Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Key Milestones in Hiking

The following timeline was adapted from my book, Ramble On: A History of Hiking:

Over the last several decades the sport of hiking has become one of the most popular outdoor activities in the world. According to the latest National Survey on Recreation and the Environment, 33.9% of all Americans above the age of 15 participated in hiking during the period between 2005 and 2009. This trend, however, leads to the burning question; when did people begin taking to the trail for pleasure? Since the dawn of humankind men and women have walked the earth to hunt, gather wild edible plants, explore, trade goods with neighboring communities, and migrate to other regions. At some point in our long evolution we as humans realized that there doesn’t have to be a utilitarian reason for walking. Somewhere along the line we discovered the joy of traipsing through the woods, observing the beauty of a wildflower, seeing wildlife in their natural habitat, marveling at the roar of a waterfall, or contemplating the awe-inspiring views from the top of a mountain. Is this a recent phenomenon, or is this an innate characteristic of human beings? No matter the answer to that question, here are the key milestones in the history of hiking that has led to its popularity today:

~3300 BCE: In 1991 two German tourists found the mummified remains of “Otzi the Iceman” in the Ă–tztal Alps along the Austrian–Italian border. Although scientists aren’t entirely sure what this late-Neolithic man was doing at an elevation hovering just over 10,500 feet, there are some that speculate that he may have been an early mountaineer. More importantly, the remnants of the rucksack that he carried on his back is the oldest rucksack ever found.

125: The 2nd century Roman Emperor, Hadrian, hiked to the summit of Mt. Etna on Sicily to see the sunrise, making this earliest recorded hike for pleasure.

1642: Darby Field makes the first recorded ascent of Mt. Washington, which would become the focus of the first tourist destination in the United States in the late 1700s.

1760: The Industrial Revolution begins in Great Britain, and is generally recognized as lasting until the start of World War I. The Industrial Revolution gave rise to the labor movement, automobiles, environmentalism, club culture, and even art. As a result, it is arguably the single most important event to spur the development of hiking and walking for pleasure.

1778: Thomas West, an English priest, publishes A Guide to the Lakes, a detailed account of the scenery and landscape of the Lake District in northwestern England. The guide helped to popularize the idea of walking for pleasure, and is credited as being one of the first travel guides.

1786: The modern era of mountaineering is marked by the first ascent of 15,771-foot Mont Blanc in France, the tallest peak in the Alps.

1799: Williams College (of Massachusetts) President Ebenezer Fitch ascends Mt. Greylock with two other companions.

1819: Abel Crawford, along with his son Ethan, blaze an 8.25-mile trail to the summit of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire. The path is recognized as the oldest continually used hiking trail in the United States, and is likely the first footpath in the entire world to be built specifically for recreational hiking.

1830: A crew of 100 students and professors from Williams College blaze the Hopper Trail to the summit of Mt. Greylock. Later that same year students constructed a 37-foot wooden tower atop the mountain. This tower, and its replacement, were maintained into the 1850s, and were used for sightseeing and scientific observations.

1850: The Exploring Circle is founded by Cyrus M. Tracey and three other men from Lynn, Massachusetts. The National Park Service recognizes the club as being “the first hiking club in New England", thus, in all likelihood, making it the first hiking club in the world.

1854: The beginning of the systematic sport of modern mountaineering as we essentially know it today is marked by the ascent of the Wetterhorn in the Swiss Alps by Sir Alfred Wills. His book, Wanderings Among the High Alps, published two years later, helped make mountaineering fashionable in Britain, and ushered in the systematic exploration of the Alps by British mountaineers. These events also marked the beginning of the so-called “Golden Age of Alpinism”.

1857: The world's first mountaineering club, the Alpine Club, was founded in London.

1863: Professor Albert Hopkins of Williams College founds the Alpine Club of Williamstown, whose stated mission was “to explore the interesting places in the vicinity, to become acquainted, to some extent at least, with the natural history of the localities, and also to improve the pedestrian powers of the members”. It was the first hiking club to accept women as members, which likely provided an important template for future hiking clubs.

1867: John Muir begins a 1000-mile walk from Indiana to Florida, which was recounted in his book, A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf. The trek launched a lifetime career of hiking and wilderness advocacy. His conservation efforts, articles and books would help to establish several national parks during and after his lifetime.

1872: Yellowstone becomes the world’s first national park after legislation is signed by President U.S. Grant.

1876: The Appalachian Mountain Club, America’s oldest recreational organization, is founded to explore and protect the trails and mountains of New England.

1876: Newtown, England entrepreneur Pryce Pryce-Jones designs the "Euklisia Rug", considered by many to be the forerunner of the modern sleeping bag. The rug included a wool blanket with a pocket at the top for a sewn-in, inflatable, rubber pillow. Once inside, the camper (or soldier) folded the blanket over and fastened it together, thus keeping themselves “snug in a rug”.

1877: English writer Louis Jennings publishes Field Paths and Green Lanes: Being Country Walks, Chiefly in Surrey and Sussex, which is likely the first trail guide to be published anywhere in the world.

1879: One of the first hiking clubs in England, the "Sunday Tramps", was founded by Leslie White. These early “rambling” (the English word for hiking or walking) clubs sprang up in the northern areas of England as part of a campaign for the legal "right to roam", a response to the fact that much of the land in England was privately owned.

1887: The first external frame rucksack is patented by Colonel Henry C. Merriam.

1922: Australian climber George Finch designs and wears a knee-length eiderdown parka during the 1922 British Everest Expedition. The shell of the coat was made from the waterproofed-cotton fabric of a hot-air balloon, which was filled with duck down. During the expedition Finch and climbing partner Geoffrey Bruce reached a height of 27,300 feet during their summit attempt, which set the record for the highest altitude attained by any human up to that point.

1922: Lloyd F. Nelson submits his application to the U.S. Patent Office for his "Trapper Nelson's Indian Pack Board", which is acknowledged to be the first commercially successful external-frame backpack to be sold in the U.S. The "Trapper Nelson" featured a wooden "pack board" as its frame. Attached to the frame was a canvas sack that contained the hiker's gear, which rested on the hiker's body by two canvas shoulder-straps. Prior to his invention most hikers used a rucksack, which was essentially a loose sack with shoulder straps.

1930: The Green Mountain Club completes construction of the Long Trail, making it the first long-distance hiking trail in the United States.

1937: Italian climber and mountaineering guide, Vitale Bramani, invents Carrarmato, or “tank tread". This new rubber lug pattern provides mountaineering boots with outstanding traction, and allows them to be used on a variety of surfaces. The product is launched under the brand name "Vibram".

1937: America's first “grand” trail, the Appalachian Trail, was completed in August of 1937. A forester by the name of Benton MacKaye conceived the idea in 1921.

1948: Earl Shaffer becomes the first person to thru-hike the entire Appalachian Trail.

1967: Climber Greg Lowe invents the internal frame backpack. The “Expedition Pack” also featured the first adjustable back system, first side compressors, first sternum strap and the first load stabilizers.

1968: The National Trails System Act is passed by Congress, resulting in thousands of miles of trails being designated as National Scenic Trails, National Historic Trails and National Recreation Trails.

1969: Bob Gore accidentally stretches a heated rod of polytetrafluoroethylene by almost 800%, which forms a microporous structure that was roughly 70% air. The discovery was introduced to the public under the trademark of "Gore-Tex", which became the first breathable, waterproof, and windproof fabric.

1992: Ray Jardine introduces the concept of ultralight backpacking with the release of his book, The Pacific Crest Trail Hiker's Handbook. During his first PCT thru-hike Jardine’s pack weighed just 25 pounds. By his third hike it weighed less than 9 pounds. “Ray’s Way” of thinking has led to several innovations that have benefitted both backpackers and hikers.

This timeline is only a brief overview of the people, events, inventions and social trends that have helped to shape the sport of hiking as we know it today. If you enjoyed this short snippet of hiking history, please check out my book, Ramble On: A History of Hiking, which provides a much more in-depth narrative on the history of hiking.



Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Tetons Hosted Increased Visitation for the Month of October

Grand Teton National Park hosted an estimated 351,173 recreation visits in October 2020, an 88% increase compared to October 2019. Park statistics show that October 2020 saw the highest number of recreation visits on record for the month of October. More data on National Park Service visitor-use statistics is available at irma.nps.gov/STATS/.

The list below shows the October trend for recreation visits over the last several years:

2020—351,173
2019—186,487
2018—207,534
2017—187,499
2016—186,185
2015—190,681

Visitors to Grand Teton National Park are reminded to plan ahead and recreate responsibly. The park highly encourages visitors to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local and state authorities, by maintaining social distancing guidelines and wearing a face covering when in buildings and high-visitation areas outside.

Visitor services at Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway are limited this time of year, as most facilities close each winter. Please visit www.nps.gov/grte and the park’s Facebook and Twitter accounts for more information.







Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Hiking books make great Christmas gifts!

Christmas is only a few weeks away. So now is a great time to begin thinking about stocking stuffers for all your favorite hikers. With that in mind, I wanted to let you know that both the paperback and E-book versions of my book, Ramble On: A History of Hiking, are available on Amazon.

Ramble On: A History of Hiking is the first broad historical overview of hiking in one volume. Among the variety of topics discussed about the early years of hiking, the book chronicles hiking’s roots in alpinism and mountaineering, the societal trends that fostered its growth, some of the early hikers from the 19th century, the first trails built specifically for hiking, the formation of the first hiking clubs, as well as the evolution of hiking gear and apparel. It also includes anecdotal stories of trail development in some of our oldest and most iconic national parks, such as Yellowstone, Glacier, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Ramble On: A History of Hiking is a great stocking stuffer for anyone who loves hiking, and wishes to learn more about the rich and amazing history of one of the world’s top pastimes.

For more information, and to purchase on Amazon, please click here.

Once again, thank you very much!



Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Friday, November 20, 2020

Glacier National Park Reports Increase in October Visitation

Last month, 125,544 visitors entered the park in October compared to 78,408 in October 2019. The average number of visitors in October for the past three years is about 85,000.

Overall, the park saw a reduction in visitors between June and September. The park was closed to visitors from March 24 to June 8 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Visitation was down 70% in June, 50% in July, 40% in August and 30% in September.

Due to the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council’s resolution restricting non-essential travel on the reservation, the east entrances to the park and Going-to-the-Sun Road were closed through-out the season. Visitors were required to enter and exit Going-to-the-Sun Road via the west entrance and traffic was allowed as far as Rising Sun on the east side. The west entrance continues to be the only access point for the park during the winter season.

Although the alpine sections of the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park are closed for the season, visitors can drive 15.5 miles of the road from the west entrance to Avalanche Creek. There are no lodging or food services available in the park this time of year.

Winter weather conditions sometimes cause road closures. Visitors are encouraged to check the Recreational Access Display (RAD) or call 406-888-7800 and select option 1 for the latest road update.

Learn more about winter operations at Glacier National Park on our Visiting in Winter webpage. For additional visitor inquiries, contact park headquarters at 406-888-7800.



Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Trails Stewardship Strategy Released by Rocky Mountain Region of the USDA Forest Service

Earlier this week the Rocky Mountain Region of the USDA Forest Service released a trails stewardship strategy to guide how the agency will work with partners to support recreation, sustain wildlife and natural resources, foster economic prosperity, and inspire public health.

Sustainable trails are vital for improving responsible access to the outdoors, accommodating numerous visitors, minimizing impacts to wildlife and natural resources, and reducing user conflicts through more active management methods. These factors support the need for a shared trails stewardship strategy that embraces the Forest Service values of service, interdependence, conservation, and diversity, as well as safety, sustainability, commitment, access, inclusion, communication, and relationships.

“Through the hard work of staff and dedicated partners around the Rocky Mountain Region, we have developed a guiding strategy for trails that represents the inclusive and diverse range of users and activities that we will continue to manage and plan for in the future. The trails stewardship strategy is a starting point that will inform how we work together collaboratively to share, steward, and enjoy a sustainable system of trails across the region,” said Jason Robertson, Acting Director of Recreation, Lands, Minerals, and Volunteers for the Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region.

The next steps will include the development of an implementation plan, which will involve a series of workshops and meetings to gather input from partners and other members of the public who are interested in supporting and helping to implement the trails strategy. The workshop and meeting schedule will be announced at a later time.

For more information, please visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/r2/recreation/?cid=fseprd851161 or contact Chad Schneckenburger at Chad.Schneckenburger@USDA.gov 







Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Investigation Underway into Two Dead Grizzly Bears Found Near Bigfork

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks are investigating the death of two grizzly bears near Bigfork.

The carcasses of an adult female bear and yearling were located Nov. 9 on Bear Creek Road near Montana Highway 83. No additional information is available at this time due to the ongoing investigation.

Anyone with potential information is encouraged to call 1-800-TIP-MONT (1-800-847-6668). Callers may remain anonymous. If the information provided leads to an arrest, callers could be eligible for a cash reward.







Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Elk Reduction Program in Grand Teton National Park Begins Saturday, November 7

An elk reduction program begins Saturday, November 7, in Grand Teton National Park. The park’s enabling legislation of 1950 authorizes Grand Teton National Park to jointly administer an elk reduction program with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department when necessary for the proper management and conservation of the Jackson Elk Herd.

Respective federal and state resource managers have reviewed available data and concluded that the 2020 program is necessary. The need for the program is determined annually and is based on the status of the Jackson Elk Herd, including estimated herd size and composition and the number of elk on supplemental feed on the National Elk Refuge. A total of 550 permits are authorized for the 2020 program.

The only area open to the elk reduction program is Wyoming Game and Fish Elk Hunt Area 75, located mostly east of U.S. Highway 89. The Antelope Flats portion of this area closes November 23, and the remaining portions close December 13. The Snake River Bottom between Deadmans Bar and Ditch Creek is closed.

Wyoming Game and Fish Elk Hunt Area 79 is closed to limit harvest pressure on northern migratory and resident elk.

Participants in the program must carry their state hunting license, conservation stamp, elk special management permit and 2020 elk reduction program park permit, use non-lead ammunition, and are limited in the number of cartridges they are able to carry each day. The use of archery, handguns, or other non-center fire ammunition rifles is not permitted, nor is the use of artificial elk calls. In addition, participants, regardless of age, are required to carry a hunter safety card, wear fluorescent orange or pink, and carry and have immediately accessible a 7.9oz. (or greater) can of non-expired bear spray. Information packets accompanying each permit warn participants of the risk of bear encounters and offer tips on how to minimize the risk of human-bear conflicts.

Following detection of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in a mule deer within Grand Teton National Park in November 2018, the National Park Service increased surveillance efforts to include mandatory collection of elk heads from all elk harvested during the program. Park personnel will collect biological samples from the heads and submit them to the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory for testing. Participants can check their results online.

National Park Service and Wyoming Game and Fish staff will monitor and patrol elk reduction program areas to ensure compliance with rules and regulations, interpret the elk reduction program to visitors, and provide participants with outreach regarding bear activity and safety. These areas remain open to park visitors, and wearing bright colors is highly encouraged during this time.

An information line for the elk reduction program is available at 307.739.3681.







Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park