Thursday, October 12, 2017

Amazing Interview With Man Who Survived a Grizzly Bear Attack - Twice

This is a truly an amazing story. Todd Orr, an all-around outdoorsman from Bozeman, Montana, sat down with Jason Matzinger to discuss the sow grizzly bear that attacked him twice last fall. This guy was so incredibly calm and collected that he had the wherewithal to walk the three miles back to the trailhead by himself, and then shoot a short video of himself to show the damage done by the bear. That short clip is included in this video:



Before venturing into grizzly bear country it's always a good idea to educate yourself on how to prevent an encounter, and what to do should you see a grizzly while on the trail.



Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
HikinginGlacier.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
TetonHikingTrails.com

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

HikinginGlacier.com Adds Four New Hikes to Website

Before venturing into the Canadian Rockies this past September (see blog posts from the past two weeks), we stopped in Glacier National Park for a few days of hiking. Other than Yellowstone, it may have been the highest concentration of wildlife we've ever seen in only a few days. In addition to the amazing scenery atop Grinnell Glacier Overlook, the highlight of our trip was the white wolf we saw in the Medicine Grizzly valley. It was the first wolf any of us had ever seen in Glacier.

As a result of this trip we've added four new hikes to our website at HikinginGlacier.com. Here's a quick rundown of each of those hikes:

* Grinnell Glacier Overlook is quite possibly the best view in Glacier National Park! This is in addition to all the stunning scenery you'll see along the Highline Trail before reaching the overlook. As we sat there soaking in the magnificent views, a nanny mountain goat and her kid raced past us - within 10 feet! At first we thought we were being charged, but she just wanted to get to the other side safely.

* Lake Josephine Loop - This loop takes you around both Lake Josephine and Swiftcurrent Lake in the Many Glacier area. The hike is mostly flat, making it a great choice for almost everyone in the family. Oh yea, the views are simply outstanding! Almost every time we've hiked in this area we've seen at least one moose.

* Triple Divide Pass - If you're looking for a little bit of solitude in Glacier National Park, Triple Divide Pass just may be the ticket. The trailhead is located in Cut Bank, roughly half-way between Two Medicine and St. Mary. The pass lies just below Triple Divide Peak, the only hydrological apex in North America - or is it? After soaking in the panoramic views from the pass, while proceeding down the mountain, we saw a white wolf trotting through a meadow in the valley below.

* Two Medicine Pass - Our wildlife tour definitely continued on this hike. During this trek we saw an owl as it soared through the trees just up the trail, saw an extremely large bull moose just below Rockwell Falls, and then, as we neared the pass, we came upon a large herd of Bighorn sheep. Numbering at least three dozen, it was by far the largest herd of Bighorns we've ever seen in one place. Once atop the pass we enjoyed outstanding panoramic views on both sides of the narrow ridge.

To see all of the trails covered by our website, please click here.



Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
HikinginGlacier.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
TetonHikingTrails.com

Monday, October 9, 2017

Sport the Bear Plate and Support the Smokies on the Road

Scenic drives are not the only way to appreciate the mountains of Western North Carolina from a vehicle. Sales of Friends of the Smokies specialty plates for the first half of 2017 exceeded $230,000, a 6% increase over the previous year’s sales. Since the inception of the program, more than 21,000 plates in all 100 North Carolina counties have raised over $4.3 million for the North Carolina Smokies.

Jo Gilley, co-owner of Blue Ridge Books in downtown Waynesville, has a plate because it is a good cause, “but I also just love the bear,” she says. Founding member of Friends of the Smokies Steve Woody agrees: “Not only is it a good-looking plate, but it supports programs in the park enjoyed by all ages. The park is a huge economic driver of Western North Carolina, so I am proud to give back by buying the specialty license plate. It is money well spent and much appreciated by the national park.”

By sporting the green and blue license plate with the bear, drivers are contributing $20 of the $30 fee directly to projects in the park. Friends of the Smokies’ specialty license plate provides opportunities for environmental education and personal growth in the outdoors through the Parks as Classrooms program and Student Conservation Association internships. It also supports the protection of the park’s flora and fauna, like elk and ginseng, and the preservation of historic and cultural treasures, like cabins and churches.

North Carolinians interested in obtaining Friends of the Smokies’ bear plate can do so at any time at FriendsOfTheSmokies.org or by visiting a local License Plate Agency or the North Carolina DMV website. A portion of the specialty plate fee is tax-deductible and can be purchased independently of a vehicle registration.



Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
HikinginGlacier.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
TetonHikingTrails.com

Sunday, October 8, 2017

NWS Issues High Wind Warning and Flash Flood Watch for Smokies

Great Smoky Mountain National Park officials posted this on their Facebook page earlier this afternoon:

NWS has issued a high wind warning in effect from 4:00 p.m. today through 4:00 a.m. tomorrow for sustained winds of 40 mph and gusts over 58 mph. The park is also under a flash flood watch in effect from 8:00 p.m. through 8:00 a.m. with between 4 to 8 inches of rain possible.

Heavy winds and rains can cause trees to fall, localized flooding, and debris movement along banks and roadways.

Consider limiting your outdoor activities in the park during this hazardous weather due to increased risk for high stream crossings and down trees throughout the park.

Park roads and areas may close due to hazardous conditions. Follow SmokiesRoadsNPS on Twitter for the latest information on main road closures in the park. For the latest weather updates, please click here.



Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
HikinginGlacier.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
TetonHikingTrails.com

Friday, October 6, 2017

Tropical Storm Nate Could Bring 4-10 Inches of Rain to Smokies

Great Smoky Mountain National Park officials advise that the effects of Tropical Storm Nate may impact Great Smoky Mountains National Park as early as Saturday afternoon. Preliminary estimations from the National Weather Service suggest that the storm may pass the park Saturday afternoon, overnight into Sunday and on into Monday.

Current rainfall predictions range from 4-10 inches. Early wind estimates suggest the park could receive sustained winds of 25-39 mph with gusts greater than 40 mph. Historically, flooding, landslides, road washouts, and numerous tree falls along roadways and trails are associated with these types of weather conditions.

Due to these potential hazards, officials advise front and backcountry visitors should pay close attention to current and projected weather conditions. All visitors should anticipate an increased risk for high stream crossings and down trees throughout the park. Many of the Park’s 1,000 campsites are located next to rivers and creeks which rise quickly during extreme rain events. Backcountry users are encouraged to closely examine their preparedness for backcountry travel and should consider altering their trip plans.

Park officials are closely monitoring the path of Nate and may implement additional preparations as weather forecasts further develop.



Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
HikinginGlacier.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
TetonHikingTrails.com

Cherokee National Forest Warns of High Wind and Rain Over Next Dew Days

USDA Forest Service officials say that Tropical Storm Nate may impact the Cherokee National Forest after it makes landfall. Depending on the intensity of the storm and which path it takes, high winds and considerable rain are probable.

Excessive rain and high wind have the potential to create high water, flash floods, falling trees, mudslides, and severe damage to roads. Much of the Cherokee National Forest is heavily forested, remote and mountainous, making the potential for hazardous conditions significant.

Due to these potential hazards, national forest visitors should pay close attention to weather reports and be prepared to cut their visit short. Anyone planning a visit to the national forest should seriously consider postponing their visit until the threat of Nate in this area diminishes.

Low laying areas are especially vulnerable to rapidly rising and swift water. These areas should be avoided during and after major storm events. Trees falling and large limbs breaking off are not uncommon occurrences during windy conditions. Excessive rain can severely damage or wash out gravel/dirt roads in the national forest.

With the uncertainty of the extent of impacts from the storm and the potential for hazardous conditions, national forest visitors are urged to take necessary safety precautions and to be aware of changing conditions.



Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
HikinginGlacier.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
TetonHikingTrails.com

Area Closure Implemented in Cherokee National Forest

The U.S. Forest Service is closing a portion of the Tellico Ranger District in Cherokee National Forest to public entry. The closure will remain in effect while the U.S. Navy is conducting an investigation of the October 1 crash of an aircraft from the Naval Air Station in Meridian, Mississippi. Click here for a map of the closure area.

The temporary closure order applies to the following areas:

1. FS-RD 210 - Tellico River Road from Pheasant Field Picnic Area to Stateline Campground
2. FS-RD - Beaverdam Bald Road
3. FS-RD 61 - Whigg Meadow Road
4. FS-RD – 40841
5. FS-RD – 40921
6. FS-RD – 2417 – Big Cove Branch Road
7. Benton MacKaye Trail #2 from Sandy Gap to Mud Gap
8. Kirkland Creek Trail (#85)
9. Whigg Ridge Trail (#86)
10. Brookshire Creek Trail (#180)

The Donley Cabin (access to cabin only), Dam Creek Campground and Spivey Cove Campground (access to campgrounds only) will remain open.

For information about the closure area call the Tellico Ranger District at 423-254-8400.



Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
HikinginGlacier.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
TetonHikingTrails.com

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Sentinel Pass

Our Canadian Rockies series continues with our hike to Sentinel Pass:

The hike to Sentinel Pass begins from Moraine Lake, which sits at the foot of the Valley of the Ten Peaks. Both the lake and the valley were featured on the reverse side of the Canadian twenty dollar bill between 1969 and 1979. At the foot of the lake is a large pile of boulders and rocks, leftovers from the glaciers that retreated thousands of years ago. A climb to the top of the rock pile is a popular destination for photographers. The view there of the lake and the valley is considered to be one of the most photographed scenes in Canada, and is now known as the "Twenty Dollar View". To say the least, this is an exceedingly beautiful scene, perhaps the most stunning in all of the Canadian Rockies.


After a relatively steep climb the trail levels off and begins traveling through the scenic Larch Valley. This is a great option during the fall if you wish to see the needles of the larch trees turn golden yellow. Larches are one of only a few species of conifers that shed their needles in the fall.



As you proceed towards the pass you’ll enjoy great views of the Valley of the Ten Peaks. Just before reaching the pass the trail passes a small tarn. From here you'll be able to see your destination, as well as the path that leads to it. Once atop the pass you’ll enjoy outstanding panoramic views of both the Larch Valley and the Paradise Valley. Unfortunately heavy smoke from the wildfires spoiled our views.






Trail: Sentinel Pass
RT Distance: 7.2 Miles (11.6km)
Elevation Gain: 2379 feet (725m)
TH Location: Moraine Lake
Map: Yoho and Banff North Trails Illustrated Map



Canadian Rockies Trail Guide Known affectionately as the Bible by outdoor enthusiasts, the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide was the first guidebook with accurate distances and detailed descriptions to the trails of the Canadian Rockies. The book includes 227 hikes for all fitness levels. Not only is Canadian Rockies Trail Guide known locally as the Bible, it is also the only hiking guide to the region recommended by Fodor's, Frommer's and Lonely Planet. With over 250,000 copies in print, the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide is one of the best-selling non-fiction books in Canadian publishing history







Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
HikinginGlacier.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
TetonHikingTrails.com

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Parkers Ridge

Our Canadian Rockies series continues with our hike to Parkers Ridge:

This outstanding hike, which begins from the Icefields Parkway just south of the Icefield Center, ascends Parkers Ridge where you’ll enjoy dramatic views of the Saskatchewan Glacier. The glacier forms the headwaters of the North Saskatchewan River. Once at the top you’ll have the option of continuing your hike by heading either north or south along the broad ridge. We proceeded in both directions, both of which offered awesome views. Although the official roundtrip distance is listed at 2.5 miles, the actual mileage was more than that. We ended up doing roughly 4.25 miles total, which included our two relatively short side trips.






The Saskatchewan Glacier is the largest outflow glacier originating from the Columbia Icefield. Resting along the Continental Divide, the glacier is approximately 8.1 miles (13km) long, and covers an area of 11.5 square miles (30km²). In 1960 it was measured at more than 1300 feet (400m) thick at a distance of 5 miles (8km) from its terminal snout.




You don’t see many of these types of signs at trailheads too often:




Trail: Parkers Ridge
RT Distance: 4 Miles (6.4km)
Elevation Gain: 886 feet (270m)
TH Location: Icefields Parkway
Map: Yoho and Banff North Trails Illustrated Map



Canadian Rockies Trail Guide Known affectionately as the Bible by outdoor enthusiasts, the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide was the first guidebook with accurate distances and detailed descriptions to the trails of the Canadian Rockies. The book includes 227 hikes for all fitness levels. Not only is Canadian Rockies Trail Guide known locally as the Bible, it is also the only hiking guide to the region recommended by Fodor's, Frommer's and Lonely Planet. With over 250,000 copies in print, the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide is one of the best-selling non-fiction books in Canadian publishing history







Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
HikinginGlacier.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
TetonHikingTrails.com

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Smokies to Open Chimney Tops Trail on October 6th

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials will open the Chimney Tops Trail to a newly developed observation point starting Friday, October 6, 2017. The entire trail has been closed to the public since the Chimney Tops 2 Fire event occurred in late November 2016.

“We are excited to complete the work on the Chimney Tops Trail in time for the fall color season in Great Smoky Mountains National Park,” said Acting Superintendent Clay Jordan. “We understand that many people have a strong emotional tie to the Chimney Tops Trail and its reopening has been a priority for moving forward in our recovery from the fire event.”

The extended closure of the trail allowed the park’s trail crew to design and develop a section of the trail which will provide a safe and sustainable gathering area for hikers to enjoy beautiful views of Mount LeConte and the Chimney Tops pinnacles. The top most 0.25 mile section of trail to the Chimney Tops pinnacles themselves, though, was heavily damaged by the fire and will remain closed until further notice due to the significant safety concerns that exist.


“While the upper section of trail and rocky pinnacles are not safe for visitors to explore at this time, restoring access to the trail allows us to enjoy the rehabilitation investment made to the trail by the Friends of the Smokies’ Trails Forever Program in 2014, and also ensures the Chimney Tops Trail will remain a destination for visitors to enjoy a true Smoky Mountain hiking experience,” added Acting Superintendent Jordan.

The funding for this trail project came through donations made by individuals from all across the country to the Friends of the Smokies’ Fire Relief Fund. This fund was established in response to the outpouring of public support to aid in the rehabilitation and repair of park areas impacted by the fire.

Chimney Tops Trail is traditionally one of the most popular trails within Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It provides a short, but steep climb through mature forested areas with multiple bridge crossings over rushing mountain streams and spectacular mountain vistas. With this reopening, visitors can continue to enjoy most of the trail.

Visitors hiking the trail must remain within the open section and not explore beyond the closed area at the trail’s termination due to significant environmental damage and safety concerns. The former trail past the closure point continues to slough off the side of the steep slope due to ongoing erosion of rocks and soil. Park staff will be monitoring the closed section of trail and the Chimney Tops throughout the upcoming season as rain, freeze and thaw cycles, and wind events continue to change the landscape. If in the future the ground is determined to be safe and stabilized enough for sustainable trail construction, the park will consider trail rehabilitation of this area.

For more information on this hike, please click here.



Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
HikinginGlacier.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
TetonHikingTrails.com

Wenkchemna Pass

Our Canadian Rockies series continues with our hike to Wenkchemna Pass:

The hike to Wenkchemna Pass begins from Moraine Lake, which sits at the foot of the Valley of the Ten Peaks. Both the lake and the valley were featured on the reverse side of the Canadian twenty dollar bill between 1969 and 1979. At the foot of the lake is a large pile of boulders and rocks, leftovers from the glaciers that retreated thousands of years ago. A climb to the top of the rock pile is a popular destination for photographers. The view there of the lake and the valley is considered to be one of the most photographed scenes in Canada, and is now known as the "Twenty Dollar View". To say the least, this is an exceedingly beautiful scene, perhaps the most stunning in all of the Canadian Rockies.



This hike proceeds all the way to the end of the spectacular Valley of the Ten Peaks. Near the head of the valley is Eiffel Lake. Beyond the lake the trail climbs to the pass.

The highest peak in the range is the 8th peak in the valley. Known as Deltaform Mountain, this rugged peak tops out at 11,234 feet (3424m). The last mountain in the chain, Wenkchemna Peak, means “ten” in the Stoney Indian language.

Fortunately for us a cold front passed through the mountains the night before our hike, and pushed the thick smoke out of the area. That morning we awoke to a cold and blustery early-September day. We even saw a few snowflakes – the first of the season for us. As the day wore on the clouds rolled out and we enjoyed beautiful blue skies.










Trail: Wenkchemna Pass
RT Distance: 12 Miles (19.4km)
Elevation Gain: 2362 feet (720m)
TH Location: Moraine Lake
Map: Yoho and Banff North Trails Illustrated Map



Canadian Rockies Trail Guide Known affectionately as the Bible by outdoor enthusiasts, the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide was the first guidebook with accurate distances and detailed descriptions to the trails of the Canadian Rockies. The book includes 227 hikes for all fitness levels. Not only is Canadian Rockies Trail Guide known locally as the Bible, it is also the only hiking guide to the region recommended by Fodor's, Frommer's and Lonely Planet. With over 250,000 copies in print, the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide is one of the best-selling non-fiction books in Canadian publishing history







Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
HikinginGlacier.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
TetonHikingTrails.com

Monday, October 2, 2017

Helen Lake / Dolomite Pass

Our Canadian Rockies series continues with our hike to Helen Lake and Dolomite Pass:

This outstanding hike leads to a spectacular alpine meadow filled with wildflowers after the snowmelt, before visiting two lakes and a mountain pass that offers stunning panoramic views. The hike begins with a climb up the south-facing slopes of the Bow Valley, which eventually offers views of Crowfoot Glacier across the valley. After 3.5 miles hikers will reach their first destination on this hike, Helen Lake. The cirque mountain walls that frame Helen Lake are home to a large community of marmots. Though we didn’t actually see any, we heard their distinctive whistles echoing off the walls of the natural amphitheater. We also saw a golden eagle soaring along the updrafts. It appeared to be nesting high along the mountain opposite the lake.






After soaking in the views we climbed above Helen Lake with the intention of proceeding towards Dolomite Pass. Somehow, after reaching the ridgetop above the lake, we took the wrong trail, an unmarked social trail that led us along the canyon ridge. Though it didn’t take us where we intended to go, it did offer outstanding views of both Helen and Katherine Lakes, as well as the mountains that surrounded them. With threatening skies moving in once again, we decided to end our hike there.







Trail: Dolomite Pass (Helen Lake)
RT Distance: 11.1 Miles (18km)
Elevation Gain: 1968 feet (600m)
TH Location: Icefields Parkway
Map: Yoho and Banff North Trails Illustrated Map



Canadian Rockies Trail Guide Known affectionately as the Bible by outdoor enthusiasts, the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide was the first guidebook with accurate distances and detailed descriptions to the trails of the Canadian Rockies. The book includes 227 hikes for all fitness levels. Not only is Canadian Rockies Trail Guide known locally as the Bible, it is also the only hiking guide to the region recommended by Fodor's, Frommer's and Lonely Planet. With over 250,000 copies in print, the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide is one of the best-selling non-fiction books in Canadian publishing history







Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
HikinginGlacier.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
TetonHikingTrails.com