Posts tagged with "National Park Service"

93-year-old summits Yosemite’s Half Dome: ‘It felt pretty good’

July 31, 2023

Everett Kalin isn’t letting age hold him back. The 93-year-old retired professor climbed to the top of Yosemite National Park’s Half Dome rock on July 18, reports Good Morning America.

Rising nearly 5,000 feet above Yosemite Valley and 8,800 feet above sea level, Half Dome is a Yosemite icon and a great challenge to many hikers. Despite an 1865 report declaring that it was “perfectly inaccessible, being probably the only one of the prominent points about the Yosemite which never has been, and never will be, trodden by human foot,” George Anderson was the first to reach the summit in 1875, in the process laying the predecessor to today’s cable route.

Kalin’s son Jon, a backpacker and climber, and granddaughter Sidney joined him on the hike; which they divided into a multi-day excursion, taking 13 hours overall to finish the trek.

“I guess I was pleasantly surprised that when I got up there. I did not feel that I was huffing and puffing so much as we went up. It felt pretty good,” Kalin said.

The Half Dome trail is described as an “exciting, arduous hike” on the National Park Service’s website. The full round-trip hike is 14 to 16 miles.

While thousands of hikers summit Half Dome each year, according to the NPS, park rangers end up assisting “hundreds of people” along the difficult Half Dome trail each summer.

“Most of these emergencies could have been prevented,” the NPS states on its website.

Kalin made sure to prepare for his own ambitious goal of summiting Half Dome by training and climbing the stairs at the 17-floor senior living community where he resides.

Kalin told ABC affiliate KFSN-TV in Fresno that the idea to climb Half Dome simply came to him, and his wife Clara signed off on the trek before it began.

His son says, “It was spectacular for the three generations of us to be together, enjoying it all at once.”

Kalin’s latest feat isn’t his only major adventure in recent years: For his birthday last year, the nonagenarian thrill-seeker jumped out of a plane.

Research contact: @GMA

Snakes in the grass: Florida python hunt attracts 800 competitors, seeking thousands in prize money

August 9, 2022

So far, more than 800 competitors have signed on for the 2022 Florida Python Challenge in  the Florida Everglades, which began on Friday, August 5 and will continue through 5 p.m. (EDT) on August 15. The entrants are in search of invasive Burmese pythons, which they hope will bring them thousands of dollars in prize money, reports Fox News.

According to the National Park Service, Burmese pythons now are established in the park, due to accidental or intentional release of captive pet animals. Pythons eat many different kinds of animals, and studies show that pythons are probably the main reason that mammals have declined very sharply in number in Everglades National Park.

Even though pythons are large snakes, their coloring and behavior allow them to blend into the environment. Since they are so hard to find in the wild, estimating the number that reside in the park is nearly impossible. A female python can lay as many as 100 eggs a year.A

“This is significant because every python removed is one less invasive species preying on our native birds, mammals, and reptiles,” Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis told the Associated Press.

Since 2000, when the event began, more than 17,000 pythons have been removed from the Everglades ecosystem, according to a news release.

Cash prizes of up to $2,500 are available in both the professional and novice categories for those who remove the most pythons, officials said. There are additional prizes for the longest python in each category. Each python must be dead, with hunters facing disqualification if they kill them inhumanely or kill a native snake.

So far, the registered hunters represent 32 states and Canada. Registrations are being accepted throughout the competition. It costs $25 to register and participants also must  complete an online training course.

Research contact: @FoxNews