Kelleigh Welch, Author at Appalachian Mountain Club

The Swiss Miss Fire started on a hot August day in 2017. Deep in the 100-Mile Wilderness, 300 feet from the Appalachian Trail, someone had stopped to make cocoa on Columbus Mountain. “It was in one of those high, dry areas where you get deep layers of decayed leaf matter and moss,” explains Steve Tatko,…

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It’s a cold, sparklingly clear day in March, and the White Mountains are filled with hikers, skiers, and snowshoers, each leaving distinctive tracks in the piles of late-spring powder. It seems like everyone is chattering about the weather; each group we pass has something to say about the glorious conditions. We’re on our way to…

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Like paddling a canoe or pedaling a bike, splitting wood is a rhythmic outdoor activity that can feel downright meditative when done correctly.  Swinging an ax, however, is a little more difficult (and dangerous) than biking or boating, so it takes time and practice to become a master of this useful art form. To get…

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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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UPDATE: On August 24, after this story went to press, President Barack Obama designated 87,500 acres as the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. Elliotsville Plantation, Inc., donated the land to the federal government along with a $20 million endowment to assist with operational needs and infrastructure development, and a commitment to raise an additional $20…

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Cancer came roaring into our lives in the coldest part of the year—a fitting entrance for a brutish disease. My boyfriend, Garrett, was diagnosed with lymphoma in March. Where we live, in Maine, March isn’t even mud season. It’s winter, plain and simple, filled with icicles and hoarfrost and cabin fever. There’s never a good…

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