How many calories do you burn on the trail?

Whitefish Divide Trail (T26) near T3 intersection, July 12, 2017 - W. K. Walker

Whitefish Divide Trail (T26) near T3 intersection, July 12, 2017 – W. K. Walker

How many calories do you burn hiking with a backpack? Turns out, there’s an equation for that . . .

Hiking with a backpack is a heck of a lot more work than hiking without one. It feels harder, but also you’re burning more calories—which is important to know as you’re planning your snacks and meals for the trip.

This calculator from Outside Online will tell you how many calories you burn if you tell it your weight, the weight of your pack, how fast you hike, how steep the hills are, and how soft or bumpy the ground is.

Play with the numbers, keeping calories constant, and you can find out more than just how much food to pack. For example, how much faster could you go if you lightened your pack by ten pounds?. Or if you know how fast you hike on flat ground, how many miles can you plan to cover on hilly terrain?

Read more . . .

 

Gah! How ticks dig in

Following up on our previous post, NPR has an article, with creepy video, explaining possibly way more than you want to know about how ticks grab on and dig in. It also has some useful advice on removing ticks . . .

Spring is here. Unfortunately for hikers and picnickers enjoying the warmer weather, the new season is prime time for ticks, which can transmit bacteria that cause Lyme disease.

How they latch on — and stay on — is a feat of engineering that scientists have been piecing together. Once you know how a tick’s mouth works, you understand why it’s impossible to simply flick a tick.

Tick's Mouth - Annette Chan-KQED

Tick’s Mouth – Annette Chan-KQED

The key to their success is a menacing mouth covered in hooks that they use to get under the surface of our skin and attach themselves for several days while they fatten up on our blood.

Read/watch  more (if you dare) . . .

It’s tick season, take precautions

Deer Tick, Adult Female - UMaine Cooperative Extension-Griffin Dill

Deer Tick, Adult Female – UMaine Cooperative Extension-Griffin Dill

They’re baaack!

Speaking from personal experience, tick season did its usual early April arrival on the North Fork last year and the nasty little critters likely stayed active into September. There’s no reason to think things will be any different this year. Ticks prefer moist, brushy areas, but even seemingly dry, more open landscape like the trail to Glacier View peak have their share of ticks.

Actually, Glacier View has more than its share of ticks. The lower reaches are heavily infested with the little bloodsuckers early in the season.

So, precautions are in order. The basics are long sleeves, long pants, a hat and vigilance. Light colored clothing makes ticks easier to spot.

Pre-treating hiking togs with a permethrin based spray will actually kill ticks that get on your clothing. The treatment lasts through several wash cycles.

Insect repellent will keep flies and mosquitoes away, but won’t discourage ticks from hitching a ride. They’ll simply walk across repellent-treated areas in search of a tastier spot to dig in.

And, of course, check yourself and your gear thoroughly when you get home.

For more information, here are a couple of useful articles:

10 Important Ways to Avoid Summer Tick Bites (LiveScience)
Preventing tick bites (Centers for Disease Control)

Forest Service ups reliance on volunteers for trail repair

Trail Clearing with 'Silky' Saw

Trail Clearing with ‘Silky’ Saw

More visitors, less money and a mandate to increase volunteer help on trail maintenance. This should be an interesting year . . .

The U.S. Forest Service hopes to double the workload of its volunteer helpers as it attacks a backlog of trail maintenance largely in Montana.

The Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex’s 3,200 miles of trail arrived No. 1 on a Forest Service priority list for trail work last Friday. So did the Continental Divide Scenic Trail; its largest segment passes through Montana. And the Central Idaho Wilderness Complex listing includes a chunk of the Bitterroot National Forest slopping across the Montana-Idaho border.

But no money was attached to any of these priority areas. Instead, the Forest Service is following the National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act of 2016, which commands the agency “to increase trail maintenance by volunteers and partners by 100 percent” within five years of enactment.

Read more . . .

Winter Trails Day in the Flathead

Lunch on Glacier View Mtn

Lunch on Glacier View Mtn

From the official Forest Service press release

The Flathead Community of Resource Educators (CORE), a network of individuals and organizations working together to increase awareness and understanding about the natural, historical and cultural resources of the Flathead Region, is celebrating Winter Trails Day on Saturday, January 20 with several free outdoor activities.

These free activities are a great way to enjoy the outdoors in winter and discover the fitness and social benefits of snowshoeing and winter hiking in Northwest Montana. All activities are suitable for beginners and families. Be prepared with warm clothing and wear sturdy hiking shoes or boots. Bring along binoculars for catching a glimpse of winter birds.

  • Snowshoe walk in the Flathead National Forest, hosted by the Swan Lake Ranger District and Foy’s to Blacktail Trails, will be at the Blacktail Mountain cross-country ski trails near Lakeside, 10am-Noon. Come explore the winter landscape and enjoy a guided look at animal tracks, trees and shrubs and even the snowpack. Participants may bring snowshoes, or a limited number of children and adult shoes will be available by reservation. Please meet at the Blacktail Cross-Country Ski Trails parking area. For more information or to reserve snowshoes, please contact the Swan Lake Ranger District at 837-7500.
  • Explore Lone Pine State Park on snowshoes. Adult and children’s snowshoes are available on a first-come, first-served basis. A ranger-led snowshoe walk takes place from 2pm to 3:30pm. Please contact the park at 755-2706 for more information or to reserve snowshoes for a fee.
  • Ranger-led snowshoe hikes at Glacier National Park will be hosted at 10:30am and 2pm. Each hike will last approximately two hours and reservations are not required. Take an intimate look at the park searching for signs of wildlife, discovering plants and animals and enjoying the solitude of winter. Snowshoes are available for hike participants. Visitors need to purchase a park entrance pass. Please meet at the Apgar Visitor Center. Call 888-7800 for more information.
  • Join Flathead Audubon for a guided ‘Winter Birding and Tracking’ snowshoe hike along the river bottom trails at the Owen Sowerwine Natural Area in Kalispell, from 10am to Noon. Bring your snowshoes. Meet at the Montessori School parking lot on Willow Glen Ave. Call 249-3987 or email auduboneducator@gmail.com for more information and to register.

For more information about the above local events visit, http://flatheadcore.org/.

During the month of January there are other opportunities to get outdoors and enjoy winter trails, including a ‘Winter Walk’ on snowshoes with the Montana Wilderness Association to Stanton Lake on January 13 and a winter ecology walk in the Condon area, January 27 with Swan Valley Connections, (http://wildmontana.org) . On January 20 Glacier Nordic Club hosts Winter Trails Day from 11am to 3pm at Whitefish Lake Golf Course with free rentals, trail passes and more.

US Forest Service map prices set to increase January 1, 2018

Hay Creek Drainage - West End

Hay Creek Drainage – West End

Well, rats. USFS map prices are going up. Here’s the meat of the official press release . . .

For the first time in nearly a decade, increasing costs of production, printing, and distribution are driving the need for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Forest Service to increase the price of its maps. Prices of USFS paper and plastic coated maps will increase to $14 on Monday, Jan. 1, 2018.

The Forest Service continually updates its maps and looks for ways to enhance maps. The Forest Service expects to shorten the revision cycle as cartographers continue to apply new digital technology to the map revision process.

The Forest Service is also working to increase the availability of digital maps. Digital maps for mobile applications can be downloaded here: http://www.avenza.com/pdf-maps/store. Digital maps cost $4.99 per side.

There are three ways to order maps from the National Forest Map Store (NFMS):

  1. Online: www.NationalForestStore.com
  2. By phone: (406) 329-3024
  3. By US Mail:

USDA Forest Service
National Forest Store
P.O. Box 7669
Missoula, MT 59807

In an effort to help offset the pricing increase for volume sales, starting Jan. 1, 2018 discount pricing will be made available on sales of 10 or more of maps of the same title. Discounted maps are only available when purchased through the NFMS.

The U.S. Forest Service is dedicated in researching, producing and distributing informative, accurate maps that can help improve the experience on America’s national forests and grasslands. Additional online resources that may help users enjoy the great outdoors:
Interactive Visitor Map to help you find great places to go and explore
Know Before You Go for tips that can help you enjoy the outdoors and be safe

2017 end-of-season trail reports posted

Stream Crossing, Cleft Rock Mtn, July 27, 2017 - by W. K. Walker

Stream Crossing, Cleft Rock Mtn, July 27, 2017 – by W. K. Walker

The October 3 Forest Service Trail Condition Reports for the Hungry Horse and Glacier View ranger districts have been posted to the website Trail Conditions page.

These are the final reports for the 2017 season. They will resume when trail maintenance activity starts back up in the spring.

Trail Condition Reports contain a fair amount of useful information. Besides trail conditions, they include trail numbers, their official names and end-to-end mileages. The reports may also list information on trail and area closures, especially during fire season.

Trail condition reports for September 25 posted

Whitefish Divide Trail (T26) near T3 intersection, July 12, 2017 - W. K. Walker

Whitefish Divide Trail (T26) near T3 intersection, July 12, 2017 – W. K. Walker

The September 25 Forest Service Trail Condition Reports for the Hungry Horse and Glacier View ranger districts have been posted to the website Trail Conditions page.

These reports contain a fair amount of useful information. Besides trail conditions, they include trail numbers, their official names and end-to-end mileages. The reports may also list information on trail and area closures, especially during fire season.

This is likely the next to last set of reports for the year.

Trail Creek Road reopens; trail closures remain

Trail Creek/Graves Creek Road (#114) is open again, but the trail closures in the upper Trail Creek and Whale Creek drainages are still in place.

Canyon Creek Road (#316) has also been reopened.

Here’s the full official press release . . .

Forest System Road #114 Trail Creek /Graves Creek is now open. It was closed for public safety due to fire activity from the Gibraltar Ridge and Weasel Fires. The road closure began at Tuchuck Campground and extended through the Kootenai National Forest to Graves Creek (Milepost 8.8 – 14.8). The area closures in upper Trail Creek (including Tuchuck Mountain), and Upper Whale Creek will remain in place until further assessments can be made. The Area Closure remains in place due to active fire still present in these areas and fire directly impacting system trails.

Use caution when driving through open roads in the area; crews and equipment may be working, you may encounter activity on the road system.

Additionally, permanent repairs have been accomplished on Canyon Creek Road #316, located approximately 5 miles north of Columbia Falls on the Glacier View Ranger District. Effective immediately, the road is now open from the intersection of Road #316 and 316D (9 mile); west 7 miles to the intersection with Forest Road #316C (South Fork of Canyon Creek). The Kimmerly Road (FS Rd 316B) remains closed to motorized use from its junction of the 316 Road and beyond, due ongoing repair work. The Kimmerly Road is expected to be open for snowmobiles and grooming operations this coming winter.

While recreating on the Flathead National Forest, users are advised to use caution when traveling on Forest roads; encountering heavy truck or other vehicle traffic is common. Please do not to block gates on Forest roads, and report any road damage, or road issues of concern to your local forest service office.

For updated information on temporary road restrictions, campgrounds, and access on the Flathead National Forest, please contact the respective ranger district in your area:

Hungry Horse/Glacier View at (406) 387-3800, Tally Lake at (406) 758-5204, Swan Lake at (406) 837-7500, or Spotted Bear at (406) 758-5376 or (406) 387-3800.

Trail condition reports for September 13 posted

Waterfall along trail to Thompson-Seton, Sep 10, 2017 - photo by Dick Leigh

Waterfall along trail to Thompson-Seton, Sep 10, 2017 – photo by Dick Leigh

The September 13 Forest Service Trail Condition Reports for the Hungry Horse and Glacier View ranger districts have been posted to the website Trail Conditions page.

These reports contain a fair amount of useful information. Besides trail conditions, they include trail numbers, their official names and end-to-end mileages. The reports may also list information on trail and area closures, especially during fire season.

Note that the entire area is currently under Stage II fire restrictions!