Monday, June 29, 2015

Analysis of Accidents on the Franconia Loop in this issue of Appalachia

The 8.9-mile "Franconia loop" in New Hampshire's White Mountains follows the exposed ridge from Little Haystack Mountain to Lincoln, in the distance. Many get in trouble on this loop. JERRY AND MARCY MONKMAN

Coming in the Summer/Fall 2015 issue of Appalachia journal:

Trouble on the “Franconia Loop”: Accidents Editor Sandy Stott writes about hikers who pushed themselves too hard on the touted and ever-popular 8.9-mile “Franconia loop” route. It combines Falling Waters Trail, Franconia Ridge Trail, the upper part of the Greenleaf Trail, and Old Bridle Path. The loop includes the tops of Little Haystack, Lincoln, and Lafayette mountains, and it remains above treeline for at least 2.7 miles. Stott notes: “With its eponymous waters and steep ledges, Falling Waters Trail is a hard climb or descent that is rarely free of slippery spots. And the aforementioned loop, easily reached from Route 93, is one of the more demanding day hikes in the Whites. Such easy access may be why these trails see more than their share of mishaps and rescues.”

On July 12, 2014, New Hampshire Fish & Game received a late morning call about a hiker, Andrew K., age 53, who had fallen a mile and a quarter up Falling Waters Trail and sustained injuries that kept him from walking. By 12:30 p.m., rescuers from NHFG, the U.S. Forest Service, and Pemigewasset Valley Search and Rescue had reached the scene, where a friend and some hikers who had come along were attending Andrew. Rescuers carried him out on a litter.

“Contacted a few days later by Conservation Officer Jonathon Demler for a follow-up,” Stott writes, “Andrew expressed deep gratitude for his rescue. Demler’s report also noted that Andrew apologized repeatedly during the carryout for needing this sort of attention. Although such thanks are, according to rescuers, not uncommon, Demler’s report underlines them, thereby providing a small window into the good feeling such thanks generate. Too often embarrassment at needing help shows itself in stoniness or disregard for the freely given work of rescuers.”

Rescuers back again the same night: In fact, rescuers returned to the Franconia Ridge that night. “A little before 9 p.m. on July 12, NHFG got word of a hiker who was “unable to move” not far from the summit of Mount Lafayette. Al D., age 28, and his cousin had set out earlier that day on the same Franconia loop route I mentioned in the previous story. But on the summit of Lafayette, Al and his cousin had missed the turn for Greenleaf Trail. Instead, they had walked more than a mile along Garfield Ridge Trail before sensing their error and turning back up, climbing Lafayette again.” Al was spent. He couldn’t go farther. To read the full story of this and other rescues on the Franconia loop and elsewhere in the White Mountains, read the full Accidents report, available in the Summer/Fall 2015 Appalachia.

July 14, 2015 is your last chance to subscribe and receive this issue of Appalachia!

Subscribe to Appalachia now to get this and other issues of America’s longest-running journal of mountaineering and conservation, published twice per year.

5 Hikes to Get Out of D.C. and Cool Off in the Shenandoah Valley

Splashdown! A hiker enjoys the waterslide along Cedar Run-White Oak Canyon. 
“Hot town, summer in the city,” as the song lyrics go, and for D.C. dwellers the Shenandoah Valley has long been a popular summer getaway to beat the heat. President Herbert Hoover placed his beloved Rapidan Camp in what’s now Shenandoah National Park, Thomas Jefferson marveled at the meeting of two mighty rivers in Harpers Ferry, and Franklin D. Roosevelt made the outdoors accessible to day-trippers looking to test out their new cars by supporting the building of a “sky-line drive.”

Fast forward to today and the Shenandoah Valley holds the same lure for those dreaming of an escape from the hot and humid weather. The authors of the brand-new guidebook AMC’s Best Day Hikes in the Shenandoah Valley share five of their favorite hikes with spots perfect for cooling off. (Psst, the book is now available in AMC's online store with a 20% member discount).
  • White Oak and Cedar Run: This popular hike in Shenandoah National Park has multiple swimming holes at its base. Chief among them, however, is the famous waterslide just 1.5 miles from the start along the Cedar Run Trail. Go early to avoid the crowds. (8 miles roundtrip, moderate)
  • South River Falls: One of the loveliest waterfalls in Shenandoah National Park’s Central District, this hike leads you to a pool perfect for wading and relaxing. You won’t want to leave this tranquil spot. (4.9 miles roundtrip, moderate)
  • Elkwallow: Okay, maybe this easy hike doesn’t have a waterfall, but it does have ice cream. We feel that is an acceptable substitute. Amble along this trail and enjoy a break at the Elkwallow Wayside. Trust us, the blackberry shake does not disappoint. (3.8 miles roundtrip, easy)
  • RipRap Hollow: If you’re up for a drive and a challenge, this hike in Shenandoah’s Southern District will surpass your expectations. Enjoy views at Calvary and Chimney Rocks along the first 1.5 miles of the trail before dropping down to a stream. About 3.6 miles in, you’ll come to a deep swimming hole. Spend plenty of time here to cool off. To get back to your car, you’ll have a 2.5-mile climb back to Skyline Drive. (9 miles, strenuous) 
  • Maryland Heights: Get in a good workout by climbing to Maryland Heights and get a glimpse of the view that made Thomas Jefferson pause. Here, the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers meet, and the historic town gives a glimpse of the past. Tubing and other river fun await you after the hike. (4.4 miles, moderate)
All of these hikes — and 45 more — can be found in AMC’s recently released Best Day Hikes in the Shenandoah Valley

Photo by Miles Barger
Author Jennifer Adach is a co-organizer of the DC UL Backpacking group. She has thru-hiked Sweden’s Kungsleden trail and the John Muir Trail, and has logged several thousand miles on trails in the Mid-Atlantic area. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia.
Author Michael R. Martin is a lifelong backpacker and outdoorsman. Author of AMC’s Best Backpacking in the Mid-Atlantic and contributor to AMC Outdoors magazine, he also leads, organizes, and teaches for the DC UL Backpacking group. He lives in Alexandria, Virginia.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Protect the Places We Love

For 50 years, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has preserved some of the most iconic landscapes in AMC's region and across the country. And this fall, your favorite outdoors places could lose this vital source of protection forever. 

You can help us reach 2,000 signatures by the time we deliver our petition to Congress on June 25. Please stand with AMC and add your name by Wednesday, June 24.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Explore the Shenandoah Wilds with New Guidebook from AMC Books

Bounded on the east by the Blue Ridge Mountains and on the west by the Appalachians, the Shenandoah Valley is a region of exceptional natural beauty and some truly incredible day hiking. Get fired up for a trek into the Shenandoah wilds with the brand-new guidebook, AMC’s Best Day Hikes in the Shenandoah Valley: Four-Season Guide to 50 of the Best Trails from Harpers Ferry to Jefferson National Forest.

Bearing evocative names such as Raven Rocks and Sky Meadows, Riprap Hollow and Devil’s Marbleyard, the 50 hikes included in this book range from easy saunters of a few miles to challenging treks through rugged terrain. They cover the length of the Shenandoah Valley, from Harpers Ferry south through Shenandoah National Park all the way to Jefferson National Forest.

Learn more about AMC’s Best Day Hikes in the Shenandoah Valley here.

Order your copy of AMC’s Best Day Hikes in the Shenandoah Valley here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Ask for Massachusetts to Use the Cleanest Energy

Help us ensure that Massachusetts makes use of the cleanest and cheapest form of energy by adopting a robust Energy Efficiency Plan for the next three years.

Act Now >>

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Support Good Government and #releasethebonds

Ask Your Legislators to Support LD 1378

As summer approaches, both the weather and the Maine Legislature are really heating up! Legislators in Augusta are in the final push to get all their work done before adjournment at the end of June, so bills are coming to the House and the Senate at a breakneck pace.

One of the hottest issues of this session has been around the Land for Maine’s Future Program (LMF). As you’ve heard before, AMC and our conservation partners across the state support this important source of state conservation funding. The Land for Maine’s Future Program has a proven track record of bringing together state agencies, landowners, municipalities, and local organizations & partners to support and protect Maine’s most treasured places and resources.

Governor LePage has decided to politicize this widely supported program by withholding LMF bond funding – funds that you and I voted to allocate in the 2010 and 2012 general elections. He is using LMF as a bargaining chip by connecting this program to unrelated issues and initiatives.

AMC supports LD 1378, a bi-partisan effort to limit the Governor’s ability to withhold voter-approved bond money. LD 1378 is sponsored by Senator Katz (R-Augusta) and supported by both Republican and Democratic legislators who understand the value of LMF to their communities and regions. The bill would require the state treasurer to borrow all outstanding LMF bonds – the $6.47 million approved in 2010 and the $5 million in 2012.

This bill faces a long road ahead – and we need your help! It was voted out of Committee with a divided report, so we expect a lively floor debate and will need to generate as much support as possible from legislators across the State. If the bill does move forward the Governor will almost certainly veto it, so we will need a 2/3 majority in both the House & Senate to override his veto.

We need all the support we can get from you and others who care about Maine’s outdoors.
Please contact your legislators today and tell them you support LD 1378. Ask them to support the bill and to communicate this support to their respective legislative leaders.

It only takes a few minutes to use our simple form to send a message. I’ve drafted an email for you to use or you can write one in your own words.

Help us by speaking up for Maine’s natural resources and the special places protected by the Land for Maine’s Future program.

If you’re active on social media, you can show your support for LD 1378 and the LMF program by using #releasethebonds and #ProtectLMF.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Habitat on Appalachian Mountain Club Land in Maine Certified by National Wildlife Federation

GREENVILLE, Maine-- The National Wildlife Federation® (NWF) recently acknowledged the Appalachian Mountain Club's (AMC's) management of wildlife habitat at Gorman Chairback Lodge and Little Lyford Lodge and Cabins and recognized these properties as official Certified Wildlife Habitat™ sites.

NWF celebrates the efforts of  AMC to improve habitat for birds, butterflies, frogs and other wildlife by providing essential elements needed by all wildlife - natural food sources, clean water, cover and places to raise young.  

"Providing a home for wildlife in our communities- whether it's at home, or in schools, businesses, or parks - is the demonstration of a healthy and active ecosystem. There is no more rewarding way to stay connected to nature right outside your door," said David Mizejewski, naturalist with NWF.  

Read the full press release

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