Weekend Outdoor Reads for January 1st

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable evening. While you are enjoying your coffee this morning, here are my first five Weekend Outdoor Reads for 2010. This week, I’m highlighting a hike in the San Gabriel Mountains, a contrast between what is happening with Arizona’s and Georgia’s state parks, a cool iPhone application for looking-up animal tracks, free camping at Dinosaur Monument in Utah and ranger-led snowshoe walks in Lassen National Park.

modern-hiker-100th-hikeModern Hiker – 100th Hike

Casey Schreiner, of Modern Hiker, and Kolby Kirk, of 100 Hikes, recently got together to celebrate Kolby’s 100th hike of 2009 with a trip up Echo Mountain in Southern California’s San Gabriel Mountains.

This is probably the one time during the year when the weather in Los Angeles reminds me of the Pacific Northwest and both Casey and Kolby have some stunning photos of the fog rolling through the hills and a great shot of the Los Angeles city lights glowing through the fog, from atop Echo Mountain.

Be sure to click on the pictures to see the full-size versions.

Arizona State Parks: A System on its Deathbed


It’s hard to believe that Arizona is going to shutter its state park system, but it certainly looks like that might happen. The Arizona Parks Foundation is heading up the fight to ward off this action and they have a lot of good information on their website about how you can help. All of the states are struggling with revenue during this recession and, in Georgia, volunteers are stepping up to help keep Georgia’s state parks operating. This effort is being driven by the Friends of Georgia State Parks and they are recruiting people with specialized skills, including retired contractors and teachers, to fill jobs lost to budget cuts.

Animal Tracks on your iPhone


MyNature Animal Tracks is one of the more creative iPhone applications that I’ve seen, for the outdoors. It’s a searchable database of animal tracks that includes a ton of multimedia content, like illustrations, actual photos and recordings of each animal’s sounds, to help you identify any track that you are likely to come across in the backcountry. This would be a really great activity to get the kids involved with and MyNature Animal Tracks looks like a great tool for making it fun and interesting.

Winter Camping Free at Dinosaur National Monument

Petroglyph photo by ianturton on Flickr

Petroglyph photo by ianturton on Flickr

Park officials announced Tuesday that the Split Mountain campground, on the Utah side of the Monument, will remain open throughout winter. This is not for the timid – temperatures are in the teens and well into single-digits at night, but if you are looking for some winter solitude this deal can’t be beat.

Lassen Volcanic National Park offers ranger-led snowshoe walks

Showshoe image by dailyinvention on Flickr

Showshoe image by dailyinvention on Flickr

Last weekend, Lassen Volcanic National Park began offering ranger-led snowshoe walks, for a suggested donation of just $1. These guided walks are offered each Saturday and Sunday at 1:30 PM through April 4th.

14 thoughts on “Weekend Outdoor Reads for January 1st

    • Jacob – I agree, that would be fun to be able to know what kind of animal track you are seeing.

  1. Happy new year to you too! I had a particularly bad start to the new year due to a faulty firework and an evening spent in the hospital. At least it should (hopefully) be uphill from here on in!

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  3. I had NO idea what what happening in Arizona. I lived there for 5 years and one of the reasons we moved there was for all the parks. Even though I’m in NC now, I’m planning to email the governor as well and spread the word so my favorite state in the nation keeps it state parks open.

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  5. Thanks for posting the link about the Arizona State Parks, its scary, but good to know. I think I’ll do some research on how our state parks are doing here in Colorado.

    • Thanks Marc – I haven’t heard much about CO, other than the beetle problem. Maybe your government isn’t completely inept, like Arizona and California 🙂

  6. Hi
    I have just come across this site and it is amazing. There are some big differences between camping here in Australia and in the US.
    Such a shame to see parks closed to the public – couldn’t see it happening here, but most of our parks are unmanned.
    Feel free to visit my blog and have a look at the differences.

    • Thanks for the compliment! I think most Americans would be surprised at how popular camping is in Australia.

  7. The iPhone animal tracking application looks good, but I’m really in two minds about taking technology out into nature. Somehow I feel it spoils the experience to be out in the woods with a digital phone. Personally that’s one of the reasons I go outdoors – to get away from the “trappings” of the contemporary lifestyle. No doubt iPhone apps are the way of the future though and guidebooks will some day be heading for doom for all except the purists.

    • I have taken my Blackberry on our last two hikes, because I wanted to test the GPS mapping capability (it didn’t work – no coverage). I’m a paper-map-and-compass person, although I keep thinking I might get a GPS receiver, one of these days.