Manual

Patrick McKearly is not above regrouping on the trail. Ten minutes from the trailhead, he’ll stop, dump out the entire contents of his pack, sit down, and completely reload it. Even after backpacking for a dozen years and helping hundreds of trip participants load their own gear, AMC’s education department logistics manager says getting it…

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Your definition of adventure probably means more than doing the conga on a Caribbean cruise ship. Maybe you’ve set your sights on something really big this year—say conquering Rainier or exploring the Arctic. For these once-in-a-lifetime dream trips, the hands-down, most important component is the guide or adventure company you choose. So you don’t run…

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Hiking through a dense, trail-less section, of Alaska’s Denali National Park several years ago, my backpacking partner and I wanted to pinpoint our location before we settled in one night. We got out a map and two compasses and each of us figured out our whereabouts. Unfortunately these were two very different points about a…

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Remember the lucky fellow who caught a crampon and flipped over while glissading in the Gulf of Slides a decade ago? He landed squarely on his ice axe, impaling himself in the abdomen. Miraculously, he managed to hike out with the axe still firmly embedded; it had missed all his organs. The take-home lesson? An…

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Congelatio is not an Italian ice cream, but it can feel as cold as one. The medical term for frostbite, the phenomenon occurs when frigid temperatures restrict blood flow and cause tissue damage. Extremities farthest from the heart—feet, noses, and ears—are the most susceptible. Hands aren’t immune either as many with frozen fingers have learned….

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Nothing ruins a great hike like losing your way. One minute you’re off in search of stunning scenery and solitude, and the next you’re trying to find your way back to familiar territory (or even worse, hoping for rescue). It can happen to the best of us. Fortunately, a little preparation and mindfulness go a…

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People were lying on the snow, howling in agony. Legs were fractured, and victims were unconscious. The scenario was staged, but the surge of adrenaline I felt was real enough. So was that initial feeling of helplessness. “What do I do?” Years of experience hiking couldn’t help me, but basic first aid could. BEYOND THE…

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Before the logging roads were built, the in­land waterways of the Northeast were like the highways of today—main arteries of human transport. And the ca­noe may well have been the original SUV, says Tim Smith, who runs Jack Mountain Bushcraft in Wolfeboro Falls, N.H. “You’d load it up, put the family in, and hit the…

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So, you think you’ve mastered the art of packing lightly? Strapped to your back is a sack filled with only the essential gear necessary for your survival and enjoyment of the great, wide open. No unnecessary toiletries? Check. Appropriate clothing that shaves pounds off your pack? Check. A stove and propane canister weighing upwards of…

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It can be a feat for any family to place less than one trash bag by the curb each week. Yet in the McGovern home, that’s the standard. Ann McGovern and her husband divert an array of re­fuse—from coffee filters to eggshells—from landfills through a process that “recycles” organic material. Typically, they throw out only…

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