hit among avid hikers — its portable package featuring the very best hikes in both the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains.

Elias updated the “100 Favorite Trails” map 13 times until its last printing in 1993 when his age prevented him from completing many of the map’s trails.

While previous versions of the map included trails more geared toward backpackers, the updated edition focuses on day hikes of varying lengths in the Smokies and the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The newly updated map and guide is available for $12.95 in the park’s visitor center bookstores and at GSMA’s online store, smokiesinformation.org.

 

Two Kansas trails receive national designations

Posted by on Nov 17, 2020 @ 6:26 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Two Kansas trails receive national designations

Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s Flint Hills Trail and Prairie Spirit Trail state parks recently received America’s highest trails honor when they were designated National Recreational Trails by the National Park Service. Both state park trails are operated by KDWPT’s Parks Division.

“This is significant, not only for those parks and our state parks system, but for the state of Kansas,” said Linda Lanterman, KDWPT’s Parks Division director. “This is going to draw valuable attention to two great state parks and all they have to offer. And, ultimately, help the local economies that are developing along those trails. This is a big deal.”

The designation brings no monetary prize, but the parks can now use signage that denotes their high quality. The trails will also get special recognition on some maps of America’s trails. Both the Flint Hills Trail and Prairie Spirit Trail are built along abandoned railroad lines and required a tremendous amount of private labor to become reality.

The 117-mile Flint Hills Trail reaches from near Osawatomie to Herington, passing through landscapes that vary from steep, heavily timbered ridges to the Tallgrass Prairie of the Flint Hills.

Prairie Spirit Trail stretches 51 miles from Ottawa to Iola, and also crosses a wide range of scenic topography. The two trails intersect in Ottawa.

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Celebrate National ‘Take a Hike Day’ this Nov. 17, 2020

Posted by on Nov 16, 2020 @ 6:20 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Celebrate National ‘Take a Hike Day’ this Nov. 17, 2020

It’s time to celebrate Mother Nature, so lace up your hiking boots, collar your dog, get some water and a snack and hit the trails on National “Take a Hike Day,” which is Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020.

This is day hosted by The American Hiking Society, whose mission is to envision a world where everyone feels a sense of belonging in the hiking community and has lasting access to meaningful hiking experiences, be that in urban, front country, or backcountry settings.

“We are so excited to partner with the American Hiking Society, says local recreation director Judith Sumner as we celebrate National Take A Hike Day.” “All of our goals are to foster a hike-local mindset encouraging people to explore their city’s hidden trails and neighborhoods.”

Sumner said that hiking may sound like an intimidating task that involves a long drive to a distant place, “However, we have local parks and trails right here near your neighborhood that are the perfect places for everyone to experience the benefits of nature.”

“With gyms not always readily available due to the pandemic, people can get their exercise just by going outdoors,” Sumner said. “You can run outside, take leisurely walks, climb over logs, even do a physical workout on a trail.”

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A Message to All A.T. Hikers in 2021

Posted by on Nov 15, 2020 @ 6:37 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

A Message to All A.T. Hikers in 2021

In March 2020, America began to feel the first impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, which would upend almost every aspect of our daily lives. Eight months later, COVID-19 infection rates continue to rise and a widely distributed vaccine or treatment is still not available. We also find ourselves adapting to a constantly shifting political, social, and economic landscape. The world, in short, is characterized by uncertainty, and planning for the future is near impossible.

This uncertainty extends to the 2021 Appalachian Trail (A.T.) hiking season. Mandatory or voluntary quarantines are active in several A.T. states. Local, state, or federal closures and/or restrictions across the A.T. remain possible next year. And, the operations of Trailside businesses and service providers in 2021 remain uncertain.

Hiking the A.T. in 2021 will likely remain a logistical challenge underscored by health and safety risks. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) urges all hikers to stay local and exercise caution while so much uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic exists.

However, they know that many are planning long-distance journeys on the A.T. in 2021. To ensure hiker safety and health while on the A.T., they ask hikers to plan, prepare, and stay informed by undertaking the following:

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Shattered on the Pacific Crest Trail

Posted by on Nov 12, 2020 @ 6:52 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Shattered on the Pacific Crest Trail

When they wake up broke, broken, and far from home, how do thru-hikers find the will to go another mile?

We usually focus on the pleasures of a long-distance hike. We tell ourselves the pain will dissolve into a march of panoramas from Mexico to Canada. But the truth of thru-hiking is that it is brutally physical.

This excerpt from recently published Journeys North by Triple Crowner and PCT trail angel Barney “Scout” Mann follows his northbound Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike in 2007, tracking his experience and those of fellow thru-hikers Blazer, Dalton, Ladybug, and 30-30.

Their stories map the glory of the trail but don’t look away from the fear, money issues, and injury that underwrite the experience. And any hiker will recognize the ties that bind this group of travelers.

Those considering a long-distance trek ought to know that to travel thousands of miles by foot is to race both the season and the body’s unfolding demise. Every mile has to be earned until, eventually and reliably, something in the body or mind gives. But it’s what hikers do next that defines their hikes—and themselves.

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Hikers find message dropped by carrier pigeon in 1910

Posted by on Nov 10, 2020 @ 6:33 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hikers find message dropped by carrier pigeon in 1910

  A couple hiking in northeastern France came across an unusual historical artifact – a carrier pigeon message dating from 110 years earlier. Jade Halaoui said he was hiking with his partner in the Ingersheim area when they spotted a tiny aluminum cylinder on the ground.

“I dug it up and I cut it to see what was inside,” Halaoui recalled.

Inside was a small piece of paper bearing a message the couple could not make out. They took it to the Linge Memorial museum, where curator Dominique Jardy enlisted the help of a German-speaking friend to translate the small script.

The message, dated July 16 and believed to have been from the year 1910, was authored by a Prussian infantry officer and details military drills in the Ingersheim area when Alsace was under German control.

Jardy said the aluminum capsule is believed to have been dropped by the carrier pigeon tasked with delivering it to its intended recipient. Jardy said the discovery was extremely unusual.

“It’s really very, very, very rare,” he told CNN. “It’s really exceptional.” He said the message will now be displayed at the museum.

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Combat holiday stress and weight gain with hiking

Posted by on Nov 9, 2020 @ 6:18 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Combat holiday stress and weight gain with hiking

The holidays are drawing near, and it should be the season to be merry, but let’s face it — sometimes it isn’t. Unfortunately, the demands and heightened emotions this time of year can occasionally cause stress and anxiety. That stress may also lead to weight gain in addition to other factors such as sleep deprivation and parties with excessive food and alcohol.

John Muir, the great conservationist and outdoorsman, once said, “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”

Mr. Muir was correct. Hiking offers a lot — with far more benefits than we may overtly realize.

There are the obvious reasons we love to hike — the fresh air, epic vistas, mountain sunsets, beautiful waterfalls and all the sounds and smells of nature. But did you know that a walk in the woods provides tremendous welfare to our overall health — not only by improving our body, but also aiding our mental well-being?

Hiking is great cardio exercise and it boasts all the normal health benefits. It lowers the risk of heart disease, decreases cholesterol, reduces blood pressure, and is wonderful to assist in preventing type II diabetes.

And yes, it will help control that extra holiday weight by burning up to 500 calories per hour.

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A Parent’s Guide to Hiking with a Chatterbox

Posted by on Nov 8, 2020 @ 6:59 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

A Parent’s Guide to Hiking with a Chatterbox

It’s been a terrible year for all of us, especially kids. The pandemic has eliminated the kind of routine social interaction we’ve all taken for granted. No team sports, no movies, no museums, no sleepovers, no playdates. Parents face the dual tasks of making sure their kids are getting the physical activity they need as well as trying to replace the lost hours of socialization.

“The brain, like other body parts, needs exercise to stay healthy,” says Tracy Inman, associate director of the Center for Gifted Studies at Western Kentucky University. “For our cardiac health, we know it’s important to do aerobic exercise, complete with sweating, huffing, and puffing. Athletic sweat looks very different from academic sweat. The gifted brain thrives on novelty and complexity. So your son’s endless questions strengthen his brain. He’s connecting that new information you provide to what he already knows, understands, or is able to do. The more complex the information, the more his brain works.”

There are seeming frivolous and silly questions, and there are also the more serious questions, the things that get talked about to make sense of what’s happening in the world. Those have spurred discussions about issues like racial inequality and gender identity that might never have taken place while stealing moments between after-school activities and work deadlines in a pre-COVID world.

While marathon conversations can be as exhausting as a slog up a mountain, they are also a learning experience. No adventure is as nerve-racking as taking care of a kid, but each trip is like a progress report, some assurance that you’re not raising a future junk-bond trader or an internet troll.

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Tallgrass prairie region provides a Minnesota hiking alternative

Posted by on Nov 7, 2020 @ 6:21 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Tallgrass prairie region provides a Minnesota hiking alternative

While wooded hikes are popular in Minnesota, the woods are not required, as the tallgrass prairie region in the southwestern corner of the state offers unique places to get out and view the diverse landscape.

Getting lost in the woods while on a walk is a common problem in fairy tales, and in renowned horror stories. Even if you leave bread crumbs behind, in the style of Hansel and Gretel, if you venture off the trail, all of the rocks and trees start to look the same, eventually.

Minnesota is renowned for its big woods hiking, even though roughly one-third of Minnesota is tallgrass prairie, not forests, that dominate the landscape. And when hiking there, one quickly realizes that superlative hiking in Minnesota is not dependent on tree trunks surrounding you and a canopy of leaves or needles overhead.

Much of the swath in the middle of the country collectively known as the Great Plains was covered with a sea of tall grass two centuries ago, before the first Europeans arrived. One of the most onerous tasks the first prairie pioneers faced was breaking up those vast oceans of grass (and their underlying root systems) with their plows so they could grow crops for sustenance and to establish the American agrarian economy.

Like the vast forests of virgin timber that once covered all of northern Minnesota, before the loggers arrived, the uncut tallgrass prairie is all gone. Almost.

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