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April 13, 2024

April 2024: A Note From Diane

It's so much fun to pull together the latest hiking news for you!

Thanks for opening up the email and giving it a read.

This month, we focus on dangerous hikers, the PCT, a bear resource, a new review and giveaway, and a few other tidbits.

Shall we?


Your well being as a hiker is of top importance, although I see a lot of folks worry more about their gear than their gut.

This month I’d like to share what I’ve learned about protein and hikers (carnivores or not), along with some infographics.

Best protein sources for hikers

Here's a new Hiking For Her review, highlighting Backpacker's Pantry dinner entrees (high in protein) that are delicious and just happen to be gluten free:

Gluten free backpacking meals review


I'm tying in this month's giveaway to the protein information above.

You have a chance to win your choice of plant based protein or animal based protein hiking snacks: IQBAR Brain and Body Keto Protein Bars -or- Epic Provisions Protein Bars.

All the information you need to enter is here:

Hiking For Her Giveaway Details


I’ve had this lovely enchanted land of green on my bucket list for decades.

It seems to be getting more insistent to make the list as I head towards another (large) milestone birthday.

Maybe 2025 is THE year?

And to make it even sweeter as a destination, I’ve found a source of free trail maps detailing the “Ways” that Ireland offers in abundance to hikers (walkers).

Maybe you can use them, too!

Ireland hiking maps


Are you shocked? Hiking has become more and more popular, but good behavior has not kept pace.

But here's the thing: only parts of the PCT are heavily impacted by hiking misbehavior.

Two hikers, Tori McGruer, (doctorate in environmental toxicology) and Macy Gustavus (master’s degree in watershed sciences) tackled this trail in a very scientific manner.

Read the story of these 2 thru-hikers who took a close look (a very close look!) at what hikers leave behind on the PCT.

This article also mentions Rubbish, a geolocator for trash.

PCT trash map


Here is a first person account of what it's like to hike the PCT without leaving a trail of trash, written by a female Canadian nurse.

I found it a good way to experience what this trail offers, through the lens of a young female hiker.

Jessica Donnan on the PCT


Many hikers are freaked out by the thought of meeting a bear. What do you say? Do you shake hands and paws, or just nod?

Sorry, I jest.

In my encounters, bears behave as sensible creatures if you don't corner or surprise them. And they don't trash the PCT!!

Sorry. Back to business.

Here's a resource created by bear biologists to help you get a handle on bear behavior and your responses to these critters as you traipse through their living rooms.

Sorry, really I am. Here's the link:

Safety tips for hiking in bear country


What will you do on Monday, April 22, 2024 to celebrate the Earth beneath your hiking boots?

This pdf from the EarthDay organization gives lots of suggestions:

Earth Day 2024 ideas

I’m old enough to remember the original Earth Day in 1970. And I've been celebrating it every year since I was an idealistic teen who thought everyone would get on board with cleaning up our planet.

Because, why not?

This year, I plan to just sit down in the dirt, literally, and spend some time quietly observing the life all around, and beneath, my hiking boots.

Care to join me in spirit? It might be fun to give Earth it's 15 minutes of fame in your own way :)

I’d love to learn what you observed as you gave thanks for Earth's teeming life forms and systems. Just hit "reply".


The famed Chilkoot Trail between the U.S. and Canada sustained flood damage over the winter, and will be closed to through-hiking for 2024.

This is an example of why it's critical to research your hiking destinations, even for trails that are as iconic as this one. Mother Earth has her moods, right?

(Note: Bears were not involved in this trail closure. Another point for Team Bear.)

Day hikes and overnight hiking on the Canadian side are permitted from Bennett and require advance permit reservations through Parks Canada.

See this website for hiking services to access this trail this year:

Chilkoot hikers


I’ve often wondered what makes hikers take risks that I would consider absolute non-starters.

A study entitled DANGER! NO HIKING! Risky hiking decisions, framing of normative warning messages, and self-exempting beliefs has part of the answer.

What caught my eye were these keywords: risk perception, social norms, self-exempting beliefs. That last one I myself am guilty of (“It’ll never happen to smart, brave, experienced me”).

Nearly 200 young college students who hike were asked to consider four hypothetical risky hiking scenarios (e.g., getting too close to a cliff edge or a bison). They were also shown warning signs of various types, such as “descriptive” versus “don’t do this”.

Each student rated the likelihood to hike and get hurt in each scenario, using scales that measured attitudes toward risk as well as self-exempting beliefs.

The results offer a very interesting glimpse into what we’re thinking when we go ahead and take that risk!

The full citation: Kortenkamp, Katherine V., Colleen F. Moore, Ellie M. Miller, and Kathryn V. Truell. “DANGER! NO HIKING! Risky Hiking Decisions, Framing of Normative Warning Messages, and Self-Exempting Beliefs.” Journal of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism 35 (September 2021): 100415. doi:10.1016/j.jort.2021.100415.

Find it here:

Danger! No Hiking!

Enjoy the trail this month

Please make time for hiking as often as you can this month.

And squeeze in a little time to sit in the dirt, too!

One more thing: I sometimes kid around a bit about bears and hikers, but I know there are serious risks involved with encounters. I've met both black and brown bears while hiking. Read my bear safety tips here:

Bear safety for hikers

Happy Trails to you,

Diane a.k.a. Happy Hiker

Looking for the best deals on hiking and camping gear, apparel, destinations and fun stuff? Here's my constantly updated page to save you time and money: Best Current Deals For Hikers

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