Susan Alcorn’s Backpacking & Hiking Tales & Tips, April 2022

Susan Alcorn’s Backpacking & Hiking Tales & Tips, #272, April 2022

Hi all,
We are glad to be back, but we also just had a great trip mid-February to mid-March. We spent three weeks in Baja California: enjoying the countryside, the people, and a dream of mine coming true—going out on the pangas (small boats) at Scammon’s Lagoon and San Ignacio and getting to pet the Gray Whales. A thrilling and wonderful time—and done the way we generally prefer—as a road trip!

The photo here is from our latest overnight backpack trip, which was to Rose Peak in Alameda County, CA. This is our peak #89 of the Nifty Ninety Peak Challenge; we plan to hit #90 the end of April!

Contents:
1. Regional: Sunday, April 10 in Sonoma CA: Bay Area book talk with short and sweet walk following

2. Eagerly awaiting: Adventures Awaiting
3. Condor Trail through Los Padres Ntl Forest
4. Hiking the Oregon Coast Trail — new trail guide

5. Diane Spicer has this to share
6. “Lagniappe” (a little something extra) “Bug Healing”
7. Regional: Bay Area Ridge to Bridge Event

Articles:
#1. Regional: Susan’s Bay Area book talk and walk.
 
Please join us for a reading and discussion about my newest book, Walk, Hike, Saunter: Seasoned Women Share Tales and Trails at Readers’ Books in Sonoma, CA on Sunday, April 10, 2022. 10:30 for the talk and reading; 3-mile hike to follow (the hike is optional, of course). Event is free and open to all. 

Joining me will be four of the women from the book:  Inga Aksamit, Patricia Schaffarczyk, Jane Toro, and Karen Najarian. They will read a bit from their chapters, perhaps talk about their previous or upcoming hikes. I can guarantee that they will be inspiring!

A hike will follow—but note: trail changes!!! We are going to lead a hike, but due to trail restoration, we have had to change from going to the overlook (top) of Overlook Trail. We still plan to lead an easy uphill hike, but though it will start on the Overlook Trail, it will continue onto another trail (also offering great views). I plan to scout the alternate route out this week—it will be a fun walk for all of us.

Click here for trail info to find the parking lot for the HIKE, and the beginning of the Overlook Trail. I’m sure than some hikers will be fine without hiking poles, but expect some roots and rocks, so bring a pole if you’ll feel safer.  
Readers’ Books is at 130 E Napa St., Sonoma (and right off the main square).

#2. Eagerly awaiting: Adventures Awaiting. 
Who better to teach about long distance hiking than those who have done it—multiple times, multiple places—than co-authors Heather Anderson, aka Anish, and Katie Gerber, aka Salty.

Heather earned the Triple Crown of Thru-Hiking (USA) and set the fastest known time for this in 11/08/2017.  Katie has completed many long distance hikes on the  the Pacific Crest, Appalachian, Continental Divide, Colorado, and Oregon Desert trails, and the Wind River High Route  and is a nutritionist.

Pre-order Adventures Awaiting at Heather’s website, wordsfromthewild.net Orders from that site will be autographed by Heather.

Learn:  “(How) to prepare your body and mind for the rigors of long-distance backpacking and other epic adventures,” as well as “everything an aspiring backcountry athlete needs to know for planning their first thru-hike!”

Katie focuses on food so that you can be healthy when you complete your hike rather than nutritionally depleted.

“Additionally, we dedicate an entire segment of the book to the mental and emotional preparation, maintenance, and reintegration phase of the journey. It’s commonly estimated that 75 to 85 percent of aspiring thru-hikers on the Triple Crown trails quit before reaching their goal. That’s a staggering number. So, what’s the difference between those who get to the opposite terminus and those who don’t? It’s generally not athletic ability. People of all different demographics and athletic abilities successfully complete long-distance trails.

“Backpacking is not a particularly technical sport, though it does require you to learn a particular set of skills. The primary physical component involves walking over natural surfaces with a load on your back. And though good physical fitness reduces the likelihood of injury and can make the experience more enjoyable, a backpacker always has the option to slow down or reduce mileage to ease the physical demand. The challenges unique to a multi-month backpacking trip are exposing yourself to the elements day after day and continuing to move forward when you’re tired of sleeping on a thin foam pad, sick of eating dehydrated foods, and missing your family and friends.

“Thru-hiking success comes down to the ability to endure when things get hard. There are certainly legitimate circumstances that force hikers off trail, like illness, injury, and finances, but many quit because the going gets difficult and they don’t have a strong reason for being out there. There still physically capable, but mentally they’re over it.” Excerpted from Adventure Ready page 161

Pre-Order Your Autographed Copy Now! https://wordsfromthewild.net/ Order your copy today and receive a discount on the companion online courses!”

#3. Condor Trail Guide: Hiker’s Guide to the 400 Mile Condor Trail Through Los Padres National Forest in California (2021) Paperback and Kindle by Brian Sarvis (Author), Bryan Conant (Contributor). Find it here

Writer Miles Griffis writes, Is California Condor Trail the Next Great Thru Hike?  Griffis tracks the trail’s origins and development—a dream to create a route that with the highlights of Los Padres National Forest (north of Los Angeles)— from the towering peaks of the Sespe Wilderness to the dense redwood stands of Big Sur—all home to the state’s iconic endangered species, the California condor. 

“…the Condor Trail is a distance hiking route that travels coastal mountain ranges and canyons deep in the backcountry of California’s central coast.” “… some areas that will test a hiker’s pathfinding ability.”

“Unlike the well-established John Muir or Pacific Crest Trails, it lacks proper signage and maintenance. But it’s loaded with sights… “…past colonies of elephant seals, and across the ancestral lands of the Chumash, Salinan, Esselen, Tataviam, and Costanoan peoples…”

Photo by Susan Alcorn

#4. “Hiking the Oregon Coast Trail
by Bonnie Henderson, published by Mountaineers Books, is the first guidebook to fully cover the 400-mile Oregon Coast Trail. “From vast beaches and lush forests to windswept bluffs and dramatic sea stacks, the stunning wild coast of Oregon is emerging as the next great long-distance hiking experience.” 

“The OCT includes 200-plus miles of publicly accessible beaches, as well as established trails through city, county, and state parks and national forest lands. “…detailed descriptions of 34 route legs with mileage, maps, resupply options, itineraries, hazards, camping or lodging options, and more.” “…even worth-while side trips.” 

You’ll also find a good overview of the trail—the good and the bad—at Treeline ReviewClick here.

#5. Diane Spicer’s newsletter includes a trekking pole article. 
There is always a lot of interesting and varied hiking information in Diane’s monthly newsletter. I was particularly interested in this article, “Are Trekking Poles Helping or Hindering Your Hiking Experience?” Ashley L. Hawke, MS; Randall L. Jensen, PhD. (REVIEW ARTICLE| VOLUME 31, ISSUE 4, P482-488, DECEMBER 01, 2020.) Click here to read

You can find out more about Diane at her website, and from Walk, Hike, Saunter, where she wrote about her hiking experiences in her own chapter.

#6. A little something extra: Chimpanzees Appear to Use Insects to Treat Their Wounds.
In a first, chimps in Gabon were seen applying insects to sores on themselves—and others, a possible show of empathy. Fascinatingarticle by Corryn Wetzel, Daily Correspondent, in Smithsonian Magazine.

The multiple observations were seen in Gabon—involving adult chimps catching flying insects (which might have antiseptic features), smashing the bugs in their mouth, creating a paste, and then applying it to not only their own children or other relatives, but also other members of their group. February 8, 2022 article click here. 

#7. Regional: San Francisco Bay Area: Register now for Ridge to Bridge 2022!
Registration is officially open for the Ridge Trail’s most exciting signature annual event, Ridge to Bridge 2022! Ridge to Bridge is a trail adventure for hikers, runners, mountain bikers, and equestrians with two ways to participate this year: At an in-person supported event on April 30th in the Marin Headlands or with the self-guided version, ongoing March 1st — April 30th.

In-Person Adventure: April 30th: “Join us for a beautiful springtime trail outing through the iconic Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) including Fort Baker, the Marin Headlands, and Muir Beach. We will support your selected route with trail maps and tips, signature swag, resting points with snacks, and a trail-side catered lunch in Tennessee Valley to keep you energized!”

“Self-Guided Adventure: March 1st – April 30th. Ridge to Bridge 2022 also offers a self-guided adventure for runners, hikers, bikers, and equestrians with curated trail options in each Bay Area county with multiple distances to choose from. Complete trail outings on your own schedule and at your own pace.  Details can be found at RidgeTrail.com

~~~~~~~~~
Thank you everyone. Stay well, keep hiking when prudent. I encourage you to send in items of interest to the hiking community to me at backpack45 “at sign” yahoo.com

Susan ‘backpack45’ Alcorn
Shepherd Canyon Books, Oakland, CA
https://www.susandalcorn.com
https://www.backpack45.com

Author of Walk, Hike, Saunter: Seasoned Women Share Tales and Trails; Healing Miles: Gifts from the Caminos Norte and Primitivo; Patagonia Chronicle: On Foot in Torres del Paine; We’re in the Mountains Not over the Hill: Tales and Tips from Seasoned Women Backpackers; and Camino Chronicle: Walking to Santiago.

Please note: Hiking and backpacking can be risky endeavors. Always be prepared for emergencies and carry food, water, shelter (warm clothing, etc.), flashlight/headlamp, matches, first aid supplies, and maps. Cell phones don’t always work. Leave word where you are traveling and when you are due back.

 

Susan Alcorn’s Backpacking & Hiking Tales & Tips, February 2022

Susan Alcorn’s Backpacking & Hiking Tales and Tips, #271, February 2022

Contents:
1. Yosemite news: volunteering, jobs, and activities
2. Hospitalero Training
3. Gossamer Gear’s blog
4. Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics for the Camino de Santiago
5. What you should know about Banana Slugs
6. Regional: Susan’s Bay Area book talk with walk following

Articles:
#1. Items from the Yosemite Conservancy Newsletter of January 2022. If you are heading for Yosemite in the next few months, check current road conditions and tire chain restrictions by calling (209) 372-0200 (press 1, then 1).

“In other news, we’re hiring a Staff Accountant (based in San Francisco), an Outdoor Programs Coordinator (based in Yosemite), and a Marketing Coordinator (location flexible). Know someone who’d be a good fit for our team? Click here to apply

In addition “Volunteer in Yosemite in 2022: Enjoy a week in the park while completing physical restoration projects including trail repairs, habitat rehabilitation, and more by joining a Work Week Crew. Spend a month sharing your Yosemite knowledge to help visitors navigate and enjoy the park as a Visitor Information Assistant. Apply Now. Click here for volunteering.

Yosemite Conservancy has many custom adventures and virtual adventures. Here are their “upcoming winter adventures in the park. February 12: Winter Hike in Mariposa Grove; February 15: Full Moon Snowshoe Hike #2; February 19: Winter Hike in Mariposa Grove.” These may be full, but there will be more during the year. info@yosemite.org and  www.yosemite.org

#2. Camino Hospitalero Training, March 29-31, 2022. Registration is open for the first Hospitalero Training session of 2022! This is right before the Annual Gathering of Pilgrims as mentioned in my January newsletter (March 31, 2022 – April 4, 2022). The training session will be held at the YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly in Black Mountain, NC (near Asheville).

Schedule: Check-in: 4:00 PM on Tuesday, March 29, 2022—Training complete: 5:00 PM on Thursday, March 31, 2022. “You must attend the entire training session to be certified!  Make your travel plans accordingly! If you plan to attend the Gathering there is a separate registration. Follow this link for Gathering information.

“Checklist: Do you want to learn what it takes to become a hospitalero supporting other pilgrims on the road to Santiago? To attend you must: Have walked at least 100 km or biked at least 200 km of the Camino. Have stayed in at least 3 non-private albergues. Be a current member of American Pilgrims on the Camino. Be at least 18 years old by March 28, 2022. Provide proof of COVID vaccination plus the Booster. Note: all attendees are required to wear masks during the training.”

Click here. to register for Hospitalero Training or questions to: hospitalerotraining@americanpilgrims.org

#3. Short film on the incredible hiker, Anish—and more from Gossamergear.com A wealth of articles in Gossamer Gear’s blog: This month, I particularly enjoyed  the new film on Heather Anderson’s (aka Anish) Thru-Hiking FKT Journey AND Korrin Bishop’s “7 Tips to Quiet Your Mind While Hiking or Backpacking.”  https://www.gossamergear.com/blogs/our-blog

#4. Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics for the Camino de Santiago. Important reading for Camino-bound travelers. https://lnt.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Leave-No-Trace-Camino-Version_FINAL_2020.pdf

#5. What you should know about Banana Slugs. I have to admit that banana slugs are not my favorite critter, but they are interesting. So, did you know that they are soft-bodied creatures without a backbone and are mollusks related to snails and sea slugs? They are gastropods. You probably haven’t one seen a nose sticking out—that’s because it breathes through what is called a pneumostome, a breathing hole on its side leading to its one lung.

They are native to North America and they generally can be found in habitats offering shaded and damp conditions. They travel on the trail of slime they produce; the slime protects their body and discourages predators because the slime tastes bitter and can make one’s tongue feel numb for a moment.  

At the front, they have two sets of tentacles: the upper set is sensitive to light; the lower set is for smelling and feeling. It used to be that teachers and others would encourage students and other visitors to parks to kiss a slug, but this is no longer recommended because the slime can carry parasitic worms and mites, plus lotions humans might have on their hands can be harmful to the slugs. More info in Bay Nature Magazine.  Click here to read

#6. Regional: Susan’s Bay Area book talk and walk. Save the date (and confirm closer on because we all know dates for events sometimes change), but currently we are scheduled to give a book event in Sonoma, CA on Sunday, April 10, 2022. 10:30 for the talk and reading; 3-mile hike to follow.

Details are developing, but what I am hoping for are a couple of the women from Walk, Hike Saunter: Seasoned Women Share Tales and Trail to join in and read from their chapters OR talk about their upcoming hikes. I can guarantee that they will be inspiring!

Following the talk, we plan to lead a gentle hike to an overlook in a local open space with a terrific view of not only Sonoma, but also south to San Francisco and more. Readers’ Books is at 130 E Napa St., Sonoma (and right off the main square). Click here for trail info. We scouted out the trail recently and found that it can be done without hiking poles, but there are some roots and rocks, so bring a pole if you’ll feel safer. 
~~~~~~~~~
Thank you everyone. Stay well, keep hiking when prudent. I encourage you to send in items of interest to the hiking community to me at backpack45 “at sign” yahoo.com

Susan ‘backpack45’ Alcorn
Shepherd Canyon Books, Oakland, CA
https://www.susandalcorn.com
https://www.backpack45.com

Author of Walk, Hike, Saunter: Seasoned Women Share Tales and Trails; Healing Miles: Gifts from the Caminos Norte and Primitivo, Patagonia Chronicle: On Foot in Torres del Paine; We’re in the Mountains Not over the Hill: Tales and Tips from Seasoned Women Backpackers; and Camino Chronicle: Walking to Santiago.

Please note: Hiking and backpacking can be risky endeavors. Always be prepared for emergencies and carry food, water, shelter (warm clothing, etc.), flashlight/headlamp, matches, first aid supplies, and maps. Cell phones don’t always work. Leave word where you are traveling and when you are due back.

Susan Alcorn’s Backpacking & Hiking Tales and Tips, January 2022

Susan Alcorn’s Backpacking & Hiking Tales and Tips, #270, January 2022

Hi everyone, Happy New Year!

Tule elk at Pierce Point, Point Reyes Ntl. Seashore, Marin, CA

#1. Pilgrim guidebook author Beebe Bahrami and her wolf encounter
#2. Snowshoeing and backpacking adventures with Yosemite Conservancy
#3. Are Monarch Butterflies Recovering?
#4. SYMG (Southern Yosemite Mountain Guides)
#5. 600-mile trail underway in the Sierra
#6. 2022 Pilgrim gathering and Hospitalero training coming up
#7. ALDHA-West info
#8. S.F. Bay Area Regional hikes: DIY in Point Reyes to see  Snowy Plover? Tule Elk? Coho Salmon?

Articles:
#1. Beebe Bahrami shares her wolf encounter story.
Beebe is known and beloved by many for her Camino guidebooks including The Spiritual Traveler Spain—A Guide to Sacred Sites and Pilgrim Routes (Paulist Press), Historic Walking Guides: Madrid(DestinWorld Publishing), and her newest— Moon Camino de Santiago (Avalon Travel/Hachette Book Group). She was one of the chapters (what the women of the book are calling themselves!) in my Walk, Hike, Saunter where she enticed to learn more of the story about her encounter with a wolf while hiking on a narrow path near Luarca on the Camino del Norte.

How lucky we are that her story has now been published with Perceptive Travel and I appreciate that she is sharing it with us here. “Time evaporated and space dissolved, as did the wolf’s agitation and mine. I felt the air molecules and the earth between us lose all barriers and meld and weave a profound interconnectedness, what I can only call communion.” Read on…  https://www.perceptivetravel.com/issues/0122/asturias.html.

#2. Snowshoeing and Backpacking Adventures with Yosemite Conservancy: “Experience the quiet beauty of winter in the park during a day of hiking or snowshoeing at Badger Pass, Dewey Point, Yosemite Valley, or the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias.” I can attest to what beautiful scenery you will have whether it’s on an evening full moon hike or a daytime forest ramble. Yosemite Conservancy has a partnership with the park and they offer excursions for those of all levels of expertise—beginner to advanced. Learn more and register here. https://yosemite.org/experience/outdoor-adventures/

#3. Seemingly Headed for Extinction in 2020, Western Monarchs Boom Back in 2021. Daniel Roman in Bay Nature (December 8, 2021) writes, “Since 1997, volunteers organized by the conservation group Xerces Society have counted western monarchs over Thanksgiving at the butterflies’ overwintering sites around coastal California, as part of the Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count.’

They collect data from more than 200 monitoring sites. In 2020, the count hit an all-time low — less than 2,000 monarchs — a number Bay Nature reported last year, that “represents an astonishing continuation of the near-total collapse of the western migratory population of the species over the last few decades.”

But this season’s numbers are encouraging and the changes significant. In 2020, three important overwintering sites in  along the California coast—Pacific Grove, Pismo Beach, and Big Sur— had fewer than 300 butterflies total. This season (2021—2022) more than 10,000 monarchs were counted.

Why this rebound is unknown, but there are a couple of theories. One hypothesis is that this year’s boom is due to an influx of monarchs from the eastern migratory population — which typically migrates between Mexico and the United States and Canada east of the Rocky Mountains — joining western monarchs, thereby adding to the population.

What seems more likely, however, is good luck — a chance happening of good weather at the right time and other factors. The Xerces Society researchers wrote that, like other insects, “’monarchs [numbers] fluctuate from year to year in response to the temperature, rainfall, the availability of food, and other factors.’”

“A single adult female can lay 300 eggs, which multiplies with each of the monarchs’ typically four of five breeding generations in a year. So, if it’s a good year, with good weather, monarchs can produce a lot of offspring.”

In conclusion, it’s very good news, but there’s no guarantee that the monarch population has recovered. We have far to go to again see the numbers we had in the 1980’s — when millions of monarchs overwintered in California.  

You can subscribe to Bay Nature at https://baynature.org/ Meanwhile, people can help by continuing to create and improve butterfly habitat— planting native milkweed and flowers that provide nectar, and reducing pesticide use.

#4. Southern Yosemite Mountain Guides has been in business for 30 years and this year’s trips look as exciting as ever! SYMG sends season’s greetings! Their trips, often using pack animals to reduce what you have to carry, take you to what they describe as “arguably one of the most beautiful places on earth, Yosemite National Park and the High Sierra!”

Here’s a sampling:
“JMT: Rae Lakes Loop: Backpacking: Explore a famous section of the John Muir Trail. We’ll navigate the Rae Lakes Loop through the wilderness of King’s Canyon National Park. Along the way we’ll tackle Glen Pass and camp in the Rae Lakes…”

“Mt Whitney w/ Horsepack Support. Pack Supported Trekking. Climb Mt Whitney and the remote backcountry wilderness of Sequoia National Park! Pack stock will ease our burden as we travel between camps along scenic high-country sections of the famous John Muir Trail and Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail…” Website is https://www.symg.com/

#5. Lost Sierra Route: Wow! Guy Joaquin, co-coordinator of the Northern California Pilgrim group, shared this exciting news for hikers. The facebook link is here.  “Just heard of this amazing project underway: a 600-mile, multi-use trail connecting 15 Northern California and Nevada mountain towns from Truckee and Reno to Susanville.

“After reading this article, I watched a few videos online from the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship who are leading the charge. Their plans include routing the trails though the towns, instead of away, to connect users with the local communities and businesses so there will be accommodations and other support services. In other words, it could be very Camino-like. There is even a passport and stamp program in the works! Definitely something to keep an eye on and even maybe support.” Link to the trail project here. https://sierratrails.org/connected-communities/

#6. Camino Gathering and Hospitalero Training. “Get Prepared for the 2022 Gathering!” Dave Donselar, Chair of the 2022 Gathering, shares the details. The 2022 Annual Gathering of Pilgrims is will be held in Alexandria, VA. “This will be American Pilgrims on the Camino’s 25th year of gathering pilgrims together and we look forward to seeing you at the YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly in Black Mountain, NC (near Asheville) from March 31 to April 3, 2022.

“Registration will open in early January. Members will be notified when registration opens. Visit the American Pilgrims’ website americanpilgrims.org for additional details on the program including the most recent draft of the program, the cost, accommodations options, and the most up-to-date health precautions as we complete our preparations. Also be sure to check for email updates from American Pilgrims . . . we’ll be sending out updates before the event!

“Hospitalero Corner: Training. Hospitalero Trainings are starting again in 2022. The first one will be March 29-31 immediately preceding the 2022 Annual Gathering in Black Mountain, NC. Watch our website for updated information. Registration will open in early January”

#7. Info about the Triple Crown of Hiking: You hear about it—an award for hiking the of the Pacific Crest, Continental Divide, and Appalachian trails. ALDHA-West, the organization that presents the award, gives some specifics for how you can tackle the challenge. “Happy New Year! As we enter into 2022, we will continue to dedicate our Tuesday posts for the next several weeks to address FAQs about the Triple Crown. Q: “Does it matter how I hiked the trail? Section hikes over multiple years, thru-hike, etc.?

A: “Nope. As long as you have hiked each trail in its entirety, section, thru, or flip-flop doesn’t matter.” Follow them on Facebook to read further information as it appears. 

#8. Great time to visit Marin County. Perhaps you are looking for a great hike that is short and sweet? Look no farther than one of these:
Abbotts Lagoon in Pt. Reyes National Park. This is an easy hike out to the ocean, which can be extended either north or south depending on whether you want or continue on flat or hill terrain. Trailhead is along the Pierce Point Road. The lagoon draws many kinds of birds—this time of year, Snowy Plover are reportedly nesting in the sand. https://www.pointreyesnature.com/blog/2020/9/19/western-snowy-plover

Pierce Point in Pt. Reyes. This is a moderate hike, out and back, on a dirt trail along the northernmost point of the Pt. Reyes peninsula. As you hike out to see the resident Tule Elk, you’ll be walking with the Pacific Ocean on the west side and Tomales Bay on the east. To the endpoint, Tomales Point, is about 10 miles round trip, but you’ll see the elk long before that. Google maps here.  

Lagunitas Creek/Samuel P. Taylor State Park. Easy. This is the location of the last notable wild Coho Salmon population in the Bay Area. The salmon this year were able to migrate from nearby Tomales Bay.

The females are in the process of building their nests (redd), which they do by swimming on their sides, arching their backs, and using their tails to smooth out the underwater gravel. When the female is content with her redd, she releases pheromones, which is a signal  indicating she is ready to lay her eggs. It’s also a signal to the males to approach to fertilize them — which they need to do quickly as the eggs are only viable for a few seconds.

To see them, you can go on your own; it’s best to go when  it’s less crowded on weekdays. Look for the salmon in the vicinity of the Leo T. Cronin Fish Viewing Area. Better yet, to get a better idea of where to look, and what the behaviors mean, sign up for a guided tour with the Salmon Protection and Watershed Network (SPAWN) part of the Turtle Island Restoration Network in Lagunitas. Tours are available on weekends Jan 9 to 30—and they will fill quickly. (Eventbrite/click here.) 
~~~~~~~~~
Thank you everyone. Stay well, keep hiking when prudent. I encourage you to send in items of interest to the hiking community to me at backpack45 “at sign” yahoo.com

Susan ‘backpack45’ Alcorn
Shepherd Canyon Books, Oakland, CA
https://www.susandalcorn.com
https://www.backpack45.com

Author of Walk, Hike, Saunter: Seasoned Women Share Tales and Trails; Healing Miles: Gifts from the Caminos Norte and Primitivo, Patagonia Chronicle: On Foot in Torres del Paine; We’re in the Mountains Not over the Hill: Tales and Tips from Seasoned Women Backpackers; and Camino Chronicle: Walking to Santiago.

Please note: Hiking and backpacking can be risky endeavors. Always be prepared for emergencies and carry food, water, shelter (warm clothing, etc.), flashlight/headlamp, matches, first aid supplies, and maps. Cell phones don’t always work. Leave word where you are traveling and when you are due back.

  

Susan Alcorn’s Backpacking & Hiking Tales & Tips, December 2021

Susan Alcorn’s Backpacking & Hiking Tales and Tips, #269 December 2021

Hi everyone,
Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Sorry if you’ve gotten any extra emails about our newsletters. It’s because of our change to wordpress for sending out the newsletter through my website www.susandalcorn.com We have a few more things to learn!

Contents:
#1. Three Books I Highly Recommend:
#2. “Footprints the People”— Barbara Anderson’s humorous podcast on hiking
#3. At 83, ‘Nimblewill Nomad’ Sets Record on the Appalachian Trail
#4. Camino: Train schedule (new service) Madrid to Galicia. 
#5. Andrew Skurka: Have fun while learning about backpacking from an expert
#6. Camino news: Yikes! Part of the arch at San Anton fell on a school bus
#7. The youngest calendar year triple crowners!
Regional San Francisco Bay Area:
#8.New Year’s Day Sonoma County Hike
#9. Bay Area Ridge Trail: Peninsula. Skyline College to Mussel Beach.
#10: Reminder: King Tides on coastal areas

Articles:
#1. A. Three books I can recommend: First is my Walk, Hike, Saunter: Seasoned Women Hikers Share Tales and Trails, which would be perfect for anyone who enjoys an inspiring, interesting, and entertaining book full of stories of adventuresome women. All of the 32 women are 45 or older—some have been “firsts” in the hiking world, all are excellent role models that have much to offer newer hikers. Link here

Heather Anderson’s latest newsletter announced that she has now received the 4th printing of her book, Thirst: 2600 miles to home. She also is offering a course in January called, “FKT 101: Basics for Planning and Completing your First Fastest Known Time Course.” Link here

From her website, “National Geographic Adventurer of the Year, Heather Anderson is the only woman who has completed the Appalachian, Pacific Crest and Continental Divide National Scenic Trails each three times. This includes her historic Calendar Year Triple Crown hike in 2018 when she hiked all three of those trails in one March-November season, making her the first female to do so.

“She also holds the overall self-supported Fastest Known Time (FKT) on the Pacific Crest Trail (2013)–hiking it in 60 days, 17 hours, 12 min, which broke the previous men’s record by four days….” “She also holds the female, self-supported FKT on the Appalachian Trail (2015) in a time of 54 days, 7 hours, 48 minutes, and the Arizona Trail (2016) which she completed in 19 days, 17 hours, 9 minutes.”

Yosemite Complete Hiking Guide by Elizabeth Wenk is out! This book includes every trail in the park and many in adjacent wilderness areas—more than 1,000 miles of trail. As with the previous edition, there is a detailed introduction to the park’s natural history, human history, and of course planning material, most of it entirely rewritten. In addition, there are new maps for every hike. There are lots of new geology and biology sidebars to enhance the trail descriptions. Link here.   (Thank you, Jaunting Jan for the news!).

#2. “Footprints the People” is an entertaining podcast with Barbara Anderson (contributor to Walk, Hike, Saunter). She writes, “thought you might enjoy or possibly laugh at my interview for a British podcast on Long Distance walking….. “Footprints The People Podcast Barbara Anderson ” GOOGLE if you cannot reach Spotify. Link here.

#3. 83 year-old ‘Nimblewill Nomad’ Sets Record on the Appalachian Trail. M.J. Eberhart, better known to hikers as Nimblewill Nomad, hiked into Dalton, Mass., on Sunday, November 7 to become the oldest known person to hike the roughly 2,190-mile trail miles of trail from Georgia to Maine. 

“Eighty percent of it is mental grit,” he said. “And that is why so many people fail.” He was celebrated by many at the finish line, including former record holder “Grey Beard,” (Dale Sanders, now 86) who had held the title since 2017. Grey Beard had driven up from his home in Tennessee to walk the final miles with Nimblewill Nomad

Nimblewill Nomad did the entire hike, in sections, in one year. He actually began hiking from his home in Alabama, which is further back—doing day hikes—until he reached Georgia to jump on the AT on March 1, 2021. He averaged about 10 miles a day. He had previously completed the AT twice—1998 and 2001-2. There’s more in an article by Christine Hauser in the New York Times. Link here. 

Earl Shaffer is the first known person to hike the entire length of the Appalachian Trail in one, continuous journey, which he did in 1948.

#4. Camino interest: Train schedule (new service) Madrid to Galicia. Follow the link to the schedule. The labels at the top of each train schedule can be confusing, so here are their meanings:
LMXJ — means Monday through Friday
LMXJS — Monday through Saturday
LMXJD – Monday through Friday and Sunday
diario — daily
Link to credit 

#5. Andrew Skurka Adventures: “Our 2022 trip schedule is now available. April/May: Grand Staircase-Escalante in southern Utah; May: Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado; June/July: Gates of the Arctic National Park, Brooks Range, Alaska; July: High Sierra, California; September: Olympic National Park, Washington (new for 2022); October: West Virginia during peak fall colors.”

If you aren’t acquainted with Andrew Skurka, here’s info about him: “I’m an outdoor athlete, writer, and guide. In my twenties I hiked 30,000+ miles from sea to sea, around the West, and in Alaska. Since then I started a guide …” from his website at https://andrewskurka.com

Apply for a 2022 trip starting Monday, December 13, 2021 [places will fill fast]. 
Benefit from:
“Next-level instruction. We will help you develop the skills and knowledge necessary to lead the group and to undertake similar trips of your own in the future. The learning starts months before with our Plan Like A Pro course, and continues with an extensive field curriculum.
“Expert guides. We combine extensive first-hand backpacking experience with excellent people skills, relate-able family and work lives, and a passion for teaching and for our trip locations. It’s truly an all-star team.
“World-class locations. Our venues are among my all-time favorite spots, and we know where to find spectacular scenery, refreshing swimming holes, fascinating archeological sites, blissful off-trail travel, and secluded campsites.
“Cohesive groups. We painstakingly match applicants who have similar physical abilities and outdoor experience, and we try to give each group a balance of genders, ages, and other biographical details. Our groups frequently feel like “tramilies” and plan trips together afterwards.”

#6. Camino news: Yikes! Part of the arch at San Anton (on the Francés route) fell and landed on a school bus. Luckily no one was injured. Article here.  

#7. 21-Year-Olds, Sammy Potter and Jackson Parell, Just Became the Youngest Calendar-Year Triple Crowners. To make their way through the challenges of weather, they bounced around on the three trails — over 7,000 miles of hiking that covers the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail. 

They started on January 1, 2021 on the Appalachian Trail’s southern end at Springer Mountain. In February the moved over to the Continental Divide in New Mexico; they moved over to do a section of the Pacific Crest Trail headed south from Kennedy Meadows. They finished their record-setting hike on October 22, 2021. There is more to the story, which you can read at link here

Flyin’ Brian Robinson was the first person to complete a Calendar-Year Triple Crown in 2001. And, as mentioned earlier, Heather “Anish” Anderson, was the first woman to do so.

Regional Bay Area:
#8. Jack London State Historic Park First Day Hike. The park, in California’s Sonoma Valley, kicks off the new year with Ninth Annual First Day Hike – January 1, 2022.  The trek can be either a personal challenge to make it to the park summit or the first step in a commitment to a healthier new year.  Either way, it is designed for all fitness levels with guides to help hikers return to the parking lot at any time. First Day Hikes are held throughout the country, supported by America’s State Parks, and at parks statewide with California State Parks.

The hike begins at 10 a.m. and will conclude at around 2:30 p.m. The roundtrip route is eight miles long and moderately strenuous. Participants will meet in the Ranch parking lot, to the right of the park’s entrance kiosk.  The hike will be cancelled in the event of rain.

Reservations are required https://jacklondonpark.com/events/ and can be made at First Day Hike 2022 | Jack London State Historic Park (jacklondonpark.com). Tickets are $10 per person, in addition to $10 per car entry fee (up to nine passengers).  (Thank you Laurie Armstrong Gossy for the news.) Photo: Jack London’s Wolf House.

#9. Bay Area Ridge Trail. While waiting for longer days to complete the Nifty Ninety Peak Challenge, we are enjoying doing sections of the Bay Area Ridge Trail. Our most recent hike was on the S.F. Peninsula in Pacifica. What a delightful segment—from Skyline College to Mussel Beach. Short as most of the sections are, but from our start at the southern end of the walk, we went through the GGNRA Milagra Park, with displays with information about the former Nike Launch site that was there during the Cold War era of the 40s and 50s, and then onward along wonderfully well-groomed trails that took us to a spiral (related to a labyrinth) with outstanding views all along. Then down the hillside to walk along the cliffs above the ocean north to the end at the picturesque Mussel Rock. It’s about 4.5 miles, but we did a bit more to see the off-trail views. Easy, going north is downhill.

#10. REMINDER: King Tides near you? “A King Tide is a non-scientific term people often use to describe exceptionally high tides. Tides are long-period waves that roll around the planet as the ocean is “pulled” back and forth by the gravitational pull of the moon and the sun as these bodies interact with the Earth in their monthly and yearly orbits. Higher than normal tides typically occur during a new or full moon and when the Moon is at its perigee, or during specific seasons around the country.” National Ocean Service info. 

Here’s a Bay Area walk you can take with Berkeley Path Wanderers: “King Tides Walk: History and Rising Seas.” When: Sunday, Dec. 5, 10 a.m. Leader: Susan Schwartz. Sea Breeze Market, 598 University Ave., Berkeley.

“During one of winter’s highest tides, enjoy a relaxed loop around Berkeley’s restored “meadow,” with short spurs. We will walk rain or shine. Dress in layers for quick-changing weather, and expect puddles, muddy or even flooded paths, and crossing a construction site. Sorry, no dogs allowed in part of the area we will cross.
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Thank you everyone; enjoy your holidays. Stay well, keep hiking when prudent. I encourage you to send in items of interest to the hiking community to me at backpack45 “at sign” yahoo.com

Susan ‘backpack45’ Alcorn
Shepherd Canyon Books, Oakland, CA
https://www.susandalcorn.com
https://www.backpack45.com

Author of Walk, Hike, Saunter: Seasoned Women Share Tales and Trails Healing Miles: Gifts from the Caminos Norte and Primitivo
Patagonia Chronicle: On Foot in Torres del Paine
Camino Chronicle: Walking to Santiago
We’re in the Mountains Not over the Hill: Tales and Tips from Seasoned Women Backpackers
Please note: Hiking and backpacking can be risky endeavors. Always be prepared for emergencies and carry food, water, shelter (warm clothing, etc.), flashlight/headlamp, matches, first aid supplies, and maps. Cell phones don’t always work. Leave word where you are traveling and when you are due back.

 

Susan Alcorn’s Backpacking & Hiking Tales and Tips, August 2021

Susan Alcorn’s Backpacking & Hiking Tales and Tips, #266 August 2021

 Hope you are enjoying your summer!

Contents:
#1. Hikers’ Rash/Golfers’ vasculitis
#2. American Pilgrims on the Camino gathering 2022.
#3. Plans for a new long distance trail in France 2500 km, 6 stages https://en.hexatrek.com/

#4. PCT Summer Festival
#5. ALDHA-WEST info
#6. New FKT (Fastest Known Time) on the Pacific Crest Trail
#7. Marcyn Clements, author of Shinrin-Yoku
#8. Bears — Fears and Facts
#9. Hipcamp and REI
#10. S.F. Bay Regional: Berkeley Path Wanderers’ many hikes

Articles:
#1. Hikers’ Rash/Golfers’ vasculitis. After recently having a new episode of hikers’ rash, I was very interested to read Diane Spicer’s extensive information of what is it, what causes it, what to do about it, and how to avoid it in her Hiking for Her article.  This will be a brief summary, with my comments interspersed, but the link here will give much more detail. https://www.hiking-for-her.com/hikers-rash.html  

“Hikers rash (also spelled as hiker’s rash) pops up mysteriously on one or both legs, and makes you wonder what’s going on with your skin.” “The rash occurs on ankles and calves, sometimes even up to the thighs.” “It’s usually on areas NOT covered by socks or clothing. Above the sock line, in other words.”

It is “exercise induced vasculitis (EIV). Any ” -itis” means inflammation, and “vasc” tells you what’s inflamed: blood vessels.”

Susan: This describes what happens to me to a T. It’s only above my socks. Mine does not hurt of itch, and goes away on its own in a few days.

I definitely agree with Diane’s note: “This article is not medical advice. Always consult a medical care professional with your health concerns.”

I learned a few things I hadn’t known previously—that it is sometimes called the “Disney rash.” Which when you stop scratching your head will make sense—hikers/backpackers,   golfers, and visitors to Disneyland have SOME things in common—they walk a lot, often for hours at a time, in the summer—these things put pressure on their lower legs, which can cause the blood vessels to expand.

Prevention could include keeping your legs covered with lightweight UPF fabric or wearing compression socks; staying hydrated, applying a wet compress (bandana, etc.), elevating your feet during breaks, and conditioning ahead of time. I guess I would say yikes at this point because Diane reports that “Dr. [Oliver] Espitia estimates about 77% of those who have already experienced hiker’s rash, have an elevated risk of a repeat occurrence.” For further information: https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/what-is-disney-rash and https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27591889/.

#2. American Pilgrims on the Camino gathering 2022. “Announced in La Concha, the pilgrim magazine. “…know that we’re already working on our return to the YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly in Black Mountain, NC (near Asheville) for our 25th Annual Gathering of Pilgrims, March 31-April 3, 2022. Our theme will be “Rekindling the Camino Spirit”, and the program is already shaping up to include many of the speakers and events that have inspired us through the years, while incorporating new elements that promise to build enthusiasm and excitement as we dream about future adventures. Registration for the 2022 Annual Gathering will open in January 2022 … so save the dates!”

#3. Plans for a new long distance trail in France 2500 km, 6 stages. Check it out here: https://en.hexatrek.com/

#4. PCT Days/Summer Festival: PCT Days is AUGUST 20-22, 2021. “Pacific Crest Trail Days is an annual summer festival that celebrates and promotes hiking, camping, backpacking & outdoor stewardship.  Attendees can participate in activities, games, & presentations, win awesome gear at the raffle, and get great deals on the latest outdoor products from sponsors at the Gear Expo.  If you’re into car camping, day hiking, long distance hiking, or just curious, a wide-range of gear and info will be here!  Don’t miss out on a great time at the 14th annual PCT DAYS, located in the Marine Park of Cascade Locks, Oregon…the heart of the Columbia River Gorge!

“PCT DAYS is free to attend, with a suggested donation of non-perishable food, personal care products, or a monetary contribution to the FISH food bank, which serves the local community.  All raffle proceeds support the American Long Distance Hiking Association-West and the Pacific Crest Trail Association.  Overnight camping is available for a fee and the event is family-friendly. Vendors will be offering great food, coffee, beer and non-alcoholic beverages.  No dogs, glass or alcohol may be brought to PCT DAYS and parking is free.”

“Volunteers will receive free camping on Thunder Island and an ALDHA-West hat as a thank you.  Help is needed with: Selling Raffle Tickets on Saturday 8/21; 9:00am-11:00am (2 volunteers needed); 11:00am-1:00pm (2 volunteers needed); 1:00pm-3:00pm (2 volunteers needed); 3:00pm-5:00pm (2 volunteers needed); Hiker Breakfast food setup and cleanup Sunday 8/22; 6:30am-9:30am (2 volunteers needed). Please email us at secretary@aldhawest.org if you’re interested in volunteering. Check out www.pctdays.com for more details.

#5. ALDHA-West Board Nominations are OPEN and Triple Crown info: “Open Positions: President, Secretary, Board Member at Large, and Board Member at Large. We need YOU! Join our team and help us create community in the world of hiker trash. Nominate yourself or others here! Triple Crown Award Applications close at the end of August! If you are looking to apply for your Triple Crown this year, get yourself in gear and apply; don’t delay – apply today!

PLUS: “Hiker Olympics: As part of our 2021 virtual Gathering, we’re kicking off an independent, virtual Hiker Olympics!  Complete at least 5 of the items on our list, submit the form on our website, and be entered to win one of a bunch of prizes (TBD, but think classic AW raffle items!) at the Gathering on October 7.  While you’re checking items off your list, snap some photos and share them with us! Tag us on social #AWHikerOlympics and/or submit them with your entry. Join the Hiker Olympics. www.aldhawest.org

#6. Timothy Olson has set a new record for completing the 2,650 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). He started at the southern border on June 1, 2021and reached the US/Canada Northern Terminus at 10:48pm PST on July 22, 2021 (51d 16h 55m 0s). His was a supported hike meaning that he had help along the way—supplies brought to him, or carried along by others. www.fastestknowntime.com/tracking

 #7.  Marcy publishes Shinrin-Yoku: Poems and Prose. I really have enjoyed reading through Marcy’s new book, Shinrin-Yoku. (Shinrin-Yoku is a Japanese term for “forest bathing.”)  Marcy was one of the amazing women that I interviewed about 20 years ago for my We’re in the Mountains Not over the Hill). In particular I like the combination of poetry and prose. I have enjoyed being able to skip around and read the various pieces slowly so I can savor each one.  At the moment, I am quite taken with her “Ice House Cabin.” Not only do I get to travel somewhere I haven’t been, but I get to traipse along with her, her daughters, and their black labs. “Molly is standing in the middle of the stream, biting the water plume that roostertails off the rocks. Ely is lying belly down in the pool, drinking.” The book is available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle. https://www.amazon.com/Shinrin-Yoku-Poems-Marcyn-Del-Clements/dp/1777089565/

#8. Bears — Fears and Facts. In the article “Bear Attack Fatalities Are Up This Year. Is it a Trend, or Just a Coincidence?” from Outside online/first published by Backpacker.com there’s much of interest about recent bear attacks, how to keep the numbers in perspective, and how to be safe out there.

Some facts: “Grizzly and black bears have killed five people in North America over the last five months.” Since these fatalities are relatively recent, you may have read about them, but in short: two were in Calgary (Canada) and three were in the U.S. (one outside Yellowstone, two in Montana, one in Colorado (black bear). In 2020, there were four fatalities in Canada/U.S. from bear attacks, in 2019 only two. 

According to supervisor research biologist Frank van Manen of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team, “the explosion in outdoor recreation as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic may play a role in increased human-bear interactions. More humans visiting trails and wilderness areas naturally leads to bear encounters, which sometimes result in human injury or even death. But this year’s numbers are still too small to consider this anything other than speculation.”

“Human-bear conflicts, which include anything from property damage, human food raids, livestock depredation, and, yes, attacks, increase in areas where bears are expanding their range, says van Manen. In the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, where his studies are focused, grizzlies have tripled their range over the past 40 years, and the overlap between human use areas and grizzly territory has grown wider. This has led to increased interactions between humans and bears, and in some cases, these interactions lead to violence. But, van Manen says, this year’s attacks needn’t set off alarm bells.”

“It is important to recognize that in the vast majority of bear encounters, bears avoid any form of confrontation and leave without incident, which of course does not make the news,” he says. “Physical attacks are extremely rare events that tend to be unpredictable and vary widely over time and geography.”

Keep it in perspective: driving to the trailhead is more risky than hiking in bear country.

https://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/exploration-survival/bear-attack-fatalities-are-up-this-year-is-it-a-trend-or-just-a-coincidence/

Advice from those in the know. https://www.bearbiology.org/about/safety-in-bear-country/

#9. REI and Hipcamp. A new partnership between the sporting goods store and a company that offers places to stay, camp, explore. “Picture it. You, your dog and your favorite people in a cabin by the lake…or a tent on a blueberry farm…or a fancy yurt by the ocean. Meet Hipcamp—unique outdoor stays for anyone open to adventure.” (My space is limited here, check it out at https://www.rei.com/h/hipcamp

#10. S.F. Bay Regional: Berkeley Path Wanderers is great at have hikes for people of all ages, fitness, and hiking interests. Here’s one of many that I think would be fun: “Berkeley Hills sunset hike. Friday, August 20, 6 to 9 p.m. Led by: Leader: Alina Constantinescu. It’s free, no registration needed—just be at the Tamalpais Path on the East side of Euclid Ave, across from end of Eunice Street at Codornices Park in Berkeley, CA. “Grab a flashlight and let’s kick-off the weekend with a nice evening hike! The route is 4 miles, with hills and staircases. Estimated duration is 3 hours.” More info here: https://www.berkeleypaths.org/upcoming-events/2021/8/20/berkeley-hills-sunset-hike

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Thank you everyone. Stay well, keep hiking when prudent. I encourage you to send in items of interest to the hiking community to me at backpack45 “at sign” yahoo.com

Susan ‘backpack45’ Alcorn
Shepherd Canyon Books, Oakland, CA

https://susandalcorn.com
https://www.backpack45.com

Author of Walk, Hike, Saunter: Seasoned Women Share Tales and Trails; Healing Miles: Gifts from the Caminos Norte and Primitivo, Patagonia Chronicle: On Foot in Torres del Paine; We’re in the Mountains Not over the Hill: Tales and Tips from Seasoned Women Backpackers; and Camino Chronicle: Walking to Santiago.

Please note: Hiking and backpacking can be risky endeavors. Always be prepared for emergencies and carry food, water, shelter (warm clothing, etc.), flashlight/headlamp, matches, first aid supplies, and maps. Cell phones don’t always work. Leave word where you are traveling and when you are due back.

To subscribe, unsubscribe, or send a message to this (almost) monthly newsletter, please email Susan at backpack45 “at sign” yahoo.com