The 10 Most Haunted Hiking Trails in the United States

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Tell me this isn't the creepiest thing you've ever seen on a hike.
One of my favorite hikes in the Catskill Mountains in New York involves passing by a once grand hotel that now sits in ruins - the Overlook Mountain House. 

The hotel was built during a tourism boom in the Hudson Valley, but it burned down in 1875. It was rebuilt, burned down again in the early 1920's, and was rebuilt again using concrete.

The third rebuild was never finished, and the shell of the buildings were sold to New York State. What remains of the Overlook Mountain House sits right in the middle of the trail up to Overlook Mountain.

4 (More) Things NOT to Bring on Backpacking Trips

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On the Lost Coast trail before I realized I didn't
bring the right food...oops!
As a Cairn ambassador, I get to contribute to the Cairn blog, and one of the things I'm most excited about sharing are tips based around things I've learned over the course of my own adventures, some of which are a result of mistakes I've made.

In a recent article for the Cairn blog, I shared a list of things you shouldn't bring on a backpacking trip. In my experience, there seem to be way too many checklists of things you should bring, but not nearly enough checklists of things you shouldn't.

(Of course, there are trips it's worth taking the kitchen sink on, like this trip to the Catskills, which I'm preparing to go on again in a few weeks!)

I've made enough mistakes and learned enough things that my list of five things to leave at home quickly expanded the more I thought about it. Here are four more things I recommend not taking with you, and I'd love to hear others you have in the comments!

5 Reasons Why Fall is the Best Season for Hiking

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Adventuring outdoors during each of the four seasons has its pros and cons, but there's something special about fall.

Spring's nice, but variable weather and the drab brown color everything outdoors seems to be until summer his isn't particularly exciting.

Summer's oppressive heat and humidity makes being outdoors a lot less fun at times, and don't even get me started about mosquitoes.

In autumn, Mother Nature shows off in a big way with stunning colors, apple cider is back in season, and winter is up next! There's so much I love about fall, but in particular, these things make it my favorite season for hiking.

Hiking Washington: Colchuck Lake in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness

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Our boots enjoying the view at Colchuck Lake.
Long before a recent trip to Washington, I'd heard about Leavenworth. The tiny town, nestled between Mount Rainier National Park and the North Cascades, is a rock climber's paradise. (It's Bavarian themed, which I didn't know until we drove through it.)

Leavenworth is also the gateway to the Enchantments, an alpine paradise dotted with deep blue lakes and rugged granite peaks. It's such a paradise that overnight permits are required via lottery. Thru-hiking is an option, but you'll gain a minimum of 4,000 vertical feet over seven miles just to get to one of the upper lakes. The point-to-point route is around 18 miles.

My partner in crime and I hadn't planned on a hike of that magnitude to close out our four-day tour of the Cascades, but still wanted to get a taste of the area and take a peek at Leavenworth. One look at photos of Colchuck Lake and we decided that would be our destination for the day. (Can you blame us?)

Getting to the Stuart Lake Trailhead

Hiking Washington: Windy Pass via the Pacific Crest Trail and an Off-Trail Summit of Tamarack Peak

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Picking my way along the PCT. (PC: D. Herscovitch)
When you've got four days to hike in one of Washington's most incredible landscapes, narrowing down options seem impossible. But who better to ask for help than locals, especially locals who work in an outdoor store?

Our first two days covered two moderately challenging, popular, yet somehow uncrowded hikes to Thornton Lakes and Heather-Maple Pass. We dropped in to the Mazama Store on our way back from Heather-Maple Pass to grab provisions, and paid a visit to Goat's Beard Mountain Supplies.

I shared options I'd come up with, but the staff member on duty told us Windy Pass via Hart's Pass was one of the main destinations in the area. Beyond Hart's Pass, travel on the relatively flat hike would give us expansive views in all directions, a chance to hike part of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), and the option for off-trail travel to the top of 7,321' Tamarack Peak. It sounded perfect.