Hiking News

Celebrate Valentine’s Day In America’s National Parks For Free

Posted by on Feb 2, 2015 @ 5:05 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Celebrate Valentine’s Day In America’s National Parks For Free

February has arrived, and we all know what that means: it’s time to start making plans for Valentine’s Day! But let’s face it, chocolate and dinner are so overdone, so why not try something new this year?

America’s National Parks have come up with some unique ways of celebrating your love for your significant other this Valentine’s Day. And even better is that February 14 falls on a free park admission day this year, so you can visit those parks without having to pull out your wallet.

There’s probably nothing more romantic than sitting on a beach and listening to whale song, and that’s exactly what you can do at California’s Point Reyes National Seashore. This ranger-guided program teaches you all about gray whales and their migration habits.

Another romantic activity is stargazing, especially when it comes complete with stories about lovers immortalized in the constellations at Colorado’s Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument.

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Air Force Academy Remains Quiet on New Rule for Hiking Trails

Posted by on Feb 1, 2015 @ 10:58 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Air Force Academy Remains Quiet on New Rule for Hiking Trails

The Air Force Academy is keeping mum when it comes to a “buddy system” rule that bars solo hiking, running and mountain biking on academy trails and open spaces.

Two days after releasing a statement attributing the new rule to on-campus attacks, the academy says it won’t provide more details. A spokesman refused to divulge where and when the attacks occurred, what happened or whether anyone was injured. “It’s under investigation,” academy spokesman Meade Warthen said.

Anyone using academy trails and open spaces must do so with at least one friend, according to the rule. The only exception is the Santa Fe Trail, which skirts the campus’ eastern edge. The policy is temporary but will remain in place until further notice, the statement said, adding that it applies to visitors as well as Air Force personnel and others in uniform.

The statement provided little information about the basis for the change, saying only that someone was “physically assaulted” in December and again “more recently.”

The academy is home to dozens of miles of trails, including the popular 13-mile Falcon Trail and the path to Eagle Peak.

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A Walk on New Zealand’s Wild Side: Hiking the Routeburn Track

Posted by on Jan 31, 2015 @ 9:18 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

New Zealand takes hiking—or “tramping,” as the Kiwis call it—very seriously. The country has nine designated “Great Walks,” ranging from 20 to 48 miles, which pass through some of its most scenic areas and are managed by the Department of Conservation (DOC). The DOC also maintains more than 8,700 miles of trails and a network of more than 950 basic accommodations for trampers to spend the night.

The Routeburn Track, which passes through both Fiordland and Mount Aspiring national parks in the country’s Southern Alps, offers a little bit of everything: glacier-carved valleys; beech forests; still, glacial lakes; rushing streams and waterfalls; and craggy slopes that get an occasional dusting of snow.

A number of endemic bird species, including the endangered bush canary and the kea, an alpine parrot said to eat an occasional sheep, are also found in the area. An added bonus for hiking newbies: The trail is about 13 miles shorter than the popular Milford Track, and about 17 miles shorter than the Kepler Track, another local option.

The Routeburn Track can be hiked in either direction and takes between two and four days to complete—depending on your pace and how many detours you take. Weather is best from November to late April.

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AT champ takes next step, hikes every state with family

Posted by on Jan 31, 2015 @ 8:33 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

AT champ takes next step, hikes every state with family

After finishing the fastest thru-hike ever of the Appalachian Trail in 2011 Jennifer Pharr Davis was ready to slow down.

Having completed the then-2,180-mile trail from Maine to Georgia in 46 days, 11 hours and 20 minutes, Davis looked forward to settling down at home in Asheville with her husband, Brew, and starting a family. Their daughter, Charley, was born about 15 months later.

“After the AT record, I wanted to evolve into more sustainable hiking, day hikes and shorter overnights we could do with Charley,” she said. Davis also had a business, Blue Ridge Hiking Company, to run and a book about her AT accomplishment to promote, titled “Called Again.”

So Davis’ next adventure — hiking all 50 states with Brew and Charley — grew out of a desire to balance family, business and time spent outdoors on the trail.

“We had planned, every summer, to do a book tour,” Davis said. “We’d set it up ourselves. The original plan was eight weeks of events and we were just going to hike up in New England. And one day, we just had the idea: look, we’re running ragged working at home. Why don’t we work together and have an adventure?”

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Featured National Recreation Trails – Mason-Dixon Trail, Pennsylvania

Posted by on Jan 30, 2015 @ 3:44 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Featured National Recreation Trails – Mason-Dixon Trail, Pennsylvania

The Mason-Dixon Trail section receiving NRT recognition is a 30 mile-long hiking path, following the western slopes of the Susquehanna River Gorge between Wrightsville and Norman Wood Bridge (at PA Rt. 372). This blue blazed hiking trail rolls along river hillsides and drops into deep ravines while crossing a number of tributaries to the Susquehanna River. Along the way are an abundance of wild flowers, ferns, broad leafs and evergreens.

Rock formations, stream crossings and scenic overlooks add to the beautiful setting of the mile wide Susquehanna River valley. The area is habitat for many species, including bald eagles, osprey, white tail deer, wild turkey and is a stopping place for numerous migratory birds. The area is rich in history, including archeological evidence of native americans, boundary disputes between american colonies and the construction and demise of a canal system.

This section of trail designated as a National Recreation Trail, is part of the larger Mason-Dixon Trail (MDT) system, a 192-mile long hiking trail. The MDT connects with the Appalachian Trail at Whisky Springs to the west and the Brandywine Trail at Chads Ford to the east. A large loop can be made by going north on the Appalachian Trail to the Horse Shoe Trail, then back on the Brandywine Trail to the eastern terminus of the MDT.

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Two waterfalls in Oregon Coast Range offer a splendid show

Posted by on Jan 29, 2015 @ 9:04 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Tell someone from the Willamette Valley that you’re headed to Golden and Silver Falls State Park, and there’s a good chance you’ll get a blank stare in response. “Um… you mean Silver Falls State Park, right?” Actually, no.

Although it shares a strikingly similar name with the largest and one of most popular parks in Oregon, Golden and Silver Falls is its own unique place. Tucked deep in the Coast Range east of Coos Bay, this state park is smaller and attracts a fraction of the crowds compared with its famous counterpart.

But when it comes to the beauty of its waterfalls, Golden and Silver Falls play second fiddle to no place in the Pacific Northwest. The 200-foot Golden Falls and 130-foot Silver Falls have been called the two most impressive waterfalls in Oregon’s Coast Range, and when you see them after a heavy winter rain, it’s difficult to argue.

Golden Falls roars into a box canyon with so much ferocity, it kicks up mist that plumes upward like smoke from a wildfire. Silver Falls, in contrast, spools off a rounded dome like gray hair falling off a balding head.

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Hike Forever

Posted by on Jan 28, 2015 @ 2:38 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

After four decades of backpacking and climbing in Wyoming’s Wind River Range, 75-year-old Joe Kelsey is living proof that, while time may stop for no one, it might just slow down for hikers. Kelsey is the keeper of records for these remote mountains.

A climber and backcountry explorer by craft and a writer by temperament, Kelsey has been meticulously cataloging information about the Winds from alpinists, backpackers, fishermen, cowboys, and horsepackers for 40 years—often fact-checking it on the ground himself.

Kelsey’s third edition of Climbing and Hiking in the Wind River Mountains, the local bible for backpackers and mountaineers alike, was published last year. He said he thinks it will be his last (19 years passed between the second and third editions; the first was published in 1981).

No one else on earth has Kelsey’s knowledge of the Winds. The trails that are impassable due to deadfall, the lakes that still have indigenous brookies, the granite spires that remain unclimbed. If the measure of a man’s life is his lasting contribution to his community, Kelsey’s achievement can’t be underestimated: All those who care about the Winds, one of the greatest ranges in the world, owe him a debt of gratitude.

Kelsey moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where he bought a cabin with no electricity and no running water. Forty-two years later, it still has neither, and Kelsey still lives there half the year, spending the cold part in Bishop, California, wandering the Sierra.

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A walk on the wild side: meet the first woman to YoYo the Pacific Crest Trail

Posted by on Jan 28, 2015 @ 9:11 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

A walk on the wild side: meet the first woman to YoYo the Pacific Crest Trail

Last year, a 44-year-old walked out of her life in the UK and on to the plains and mountains of America. In doing so, Olive McGloin, from Dublin, Ireland, became the first woman in the world to walk the Pacific Crest Trail, from the borders of Mexico to Canada and back again, non-stop.

They call it the YoYo when you attempt the return trip in one go – and the test it presents is hard to imagine. With her husband, Darrell Johnson, she left the starting point at El Cajon, near Campo California, on April 25th, 2014, taking the first of tens of millions of steps that would bring them to the Canadian border and back. On August 3rd they touched Canada and immediately turned around and started walking back to Mexico, reaching it on November 5th last. Borders are powerful but it was what the landmass of the US offered them between these two borders that mattered.

Desert, mountain plains, deep snow, sheer ice cliffs, volcanoes and long tarmac roads. Forests enclosed them and valleys consumed them as they hiked through California, Oregon and Washington State. They walked for miles through the smoke of forest fires, losing the bright blue shimmer of Lake Tahoe to clouds of smoke and ash and slept under skies of shooting stars, full moons and hard hammering thunder and lightning.

The ground beneath them was ever changing: sand, rock, ice, snow, water and tarmac seemed to meld together along old pioneer trails and high mountain passes. The trail passes through 26 national forests and 48 wilderness areas. Sixty per cent of the trail is simply wilderness. It is one of the most challenging hikes in the world – and utterly seductive.

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How to protect the hiking trails during the winter

Posted by on Jan 27, 2015 @ 8:56 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking is a year round activity in Colorado, but sometimes the drastic changes in the weather can have some negative impacts on the trails. “That quick thaw of the snow creates havoc on the trail, you get all the mud and you get individuals that choose to walk or run through it,” Steve Hitchcock, Founder of Upadowna.

Walking through the mud can cause ruts where water can build up and cause damaging erosion to the topsoil. “And a lot of these plants in the high desert need a lot of that nutrient rich top surface level, when that’s washed away the erosion continues,” Hitchcock said.

Another issue is making the natural paths wider than they should be. “As you widen those trails by going around, all of the sudden you have compromised the beauty of the single track, you’ve increased human foot print if you will on the natural environment,” Hitchcock said.

In order to stop the decay, people should avoid hiking paths that are muddy. But if you’re already on them there are a few things you can do to help preserve the trail.

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Hiking, biking route from Belle Isle to Upper Peninsula named Iron Belle trail

Posted by on Jan 27, 2015 @ 8:43 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

A new hiking and bicycling trail stretching hundreds of miles through Michigan will officially be called Michigan’s Iron Belle Trail, officials have announced.

The trail will run from Belle Isle Park in Detroit to Ironwood in the western Upper Peninsula along the border with Wisconsin. Michigan Department of Natural Resources Director Keith Creagh said in a statement the name “effectively captures the beauty and strength of our state’s exceptional natural and cultural resources.”

Portions already are open in Michigan’s Lower and Upper peninsulas, with additional segments planned to debut this year. The Parks and Recreation Division of the DNR, as well as other partners, is seeking private and public funding to secure and develop trail corridors.

Proposed by Gov. Rick Snyder in 2012, the trail will provide a 1,259-mile hiking route and a 774-mile bicycling route. A large portion of it follows the existing North Country National Scenic Trail, which runs from the New York-Vermont border to central North Dakota.

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Proposed 145-mile Missouri hiking, biking trail

Posted by on Jan 26, 2015 @ 9:32 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

A proposal to transform an abandoned Missouri rail corridor into a 145-mile, cross-state biking and hiking trail is drawing praise from outdoor enthusiasts and concerns from some landowners.

If converted, the Missouri Rock Island Trail would stretch from Windsor in the western part of the state to the Franklin County town of Beaufort in the east while twice crossing the 236-mile Katy Trail, which is also a state park.

The proposed plan would not do away with the railway itself. Instead, it calls for the corridor to be “railbanked,” a legal term that means that it is made available for public use but allows for the reactivation of rail service by keeping the existing tracks intact.

“Without interim trail use, there’s no future potential for rail service,” said Bill Bryan, director of Missouri state parks.

Concerns, however, include increased vehicle and pedestrian traffic, access to land for livestock, and biosecurity, said Leslie Holloway, director of regulatory affairs at the Missouri Farm Bureau. Another point of contention was whether the economic benefits would outweigh the cost of the trail.

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Teaching English and More, From Stops Along the Appalachian Trail

Posted by on Jan 25, 2015 @ 9:08 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Penny Studt hasn’t seen her Eco-Literacy English students at Union High School since before Christmas, but for the last three weeks she has been giving them assignments, grading their work and commenting on their class discussions.

She’s doing all of these things, not from a satellite classroom or even an office somewhere, but from stops along the Appalachian Trail, a 2,180-mile continuous footpath from Springer Mountain, Ga., to Mount Katahdin in Maine. Studt is in the midst of hiking “the AT” with her husband, Mike, and their dog, a 5-year-old mini, dapple daschund nicknamed Land Shark.

The family set out Dec. 30 and are expecting it will take them another five to seven months to complete the “thru hike,” as it’s called.

Along the way, Studt is continuing to teach her Eco-Literacy English class for juniors. This semester’s curriculum is an interactive, online course that combines language arts learning objectives with eco-based literature and assessment.

“Students will be virtually accompanying me as I attempt to thru-hike the 2,180 miles, from Georgia to Maine, of The Appalachian Trail,” Studt writes in her course overview where she outlines what students can expect in terms of grading, assignments and activities.

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Coastal Crescent Trail – a new alternate hiking option

Posted by on Jan 25, 2015 @ 8:59 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Coastal Crescent Trail – a new alternate hiking option

The North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation and the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail (FMST) are pleased to jointly announce the naming of the Coastal Crescent Trail as an additional option for hikers seeking to walk across North Carolina.

The Coastal Crescent Trail will serve as an option in eastern North Carolina until the Mountains-to-Sea State Trail (MST) is completed along the planned route, which connects Smithfield, Goldsboro, Kinston and New Bern, following the path of the Neuse River.

The newly named trail provides a guided way for hikers to explore communities and natural and historic sites in the ecologically unique and scenic lower coastal plain.

In addition to the Coastal Crescent Trail, other alternatives include N.C. Department of Transportation bicycle routes, as well as a paddle trail along the Neuse River through Johnston, Wayne, Lenoir and Craven counties.

The North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation, with the support of the FMST, remains committed to helping communities along the planned route of the MST to further develop the trail. The division is also committed to exploring additional community interest in trail development, including trails that connect to the MST, at both regional and local scales across the state. As part of that effort, the division, with input from the FMST, local government agencies, other partners and the public, is in the process of writing its master plan for the MST.



Appalachian Trail Specialty License Plates Generate Record Funds in Virginia

Posted by on Jan 24, 2015 @ 9:04 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy says a record amount of funds were generated from sales of the Virginia Appalachian Trail (A.T.) specialty license plate in 2014.
Those funds have been applied to the protection and stewardship of the Trail in Virginia.

The Conservancy says $45,000 was generated and will enabled the it to fund projects including open area management in Shenandoah National Park, Trail construction projects with the Konnarock Trail Crew program, outreach to young people throughout the state, and the Mount Rogers Appalachian Trail Club’s efforts to replace a critical bridge in Southwest Virginia.

Funds generated by the Virginia A.T. specialty license plate were applied to Trail projects by the ATC’s Regional Office in Roanoke in cooperation with a task force from the eight official Trail Maintaining Clubs designated in the state.

In addition to the A.T. specialty license plate in Virginia, plates are also available in Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania. Depending on the state, a portion of the cost of each plate (between $10 and $20) is returned to the ATC.

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The Dirty Dozen Wilderness Hike Challenge

Posted by on Jan 23, 2015 @ 9:36 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The Dirty Dozen Wilderness Hike Challenge

Do you have what it takes to complete the Dirty Dozen Wilderness Hike Challenge? Presented by The Wilderness Society and Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine, this challenge is a great way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Wilderness Act, discover new places or revisit favorites, and have the chance to win prizes.

2014-2015 marks the 50th anniversary of The Wilderness Act, the legislation that established the National Wilderness Preservation System and set aside an initial 9.1 million acres of wildlands. Congress, through this Act, recognized the importance of Wilderness as a resource for generations to come.

In celebration of this important anniversary, The Southern Appalachian Office of The Wilderness Society wants you to get out and enjoy the Wilderness Areas near you. The Dirty Dozen Wilderness Hike Challenge is a chance for you to visit the wildest places that are preserved by The Wilderness Act. Log 10+ miles in 12 Wilderness Areas in the Southeast, show them and tell them about it, and you could win outdoor swag.

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Adam’s Peak: Trekking Sri Lanka’s most sacred mountain

Posted by on Jan 23, 2015 @ 9:19 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

“‘Every second, new colours,” said the guide, Dharme, as the sky turned from crimson to gold. As the sun rose, the landscape below took shape – distant peaks soared above valleys which dipped beneath a canopy of mist. Waterfalls plunged, white stupas peeked out from the jungle, and coloured flags were illuminated in the early light.

It was 6am on the summit of Sri Lanka’s sacred mountain, the conical Adam’s Peak (or Sri Pada as it’s known locally), which has been venerated since antiquity for a footprint-shaped indentation, which Buddhists believe was left by Buddha and Muslims attribute to Adam, Hindus to Shiva, and some Christians to St Thomas.

According to Sinhala tradition, Buddha left his mark on Sri Pada (“sacred footprint”) on his third and final visit to Sri Lanka. Some say it is actually impressed upon a sapphire beneath the rock. A temple has been built to house the imprint, to which Sri Lankan devotees aspire to make a pilgrimage at least once in their life. Set off before dawn from Nallatanniya, deep in hill country, to reach the top in time to see the “shadow of the peak” – when the sun projects the shape of the mountain on to the mist below.

The mountain is home to all sorts of wildlife such as the slender loris and the purple-faced langur. Each year, scores of butterflies flock there to die in a mysterious migration pattern that has given the mountain the nickname Samanalakande, “butterfly mountain”. “And there are leopards,” Dharme said.

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After 22 years as volunteer, Howard hangs up hazel hoe

Posted by on Jan 22, 2015 @ 4:30 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

The agony and angst endured by those who hike for months over the rugged National Scenic Trails are painfully palpable. But they, and the millions of hikers who self-impose these hiking challenges, really have it easy. Think how hard it would be to hike all those miles without trail markers, or without a trail.

That’s where the real trail angels come in – those selfless, volunteer laborers, many of retirement age, who hack, hoe, dig, shovel, sweat and bleed to create the trails we hike and love, such as the 3,000-mile Pacific Crest Trail on the West Coast, the 2,189-mile Appalachian Trail traversing the Appalachians from Georgia to Maine, and the nearly 1,000-mile long Mountains-to-Sea Trail from the Smokies across the state of North Carolina to the Coast.

Most trail miles were built and continue to be maintained by volunteers such as Howard McDonald, 89, of Hendersonville, and his cohorts on the Carolina Mountain Club’s Friday Trail Crew.

McDonald was honored and celebrated at a combo birthday-retirement party by the club for his 22 years and more than 9,000 hours of volunteer trail service.

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Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation gets nearly $1 million for kids

Posted by on Jan 21, 2015 @ 11:22 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation gets nearly $1 million for kids

An ambitious project that began on the Blue Ridge Parkway to connect children with the great outdoors is getting bigger.

Kids in Parks, a signature program of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, has been awarded $921,000 from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation to continue its work helping kids and families reconnect with nature through TRACK Trails.

Over the next three years, the grant will be used to expand the network of trail adventures throughout North Carolina, with a goal of designating at least one trail in every county. In the spring, biking TRACK Trails will open at Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park in Boone. Kids in Parks will also develop an app for mobile devices to guide trekkers on the hiking, canoeing, disc golf, and soon-to-open biking paths.

Since its inception in 2008 with the first one-mile loop on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail starting at the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center in Asheville (at Milepost 384), the Kids in Parks program has introduced children and families to the wonders of the outdoors and encouraged them to become physically active.

TRACK Trails – which are free to hike – can now be found in the Pisgah National Forest, at Chimney Rock State Park, the Orchard at Altapass on the Blue Ridge Parkway and the North Carolina Arboretum, among many others in WNC.

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Connecticut’s “The Sky’s the limit” hiking challenge includes fun and prizes

Posted by on Jan 20, 2015 @ 8:36 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Connecticut’s “The Sky’s the limit” hiking challenge includes fun and prizes

Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) recently announced a great opportunity to win prizes for hiking Connecticut’s high peaks as part of a new program – “The Sky’s the Limit” 2015 Hiking Challenge, designed to promote hiking in Connecticut’s state parks and forests throughout 2015.

“What a great way to spending time outdoors hiking Connecticut’s high peaks with family and friends and joining others in a friendly challenge to visit all 14 locations and win prizes along the way,” said Robert Klee, DEEP Commissioner. “Connecticut has hundreds of miles of hiking trails all over the state, ready for you to hike any season of the year.”

Participants can receive a medallion for hiking up 10 designated locations. For hiking up all 14 high peaks, 50 families will receive a hiking staff. Names will be drawn from all who completed the 14 designated hikes on January 1, 2016. Visit www.NoChildLeftInside.org