Hiking News

Why it’s a real mistake to count on a cellphone when you go hiking

Posted by on Sep 17, 2017 @ 7:18 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Why it’s a real mistake to count on a cellphone when you go hiking

Sarah Savage was alone in the woods and didn’t know which way to turn. She had been eager to explore the Appalachian Trail when she moved to Pennsylvania and discovered that her house was near an access point. But not long after she took off from the trailhead, the path branched in different directions. She wasn’t carrying a cellphone or a map. Nervous, she turned back.

“I was afraid of getting lost. I didn’t know how to read a map or even that maps existed for where I was hiking,” said Savage, 49, who works in educational publishing.

But she liked the physical and emotional benefits of being out there, so she kept going back. She brought a map and followed the trail as best she could, yet she still felt apprehensive. “I had no sense of direction,” she said. “I wasn’t paying attention to north, south, east or west.”

Navigating is a use-it-or-lose-it skill and one that few hikers, cyclists or walkers employ anymore because of their increased dependence on GPS units, Garmin computers, Google Earth and similar technologies. According to a 2015 Pew Research Center survey, nine of 10 smartphone owners use their device to get directions or for other location-based services, up from 74 percent in 2013. That heavy reliance on devices can give people a false sense of security.

A GPS won’t tell you there is a mountain in the way or there is a huge river that won’t be safe to cross, but a map will. GPS units break. Batteries go dead. Phones get dropped in streams. Also, turn-by-turn GPS [navigation] in which you see only one route and are always going straight ahead doesn’t teach people to situate themselves on a route.

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Conserving Carolina’s Fall Hiking Series Begins September 22, 2017

Posted by on Sep 16, 2017 @ 6:22 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Conserving Carolina’s Fall Hiking Series Begins September 22, 2017

Join Conserving Carolina, formerly the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC), for five Friday hikes offered to the public, free of charge, this fall.

Conserving Carolina invites the community to enjoy the work that many conservation organizations have done for the preservation of areas of natural resources and take in the beauty of autumn.

Starting September 22, the first trek will head to Caesar’s Head State Park, part of the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area, for an approximately 6.7-mile, easy, out and back hike. This trail will take hikers through a hardwood forest to a suspension bridge over Matthews Creek and at the precipice of Raven Cliff Falls. After the hike, participants are invited to visit the overlook at Caesar’s Head State Park, an official Hawk Watch site, to search the skies for migrating raptors. Each year, thousands of raptors, especially Broad-winged Hawks, migrate over this site along the Blue Ridge Escarpment, using thermal currents formed by sun on the rock, to gain altitude and glide for miles over the Piedmont, expending very little energy.

South Carolina hikers interested in attending on September 22nd are asked to meet at the Spinx in Gowensville, SC (at the intersection of Hwy 14 and Hwy 11) at 8:30 a.m. to check in and start the approximately 45-minute drive to the Raven Cliff Falls parking area at Caesar’s Head State Park. North Carolina hikers plan to be at the Raven Cliff Falls parking area by 9:30 a.m. Hikers should be prepared to return to the area in the mid-afternoon.
On October 6, the hike will take place at Buffalo Creek Park in Hickory Nut Gorge. The trail at Buffalo Creek Park is on land owned by the Town of Lake Lure and protected by Conserving Carolina. It was completed in 2014 and is the first phase of a trail system that will offer over 13-miles of multi-use trails in Hickory Nut Gorge. This is a 4.7-mile, moderate, loop hike that ascends Weed Patch Mountain with a gain of 500 feet in elevation. It then passes through a large boulder field offering views of the surrounding mountains and Lake Lure, then descends the mountain back to the trailhead.


What would you expect to find in Hickory Nut Gorge?


South Carolina hikers interested in attending the October 6th hike are asked to meet in the parking area west of Home Trust Bank, 651 W Mills St, Columbus, NC 28722 at 8:30 a.m. to check in and start the approximately 35-minute drive to Buffalo Creek Park parking area. North Carolina hikers meet the group at the entrance to Buffalo Creek Park by 9:30 a.m.

On October 20, the 3.8-mile, moderate, out and back hike will take place along a portion of the Mountains to Sea Trail to the ruins of Rattlesnake Lodge, a 1900’s summer estate, offering a beautiful overlook view.

South Carolina hikers interested in attending the October 20th hike are asked to meet in the parking area west of Home Trust Bank, 651 W Mills St, Columbus, NC 28722 at 8:30 a.m. to check in and start the approximately 1 hour drive to the parking area off Ox Creek Road at Bull Gap. North Carolina hikers join the group at the trailhead by 9:30 a.m.

On November 3, hikers head to Pisgah National Forest for a 6-mile, moderate, out and back hike starting from the former site of George Vanderbilt’s Buck Spring hunting lodge near Mt. Pisgah. The hike crosses the summit of Little Bald Mountain before dropping down to Pilot Rock, offering beautiful mountain views.


Expect stunning vistas of the Cradle of Forestry and beyond from Pilot Rock.


South Carolina hikers interested in attending the November 3rd hike are asked to meet in the parking area west of Home Trust Bank, 651 W Mills St, Columbus, NC 28722 at 8:30 a.m. to check in and start the approximately 1 hour drive to the parking area near the former site of George Vanderbilt’s Buck Spring hunting lodge near Mt. Pisgah. North Carolina hikers join the group at the Buck Spring Gap Overlook, mile 407.7 on the Blue Ridge Parkway at 9:30 a.m. You may have to wait a bit for the South Carolina participants to arrive.

Finally, on November 17, the group will head to Pinnacle Mountain (Long Ridge) in Table Rock State Park. Pinnacle Mountain is the tallest mountain contained entirely within the state of South Carolina (SC’s highest point, Sassafras Mountain, is partially in North Carolina). The 5.5-mile, moderate hike will traverse areas affected by fires in the fall of 2016 and lead hikers to a granitic bald where, in the late 1990s, more than 600 prehistoric petroglyphs were discovered. The petroglyphs, believed to be created by the Hopewell culture, pre-date the Cherokees and are believed to be between 1,500 and 3,500 years old.

South Carolina hikers interested in attending the November 17th hike are asked to meet at the Spinx in Gowensville, SC (at the intersection of Hwy 14 and Hwy 11) at 8:30 a.m. to check in and start the approximately 40-minute drive to the parking area at Sliding Rock road. North Carolina hikers meet at the trailhead in Table Rock State Park by 9:30 a.m. Hikers should be prepared to return to the area in the mid-afternoon.

For your safety, do not attempt any hike beyond your ability and experience.  Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water. Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require.
In case of inclement weather, please contact the Southeast (Polk County) office by 8:15 on the day of the hike and/or the Conserving Carolina Facebook page to see if the hike will take place.

If you are interested in attending Conserving Carolina’s fall hikes and would like more information, please call the Southeast (Polk County) office at 828-859-5060 or e-mail Pam Torlina at, pam@conservingcarolina.org. You can also find information on Conserving Carolina’s website, www.conservingcarolina.org, and on Conserving Carolina’s Facebook page.

Conserving Carolina is dedicated to protecting and stewarding land and water resources vital to our natural heritage and quality of life and to fostering appreciation and understanding of the natural world.


The Mark Twain Trail through Nevada & California brings ups, downs and a new view of the author

Posted by on Sep 15, 2017 @ 12:17 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

The Mark Twain Trail through Nevada & California brings ups, downs and a new view of the author

Who flies to Reno on a spring evening, rents a car and heads into the mountains with no skis, no mountain bike and a backpack full of books? and Why? Because in 1861 a 25-year-old Missouri riverboat pilot named Sam Clemens boarded a stagecoach bound for the same territory.

He was going to dodge the Civil War for a few months, work for the government, do some writing, maybe dig for silver. Instead he stayed for almost seven years, emerged as Mark Twain, gave us “Huckleberry Finn” and won global fame as that sardonic old man with the white hair and droopy mustache.

But what do we know about the young Clemens in Nevada and California? Not much. That’s why this author had Twain’s Western memoir, “Roughing It” (1872), and two biographies in his backpack, and it’s why he spent the next four days on a 270-mile road trip and Twain pilgrimage.

He wanted to see some of what Clemons saw in those early travels — a dusty Nevada silver-mining town, the shores of Lake Tahoe, the hills of California Gold Country. And he wondered: After so much history, myth and marketing, how much Twain remains?

Near Incline Village, NV the Flume Trail is one of the most popular hiking and mountain biking paths in the region. Within minutes, you are surrounded by pines, a vast indigo lake sprawling below. When Twain and a buddy arrived here in 1861 (before his time in Virginia City), it was known as Lake Bigler. Now we know it as Tahoe.

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130 Miles, 8 Days, 1 Spellbound Hiker/Photographer on Kodiak Island

Posted by on Sep 15, 2017 @ 6:48 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

130 Miles, 8 Days, 1 Spellbound Hiker/Photographer on Kodiak Island

Kodiak Island, the second largest in the United States, is best known for the main quarry of this trip, the oversized subspecies of brown bear, the Kodiak bear, that is unique to its mountains and shorelines. This journey goes 130 miles along the notoriously rough shoreline of Shelikof Strait, across river drainages and bays, paddling packrafts through a series of lakes that end at Karluk Lake, which flows into its namesake river and the point of the start of the journey.

The Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge shares many characteristics with other wilderness areas in the United States in that it is largely untrammeled. Despite the occasional indication of human presence, the hinterlands remain much as they did when the glaciers from the last ice age began their inexorable retreat into the mountains, and the ancestors of the Alutiiq people settled the island some 7,000 years ago.

These places are best experienced one step, or paddle, at a time. Capturing the wilderness connects the present with a past beyond our own. It connects us all to the earth and our collective past.

Sitka black-tailed deer, a nonnative mammal to Kodiak Island, were first successfully introduced to the island in 1924 as were other nonnative species including reindeer, mountain goats, Roosevelt elk, beaver, red squirrel, snowshoe hare, and pine marten, between the 1920s and 1960s. They landed on Kodiak in an effort to increase subsistence and recreational hunting opportunities. The Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge estimates that 30,000 to 50,000 Sitka black-tailed deer live on the islands of the archipelago. And so do some predators.

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Columbia Gorge trails might be closed until spring

Posted by on Sep 12, 2017 @ 11:56 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Columbia Gorge trails might be closed until spring

Hiking trails affected by an Oregon wildfire in the Columbia River Gorge might be closed for months, authorities have said.

Landslide risk, potential for falling trees, root snags and severe erosion as the winter rains start will have repair crews busy until spring, Dawn Stender, a trail crew supervisor for the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area said.

The fire in the Columbia River Gorge has displaced hundreds of residents, shut down Interstate 84 and burned 52 square miles since it started over the Labor Day weekend in one of Oregon’s most treasured natural places. Eastbound lanes of I-84 will remain closed another week and officials on Sunday expanded the trail closures to all recreation areas.

The wildfire damaged the popular Angel’s Rest trail, leaving the steep, switchback path looking like a moonscape pierced with blackened tree trunks. Fire also burned a pedestrian tunnel near Oneonta Gorge.

It’s too early to fully assess the damage elsewhere, but many other popular hikes use trails that were in the middle of the blaze, including Eagle Creek, Wahclella Falls, Munra Point, Larch Mountain, Oneonta Gorge and Horsetail Falls.

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North Carolinians Team up to Complete MST Hike in One Day

Posted by on Sep 12, 2017 @ 6:33 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

North Carolinians Team up to Complete MST Hike in One Day

Over 1,600 North Carolinians collaborated on September 9, 2017 to complete in one day 100% of the 1,175-mile Mountains-to-Sea hiking trail from the Smokies to the Outer Banks.   

Most hiking legs were 3-5 miles long, although one hiker went over 20 miles. Officials with the American Hiking Society said the “one-day” hike was probably the first such event ever among America’s long distance trails.

The hike, organized by Friends of the MST, commemorates a September 9, 1977 speech by Howard Lee that became the catalyst for creation of the trail. Lee was NC Secretary of Natural Resources and Community Development at the time and told attendees at a national trails conference that North Carolina should create a “state trail from the mountains to the coast leading through communities as well as natural areas.” Lee, in his eighties, hiked the trail at Jones Lake State Park during the celebration.

Hurricane Irma did affect the event, as three persons on the alternative paddle route were called away to prepare for the hurricane as part of their jobs. 

“Hiking is physically and mentally healthy and low cost recreation,” said Kate Dixon, executive director of the Friends. “We believe the success of this event will inspire others to get outdoors, and reinforce the need to protect our state’s beautiful natural resources and scenic vistas.”

The MST was established as a state park in 2000. Friends will use funds raised in connection with the 40th anniversary of the Lee speech to build, maintain and promote the trail. Each year volunteers contribute over 30,000 hours to those tasks.


Taking in the White Mountains, every step of each trail

Posted by on Sep 11, 2017 @ 7:02 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Taking in the White Mountains, every step of each trail

In 1907, the Appalachian Mountain Club published a little book called “Guide to the Paths and Camps in the White Mountains.” As its rather wordy title made clear, it was a collection of maps and descriptions of trails through the Presidential Range and beyond.

Through printing after printing, the book changed titles — the 30th edition of what is now known simply as the “White Mountain Guide” was just published — but its basic structure remained largely unchanged: It was an adventure book without a plot.

Then some hikers decided that it most certainly did have a plot, a very long and simple one: To finish the book, you must walk every trail in it, all 1,420 miles. Called “redlining” — the idea being that you draw a red line over every completed trail — it has become increasingly popular over the last decade.

“It used to be this obscure thing, but I have people coming into the shop all the time now asking about it,” said Steven Smith, the owner of the Mountain Wanderer Map and Book Store in Lincoln, N.H., and the editor of the latest edition of the guide. He’s also the seventh person to redline, a feat he finished in 2010, using the 28th edition of the guide.

Redlining is indeed a challenge, one that took Smith 30 years to accomplish. You’ll need to climb all 48 of the 4,000′ peaks, probably more than once because there may be several routes to the top and many side trails and spurs. Redliners say you’ll easily walk 3,000 to 4,000 miles trying to complete all the trails.

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The Layering Equation: Dressing for Winter Comfort

Posted by on Sep 10, 2017 @ 11:26 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The Layering Equation: Dressing for Winter Comfort

Calculating how to layer on clothing for maximum comfort while venturing outside can be a tricky equation.

There are lots of variables, like unknown or changing weather conditions and activity levels that can range on a given day from strenuous boot-packing or snowshoeing to long sedentary chairlift rides or winter camping.

Everybody’s different, too, with different comfort and exertion levels, so there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the layering question. Lucky for us, we can leave our Number 2 pencils at home, because this is a trial-and-error sort of thing. Once you figure out the layering options that work best for you, your time outdoors becomes that much more enjoyable.

Today’s baselayers are highly breathable, which allows them to wick moisture and makes them perhaps the most important piece of your arsenal when it comes to pure temperature regulation. The right baselayer complements the rest of your layering system, making the whole system as versatile as possible.

Though it might seem counterintuitive, thicker doesn’t always mean warmer. Baselayers come in different weights and thicknesses, and many people prefer the thin and lightweight variety. Most modern baselayers are meant to have a close fit without being overly tight.

Here’s an overview of some different layering options, some study material to help you make the most of your layering decisions.


A free series of fall foliage hikes is planned across New Hampshire in the coming weeks

Posted by on Sep 9, 2017 @ 12:18 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

A free series of fall foliage hikes is planned across New Hampshire in the coming weeks

Following the leaves as they turn color from north to south in New Hampshire, the Five Easy Hikes series will catch the early reds of turning maples in Bethlehem, take in a full-moon hike near Lake Sunapee, catch the breathtaking views over Lake Winnipesaukee in Alton, explore a less-traveled trail on Mount Monadnock in Jaffrey and end with a pre-Halloween visit to a property some believe to be haunted in Chesterfield.

The Five Easy Hike fall series is sponsored by the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests and WMUR. They are all free.

Reservations are required by calling 224-9945 or by going to event registration.

The first hike in the series is planned for Sept. 24 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Rocks Estate in Bethlehem. The foliage usually turns color first in the north of the state and the series is designed to follow the peak foliage from north to south.

The first hike will allow for an early glimpse at the foliage, set against the White Mountains. The views from the sprawling fields of this historic estate are magnificent in late September and the days are often warm.

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China’s Mars will feature zero gravity, hiking trails and an amusement park

Posted by on Sep 9, 2017 @ 7:03 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

China’s Mars will feature zero gravity, hiking trails and an amusement park

The space race just got closer to home. China recently unveiled plans to recreate Mars in a 35,000 square mile region of Tibet.

The $61 million project is expected to be both a tourist destination and training grounds for future astronauts.

Located near the westernmost tip of the Great Wall, the replica will be built in Qinghai province, an arid, rocky stretch of desert land described by China’s official news agency as “the most Martian place on Earth.”

“People dream about migrating to Mars, so what we want to do is give people a high-end experience of what it would actually be like to live in outer space,” said the director of lunar and deep space exploration at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Attractions are expected to include a Mars-themed amusement park, hiking trails, some type of zero-gravity experience and a camping area where visitors will sleep in “module-like accommodations.” At least one section of the cold, dry region will dedicated to astronaut training and research.



National Public Lands Day 2017—less than four weeks away

Posted by on Sep 7, 2017 @ 12:11 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

National Public Lands Day 2017—less than four weeks away

NEEF’s 24th annual National Public Lands Day (NPLD) is just a few weeks away. Where will you be on September 30, 2017 when hundreds of thousands of people join in the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands? Take a moment to check out NPLD events in your area and register your event today.

Whether you are interested in learning about nature, spending time with your family, getting exercise that is good for your health, connecting with your neighbors and others in your community, or giving back to the lands that offer all these opportunities and more, there is a National Public Lands Day event for you.

National Public Lands Day is supported by seven federal partners: Bureau of Land Management, Department of Defense, National Park Service, US Army Corps of Engineers, US Environmental Protection Agency, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and US Forest Service. Each year, several federal partners award grants to support select NPLD sites.

In addition to federal partners, NEEF also works with more than 250 state, county, city, university, and school partners, as well as many parks and recreation departments.

To encourage people to join in and visit their public lands, NEEF’s National Public Lands Day is a fee-free day for all federal public lands and many state parks. Whether you volunteer on NPLD, enjoy some boating, hiking, fishing, or camping, or simply learn more about your public lands and the plants and wildlife that live there, NPLD is an opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors and celebrate the lands that give us so much.


Conquering the Florida Trail in a skirt

Posted by on Sep 7, 2017 @ 6:36 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Conquering the Florida Trail in a skirt

Out on the trail, hiker Gretchen Matt is known as “Dirty Bowl.”

It’s a long-standing tradition among serious hikers to adopt a nickname. (Matt’s harkens back to her days as an Outward Bound instructor who was lackadaisical about cleanliness.) And Matt is a serious hiker. In her 28 years she has completed two of the most intimidating and respected hikes in the U.S. — the Appalachian Trail (2,190 miles) and the Pacific Crest Trail (2,659 miles). In January 2017, she decided to attempt the lesser known Florida Trail — one of the country’s 11 designated National Scenic Trails.

Florida’s tropical climate makes the 1,100-mile trail one of the ideal winter thru-hikes and the biodiversity the route offers as it snakes through the heart of Florida and around the panhandle is unrivaled.

But the Florida Trail can push a hiker’s endurance and nerves to her limits. Those 1,100 miles rely heavily on painfully long stretches of road walking — taking hikers through busy towns and along car-packed two-way roads. And if hikers go south to north, which is recommended, they start with the toughest piece of trail — nearly 40 miles of waist-deep, alligator-populated bog known as Big Cypress Swamp.

But Matt was up for the challenge. She would give herself 40 days. She booked a flight from her home in Spokane, Washington, and used an online hiker forum to get a ride from the Miami airport to the trail’s southern starting point. She would be hiking alone.

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It’s Almost Time for Mountains to Sea Trail In a Day

Posted by on Sep 6, 2017 @ 11:44 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

It’s Almost Time for Mountains to Sea Trail In a Day

There will be boots and boats on all 1,175 miles of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail on September 9, 2017, from Clingmans Dome atop the Smokies to Jockeys Ridge on the coast. What a great way to celebrate the day 40 years ago when Howard Lee, N.C. Secretary of Natural Resources at the time, first proposed the idea of a statewide trail.

As time neared filling all 300 legs of the trail, Friends of the MST noticed that the total of hikers and paddlers was nearing 1,000. Another couple hundred hikers and they could have a hiker for every mile of trail as well. So they created a secondary goal of enlisting at least 1,175 hikers for MST in a Day. If you know someone who would like to hike but hasn’t signed up, give ’em a nudge to sign up at MSTinaDay.org.

Where parking permits, they have added more slots to certain Segments. In Segment 10 through the heavily populated Triangle, for instance, they’ve added 65 openings on 12 legs. If there was a leg you wanted to hike but it was full, check again: it may have an opening.

On September 7, Friends will send a guide to each hiker (hopefully at least 1,175 of you) who has signed up going over pertinent safety and logistical issues. In the meantime, you can get most of your questions answered via the MST in a Day FAQ.

As you prepare for September 9, it is recommended that you download the Trail Guide for your Segment. To find your leg(s) of the trail in the guide, check the beginning and ending mileage markers on the Meetup site where you signed up, or on your Segment page at mstinaday.org. All significant twists and turns will be noted on that page. There will be more detailed instructions on how to use the guide later in the week.

And yes, they are keeping an eye on the weather. They will be in touch with you if it looks like it might affect your day on the trail.


Looking Back at the History of Hiking in America

Posted by on Sep 5, 2017 @ 12:18 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Looking Back at the History of Hiking in America

“Why would anyone enjoy deliberately walking around in nature?” is an initial question. As a longtime junior high school teacher, it was a challenge to bring 14-year-olds to a mental place where they could appreciate “just walking” around in the backcountry. At first, many wanted to keep riding in cars, skateboarding or at least biking — hiking was rather stupid.

Hiking, or leisure walking, began as a chosen social activity only when Americans were freed from the necessity of travel by foot. When public transportation improved after the Civil War, and when automobiles became very common after World War II, many citizens suddenly awakened to the idea they could drive to a trailhead and just walk right out into nature. It’s not such a simple concept if you mull it over. We aren’t thinking of Jim Bridger or Jedediah Smith, but urban sorts venturing out of the city.

Silas Chamberlin’s well-written tome with the catchy title, On the Trail, offers a concise, 204-page survey of the ways organized hiking or nature walking grew in the United States after the 1860s. Until the late 1960s, this was an East Coast story. The author’s main thesis is that the social aspect of the new 19th-century hiking clubs had been lost by the 1970s with the rise of hiking as a mass phenomenon. The United States developed from fewer than 2 million walkers to more than 34 million dayhikers/backpackers today.

When did the idea of choosing to hike out into nature increase to the point that by the 1960s, the old-style hiking clubs couldn’t handle the masses (or, the masses rejected large-group social hiking)?

Learn more here…


Stewards needed to keep hiking trails clear after monsoon storms

Posted by on Sep 5, 2017 @ 7:13 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Stewards needed to keep hiking trails clear after monsoon storms

Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation needs help maintaining hiking trails near Tucson.

Monsoon 2017 has let up for now, but just weeks ago storms dumped lots of rain on southern Arizona. All that rain caused weeds and other plants to grow out of control.

County officials are looking for trail stewards to make sure these trails continue looking good.

Volunteers are needed to keep an eye on their assigned portion of the trail and clean it up when the trails start looking overgrown.

Volunteers will be asked to do minor maintenance by removing any weeds blocking the trail and let the county know if anything more serious is going on.

The trails program coordinator said the trails need to be kept under control. He said if they aren’t, hikers could be forced to make their own trails, which could destroy the wildlife there and put your safety at risk.

“Most of the people who come out here are able to handle the trails. Some of our trails are difficult by design and build but getting lost is a problem,” he said. “Especially in the Tucson Mountain Park where we have [unintended] social trails and we are really trying to address that…”

To volunteer, call 520-724-5000 and ask for Mark Flint with the Trail Stewards Program or email him at Mark.Flint@pima.gov.


Night hiking: Beating the heat in Grand Canyon

Posted by on Sep 4, 2017 @ 11:46 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Night hiking: Beating the heat in Grand Canyon

Below the Tapeats on the South Kaibab Trail is a great place to stop and rest called “Big Shady.” When it is hot, this spot is nice and cool. But folks are here huddled up above the trail in the shelter of a slight overhang in the cliff, trying to stay dry and wishing that there weren’t so many clouds in the sky. Rather odd given that it is the middle of August. But it is 2:30 in the morning and so far the 21 mile rim-to-rim hike across Grand Canyon is unfolding as planned.

With daytime temperatures soaring above 100 degrees, hiking the Grand Canyon in the summer is difficult. Knowledge of the area and planning are essential. For this hike, start in the late evening and count on crossing through the bottom of the canyon when it is relatively cool.

Part of the planning involves figuring out which direction to go. Many argue that hiking north to south is best in that you save yourself from having to hike up an extra thousand feet. But a strong argument can be made that the elevation difference actually favors a south to north itinerary. It is 6.8 miles and 4,200 feet to the north rim from Cottonwood Campground, while it is 7 miles and 4,800 feet to the south rim from Bright Angel Campground.

11:15 is a good time to start down the trail. You will likely have cool temperatures all the way to Phantom Ranch, where the forecast in August is for an overnight low of seventy-five degrees. Although this would seem to be the perfect time to hike, others don’t really seem to get the message. The vast expanse will seem wholly yours.

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10 Exercises That Will Get You Ready For Any Hike

Posted by on Sep 4, 2017 @ 6:29 am in Hiking News | 2 comments

10 Exercises That Will Get You Ready For Any Hike

Preparing your body for a hike is often overshadowed by other hiking preparations, such as what gear to bring, which trail to take, and whether you have the right hiking shoes. As important as these preparations are, it is equally important to prepare your body for hiking by strengthening your muscles, increasing your cardiovascular capacity, and improving flexibility.

Hiking is a lot of fun, but it can be a challenge too. In order to make your hiking experience the best that it can be, it is smart to train your body for any hike, whether it’s a beginner 1-mile trail or an epic backpacking trek. Body preparation will prevent injury and soreness and ensure that you have a great time on your adventure.

If you want to get in shape for your next hike, these 10 exercises will target all the muscles you’ll use the most. For hikers, there is a lot of strain placed on the leg muscles: the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, and calves, especially if you are drastically changing elevation on your hike.

Follow this workout for 4 weeks leading up to your next outdoor adventure. Aim for 3 nonconsecutive days a week. Make sure to warm up with some dynamic stretches before the workout, and cool down with some static stretches after the workout. Note that you may feel sore after the first week. That’s normal and will improve with exercise consistency.

Get the 10 exercises here…


Greece Beyond the Beaches: The Undiscovered Epirus

Posted by on Sep 3, 2017 @ 11:51 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Greece Beyond the Beaches: The Undiscovered Epirus

Epirus is on the northwest side of the Greek mainland. Multicolored concrete culture in Athens switches into green-blue stone villages, ancient arched bridges, ramshackle castles, quiet mountains topped with snow, and clear river gorges. It’s pretty rugged and was not easily accessible for many years (even now, the only way to reach it is by bus or car.)

In Epirus you’ll feel like you’ve entered a realm where the past is charmingly present. 75 beautiful arched bridges are used to connect small villages to each other, and have the ability to quickly transport visitors to a bygone era.

Secluded from masses, embraced among the mountains, and so close to Gods, Epirus used to be home to an ancient oracle where priests and priestesses looked for signs that would lead them in the right direction. You can walk around the theater of Dodona and its nearby ruins.

If there is any advantage to Epirus’ poor infrastructure, it is definitely the pristine surroundings, where one barely notices the sparse human touch. The majority of the terrain is rough, often only marked by a path that belongs to the official national or international network of hiking trails.

One of the areas with the most stunning views, hiking trails, various animal species, and diverse vegetation is Pindos National Park. The highlight of the park is the 20km Vikos Gorge (its deepest point is 1,600ft).

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Canada’s ‘Great Trail’ Is Finally Connected

Posted by on Sep 2, 2017 @ 12:06 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Canada’s ‘Great Trail’ Is Finally Connected

In 1992, three Canadians, inspired by their country’s 125th birthday celebration, thought up a crazy plan. What if they could connect all of Canada’s hiking trails, footpaths, rail trails, and boardwalks into one giant mega-trail that snaked from coast to coast?

It’s now 2017. Canada has celebrated its 150th birthday. And on August 26th, those three dreamers—along with the thousands of volunteers who helped clear brush, fix planks, put up signs, and do all the other little tasks that make wilderness passable—celebrated the coast-to-coast connection of what they’re calling the Great Trail.

The trail can be used for biking, hiking, and horseback riding in the summer, and cross-country skiing and snowmobiling in the winter. “First you build it, then get people using it and then it becomes an icon that will hopefully last forever,” Paul LaBarge, one of the original founders.

The path stretches 24,000 kilometers, or nearly 15,000 miles, criss-crossing southern Canada before forming a huge loop in the Northwest. A quarter of this length is water—wetland and river routes where hikers will have to trade boots for boats.

It’s also over five times as long as the West Coast’s famed Pacific Crest Trail, and over six times as long as the Appalachian.

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