May 20th, 2013 by pat · No Comments
Our National Parks present us with the richest exposure to the most elements of nature of all our natural reserves. That’s part of what makes them so important and well-loved. The extra-ruggedness of their wild terrain can also yield, however, a sense of intimidation for beginner hikers.
But to avoid a National Park near you because you’re worried your hiking skills just “aren’t there yet” would be a crime against nature! Aside from the sheer density of natural resources to be found in our National Parks, the degree to which the terrain varies is also strikingly high, running the gamut from easy to moderate to advanced and back, several times over.
So, in preparation for National Trails Day (June 1), here are # hikes from # National Parks geared toward the beginner hiker. What better way to celebrate National Trails Day this year than to embark on your first adventure through one our most valuable national treasures?
Saddlebag Lake Hinterlands – Yosemite NP
Roughly 7.5 miles round trip, the trails stretching between Saddlebag and Helen lakes offer up more than one lake per mile, plus a number of ponds. With the high and love elevations only about 400 ft. apart, there are no significant ascents and descents. The elevation, though, tops out over 10,000 ft., so you will notice the thinner air if you try to hurry through the hike. Saddlebag Lake Resort sells fishing licences, supplies, and rents small boats. The resort also provides scenic trips on the lake, plus water-taxi service to the 10,070 ft. lake’s far end. By land or by sea, Saddlebag Lake makes for a fun day trip.
Emerald Pools Trail – Zion NP
One of Zion Canyon’s most-used trails, this very scenic one- to two-hour jaunt tours a shady side canyon featuring a perennial stream with dense vegetation, and four limpid pools reflecting towering canyon walls. Hikers not inclined to undertake the entire loop can follow the mile-long paved trail (wheelchair accessible) to the lower pool and a dripping alcove lush with water-loving flora. This trail does pass by steep dropoffs, and so should be avoided when ice- or snow-covered.
Pothole Point Trail – Canyonlands NP
This interesting, self-guided nature trail is easy enough for novice hikers, but is also fascinating enough to attract the seasoned hiker. Along the short, cairned slickrock trail one will find myriad potholes in the Cedar Mesa Sandstone slickrock. At certain times when conditions are ideal, the water-filled potholes are home to a variety of small, unusual creatures. For a small donation, a guide to the potholes and their occasional residents is available at the trailhead.
Traces Nature Trail – Shenandoah NP
As Shenendoah National Park was being realized, pioneer homes already built within its boundaries were either removed or repositioned, creating a scenario in which the National Park had official residents. The last living park resident called Shenandoah home until 1975. Today, careful observation in many areas of the park will reveal traces (hence the name) of these pioneer settlements — rock walls, building foundations, broken crockery shards, and exotic flowers and bushes that return every spring.
Big Trees Trail – Sequoia NP
This trail — with a negligible elevation grade — provides a fine opportunity to see several giant sequoias across a flower-filled meadow. The trail is paved and wheelchair accessible, and offers visitors a representative taste of the Giant Forest experience. The trail is a 1-mile loop, best explored between May and November.
Mammoth Passage Tour – Mammoth Cave NP
Follow your guide to the Historic Entrance where the cave was first discovered more than 5,000 years ago. Entering the cave, imagine early visitors as they walked through these “Mammoth Passages”. Visit one of the largest rooms in the cave and see remains of an early saltpeter mining operation. The tour takes approx. 1 1/4 hours, and does include numerous staircases (160 steps total).
So, regardless of your level of on-the-trail expertise, make a resolution this National Trails Day, and get out and explore your local National Park! For more on planning your trip, check out these comprehensive guides from Wilderness Press and Menasha Ridge Press.
Tags: American Hiking Society · Appalachian Trail · Great Hikes · hiking · Menasha Ridge Press · Nature · Site News · Wilderness Press
April 29th, 2013 by pat · No Comments
Last week we asked the authors of Wilderness Press’s Walking series Why We Walk, and an idea they all expressed is the notion that walking through town allows us to slow down and absorb the world around us. Your classic “stop and smell the roses”-type wisdom.
What our authors revealed in their responses is a connection between walking and urban spaces. Now, of course walking and urban space have been connected all along: a central idea behind urban planning is quick access to the majority of one’s everyday needs, and a chief selling-point of most urban residences is their close proximity to those resources.
However, an all-too-common consequence of this convenience is the hustle/bustle effect. It’s an interesting conundrum for the city-dweller. The opportunity to walk — to slow down and absorb the world around you — is there, but it’s often overtaken by the sheer volume of others around, sharing that space with you.
Looks so peaceful from out here!
This got us at Trekalong thinking about how solitude might be a crucial component to this notion of slowing down, but one that can easily elude the urban dweller. Is it really possible to stop and smell the roses as millions of others rush by, sweeping you along in their wake?
So, like last week, we turned to the experts on urban tranquility — authors of the bestselling Peaceful Places series (Menasha Ridge Press). Here’s what a few of them had to say:
Raynell Boeck, author Peaceful Places: San Francisco says solitude is elusive but necessary:
In San Francisco and the Bay area — where the parade of people is a given, the temptations to excess are great, and noise is a constant — solitude, when we crave it, seems even more elusive. At a time when economic downturn has changed our lives and we just might be headed for our own emotional meltdown, solitude seems ever more necessary.
Laura Randall, author Peaceful Places: Los Angeles explains how chaos and tranquility are 2 sides to the urban coin:
It was a classic L.A. moment: Chaos and ugliness dominated one corner of town while absolute tranquility could be found just around the bend. For every strip mall and smog-check garage this city has, there is an unexpected hillside garden or spectacular scenic overlook to counter it and make you want to live nowhere else on earth.
Paul Gerald, author Peaceful Places: Portland claims the opportunity for peace is always already there:
I often look at how I’m spending my time and how I feel, and I think, Where’s the part where I just relax? Or Is this what I’m really here for? And then comes the thought, You can relax or do what you’re here for when you’ve gotten so-and-so taken care of, or simply, I don’t have time to relax or pursue my purpose when there’s so much to do.
Turns out I do have time. This somebody who is working against me is none other than myself, filling my life with stuff to avoid… something.
Lynn Schweikert, author Peaceful Places: Boston frames the idea with a fable:
More than ever, we need ways to find peace — as the traditional tale “Portrait of Peace” portrays — “in the midst of things as they are,” places where we can find the calm in our hearts that refreshes our spirit, restores our balance, and renews our ability to appreciate the joys and meet the challenges of daily life.
Live in the city? How do you find solitude in your urban jungle?
Tags: Menasha Ridge Press · Nature · Peaceful Places · Site News · Walking
April 26th, 2013 by pat · No Comments
Last Sunday, The New York Times devoted their Travel section to a topic near and dear to our hearts here at Trekalong: walking. One particular piece was especially interesting, featuring 8 historical writers and the walks that inspired them.
This got us at Trekalong thinking: we all love walking, but, beside the health/environmental benefits to using our feet, what exactly is it about such an everyday activity that is so meaningful to us?
We turned to the experts — the authors of Wilderness Press’s bestselling Walking Series – to put words to our walking-obsession. As expected, they were very outspoken about the topic! Here’s just some of what they had to say:
Mindy Sink (author, Walking Denver – Wilderness Press, 2011)
Walking is a luxury. When I have time to walk to work, to my daughter’s school, to run my errands, I feel like a success, someone who has part of the solution to living in this busy, plugged-in world. As I walk, I am more observant about my surroundings, the changing of the seasons, the time of day, and in being unplugged, I am free and relaxed.
Becky Ohlsen (author, Walking Portland – Wilderness Press, 2013)
Lately I’ve been wanting everything in the world (movies, drivers, time) to just slow down. Walking does that: it lets you study your surroundings, for as long or as briefly as you want to, and even if you stop dead in your tracks nobody’s going to rear-end you or start honking and gesticulating. Lots of famous writers were also big walkers, and I think that’s because it’s so undemanding of one’s attention; it’s a bit like taking the train, moving without concentrating much on yourself and what you’re doing, so you can indulge all the big, wide-ranging thoughts that may occur to you.
Lynn Arave (co-author, Walking Salt Lake City - Wilderness Press, 2012)
Walking is among the simplest of activities and less intensive, thereby offering plenty of opportunity to smell the flowers, absorb eye candy, think, reflect or ponder.. In addition, some can’t run or jog in later life and so walking may be the best substitute for them to keep moving. Walking is simply poetry in motion.
John Lee (author, Walking Vancouver - Wilderness Press, 2009)
We didn’t have a car in my family when I was growing up, so I learned the value of walking everywhere from my father – Walking Vancouver is dedicated to him. I discovered from an early age that the “slow travel” approach of strolling means you always learn more about the place you’re visiting: you stop to read the plaques on statues, notice the architecture above storefront level and meet locals along the way who often have stories about their neighborhoods.
Tell us why you love walking!
And while you’re at it, check out all the titles from the bestselling the Walking Series, by Wilderness Press.
Tags: Site News
April 23rd, 2013 by Kara · No Comments
As Walk Score has pointed out, many of our country’s major cities are becoming more walkable, and thus, more sustainable. It’s becoming more popular to ditch the car and walk to the grocery, dining, shopping, and other errands. Here, we will share with you some fantastic walks with dinner destinations in mind in some of the most walkable cities in the United States!
Woodberry: Urban Revitalization Done Right
Distance: 1.25 miles
Parking: At Meadow Mill or along Union Ave.
Public Transit: Woodberry Light Rail; MTA bus #22 stops at Druid Park Dr. and 41st St. and Druid Park Dr. and Parkdale Ave.; MTA bus #98 (the Hampden Shuttle) stops at Druid Park Dr. and Clipper Rd.
- Begin at Meadow Mill, built in the 1870s by William Hooper and Sons. Meadow Mill hosts a popular athletic club, the terrific Stone Mill Bakery, the theater troupe Mobtown Players, and the Potters Guild of Baltimore.
- Cross the Jones Falls from the Meadow Mill parking lot and head left. Look for wildlife in the river!
- As you reach Union Ave., you’ll see Union Mill, Maryland’s largest stone mill. Today, the mill meets green standards and offers more than 25,000 square feet of office space to non-profits, as well as discounted residences for Baltimore city teachers.
- Turn left on Union Ave. and approach the Woodberry Light Rail stop. Cross the tracks and head right on Clipper Rd. As you walk up the hill, you’ll see Woodberry’s oldest houses–stone beauties from the mid-19th century, built for mill workers. Woodberry proper stretches all the way up to Television Hill, where you’ll see the towers that transmit broadcasts for five Baltimore television stations.
- Turn around and head back toward the Light Rail. On your right will be the entrance to Clipper Mill, along Clipper Park Rd. As you will see as you walk, the complex has many original buildings, but new construction marks the places where the fire of 1995 destroyed some 19th-century structures.
- Inside of Clipper Mill you will find one of Baltimore’s hottest restaurants, including the farm-to-table Woodberry Kitchen (and ‘hottest’ deservedly so–Baltimore Magazine named it one of the best for 2012). Enjoy some stellar Maryland Rockfish or the Marvesta Shrimp & Grits, but be sure to make a reservation far in advance!
(Excerpted from Walking Baltimore, Wilderness Press 2013)
Industrial Southeast: Produce Row
Distance: 2.5 miles
Parking: Free on street, $3 in lot at OMSI
Public Transit: TriMet Buses 4, 6, 10, and 14 at Hawthorne Bridge; Buses 12, 19, and 20 at E. Burnside St. and NE Sandy Blvd.
- Start at the bus stop at NE Couch St. and 12th Ave. Take in the scenery, such as the gigantic rotating loaf of bread that designates Franz Bakery, and the yellow-and-blue house from Kelly Reichardt’s movie Old Joy.
- Turn left and head down NE 12th Ave., then cross E. Burnside St. and turn right. On the left is Hippo Hardware, which is a treasure hunt of a store!
- Two blocks down on the left is the Jupiter Hotel and Doug Fir Lounge, sure to please many visitors with its decadent interior.
- In the next block you’ll find one of the most talked-about restaurants in a much-talked-about restaurant scene: the always-packed Le Pigeon, run by James Beard Award-winning chef Gabriel Rucker. It’s a beautiful, smallish space with an open kitchen and a meat-heavy dinner menu. Zagat listed Le Pigeon as #2 Best Restaurant in Portland for 2013. Again, be sure to make a reservation! You can enjoy high quality, French-inspired food sure to rock your socks off.
(Excerpted from Walking Portland, Wilderness Press 2013)
Minnehaha Parkway/48th & Chicago: Green Space, Relaxation Space
Distance: Approximately 3 miles
Parking: Free parking on Chicago Ave. S. and Minnehaha Pkwy. E.
Public Transit: Bus line 22
- Three of the city’s landmarks rich in natural geography combine for this walk: first, a lovely section of the Grand Rounds, Minnehaha Parkway; second, a charming business district, 48th Street and Chicago in McRae Park; and finally, a lake, Lake Nokomis. The proximity of nature and small town-like business districts is relatively common in the Twin Cities, but this walk stand out. Minnehaha Parkway is one of the seven byway districts in Minneapolis’s Grand Rounds Scenic Byway. Minnehaha Park passes through the neighborhood en route to Minnehaha Falls a few miles away, and just over the hill lies a quaint and quirky shopping district with numerous independently owned business. Nothing could be better on a hot summer day than enjoying a delicious organice ice cream at the Pumphouse Creamery after exploring the parkway and Lake Nokomis. On this walk, you will end up near many shops and restaurants, one being Café Levain, a reasonably priced neighborhood bistro that made its way onto MSPmag.com’s Best Restaurants of 2013 list. Dine on French-inspired bistro items from a young, budding chef with serious dedication to the art of food.
(Excerpted from Walking Twin Cities, 2nd Edition, Wilderness Press 2013)
For more information on these books, or to find a dining-destination walk in your city, please check out the entire series from Wilderness Press. Cities include Boston, Brooklyn, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Cincinnati coming soon. The Walking series is a must for the inquisitive urban adventurer.
Each tour features history, culture, and local architecture, plus recommendations on eateries, galleries, and nightlife. The guides have detailed maps, parking, and public transit info, at-a-glance summaries, and “Points of Interest” appendixes. There’s no better way to discover a city!
Tags: Authors · Awards · Book Review · Food · hiking · Nature · New Release · News · Site News · travel · Trekalong Network · Twin Cities · Upcoming Titles · Walking · Wilderness Press
April 23rd, 2013 by pat · No Comments
The U.S. is a haven for us outdoorsy folk! On a national scale! As we celebrate National Parks Week, and in preparation for National Trails Day in June, check out this awesome infographic, produced by REI Outfitters:
Thanks to REI for designing this infographic! Great way to celebrate our national commitment to trail preservation.
Also check out these comprehensive resources for exploring our National Trails and Parks, published Wilderness Press!
Tags: Five-Star Trails · Great Hikes · hiking · Nature · Wilderness Protection
April 22nd, 2013 by pat · No Comments
(image via NPS.gov)
We’re right in the middle of National Park Week 2013, a week set aside for appreciation of one of the 20th Century’s greatest contributions to American life! What began as a small nature preserve called Yellowstone National Park, established in 1872, the National Park Service has grown to accomodate over 400 locations around the country.
The National Park Service puts some figures to the fable:
- 400 National Park sites
- 84 million acres of breathtaking scenery make up our National Parks system
- 17,000 miles of trails to be trekked
- 43,000 miles of shoreline to be strolled
- 27,000 historic and prehistoric sites to be discovered
- 100 million museum items to be studied
- 12,000 campsites to make your weekend getaway
There are lots of ways you can get involved, but I’d say the simplest is to pack up and visit one of our national parks this week. If you visit any day this week, Monday – Friday, admission is FREE!
And before you pack up, be sure to consult these excellent guides to our National Parks, by Wilderness Press.
Tags: Events · Great Hikes · hiking · Mountain Biking · Mountain Climbing · Nature · Paddling · Wilderness Protection
April 22nd, 2013 by pat · No Comments
Trail authors all across the country don’t stop their contributions to outdoor communities at the back cover. Many of them are avidly involved with trail networks and conservation & restoration initiatives in their own hometowns. It’s this sort of (often volunteer) work that bolsters their expertise on the hikes and trails they outline in their work.
This is one such story!
We at Wilderness Press are thrilled to learn that one of our contributors, Craig Carey (Hiking and Backpacking Santa Barbara & Ventura, Wilderness Press 2012), has just joined the Los Padres ForestWatch as Director of Outreach and Outdoor Programs. The LPFW is the only nonprofit org. devoted solely to protecting wildlife habitats and landscapes in the Los Padres National Forest.
(image via LPFW.org)
Craig will have a full plate with LPFW. He will oversee all outdoor programing and public outreach initiatives, along with coordinating volunteer preservation and restoration efforts throughout Los Padres. He is especially eager, he explained to Santa Barbara Independent, to begin working with children outdoors. “I’m excited to join the ForestWatch staff, and especially to get our youth involved in caring for the forest,” Craig says. “The more our kids learn to love and protect their wild lands now, the more prepared they’ll be to fight for it in the future.”
It’s no secret why Craig was chosen for the job. His guide to Hiking and Backpacking Santa Barbara & Ventura is one of Wilderness Press’s bestselling titles this past year, offering — as one recent review puts it — the most “detailed route descriptions and copious supplemental information about the area.”
Click here for more information on hiking and backpacking through Santa Barbara, Ventura and the Los Padres Forest.
Tags: Book Review · Book Updates · Great Hikes · hiking · Nature · Site News · travel · Wilderness Press
April 19th, 2013 by Kara · No Comments
Don’t miss out on this year’s Nature’s Gym Fun Days across the country! REI and Merrell have teamed up to celebrate getting fit in the outdoors, as opposed to a stinky gym. There are still seven events left on REI’s calendar, which you can check out here.
Events include fun things like group outdoor fitness activities, giveaways, climbing walls, and much more, depending on your location. You can also test out some Merrell shoes at participating REI stores.
If your city’s REI isn’t hosting a Nature’s Gym Fun Day, create your own! You can celebrate by going out and exploring your city’s landscapes, whether that’s by hitting a trail, swimming in a lake, or even taking an urban trek around your downtown. You can find trails near you through Trails.com, your local outdoor outfitter store, or by checking out some of the great, detailed guidebooks that Wilderness Press and Menasha Ridge Press have to offer. They will surely get you prepared to maximize your time spent exploring the outdoors!
Leave the gym behind. Take your yoga outdoors. Take your kids outdoors. Spend time in nature. Reconnect.
The most important thing to remember is, GET OUTDOORS!
Share your experiences by using the hashtag #NaturesGym on Twitter and Instagram!
Tags: biking · Events · Five-Star Trails · Gear · Great Hikes · hiking · Kayak · Menasha Ridge Press · Mountain Biking · Mountain Climbing · Nature · News · Outdoor Retailer · Paddling · Sports · travel · Trekalong Network · Walking · Weather · Wilderness Press
April 18th, 2013 by ronnie · No Comments
Spring is in the air and that means it is time for the first picnic of the year! Whether you’re planning a romantic afternoon or fun family outing, make sure you know what to bring with you.
Some basic, but commonly forgotten supplies are below but be sure to add to your list as needed:
- sunscreen – check the date
- insect repellant – especially with food around
- a pocketknife – so many uses for such a small tool
- extra water – take some for lunch but also for the hike to and from the picnic area
- a first aid kit – who knows what you’ll encounter
Many hiking trails have one or more designated place for a picnic which usually includes tables and a shelter. Be sure you don’t leave your trash for the next person to find. Keeping the picnic areas clean is as important as keeping the rest of the trail clean.
Looking for the best places to go for a picnic in your city? Check out the Menasha Ridge Press Five-Star Trail guides. Focusing on cities across the U.S., each guide has a “Best For…” list that includes best hikes for scenery, wildflowers, wildlife, and children.
Tags: Adenture Travel · Arizona · Five-Star Trails · Great Hikes · hiking · Menasha Ridge Press · Nature · Tennessee · travel · Upcoming Titles · Walking
April 17th, 2013 by ronnie · No Comments
The weather is starting to warm up and it’s time to get out and enjoy nature be it at a picnic, on a hike, or on a walk. You know what to bring with you and where you want to go, but what else should you know?
Know what to watch out for in the wild! Ticks are probably one of the smallest, most annoying pests. These little critters are everywhere just waiting for a new person or animal to latch onto.
Three of the most common ticks to be wary of are the deer tick (mid-western and eastern U.S.), the lone star tick (eastern half of the U.S. south of New York), and the wood tick (east of the Rocky Mountains and occasionally in western states).
Knowing the species still will not stop them from latching on for a good meal. What you need to know is how to get them off of you as soon as possible. Below are a few handy tips from Wild Chicago: Animals, Reptiles, Insects, and Plants to Watch out for at Home, at the Park, and in the Woods by F. Lynne Bachleda, due out in about a month.
Tips & tricks to safely remove ticks:
- Grab the tick just behind where it is attached to you with fine-point tweezers and pull straight out, slowly and steadily until the tick is dislodged.
- Do not twist the tick as you remove it.
- Wash the area where the tick bit you and apply antiseptic.
- Don’t try to burn the tick with a match! It can actually cause the tick to vomit fluids back into the bite site.
- Don’t try to crush a tick with your fingers
The University of Chicago Medicine provides a quick summary of how to respond to tick bites as well. In Chicago, there is even a Mosquito Squad that provides preventative methods aimed at all different types of pests including ticks!
Tags: Chicago · Clerisy Press · hiking · Nature · travel · Upcoming Titles · Wild Series