2015

Sara Sloan slips off her mitten and uses her thumb to dial in the right track on her iPod. She holds the tiny speakers up and hits play. Deep, resonant hooting wafts out: “Who. Hoot, who, who.” The call of a great horned owl. The 12 of us stand silently in the dark woods, waiting…

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Winter camping has long enticed me into the frosty backcountry. The landscape is beautiful, a world at rest beneath a glittering blanket of snow. Plus, two major hassles of summer—crowds and blood-sucking insects—are nowhere to be found. But for me, the greatest reward of winter camping transcends these things. It’s the deep satisfaction of taking…

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Walking has long been recognized as an inexpensive and accessible form of physical activity. A new study finds that walking can also improve mental health—and that walking with a group can enhance this impact. Study co-authors Katherine Irvine, Melissa Marselle, and Sara Warber wanted to quantify the effect of nature on health and mental well-being…

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From powdery valley trails to snowfields overlooking the Atlantic, the Northeast has plenty of stunning— and varied—backcountry skiing options. Some were among the first routes skied in the region, cut by avid volunteers decades ago. Others are new finds, established within the last decade. The eight routes profiled here are just the beginning; for a…

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Wool is warm, durable, insulates even when wet, and has been used for millennia to keep people cozy and comfortable. But what makes wool such an effective insulation in the first place? To answer that question, you need to zoom deep into the structure of this remarkable fiber. WOOL: A CLOSE-UP Wool fibers have two…

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The ice ax is an essential mountaineering tool— arguably the essential tool—when climbing large, glaciated peaks or when ascending steep routes on any mountain in the winter. When exploring peaks like Maine’s Katahdin or New Hampshire’s Mount Washington in winter, using an ice ax—along with crampons—is not only recommended, it’s a necessity. STRUCTURE OF THE…

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In winter, many animals burrow below the frost line to protect themselves from the Northeast’s bitter cold. But the wood frog has adapted a different strategy: It freezes to survive. Wood frogs spend the winter under the snow, just a few inches down in the leaf litter or soil. That’s not deep enough to escape…

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Pluck an issue—any issue—of Appalachia from the bookshelf and let it fall open to any page, and you’ll find yourself time-traveling. If your passions run to mountains and climbing, travel, exploration, or natural history, chances are you’ll find a story, poem, map, or photo that pulls you in. Published by AMC since 1876, and billed…

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As the 114th Congress gets under way, time will tell what members’ actions will mean for the future of our nation, our region, and the outdoor places and experiences we treasure. One thing for sure is that any sort of progress is not likely to take place unless our elected officials agree to work together….

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If you’re hiking for hours in a steady downpour, it’s inevitable that you’re going to get soaked eventually, no matter what you’re wearing. There are, however, some simple things you can do to stay drier, longer. Seal your wristsJacket cuffs are a common leak point. As your hands get wet, water dribbles down toward your…

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