Hiking News

There Are No Real Roads in Guadalupe National Park. You Earn the Incredible Views.

Posted by on Jul 16, 2018 @ 12:24 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

There Are No Real Roads in Guadalupe National Park. You Earn the Incredible Views.

It’s hard to reconcile where you are — the middle of a cool, dense coniferous forest, home to black bears, mountain lions and elk — with where you really are; that is, high above one of the emptiest stretches of arid, covered-in-cactus West Texas.

Before you drive the 500 miles from Austin to spend a few days amid the anomalous archipelago of “sky islands” that the 86,000-acre park protects, you will hear two things about Guadalupe: Most people come here to hike to the highest point in Texas. And hardly anybody comes here.

This is not well-trod ground. Guadalupe is one of the least visited of the country’s 60 national parks, welcoming just 225,257 people in 2017. By comparison, several million more people swarmed the perennially popular Great Smoky Mountains National Park last year than have wandered out to Guadalupe in the last 47.

If you’ve spent any time in sparsely populated, hauntingly sublime far West Texas, you know that this is D.I.Y. country. Unlike at Big Bend, Texas’s other (and larger and better known) national park about four hours south, there are no roofs to sleep under here or hot meals to order or waiters to refill your post-hike glass of wine.

If Guadalupe’s first-come, first-served campsites and RV spots are already taken — or you’d like to shower — you’ll have to drive to Whites City, N.M. (35 miles), or the tiny Texas towns of Dell City (44 miles) or Van Horn (64 miles) for lodging. Same goes if you need food or gas. As one park volunteer put it, “This isn’t a theme park; it’s a wilderness park.” He seemed slightly annoyed that you might come all this way and expect it to be anything else.

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A Nevada Park That Sneaks in Under the Tourist Radar

Posted by on Jul 16, 2018 @ 9:11 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

A Nevada Park That Sneaks in Under the Tourist Radar

On the Utah-Nevada border, Great Basin could be called the black sheep of the region’s national park family. Bryce, Zion, Arches, Canyonlands, even Capitol Reef, get all the attention — and annual visitors (Zion got a record 4.5 million visitors in 2017, to Great Basin’s 168,000, also a record). But, Great Basin gets something arguably better: anonymity. At some 77,000 acres, Great Basin has more than 60 miles of hiking trails.

Baker, the nearest town — population 68, as of the last census — doesn’t have very many rooms, or restaurants, or stores. But Baker is just five minutes from the park.

In Great Basin, you can totally wing it. you can arrive with no plan, no must-sees, no mental picture of the place whatsoever. It’s a rarity when traveling anywhere these days.

It was also free. As in, no entrance fee. No welcome gate. No traffic backup. Just a simple green-and-white roadside sign that reads Great Basin National Park.

People have no preconception of this national park, in part because it hasn’t been one for very long. Declared a national monument in 1922, it was only anointed national park status in 1986.

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The New Rules of Hydration

Posted by on Jul 15, 2018 @ 7:11 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The New Rules of Hydration

There’s a ton of misinformation about how much to hydrate and when, but the basics are actually pretty simple. Here’s what you need to know.

For easy workouts in cool weather lasting an hour or less, drinking only when you’re thirsty is fine. But if it’s at all hot or humid, or you’re going out for a long time, that won’t be adequate.

There’s an easy method to figure out exactly how much fluid you need: weigh yourself before you go out for an hour of exercise, and then weigh yourself again when you get home. That’s the weight of fluid you should be taking in per hour.

Just plain water won’t cut it for long events. Sodium helps your body regulate how much water a cell can hold. When your body’s sodium content drops to critically low levels, your cells take on too much water and swell. If you don’t like the taste of sports drinks, try electrolyte tablets.

When you drink, fluids must pass through your stomach and into your small intestines before being absorbed into your bloodstream. If your gut can manage it, it’s smarter to take a few long pulls off your bottle than tiny sips every ten minutes.

Sports drinks are a pretty simple mix of water, carbs, and electrolytes. It’s easy to DIY your own performance mix. You can dilute just about any juice in a one-to-one ratio (one part water, one part juice) and reach a nice 6 to 7 percent carbohydrate blend.

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Appalachian National Scenic Trail Reroute through the Wallkill National Wildlife Refuge

Posted by on Jul 14, 2018 @ 2:46 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Appalachian National Scenic Trail Reroute through the Wallkill National Wildlife Refuge

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Serviceis pleased to announce the release of the Environmental Assessment for the Appalachian National Scenic Trail Reroute through the Wallkill National Wildlife Refuge. The Service plans to move a portion of the Trail from where it crosses the Wallkill River via Oil City Road in Orange County, New York, and relocate the Trail within the Refuge in Sussex County, New Jersey. The National Park Service is participating as a cooperating agency for this project. The agencies are soliciting comments through July 20, 2018.

The purpose of the project is to provide Trail and Refuge visitors a safe and more aesthetically pleasing alternative for crossing the Wallkill River that is in keeping with the desired experience for those hiking the Trail. The length of the Trail proposed for realignment is approximately 1.3 miles.

This segment contains one of the longest sections of the Trail that co-aligns with a public roadway, Oil City Road, a two-lane road with little to no shoulder. As development in the surrounding area continues to increase, the number of cars on Oil City Road is likely to increase, causing additional safety concerns to hikers.

Oil City Road and the Trail also currently experience floods and overland flow, which affects the safety and accessibility for trail and refuge visitors. Further, this road walk does not provide maximum outdoor recreation potential, one of the objectives for National Scenic Trails, as stated in the National Trails System Act.

Public participation is an important element of the planning process and your comments and ideas on the environmental assessment are welcome.

Cite…

 

‘Bad things happen in the woods’: the anxiety of hiking while black

Posted by on Jul 14, 2018 @ 9:33 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

‘Bad things happen in the woods’: the anxiety of hiking while black

A Guardian Profile by Aaron Jones, 32, Chicago

A few years ago, a white friend suggested we go on a hike. All the fears I had about being in nature hit me in the face. It’s a very real fear for black people, especially those from urban communities, that bad things happen to black people in the woods, like lynching. It’s something that you see again and again when you look at the history of the civil rights movement and slavery: black people going into the woods and not coming back.

My friend had grown up hiking. I talked to her about my fears and she respected my apprehension. I said to myself: “You’ve got to do this now or it will never happen.”

I grew up in kind of a rough neighborhood on the south side of Chicago, so my mother kept us in a lot. Our house was across the street from a public park but it was rife with gang violence so we never went there.

I always knew about hiking and camping from commercials and magazines. But the people doing it didn’t look like me. They were white, athletic and attractive. I’d never, ever seen anybody of color doing it, let alone a black male; I associated the outdoors with whiteness. Nobody around me even thought about it. My mother grew up in the backwoods down south, but she never encouraged us to have a connection with nature.

My friend and I headed to Starved Rock state park, two hours south of Chicago. We had to drive through this very wooded area and I remember thinking: “I hope nothing happens. I hope I don’t have to get out of the car.”

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Zion National Park Battered By Monsoonal Rains

Posted by on Jul 13, 2018 @ 3:09 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Zion National Park Battered By Monsoonal Rains

Monsoonal rains are taking a toll on Zion National Park, where not only roads are being covered and blocked by debris washed down mountainsides but trails are being torn apart.

While Riverside Walk has reopened after a potent storm Wednesday, July 11, 2018 brought flooding, mudslides, and rockfalls to the park, cleanup won’t be easy. As of midday Friday, July 13 the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway and several trails, including Angels Landing, Kayenta, Upper Emerald Pools, and West Rim from the Grotto to Cabin Spring, were all closed. And heavy rains were in the afternoon forecast.

Sand, debris, and small rockfalls were the issue on Riverside Walk. In one area, the sand was 3 feet deep covering the trail. Trail crews worked all day Wednesday and Thursday morning on clearing the trail. In the meantime, the Zion Shuttle turned around at Big Bend, and there was no access to The Narrows from the Temple of Sinewava. Now that Riverside Walk is clear, shuttles have resumed their full route.

Mud and debris on the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway was 3-4 feet deep in several areas, overwhelming the road drainage culverts and making the road impassable. Dozens of vehicles were initially stranded in the 1.1-mile tunnel, and some were stuck in the mud flow. Roads crews were able to plow a path to the vehicles to get them out late Wednesday night. Crews made much progress Thursday and were hoping to finish clearing the rest of the road and the culverts by late afternoon Friday.

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Here’s What It Takes to Hike the John Muir Trail

Posted by on Jul 12, 2018 @ 11:58 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Here’s What It Takes to Hike the John Muir Trail

  A survey of backpackers’ tactics on the 220-mile high-country route offers insights on what works and what doesn’t.

A new paper in the journal Wilderness & Environmental Medicine takes a look at this. Over the last few years, a retired San Francisco lawyer has run an annual online survey of people who hike the John Muir Trail, a famous route through the Sierra Nevadas that typically takes about three weeks to complete.

In 2014, 771 people filled out the survey, all of whom planned a trip of at least five days along the trail—a pretty reasonable sample from the total of roughly 3,500 permits issued that year. A group of researchers at the University of California San Francisco Fresno analyzed the data to look for patterns and insights.

Some basic data: 30 of the hikers had to leave the trail earlier than planned. Four required emergency evacuations, three by helicopter: one person with stress fractures in both feet, one who had a serious fall, and one who had a severe stomach bug and couldn’t keep any fluids down.

Overall, the top health problems reported were blisters (57 percent), sleep problems (57 percent), pack strap pain (46 percent), knee/ankle pain (44 percent), and back/hip pain (43 percent). Another 37 percent reported altitude sickness.

Learn more here…

 

Safety Concerns Lead To Emergency Closure Near Jenny Lake In Grand Teton National Park

Posted by on Jul 11, 2018 @ 11:48 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Safety Concerns Lead To Emergency Closure Near Jenny Lake In Grand Teton National Park

  A highly popular area near Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming has been closed to the public for the immediate future due to concerns over expanding cracks and fissures in a large rock formation, park officials said Tuesday evening.

The National Park Service implemented an emergency closure in the Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point areas on the west side of Jenny Lake for human safety. Some recently expanding cracks and fissures have been identified in a large rock buttress above the Hidden Falls viewing area, a park release said.

“Human safety is our No. 1 priority, and with an abundance of caution we are temporarily closing this area until we can properly assess the situation,” said Superintendent David Vela.

Those familiar with the site, specifically park rangers and personnel with Exum Mountain Guides, identified the cracks and fissures and determined the situation to be a possible safety hazard. The notable changes in the rock over the past 24 hours spurred park rangers to implement a temporary closure and initiate a risk assessment with subject-matter experts.

Cite…

 

Weed Patch Mountain Trail, Town of Lake Lure

Posted by on Jul 11, 2018 @ 6:32 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Weed Patch Mountain Trail, Town of Lake Lure

The new Weed Patch Mountain Trail offers exciting backcountry adventures for hikers, mountain bikers, and rock climbers. The 8.6 mile trail traverses rugged mountain terrain through a remote wilderness area in the Town of Lake Lure’s Buffalo Creek Park.

Along the way, you’ll find yourself at rock outcrops with spectacular long range views, as well as pristine mountain streams and an old growth forest. The trail is designed for hiking and mountain biking and a spur trail creates the first access to Eagle Rock in Chimney Rock State Park, a rock climbing destination. This trail connects to the Buffalo Creek Loop Trail.

Length: 10 miles one way, 20 miles round trip (including the start on the Buffalo Creek Loop Trail).

Conserving Carolina partnered with the Town of Lake Lure to protect over 1,500 acres at Buffalo Creek Park—making it one of the largest local parks in North Carolina.

Conserving Carolina protected the land forever with a conservation easement and sold it to the town for a public park. CC designed and built the 8.6 mile trail to high standards of sustainability, in order to prevent erosion, minimize needs for future maintenance, and enhance people’s experience on the trail. Volunteer trail crews were instrumental in creating this state-of-the-art backcountry trail. The Weed Patch Mountain Trail is part of the vision for the 100-mile Hickory Nut Gorge State Trail network.

Learn more here…

 

Off the beaten path: Alarka Institute leads quest for rare mountain flower

Posted by on Jul 10, 2018 @ 12:20 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Off the beaten path: Alarka Institute leads quest for rare mountain flower

For even the most woods-savvy of plant lovers, a blooming mountain camellia is a rare to non-existent sight.

A member of the tea family, it’s picky about its habitat, easily susceptible to drought and fire, and reticent to reproduce. All that adds up to a tenuous existence in scattered, isolated populations through the Southern Appalachians. To find a mountain camellia, you’ve got to know where to go and what to look for, and be willing to tromp through the backcountry until you see it.

Don’t fertilize it, because the roots can’t take it. If growing in a pot, drainage is key, but definitely don’t let it get dry. After planting a seed, give it up to six years to germinate, and don’t expect a flower until the 10-year mark. It’s safe to say mountain camellia is a finicky plant.

Yet somehow, mountain camellias persist in the wild — and that’s more than can be said for its cousin, the Franklinia alatamaha. Renowned botanist William Bartram discovered the Franklinia in a 2-acre area along the banks of the Altamaha River in Southeastern Georgia during a 1765 expedition, collecting seeds during a return trip in 1773. The tree was never found growing anywhere else, and while it’s been grown in cultivation ever since Bartram delivered the seeds to Philadelphia, it’s been extinct in the wild since 1803.

The mountain variety is rare enough that Johnston has mostly mapped out where individual shrubs are present in the wild. And the Alarka Institute group was going to get to see some of those plants firsthand.

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Overlooked No More: Emma Gatewood, First Woman to Conquer the Appalachian Trail Alone

Posted by on Jul 10, 2018 @ 9:08 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Overlooked No More: Emma Gatewood, First Woman to Conquer the Appalachian Trail Alone

What the public knew about Emma Gatewood was already remarkable. She was the first woman to hike the entire Appalachian Trail by herself in one season. She was 67 years old, a mother of 11, a grandmother and even a great-grandmother when she accomplished the feat in 1955. And she personified the concept of low-tech, ultralight hiking, spurning a tent and sleeping bag, carrying only a small sack and relying on her trusty Keds.

But what the public did not know was equally remarkable. Grandma Gatewood, as she was called, had survived 30 years of severe beatings and sexual abuse by her husband. She often escaped from him by running into the woods, and she came to view the wilderness as protective and restorative.

That Gatewood was alone and in her late 60s renewed interest in the trail, especially among women. If a woman of her age could hike it all the way in one season, many of them reasoned, they could, too. Her citation at the Appalachian Trail Museum concludes: “She inspired two distinct movements in long distance hiking, women thru-hikers and the ultra-lite movement.”

By the time Gatewood died at 85 in 1973, she had hiked the length of the Appalachian Trail three times — the third time, in sections — and was the first person, man or woman, to conquer it more than once.

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Hike: The Yosemite few people see

Posted by on Jul 9, 2018 @ 9:07 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hike: The Yosemite few people see

Nature has endowed California’s Tuolumne County with such splendor, it almost doesn’t seem fair. That these riches are so easily accessed by hiking trails makes us all the luckier.

Before the reservoir was formed by O’Shaughnessy Dam at Yosemite National Park, Hetch Hetchy was a glacier-carved, granite-walled valley complete with a mighty river and waterfalls crashing down from dizzying heights. Sound familiar? Naturalist John Muir called the valley “a wonderfully exact counterpart of the great Yosemite.” Muir led the battle to save the valley from being dammed to create a reservoir for post-earthquake San Francisco — a fight that was ultimately lost.

It’s still wondrous, though. The trail skirts magnificent Tueeulala and Wapama Falls, torrential in the spring.

Less than 5 percent of Yosemite’s visitors come to this area, tucked away in the northwestern part of the park, where there is so much to see. Hetch Hetchy lies near the Big Oak Flat entrance to the park on Highway 120. Pretty Carlon Falls is nearby, offering a 3.8-mile round-trip jaunt, sometimes skirting fire-damaged forest, which burned in the devastating Rim Fire of 2013.

If you follow eastbound Highway 120 as it becomes the Tioga Road, you’ll find an array of High Sierra hiking trails leading to Lukens Lake and Ten Lakes, Yosemite Creek, North Dome and more. Stop at Olmsted Point for views of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome and other granite wonders. Explore the high subalpine meadows with their vast grasslands, granite domes, meandering river and trails galore.

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Cultural hiking in Italy: Tuscany trekking from Florence to Siena

Posted by on Jul 3, 2018 @ 7:05 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Cultural hiking in Italy: Tuscany trekking from Florence to Siena

Of all the various modes of travel, by foot is the most intimate and also the most natural. Hiking allows you an often overlooked and underrated relationship with your surroundings.

Walking forces you to interact, take your time, and truly inhale the world around. Nowhere else on the globe are these intangible benefits more celebrated than the famed Italian countryside of Tuscany.

From the artistic capital of the renaissance in Florence, to the Gothic cathedral spires in Siena, this sprawling region is characterized by rolling hills, storybook vineyards, and unbeatable authentic Italian culture and countryside.

It is no surprise that Tuscany trekking routes have developed all over the region. They are now a must-do experience for active travellers seeking culture and countryside at their own pace.

The best time to hike through Tuscany is in the summer and autumn. Besides olives and grapes, the landscape is colored with irises, poppies, and cypress trees. If you can take all of these in bloom you’ll really appreciate the beauty of the region.

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Private Investment Will Jump Start Rural Economy

Posted by on Jul 2, 2018 @ 12:06 pm in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Private Investment Will Jump Start Rural Economy

Ringed by miles of abandoned coal mines, the Wayne National Forest is surrounded by some of the most economically distressed communities in southern Ohio. A unique partnership with private investors, local leaders, a university, and nonprofit partners is helping to change that.

The Forest Service is working with the National Forest Foundation and Quantified Ventures to explore how an innovative finance mechanism can support an 88-mile multiuse trail on 9,000 acres of national forest land in Athens County.

Dubbed the Baileys Trail System, the project will serve as a case study for the Forest Service to assess the potential for funding deferred maintenance and new infrastructure projects by linking funding to measurable accomplishments through a system called Pay for Success. With this funding system investors provide up-front capital for work to be done, with repayment tied to the successful achievement of agreed-upon outcomes.

Connecting adjacent state and community trails, the Baileys Trail System is within driving distance of about 15 percent of the US population. It is expected to become a premier hiking and mountain biking destination east of the Mississippi – an evolution that will enable Athens County to diversify the regional economy through outdoor recreation and tourism.

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Husky saves deaf hiker, and dozens of others, on Alaskan trail

Posted by on Jul 1, 2018 @ 7:24 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Husky saves deaf hiker, and dozens of others, on Alaskan trail

This rescue dog is making it his life’s work to rescue others. Nanook, an Alaskan husky, has been known to scout the trailhead of the 24-mile long Crow Pass Trail, about half a mile from Girdwood, Alaska, looking for hikers to assist on their journey.

Nanook’s heroics were on full display when he rescued deaf Rochester Institute of Technology student Amelia Milling. She had lost her footing and plummeted 600 feet down the mountain, when Nanook appeared and guided her back to the path. But his work wasn’t done yet. He stayed with her as she tried fording a frozen river. When she slipped and fell in, he was there to paddle her to safety. As she attempted to lay in her sleeping bag to warm up, Nanook stayed by her side, licking her to help expedite her recovery. Thanks to the husky’s efforts, Amelia was well taken care of until the rescue helicopter arrived.

Nanook completes the trail with strangers so often that he engraved his collar with the title, “Crow Pass Guide Dog.” Through Facebook, Swift has learned of at least a dozen instances where Nanook has saved hikers’ lives.

While he wasn’t trained specifically to be a rescue dog, Nanook seems to have carved out quite the humanitarian career for himself in the woods of Alaska.

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How to Prepare for Your First Backpacking Trip

Posted by on Jun 30, 2018 @ 4:50 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

How to Prepare for Your First Backpacking Trip

The thought of backpacking in the outdoors can be scary for some people. The idea of carrying everything you need from water to toilet paper on your back for an extended period of time can be challenging for some to overcome. Especially knowing you have to carry that weight for miles at a time.

Say you wanted to go backpacking but had never actually done anything longer than a day hike. Whether your first backpacking trip is 30 days or 3 days, you should definitely at least try backpacking it. You don’t have to like it when you’re done or ever do it again if you so choose, but you should try it at least once. It may be the best way to get out and explore nature.

Backpacking lets you ditch the crowds both on the trails and in the campgrounds. Backpacking trails are by their very nature longer than typical day trip trails. This means that the amount of people that travel them at any given time is much lower than shorter and consequently more popular trails.

Because backpacking trails are so long and often remote, the trails and areas surrounding them are not developed. This allows you see more of the natural raw state of nature and be able to enjoy all of its beauty with far fewer man-made additions or influences.

Backpacking is, simply put, a lot of fun. There is something both exciting and terrifying about backpacking. Knowing that you are going to go on an adventure to be one with nature, fully engulfed in it, miles away from any signs of civilization can be a magnificent and awe-inspiring experience.

Here are some tips to get you started…

 

How to Prevent and Treat Hiking Blisters

Posted by on Jun 30, 2018 @ 7:01 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

How to Prevent and Treat Hiking Blisters

For hikers and backpackers having happy feet means happy trails. There’s nothing worse than painful hiking blisters that get worse with each step and seriously keep you from enjoying your time in the outdoors. The good news is that these annoying injuries can be remedied, but you’re even better off learning how to prevent hiking blisters in the first place.

A blister is formed from damaged skin that is a result of rubbing and friction or is sometimes caused by heat, cold or in rare conditions exposure to harmful chemicals.

When you are hiking or backpacking, the most common way to get a blister is from your sock or shoe rubbing up against the skin of your feet for an extended period. The shoe may either be too loose or too tight, and it’s likely that sweaty or wet feet are the main cause of getting blisters on a hike. Whatever the reason, one thing is for sure, these suckers hurt.

For when you start to feel a hot spot or are dealing with a full-blown blister, a blister kit will help you treat it on the go — besides, it’s always a good idea to be prepared. Make your own hiking blister-care kit that you can stash in your first aid kit and treat any hot spots as soon as you feel them forming.

Learn more here…