January/February 2011

I went surfing this weekend at a beach along the Massachusetts coast, catching remnant swells from the storm that blew through New England last Friday. At this point in the season, water temperatures are right around the annual low (~37 degrees). I stayed warm bundled head-to-toe in thick neoprene and had a great session, but…

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If you’re like me, you’ve somehow managed to accumulate an inexplicable number of AAA batteries in your gear chest, almost all of them for headlamp use. Some are fresh. Some are dead and awaiting proper disposal—and infused with the nagging guilt that you really should get your act together and find a rechargeable, reusable solution…

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The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article called “A Workout Ate My Marriage,” about a husband and father of three young children who devoted 20 hours a week to his endurance training. His wife staged an intervention last summer: Her parents and his joined her in asking him to exercise less and spend more…

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Over the coming weeks, days will get warmer, the sun will rise higher in the sky, and backcountry enthusiasts will be out romping in blissful, snowy spring conditions. But consider this: Snow reflects up to 80 percent of UV radiation, which means that your UV dose is close to double what it would be otherwise….

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Last week, President Obama introduced the final report of America’s Great Outdoors Initiative at a presentation at the White House. The president launched the initiative in 2010 with the charge of developing an approach to conservation for the 21st century. The final report incorporates 10 months of public input, involving more than 50 listening sessions…

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I watched a scary movie the other night. I don’t mean a psychological thriller or a gory combat film, although the movie offered plenty to trouble my mind and more screen violence than I’m used to seeing. The movie, “Play Again,” is a documentary; it asks the question, What are the consequences of a childhood…

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Goose down is amazing stuff, as I highlighted in my February “Equipped” column, “The Story of a Miracle Material.” But there was only so much I could include in that piece, and I wanted to share some more fascinating info and pictures about down’s remarkable structure. The following information and photos are all culled from…

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We caught last night’s full moon, called the “Snow Moon” by some, when it was still low in the sky. Jim, Virgil, and I had planned a “winter break” sauna to coincide with the full moon, and felt lucky that it also coincided with a short warming spell. The snow had been melting all day….

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There was a good round-up of 14 new guidebooks for New England in this morning’s Boston Globe. Two in particular caught my forest-loving attention. Forest Forensics: A Field Guide to Reading the Forested LandscapeBy Tom WesselsBackcountry Press ($14.95)A new companion guide to one of my all-time favorite books about the New England landscape. In Wessels’…

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As Huck Finn would say, you don’t know about the story of whitewashing Aunt Polly’s fence without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain’t no matter. The story includes “thirty yards of board fence nine feet high,” a bucket of paint, a brush, and a…

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