Top Hiking Tweets of the Hour

I troll Twitter quite a bit… usually just catching up on what friends are doing or looking for new articles/photos about the great outdoors. By the way, Adayak is on Twitter – follow us now if you’re not already @Adayak. But sometimes I’ll just troll the search results for keywords like hiking, climbing, kayaking etc to see what people are talking about. Usually I’ll find a tweet or two like “skiing in Lake Tahoe” or  “hiking Mt. Whitney” … things that make me happy to read.

But other times you’ll come across something funny, strange or just off the charts. Here are the “Top” hiking tweets of the last hour. Enjoy!

@WeeblezWobble I have this crazy urge to go hiking. #wtf

@djcarson1205 It is so windy today. I’d love to go hiking but with it being deer season, I don’t trust that there aren’t trespassing hunters around….

@kyle11611 Skinny pants and some vans are not made for hiking

@marian_kihogo LESSON OF THE DAY – If the mountain won’t come to you, I say wear your hiking boots and scale it. Nothing worth getting, is easy.

@th0i3 Driving to fox glaciers and 4 hours of hiking.

@iamrytragik It’s really pretty out…. I wish i was fishin, or hiking, ANYTHING but sitting in this damn office.

Want us to follow you on Twitter? Post a comment with your handle! We’d love to know what our fans/customers/blog readers are up to.

Hiking During Hunting Season

If you spend a lot of time in the outdoors then you probably know it’s deer hunting season in most places in the United States. This makes hiking in remote areas extremely dangerous if you don’t take precautions. No hikers likes being forced off their favorite trails, especially when the weather is cooling down and there is still some fall foliage left, but the truth is hikers have to share the forest. Let’s take a look at some precautions hikers can take to avoid getting shot (ouch!)

1. Wear a blaze orange hat or vest
Deer blend into their surroundings. People with hiking clothes sometimes blend into their surroundings. Anything with a bright blaze orange hat/vest will stick out like a sore thumb. Blaze orange is the standard “don’t shoot me” color. Wear it and you’ll be fine.

2. Move from national forests to national parks
Hunting is not allowed in US National Parks. If you live close to one, take your hiking from a national or state forest to a National Park — it might be more crowded, but you know you’re safe.

3. Stick to the trail
If you’re set on hiking in an area where there could be hunters, be sure you stay on designated hiking trails. Don’t go bushwhacking.

If you’re unsure of the hunting rules in your favorite hiking spots, visit your states Department of Fish and Game. There you’ll be able to find all the laws and designated hunting times/locations.

Hike Safe!

Do You Make Cairns When Hiking?

Have you ever been hiking along a trail and see a pile of stones stacked on top of each other. Though they’re made of natural rocks, they stick out like a sore thumb because you can instantly tell it’s not a natural formation. These small stacks of rocks are known as cairns. Cairns along hiking trails are often maintained by groups of hikers adding a stone when they pass.

Cairns date back hundreds of years and can be traced back to the British Isles. They’ve been used to mark burial sites, mile markers, and even ancient light houses (build a cairn and stick a torch on top). But the ones we’re talking about are tiny, often consisting of only 5-10 stones.

Something like this:

cairn DuPont State Forest

Building cairns along trails is quite popular. It’s also common for hikers to add a stone to the top of the cairn as he/she passes by. I’ve never built one or added a stone to one, but I think I will next time I run across one.

Have you built a cairn before? Where is it?

Here are a few more pictures:

cairn stone formation

cairn rock formation

cairn stacked stone formation

Hiking the John Muir Trail – Video Log

Ever wonder what it would be like to hike the entire John Muir Trail in a single outing? It’s 211 miles from the northern point at Happy Isles in Yosemite Valley to the southern point located on the summit of Mount Whitney. At 14,505 feet, Mount Whitney is the highest peak in the lower 48 states.

john muir trail map

Raymond Rippel completed his John Muir Trail hike earlier this summer in 18 days. A great success by itself, but what makes Rippel’s story cool is that he did a video log every day of his experiences on the trail and uploaded them for our viewing pleasure. You can view all 18 videos on his Vimeo account – definitely worth the time as you drink your morning coffee.

I’m going to get your started with Day 1:

Hiker Goes Missing Near Hoover Dam

A 16 year old from Henderson, NV (just outside of Las Vegas) went missing this weekend while hiking near the Colorado River towards the Hoover Dam. “He is believed to have been hiking somewhere in the area between Gold Strike Canyon and White Rock Canyon… east of Boulder City and south of Hoover Dam,” NPS spokesman Andrew Munoz said.

Shane McNeil sent a text message to his mom around 7:00 PM, just 30 minutes before his scheduled pickup at the Hoover Dam Visitors Center. Once 10:00 rolled by, he was reported missing.

I fear the worse for Shane McNiel, but hope that he is found alive and well. If he was able to send a text message at 7:00PM and was close to his pickup spot, then he likely could have called for help if he was in a bad situation. It’s also unlikely he could have got lost. Shane said he could see the Colorado River in his last text message – so he should know to just follow the river to reach the Hoover Dam.

It’s unclear what could have happened… fall off a cliff into the water? Maybe. Snake bite? Maybe. Followed the Colorado River the wrong way? Maybe. Let’s all hope SAR can get out there and locate this kid.

Anyone with information should contact the National Park Service at (702) 293-8998 or (800) 680-5851.

Pacific Crest Trail Hiking

Amongst hikers in America, the Pacific Crest Trail stands high on the list of the best hiking trails available, especially for those of you on the west coast. I have hiked sections of the PCT, but have never full engulfed myself in all that she is… that is, until I saw a show on the National Geographic Channel about thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. I learned a lot in that one hour of television. But, how much do you know about it? And is it a route that you will try to thru-hike some day?

So you want to thru-hike the PCT?

The Pacific Crest Trail runs through Washington, Oregon and California. The route can be started from either the furthest point north (Canada) or the furthest point south (Mexico). The majority of people start from the Mexico border and work their way north to the Canada border; however, this is not set in stone, and many decide to go south – it really just depends on where you live and what time of year you plan to hike. At 2,650 miles long, the Pacific Crest Trail stands at one of the longest ‘official’ hikes in the world, and this is one of many reasons why it is also the most popular among extreme hikers. Not only is the distance long, but the route also boasts variance in elevation from sea level to around 4,000 meters high. The highest point is at Forester Pass in the Sierra Nevada at 13,153 feet.

The route is also one of the most scenic available in the United States running through an astonishing 25 national forests and 7 national parks. Unlike some other recognized hikes, the Pacific Crest Trail does not run near to mainstream society. Along the way you will have to plan food drops at local outfitters and general stores. Planning is one of the most important parts of the trip – you can find yourself going weeks at a time without running into a supply store.

The Pacific Crest Trail association estimates that to calculate every fine detail of the trip takes around half a year. Add in another 5-6 months to actually do the hike and you’re looking at having to dedicate a solid year of your life for this journey. There is no official number of people that have finished the hike, but it is believed that around 3,000 people have completed the amended hike route which was finalized in 1993.
Are you up for the challenge?

Forester Pass on the Pacific Crest Trail

How Experienced Hikers Can Discover New Areas

throwing darts

My finance professor in college told the class “picking individual stocks is like throwing darts.” He was big on mutual funds that grow over time and have less risk than individual stocks. It’s hard to pick an individual stock that you think will do well – in fact, some argue that you’re just as likely to hit a winner by throwing darts at the financial section of your newspaper and buying whatever you hit.

This same method of picking stocks can be applied to picking a hike. If you’ve exhausted all the hiking trails in your region, a great way to discover new areas is by hiking where there are no trails. The excitement of traveling into the unknown is just what you need to get that “rush” again.

Here’s how you do it:

1. Go to Google and do a map search an area you want to hike (let’s say Great Smoky Mountains).
2. Zoom in on the area you are interested in and make sure you are in Satellite mode.
3. Print the map
4. Hang the map on your wall (or a tree outside)
5. From 10-20 feet away, throw a dart at the map.

Wherever the dart lands, that will be your new destination. Odds are there won’t be an established trail that takes you directly there. The key is to go off trail and explore new areas to reach your destination. If you have a GPS unit, plug the coordinates into it. If you’re old school and use paper maps, then draw our your hike before hand. Hopefully you won’t have to park your car too far away.

Before you go, check the follow:
1. Make sure you will not be trespassing on private lands.
2. Bring the appropriate survival/backcountry gear.
3. Tell someone where you are planning to hike.

great smoky mountain map

Hiking to Bridal Veil Falls in DuPont State Forest

This morning we set out for a hike to Bridal Veil Falls in the DuPont State Forest in western North Carolina. We parked at the Corn Mill Shoals parking lot and took the Corn Mill Shoals trail the entire way to Bridal Veil Falls. It’s a 2.75 mile hike to the falls, so about 5.5 miles round trip. We hiked at a pretty quick pace and made it to the falls in about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

The trail starts out pretty easy, it’s wide and has compacted gravel in certain spots – it’s a great trail for mountain bikers. About a mile into the hike you come to a wet stream crossing (I believe it was Little River). We took our shoes off and made it across without falling. The water was probably shin high, but the rocks below us were extremely slippery. After you cross the creek the trails turns into a narrow, rocky climb with nice elevation gains.

We eventually made it to Bridal Veil Falls and had some lunch. We then climbed up to the top of the falls where you can actually go behind the waterfall – I believe parts of Last of the Mohicans were filmed here. We hung out at the falls for about an hour and then took the Corn Mill Shoals trail back to the car.

It was a fun hike, thought at some spots the bugs were pretty bad. We didn’t see any wildlife along the way, probably because it was too hot. Below are some pictures of the hike.

Corn Mill Shoals hiking trail

Corn Mill Shoals hiking trail in DuPont State Forest

Little River stream crossing

cairn on hiking trail

lower Bridal Veil Falls in DuPont State Forest

upper Bridal Veil Falls in DuPont State Forest

5 Reasons To Go Hiking At Night

Most recreational hikers are accustomed to hiking during the daylight hours – you know, they want to see the nature and enjoy the views. It makes a lot of sense actually. But hiking at night can give hiking a whole new meaning. A trail you’ve hiked 100 times will be different in many ways if you take the trek in the dark.

Put your fear of Bigfoot away and let’s take a look at 5 Reasons To Go Hiking At Night

Hiking at Night
Photo from Flickr Creative Commons

1. Solitude
If you’re in a National Park or just outside a big city then you know what it’s like to hike in a crowd. Every few yards you’re passing someone or having to stop while a family poses for a photo by a waterfall you’ve seen a dozen times this month. The crowds are annoying. When we’re in nature we want solitude. We want to hear the birds, smell the flowers and feel the leaves under our feet – they best way to get solitude on a hike in busy places is to go at night.

2. The Night Sky
The night sky is a beautiful thing – something I’ve been known to take for granted. Too often we are looking down at the trail… well, at night time it’s all about looking up at the beautiful stars. A night hike opens your eyes to the universe above. Pick a spot at the peak of your hike and lay down to enjoy the stars – you never know, you might catch a falling star.

3. New Challenges
Hiking at night will present a hiker with new challenges. You need different gear (hiking boots, head lamp, compass, etc) and have to be on your toes at all times. If you’re not careful you step on a loose rock and twist an ankle. You can’t always see what’s ahead of you and really need to plan your hike out ahead of time. Turn an easy 3 miles hike into a tough challenge by doing it in the dark.

4. Put Fear To The Test
What is lurking in the dark? Bigfoot? When hiking at night your vision is cut short and you can’t see what could be hiding in the woods nearby. A lot of people have a fear of being in the dark… we have horror movies to thank for this. You can put those fears to the test by hiking at night.

5. Weather
This reason only applies to certain times of year and in certain parts of the world. If it’s summer time and you’re hiking in the Southeast US (like in the Smokies) it’s going to be hot during the day time. The sun will beat you down to a pulp, give you nasty burns and make you beg for water. Why put you’re body through all that? Hike at night and stay cool, calm and collected during your adventure.

If you have any reasons you’d like to add to the list please post a comment and let us know.

Trail Talk: The Kayaking With Alligators One

It’s Friday and Memorial Day weekend is upon us. Our offices are closed on Monday, so be sure to get your orders placed by Saturday (5/29) 10:00 AM Eastern to ensure they are shipped out on Saturday. If you don’t make the deadline we will ship your order on Tuesday morning when mail resumes. Don’t forget to check out our four brand new paddling t-shirts … they are hot right now and a great buy for the summer.

Ok, now that all the boring corporate stuff is out of the way let’s get into this week’s edition of Trail Talk. This week we have kayaking with alligators (would you do it?), hiking on the Old Mount Si Trail outside of Seattle, a run-in on the trail with a turkey hunter (scary), a new Dirtbag Diaries podcast on inspiration (climbing and amateur boxing), and rock climbing in the Utah Desert.

Blackwater CreekDave’s Yak Tales
Old Mount Si TrailHiking with my Brother
Mt. Hardy – Or NotGreat Smoky Mountain Girl Scouts
Fear and Spraying in Estes ParkKelly Cordes
Utah DesertWayne Wallace’s Blog

As always, submit us your favorite blog posts of the week and we’ll include them in the next edition of Trail Talk.

Have a great holiday weekend everyone – and get outdoors!