Features

Like many long-anticipated sporting events for which athletes train rigorously, the annual Sunrise Ascent kicks off with a spaghetti supper the night before, running on equal parts carbs and excitement. And if participants are giddy at dinner, come 4 a.m. their enthusiasm is downright palpable. Among the 15 athletes at this year’s predawn starting line…

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We started looking for a moose as soon as we arrived in the Maine Woods. Around each bend in the road, across every marsh or pond, we expected to see the gangly outline of the state’s most iconic mammal. So on our last evening, while walking a waterfront path below AMC’s newly rebuilt Medawisla Lodge…

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The following excerpt has been abridged and condensed from Blazing Ahead: Benton MacKaye, Myron Avery, and the Rivalry That Built the Appalachian Trail, by Jeffrey H. Ryan (AMC Books, 2017), available now from AMC, as well as from other online and retail locations. The decade since Benton MacKaye had first proposed the Appalachian Trail (AT)…

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Preserving nearly three-quarters of New England’s forests is an ambitious goal. But it has to be. Forestland declining for the first time in 200 years is a big deal. Thanks to Wildlands and Woodlands and related efforts by AMC and other groups, efforts are underway to permanently preserve much of the region’s iconic landscape and…

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Grab your tent and your pals for an adventure that combines the best of backpacking and mountain biking: backpacking. I glide to a stop and step off my bike, leaning its considerable weight against a tree. As I amble down to the edge of Bailey Pond, I take in the glassy, bluegray surface, backed right…

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Untouched by humans for centuries but ravaged by deer and nearby development, an old-growth forest in suburban New Jersey was foundering until ecologists stepped in, revisiting the question of wilderness versus management. You wouldn’t guess from the patchwork of yards, golf courses, and I-95 feeder roads surrounding it, but an ancient forest stands in suburban…

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Every New Englander knows Cadillac Mountain and the carriage roads of Acadia National Park, but a whole world of underrated adventure awaits on Mount Desert Island’s quieter western half. Why wade through tourists when you can explore like a local? And why limit yourself to one activity when you can bag three? That’s why we’ve…

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Twenty-seven men and women stand in a rigid line, backs straight and eyes ahead, attuned to the instructor up front. As she calls out directions, the line begins to dissolve. “If it’s most important for you to reach your goal in the outdoors, step to the left,” she tells them. “If it’s most important that…

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I’ve always been fascinated by maps. I can’t go more than a day or two without picking one up and losing myself in the intricate details of a three-dimensional world flattened and scaled to fit on a page. As I was thinning out my stash one day—grudgingly admitting that 50 topographic renderings of Mount Washington…

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WHAT IS IT about a challenge that piques our determination and gets our blood pumping? On the occasion of the AMC Four Thousand Footer Club’s 60th anniversary—observed April 22, 2016, at Exeter High School, in New Hampshire—we asked a dedicated group one question: Why did you hike New Hampshire’s 48 4,000-footers (i.e. the state’s mountains…

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