2016

I bought it as a joke. And then last week the skies ripped open. Right when I needed to ride home. Rivers of water rushed down the bike lane. Darkness surrounded me. Traffic sprayed me. I rode, upstream, through flooded bike lanes and treacherously wet and low-visibility conditions. But I was wearing my freshly purchased…

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Highlights Short hike in a secluded area to a bald knob with views of the Ossipee Mountains and Mount Washington Valley. Directions From the south, take NH 16 to Ossipee, N.H., exiting at NH 25. Turn left off the exit onto NH 25, go under the highway and then left at the T intersection to NH…

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What happens when you fuse a bicycle and pair of skis into a single contraption? You get a ski bike (sometimes called a snow bike), an unusual hybrid approach for hitting the downhill slopes. The idea is simple. Instead of putting wheels on a bike frame, you attach a pair of skis. For additional control,…

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As the days get shorter, the leaves start falling, and winter gets closer, it becomes easier to spot wildlife. For owl fans, the bare trees make it easier to catch sight of the majestic birds’ silhouettes, though patience is a necessary requirement when out looking for owls. It helps to go with an expert, who knows…

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Aerogel is made almost entirely of air encapsulated in an ultra-light silica matrix and is the lowest-density solid material that exists. This man-made substance also has superb insulating abilities and has been used extensively by NASA in spacesuits, space shuttles, satellites, and other applications. Aerogel’s ultralight, ultra-warm qualities would seem to make it an ideal…

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What’s one thing an outdoor enthusiast likes even better than conservation land? New conservation land, when—by donation or purchase—more turf gets protected for the health of the environment and the enjoyment of future generations. A number of key habitats, from remote forests in Maine to an island in the Chesapeake Bay, were preserved by governments…

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Since 1876, volunteers have been central to AMC’s mission of understanding, enjoying, and protecting the landscape and trails of the Northeast. So, when research and education staff created Mountain Watch in 2003, AMC was confident volunteers would step up. In the 13 years since its founding, Mountain Watch has benefited from the passion and commitment…

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Humans have hiked and paddled and climbed for centuries, but specialized outdoor-recreation gear is a relatively new invention. Advertisements in Appalachia, AMC’s member-publication-turned-journal, mirror the evolution of this industry across the decades. Clothing and equipment ads started appearing in Appalachia in the 1930s, as interest in skiing spread. Early ads featured fur-trimmed snowsuits and parkas,…

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During years of appointments, my doctor and I have spent as much time talking about our hiking trips as about my age and medical diagnoses. A while ago, he casually said, “People who have the hardest time facing the realities of physical decline are those who have had an active outdoor life.” He offered these…

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While many of us are enjoying Thanksgiving dinner, Northeastern black bears will be finishing up their own autumn feasts before bedding down for the winter. After entering their dens in late November or early December (if food is abundant), or as early as October (if food is scarce), black bears in our region usually hibernate…

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