Hiking News

Effect of Recreational Trails on Forest Birds: Human Presence Matters

Posted by on Nov 12, 2018 @ 9:20 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Effect of Recreational Trails on Forest Birds: Human Presence Matters

Recreational activities in nature have increased enormously in the last decades. This trend is raising concerns of researchers and conservationists about the potential impact of human recreation on wild animals. Humans are often perceived as potential predators by wildlife. Thus, when exposed to human presence, animals may react with important changes in their behavior and physiology, which in turn might have consequences for individual fitness and the dynamics of animal populations.

Forests are a natural environment often used for such activities as jogging, hiking, dog walking, mountain biking, or horse riding. The mere presence of people in forests can disturb wildlife. Many of these activities rely on trails, which intersect an otherwise contiguous habitat and hence impact wildlife.

The aim of this study was to separate the effect of the change in vegetation and habitat structure through trails, from the effect of human presence using these trails, on forest bird communities. Therefore the scientists compared the effects of recreational trails on birds in two forests frequently used by recreationists with that in two rarely visited forests.

They found that in the disturbed (i.e., high-recreation-level forests), the density of birds and species richness were both reduced at points close to trails when compared to points further away, whereas such an effect was not statistically discernible in the forests with a low-recreation-level.

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Hit the dirt and say happy birthday to the Continental Divide Trail

Posted by on Nov 11, 2018 @ 9:28 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hit the dirt and say happy birthday to the Continental Divide Trail

This weekend, one of America’s most prestigious trails, and one that winds through Colorado, turns 40 years old.

The Continental Divide Trail, which runs 3,100 miles from Canada to Mexico, was officially founded in 1978, marking 2018 its 40th year serving as a beloved part of Colorado’s outdoor recreation. Hikers, horseback riders, runners, cross-country skiers, snowshoers, fishers, hunters and more have used the 800 miles of trail within Colorado before continuing on into Wyoming or New Mexico.

The people who know it best — members of the Continental Divide Trail Coalition — write on their website that the CDT is a “museum of the American West, a place to reconnect with nature, and a unifying force bringing people of all walks of life together.”

The CDT varies in difficulty. Some sections require solid trail experience and other parts are doable for a new day hiker. The elevation on the trail ranges from 4,000 to 14,000 feet, with some of the highest points in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains.

According to the Continental Divide Trail Coalition website, the trail winds its way through numerous beloved landscapes in Colorado including alpine tundra of the South San Juan, Weminuche, and La Garita Wildernesses, where the CDT remains at or above 11,000 feet for almost 70 miles.

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Making tracks: Kids trails program earns recognition after decade of growth

Posted by on Nov 10, 2018 @ 9:55 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Making tracks: Kids trails program earns recognition after decade of growth

In 2008, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation launched a new program aiming to get kids and families out exploring the high-elevation corridor. Ever since, the Kids in Parks program has mushroomed into a national endeavor with designated trails from San Diego, California, to Nags Head, North Carolina.

Kids in Parks was recognized for its decade of accomplishments when it won the Youth Engagement Award at the SHIFT Festival in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The annual SHIFT Awards recognize individuals, initiatives and organizations that contribute to conservation through human-powered outdoor recreation.

“I don’t know that we envisioned that we would be in San Diego or in South Dakota, but we definitely set out to design it so it was going to be the next big thing in children’s nature programming, at least in the Blue Ridge,” said Kids in Parks Director Jason Urroz, who has been on board since the program’s inception. “It just so happens that nature deficit disorder, childhood obesity and people not spending time outdoors isn’t a Blue Ridge problem. It’s happening everywhere.”

The original idea behind Kids in Parks was to make outdoor exploration more accessible, simple and interactive for families by clearly identifying kid-friendly trails and having some sort of interpretation available to help kids learn about the plants, animals and other natural features they were seeing.

The program was developed as a self-guided experience offering brochures to help kids interact with and learn about the trails, dubbed TRACK Trails. Most TRACK Trails are 1- or 2-mile hikes with some sort of interesting feature along the way.

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Veterans Day Is Fee Free at Our National Parks

Posted by on Nov 9, 2018 @ 8:52 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Veterans Day Is Fee Free at Our National Parks

Many national parks have direct connections to the American military—there are dozens of battlefields, military parks, and historic sites that commemorate and honor the service of American veterans. In addition, every national park is part of our collective identity that defines who we are and where we came from as a nation. They are tactile reminders of the values, the ideals, and the freedoms that our veterans protect.

The majestic landscapes, natural wonders, and patriotic icons that we cherish as a society have also inspired military members through the years. The Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, the USS Arizona Memorial, and the Statue of Liberty are just a few of the national parks that have served as reminders of home to those stationed abroad. On Veterans Day, or any day, honor those who have served and sacrificed for our country with a visit to a national park.

The National Park Service invites all visitors to remember our veterans by visiting any National Park Service site for free on Veterans Day, November 11, 2018.

This Veterans Day also marks the 100th anniversary of the end of hostilities of World War I, which took effect on the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918, also known as Armistice Day.

 

The Psychology and Science Behind How Hiking Trails Are Created

Posted by on Nov 8, 2018 @ 9:27 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The Psychology and Science Behind How Hiking Trails Are Created

You can find a hiking trail or walking path almost anywhere in the United States, whether you’re deep in the backcountry or a few yards from a parking lot. Most casual hikers probably give them little thought before lacing up their boots, but hiking trails don’t just appear naturally.

Sure, the popular pathways are created with shovels and sweat and grit, but that’s not all: Modern trail construction actually involves a significant amount of anticipating what potential hikers will do and analyzing the area surrounding the route. The ultimate goal: “A useful trail must be easy to find, easy to travel, and convenient to use,” according to the USDA Forest Service’s Trail Construction and Maintenance Notebook.

Before the first ground is even close to being broken, trail designers consider the trail-to-be’s location and its potential users. Will visitors be hardcore hikers looking for a new challenge? Or is the trail to be set near an urban area, where hikers are considered more casual? Will more than just hikers need to use it? All of these factors will determine a trail’s layout and design.

To figure out the right layout, trail designers consult protocols like the Forest Service Trails Accessibility Guidelines, which detail “Trail Management Objectives”—the intended users, desired difficulty level, and desired experience—that will determine the width, as well as the type of tread, of the trail.

If the hikers are experienced, a narrow, single track path can probably handle that population. But more casual hikers—think friends out for a picnic, families, or dog walkers—are more likely to walk and talk side-by-side. If the trail is designated as multi-use—meaning it’s open to multiple user groups, like bikers, equestrians, cross country skiing, etc.—that’s also central to planning.

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Ultimate guide to hiking Coachella’s hidden canyons

Posted by on Nov 5, 2018 @ 6:15 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Ultimate guide to hiking Coachella’s hidden canyons

With all the chic midcentury galleries and groovy tiki bars populating Palm Springs’ downtown, you could easily spend a weekend hunting for Eames chairs and sipping retro cocktails. Browse and brunch all you want — no one will judge. But sooner or later, you’ll glance up at the furrowed hills that hug the city and feel an urge for something wilder.

The desert does that.

Tucked into an abutment of the San Jacinto and Santa Rosa Mountain ranges, the Coachella Valley offers a wealth of wildness. Beyond the manicured golf courses south of Palm Springs lie 35,000 acres of rugged desert, the ancestral home of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. More than 60 miles of trails ramble through four canyons, where bighorn sheep clatter across the hillsides and glistening waterfalls appear like a revelation.

To the south, the San Andreas Fault knifes through the Mecca Hills, exposing the earth’s skeleton. Footpaths lead through colorful canyons formed by the mighty forces of plate tectonics, water, wind and time. And on the Coachella Valley’s north side, seismic activity has forced underground water to the surface to create wetlands, marshes and ponds at the 17,000-acre Coachella Valley Preserve.

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Why do otherwise smart people do such dumb things in the great outdoors?

Posted by on Nov 2, 2018 @ 6:46 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Why do otherwise smart people do such dumb things in the great outdoors?

Two hikers died last week after falling from Yosemite’s Taft Point, located high above Yosemite Valley. What exactly happened is still unclear, but they almost certainly stepped off the trail, past the guardrail and passed warning signs before tumbling hundreds of feet over the cliffs.

There’s been an exponential increase in the number of lost hikers, injured hikers and, worst of all, hikers who die on the trail. In recent weeks, we’ve learned of a California woman who slipped and fell to her death while taking selfies on a trail high above Lake Superior in Michigan, and thrill-seekers suffering severe injuries while leaping off cliffs into shallow pools — just to put the video on their Instagram feed.

There was a particularly horrible incident in the summer of 2011 when three college students stepped past the guardrail at the top of Yosemite’s 317-foot high Vernal Fall and into the Merced River. Other visitors pleaded with them to get out of the water, but one hiker slipped and started a chain reaction that ended with all three falling to their deaths.

Why do otherwise smart people do such dumb things in the great outdoors?

Bad hiking advice pollutes comments on hiking blogs, Facebook posts and Yelp reviews, so it’s tempting to blame social media. The fault, however, lies not in Instagram stars, but in ourselves. It’s a disconnect from nature, a lack of even basic survival skills, and poor judgment that cause most troubles on the trail.

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900 acres of Little White Oak Mountain become public land in Polk County

Posted by on Oct 31, 2018 @ 7:19 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

900 acres of Little White Oak Mountain become public land in Polk County

Conserving Carolina made 900 acres of North Carolina’s Little White Oak Mountain public, donating 600 acres to the state to expand the Green River Game Lands and 300 acres to Polk County for a local park.

Conserving Carolina said that together, the 900 acres of conserved land in Mill Spring protect views of a local scenic landmark, approximately 13 miles of streams flowing into White Oak Creek and then to the Green River and rare natural communities such as an endangered wildflower, the white irisette.

The land added to the Game Lands, including the summit of Little White Oak Mountain, will be open to the public for hunting, hiking, wildlife viewing and other outdoor activities. The local park will connect to the county’s recreation complex next to Polk County Middle with plans for a network of seven to 10 miles of trails for hiking and mountain biking.

“We are excited to see this park expand outdoor recreation opportunities for local residents by adding new hiking trails and creating the first mountain biking trails in Polk County,” county Parks and Recreation Director Jerry Stensland said in a news release. “This park has the potential to make Polk County more of a destination for outdoor recreation and benefit local businesses.”

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Discover heart healthy hiking trails in Oklahoma

Posted by on Oct 29, 2018 @ 9:26 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Discover heart healthy hiking trails in Oklahoma

Fall is arguably the best time to get outdoors and enjoy physical activity. Autumn weather seems to create in us the urge to stir about for various reasons. The air is charged with the odors of the autumn season and one can feel and smell nature in its natural rotation.

While squirrels are storing food for the winter, maybe we as humans are seeking a little food for the soul, stocking up for the coming gray winter days that will keep us housebound too long.

So what better way to get into step with fall than trying to stay a few steps ahead of the winter chill and get some outdoor activity?

Hiking is wonderful exercise, and to promote public health and wellness, the Oklahoma state parks division of the Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation has created Heart Healthy Trails. Consisting of 12 easy-to-walk park trails, this initiative will inspire folks wanting to take advantage of the cooler temperatures.

Trailheads describe the length of the trail, and distance markers are provided along the way. Distance markers are placed at quarter-mile intervals along a Heart Healthy Trail. Along the way, you will find a pamphlet containing a trail map, a walking log to help the park guest track the date, distance and time of day they took their walk.

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Group hopes European style hiking in Cape Breton will draw in tourists

Posted by on Oct 28, 2018 @ 9:03 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Group hopes European style hiking in Cape Breton will draw in tourists

A group hoping to build a wilderness hiking trail in northern Cape Breton, Nova Scotia has now laid out its route.

The Seawall Trail Society has just completed a proposed trail development plan, which would see the trail run for about 50 km from Red River, near Pleasant Bay, to Meat Cove, hugging the coastline most of the way.

“It’s pretty epic,” said member Dave Williams. “One thing you want to aim for in an amazing hike is a large variance in terrain and scenery. And this trail has it all.”

The proposed route includes beaches, old growth forest, semi-arctic tundra, mountain scree and grassy fields. But what really sets it apart is the combination of elevation and coastline, he said.

“You’re walking along very high cliffs, right at the ocean’s edge. And for 180 degrees, all you see it water.”

In exchange for those vistas, hikers will pay the price of some steeps ascents and descents — with elevations ranging from sea level to 450 meters.

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Great Smoky Mountains Foothills Parkway to Open

Posted by on Oct 25, 2018 @ 9:47 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Great Smoky Mountains Foothills Parkway to Open

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announce the long-awaited section of the Foothills Parkway between Walland and Wears Valley, TN will finally open Saturday, November 10, 2018. The 16-mile roadway will be drivable for the first time since construction began in 1966. The route will include the 1.65-mile section known as the ‘Missing Link’ which is now connected by a series of nine bridges.

The completion of the roadway was made possible thanks to a decades-long partnership among the State of Tennessee, Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT), the Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division (EFLHD) of the Federal Highway Administration, and the National Park Service (NPS) at a total cost of $178 million. Funding for the final paving was provided through a $10 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) VIII grant secured by the Tennessee Department of Transportation along with $15 million from the State of Tennessee and $7 million through the NPS Federal Lands Transportation Program.

The Foothills Parkway now consists of two finished sections at either end of the 72-mile corridor. The western section now extends 33 continuous miles from Chilhowee to Wears Valley, offering a new recreational experience for motorists and cyclists. The eastern section, completed in 1968, extends 6 miles from Cosby to Interstate 40 presenting breathtaking views of Mt. Cammerer.

Park officials plan to invite the public to preview the parkway by foot, if conditions permit,before it opens to motorists. This pedestrian opportunity is tentatively planned for Thursday, November 8, 2018 during the morning hours utilizing a shuttle operation. More details will be provided.

Cite…

 

Mount Umunhum National Recreation Trail, California

Posted by on Oct 24, 2018 @ 10:35 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Mount Umunhum National Recreation Trail, California

The Mount Umunhum Trail passes through chaparral, under pine and oak woodlands, and over the headwaters of Guadalupe Creek. The trail emerges near the rocky summit revealing 360-degree vistas of the valley below, ridgelines, and nearby peaks.

The mountain is sacred to local Native American people and is central to their creation story. “Umunhum” is an Ohlone word meaning, “resting place of the hummingbird.” The new 3.7-mile trail opened in September 2017, hosting over 1,00 people with guided tours of the trail and summit during the opening celebration.

The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, or Midpen, manages the mountaintop as part of the 18,000-acre Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve. In 2009, the federal government funded the cleanup of contaminants and approximately 80 deteriorating buildings that were once part of the Almaden Air Force Station, which operated between 1958 and 1980. During the Cold War, service members and their families lived atop the mountain keeping watch over the Pacific Ocean for Soviet attacks. A concrete radar tower from this period remains, and is visible throughout the region as a reminder of the mountain’s history.

At the summit area, accessible pathways highlight views and feature a shade shelter, a cantilevered deck extending over the hillside and a stone ceremonial circle to honor the site’s Native American history. The Summit parking area provides accessible restrooms and a trailhead shelter with accessible picnic tables. Interpretive panels connect visitors with history, rare plants and resident wildlife. These include hummingbirds, golden eagles, butterflies, lizards, mountain lions, and rare purple martins.

Learn more here…

 

The Oregon Desert Trail is just that, complete with canyons and rattlesnakes

Posted by on Oct 20, 2018 @ 12:32 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

The Oregon Desert Trail is just that, complete with canyons and rattlesnakes

Though Oregon is often depicted in terms of Douglas fir-filled forests, the truth is that half the state is a water-starved desert. It is pierced by the Oregon Desert Trail, a 750-mile, W-shaped path that weaves through the state’s most arid landscape. The trail shows off some of the state’s unsung attractions, including the Oregon Badlands, Lost Forest, Owyhee Canyonlands and picturesque Steens Mountain, a single mountain that stretches more than 9,000 feet high and 50 miles north to south.

Created by the Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA) conservation group as a way to spur appreciation for the lands it is trying to protect, the trail is unusual in many ways. A big one: It isn’t really a trail. Waypoints on a map will help guide you, but the route isn’t marked. One-third of the route is cross-country, so a GPS device and compass skills are necessary; finding your own way gives the journey a choose-your-own adventure quality.

Carving through the least-populated areas of the state, the trail is also remote — but that’s part of its appeal. Wildlife biologist and thru-hiker Sage Clegg, the first person to hike the trail end-to-end, said she really only saw other people when she went into a nearby town to resupply. Because she’s witnessed hikers clogging the Pacific Crest and Appalachian trails, she appreciated the contrast. “I love a lonely trail,” she said. “It helps me be able to interact with the natural world as if it were something that I could actually communicate with.”

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Blind Athlete Achieves Dream: Hiking Grand Canyon

Posted by on Oct 18, 2018 @ 1:03 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Blind Paralympic cyclist Shawn Cheshire, 43, recently faced her biggest challenge — a rim-to-rim hike through the Grand Canyon.

Cheshire crossed 68 kilometers of steep and uneven terrain, hiking through the night and finishing in 24 hours and 15 minutes — believed to be a record by a blind hiker.

“The last couple of years, I’ve been on this desperate purpose of grasping as much independence as possible,” Cheshire said. “And so for me, being able to walk in the Grand Canyon like that, that’s freedom.”

Cheshire lost her sight after an accident nine years ago and turned to athletics.

“I was in a really dark place and hated being blind.” But she said sports and physical challenges gave her “another opportunity at living.” She competed in the Paralympics in Rio in 2016 and hopes to compete in Tokyo in 2020.

In the meantime, Cheshire was determined to complete this challenging hike.

“I had a huge ball of emotion welled up in my chest — like I cannot believe we just did that — and just (felt) gratitude,” she said.

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The 7 most amazing pilgrimage paths you’ve never heard of

Posted by on Oct 16, 2018 @ 9:17 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The 7 most amazing pilgrimage paths you’ve never heard of

Pilgrims walked the St. Olav Ways in Norway from 1031 until the 1500s, when the Catholic pilgrimage was banned following the Protestant Reformation. In 1997, Norway revived the ancient routes and included signage for them. Today, you have your choice of six pilgrim routes, all of which lead to the impressive Nidarosdomen cathedral in Trondheim. If you’re unsure which route to choose, it’s hard to go wrong since all 1,200 miles of the St. Olav Ways pass through quaint villages and peaceful landscapes.

That said, the majority of pilgrims opt for the 400-mile Gudbrandsdalen Path, which starts in the old part of Oslo and takes a little over a month to complete. From the capital, the route heads north past lakes and through valleys before reaching the remote Dovrefjell mountains. If you’re a serious walker, you’ll revel in the challenge the Arctic highlands present. Once past the snowy peaks, the highest of which is 7,500-foot-high Snohetta, pilgrims make their way down into the country’s prized fjord lands. In general, the trail is well-marked, but beware of unpredictable weather — even in summer.

Although pilgrimmages were traditionally done for religious purposes, people today undertake them for a variety of reasons. Maybe you want to walk to enjoy an active vacation or experience a country in a different way. Perhaps you’re drawn to pilgrimages for the opportunity to reflect on life. Is that reset button calling your name? The reasons for wanting to do a pilgrimage are as varied as the pilgrimage paths themselves.

From the snow-capped peaks of Tibet to the deserts of the Middle East, this list of lesser-known pilgrimage paths has something for every pilgrim.

 

Armenia is emerging as a hiking destination. It’s not quite there, but oh, the views.

Posted by on Oct 14, 2018 @ 11:13 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Armenia is emerging as a hiking destination. It’s not quite there, but oh, the views.

For much of the last century, nobody would have considered the former Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic a hiking destination.

But a few decades of independence and a strengthening democratic government have given the little nation a growing reputation as an interesting, safe hiking place. Hikers from France, England, Canada, Belgium and Australia are all coming.

Smithsonian magazine earlier this year identified Armenia as one of the next world-class hiking destinations.

The country’s beautifully wooded Dilijan National Park resembles Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The plateaus of volcanic Mt. Aragats look something like the Sierra Nevada’s high country, with its barren igneous rock, gravelly slopes and snow-covered peaks.

Lake Sevan is twice as large as Lake Tahoe and a thousand feet higher in elevation. Though its waters don’t have the clarity that makes Tahoe so spectacular, you won’t find a traffic jam around the lake’s perimeter or dense neighborhoods of mansions.

What the country lacks in affluence is offset by the warmth of the people, whose identity is anchored to its long history. Yerevan, the capital, was founded in 782 B.C., decades before Rome. Between hikes, you can visit ancient temples and some of the oldest Christian churches in the world.

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Hikers In Breckenridge Are Being Greeted By A Giant, Mysterious Troll

Posted by on Oct 13, 2018 @ 9:04 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hikers In Breckenridge Are Being Greeted By A Giant, Mysterious Troll

Generally, encountering a literal troll is a pretty sedentary activity because they don’t exist, so you are only going to roll up on one in a book, movie, tv show, tabletop game, or the comments of an internet article. And this is an overwhelmingly good thing, as trolls tend to be incredibly ugly, aggressive and slow-witted.

Now, however, people in Colorado can both go for a hike and meet a troll, and though it might sound scary, it’s actually quite awesome.

In August of this year, Danish artist Thomas Dambo finished installing a 15-foot tall troll named Isak Heartstone on the easy and family-friendly East Wellington Trail in Breckenridge. Suddenly, social media is alight with pics of Isak and people are making it a point to visit the fantastical gent.

Dambo is known for the trolls that he has constructed all over the globe, but this is the first one in the Western United States, which is awesome for people who don’t have the resources to make it to one of the other 39 trolls erected in places like Denmark and Korea. Each of them varies in size and he tends to create them using recycled materials. In this instance, Isak Heartstone is made of scrap lumber and downed trees collected over the ten-day construction period.

Cite…

 

Joshua Tree National Park: Into the wild, hours from L.A.

Posted by on Oct 12, 2018 @ 7:17 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Joshua Tree National Park: Into the wild, hours from L.A.

We were surrounded by trees that could have been drawn by Dr. Seuss. A desert hare had just crossed the trail in front of us, its ears translucent in the still-rising sun. But it was something else that caught my 28-year-old son’s attention.

“I can’t believe how silent it is out here,” he said. This was an offhand comment. I agreed, but said nothing. We walked on.

So I think I know the answer to the questions I brought with me to Joshua Tree National Park that morning. Can a person find isolation, silence and beauty in a visit measured in hours? Is it possible to experience a national park’s wildness in the time usually allotted for a blacktop tour?

We left Los Angeles at 10:58 a.m., an hour later than planned. Twenty miles west of the park, we began seeing the Joshua trees.

They’re not actually trees, but a species of yucca. One could be forgiven the confusion. Their trunks are shaggy with the desiccated foliage of previous seasons, which eventually falls off to reveal treelike bark. The new growth at the ends of branches looks like exuberant pineapples. They’re a kindergartner’s version of a tree.

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Hiking a new mega-trail in the Balkans

Posted by on Oct 10, 2018 @ 9:50 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking a new mega-trail in the Balkans

Close to the top of Mount Maglić, on the Bosnia-Montenegro border, a deafening clap of thunder rips across rugged Piva national park. The summit of the 2,386-metre limestone peak is not far away, but with a glance at the darkening sky, the guide decides it’s best to turn back.

We weave our way down towards perfectly heart-shaped Lake Trnovačko, just reaching a forest as the downpour hits. When the storm passes, the view across the valley is our reward – glittering, luminous and streaked with post-squall mist. The slopes are lined with tufted grass and a golden eagle floats overhead. The scene silences us, and we walk in quiet contemplation until the guide stops us to point out a sign: “Welcome to Bosnia.”

There’s no checkpoint and no fuss – perhaps surprising, given the history of these once war-torn Balkan countries. We’re hiking part of a new mega-trail – the Via Dinarica – and up here, the conflicts across the former Yugoslavia feel firmly in the past.

The main artery is the White trail, from Slovenia to Albania – via Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Montengro, and soon to be extended into Kosovo – following the Dinaric Alps for 1,260km, taking in the highest peaks. Opened fully in 2017, it has mapped and united old trails, shepherd paths, royal hunting grounds and military routes, with accommodation in mountain huts, riverside cabins and lodges along the way.

When two further trails have been completed (blue, along the coastline, and green, connecting small villages), the route will also take in Serbia, uniting seven Balkans countries.

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