Author Archives: Michael Carter
Author Archives: Michael Carter
Instead of scheduling yet another beach exploration, kindly heed your adventurous side. Why? North America’s jagged cliffs, volcanoes, and snow-capped peaks are busy chanting your name, and there is no better time than now to put on your boots and hit the trails. So below is a list of North America’s best hiking places. Have a look.
One of the California's most amazing landscapes that are natural is Yosemite National Park. This unique place features close to 1,200 square miles of sheer awe including, daunting cliffs, towering waterfalls, and samples of very strange rock designs in the United States. Here is where you’ll get fascinating landmarks such as the Half Dome and El Captain, together with excellent trails of hiking as you explore the natural monuments. It is welcoming and friendly, even for the hikers who are inexperienced. Keep in mind that it has more than 750miles of trails, and can take ages to cover, so you should ask the park ranger, which trail is recommended for you at your time of visit. When at the valley, camp yourself out of the traffic, and immerse yourself in the outdoors. On a side note, you should definitely consider bringing a sturdy set of trekking poles for the rough terrain.
The best time to visit this place is between March and May, when the spring is in complete bloom, a time when the melted snow improves the waterfalls. At this time, you are also likely to escape the rush of families that during the summer. If you don’t mind chilly temperatures like I do, visit between December and March, when the park is nearly empty.
2. The Grand Canyon
Why go to Grand Canyon? Well, a hiking visit to the Grand Canyon is probably one that you will never forget about in your lifetime. Measuring approximately 278 miles in length, close to 19 miles in width and a mile deep, this extraordinary place in Arizona is fascinating. It is very popular for hiking and sightseeing. Precisely for hardcore hiking, you’ll have to head towards the North Rim.
Probably the best time to visit the Grand Canyon are between March through May, September through November, when the daytime temperatures are slightly cooling, so the crowds tend to reduce.
If you are wishing to have an experience of its kind like that of skiing a Swiss village, it is your turn to visit Banff. It is strategically located in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, near the Southeastern border of The National Park of Banff. I prefer this place for its ability to offer a broad range of adventures opportunities, including skiing down Mount Norquay, hiking the magical free-standing pillars of limestone known as the Hoodoos, scrambling up the face of the Stoney Squaw Mountain and much more. It’s huge fan!
On the best time of visitation, it is important to note that temperatures in this place do fluctuate dramatically throughout the year. However for hikers like me, the winter period offers the most convenient moments. For safety purposes, plan to have sunglasses, sunscreen and maybe a hat to protect you from the UV exposure, if you happen to visit in the summer. The sun at this altitude is immense.
In Hawaii, the big island offers almost everything. Oahu mostly attracts the outdoor adventures, as in our case hiking. Geographically unique, this place naturally boasts of everything, from snow-covered peaks to black-sand beaches, from steamy rainforests to hardened lava deserts and also the active Kilauea volcano which spits fire.The Akaka Falls State Park offers the best hiking scene in the area. The hiking trails that are found in this place hold sights that no other Hawaiian can brag of. Plus the colors of the beaches makes it more complex. Needless to say, an excellent hammock is a must. There's nothing better than taking a few seconds to set up your hammock, rest, and enjoy the beautiful views Hawaii has to offer.
The time to walk to Hawaii’s Huge island is perfect between September and November, simply because that is when room rates are reasonably affordable. However temperatures remain constant the whole year, but you want to avoid the priciest periods from December to March unless you like surfing.
If you are a real fan of outdoor activities and values the atmosphere offered by beautiful scenery, the odds are that you’ll fall in love the Nothern New York’s Adirondacks. Located about 295 miles north of the City of New York, 255miles northwest of Boston, it offers a welcoming break from the region’s bustling metropolises. It's excellent for leisurely hiking as well. In winter, there are lots of outdoor activities that includes hiking, skiing, fishing, canoeing, trekking and biking. Depending on your pick, you’ll have a lot to explore. This mountainous region offers a lot of skiing adventures, and specifically on Whiteface Mountain, where skiing is more intense.
With almost over 2000 miles of trails and 47 high peaks, hikers can experience a brand view each time.
As for the best periods of visitation, just avoid the peak season, mostly during the months of September and October, where you will battle against fewer crowds and also find friendly hotel rates.
This place is ideal for you because hiking on it can be compared to trekking on planet Mars. The region has more than a hundred different trails, each creating its own unique experience. Notably, one of the most popular trails is the Cathedral Rock, which starts about four miles south of the Y intersection. Trekking it though not that easy, it does offer notable rock formations of Sedona.
For a natural view of the Cathedral Rock, you can try the Airport Mesa Loop, which is an easy path located near the Airport of Sedona. Other popular hiking trails include; the Boynton Canyon, Bell Rock Pathway, and the Palatki Ruins.
However, as a hiker, you should note that many of the favorite trails of Sedona always get crowded during the spring and fall. If you are searching for a more scheduled one, consider the trail that is reached through a highway.
The best time of visiting Sedona between March and May, when the temperatures are warmer, but not scorching, plus it is at this period that it blooms. Hikers love this period since the desert flowers add a sense of humor to the trails that are rusty. Between September to November is another ideal period, due to the mild weather.
7. Glacier National Park
Full of wildlife, the National Park of Glacier offers more than seven hundred miles of hiking trails in the North-western part of Montana. Eight trails of hiking lead from the Campground of Illecillewaet up to the valleys of Asulkan. The trails range from the one-kilometre Meeting of the Waters trail to the Knee-pounding grinds of more than one thousand meter elevation gain to the Alpine ridges. The collection of trails in this region surely makes a hiker’s stay in this place a dream vacation.
As for the best time of visit, I was there in mid-July in 2005 and had to hike through the snow in places. Personally, the hike to Grinnell Glacier was amazing since the snow was higher up.
This fantastic site offers more than 1000miles of hiking trails across two-million acres of land. The most popular routes include those in the Norris and Canyon areas. Having dramatic pristine lakes and peaks, this is the place you need to be.
It is like paradise in Yellowstone, as pools that are multicolored swirl hot springs, while forests that are verdant weave past expansive meadows.
As you traverse the park’s three-thousand square miles of Canyons, Mountains, geysers and waterfalls, be assured to share the trails with natural residents in the name of buffaloes, the elk, and grizzlies.
As a safety precaution, Yellowstone is habited by lots of bears, and so to avoid an attack, make noise when hiking so as to prevent surprise encounters.
The best period of visiting Yellowstone is from April to May, or September to November. At this time, you’ll thrive in mild weather and lesser crowd.
9. Jackson Hole
The Grand Tetons serving as the backdrop, the hiking trails in this region are capable of impressing. Hiking in the Grand Tetons is memorable one, and I would strongly encourage you to give it a try. It has been ranked as the heart of the mountain country, comprising of highly rugged trails and miles of open space that are fascinating.
The best times to visit Jackson Hole are the months of May, September and maybe October.Though the weather during this period can be unpredictable, you surely expect to find prices at their lowest and a place free of many tourists.
The Bottom Line
Truly there are numerous places in North America and ideal for outdoor activities that surely nobody would want to miss experiencing their beauty. But for lovers of hiking, the above-mentioned areas are extremely extraordinary and capable of giving you a pleasure of its kind.
Camelback Mountain is a mountain located in the city of Arizona, Phoenix in the United States of America. The name of the mountain is derived from the shape which actually resembles the hump and the head of a kneeling camel. This mountain is popular among locals and tourist for hiking as well as rock climbing and it usually takes around 1.5 to 3 hours to get on top of this mountain. In the Phoenix Metropolitan Area, the Camelback Mountain is a very popular landmark. This mountain lies in the Camelback Mountain Echo Canyon Recreational Area which is situated between a neighborhood named Arcadia in Phoenix and the town of Paradise Valley.
History of the Camelback Mountain
The discovery of a cave on the northern side of the Camelback Mountain suggests that this cave could have been used as sacred place by the pre historic Hohokam tribe, before abandoning the place back in 14th Century.
The President of the United States back in the year 1879, Rutherford B. Hayes, included this mountain as a part of a reservation for the tribes Salt River Pima and Maricopa Indian American tribes. This was a part of a total of one million acre of reservation.
To protect Camelback Mountain as a natural preserve efforts began all the way back in 1910s but by the year 1960s, most of the mountain was sold to private firms. Efforts were made by federal and state authorities to stop development activities above the one thousand and six hundred feet level. Sadly, their efforts failed but finally in the year 1965, efforts by Senator Barry Goldwater finally managed to stop development activities on the higher elevations of the mountain. The area came under the Phoenix city park in the year 1968. A major east-West Street in the city of Phoenix, Camelback Road, is named after this peak. This peak has also been designated as a Phoenix Point of Pride.
Climbing the Camelback Mountain
There are 3 climbing trails to climb this mountain. Two hiking trails ascend to the peak of the Camelback Mountain at elevation of 1280 feet. There is a red sandstone rock formation named Praying Monk and is used for rock climbing. This formation is located towards the northern slope of the mountain. It resembles the shadow of a man kneeling down to pray. It is approximately a hundred feet tall and the eastern front has several anchor bolts for the purpose of attaching a belay rope.
Echo Canyon Bobbie’s Rock Trail
The trail leading to Bobbie’s rock begins at exactly the same location where the summit trail begins and is accessible from the Echo Canyon Recreational Area. When at the bottom of the steps, right after the drinking water fountain, you need to take a right and follow the other granite rock steps which are at the base of the large rock outcropping. This trail ends at Bobbie’s Rock which is a very popular rock climbing area. Bobbie’s Rock is visible from the parking lot directly towards the south and a bit to the west. The parking for this trail is however very limited and there can be long delays. Dogs are also prohibited on all of the Echo Canyon Area Trails except for the Cholla Trail.
Echo Canyon Summit Trail
The Echo Canyon Summit Trail begins adjacent to the restroom near the Recreational Area. In order to eliminate dangerously eroded areas, the lower section of this trail towards the first saddle was repaired and also rerouted. The new route does not use artificial steps which can lead to erosion. After crossing the first saddle, there are a pair of handrails which is to be used while getting up some of the rock sections. The remaining trail has mostly boulder filled, steep portions and a few sign posts guides the way towards the summit of the Camelback Mountain.
Parking for this Trail can sometimes be very hard to find despite an expansion some time back. This is especially true during the seasons and peak times. This route has a rapid ascent in a fairly short distance. Carrying water bottles
When you are planning to go for a hiking trip, throwing all your gear and clothing into a backpack and heading out into the wilderness is not exactly the best idea. Regardless of how many items you fit inside of your rucksack, the way you arrange them inside will make a huge difference on how it feels while carrying. Now, seasoned hikers and backpackers know most of the tricks of the trade but what about you? If this is the first time you're leaving the civilized world with a thirst for adventure, following some guidelines would greatly help you to have a comfortable and memorable experience.
Before you get started, lay down all your gear on the floor and organize them into piles according to their category. For example, toiletries, cookware, first aid kit, sleeping gear, clothing, dry food, and anything else that you want to take along. Use of a zip lock bags are highly recommended as they help in saving space and guard your items against the effects of moisture. The bonus is of course, a neat and well organized backpack.
The pockets should be utilized to store items that you would be needing quick access to while hiking. This would ensure that you can reach the items easily without having to reach inside of the bag.
What should be the ideal backpack size?
As a general rule of thumb, you can determine what size of backpack you need based on the duration of your trip and your weight carrying capacity. Some adjustments can be made to these two considerations based on common sense and experience. If we were to assume that you'll be going on hiking for at least two days, then look for a bag that is at least 24-48 inch capacity. If you are going on a trip for more than five days, look for a larger bag that can store all your essentials without making you feel too heavy.
Whether we like to admit it or not, gender also plays a role in one's capacity in carrying heavy weights. It's not like women can carry less than men because there are plenty of women who are equally capable of getting equal weight as men, but they are seasoned veterans and not someone who is going to the first hiking trip. So, keep this in mind before you begin stuffing items in your bag.
How to organize the items?
Maximum weight: The general rule of thumb states that the maximum weight of your backpack should not exceed 25 to 30% of your body weight. So, a person weighing 150 lbs should not be carrying anything above 45 lbs. The 200 lbs should be okay as long as they're carrying up to 60 lbs.
Weight distribution: Always stuff your gear divided in three layers. The bottom layer for lighter items that you will really need access to in the trip, such as sleeping bag, clothing items, etc. The middle layer should be reserved for heavier items such as cooking stoves, dry food, and fuel. And of course, the top of the backpack should be available for lighter items that you can easily reach while travelling. Be sure to distribute the weight evenly, and also leave some room for occasional adjustments.
What to do with the additional gear?
If your bag is already full, do not worry because there is still some space left over outside to carry the leftover gear. It is important that you remember to put away sharp items like knives, forks, etc. inside of the backpack. Also, do not attach too many items outside of the bag or it may create stability issues. Soft items, however, like sleeping pads can be attached outside with no problem at all.
Get set and ready to go!
In the final step, when you have the backpack on your back, make sure to tighten it around the shoulder, hip, and sternum by adjusting the strap accordingly. A bag that has been packed well should transfer the optimum weight of the gear to your hip and keep the weight on your shoulders at a minimum level. If you have a well maintained and suitably packed rucksack, your trip will go smooth and you'll feel much better while travelling in the long run as weight won't be putting you down.
Pike Peak in Colorado is known as the highest summit of the South and front range belonging to the Rocky Mountains. Standing 4,302.31 meters tall, this mountain is a part of the "fourteener" and is situated in the Pike National Forest. The mountain has been named in honor of the famous American explorer, Zebulon Pike, who barely failed to reach the summit but inspired generations of people to follow his footsteps. The summit is higher than any other point in the US, east of its longitude.
Discovery of Pikes Peak
The first people to discover this peek where the Spanish in the 18th century. The first American sighting is credited to Zebulon Pike, who led his team on an expedition to climb the mountain but failed in their attempt in the year 1806. The first time this mountain was conquered, was by a European American, who climb the peak 14 years after the Zebulon's failed attempt. Edwin James was his name, and he had just graduated from Middlebury College, signed on to take the place of the first botanist who had died. The expedition covered the South Plate River and went up as far as Denver, as we know in the present day.
Pikes Peak Highway
The entrance to the Pikes Peak Highway is located at a convenient distance of 15 minutes west of Colorado Springs, on Highway 24. The greatest joy of being close to the city is that you can actually spend time being amidst the grand mountains instead of spending a lot of time traveling there. A round-trip journey to the summit takes no longer than 2 to 3 hours at max. The scenic and non-crowded highway give you the opportunity to gaze at the marvelous Pikes Peak at your leisure.
At an elevation of about 7,400 feet, you'll be able to experience one of the most breathtaking views that you'll find anywhere in the world. As you twist and turn your way through a diverse range of natural settings, you come across a diverse range of scenic beauty, mountain resort course, overtaking the clouds and going up all the way to an elevation of 14,115-foot summit of the Pikes Peak, also known as the most famous mountain in America.
Souvenir Shops and Other Amenities
Along the way to the summit, you'll find the highly popular North Slope Recreation Area, Historic Glen Cove Inn, Crystal Reservoir Gift Shop, and the Summit House. There are also other attractions like fishing lakes, hiking trails, areas for picnic, and points that provide breathtaking view of the surrounding areas. You can also hire a guide from one of the local agencies and learn about the facts, myths, history, and flora and fauna of the mountain. There are necessities and other services available that would make your trip no less than memorable.
Pikes Peak Today
There are multiple visitor centers located in the peak along with some other restaurants and gift shops. These centers are located in three places, being 6 miles and 12 miles away from the summit. There are many ways to which one can ascend the mountain; the Pikes Peak Railway is a popular way tourists reach the top. It operates from Manitou Springs to the summit all year round, given the conditions are suitable to permit traveling via the road. This cog railroad was only paved in the first half way point, was first made famous by the film Climb Dance. The road is cared after by the city of Colorado Springs as it operates as a toll road.
Safety and Precaution
At the summit, the partial pressure of oxygen is only about 60% of the average level, which would be at sea level. This will naturally make you breathe faster if you are not used to living at high altitudes. Those who are familiar with high altitude training are aware of the fact that prolonged exposure to reduce pressure levels will produce more red blood cells to offset the lack of availability of oxygen.
Altitude sickness may develop within those who overexert themselves or are sensitive. Conditions at the top of the peak are typical of the neighboring areas as there is always the chance of snowfall all year round while thunderstorms are the most common in the summer season.
Before we get into the features, specs, design, and reviews, I'd like to talk about my experience with these Montem trekking poles. I took them on my trip to Mount Saint Helens. They were very sturdy, and had what I consider the ideal amount of give when traversing rocky terrain. They're got rubber feet that can be interchanged with the base tip made out of carbon steel. The only issue I had was figuring out I had to tighten the locking mechanism before use. Once I figured that out, I was good to go!
Over the course of my journey, they held up exponentially well - much better than Black Diamond. For 1/2 the price of the more expensive poles, I got the same, if not a better experience. They provided the same stability and comfort of those higher end poles. I could tell that they were built to live up to their model name and motto of being ultra strong.
Whenever you are traveling, regardless of whether it is just for hours or extended days, weeks or months, the size of your poles matter a great deal. Carrying cumbersome items and more so trekking poles with you is quite discouraging. In other words, trekking poles are meant to facilitate your trekking experience and not to hinder it. In addition to these Montem poles being compact enough at just 24-inches in height, they are lightweight enough, weighing 9.6 ounces each, thus making them the sturdy and ultra-light poles for travel.
FEATURES AND SPECIFICATIONS:
CUSTOMER REVIEWS AND SCORES:
Rare will you get a product that rates 5-star out of 5 after the first 39 reviews. This is a 100% approval rate. At the time of writing this review, all the thirty nine customers to have reviewed the product gave it a five star rating.
The aesthetic appearance of the poles together with the generous one-year warranty is the most attractive features to most customers. Other reasons that attracted customers and made them to love it include the fact that the product has been built using aircraft-grade aluminum thus not only making it durable but very lightweight.
The construction is excellent, design is of high quality and ergonomics have been factored in thus offering the customers not only a smooth handle but also perfect grips.
One customer who has been buying these walking poles for years commends this product for being all round. Unlike other poles which would have many good features and one negative issue, this pole has nothing negative to talk about. Some of the poles he had bought earlier would either be adjustable but lacks sturdiness... or sturdy but fails in adjustability. At least that’s not the case with these Ultra strong Trekking poles.
So far, there is nothing negative that has been said by any of the customers who have bought these trekking poles thus making it very easy to recommend the product.
If you’re on a fixed budget, these should be your best choice. I cannot fault the magnificent design of these trekking poles. The EVA cork handles and aluminum design make them compete with the $100+ trekking poles and the twist locks are very strong.
The Montem Ultra Strong Trekking Poles have been designed and constructed to last. All you need are poles that are capable of supporting you. Crafted out of airplane construction grade aluminum material, the poles have absolutely all the features sought for in a trekking pole namely; they are sturdy, they are strong thus durable and they are lightweight too. With these walking poles, you will experience the sturdiest and smoothest trekking experience that’s perfect for your gear and backpack.
Retractable lightweight trekking poles by Mountaintop are perfect companion for outdoor activities as they are sturdy and durable due to their aluminum composition. They are perfect for activities like hiking, trekking, climbing, mountaineering, and backpacking.
I recently took these Mountaintop Trekking Poles on a trip to Seattle. Over the course of 3 weeks I used the poles totaling roughly 80 hours of active hiking. One thing that immediately stood out to me was the grip. Unfortunately, the padding was a bit thin. It did cause a bit of discomfort, but nothing dramatically bad. I also had to be careful where I placed the pole. On flat terrain, it held up fine, but when traversing rocky paths I could feel the pole losing it's stability/wobbling a bit.
Unfortunately, the grips don't extend down the shaft either. This was noticeable when I went uphill/downhill, as I couldn't adjust my hand placement. This did cause noticeable wrist pain, which is a decent cause for concern.
These lightweight trekking poles can be retracted to 3 sections ranging from 24 inches to 53 inches to make its packing easier. These poles of 24 inch or 62 cm length can be adjusted very easily due to their light weight of 9.5 oz or 0.59 pounds and their lever lock system.
FEATURES AND SPECIFICATIONS:
CUSTOMER REVIEWS AND SCORES:
Mountaintop [2-Pack] 3-Section Retractable Lightweight Trekking Poles are really versatile trekking sticks as they can be used for hiking, trekking, climbing, backpacking and mountaineering with equal ease and comfort due to their retractable, safe and sturdy structure.
The reviews of more than 45 customers of Mountaintop Retractable Lightweight Trekking Poles have rated them averagely for 4.6 stars out of 5 whereas 78% of them have rated them for 5 out of 5 stars on the basis of their durable and comfortable use.
Though overall reviews of the customers on Amazon were positive but one of them does not find them suitable for heavy duty use as they collapsed when he put more load on them. Moreover he has to struggle a lot to adjust them as per his requirement.
But such complaint was not registered by the other users of these trekking sticks. It proves that it is not a prevalent difficulty and may not occur if used carefully. Most of the other users have reviewed it as very comfortable and convenient trekking equipment at various types of trekking and hiking terrains. Most of them have recommended these sticks for all kinds of outdoor activities during mountaineering and trekking expeditions due to their sturdy and durable built and comfortable adjustment and handling features. “I liked them not only for their nice grips and for adjustments as I am short....” “These are the best for hiking on all types of terrains” and “It is really light but becomes really solid when stretched to use as a trekking pole” are the reviews of some of the users who were satisfied with the working of these trekking sticks.
Before diving into the specs and further details, I would have to say I had many gripes with this pole. I would venture to say a lot of the reviews on Amazon have been faked. I was not too pleased with the grip, nor was I all that enthralled with the way the poles wobbled on the terrain. Granted, wobbling can happen, but no matter what the placement, the poles seemed to shift and slide a bit. This wasn't pleasant in the least, and could actually be quite dangerous.
FEATURES AND SPECIFICATIONS:
CUSTOMER REVIEWS AND SCORES:
The CMT poles are very versatile trekking poles. It can provide sufficient balance, prevent blisters, lightweight or do any of the several things a good trekking pole is capable of.
Currently, CMT poles have found 301 customer reviews, and they have been awarded 4.5 stars out of a possible 5 on average. This is an incredible rating! The customer reviews on Amazon are positive generally, but there were a number of negative sentiments.
Nonetheless, many hikers or backpackers who have used these poles seem to have experienced comfort. Other clients said, “Got my pair and they’re stronger than any pole at typical outdoor retailers and way less expensive. You can feel the comfort isn't quite as noticeable, but they get the job done."
Whether your new to trekking, or you're a seasoned veteran, I wouldn't put these poles at the top of my list. They're great for strolls at a moderate pace, but anything heavier or more taxing would be a bit dangerous as they have an issue with sliding and wobbling.
Generally, the Quick Lock Carbon Fiber Cork Grip Trekking Poles were very comfortable for the first couple of uses, but over time I noticed the handle did lose its comfort and cushion. Having the foam grips and the cork handles assisted in the several different situations.
I was very happy with their remarkable performance on the basic trail (once again, flat surface and sturdy flooring - once exposed to a rougher trail, these poles lost their magic touch). The retail price of $49.99 makes them very affordable too.
Though lever locks of the CMT are less refined than FlickLock of the Montem Trekking Poles or even those on Carbon Power Lock Poles, they work. Honestly, the shaft never slided; they never required occasional readjustment; and after nearly 2 hard weeks of use, they still work as well as when they’re new.
On top of the Quick Lock Poles, CMT provides a Twist Lock version. I would avoid these: the design is essentially less reliable, and the CMT poles I acquired in 2012 have proven to be similar.
The CMT pole grips are essentially made of high-density foam cork that’s far superior to rubber and plastic but not as necessary as (much more costly) 100% cork. But, to note, it is cork at the end of the day will degrade faster than EVA foam which we consider superior.
Moreover, I’m happy that the CMT poles boast foam extension grips that I frequently use when side-hilling or when hiking steeply uphill. If poles don’t have this feature, it is a deal-breaker for me.
Note that on the website of CMT, the Quick Lock poles are also available with the cork grips, for the similar price. But be careful — assuming it is the same cork like on my CMT twist poles from 2012, it doesn’t feel or appear like real cork, and at least a single backpacker had a negative experience with them.