ABC-of-hiking.com

To date this very busy site has 78 hiking articles posted on their INFO page.

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(There is no RSS feed so you need to check the site manually.)

One article we particularly like explains Coasteering – Coastal Hiking and Climbing”.

We have been coastal hiking for years and had never heard that term used before. It’s a variation of “canyoneering”:

Coasteering is all about being able to cross whatever the coastline can throw at you. …

Besides sandy beaches and dunes, you should be prepared to cross rocks, estuaries, and lagoons. …

Coasteering has the same added dangers of slippery footwear and the danger of Hypothermia that come with Canyoneering. Added challenges are the tides, currents, waves, and constantly changing water levels. Make sure to check with locals for the weather conditions, tidal situations, and possible riptides. If you are swept away by a current, remain calm and swim perpendicular to the current until you are clear from its force. Even marine life can pose an added danger. Weeds can make rock surfaces very slippery so take extra care.

read more …

Fundy Trail Footpath, New Brunswick

We would love to add this magnificent coastal hike to our list of the best hikes in the world. After all, the Bay of Fundy may have the highest tides in the world!

But the Fundy Trail is not ready — yet.

There is no public transport to any trailhead. Tourism New Brunswick is not promoting the trail actively.

EastLink Door-to-Door ShuttleExpress does offer private, charter transportation from Moncton to the trailhead and back. Contact them for a quote.

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But if you want to get in on a future “best hike in the world” early, check the official website:

The Fundy Trail Footpath at Fundy Trail Parkway St. Martin’s New Brunswick

Trail Description:

… Big Salmon River to the boundaries of Fundy National Park, a total distance of 41km (24mi). The rugged Fundy terrain leads up and down from an elevation of 0 to 300 metres across a dozen ravines.

The recommended travel time for experienced backpackers is estimated 4 to 5 days.

We ask if you could register by calling the Interpretive Centre at Big Salmon River 506 833-2019; fax 506 833-2028 or email fundytp@nbnet.nb.ca.

Fundy Footpath Map Kits and Emergency Maps with GPS co-ordinates are available at the Interpretive Centre on the Fundy Trail or by ordering from Friends of the Fundy Footpath, 24 Cherry Court, Riverview, NB E1B 4K2 or email footpath@nbnet.nb.ca. The cost of the maps are $12.00 plus tax ($2 for shipping if ordering by mail).

… The campsites are primitive, water treatment is necessary, fires are not permitted, and a backpacker stove is recommended.

… the Goose River presently can only be crossed at low tide. This is a wilderness trail and at certain points there are no residences within 15 miles. Cellular phones will not work in all areas, …

Access Points:

> Western Portion – Big Salmon River on the Fundy Trail

> Eastern Portion – Fundy National Park

> Central – Sussex-Waterford – trail is accessed by secondary and wood roads via the Catamount Trail

Video (.wmv) of the Fundy Trail area.

shopping for a folding kayak?

Folding Kayaks – Outdoor Gear Advice | Outside Online

Folding kayaks can go in just about any water you can find…. Like all kayaks they come in many shapes and sizes, with many of them absolutely as seaworthy (some argue more so) than their rigid-hull counterparts. Many people love their folding boats because they can go literally anywhere. Take one to Europe to explore canals, for instance, or to the South Seas and paddle from island to island. Many travelers can easily handle a backpack and a folding kayak on their trip—that’s only two pieces of luggage, you lazy, ounce-counting slackers!

Before purchasing, you’ll need to think about your own needs and the type of boating you want to do. One very popular boat, for instance, is the Folbot Aleut ($1,480; http://www.folbot.com), a compact little 12-footer with some forgiving habits.

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Although a little pokey, it’s a very beamy boat, so you can easily pack gear for trips up to a week long. That beaminess also makes the Aleut very stable.

Then there’s the Klepper Aerius ($2,458, including shipping; http://www.klepper.com), perhaps the classic folding kayak. It’s a big boat that can handle loads of gear for long trips (payload, in fact, is a whopping 570 pounds!). And, it can easily handle rough, open water. Faster than the Aleut, but still compact enough—at 60 pounds packed weight—to make a good travel-along boat.

Or there’s the Feathercraft Wisper ($2,812; http://www.feathercraft.com), which is similar in length yet narrower than the Aerius. Its materials (aluminum frame, lightweight skin) cut the weight to under 40 pounds—not bad for a big boat! It’ll hold a paddler and gear for long weekends or more, so while not cheap, it’s an excellent investment if you plan to be spending a lot of time traveling and paddling with one of these craft.

If you can, always try to test out a kayak before buying. Remember, you don’t climb into a kayak—you more or less put it on. So fit is important.

Any other recommendations? Inflatable kayaks, for example?

North Coast Trail, Canada

For years we have been waiting for the opening of the North Coast Trail on Vancouver Island, an extension to the existing Cape Scott Trail. It seems we cannot book in for summer 2006, however.

May 11 2006

Cape_Scott_Trail--w_Dutchman-5_small.JPGThe province should ante up for the North Coast Trail. A real, long-term sustainable project, the North Coast Trail is a safe bet that has the potential to be the turn card for tourism on the North Island.

With nearly $1 million already invested by the federal government, the call is to the provincial government to make a moderate contribution of $250,000 to the pot.
And timing is everything. With usage limitations on the West Coast Trail and limited access to Nootka Island, the North Coast Trail could be the next backcountry conquest for many serious backpackers, who are ready for a new adventure on Vancouver Island.

While the province plays it close to the (treasure) chest, other North Island tourism prospects are dimming with the reality of a reduced ferry service that makes large tourism operators nervous. With summer nearly upon us, it is imperative to get the trail completed before more backcountry hikers and others are turned away.

And it’s not just the tourists and hikers leaving the trail table. What about the backpackers’ hostel in Port Hardy, built to accommodate the anticipated increase in hikers? How long can such businesses last unless Cape Scott and the new trail are ready for summer?

The North Coast Trail Society is to be commended for courageously working on the project for many years.

They have dealt well, the federal government has played well and now it is time for the provincial government to sweeten the pot of the project before it is forced to fold for the summer.

BCNG Portals Page

If you have up-to-date information on an opening date, leave a comment below.