Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Trail Ridge Road Closes To Through Travel For The 2018 Season

Today, Wednesday, October 31, Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park officially closed for the season to through travel. The most popular destinations for this time of year including Bear Lake Road, Moraine Park, Horseshoe Park and the section of Trail Ridge Road along the Kawuneeche Valley are all open.

Trail Ridge Road is not designed to be an all season road with 11 miles above 11,500 feet and few guard rails and no shoulder. Winter conditions of drifting snow, high winds and below freezing temperatures occur above 10,000 feet. Weather permitting, Trail Ridge Road will remain open to Many Parks Curve on the east side of the park and to Colorado River Trailhead on the west side of the park.

Trail Ridge Road normally opens the last week in May, weather permitting. This year Trail Ridge Road opened on May 24.

Old Fall River Road closed for the season on October 1. Trail Ridge Road and Old Fall River Road will remain open to bicycles and leashed pets until December 1, re-opening on April 1, except during road maintenance operations and emergency closures as posted. Cyclists and pet owners may utilize the road at their own risk. On December 1, both of these roads will revert to "winter trail status" which means that bicycles and leashed pets are no longer permitted beyond the closed gates but pedestrians are.

For more information about Rocky Mountain National Park, please visit or call the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206.

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

A View Junkie's Guide: Wyoming Dayhiking

Full disclosure: the author of A View Junkie's Guide: Wyoming Dayhiking contacted me several months ago with regards to using some of my photos for her upcoming book. No compensation was exchanged for use of these photos; however, Anne recently sent me a copy of the book. I voluntarily decided to review it here.

A View Junkie's Guide: Wyoming Dayhiking takes hikers to some of the best scenery Wyoming has to offer, including Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks, as well as the Black Hills, Snowy Range, Wind River, Gros Venture and Absaroka mountains. This is the third installment in a series of hiking guides by author Anne Whiting, who has also published trail guides for Colorado and Washington state. Anne’s newest edition covers 48 individual trails, and over 175 hike options. The book is geared towards novice, moderate and adventurous hikers who enjoy spectacular views. As you might expect from the title of the book, Anne seeks out trails that offer amazing scenery. As she points out in her Introduction, many trail guides tend to spend an inordinate amount of time discussing the flora, fauna, geology and local history of the trails they cover. Not in this book. Anne is focused on the views hikers will see along each of the routes she covers in her book.

Readers will appreciate the comprehensive trail directory near the beginning of the book, which is sorted by the regions covered in the state. Within each national park or mountain range are the main trails, with the various options hikers can take depending on mileage or presence of loop options. Each hike in this directory contains key data points, such as trail length, total elevation gain, as well as Anne’s ranking with regards to difficulty level, solitude and of course, the overall view rating. There’s also a page number listed next to each hike which tells the reader where to turn for detailed information on each hike. Each hike description includes directions, a trail map, key GPS coordinates, as well as photos of the scenery hikers will enjoy along the route. Anne also provides key information on trail conditions that could impact hikers. For example, in many areas of Wyoming hikers will be traveling through bear country. Anne lets readers know about certain trails that pass through prime bear habitat. In other places she warns about sections of trail where snow that can linger well into the summer. As a history enthusiast, I really enjoyed the trail trivia section provided near the end of each hike description.

As already mentioned, A View Junkie's Guide: Wyoming Dayhiking includes hikes for all levels of experience: from very short strolls, to strenuous all-day hikes. A handful of hikes covered in the book would actually be more conducive as backpacking trips, though they could be done in one-day for super-fit hikers. A prime example of this is the spectacular 19.6-mile Cascade Canyon – Paintbrush Canyon Loop in Grand Teton National Park. Another example is the 20-mile Cirque of Towers hike in the Wind River Range, a destination that’s been on my bucket list since reading about it in Backpacker Magazine many, many moons ago.

If your only intention is to visit Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks, this book will serve you quite well, as it covers most of the best hikes in these parks, as well as several other options in the national forests that border the two parks. These hikes will offer you much more solitude if you’re visiting these popular parks during the peak tourist season. With the exception of the Bighorn Mountains in north-central Wyoming, the book covers the premier hikes in each of the major mountain ranges in the state. If you’ve only visited Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks in the past, this book will provide the inspiration to get out and explore the rest of this truly beautiful state. I can say with certainty that Anne’s book has expanded my bucket list of hikes to include the Highline Trail in the Wind River Range, as well as the Medicine Bow Peak Loop in the Snowy Range of southeast Wyoming.

For more information and to purchase the book on Amazon, please click here.

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Canyon Lakes is Recruiting Cameron Pass Nordic Rangers for 2018/2019 Season

The Canyon Lakes Ranger District is looking for volunteers to ski or snowshoe this winter in the Cameron Pass area, where 32 miles of trail can see over 300 skiers a day on a weekend.

This popular area includes trails that border Highway 14 between Chambers Lake and Cameron Pass. The area receives enough snow to ski before many others and snow often remains after other areas have lost their snow cover. For this reason, the number of winter recreationists at Cameron Pass continues to grow.

Volunteers ski or snowshoe “with a purpose,” helping the Forest Service educate winter visitors and provide winter use statistics. To volunteer, participants take part in a minimum of four days patrolling and attend Forest Service-provided training. The kick-off meeting is Nov. 14 at 6:30 p.m. at 2150 Centre Ave., Building E, in Fort Collins. Volunteers can sign up for the two required trainings at the kick off. The required classroom training is Nov. 28, 6-9 p.m. and the required field training is Dec.1 from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. For more information or to RSVP, call Kristy Wumkes at 970-295-6721 or email

Along with a general introduction to the program, the kick-off also introduces potential new members to many of our partner-organizations, such as Jax Outdoor Gear and Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and to some of the returning Nordic rangers.

The Cameron Pass Nordic Ranger program began in 1992. Volunteers assist the Forest Service by skiing or snowshoeing area trails to provide safety, trail, and low-impact backcountry use information to winter enthusiasts; help maintain area ski trails and trailheads for safety; and gather visitor use information to aid in Forest Service planning. Some of the Nordic rangers work as a winter trail crew to help keep the trails cleared of downed trees and limbs, install signs, and shovel paths to the restrooms.

Many of the trails are in the Rawah and Neota Wilderness areas, where routes can be challenging. Backcountry skiing also includes risks inherent with winter conditions in the mountains, including extreme cold. These are some of the key reasons volunteers in the area are so valuable to its many users, especially those with little winter sports experience.

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Thursday, October 25, 2018 Publishes Review of "Ramble On: A History of Hiking"

The author of recently published her personal take on my new book, Ramble On: A History of Hiking. As you might expect from the title of her website, is a website dedicated to female hikers. In her fairly extensive write-up, the author offered this blurb as one of her assessments of the book: "It was delightful to see the topic examined through a gender inclusive lens wherever possible."

She concluded her review by stating: "To sum up, this book is a fast read. It keeps you turning the pages to soak up the next interesting topic. Lots of great hiking facts and stories keep you entertained."

To read the entire review, please click here.

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

CPW Releases Moose Safety Video - How NOT to get stomped by the most charismatic animal in Colorado

With healthy moose populations now found throughout Colorado and a growing number of people in the state, the potential for dangerous interactions is on the rise, say Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials. In response to the growing concern, the agency is promoting a new video illustrating how people can be safe and responsible around these giant mammals. CPW urges everyone to take a few minutes to watch the video, air it on community television stations and in-house hotel networks, post on private and public social media accounts, rental car outlets or anywhere it may get a view.

The six-minute CPW production features District Wildlife Manager Elissa Slezak of Summit County offering information about how to prevent conflicts with moose. Last May, Slezak and her community found themselves in the spotlight after several high-profile incidents involving people harassing or feeding moose made national headlines. "Moose do not fear humans so it can lead some to think they are friendly - I assure you they are not," she said. "Many people get into trouble because moose appear docile at first and don’t run away when people approach, but when a moose has decided you’ve invaded their space they can move very fast and its often too late to get away. And when it comes to defending their young, cow moose will protect their calves very aggressively, especially in the presence of dogs."

Slezak says moose react to dogs as they would to wolves - one of their primary predators. Moose will often attack even the most gentle dog as if it were a wolf, especially if the dog barks at or chases the moose. Unfortunately, the dog typically runs back to its owner bringing an angry, 1,000-pound moose back with it.

"The dog often gets away but the owner cannot escape and ends up injured instead," she said. "We've seen several instances where that exact scenario played out and the dog owner was seriously hurt."

Here's the video:

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Friday, October 19, 2018

Momentum Continues to Address National Park Maintenance Needs

Earlier this month the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resource passed The Restore Our Parks Act (S.3172), an important piece of legislation that would provide dedicated funding to reduce the National Park Service’s deferred maintenance backlog – including nearly $12 billion in needed repairs across the National Park System.

The bill, introduced by U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Angus King (I-ME), will use revenue the government currently receives from energy production on federal lands and waters – up to a total of $6.5 billion over five years – to repair park roads, visitor facilities, crumbling trails and other structures. The National Parks Conservation Association has long advocated for this much-needed funding to address some of the most critical repair needs of America’s national parks.

The following is a statement by Theresa Pierno, President and CEO for National Parks Conservation Association:

“We commend Congress for taking another step toward fixing our national parks. For years, NPCA has urged our lawmakers to address our national parks’ repair needs. Too many of our parks’ water systems, visitor centers, roads and trails have been neglected—not because of lack of will but because of lack of money. Park rangers have had to make due with shoestring budgets while aging infrastructure takes its toll.

“With the Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s passage of the Restore our Parks Act, Congress is one step closer to ensuring that our parks can continue to provide safe and enjoyable conditions for millions of visitors, supporting local economies, while also protecting the resources that help tell our nation’s stories. Now Congress must ensure final passage before the end of the year.”

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Announcing The Release of My New Book on The History of Hiking

I’m very excited to announce the release of my brand new book on the rich history of hiking! Ramble On: A History of Hiking is the first broad historical overview of hiking in one volume. Among the variety of topics discussed about the early years of hiking, the book also includes anecdotal stories of trail development in some of our oldest and most iconic national parks, such as Yellowstone and Glacier National Park. To give you a better idea of what the book encompasses, I've copied the introduction to the book (below), which is now available on Amazon.

Ramble On:

How did hiking evolve from the upper-class European sport of alpinism and the publication of an English travel guide into an activity that now has millions of participants all over the world? Who built the thousands of miles of trails that now crisscross America? What did early hikers wear, and what were some of the key inventions and innovations that led to our modern array of hiking gear and apparel? How was information about hiking, trails and gear disseminated in the early years? And what were some of the reasons why people hiked, and how have those changed over time?

Ramble On, a general history on the sport of hiking (also known as rambling, tramping, walking, hillwalking, backpacking or trekking), attempts to answers these questions, as well as many others. This book chronicles hiking’s roots in alpinism and mountaineering, the societal trends that fostered its growth, some of the early hikers from the nineteenth century, the first trails built specifically for recreational hiking, the formation of the first hiking clubs, as well as the evolution of hiking gear and apparel.

When I first considered writing this book two years ago I wasn’t really sure how much relevant information I would be able to find, or how compelling of a story could be written about the history of hiking. I feared that I wouldn’t have enough material to write a full book. However, after diving into the project I soon realized that hiking actually has a very rich and compelling history, and has been profoundly influenced by a series of events that had nothing to do with hiking. I was continuously amazed by how much hiking has been molded by societal trends, as well as national and international events. The story of hiking took me in many directions that I never would’ve considered, from Romanticism and Transcendentalism, to the Industrial Revolution and the labor movement, to the rise of automobiles, environmentalism, club culture, and even art, to name just a few.

However, what intrigued me the most were the anecdotal stories of trail development in some of our oldest and most iconic national parks, as well as the peculiar and quirky traditions of some of the early hiking clubs. One of the most compelling stories was the apparel women were forced to wear during the Victorian Era, and the danger those fashion standards posed to women who dared to venture into the mountains.

This book also takes a look at some of the issues that currently impact hikers and trails, such as overcrowding and social media, and takes a peek into the future on how some of these trends could unfold. I also explain some of the solutions public land managers are currently considering, and offer a few suggestions myself.

My hope is that you will you come away with a better understanding of what it took to make hiking one of the most popular activities in the world, and what we need to do to preserve our trails and the spirit of hiking for future generations to come.

To order your copy now, please click here. Thank you very much!

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Colorado Parks and Wildlife leads state effort to compile comprehensive outdoor recreation plan

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) has released a draft 2019 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) for public review and comment. As outdoor recreation participation booms in Colorado, the plan lays out top priorities to address the state’s needs for conservation and outdoor recreation over the next five years.

Increasing popularity for outdoor spaces plus a growing understanding of how important outdoor recreation is to Colorado’s economy, quality of life, and health make it essential that all Coloradans work collaboratively to conserve Colorado’s outdoor playground.

The draft SCORP includes new studies looking at outdoor recreation participation, including barriers and motivations, and management issues.

“According to the new information collected, 92 percent of Coloradans recreate outdoors at least once every few weeks,” said Dr. Mike Quartuch, human dimensions specialist for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “Almost 70 percent of Coloradans recreate outdoors one or more times per week,” Dr. Quartuch said. Coloradans’ favorite outdoor recreation activities are walking and hiking, while about a third enjoy picnicking, camping and fishing.

When asked about barriers to participating in outdoor recreation, Coloradans cited time constraints, crowding and traffic. When asked about future investments for where they live, Coloradans are interested in more walking trails and paths, nature and wildlife viewing areas and picnic areas with shelters that can accommodate small groups. When considering statewide priorities, people find long-term planning and management, operations and maintenance of existing facilities, and trails to be the most important.

“In 2014, our SCORP reported that outdoor recreation contributed $34.5 billion to Colorado’s economy. We anticipate this new report will show extensive growth in this powerhouse industry,” said Bob Broscheid, director of Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “Every report that comes out about this industry makes it one of the largest sectors in Colorado’s economy, greater than construction, finance, and manufacturing. The impacts ripple across both urban and rural communities and benefit our daily lives.”

Since the last statewide study for Colorado five years ago, the contribution of outdoor recreation continues to demonstrate its might both at home and nationally. The most recent Outdoor Industry Association report finds that the outdoor recreation sector contributes $887 billion in consumer spending nationwide.

Over the next twenty years, the state’s population is projected to grow by around 100,000 people every year. As a result, the acres of outdoor recreation lands per capita in Colorado will drop by about 20 percent. This means more crowding and pressure on the state’s outdoor resources, including outdoor recreation infrastructure and wildlife habitat.

“We are at a critical juncture in determining the future of conservation of the places we love and the demand for recreation opportunities. Our outdoor spaces, recreation opportunities and wildlife are defining characteristics of Colorado,” Broscheid stated. “We cannot look at these as separate from one another. Conservation and outdoor recreation are intertwined. It is up to each of us to play an active role in caring for and maintaining these valuable assets. Our way of life depends on it.”

To address these challenges, the draft SCORP identifies four top priorities:

1. Enhance sustainable access and opportunity to enjoy the outdoors
2. Promote stewardship of natural, cultural and recreational resources
3. Conserve lands, waters and wildlife
4. Ensure adequate funding to sustain Colorado’s outdoors for the future

The 2019 SCORP was prepared with extensive input from Colorado leaders in outdoor recreation, including members of the Colorado Outdoor Partnership. "For over a year, outdoor recreation interests met with conservation groups, sportsmen, outdoor educators, government and others to consider pressing issues and identify the top priorities for the future of Colorado's outdoors," said Allison Kincaid, Executive Director of Colorado Parks and Recreation Association. "This plan is Colorado's plan. It was developed through a collaborative process and will require strong partnerships to ensure its success."

With broad input, this plan provides the framework to strategically allocate Land and Water Conservation Fund dollars - combined with investments from other federal, state, local and private funding programs - and support collaborations between outdoor recreation providers that promote both recreational enjoyment and thoughtful conservation of Colorado’s special places.

The public has until October 22nd to review the draft 2019 SCORP and provide comments to CPW. For more information, or to comment on the plan visit:

Ramble On: A History of Hiking