September/October 2010

We are currently in the thick of the tick. Late October and early November are the most active period of the year for adult deer ticks, the species primarily responsible for the spread of Lyme disease. If you spend time in the woods and fields of the Northeast, here are my top three tips for…

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“I thought it would be fun.” That was Owen Borek’s first reaction to hearing his mother’s plan to hike the Appalachian Trail, all 2,170-some miles of it, over one spring-summer-fall. “I liked hiking,” says the 10-year-old from Durham, N.H. He knew about the outdoors: He’d hiked a few mountains and camped out several times. And…

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In my recent Equipped article on bike lights, reflectors, and high visibility clothing (“Now You See Me“), I mention in the lead paragraph: “Fast-moving, fourwheeled danger is everywhere in the urban jungle—and no seat belts or airbags protect cyclists in the event of a collision.” Turns out that I was wrong. Airbags for cyclists actually…

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On September 23, 2010, Cheryl Borek stood on the summit of Mt. Katahdin, joining the select society of hikers who complete all 2,170 or so miles of the Appalachian Trail in one hiking season. Two years ago, Cheryl had decided that she wanted to hike the AT before she turned 50. She’d beaten her deadline…

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GPS receivers appear everywhere these days, integrated into smart phones, vehicle dashboards, cameras, and more. They’re also shrinking—a variety of wrist-top models are available that track speed, distance, and location. There’s a reason, however, why manufacturers dub these smallest GPS units “wrist-top computers” instead of “watches.” They still require a linebacker-sized wrist to fit comfortably…

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A new alternative to bike chains is appearing in the market: grease-free, ultra-tough belts. Lighter, cleaner, and more durable than traditional metal chains, expect to see them on an increasing array of consumer models in the coming years. Traditional bike chains can be nasty, greasy magnets for dirt and funk. Proper care and maintenance helps…

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Canister stoves are great. Safe, easy to use, lightweight, and compact with excellent flame adjustment to boot. Canister stoves are horrible. You have to buy expensive metal gas canisters—and then figure out how to recycle them or add their empty metal carcasses to the country’s landfills. The problem is two-fold. First, in order to recycle…

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Looking for the best online resources for tracking snow conditions throughout New England? Here are the sites I follow to keep abreast of the arriving snow for the winter of 2010-11. There’s already snow on the ground in the high peaks of New Hampshire and Vermont. Last Friday, a record-setting 18 inches fell on top…

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This weekend marks the end of the full-service high huts season. Madison Spring Hut and Lakes of the Clouds closed their doors to guests last month until the new season begins in 2011. After Saturday night, October 16, Mizpah Spring, Galehead, and Greenleaf will do the same. Beginning next week, Zealand and Lonesome Lake will…

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I have been younger in October / than in all the months of spring. Those lines come from a poem by current U.S. poet laureate W. S. Merwin, who must have spent some time playing in autumn leaf piles, as we did last weekend. Friends invited us to spend the day with them while they…

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