Journal

I have given the river safety talk hundreds of times: that pre-launch speech a guide delivers to passengers before plunging into the water. There’s a certain tone you take, a combination of stern yet humorous, intended to make sure guests are prepared but not scared to death. Your audience is usually attentive, respectful, even a…

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If you’ve seen any of Winslow Homer’s maritime paintings, you’ve likely seen the view from Prouts Neck.  Homer, the famed landscape painter who grew up just outside of Boston, moved to the southern Maine peninsula in 1883, where he stayed off and on until his death in 1910. Many of his paintings were landscapes of…

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Writing AMC’s Best Day Hikes in New Jersey made me realize something: I had seriously underestimated both the state and myself. I used to know New Jersey as a place of endless strip malls, clogged roadways with a sky-high congestion index, and foul-smelling stretches of industry. And then there was that fearsome bogeyman, the Jersey Devil,…

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Evelyn Hatem is a past participant of AMC’s Outdoor Citizen Skills Expedition. I was in fifth grade when I first learned about climate change: typical pictures of polar bears huddling, icebergs melting, habitats deteriorating. I was pretty upset by the whole thing, and I didn’t understand why no one else in my class was fazed….

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As a teenager, I struggled with alcohol addiction. I was able to find my healing by going back to what my Nipmuc ancestors called the Original Instructions. These are the teachings that instill our sacred place in the world: the renewal and remembering of our intimate relationship to all the life forces in the universe….

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We arrived at AMC’s Lakes of the Clouds Hut after a long, steep climb. Warm tea and rest waited inside, but we pushed onward, to watch the sun set over the White Mountains’ 360-degree views. I marveled at the light turning the alpine leaves aglow. The day’s hike had been grueling, with rock scrambles difficult…

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It’s 3 a.m., and I’m huddled in my car. Outside the safety of this metal box, Mother Nature is releasing her wrath. Rain and snow are pouring sideways; the wind roars with a vengeance; and thunder and lightning boom, crash, and flash like dueling percussionists in the sky. In the distant shadows, I see my…

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The second morning of our weeklong hike in the White Mountains was blue-sky beautiful. Standing with my group outside AMC’s Greenleaf Hut, I bent over to tighten the laces of my boots while our leaders outlined the hike ahead. It would be the most challenging day of the trip, and we were lucky not to…

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Dale Sanders, better known on the Appalachian Trail as Greybeard, carries on a conversation while regarding you with two of the brightest eyes you’ve ever seen, with genuine curiosity about who you are. He makes friends quickly and keeps them easily: hundreds in person and hundreds more who, never having met him, know him by…

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One night last spring, curled in my tent on an island off the Maine coast and lit only by the glow of my iPhone screen, I posted a photograph on Instagram. This was my fifth post on the photosharing site but my first from such a remote location. As I hit “share,” I felt a…

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