U.S. National Parks record visitations

Secretary Zinke Announces Record Visitation to America’s National Parks

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke must DEFEND the Parks system.

In 2016, the National Park Service set a record for recreation visits for the third year in a row. NPS units received nearly 331 million recreation visits, breaking 2015’s record by 23.7 million visits. …

National Parks Service

(via Huckleberry Hiker)

hiking the Gila Wilderness, New Mexico

trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

You’ve heard of Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument.

It’s adjacent to the Gila Wilderness.


Gila Wilderness was designated the world’s first wilderness area on June 3, 1924. … part of New Mexico’s Gila National Forest. …

The Mogollon Mountains traverse an arc across the wilderness. The tallest peak within this range, Whitewater Baldy at 10,895 ft (3,321 m) …

I headed for the most popular Baldy trailheadCrest Trail #182.

I never made it due to mountain road improvements January 2017. ROAD CLOSED.


So I read some of the Peakbagger trip reports instead.

The consensus was not good: bad roads, snow into July, forest fire recovery sections, hunters.  It will not go on our list of the best hikes in North America.

The most popular hike in Gila Wilderness is the Catwalk – “… a one-mile trail suspended above a rushing stream in a gorge only a few feet wide.”

It had been rebuilt over a period of 2 years costing over $4.4 million dollars. And opened again in 2016.

I’d been advised by a Ranger that only the catwalk part of the trail was open. Hikers often continue on to #207. I would have wild camped if it had been open.

Sadly, that Ranger was wrong. It was all closed due to flooding.


Still, the Catwalk does look very cool.


The 1.1-mile Catwalk National Recreation Trail winds through the canyon’s steep, pink walls of volcanic rock, following the path of a pipeline built in the early 1890s to provide water and electricity for the mining town of Graham.   …

Desert USA

LESSON LEARNED — Before driving out to hike the Gila Wilderness, phone first to be sure your trail is open.


best men’s hiking footwear 2017

top 10 travel likes the HOKA ONE ONE Tor Summit Mid Waterproof Men’s Hiking Boots best.


Click through to see the rest of their list – Best Men’s Hiking Boots 2017 – Buyer’s Guide and Reviews

My own shoe of choice is there – Merrell Men’s Moab GORE-TEX®
I’m on my 4th or 5th pair.

commercializing Everest’s North Face

A few weeks ago, a Beijing newspaper announced that the Chinese government was building a new mountaineering center and hotel near the north side of Everest. …

The mountaineering center will be located in Old Tingri, a town 40 miles northwest of Everest, and will house much of the infrastructure we currently associate with the French Alps: a heli base for rescue operations on the mountain, a mountaineering school for high altitude workers, and a fully stocked hotel. …

The mountaineering center is scheduled to be completed by 2019, three years ahead of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.


I hiked Tingri (Dingri) to Everest in 1998. Dingri was one crappy town at that time. Seems it’s not improved much in the years since.

Dingri 2011

Dingri 2011

As always, there will be pros and cons in commercializing Everest in Tibet.