A Hike to Avoid

Grand Teton National Park, I have a bone to pick with you (as my mother used to say when she was mad at me).

A few days ago the Good Hiker crew was looking for a nice short morning hike. Someone suggested we take a boat across Jenny Lake and hike up to Hidden Falls. Sounded lovely. We drove to the Jenny Lake Visitor Center and bought our boat tickets. Had a beautiful ride across the lake and started up the trail to Hidden Falls. It was nice, but it was crowded. Really crowded.

By the time we got to the falls, the trail and the “viewing area” were overflowing with people: tourists throwing snowballs; people wearing sneakers slipsliding all over the snow; dorks harrassing the only wildlife in the area, a lonely marmot. Hiking back down the trail later, we had to stand on the side of the trail several times to allow throngs of people to pass. A peaceful mountain hike this was not. It was more like Disneyland.

I understand that national parks attract a lot of people. And certainly, we added to the mass of people. But can’t something be done to try to control the crowds on popular trails? A simple solution in this case would be to limit the number of boat trips across the lake. The boats ran several times an hour, and every trip disgorged a dozen or more people onto the trail.

We had a nice hike and lunch at the falls. And we saw a beautiful moose up close at the dock. But I wouldn’t go to that area again.

Next up, an area in Grand Teton National Park that does manage to limit visitors, making for a peaceful wilderness hike.

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Posted in Grand Teton National Park, Hikes, National Park Service, National Parks, Wyoming | 4 Comments

The Top Ten Health Benefits of Hiking

You know hiking is good for your health. But do you know just how good it is? If you are heading out for a hike this Memorial Day weekend, take note of all the good you are doing for your body.

Ute Trail Rocky Mountain National Park

Ute Trail, Rocky Mountain National Park

For adults, regular aerobic exercise such as hiking leads to:

  • Improved cardio-respiratory fitness (heart, lungs, blood vessels)
  • Improved muscular fitness
  • Lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
  • Lower risk of high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes Continue reading
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Posted in Health benefits, Hikes, Kids | 4 Comments

Planning a National Parks Trip — To the Tetons!

wildflower meadow under Grand Teton

Grand Teton National Park

The Good Hiker crew (me, sister Lisa, and nieces Katie and Susie — the original Certified Good Hikers) are heading to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks this summer for the Fourth Annual Girls’ Adventure Tour.

We’re in the planning stages now. And of course, we do nearly all of it online. (What did we ever do before the Internet? Used the phone, I guess. Gasp.)

Read on to hear about some of the resources we have used to plan this trip. What are your favorite trip-planning sites or other resources? Add some in the comments, or send me an email (cathy@goodhiker.com). Continue reading

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Posted in Grand Teton National Park, Hikes, National Park Service, National Parks, Signal Mountain Lodge, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Free Certified Good Hiker Kits for Earth Day

Welcome to all who arrived here from Claire Walter’s fabulous blog Mile High on the Cheap and other Cities on the Cheap!

Go for a hike!The Certified Good Hiker Kit is an outdoor education game that helps adults teach kids how to be “good hikers” — how to have fun in the outdoors while staying safe and treading lightly on the environment. I invented the Kit when my young nieces came to visit me in Boulder. I wanted them to be safe on the trail, but I didn’t want to scare the heck out of them with tales of wildlife, so I turned it into a game. They are very proud to be the first Certified Good Hikers, and they know how to handle themselves outdoors. You can read more about Good Hiker and our first hike in Rocky Mountain National Park.

We are celebrating Earth Day this weekend! And here at GoodHiker we are all about treading lightly on the Earth — while hiking as well as in our daily lives. So to celebrate, I’m giving away 100 Certified Good Hiker Kits this weekend. To get one:

1. Share Good Hiker with friends: Like us on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook buttons in the upper left or lower right corner of this page or the Facebook tab on the toolbar below (or just go to Facebook.com/GoodHiker). While you’re there, share a few words about GoodHiker with your friends! Send them on over here for their own free Kits.

2. Ramble on over to the order page here and use the discount code “Earth” to get your free Certified Good Hiker Kit.

Reflection of mountains in Bierstadt lake. Als...

3. (Optional, but appreciated!) Tweet this post using the Tweet button upper right.

Then, learn more about the Earth Day Network organization, and make your pledge to go green. And learn more about environmental issues at my two favorite organizations, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the National Audubon Society.

Thanks, and Happy Earth Day!

Catherine

 

 

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Posted in Colorado, Environmental Impact, Everything Else, Good Hiker Certificate | 4 Comments

Welcome MHOTC Readers! And Hello Spring

Welcome to all who arrived here from Claire Walter’s fabulous blog Mile High on the Cheap.

Go for a hike!The Certified Good Hiker Kit is an outdoor education game that helps adults teach kids how to be “good hikers” — how to have fun in our beautiful Colorado outdoors while staying safe and treading lightly on the environment. Like Mile High on the Cheap, it’s Colorado born and bred. I invented the Kit when my young nieces came to visit me in Boulder. I wanted them to be safe on the trail, but I didn’t want to scare the heck out of them with tales of wildlife, so I turned it into a game. They are very proud to be the first Certified Good Hikers, and they know how to handle themselves outdoors. You can read more about Good Hiker and our first hike in Rocky Mountain National Park.

The official start of Spring today means more hiking soon! So I’m giving away 100 Certified Good Hiker Kits. To get one:

1. Share Good Hiker with friends: Like us on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook buttons in the upper left or lower right corner of this page or the Facebook tab on the toolbar below (or just go to Facebook.com/GoodHiker). While you’re there, share a few words about GoodHiker with your friends! Send them on over here for their own free Kits.

2. Ramble on over to the order page here and use the discount code “spring” to get your free Certified Good Hiker Kit.

3. (Optional, but appreciated!) Tweet this post using the Tweet button upper right.

Thanks, and Happy Spring!

Catherine

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Posted in Colorado, Good Hiker Certificate, Hikes, Kids, National Parks, Rocky Mountain National Park | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Parks Photo Contest Winners

A few months ago I posted about the photo contest being run by the National Park Foundation: the Passport to the Parks Sweepstakes. The winners were announced this week.

I have to say, I’m a bit perplexed by the top prize winning photo. It hardly looks like a case of “treading lightly.” But then, I’m not sure what is going on in the photo, taken by Mike Mamrosh in Glacier National Park. Elf flying perhaps?

The second-prize winning photo, taken by Ramon Esparza, should have taken the top prize in my opinion. It’s a really great shot, and too cute for words. (Not that I’m biased or anything, just because it was taken in my backyard, the Arapahoe National Forest in Colorado.)

Check out all the winners.

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Posted in Colorado, Montana, National Parks, Photographs, U.S. Forest Service | 1 Comment

Welcome Daylight Savings! Free Kits Today!

As far as I’m concerned, this is one of the best days of the year. Go for a hike!More daylight at the end of the day, plus the lengthening days overall means more time to get outdoors.

In celebration, I’m giving away 100 Certified Good Hiker Kits. To get one:

1. Share Good Hiker with friends: Like us on Facebook by clicking on the Like button in the upper left corner, the Share button upper right, or the Facebook tab on the toolbar below. While you’re there, share a few words about GoodHiker with your friends!

2. Hop on over to the order page here and use the discount code “Daylight” to get your free Certified Good Hiker Kit.

3. (Optional, but appreciated!) Tweet this post using the Tweet button upper right.

Don’t forget to change the batteries in your smoke alarms, too!

Thanks, and Happy Almost Spring!

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Posted in Everything Else, Hikes, Kids | 1 Comment

Defenders of Wildlife Photo Contest

When I was an editor at Audubon magazine, I saw a lot of really stunning wildlife and nature photos. I can take a decent shot, but my photos are nowhere near the quality of those professionals.

I wish they were, because then I could enter to win a fabulous prize like the one that Defenders of Wildlife will be awarding this spring: a grand-prize photo tour to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks with expert wildlife photographer Jess Lee. Now, that would be a great trip!

If your photos of wildlife and wild places are top quality, consider submitting them to the Defenders of Wildlife Second Annual Photo Contest. The deadline for entries is March 15, 2011.

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Posted in Contest, National Parks, Photographs, Wildlife, Wyoming | 1 Comment

Free Days in the National Parks

Explore a national park this weekend! Admission is free this weekend,  in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Several other free days Canyonlands National Parkare planned for this year:

April 16-24
(National Park Week)

June 21
(First day of summer)

September 24
(Public Lands Day)

November 11-13
(Veterans Day weekend)

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Posted in National Park Service, National Parks | 1 Comment

Passport To Your National Parks

I love the U.S. national parks. I lived in Yosemite National Park for two months back in the 1980s (and got college credit for it, believe it or not), and I loved every minute of it. The parks always seem like protected little worlds of their own, with their National Parks Passportbrown signs, friendly rangers and inviting visitor centers.

When I first came across the Passport To Your National Parks program, I was instantly hooked. These small blue “passports” allow you to keep track of all your park visits and commemorate each visit with a dated cancellation stamp, just like a real passport. What could be cooler? Continue reading

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Posted in Alaska, Colorado, National Parks, Rafting | 6 Comments