Hiking News

Itinerate hiker: Retired surgeon explores, volunteers on CDT

Posted by on Aug 17, 2014 @ 10:54 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Itinerate hiker: Retired surgeon explores, volunteers on CDT

Eric White has hiked 8,500 miles. And his favorite mileage has been along the Continental Divide Trail. It’s what brings him to Butte, Montana every summer to volunteer on crews improving the trail. White, a retired orthopedic surgeon who lives in Williamstown, Mass., spends part of his summers in Butte volunteering with AmeriCorps to improve the trail.

He first became acquainted with Butte in 2008 when he became lost on the infamously poorly marked CDT. He bumped into Jocelyn Dodge, recreation forester with the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, who pointed him in the right direction. But a week later, when he found he couldn’t make his way through deep snow in the Pintler Wilderness Area, he contacted Dodge and asked to be put to work.

For White, contributing a few weeks a year of his time to help build bridges, put up signs and record routes on GPS units is the least he can do. “Many hikers who have done the long trails appreciate all the help they get from others – Trail Magic,” White said. “Having experienced this, many hikers, myself included, want to give back to the trail community what we previously have received.”

White, known as “Mini Mart” in the long-distance hiking community, which is fond of bestowing nicknames on its members, said of the triple-crown Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest and Continental Divide trails, the latter is his favorite. He hiked the AT while still working in the late 1990s and the Pacific Crest shortly after retirement.

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Take a Hike Across Ethiopia’s Simien Mountains

Posted by on Aug 16, 2014 @ 8:57 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hauling yourself up a stony path, the air thins with every breath. Ribbons of mist weave past and a vulture circles overhead. Just when you think your legs can’t take it anymore, you reach the top.

Your guide warns you not to step any closer to the edge. It is the most terrifying sensation—and one of the most rewarding. All around similar hills rise like turrets in the valley below, with sheer drops for sides, and it is hard to take in the scale. With these majestic cathedrals of rock—and not another soul as far as the eye can see—it’s obvious why they call this the Roof of Africa.

The Chinese-built roads make the three-hour drive to the base camp at Sankaber an easy whiz through lush pastures and past goat herds weaving their way across the road, oblivious to traffic. Soon the roads give way to dirt tracks, and after leaving the final village, the real adventure begins. It is unimaginable to contemplate this stretch without an SUV, as you lurch from side to side through unfathomably deep mud, on a number of occasions jolting within a hair’s breadth of the precipitous edge.

Once on foot you pass trees covered in lichen as wild thyme perfumes the journey. Blue salvia plants illuminate the pastures. Sitting contentedly in a neat circle, are three gelada baboons—found only in the Ethiopian Highlands.

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A short drive from Seattle, the hiking is spectacular

Posted by on Aug 16, 2014 @ 8:41 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

This summer’s devastating wildfires in eastern Washington have cast a smoky pall over some of the state’s premier hiking destinations, but those trails have been largely untouched by flames. So “best days” can be had in abundance throughout the Cascade Mountains, on trails within easy driving distance of the city. And you don’t have to scramble up steep rock to experience them.

It’s hard to say what’s best about a trip up to Ingalls in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness — that glorious moment when you pop over the ridge and 9,415-foot Mt. Stuart is revealed in all its majesty, lunch beside Ingalls Lake, the après-hike dip in the crystal-clear Teanaway River to wash away the trail dust or the blue-cheese-and-grilled-onion burger at the historic Brick tavern in Roslyn — which stood in as the Alaskan town Cicely in the ’90s TV show “Northern Exposure” — on the way home. Partake in all of these, and you’ve got yourself one magical day.

There are options. Most straightforward is the trail to Lake Ingalls (nine miles round trip, 2,500- feet elevation gain) at the edge of Washington’s legendary Enchantments range, the views getting better with each step as you rise up to Ingalls Pass, with the culminating moment with Mt. Stuart. From the pass, the trail dips down to flower-filled Headlight Basin before its last jaunt to the lake. Or go a shorter distance (five miles round trip, 2,100-feet gain) on a branch to Longs Pass just to see the view and perhaps some mountain goats.

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Explore hiking trails of former military base

Posted by on Aug 15, 2014 @ 11:18 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Since the closure of Fort Ord in 1994, the 28,000 acres that comprised the military base have been spun off into various civilian uses. As a part of that process, on April 12, 2012, President Obama signed a declaration setting aside 14,650 acres—half of the former base—as Fort Ord National Monument. The Bureau of Land Management currently oversees 7,200 acres, and the remainder will be turned over to the BLM once the military completes environmental remediation.

Where the Salinas Valley reaches Monterey Bay, a vast level plain separates Big Sur’s Santa Lucia Mountains from the Gabilan Range. On the pancake-flat agricultural outskirts of west Salinas, drive south on Davis Road through huge fields of green salad fixings. Up ahead, across much of the horizon, the lands of Fort Ord National Monument rise as a level stretch of upland bluffs perhaps 100 feet above the farm lowlands.

The map of the national monument indicates several access points, but the Creekside Trailhead is the quickest approach to an impressive web of trails. The parking area is at the foot of the bluffs, so job No. 1 was getting up top.

The trails at Fort Ord National Monument are ideal for mountain bikers, and dog lovers will appreciate that their pets can explore off-leash. Don’t expect a special landscape or an enticing destination, but you will find many miles of pretty trails.

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Minnesota’s secret hiking trails

Posted by on Aug 15, 2014 @ 11:10 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Minnesota’s secret hiking trails

Minnesota’s “Land of 10,000 Lakes” moniker evokes lasting memories of fishing, paddling and campfires at the edge of a shore. But being on the water isn’t the only way to enjoy the outdoors.

Thousands of miles of hiking trails crisscross Minnesota, with some seeing more foot traffic than others. From well-maintained, easy-to-access trails to narrow footpaths ­hidden deep in the wilderness, there’s a trail to suit all tastes and skill levels.

On Aug. 21-23, the North Country Trail Association will host the Minnesota Hiking Celebration at Spirit Mountain in Duluth. In addition to seminars on hiking equipment and guided tours on the famous Superior Hiking Trail, the event will promote hiking on the lesser known North Country Trail and other under-the-radar routes.

“Our goal is to raise awareness of the North Country Trail,” says Matthew Davis, regional trail coordinator for the North Country Trail Association in Minnesota and North Dakota. “We want to get more people to think about hiking as a great way to get out and enjoy the outdoors and disconnect from our fast-paced society. Enjoy a healthy activity,” says Davis.

Minnesota will be home to 775 miles of the North Country Trail, but only about 60 percent of the state’s network is complete, with two contiguous sections.

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Vanilla cookie trees and other hiking surprises

Posted by on Aug 14, 2014 @ 7:59 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

A group of hikers pause along a heavily wooded trail in the Lincoln National Forest. One leans into a Ponderosa pine, sniffs the trunk and proclaims, “Vanilla cookie tree! Who wants to smell vanilla!”

The other hikers raise their eyebrows, wondering if their companion has gone mad, but you can’t resist. Feeling slightly foolish, you lean into the tree, put your nose against the bark and inhale deeply. The others wait silently for your verdict. “Hmm, smells more like … butterscotch.”

Yummy surprises with Trail Snails! Soon everyone in the Trail Snails, a local informal hiking group, presses noses against the tree bark. “Deep inside the crack is best!” “Yes, it smells just like vanilla!”

Jim Edwards, the Snails’ organizer, explains, “When a Ponderosa’s bark begins to show yellow or pink, the tree is mature and acquires a smell reminiscent of vanilla.” Sniffing “vanilla cookie trees” is one of many yummy or tasty surprises enjoyed by the Trail Snails on our twice-weekly excursions.

“Algerita bushes smell like citrus, and corn lily leaves smell like peanut butter,” reminds Jim. “And don’t forget mint,” add hikers Carolyn and Roger.

Other hikers chime in, “Wild morel mushrooms and common field mushrooms are delicious!”

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Tunnel Creek: Nevada’s hidden hiking gem

Posted by on Aug 14, 2014 @ 7:43 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

No shortage of stunning scenery exists in the Lake Tahoe Basin, but while the majority of sightseers flock to the southwestern portion of the lake to take in the postcard-picture-perfect vistas afforded by Emerald Bay, the northeastern portion of the lake offers a quieter and equally spectacular experience.

Tunnel Creek, just outside of Incline Village, is a popular trail with locals due to the unparalleled look at Crystal Bay as it spans out beneath the ascending trail, along with the swerve of coastline as it winds southward. Couple those views with its relative degree of seclusion, particularly in comparison with much of the easy-to-moderate hiking trails in Lake Tahoe, and any avid hiker can see why the trail is an indispensable part of the basin’s recreation portfolio.

The trailhead is located just south of Ponderosa Ranch roughly one mile from the downtown corridor of Incline Village, Nev.

Ponderosa pines dominate the East Shore, as the Carson Range has a different geology and ecology than the Sierra Nevada Mountains that populate the West Shore.

One of the chief attributes of Tunnel Creek Trail is the great views come early and often, so those with less of an appetite for exercise or on a time crunch don’t have to carve out a huge portion of the day to get the experience.

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White People Love Hiking. Minorities Don’t. Here’s Why.

Posted by on Aug 13, 2014 @ 8:10 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

White people simply love to spend their free time walking up and down mountains and sleeping in the forest. Search “hiking” in Google Images and see how far you have to scroll to find a non-white person. Ditto rock climbing, kayaking, canoeing, and so on.

That white people love the outdoors is so widely accepted as fact that it’s become a running joke. The website Stuff White People Like has no less than three entries on the subject: “Making you feel bad about not going outside” (#9), “Outdoor Performance Clothes” (#87), and “Camping” (#128). The latter entry reads, “If you find yourself trapped in the middle of the woods without electricity, running water, or a car you would likely describe that situation as a ‘nightmare’ or ‘a worse case scenario like after a plane crash or something.’ White people refer to it as ‘camping.'”

The Outdoor Foundation found in a study that 70 percent of outdoors participants were white. “As minority groups make up a larger share of the population and are predicted to become the majority by 2040, engaging diverse populations in outdoor recreation has never been more critical,” the report reads. “Unfortunately, minorities still lag behind in outdoor participation.”

Yes, there are economic barriers, but the cultural ramifications of those economic barriers are more devastating, as they ripple across generations.

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Rocky Mountain National Park considers closing Crater Trail

Posted by on Aug 13, 2014 @ 1:25 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Due to excessive erosion and damage to sensitive natural and cultural resources, the Crater Trail, a short trail located on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park, will remain closed to use for the remainder of this year, according to the National Park Service.

The Crater Trail is a 1-mile dead-end that is normally open to visitor use by mid-August each year after the bighorn sheep lambing season. The trail leads to the top of the Continental Divide and provides an overview of “The Crater” located on the west side of Specimen Mountain.

Park personnel say the trail is not sustainable in its current location and is subject to erosion, which is damaging cultural and natural resources, including alpine tundra. Improving the trail in its current location is not desirable because the cost of long term maintenance would be excessive, according to park officials.

The trail leads directly to the Specimen Mountain Research Natural Area (RNA). There are three RNAs in the park. These designated areas are an integral part of the park’s designation as an International Biosphere Reserve. RNAs contain prime examples of natural resources and processes that have value for baseline and long-term studies for scientific and educational purposes. Providing direct access runs counter to the purposes for which the Specimen Mountain RNA was established.

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Bottled water comes from the most drought-ridden places in the country

Posted by on Aug 11, 2014 @ 2:09 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Bottled-water drinkers, we have a problem: There’s a good chance that your water comes from California, a state experiencing the third driest year on record.

The details of where and how bottling companies get their water are often quite murky , but generally speaking, bottled water falls into two categories. The first is “spring water,” or groundwater that’s collected, according to the EPA, “at the point where water flows naturally to the earth’s surface or from a borehole that taps into the underground source.” About 55 percent of bottled water in the U.S. is spring water, including Crystal Geyser and Arrowhead.

The other 45 percent comes from the municipal water supply, meaning that companies, including Aquafina and Dasani, simply treat tap water — the same stuff that comes out of your faucet at home — and bottle it up. (Weird, right?)

But regardless of whether companies bottle from springs or the tap, lots of them are using water in exactly the areas that need it most right now.

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Joseph McConaughy Smashes Pacific Crest Trail Speed Record

Posted by on Aug 10, 2014 @ 3:38 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

53 DAYS 6 HOURS 37 MINUTES

Come back here for more details as information becomes available.

 

A 23-year-old Seattle man has smashed the speed record for hiking the full length of the Pacific Crest Trail. Recent college grad Joe McConaughy crossed into Canada on Sunday, exactly 53 days, 6 hours and 37 minutes after leaving the Mexican border on the storied trail. McConaughy says he felt elation and disbelief at the finish of the 2,660 mile journey.

“I immediately broke down,” he recalled a few hours later. “I was switching between laughing and crying – thinking of all these incredible tales and trips we’d had day in, day out and all the pain.”

There is no official time keeper for long distance trail records. McConaughy had a support team and a satellite tracking beacon to verify his time. He says he ran the downhill and flat sections and generally hiked the uphills.

Even McConaughy sounds astonished by the pace he maintained. “I can’t believe that I averaged 50 whole miles a day over some of the toughest mountains in the West – the toughest mountains in the West,” he marveled.

The Seattle native shaved a full six days off the unofficial record time for a supported end-to-end Pacific Crest Trail hike. Santa Monica College track coach and exercise physiology instructor Josh Garrett – a vegan – held the previous record of 59 days, 8 hours and 14 minutes. Garrett set that mark last summer.

The long distance hiking fraternity recognizes a separate record for trekking border to border alone, without an accompanying support team. Heather ‘Anish’ Anderson of Bellingham, WA continues to own that record of 60 days, 17 hours.

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Popular Smokies hiking trail under reconstruction

Posted by on Aug 10, 2014 @ 10:20 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Popular Smokies hiking trail under reconstruction

While some crew members pounded rock into gravel with sledgehammers, others used pry bars to skid granite boulders into place. A hand-powered cable winch capable of pulling 4,000 pounds was strapped to a buckeye tree at the top of a steep flight of steps, and everyone was covered in mud.

The crew members were 1½ miles up the Chimney Tops Trail, one of the rockiest, steepest and most popular hiking trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Three years go, with funding from Trails Forever, they began working their way up the mountain from the trailhead off U.S. 441, also known as Newfound Gap Road.

Now, they’re only a half-mile from the double-capstone knob famously known as Chimney Tops, and barring any unforeseen delays, they expect to finish by mid-October 2014.

Launched in 2009 during the Smokies’ 75th anniversary, the Trails Forever program provides dedicated funding to address the park’s most heavily damaged hiking trails. To create the endowment, the Friends of the Smokies raised $2 million that was matched dollar-for-dollar by the Aslan Foundation, the philanthropy of the late Knoxville lawyer Lindsay Young. The $200,000 in annual interest from the endowment pays for a special trail crew that focuses on trail reconstruction as opposed to the routine trail maintenance already handled by the park’s other two crews.

Not since the days of the Civilian Conservation Corps have trails in the Smokies undergone such basic reconstruction.

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Hiking requires right mix of food, water

Posted by on Aug 10, 2014 @ 9:51 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

One aspect of hiking that differs from other endurance sports such as running is it’s easier to eat almost anything while you hike. But that’s not to say you should.

Hiking often is a lower intensity workout than running, but it can still include several hours of continuous aerobic activity. It is often done at elevation, carrying a pack up and down steep grades, negotiating rock steps, logs and other obstacles.

Sometimes, hiking is done at an exertion level near or even above the anaerobic threshold. So it makes sense to eat appropriately before, during and after a hike, just as you would for a long run, bike ride or other endurance activity.

Whether you prefer a high-carbohydrate diet or a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet, or some combination, getting something in your stomach 30 minutes or so before you start hiking allows time for digestion before you ramp up the activity level.

A good mix of carbohydrates, protein and fat will provide energy over a longer period than carbohydrates alone. Since most hikes or climbs start at lower elevations and/or exertion levels than the final objective, proteins and fats might be more easily absorbed and converted to energy during the early portion of the hike than later.

And don’t forget to drink plenty of water.

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Hiking to Granite Basin, Alaska

Posted by on Aug 9, 2014 @ 8:51 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

There are two principal ways to get to Granite Basin, and on a wonderfully warm and sunny day in early August, the Parks and Recreation Hiking Group used both of them. Nine strong hikers aimed for Mount Juneau and the Juneau Ridge; they spent 10 hours on the loop from the top of the mountain, along the ridge and down through Granite Basin. They reported seeing goats and lots of flowers, especially noting a spectacular spread of pink-flowered fireweed in the upper basin. Beyond the Chilkat Mountain Range, the mighty, snow-clad peaks of the Saint Elias range were visible in the far distance, an unusual treat on an unusually clear day.

The rest of the hikers, slightly more numerous, chose a more leisurely hike, going up the Granite Creek trail to the basin. That old avalanche that had rested over the trail for several years was finally gone completely, no doubt as a result of the warm weather punctuated by periods of heavy rains. The trail had been roughly brushed, getting the nettles out of reach of any bare legs and making it possible for hikers to see where they put their feet.

The salmon berries were ripe, and both human and ursine pickers had been busy. In the middle of the trail was the most beautiful bear scat ever. It was a very shapely heap so full of digested red salmonberries that it positively glowed in the sunlight, the red set off by smudges of blueberry and yellow salmonberry, and dotted with numerous pale yellow salmonberry seeds. Very artistic.

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Restoring Acadia’s Trails

Posted by on Aug 9, 2014 @ 8:43 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

By PORTER FOX for the NY Times

A 120-foot white pine shaded what was left of the trail. The best indication of which way to walk was an auburn arc of fallen pine needles, bending to the right. Then a small clearing. Then flecks of blue filtering through the branches and the muted growl of the Atlantic meeting the shore of Mount Desert Island, in Maine.

My guide, Christian Barter, a 6-foot-3 Acadia National Park trails work supervisor, blazed ahead in his size 13 work boots. He was wearing park service greens with tan gaiters over the pant legs and had dark smears across his forehead from working on the trails. Mr. Barter is a poet by profession, with two acclaimed books to his name. After working on Acadia’s trail crew for over two decades, he’s also become something of a trail-building scholar.

Mr. Barter, under the management of Gary Stellpflug, an Acadia trails foreman, has spent the last 15 years researching, cataloging and rebuilding century-old trails like the one we were on. Last month, he guided me along several routes, pointing out meticulous stonework and explaining what it took to unearth and rehabilitate the most elaborate trail system in the country. He described 19th-century “path-makers,” highbred gentlemen who spent summers armchair-engineering intricate paths around Mount Desert Island’s barren 1,500-foot peaks, glacial lakes and ironbound shoreline. Shards of afternoon sunlight fell between the trees as he spoke. A patch of golden thread blossoms alongside the trail mustered a streak of color against the dark green backdrop.

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Hiking the Janapar Trail in Karabagh, Armenia

Posted by on Aug 9, 2014 @ 8:39 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The Janapar Trail in Armenia is a nearly 300-km. (186-mile) hiking route that weaves through the mountains of Nagorno-Karabagh (Artsakh) from Hadrut all the way to Vardenis. Marked for the first time in 2007, the trail brings visitors to many of Artsakh’s natural and historical landmarks, including the alluring monasteries of Gtichavank, Dadivank, and Gandzasar, the otherworldly Zontik waterfall, and the magnificent 2,000-year-old tree at Skhtorashen. Broken into 16 sections, each day on the Janapar Trail begins and ends in a different village, allowing hikers the opportunity to spend each night with a local family and experience Artsakh through the eyes of its people.

The natural beauty of Artsakh is an invaluable resource for the development of the region’s budding tourism industry. But what wyou will discover along the trail is that the Janapar offers something totally unique to other hiking destinations: The warmth and generosity from strangers is endearing.

Families take you in and show you kindness, love, and hospitality. And when you make the “Armenian connection,” the generosity flows as fast as the oghi. After a long day of hiking, you can stuff our bellies with fresh vegetables from the families’ gardens.

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Building the Blue Ridge Parkway

Posted by on Aug 8, 2014 @ 8:47 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Building the Blue Ridge Parkway

Early in the 20th Century, there were very few National Parks in the eastern portion of the United States. Forward-thinking dreamers in the government purchased the lands for Shenandoah National Park and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the late 1920’s, and that led to the idea of a plan for a scenic motor road that would connect the two parks and their respective states, Virginia and Tennessee.

In its beginnings, the project was originally known as the Appalachian Scenic Highway. Early plans for the roadway called for it to span three states: Virginia, North Carolina, and Tenneseee, but a specific route could not be planned until funding was secured in late 1933. A few months later, North Carolina and Tennessee began arguing about the end point of the road, and each state sent their own proposals followed by months of lobbying federal officials. Finally, in late 1934, after two heated hearings, the announcement was made that the roadway would be set following North Carolina’s proposal, a route that would follow the crest of the Blue Ridge and go through the towns of Blowing Rock, Linville, Little Switzerland, Asheville, and end at Cherokee, rather than the Tennessee route which would have partially gone through North Carolina and headed west around Linville with a terminus in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Ultimately, North Carolina was chosen for a variety of reasons, perhaps the most important being that the route through it was more scenic with higher elevations, versus the low-ground route by several streams that was proposed through Tennessee.

Congress formally designated the road project as the “Blue Ridge Parkway” and placed it under the oversight of the National Park Service, an agency that oversees the road and its lands to this day. Ground was broken on September 11, 1935, at Cumberland Knob just south of the NC/VA border. Work on the roadway was divided into 45 different zones, and work was done in several different non-connected areas simultaneously, mostly by private contractors who hired unemployed men from the local labor pools.

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Tellico Wild: Explore Cherokee National Forest on land and in the water

Posted by on Aug 8, 2014 @ 8:35 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Tellico Wild: Explore Cherokee National Forest on land and in the water

Great Smoky Mountains National Park may have wider name recognition, but at 655,598 acres, the Cherokee National Forest is Tennessee’s largest tract of public land.

The forest is split into two sections along the Tennessee-North Carolina line north and south of the Smokies. When organizers of this weekend’s Wilderness Weekend began brainstorming ways to celebrate the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, they knew they wanted to showcase the various and sundry benefits that the Cherokee National Forest provides in terms of outdoor recreation and tourism.

They found the perfect platform in Tellico Plains, otherwise known as “The Little Town with the Big Back Yard.” Located in the mountains of Monroe County, Tellico Plains lies at the doorstep of some of the most celebrated natural wonders at the south end of the Cherokee National Forest. With the Cherohala Skyway Visitor Center in Tellico Plains as headquarters, this weekend’s “Tellico Wild: Explore Our Big Back Yard” has exceeded its organizers’ expectations.

Tennessee Wild, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting wilderness areas on the Cherokee National Forest, is hosting the event. Interpretive hikes will be led by various experts. On Saturday there’s going to be a 2.5-mile hike along the Unicoi Turnpike that was part of Trail of Tears and later became the first toll road in America.

Get details here…

 

High in the N.C. mountains, prominent hikers bridge political differences

Posted by on Aug 7, 2014 @ 11:26 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

High in the N.C. mountains, prominent hikers bridge political differences

The politically odd couple striding up a rocky trail in the Roan highlands came to celebrate a conservation landmark, and to plot its rebirth.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Sen. Richard Burr, the conservative North Carolina Republican, are unlikely partners in promoting the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund. The fund turns 50 in September and, to survive, must be reauthorized by a skeptical Congress by next year.

Jewell hiked with Burr and a handful of conservation leaders as part of her four-state tour this week to rally support for the fund. Burr is co-sponsor of the bill that would reauthorize the fund and allocate money to it.

On a segment of the Appalachian Trail that leads to 6,000-foot Grassy Ridge, one of the sweeping, treeless balds the Roan Highlands on the N.C.-Tennessee line are known for, the group was surrounded by a patchwork of parcels the fund has helped protect.

“You can’t get it in a picture. You can’t get it from a map, so you have to come out and see,” said the Interior Secretary. “We’re surrounded by rhododendron, the blueberries are ripening, and there are multiple endangered plants here. These are stories we will lose if we don’t help protect places like this.”

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Hiker says opera scared off mountain lion

Posted by on Aug 7, 2014 @ 8:15 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Kyra Kopestonsky had a close encounter with a mountain lion in Down Valley Park, Colorado, and singing might have saved her life. The Ohio native moved to Placerville a year and a half ago because she enjoyed hiking area trails.

“I thought it was really beautiful,” Kopestonsky said in an interview with 9NEWS. “I [had] never seen a mountain lion.” Kopestonsky said that all changed when she hiked 10 minutes off the main trail in Down Valley Park and heard a twig snap.

“I just sort of caught a glimpse of brown out of the corner of my eye and thought ‘oh there’s an animal here,'” Kopestonsky said. “I turned around and looked, and then [the mountain lion] was just standing there between 10 and 15 feet away from me.”

“I would back up and it would creep forward, so I’d stop. Eventually it sort of crouched down, like part way,” Kopestonsky said. “So, I started backing down the mountain, which was really steep. And then it got up and walked toward me. At the closest point, it was eight feet away.”

Finally, she decided to try something different.

“I don’t know why, I just started singing opera really loud,” Koestonsky said. “It kind of put its ears down and just kept looking at me, and it sort of backed away. Then, it came around the bushes an came towards me again and crouched about 10 feet away.” Kopestonsky believes the predator eventually left her alone because it lost interest.

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