2010 Archives - Page 24 of 25 - Appalachian Mountain Club

2010

Starting an emergency fire in the snow-covered winter backcountry can be a challenge. You can’t build a fire directly on top of the snow, which means you need to find or create alternative support for your nascent flame. Look for dry tree wells. The area immediately next to the trunk is usually the most sheltered…

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Nearly seven decades after the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built its last bridge and blazed its last trail, recreation enthusiasts are still benefitting. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program, aimed to put unemployed men to work, had a lasting impact on recreation. The downhill ski industry in New England was practically created by the…

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As the 2010 Winter Olympic Games unfold in Vancouver this February, a worldwide television audience of millions will be introduced to the latest generation of alpine skiing stars. Though these daredevils will be accelerating faster and turning more sharply than any skiers before them, they owe a debt of gratitude to their 20th-century predecessors. One…

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At only an inch and a half long, Alasmidonta heterodon is the tiniest of the Northeast’s freshwater mussels. But in spite of its size, the dwarf wedge mussel plays a starring role in the ecology of our region. An “indicator species,” its presence (or lack thereof) shows the relative health of an ecosystem; when the…

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Before I even learned how to identify the Big Dipper, my mother taught me to recognize Orion’s Belt. The most prominent and brightest constellation in the winter sky, this beloved grouping of stars has planted the seeds for more than one astronomy career. “It’s just hard not to notice,” says Salman Hameed, Ph.D., assistant professor…

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As you pause near Cragway Spring along the Mount Washington Auto Road on a sunny day, your gaze might land on a small moth-like insect drawing nectar from a goldenrod bloom. Higher up, you might spy a dull-colored butterfly nearly invisible against a rock in the sparse meadows of Bigelow’s sedge. And you might keep…

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In many ways, “the environment” that we seek to improve begins at home—in our own front yards, in fact. For a growing number of people the all-American lawn is no longer green enough, and using native plants to replace turf is an attractive and responsible option. Lose some lawnBefore the advent of mechanized mowers, expanses…

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Wilderness canoe trips always feature portages, the ineluctable footpaths around dams, rapids, falls, ponds, and lakes. With the right skills, equipment, and attitude, travelers can gain access to wildlife and territory that is typically inaccessible. “Most people hate portages because they attempt them stupidly,” says Garrett Conover, a Registered Maine Guide who has been leading…

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When you’re hiking, the opposite bank of a stream is usually just a few steps away — but not always. Without logs or steppingstones available, and especially in colder weather, stream crossings become a challenge. According to Bryan McFarland, former outdoor adventure guide and webmaster/scout for the Connecticut Explorer’s Guide, an online outdoor adventure resource,…

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In a survival situation, a fire can be the margin between life and cold, shivering, hypothermic death. You should be able to start one quickly and easily, in any weather, no matter what the conditions, even if you’re hurt. Firestarters are an essential element of even the most rudimentary survival kit. A range of compact,…

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