It was a rookie mistake. I had fed the kids a snack on the drive to the trailhead. By the time we parked the car and sorted the gear, those precious calories had been spent. With the parking lot still visible, an arms-crossed, “I’m not going anywhere,” tantrum occurred. The woods beckoned, but the choice was…

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I’m going to find all of them!” my 5-year-old son, Gus, declares without missing a beat. We’re sitting around the kitchen table, as Gus and his sister, Mabel, age 7, ready their “acorns”: 22 wooden discs they’re painting with bright colors. My question to them: How many of these discs can you find a week…

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The climbing rope my husband, Pete, purchased in 1993 never saw a harness after 1998, but we still have several pieces of it around the house. It has kept kayaks fastened to car roofs, held drying laundry on camping trips, and even towed a stuck car. In the warm months, it is a makeshift tree…

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If you’re a paddler with a yen for fast-moving water, chances are you’re familiar with a throw bag. But do you know how to use one correctly? Here’s how to help ensure a successful whitewater rescue, should you or a companion go for an unexpected swim. What You Need Knowing your gear is critical to…

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We had just finished reading the last of the bedtime books, the glow of the headlamp-turned-nightlight casting shadows on the tent walls, when we hear it. The clear call of an owl. “Hoo hoo hoo-hoo; hoo hoo hoo-aw.” Mabel, my 5-year-old, looks at me, and I can see her eyes are wide. “Mommy, an owl!”…

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We’ve all done it: felt that first inkling of discomfort—a growing warmth on our heel or at the base of our toes—and kept right on hiking. “It’s nothing,” we tell ourselves. “It won’t get much worse.” Distracted by the trail ahead and the promise of future vistas, we trek on, ignoring our tender skin until…

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After a day on the trail, the thought of building a bright, crackling fire is incredibly appealing: the warmth, the light, the s’mores. Yet a campfire, even a small one, can mar the landscape, so it’s crucial to consider your impact. Whether in front- or backcountry settings, practice Leave No Trace (LNT) principles to minimize campfire…

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I got my first pair of cross-country skis in elementary school. Winters were cold and snow was deep in Berlin, N.H., just north of Mount Washington, making skiing a popular pastime. By following my aunt around on local trails, I learned the rhythmic motion of the sport and grew to love it. Proficiency came from…

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Like many children, my 4-year-old daughter loves the tactility of my iPhone, especially swiping back and forth through the photo albums and studying each image, however mundane. It seems natural, then, as Mabel’s dexterity with the camera grows, to encourage her to experiment with her own visual interpretations of life, to give her an additional…

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The only interesting fact that I recall from high school physics is that black bears can run up to 30 mph. My teacher, an avid outdoorsman, included this detail in one of many stories told to engage a senior class focused on nothing but graduation. I’ve since learned that the American black bear, which averages…

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