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.

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