Tag archives for hiking

See all our guide to the world’s best hikes and trails. Utah’s Zion National Park is a place of immensity; huge sandstone walls tower far above the valley floor, the sheer magnitude is unreal. Alas, tourists and tour buses are the most common sight to be seen here, yet there are places void of this…

I flicked the 10th leech from my left sock before noticing the blood soaking my midsection. Seven fat leeches had feasted there, and they were now dropping off one by one. But who can complain—this comes with the territory when you are in one of the earth’s last great rain forests. Surely it is worth…

Navigations: Last Stand in Tasmania

Read Mark Jenkins’s previous “Navigations” essays. I’m crawling on my hands and knees through a labyrinth of limbs when it occurs to me that a hundred years ago, this was the haunt of the Tasmanian tiger. The striped, doglike, carnivorous marsupial would have slipped easily through this criss-crossed deadfall of myrtle, sassafras, and musk. Six…

Read Mark Jenkins’s previous “Navigations” essays. “The big day,” John said. “Yup,” I replied, rubbing my eyes. It was three in the morning. We were standing on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon aiming the beams of our headlamps down the South Kaibab Trail—a mule-stomped trough of glistening ice running between snowbanks. The trailhead…

The Kilauea volcano is one of the world’s greatest natural spectacles. Located on Hawaii’s Big Island, just south of the sleepy coastal city of Hilo, its ebbs and flows have been battling the great Pacific Ocean for eons. Like a furious and erotic dance between two old and distant lovers, these powerful forces of nature…

The snarling, fierce gazes of mighty beasts illuminated by my headlamp light send a momentary jolt of adrenaline through my sleep-deprived body. Upon further inspection, the fearsome pair is revealed to be stone shisa statues, mythical dog-lion creatures that act as guardians from evil spirits. Here they sit, perched beneath the final tori gate high…

Zand and the trusty canoe. Photo by Bria Schurke. In science, like in all worthwhile pursuits, there is no guarantee of success. In fact, I would suggest that without the looming chance of failure, very few things are truly worth doing. Failure can take many forms, some more extreme than others but all provide opportunities…

When I read Walden in 9th grade, I was convinced that Henry David Thoreau was a bit off. Spending over two years living in solitude on the shores of a pond seemed a recipe for madness. Now, I have begun to appreciate Thoreau’s search for isolation and communion with nature. I have become a seeker…

If there’s anything my family is determined to do, it is to live in style in backcountry. We don’t just want to survive the wilderness—we want to thrive in it. So last year, inspired by our learnings in outdoor living from working field courses for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), we embarked on our…

“I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” ~ John Muir Drawing wild-eyed wanderers and scruffy-haired men from around the world, the 211-mile John Muir Trail has a reputation of immeasurable proportions. Making its way onto the proverbial bucket…

Summer Outdoor Retailer, the gear trade show in Salt Lake City, Utah, started with a hike with Andrew Skurka, who is designing a new line of hiking gear for Salomon, and interviewing folks at the lake about kayaks and stand up paddleboards.

So you’ve run the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon on a private trip, after waiting a decade for a permit, then jockeying with the hordes of other rafters for prime campsites. Or you’ve done the Middle Fork of the Salmon. Or maybe the Chattooga, as you fantasized about the fate of the four Georgia…

Last weekend I decided to punish myself. By punish, I mean undertake some sort of brutally long hike to prepare myself for climbing Mont Blanc. I settled on tackling a 14er, since Colorado has quite a few—53, in fact, more than any other state in the nation. I guess you could say Colorado has tentacles…

“I forgot to pack my underwear, but I brought a headlamp!” said Winnie. By now we had known each other five days. We were in a remote, Costa Rican jungle and I couldn’t help but laugh at my new Swedish friend and expedition mate. Her parents named her after the loveable children’s character and bear,…

Have you ever considered quitting your job and hitting the trail for something like, say, 3,100 miles? Sounds like a pretty extreme backpacking trip, huh? My coworker, Peter Sustr, just left Outdoor Industry Association to tackle the Continental Divide Trail, a fabled route that follows the spine of the United States from Canada to Mexico.…

Ueli Steck is hard to please. The man, known as “the Swiss Machine,” seems insatiable in his quest to push the limits of speed climbing. His latest vision led him to learn to paraglide in his home country of Switzerland. The goal was to climb three peaks—the Alps’ iconic Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau—in one day,…

What would you do if you had worked hard, were set for life, and could do whatever you wanted? Would you retire to a beach in Costa Rica? Gallivant around the world with a pack on your back? Or buy 200,000 acres of land in Chile to nurture into the country’s next national park? Did…

42 miles, 18,000 feet of climbing, and a swim across the Snake make North America’s deepest canyon a lofty goal. The Grand Canyon gets all the attention: it’s dramatic, beautiful … a natural wonder. It’s well deserved. But here in Idaho, we know that Hells Canyon is steeper and deeper, taking home the prize for…

Editor’s note: This is a follow-up to September 18, 2012 blog: Grand to Grand Ultra – Gear and Training for a 160 Mile Backpacking Race  My feet were trashed.  I had excruciating blisters on top of blisters, in between, front and back, on most of the toes and pads of my feet.  My right knee…

See our Best Trails guide, including World’s Best Hikes: 20 Epic Trails. A canvas of impossibly deep valleys and sheer, striated peaks, Glacier National Park is a masterpiece of the Ice Age. Considered by Native Americans to be the “backbone of the world,” this northern section of America’s Continental Divide sheds water to the Pacific, the Atlantic,…

Going Solo Can Open Your Soul

So much of our lives is filled with stimulation and distraction. We rush from one thing to the next, be it work, errands, paying bills, taking care of kids, exercising or spending time with friends. How often do you actually put on the brakes and take time to reflect—on who you are you, what you…

A lower section of the Grand Canyon, as seen from Cape Royal at the less-frequented but more-spectacular North Rim. Photograph by Alex Noriega, My Shot On September 23 at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, 75 endurance athletes representing 15 different countries will take off on a self-supported, seven day, six stages,160-mile, adventure called…

See our Best Trails guide, including World’s Best Hikes: 20 Epic Trails. Tucked away in the most northwestern part of the Pacific Northwest, Olympic National Park is a waterlogged wonderland befitting of its name: any place so magical must be a dwelling for the gods. Surrounded by bodies of water to the north, east, and…

I’m guessing that you’ve got a few favorite and well-loved trails in your neck of the woods. Maybe it’s time pitch in and help maintain them? This isn’t any sort of guilt trip, so you can keep reading. I’m the first to admit that I don’t roll up my sleeves often enough to contribute to…

This summer, a small international team scouted a route up Kilimanjaro for a paragliding attempt off the mountain, planned for February 2013. Award-winning adventure travel writer Jayme Moye reports in this two-part series. Read Part 1 Our team takes seven days, longer than most people spend hiking up Kilimanjaro, to reach the summit. We have…