Thursday, June 28, 2007

Pennsylvania Hiking Trail Troubles

A long-ish piece in the Sentinel (from the Carlisle-Shippensburg, PA region) by Heather Stauffer on 10 June 2007, and headlined "Troubled trail: Part of Dickinson Township hiker/biker path is closed" details some of the difficulties of trails that pass over private property. There are a number of them in Pennsylvania. Different hiking club officers quoted agree that many landowners seem concerned about liabilities if hikers are injured on their property. The article mentions a Pennsylvania bill - passed by the House and being considered by the Senate - which would reiterate landowner protection.

Paul Shaw, executive director of the Keystone Trails Association,
"said, he'd like to see a bill for a defense fund that would reimburse landowners for those legal costs.

"Meanwhile, he's happy about another piece of pending legislation: House Bill 1281, which would amend Pennsylvania's Appalachian Trail Act by spelling out what Pennsylvania municipalities and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources may do to protect the trail.

"'What we found is that a lot of people assume that with the Appalachian Trail being a national trail, it's fully protected,' Shaw said. But, he said, that's not the case.

"'There was a racetrack proposed in eastern Pennsylvania that would have been right next to the trail,' Shaw said. So, he said, 'We're strong supporters of (the bill).'"
That would be the Alpine Rose race track which is actually STILL a live issue.

Leave No Trace in New Jersey

A Courier Post Online article on 9 June 2007 by Doug Skinner titled "When you head inside, take the trash with you" talks about the leave no trace ethic especially in connection with recycling plastics. He mentions the A.T.
"In many places, such as our state parks and the Appalachian Trail, "leave no trace" is not an option -- it is a must. You are expected to carry out everything you carried in. But we shouldn't limit this practice to only those places where it is required. There is no reason to leave trash, fishing line or other waste anywhere."
in an article aimed mostly at fisherfolk.

Not Enough Gear Shops in Hawaii

Here's something from Hawaii:
"Planning another jaunt up Haleakala this summer? Taking that special someone along to Kalalau Beach? Or, maybe you're planning an off-island trek through the Cascades or the Appalachian Trail. If so, you've probably encountered the irony of being a local gear junkie in one of the loveliest hiking destinations: There aren't enough outdoor product retailers in Hawai'i."
Who knew?

That's from an article by Charles Gray in the 8June 2007 issue of the Honolulu Advertiser titled "Get the right gear to tackle those trails."

Hiker Talks to Maine High School Grads

The Boothbay Register, from Boothbay Harber, ME, has an article by Frank Helman titled "Boothbay Harbor Rotary Club" in its 7 June 2007 issue that highlights a talk given to the graduates of the Boothbay Harbor Region High School at a Rotary-sponsored dinner. The talk was by
"Matt Thomson, a 2000 graduate of BRHS. Thomson attended the University of Maine at Farmington and is now Youth Outreach Director at the Boothbay Region YMCA. His talk was based on his own experience of life after high school, which included hiking 2,000 miles of the Appalachian Trail (he still has to do the segment from Rangeley to Katahdin) and biking across the country from Oregon to the East Coast."
One of Thomson's points to the grads was that
"if you seek adventure, do it now - just don't be outrageous. Thomson noted that the other hikers he encountered on the Appalachian Trail tended to be either in his own age group or retirees."
That's been about my observation, too.

Maine Wind Farm Opinion

An op-ed piece in the Bangor Daily News on 6 June 2007 re-visits the continuing story of the proposed windmill farm near the Appalachian Trail. In the piece, titled "Climate Change Calls for Leadership on Wind Power," Sherry Huber writes the following (in amongst a much longer piece)
"Every form of energy production causes impacts, and wind power is no exception. Modern wind turbines are very large, and thus highly visible. This is the major complaint facing the Redington Wind Farm, which would be easily seen from the Appalachian Trail. Opponents also raise concerns about wildlife and forest impacts, particularly on Redington Pond Range.

"But now the developer has proposed a down-sized project further from the Appalachian Trial and away from the most sensitive mountain. Redington Pond Range would be permanently protected and a 54 megawatt clean energy project would be built on Black Nubble. This seems like a great compromise, but some groups remain opposed and are working to defeat the project on procedural grounds. Rather than letting LURC evaluate a Black Nubble Project on its merits, opponents want LURC to force the developer to start the application process over again. In the energy development business, delay often means defeat.

"During my years following public policy, I have seen this pattern before. Advocates get so entrenched in their positions that they refuse to budge when a compromise emerges, even a compromise that is self-evidently in the public interest."
The author served in the Maine House of Representatives and currently chairs the Mainewatch Institute board of directors.

The four comments posted online about the article on the 6th were all against the wind farms.

Hiker Naomi Cupp Named in Columbia

There's an article by Bill Clark in the 6 June 2007 issue of the Columbia [MO] Tribune titled "Cupp proves know-it-all doesn’t always know it all" that profiles Naomi Cupp, recent winner of the Columbia Kiwanis Club's annual Don Faurot Sportsperson of the Year Award. Clark, the "know-it-all" of the article title, writes:
"In the late 1990s, Naomi attended the national meeting of the Governor’s Council directors in Denver, where she was mesmerized by Jean Deeds’ talk about hiking the Appalachian Trail. When Deeds finished, Naomi told herself, "I can do that." She began to take long walks, and in 1999, she spent a week on the Appalachian Trail with Deeds. She was totally hooked.

"In 2000, she quit her job and, at age 50, tackled the trail. She became a solo hiker, toting a 50-pound backpack when loaded. "There are no convenience stores on the trail," she said.

"Naomi made it from the southern terminus at Sprenger [sic!] Mountain, Ga., 700 miles to central Virginia before heading home. She later hooked up with Deeds to do the final 50 miles to reach the finish at Mount Katahdin, Maine."

Land Near Trail Possibly Being Preserved

According to the Foster's Daily Democrat online article titled "Owl's Head cliff could go to White Mountain National Forest" on 5 June 2007,
"A spectacular 800-foot cliff could be added to the White Mountain National Forest soon, if a nonprofit group is successful in acquiring 380 acres of private land near the Appalachian Trail.

"Owl's Head, a sheer granite cliff, could become a rock-climbing destination in the national forest. Peregrine falcons also have used the cliff as a nesting place.

"The land, which is less than a mile from the Appalachian Trail and is surrounded on three sides by the national forest, has been taken off the market...."
and might be purchased for preservation by the Trust for Public Land.

South Bound North Carolinians

Hopeful thru-hikers Stan Seals and Seth Wells are profiled in an article by Michael Jaenicke titled "Hike of a lifetime" that appeared in the Robesonian from Lumberton, North Carolina on 4 June 1007. Most of the piece is actually about Seals, a 2007 graduate of Appalachian State University. Seals is from Lumberton, Wells from Wilmington. Both are headed southbound, starting on 19 June. They hope to average 16 miles a day once they get their trail legs.

"works for Mount Alliance, a non-profit organization that offers outdoor adventures to high school students. Seals has raised about $2,000 for his trip and hopes to make a sizable donation to Mount Alliance."
Nothing about a web site mentioned in the article.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Trail Museum's First Exhibit Dedicated

There's a really nice article in the Washington Post titled "Weaving the Tale Of Trekking's Gritty Fellowship" which was written by Delphine Schrank and published on 3 June 2007. It records the
"an effort to build a museum. About 100 people gathered here Saturday for the dedication of a modest first exhibit at the headquarters of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, a nonprofit organization that for 82 years has overseen America's longest marked footpath and first National Scenic Trail."
Larry Luxenberg, author, head of the Appalachian Trail Museum Society, and hiker, is quoted.

There is also an intelligent description of some of the Trail lore, including the use of trail names.

Passing it On

The Pocono Record dated 2 June 2007 has an article titled "Appalachian Trail celebrates 70th birthday" by Elizabeth Silverstein which talks about the National Trails Day activities at the Mohican Outdoor Center just north on the Appalachian Trail from the Delaware Water Gap. Interesting lines include:
"Timothy Laslett, 10, of Marshalls Creek, will be the first Junior Ranger of the DWGNRA. Backpacking since the age of three, he is following in his mother's and aunt's footsteps.

"Tracey Laslett and Tricia D'Imperio, both of Marshalls Creek, hiked the trail in 1987. They started in April and took six months to travel 2,000 miles. Like every Appalachian Trail hiker, the pair had a trail nickname: TNT, for Tracey and Tricia. D'Imperio decided to hike the trail because she enjoyed having a goal and a challenge."
No 'last child in the woods' syndrome there. Wonderful!

Trail Maintainers in Maine

The Bangor Daily News of 2 June 2007 has an article about trail maintenance work and the work crews in Maine titled "Trail work season hits stride." (Hard to tell exactly who wrote this: at the top of the page is "Gary Thorne" like it's his column; the under the headline there's "By BDN Staff"; and then under the dateline there's "By Brad Viles, Special to Bangor Daily News." Let credit fall to someone for the article!)

Anyway, nice summary of trail work being done in Maine this season. Jumps off of National Trails Day work, describes the work that it takes to maintain trails, and makes a plug for folks to join up.

A.P. Article on the A.T.

"CyberTrips - U.S.A. ON FOOT: There are good, long trails" is the headline in the Winston-Salem Journal on 3 June 2007 for the Associated Press article by Anne Wallace Allen about long distance hiking trails, specifically about the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. The Continental Divide Trail and the American Hiking Society also get mentioned.

Article also shows up at the web site from Pennsylvania under the headline "Experience America on foot this hiking season."

And in USA Today on 4 June 2007 as "Cybertrips: Find Great Hiking Trails Online."

Et cetera. [I hope she got paid for all the uses.]

Meet and Greet on the Trail

A group called the "Atlanta Single Hikers" organizes "day trips or overnight backpacking trips to a variety of locations, ranging from as close as Chattahoochee National Recreation Area to as far away as the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina." that's according to a listing in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on 1 June 2007 under the headline "Treat your feet, mind: Take part in National Trails Day."

"You can get on the ASH e-mail distribution list by calling 678-728-9377, or by logging onto their Web site at"

A.T. Anniversary Celebrated in NJ

"As part of the 70th anniversary of the Appalachian Trail, the Mohican Outdoor Center is holding an open house and launch of the trail's Junior Ranger program from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday," according to a note in the website on 1 June 2007 that is titled "Outdoor center to host open house Saturday."

Trails Day Talk About A.T.

National Trails Day activity reported at The on 31 May 2007 under the headline "National Trails Day at Reflection Riding":

"1:00pm to 2:00pm - Talk on Hiking the Appalachian Trail (Debbie & Charlie Tucker). Debbie & Charlie Tucker recount their experiences hiking the famous Appalachian Trail (or as it is known in hiking circles, the AT)."

Sunday, June 10, 2007

High School Grads Told Life is Like a hike

The Herald Democrat from North Texas and Southeastern Oklahoma has an article by Kathy Williams titled "DHS Graduates On Their Way" in its 27 May 2007 issue recording the graduation ceremony of Denison High School's class of 2007. The speaker was Dr. G. Don Taylor of Blacksburg, VA. Taylor's commencement address was keyed in to the symbolism of 'life as a path to be walked.'
"Taylor had just the words to instruct them how to embrace the future as he described, “A Walk in the Forest.” He said near his home in Blacksburg, Va., the Appalachian Trail beckons. He and his son took a walk through that forest, beginning Feb. 24.

"“Please remember to put my remarks into the context of your own journey in life,” Taylor said. “The AT is a 2,168-mile journey ... it represents one of the greatest physical challenges in the United States. It also has spectacular awards, from panoramic vistas of flowering fields, on high mountain balds, with numerous cascading water falls, and other simpler offerings of nature’s treasures.

"“The plan is ambitious and the trail is tough; the trail is cold and is sometimes exceedingly hot; it is sometimes rainy and sometimes dry; it is sometimes uphill and sometimes downhill. It is inhabited by wild animals and sometimes by very scary people, but sometimes by a variety of gentle creatures and interesting and motivated people. At times a hiker can enjoy views from a mountain summit and at times, he or she can barely see the trail in the dark valleys. However, if one is patient, if one maintains a positive attitude, almost all aspects of the trail can be appreciated.”

"He said the savvy walker understands that the greatest rewards are often the result of the hardest climbs and the real reward is in the journey. The AP [sic!] is marked with white blazes, the regular trail; and blue blazes, side trails more challenging to follow and less traveled. Some hikers also become bushwacker, creating their own trails, the hardest and slowest way to walk the trail.

"He said the lessons of the trail are that “you must hike your own hike; choose your on path based on your talents; choose your own level of comfort; choose your walking partners wisely and take responsibility for your own journey.”

"He referred only once to the tragedy at Virginia Tech, said, “Don’t dwell too much on the rainy days in life. Get up and walk fast and far and achieve every day. The rainy days do not define us, it’s what we choose to do on rainy days that does define us. As you all know, we’ve had a few rainy days lately at Virginia Tech, and we continue to walk, fast and far.”

"He said it is important to lead in the walk through life. One should walk like Neil Armstrong; walk like Rosa Parks.

"“How far you walk is important, but the effect you leave on the forest is much more important,” Taylor said. “Always remember that perseverance is more important than talent; the reward is in the journey and finally, when your hike is over a lot of good people will still be in the forest, so ask yourself, will the trail be better because I walked it?”"

Friday, June 01, 2007

AT Hikers on the PCT

An article by Amy Teegarden in the Helena independent Record titled "'Dusty' begins Pacific Crest adventure" relates the start of a Helena native's PCT hike. Mentioning a number of people she had been hiking with, the author includes: "the Noodle Heads: “Easy Mac & Cheese,” “Rigatoni,” and “Angel Hair,” three hikers from Colorado who first met while hiking the Appalachian Trail" and "“Walk-it-off” and “Foots-aflame” from North Carolina (known for their tendency to fall into bogs and burn their wool socks while hiking along the Appalachian Trail)." See the 31 May 2007 issue for the article.

Race Track Roadblocked for Now

The 31 May 2007 issue of The Morning Call carries Kevin Amerman's article "Berks developer faces new delay for Monroe car resort; State sets back hearing, awaits more facts on water runoff controls." It chronicles the current situation whereby the quiet hiking atmosphere along the Appalachian Trail in Eldred Township is hanging on by a thread in the face of the imminent roar of road construction virtually trailside, followed by racing -- oh, excuse me, make that simply driving
"at high speeds on the track" -- on the "four-mile driving course, which would feature dips and turns on 360 wooded acres off Upper Smith Gap Road near the Appalachian Trail in Eldred Township."
Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection has not re-scheduled the hearing at which they were expected to cough up the final permits. Maybe they're still seeking a way to halt the project.