Take a Hike Day Is Around the Bend. What's Your Dream Hike?
This Saturday, November 17, is National Take a Hike Day. Hiking is a great way to stay healthy, reconnect with nature and remind yourself of what we're trying to protect. In honor of the day, here are the EcoWatch team's favorite hikes, and the ones at the top of our bucket lists.
Olivia Rosane, Freelance Reporter
Favorite Hike: Hurricane Ridge
Hurricane Ridge is the most accessible mountainous area within Washington State's Olympic National Park. Several hiking trails branch off from the Visitor Center, taking you past alpine meadows, grazing deer and stunning views of the snow-capped Olympics. I hiked here with my family when we first moved to Washington and immediately fell in love with my new home.
Dream Hike: The Long Trail
The Long Trail, the oldest long-distance hiking trail in the U.S., runs along the spine of Vermont's Green Mountains from Massachusetts to the Canadian border. Someday, I would love to take two to three weeks and walk the whole thing, immersing myself in the woods, meadows and streams of one of the greenest states.
Irma Omerhodzic, Associate Editor
Favorite Hike: The Ledges
The Ledges in Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio is only 1.8 miles long, but exploring the Ritchie Ledges is such a cool experience. There are petroglyphs that date back to the 1900s (no one really knows who carved them). My dog and I love taking a day trip here and escaping into nature.
Dream Hike: Cathedral Rock Trail
Sedona, Arizona is a definite bucket-list trip. Sedona is said to be an energy vortex. I would love to hike the Cathedral Rock Trail in Coconino National Forest with the intention to heal at all levels.
Chris McDermott, News Editor
Favorite Hike: Seminole-Wekiva Trail
A rails-to-trails marvel on what once was the longest railroad in the U.S., the 14-mile Seminole-Wekiva Trail is perfect for bicycling, and even better for a slow hike on the Paint the Trail stretch, which is filled with inspired artwork by Jeff Sonksen.
Dream Hike: Mount Fløya, Norway
My dream hike would take at least an hour before encountering the Northern Lights. The location could be flexible, but this lookout over Tromsø in Norway could be even better than the dream.
Lorraine Chow, Freelance Reporter
Favorite Hike: Bear Mountain State Park
Bear Mountain was always the perfect day trip when I used to live in New York City. It's about an hour away by bus from Port Authority. The hike is moderately challenging and has an all-rock section. The peak, hilariously, is a parking lot, but the incredible views on the way are totally worth it.
Dream Hike: Shenandoah Valley
My bucket list hike is the Appalachian Trail, but if I had to choose a stretch it would be in the Shenandoah section. It would also have to be in the fall so I can see the colors. Maybe I'll also get to see a black bear!
Jordan Simmons, Social Media Manager
Favorite Hike: Pachamama
The kind-hearted local I met in the town's center of of Cusco, Peru pointed to a peak in the distance and asked if I'd like to hike to Pachamama, what he called the tallest point in Cusco. We trekked about eight hours away from civilization—passing through eucalyptus forests and drinking water from the stream. We ventured so far that our only way of finding home was to follow water.
Dream Hike: La Ruta de los Conquistadores
My passion to build my knowledge on Indigenous culture drives my desire to hike La Ruta de los Conquistadores (The Route of the Conquistadors) in Costa Rica. The route changes each year and is designed for mountain bikers but I fear such treacherous mountain biking, and I'm determined to hike this path, which traces routes undertaken by 16th century Spanish Conquistadors.
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By Ilana Cohen
Four years ago, Jacob Abel cast his first presidential vote for Donald Trump. As a young conservative from Concord, North Carolina, the choice felt natural.
But this November, he plans to cast a "protest vote" for a write-in candidate or abstain from casting a ballot for president. A determining factor in his 180-degree turn? Climate change.
Fractures Among Young Climate Conservatives<p>While young conservatives have united around the urgency of climate change, they remain divided over how to bring their concerns to the ballot box. Some embrace right-wing <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/biden-attacks-republican-convention/2020/08/24/434e5b46-e66d-11ea-970a-64c73a1c2392_story.html" target="_blank">attacks</a> painting Biden as a "tool of the left" and find his climate agenda "radical." Others can't find a way to justify voting for Trump, even if it means breaking with their party.</p><p>Patrick Mann from Orange County, California, voted for Trump in 2016. But today, he's leading Aggies for Joe at Texas A&M University and is co-founder of Texas Students for Biden. </p><p>Mann grew up watching wildfires ravage his home state, nearly forcing his family to evacuate in 2017. The GOP is failing to "meet the moment" for climate action, Mann said. He's hoping Biden will deliver on a promise to "<a href="https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/columnists/caucus/2020/01/06/joe-biden-democrat-president-iowa-caucus-restore-soul-our-nation/2806422001/" target="_blank">restore the soul of our nation</a>." </p><p>Taylor Walker from Pensacola, Florida, is also determined to make her voice heard on climate, including by casting her first-ever vote for president—but not for Biden.</p>
A False Equivalency<p>Young climate conservatives may fear climate denial and delayed climate action, but more than that, they fear the growing political momentum around the Green New Deal, the massive spending it entails and <a href="https://joebiden.com/climate-plan/" target="_blank">Biden's citing of it</a> as a "crucial framing for meeting the climate challenges we face."</p><p>Many don't want to split with their party to support a Democrat whose <a href="https://www.npr.org/2019/09/03/757220130/joe-biden-on-bipartisanship-gun-control-and-regrets-over-inaction-after-a-traged" target="_blank">allegedly bipartisan intentions</a> they doubt. If stymieing what they consider a radical green agenda means re-electing a climate change denying president, so be it. </p><p>"I'm scared of climate change, but I'm also scared of the Green New Deal and what it means for America," said Ben Mutolo, a republicEN spokesperson and junior at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. </p><p>Mutolo felt encouraged by former Ohio Governor John Kasich's <a href="https://www.rollcall.com/2020/08/17/kasich-speech-to-democratic-convention-follows-years-of-building-conservative-credentials/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">appearance</a> at the Democratic National Convention, but he still struggles to see himself voting for Biden. Though the candidate paints himself as a <a href="https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-08-12/harris-biden-different-generation-similar-political-instinct" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">centrist,</a> Mutolo believes he's "cozying up to the ultra-progressive left." </p><p>Mutolo, who wants to see market-based climate solutions like a carbon tax, feels torn between a candidate whose climate plan relies on taking an "<a href="https://joebiden.com/environmental-justice-plan/#" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">All-of-Government approach</a>," and one with no efforts to reign in global warming at all. <span></span></p><p>Leiserowitz said he appreciated how a conservative might feel Biden's climate plan "doesn't jive with their limited government, free-market approach."</p><p>But he sees a strong distinction between voting for a presidential candidate with a <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/14/us/politics/biden-climate-plan.html" target="_blank">$2 trillion climate plan</a> that includes large renewable energy investments, which have <a href="https://climatecommunication.yale.edu/publications/politics-global-warming-april-2020/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">bipartisan support</a>, and a candidate trying "to take the country in the opposite direction, towards more fossil fuels."</p>
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