Trail Runners v Hiking Boots

Cam Honan posted the best summing up I’ve read:

1. Why choose trail running shoes over boots for three-season conditions?

2. When are boots preferable to trail runners? 

3. “Wearing Your Fears” – Examining the commonly-held belief that boots provide a greater degree of protection for your ankles than low-cut footwear while backpacking.

4. “A Piece in the Puzzle – Why your choice in footwear should be considered an integral piece of an overall lightweight backpacking strategy.

5. A list of 15 of the top trail running shoes in today’s market.

Click through for Cam’s summary.

THE HIKING LIFE – Trail Runners Vs Hiking Boots:  A 30 Year Perspective

I’ve tried most everything over the years, ending up with something in-between runners and bootsapproach shoes — most often Merrell Moab2 Ventilators.  Normally without a Gortex layer.

I go with Merrell as they are available online in very wide sizes.  I have bunions.

I go with trail shoes as I like the durability.

Cam finds he can get about 800 mi (1,287 km) out of a good approach shoe; as opposed to trail runners which normally need to be retired after 500 mi (805 km).

I’m loath to suffer stubbed toes so prefer footwear with good protection up front.

Like Cam, I wear low-cut footwear as my ankles are healthy and I’m agile enough not to bash into rocks.

For something VERY rugged — K2 Base Camp, for example — I would take high tops or boots.

The downside of approach shoes is weight.  And the smell.

After a hike where my shoes get wet I need bake them in the sun.  For days.

related – Cam’s more comprehensive post – Hiking Footwear Guide

 

The Fight for America’s Public Lands

Trump and the Republican Party have been ruthless for 4-years selling out public land to rich supporters and corporations. The Environmental Protection Agency has weakened regulations.

For example, a Judge removed Trump public lands chief —a former oil industry attorney — who’d been working in that position illegally. 

Patagonia has just released The Fight for America’s Public Lands.

A feature-length documentary about America’s system of public lands and the fight to protect them.

Despite support from voters across the political spectrum, our public lands face unprecedented threats from extractive industries and the politicians in their pockets.

Part love letter, part political exposé, Public Trust investigates how we arrived at this precarious moment through three heated conflicts—a national monument in the Utah desert, a mine in the Boundary Waters and oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge—and makes a case for their continued protection.

Take action to protect our public lands.

Text DEFEND to 71333.

Learn more about ‘Public Trust’ here.

Click PLAY or watch the trailer on YouTube.

OR Click PLAY or watch the entire documentary on YouTube.

Hiking the Indian Himalaya Independently

It’s easy to hike Nepal independently.

Not so India.

I did Markha Valley independently.  But for Kuari Pass I finally signed on with a guided trek.

The hiking infrastructure in India is not well developed.  Getting to and from trailheads often a headache.  Next time I go to India I’ll likely sign on for trips guided by IndiaHikes.

One bit of good news.

Peter Van Geit has been creating detailed hiking maps of the Indian Himalaya.

So far, he has pulled together over 1,000 trails across Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir.

It shows 600 passes, 700 high-altitude lakes and more than 10,000 reference points. …

It allows hikers to see elevation profiles and download GPS logs onto their phones rather than having to carry multiple, less detailed paper maps.

“The map has more trails than anyone could ever cover in a lifetime,” he says.

“It took me months to plan a long traverse across the Himalaya. With this new digital map, you have all the information in a single place.” …

Everything is open sourced, so can be accessed with any Open Street Maps viewer or mobile app (for free). Other hikers can add information to it and help the resource grow. …

ExplorersWeb

Golden Hinde Traverse, Strathcona Vancouver Island

BestHike editor Rick McCharles

UPDATE.  I didn’t get very far on the Traverse finding it too difficult and dangerous to hike solo.  I’ll go with a group next time. 

For example, one hiking group did complete the Golden Hinde(less) Traverse between July 18-24, 2020.

I did complete the first two sections:

      1. Elk River Trail
      2. Elk Pass Trail

ORIGINAL POST from Sept 2, 2020 below:

Heading for Strathcona Provincial Park September 3rd.

Hoping to climb Golden Hinde, the highest mountain on Vancouver Island 2,195 m (7,201 ft).  September should have drier trails. Fewer bugs. … Hopefully.

Many try and fail to get to this summit.  It’s a scramble up snow or rock at the top.

The mountain took its name from Sir Francis Drake‘s ship, the Golden Hind, named by an early fur-trading captain who was reminded of Drake’s ship as sunset hit the mountain

Jes Scott made it August 2019.  Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Jes had tried and failed in 2017.

My plan is to hike the 47km Golden Hinde Traverse on the Elk River trail through to Myra Falls. I’ll only attempt the summit as a detour if conditions, health, time and weather permit. No pressure.  🙂

Cost for a guided climb is about CAD $1500 for 5 days.

 

 

Mt Assiniboine: Chuck’s and Nub Peak

Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles

Days 1-2 | 3 | 4-5

Magog campground in Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park, B.C. has 40 sites, all good.

Supposedly 100% booked, quite a few were empty. We assumed people had forgotten to cancel.

Though it had rained much of the night, morning was gorgeous.

We set off for Nub Peak as it’s typically the most popular day hike out of Magog.  One you want to do in good weather.

What’s this? An artist working on his NUDE HIKING CALENDAR photos.

We passed Sunburst, Cerulean, and Elizabeth Lakes.

Though I could name mountains and tell you our GPS coordinates, somehow we got lost.

The trail sign said Chuck’s Ridge, so we decided to check it out.

I couldn’t recall having climbed up here on past trips.   Chuck’s Ridge is excellent.

Mosquitoes at Magog were bad, as they have been everywhere in 2020. (They were bad here in 2019, as well.)

Rather than apply skin poison, for protection from the tiny vampires, I wear baggy nylon clothing instead. Even when it’s hot.

On the return from Chuck’s, somebody had the bright idea to scramble up to Nub, rather than backtrack to the correct trailhead.

As you would expect, that didn’t work.

When it got too dangerous, we decided to scree back down the way we came

This about finished my worn out Merrell Moabs.

Click PLAY or watch our scramble on YouTube.

After a lunch break at camp, we set out again for Nub.  The trail sign had been stolen — so many were missing the turn as we had in the morning.

First stop is the Nublet. Next the Niblet.  The classic Assiniboine vista.

I’ve always enjoyed the ridge walk up from there.

Here’s the Nub Peak summit cairn.

Henry noticed an interesting phenomenon of light.

Last ones on the mountain, we lingered.

Up high the wild flowers were still in bloom.

Vistas of Assiniboine are some of my favourites world wide.

Click PLAY or watch a short video of our Nub on YouTube.

We were very late getting back to camp.

Assiniboine alpenglow

Dinner in the dark.

Days 1-2 | 3 | 4-5

Great Walks of Tasmania

We rate Tasmania the best hiking destination in Australia.

Click PLAY or see why on YouTube.

That video is a promotion for the Great Walks of Tasmania website, a collective of companies offering guided walks.

It’s easy to hike independently in New Zealand. Tasmania is more challenging. You might want a guide.

For one thing, there are poisonous snakes and other dangers in Tasmania. No poisonous snakes in New Zealand.

related – our Overland Track information page

Resurrection Pass Trail, Kenai, Alaska

The 38-mile Resurrection Pass Trail through the Kenai Mountains is by far the most popular multi-day backcountry route in Southcentral Alaska. Ideal for backpackers and mountain bikers—and a great destination for skiers and snowshoers during snow season—the trail links historic gold mining areas near Hope with a trailhead near Cooper Landing close to the Kenai River.

It is a true classic, drawing hundreds of visitors over the entire year. Many Alaskans return annually—often taking at least five days to traverse the route. …

You have two options for accommodations on multi-day trips: rent cabins or carry a tent.  …

If you want to hike from one end to the other, you need to set up a shuttle or book a trip on a local trail taxi. …

The Kenai Mountains feature prime brown bear habitat, and the forests abound with black bears. So take all the usual precautions—including storing food in bear lockers or portable vaults, keeping a clean camp and carrying bear spray for deterrence. Make noise and pay attention. Hikers regularly report encounters with or catch sight of both species. Having said that, the trail gets regular human traffic and does not have a reputation for unusual bear problems.

Mid-June through early September is the window.

Kraig Adams expanded on the standard route. And put together a video which reveals the massive landscape very well.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

(via Adventure Blog)

Dientes Circuit, Patagonia

Last year I tried and failed to complete the Dientes Circuit on Isla Navarino, Chile.

The trail was covered over with snow, and I had no guide to lead the way. I only tented one night. Then turned back.

AT A GLANCE

  • world’s most southerly major hike?
  • circumambulate the jagged spires of Cordon de los Dientes
  • out of Puerto Williams, Chile, on Isla Navarino (pop. 2,262 last time we counted)
  • recommended 5 days, 4 nights in the past. Most hikers are doing it in 4 days, 3 nights now as the route is better cairned and signed.

This guided group had far worse weather than me. And still made it.

Click PLAY or watch it on Vimeo.

To find out how to do this trip yourself, click over to our Dientes Circuit information page.

#BlackLivesMatter

This campaign is against violence and systemic racism towards black people.

And broader issues such as racial profilingpolice brutality, and racial inequality.

Those are part of the bigger issue – human rights regardless of age, ethnic origin, location, language, religion, ethnicity, or any other status.

Out in the wilds it’s easy to see we are all created equal.

View this post on Instagram

Hello, friends. Hello, white people. Hello, everyone. We have issues. Just because many of you (myself included) enjoy extended periods of time in the mountains – away from "the world" – doesn't mean that we are absolved of societal obligations. The United States has never been great. Slavery was around until 1865. Women couldn't vote until 1920. Race-based discrimination was legal until 1964. Same-sex marriage could be outlawed until 2015. Unarmed black people are killed in the streets and in their homes with virtual immunity to this day. The US is plagued by systemic racism. Police who commit murder and beat protesters need to be held accountable. Police are (supposedly) trained professionals whose job it is to protect and serve their communities. There's no excuse. Have you ever seen a report of some corrupt and dysfunctional-looking country and thought to yourself, "I sure am glad I don't have to live there."? Guess what – that's us. The world is looking at the US and thanking whatever god they pray to that they weren't born here – that they don't have to worry about being killed or beaten in the streets by their police. This is far from the greatest country on Earth. The delusion you're immune to these issues (yes, even those of us who choose to occupy outdoor spaces – seemingly untouched by society) only allows this cancer to grow into a larger problem. Just as COVID-19 managed to infiltrate every societal crevasse, so too will failure to address the need for policy and police reform. This is on you. You can help make this country better. Don’t know where to start? Start by saying you care and that you aren’t okay with the state of this country. We don't just vote for the President and Congress. We vote for judges, mayors, governors, district attorneys, and sheriffs. Local authorities hold a lot of power (e.g. the current pandemic) – it's not just about Washington DC. So support Black Lives Matter, support the National Police Accountability Project, educate those who are choosing to focus on looting and rioting instead of why these things are happening in the first place. Much love, friends. -Mac #blacklivesmatter

A post shared by Mac | Halfway Anywhere (@halfwayanywhere) on

Ursack Quick Release Knot

I recall being reluctant to buy an Ursack to protect my food from bears and other critters — but finally got one in 2011.

This was the first time I used it, on the Howe Sound Crest Trail out of Vancouver.

2011

I was won over instantly.

Though I own two Bear Vaults, I always carry the Ursack instead if it’s allowed where I’m hiking.

It’s much less bulky.

Though my old white one is going strong, Ursack has newer models in black . And a quicker way of tying the bag to the tree.

Ursack AllMitey bear bag

I’ll probably get the larger capacity URSACK MAJOR XL when I eventually have to replace my old white one.

On my recent cycling / hiking trip through Vancouver Island I tented 6 nights.

There are PLENTY of black bears. I’d never seen so much scat anywhere as on the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail, for example.

You absolutely MUST PROTECT YOUR SMELLIES in this part of the world.

For the first time I used the new recommended quick release knot to attach the Ursack to a tree.  It is a big improvement.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.