Fear and Loathing (in my mind): Top 5 pre-trail worries of a prospective thru-hiker – The Trek

One month from today and I will be huffing and puffing my way to the top of Springer Mountain, ready to embark on the journey of a million footsteps. The dream I’ve been obsessing on for over a year is finally becoming a reality. I couldn’t be more excited! Or more anxious…..

Here are the top 5 worries racing through my mind before I hit the trail:

What if I break a leg?

Injury is the surest way to force me off the trail. But it will never happen to me, right? The power of positive thinking may be real, but that doesn’t mean an injury won’t break the bank or a bone. Injury prevention training for my ankles and knees will hopefully minimize the odds of a hike-ending injury (see: http://www.backpacker.com/skills/first-aid/injury-proof-your-legs/).

One of the nice things about having a steady job is that you don’t have to worry about health insurance. Trail insurance, on the other hand, isn’t so cut and dry. With lots of confusing options, navigating the health insurance racket can be a nightmare. Luckily, Emmi wrote an awesome article to help me and prospective thru hikers with this topic: https://thetrek.co/appalachian-trail/thru-hiking-health-insurance/. So for me,

I’ve decided to do just as Emmi did and get both a high deductible plan paired with traveler’s insurance in case I do break a leg (knock on wood).

What about my stuff? 

If you have ever moved or faced the prospect of moving all of your stuff, you know that you can’t help but worry about the move until after it’s complete. While not all thru hikers have to worry about what to do with their possessions while they are living the hobo life, I’ve got to figure out what to store or sell, and how and when to get it there. What size storage unit do I need? Will it be easy to sell the things I don’t want to store? What about renter’s insurance? Should I sell or store my car? Even if I’m planning on taking a trip designed to free myself of schedules, rules, and responsibilities, I still can’t shake my “adult responsibilities” before my hike, and unfortunately, I can’t help but worry about it.

Will I be ok in the rain?

I’ve had my fair share of day hikes and overnight hikes. But almost all of these have been happily planned around what Mother Nature is bringing to the table. Add rain to a hike and I can only hope I don’t melt like the Wicked Witch of the West. Sadly, as the saying goes, “No rain, no pain, no Maine.” I’ll have to walk in the rain and be uncomfortable at many points in my hike. I just have to embrace it and bring extra socks to dry my feet out in later.

Am I taking everything I need?

Everyone’s favorite worry is gear. Mine included. You know you’ve lost it when you’re debating whether or not to spend $30 on a new trowel (poop shovel, for those of you who don’t know) to save half an ounce. Once you decide to hike the Appalachian trail, you have to make sure you’ve got the gear to get you there as safe and comfortable as possible without carrying your whole kitchen sink. The problem with constantly worrying about gear is constantly spending money to find newer, lighter gear in the hopes that it will be better than the gear I’m already planning on taking. Who doesn’t love shiny, new gear! Watching countless gear videos on YouTube and looking at lists on lighterpack.com and geargrams.com only feeds my addiction. For now, I think I’ve got my gear list dialed in, but this worry consumed me for the past half year leading up to my hike. Ultimately, everyone has to carry the gear they chose to bring, and if it works for you, don’t change it. Hike your own Hike! (Don’t worry, I’ll share my gear list in the near future)

Do I have what it takes to see this thing through?

The deepest, darkest worry I have prior to hitting the trail is whether or not I’ll be able to overcome all the obstacles along the way to make it to Mt. Katahdin. Only about 1 in 4 people who attempt to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail actually make it the whole way. That’s a staggering statistic! Why am I different than the 75% who don’t finish? What if something forces me off the trail? What if I get bored? Unfortunately, I won’t know that I have what it takes until I get there. All I can do now is prepare for the problems I’ll face, know why I’m hiking and why I want to finish, and prepare to mentally overcome anything that gets in my way.

The bottom line to overcoming all these worries is preparation and research. I need to prepare as much as possible for what to expect but also I need to put myself in the best position possible to overcome any problems that come up. That will be part of the beauty of a thru hike. Every day will be different and every problem will be different.  So for now, all I can do is anxiously, excitedly wait for the adventures and mishaps I’ll face on the Appalachian Trail.

Source: Fear and Loathing (in my mind): Top 5 pre-trail worries of a prospective thru-hiker – The Trek

4 Reasons to Hike North Carolina’s Mount Mitchell in the Winter

At 6,684 feet, Mount Mitchell is one of the loftiest peaks in the East. Here, 4 reasons why you shouldn’t wait until summer to explore it.

by Rob Glover, RootsRated.com

Thousands of years ago, when extreme cold gripped the North American continent, flora and fauna most suited to northern latitudes migrated south, covering what is now North Carolina. As the cold retreated and temperatures climbed, the trees and animals more suited to warm weather returned. Except, that is, for those living on the highest peaks in the state.

Like islands of alpine forest in a sea of temperate climate, the rounded precipices of North Carolina’s loftiest mountains still have look and feel of their Canadian counterparts—none more so than Mount Mitchell, standing 6,684 feet above sea level.

Coated in crystalline frost even while surrounding valleys are bathed in relative warmth, Mount Mitchell is among the best places in North Carolina to experience a real winter wonderland. Here we offer four reasons to brave the fickle conditions on the East’s loftiest peak during its harshest months.

1. You’ll earn serious bragging rights.

Hiking to the top of the highest peak east of the Mississippi is a formidable goal any time of year. But in winter, when the Frasier fir trees are dusted with snow and a brutal wind forms sideways icicles, hearty hikers gaining Mitchell’s summit become part of a special club.

The Mount Mitchell Trail is the most popular summit route in the state park. This 6-mile, one-way trail begins at the Black Mountain Campground and wanders through several distinct biomes on the way up. Mountain laurel and rhododendron line lower elevation creek beds. Mountain maple, spruce, and birch trees crowd for sunlight midway up, while the last remnants of an alpine fir forest cap the final stretch.

The Black Mountain Range, a 15-mile stretch of peaks anchored by Mount Mitchell, stands high enough to affect the weather. Temperatures have dropped to minus 34 degrees while wind gusts of more than 170 mph have been recorded at the peak—and it’s important not to take a winter day here lightly. These conditions certainly add to the challenge, but also to the accomplishment.

2. It’s a different world in winter.

During spring, multi-hued flowering bushes line babbling creeks on the mountainside. Songbirds fill the trees and lush vegetation buffers the trail in an expansive green carpet.

But winter brings an entirely different mood to Mount Mitchell. There are no songs from the forest now; just the crunch of your footsteps on frozen trail reverberating off weathered tree trunks. On a rare, still day, there is no other sound. On a typical day, however, the whistle and howl of wind overhead surrounds you.

Down low, at the beginning of your hike, branches are coated in a heavy snow. Nearer to the peak, horizontal ice formations and bowed trees are static reminders of punishing winds. Where a blue haze might limit views in the summer, clear winter days provide vistas of frosted peaks up to 80 miles away. It’s a special kind of serenity that only a winter hike affords.

3. You’ll savor plenty of solitude.

The challenge of climbing some 3,600 feet to the top of Mt. Mitchell may be substantial, but in good weather it’s a common undertaking. No surprise, then, that the Mount Mitchell trail can be heavily trafficked in summer. And at the top, where a large parking lot sits adjacent to the snack bar and museum, families and groups of motorcyclists can crowd the view.

In winter, however, the snack bar and museum are closed for business. Difficult road conditions, school schedules, and the tough climate keep many visitors at bay. The quiet of the trail continues all the way to the top. It’s a memorable outdoor adventure not possible on busy summer days, making the wind-burnt skin and cold toes well worth it.

4. You’ll find plenty of post-hike happiness nearby.

An 800-degree stone oven provides the tell-tale char on the crust at Fresh Pizza and Pasta. Don’t want it? Just let them know when you order. Rob Glover
A winter exploration of Mount Mitchell will chill your bones and burn some serious calories. These days are made for hearty craft beer and huge, wood-fired pizza.

This perfect one-two punch awaits in the quaint town of Black Mountain, due south of Mount Mitchell. Begin with a stop at Lookout Brewing. This nano-sized brewery crafts the full range of flavors, from a crisp IPA to a soul-warming stout. There’s nothing fancy about the place, just true-to-style brews and a comfortable atmosphere to knock them back in.

When you step out of the taproom, follow your nose across the road to Fresh Wood Fired Pizza and Pasta. Settle into this cozy restaurant and watch while bubbly-crusted pizzas are pulled from an 800-degree stone oven. (The typical pie comes with a charred crust which creates a wonderful flavor, but you can ask them to leave it un-charred if you prefer.) The calzones are the size of a small RV and the beer selection is admirable. Leaving hungry, even considering your incredible effort earlier in the day, is unlikely.

Source: 4 Reasons to Hike North Carolina’s Mount Mitchell in the Winter

The 13 Types of People You’ll Meet on a Colorado 14er

by Ice and Trail

The allure of a 14er summit beckons to people from all walks of life. To some it’s simply a thing to do during summer break, to others it’s the realization of an enduring dream. Colorado’s mountains are tools used to achieve personal fulfillment, escape the doldrums of urban life, seize untapped vitality or feed a fragile ego. Whatever brings them to the base of the mountain, most 14er hikers fall into one — or a combination — of the following categories.

1. THE FUNDRAISER
Whether it’s for an incurable disease, natural disaster relief or their cat Bojangles’ memorial 5K, The Fundraiser can’t take a step without shaking you down for money. Literally — each stride on the trail earns a nickel pledged from their benefactors. The Fundraiser’s pack is overflowing with color-printed summit signs designed in Microsoft Paint, and you’ll probably recognize them from the local news feature they earned after four months of harassing a reporter on Twitter. You can rest easy, at least, knowing your money is making a real difference in the world. All the proceeds go toward financing The Fundraiser’s next awareness-raising trip to Nepal. Wait, what?

Probably Overheard Saying: “I’m the first 1/8th-Cherokee male between the age of 16 and 27 to climb all the 14ers that start with an ‘S’ to raise awareness for babies born without hair.”

2. THE LAISSEZ-FAIRE DOG OWNER
Ranger is the world’s best dog. Everyone loves him, even the child he just barreled over, the pika he just crunched and the leash-aggressive husky he just spooked. How could you be upset at such a cute face? He’s even wearing a cool backpack! The Laissez-Faire Dog Owner spent hours training Ranger to play dead, but didn’t see much point in working on off-leash control. Ranger always comes back, eventually, so what if he’s trailing a wake of resentment and destruction? It’s your problem if he ate your summit sandwich. You shouldn’t have put it down in the first place. Don’t trouble them to pick up their dog’s poop, either. The bags are way too smelly and gross to carry the quarter-mile back to the trailhead.

Probably Overheard Saying: “He’s friendly!”

3. THE WHITE GOODMAN
Only one thing matters: Absolute domination. Of the mountain, of other hikers, of crippling and deep-rooted insecurity. Like Ben Stiller’s character in Dodgeball, The White Goodman is misguided and probably a little dim. The summit is merely a secondary objective. Priority is passing everyone in sight while taking care not to make any social contact other than a mutter of “got ’em” as they whisk past. Everything in life is a competition, and a pleasant hike on a bluebird morning is no exception. They are easily recognizable due to their painted-on Under Armour baselayer and habit of constantly looking over their shoulder. On the summit, they are the ones broadcasting their ascent time or peak list loudly to no one in particular.

Probably Overheard Saying: “Suck failure, freaks.”

4. THE RELUCTANT SIGNIFICANT OTHER
The Reluctant Significant Other didn’t sign up for this. They didn’t sign up for any of it. Why waste a perfectly good Sunday on a 14er when they could be drinking bottomless mimosas at brunch or watching NFL football? Their loved one wanted to hike, however, and bonding time is important. Each step is a further descent into hell. Everything hurts. Danger lurks beyond every bend: raging avalanches, hungry mountain lions, the beckoning abyss. Forget that they’re on a groomed Class 1 trail with 200 other people in the middle of summer. They voice their displeasure often and want nothing more than to turn around, but the White Goodman they met on Tinder just elbowed a toddler out of the way 200 feet up the trail. Left with no choice, The Reluctant Significant Other trudges onward to certain death.

Probably Overheard Saying: “I’m going to die and I didn’t even set my fantasy football lineup.”

5. THE NATURE KNIGHT
If the Kingdom of Nature Knights had a flag, it would be a singular color: khaki. Staples of the uniform include a floppy wide-brimmed hat, a button-down shirt with mesh in bizarre places, binoculars, a nature journal and a giant beige chip on their shoulder. Forget that you’re on public land two miles from a paved highway within an hour of Denver. Your presence is ruining their wilderness experience. It doesn’t matter if you’re staying on trail, picking up after your dog and carrying out all your trash — something you’re doing is wrong, and you deserve to get yelled at for it. Well-meaning and helpful conversations have no place in the Kingdom of Nature Knights. The goal isn’t to spread knowledge, it’s to feel superior. If they lack the courage to discuss their disdain in person, you can find their anti-social rants every Monday on a 14ers-related forum.

Probably Overheard Saying: “I spent four hours on a volunteer trail crew in 2013, what have YOU done?”

6. THE HEAD-SCRATCHER
He takes many forms. He could be barefoot hippy, a foreign tourist in slacks and a V-neck, a lone pre-teen in skate shoes or a mustachioed man in a leather vest and motorcycle boots who apparently dropped out of a portal from Sturgis. In whichever way he appears, he’s going to turn your head. Questions overwhelm you. How did he get here? Where is his gear? Who is he with? Why did he choose a 14er? Should I say something? Before you have the chance to satiate your curiosity, he’ll smile warmly, nod a polite greeting and continue his journey toward enlightenment.

Probably Overheard Saying: “Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind. To walk safely through the maze of human life, one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of virtue.”

7. THE VICARIOUS PARENT
She’s accomplished a lot in her 40 years. She finished 12th in a trail marathon, came close (twice!) to summiting Mt. Rainier and once climbed 5.10b in the rock gym. The highlight, of course, was producing three beautiful children — all of whom are going to make Ueli Steck look like a total bitch. Despite not yet hitting puberty, little Reinhold, Arlene and Alex Honnold Jr. (no relation) have climbed more peaks than you could ever dream. The entire gaggle is brightly decked out in top-of-the-line gear they’ll outgrow in a couple months, complete with those adorable child-sized glacier glasses. As you’re passing this wandering circus, the Vicarious Parent will proudly tell you all about the family’s future goals as Alex Honnold Jr. sobs into a block of talus.

Probably Overheard Saying: “Climbing Capitol isn’t that big of a deal, Reinhold did it when he was 5.”

8. THE EAGLE SCOUT
No, they’re not training for Everest. No, they’re not on an overnight trip. It’s simply unsafe to enter the wilderness without The 49 Essentials shoved into an 80-pound pack. The Eagle Scout is carrying tents and sleeping bags for everyone on the mountain, just in case, as well as enough gadgets to be properly considered a cyborg. The annual fees on their personal locator beacons, tracking software and GPS apps cost more than a mortgage. They rock a helmet on Class 2 and never leave the house without a week’s worth of food. The Eagle Scout is totally prepared for anything the wilds might throw at them, unless the batteries die on one of their devices.

Probably Overheard Saying: “Hold on, I haven’t sent an OK message for like 10 minutes.”

9. THE INTERNET CELEBRITY
Oh, you haven’t heard of them? They have, like, more than 800 followers on Instagram, bro. A DSLR camera set to “Auto” swings from their neck and an iPhone that’s at storage capacity from free editing apps sits holstered on their hip. More advanced versions can be spotted with a drone and a helmet-mounted GoPro. Hiding behind a facade of energetic passion, they’re on a quest to #neverstopexploring while #inspiring others with #mountainstoke and #coloradotography as they #travel the world in constant search of #validation from strangers. Most of the scenery is observed through a viewfinder rather than the human eye. The trail and the wildlife and the personal challenge of summiting are neat and all, but the real accomplishment is breaking 100 likes Facebook. Set that saturation slider to 100 and rake in the Internet affirmation, homie.

Probably Overheard Saying: “Let’s pop off our tops.”

10. THE SMUG CLOUD
What you’re doing is lame, it sucks, and you should be ashamed. Any grandpa can walk up a 14er, but you’re not rad unless you run it in less than 1:17:04. That’s The Smug Cloud’s personal best, for the record, and they’d beat it if you’d get your sorry ass out of the way. Whatever their chosen sport — paragliding, mountain biking, trail running, rock climbing — the most enjoyable part of the hobby is being better than you. Sure, they could practice their passion on any number of other trails or mountains, but that’s not as satisfying to the ego as Mt. Bierstadt. The worst type of Smug Cloud, ironically, is the longtime peakbagger. They completed the 14ers in 2006 and their profile on Lists of John reads longer than War & Peace. Instead of dispensing advice and serving as mentors, however, they retreat to insular cliques and look down their noses at all who come after.

Probably Overheard Saying: “Back in my day, on 14erWorld…”

11. THE BUCKET LISTER
The Bucket Lister just wants to get this over with. It’s criminal to be a Centennial State native and not climb at least one 14er, and an ascent to a rugged Colorado mountaintop can yield decades worth of stories for a visiting flatlander. It’s time to dig out that threadbare bookbag from high school, load it full of plastic water bottles and earn a story to tell at happy hours until the end of time. The Bucket Lister’s uniform is usually a cotton sweatshirt emblazoned with a university logo, basketball shorts or yoga pants, old running shoes and aviator sunglasses. Most of the previous evening was spent creating a cardboard sign reading “Mt. Quandry, 14,762 feet” that’s destined to remain as litter on the summit alongside a rock with a Sharpie autograph. Though seemingly ill prepared, most Bucket Listers are fit and competent. In fact, many of them go on to become one of the other archetypes.

Probably Overheard Saying: “How much longer to the summit?”

12. THE (SELF-PROCLAIMED) EXPERT
They’ve caught the bug. What started as doing a 14er or two for fun has turned into a life-altering quest to conquer them all. They’ve tackled their first Class 3 route, knocked out most of the Front Range and are considering a Very Difficult-rated mountain next weekend. They know just enough to be dangerous. With a peak list now in the teens, they’re ready and willing to unload advice on anyone within earshot. You can spot them most often lounging on summits or at trailheads wearing brand-new gear from head to toe, regaling resting hikers with tales of their daring ascents up Mt. Princeton and Redcloud/Sunshine. They are a factory of Ed Viesturs and John Muir quotes, as well as admonishments about building storms for anyone still ascending after 10:30 a.m.

Probably Overheard Saying: “Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory.”

13. THE ONE WE ALL THINK WE ARE
The One We All Think We Are is a certified badass. Like The Head-Scratcher, they come in many forms: retired grandparents, world-class mountaineers and average joes. The unifying knot is that they climb 14ers, whether it’s their first or 300th, purely for personal enjoyment. They aren’t measuring against anything or anyone but themselves. Their online presence, if it exists at all, serves merely to share information and discuss adventures with family and friends. They might have strong ambitions or goals, and that’s OK, because they’re humble and helpful and respectful toward everyone else on the peak. Mountains are viewed in balanced perspective. Their dogs are leashed or well trained, they practice Leave No Trace and they know the rules of the trail. They give advice when asked and offer encouragement instead of deprecating laughter or lectures. This is the category in which we all place ourselves. Which one are you, really?

Probably Overheard Saying: Nothing. They’re listening to you, instead

Source: The 13 Types of People You’ll Meet on a Colorado 14er – Ice and Trail

Fear and Loathing on Mt. Kenya – with Hyenas!

The beast sauntered away while we stood there stunned. And then, 20 yards out, the eyes reappeared. And then another pair. And another. And another. A row of yellow eyes looked at us, single file, shoulder to shoulder. Without thinking I picked up a rock and threw it at the eyes.

by Jason Haas, ClimbingZine.com

“Hey, wake up. Wake up!” Brian whispered harshly. “There’s someone out there.”

I half opened an eye and begrudgingly listened to the deafening silence. “I don’t hear anything man, I’m sure it’s nothing.”

“SHHHHH!!!!” Brian’s face was pressed against the mesh fabric of the tent, as he peered out into the darkness. I thought of making a smart-ass comment, then thought better of it. I closed my eyes and started to roll over as the cacophony of falling pots and pans bolted me out of my sleeping bag. “I told you!”

“Get the zipper!” I barked back. Clad in nothing more than shorts, we tore out of the tent and into the moonlight. Our packs were gone.

Brian Young and I were graduating college from the flatlands of Michigan and in dire need of an adventure. We had been sport climbing for about two years and just started to learn how to trad climb. While pitching ideas to each other, Brian suggested clipping bolts on the shores of Thailand.

A Narrow Escape on Mt. Kenya by Jason Haas
FEB 6 • UNCATEGORIZED • 494 VIEWS • NO COMMENTS ON A NARROW ESCAPE ON MT. KENYA BY JASON HAAS
“Hey, wake up. Wake up!” Brian whispered harshly. “There’s someone out there.”

I half opened an eye and begrudgingly listened to the deafening silence. “I don’t hear anything man, I’m sure it’s nothing.”

“SHHHHH!!!!” Brian’s face was pressed against the mesh fabric of the tent, as he peered out into the darkness. I thought of making a smart-ass comment, then thought better of it. I closed my eyes and started to roll over as the cacophony of falling pots and pans bolted me out of my sleeping bag. “I told you!”

by Jason Haas

Spoiler altert: This piece is an excerpt from Volume 7. Get your own here.

“Get the zipper!” I barked back. Clad in nothing more than shorts, we tore out of the tent and into the moonlight. Our packs were gone.

Brian Young and I were graduating college from the flatlands of Michigan and in dire need of an adventure. We had been sport climbing for about two years and just started to learn how to trad climb. While pitching ideas to each other, Brian suggested clipping bolts on the shores of Thailand.

I countered with a fading ice runnel up Mt. Kenya in Africa. I don’t remember how we decided, but somehow I won. Brian had never been out of the country before and was nervous about going to a third-world country. I did my best to calm his fears, but my carefree “The Dude abides” attitude was no match for Murphy’s Law. The airlines lost our bags, forcing us to roam the streets of Nairobi for several days before boarding the bus to the mountain.

Being days behind schedule, even as the sweltering equatorial heat broiled the flesh on all eighteen of the oily, unbathed, musty people crammed into the passenger van jostling down dusty, pothole-riddled roads, our excitement remained high. But just as the heat and smell from our human jambalaya became too much, the van would pull over to the side of the road, the stifling air would stagnate from a lack of motion, and another person would literally shove their way into the van. This went on for hours until finally, like an overstuffed burrito, we split at the seams and oozed out of the van. Like leaving a greasy spoon diner, the stench stayed with us long after we’d been dropped off at the park gate to the mountain.

We filed the necessary paperwork, paid our fees, shouldered our packs, and looked to the north – the mountain was socked in with bad weather and ominous clouds threatened to rain down in a torrential furry. It wasn’t the kind of rain where you get soaked and are annoyed at how wet your stuff gets. It was the kind of rain where the evaporating oasis mud pools flood into great lakes and rivers and villages are swept away. We had ten miles to hike through the jungle before reaching camp. Our enthusiasm drained and without words, we disappeared into the jungle. As the miles slowly ticked by, the clouds darkened and a clap of thunder nearly knocked us off our feet. Dead serious, I turned to Brian and said, “If it starts raining, we’re making camp right here.”

“Hell no we are not! Things live in the jungle, man. I mean big things. Look at that!”

Source: A Narrow Escape on Mt. Kenya by Jason Haas | The Climbing ZineThe Climbing Zine | Celebrating A Climbing Existence

Why I’m Not “Thru-Hiking” The AT – The Trek

It’s not just getting “thru,” and it’s not just Springer to Katahdin: it’s all the miles and mountains in between.

by TASIA KELLOGG, The Trek

Ask my mom. Ask my ex-boyfriend. Heck, ask the regular cashier at Dunkin Donuts about that time they thought they were out of Mocha Swirl. I am a competitive, stubborn person. When I set my will to doing something, I would walk barefoot across broken glass to complete it. When I broke my pelvis, I rode a horse again three weeks later, mostly because I was told I shouldn’t. I don’t take the words “no,” or “you can’t” very well.

And it’s for that reason that I am not thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. And yes, it’s totally about semantics.

This trip is not about finishing. Knowing myself, my willpower, and my previous experiences with the trail, I probably will finish. I feel confident in that fact — likely too confident, and likely to eat my words, but confident. But hiking the Appalachian Trail is not about touching two imaginary endpoints. It’s about all the spaces in between.

Source: Why I’m Not “Thru-Hiking” The AT – The Trek

Winter 14ers for Beginner Mountaineers: Top 10 – Because it’s there

If you’re looking to bag some winter 14ers but don’t want to risk your life to do so, hopefully this list list can help steer you to some solid safer climbs. Whether you’re looking for a more intense climb than the summer hikes or love the solitude of the off-season, winter 14ers can be an amazing experience that you can’t get during the summer.

Source: Winter 14ers for Beginner Mountaineers: Top 10 – Because it’s there

Hiker rescued after being trapped by boulder in Rocky Mountain National Park – The Denver Post

A hiker had to be rescued in Rocky Mountain National Park after he fell in a deep hole and was pinned by a boulder, officials said.

Source: Hiker rescued after being trapped by boulder in Rocky Mountain National Park – The Denver Post

Gudy Gaskill, ‘Mother of the Colorado Trail,’ dies at 89

I had the pleasure of meeting this charming lady a few years back at one of the GoLite stores in Lakewood. I was happy that it was a slow night and I could sit and listen to her stories for as long as she was willing to tell them while I helped her shop. She was incredibly inspirational and all around a beautiful person who will surely be missed by the hiking community. Rest easy and happy trails, Gudy.

A public memorial service may be held in the coming months at the Colorado Trail trailhead in Golden, but no details have been finalized yet.

The Colorado Trail has lost its first and most devoted advocate: Gudrun “Gudy” Gaskill, “Mother of the Colorado Trail,” died Thursday from complications related to a stroke she suffered last week. She was 89.

Source: The Durango Herald