Backpacking

All National Forests, and PCT Within, Closed in California as Fires Rage Across State

ll 18 national forests in California have been closed, including the Pacific Crest Trail within them, as fires rage across the state, trapping hikers and campers in the Sierra and destroying houses.
“The number of large fires and extreme fire behavior we are seeing across the State is historic,” Regional Forester Randy Moore said. “These temporary closures are necessary to protect the public and our firefighters, and we will keep them in place until conditions improve and we are confident that National Forest visitors can recreate safely. ...

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Wildfires Close 8 California National Forests, Including PCT

he USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region has temporarily closed eight Southern and Central California national forests, including the Pacific Crest Trail, citing the threat of “unprecedented and dangerous fire conditions.”
The closure went into effect at 5pm PT today, September 7th, and will continue indefinitely until conditions improve. These closures include the Pacific Crest Trail as well as all developed campgrounds and day-use areas. Here is a complete list of all SoCal national forests that have been closed:

Stanislaus
Sierra
Sequoia
Inyo
Los Padres
Angeles
San Bernardino
Cleveland

All hikers should get off the trail for their own safety and that of the public. ...

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All National Forests, Most of PCT Closed in California as Fires Rage Across West

ll 18 national forests and most of the Pacific Crest Trail in California have been closed as wildfires spread ferociously across the West.
“The number of large fires and extreme fire behavior we are seeing across the State is historic,” said Randy Moore, regional forester with the US Forest Service. “These temporary closures are necessary to protect the public and our firefighters, and we will keep them in place until conditions improve and we are confident that National Forest visitors can recreate safely. ...

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Diving in Maria la Gorda, Cuba

Maria la Gorda is in Pinar del Rio province in western Cuba. It is mostly synonymous with the diving camp that is situated there.

The entire settlement consists of a hotel, diving centre, small shop, sandy beach and 2 restaurants.

However, even if you are not a diver, it is a nice place to spend a night.

If you walk a few kilometers away from the camp, towards the top of the peninsula, you see interesting landscape -- mangrove swamp and the sea are divided by wall of old shells/corals. Some big (50 cm) empty shells there.

This entire peninsula was recently run over by Hurricane Ivan (and subsequently Hurricane Wilma) and it will probably take some time to restore its natural beauty.

 

Diving is the main activity on offer. A range of options are available, and snorkeling trips go out with every dive (though on one trip there was little to be seen by snorkelers that couldn't be seen by snorkeling from the jetty). There is also a volleyball pitch.

The hotel also advertises that it runs hiking excursions, and other entertainment, but travelers report little evidence of any of that.

If you have your own transport it is possible to drive (with a paid guide) to the western end of mainland Cuba. You may see some Iguanas. There is a deep swimming hole with an underground connection to the sea (and containing some tropical fish) at the Ecological station, where the road meets the sea on the way in. Other trips (including hikes) are also available from the station. If you're interested in Cuban birdlife there are a few bits and pieces to be seen. Bee Hummingbirds (the smallest bird in the world) are said to be present on the peninsula and at Playa Larga. Royal Terns loaf on the piles near the resort entrance and there are some Yellow-headed Warblers and Black-throated Green Warblers around a dump not far from the resort - follow a track into the scrubby woodland next to a roadside pool on the inland side of the road half a mile or so from the resort entrance. In spring large black, yellow and red land crabs swarm in their hundreds across the roads (especially after rain) and the inevitable casualties attract scavenging flocks of Turkey Vultures. Quite a sight.

 

Getting there:

There are no public buses to this part of Cuba. You can however book transfers easily through tour agencies.

From Vinales for example a transfer bus leaves daily at 8:00am and returns at 5:00pm - journey time 3hrs cost 15CUC per person. Bear in mind that Maria la Gorda is a long way from anywhere.

Hotel Maria la Gorda, CUC 66 for a room with 2 beds (hot water, TV, rich breakfast). This is the only hotel in entire area down from Guane. They have a complex of wooden cabins connected by walkways which were comfortable and pleasant.

If anyone knows if there are Casa Particulares, please add them as a comment or write an own tip. Thanks!

The dinner buffet is no good and at 15CUC per person is very bad value. There is also a small a la carte restaurant which is marginally better. When booking the hotel don't take the dinner option - you can decide when you get there if you want to risk the buffet! (In March 2006 the food was found to be OK, though the restaurant was better than the buffet. Both were no better or worse than most of the meals in various parts of Cuba.)

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The Appalachian Trail State by State Overview: Highlights, Hiker Tips, Maps, and More

hose who have hiked the Appalachian Trail agree: there’s simply no other trail like it in the world. It may not be the longest footpath of them all, nor the most exposed, but there’s something magical about it that keeps hikers coming back for more.
Perhaps it’s the amazing trail community, or maybe it’s the frequent burger-laden town trips. Maybe it’s the mystique associated with one of the world’s oldest and most storied long trails. But whatever it is, ...

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Jeff “Legend” Garmire Breaks Colorado Trail FKT

Jeff “Legend” Garmire has broken the unsupported speed record for a thru-hike of the Colorado Trail, completing the west to east hike in nine days, eight hours, 18 minutes. The result is still awaiting verification from fastestknowntime.com.

According to his trip page, Garmire set out from Durango on Friday, August 28, at 6:52 a.m. MT and arrived at the Waterton Canyon trailhead at 2:43 p.m. MT on Sunday, September 6. If his claim is accepted, he will have beaten the previous unsupported record of nine days, ...

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The SNT – Edinburgh to Milngavie

Your Feet Will Hate This Part

What might have been the nastiest section of all (for my feet) is complete! This section follows the Union Canal from the Water of Leith Visitor Centre in Slateford, Edinburgh to Falkirk, where you transfer onto the older Forth and Clyde Canal. Every single kilometre – every single one – of this section is on concrete, so be prepared for blisters in places where your feet are normally pretty happy. ...

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Colorado Trail: Segments 1-8

WOW! What a fun week it’s been. I met some incredible humans on trail, and have found myself a wonderful little tramily. It took me just over five days to hike from the Waterton Canyon trailhead all the way to Breckenridge. I discovered that although I originally felt extremely passionate about being a “thru-hiking purist,” I decided to say screw that and have truly embraced the motto of “hike your own hike.”
Day 1/Seg 1
On day one I started off with a bang and decided to truck it the entire 16.8 miles down to segment 2, ...

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