September/October 2010

Several people pointed out an error in my recent post on identifying trees in and around the White Mountains. I correctly noted that the soft needles of the white pine come in clusters of five, the same letters as are in “white.” It’s not true, however, that red pines have three needles in a cluster;…

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GPS receivers appear everywhere these days, integrated into smart phones, vehicle dashboards, cameras, and more. They’re also shrinking—a variety of wrist-top models are available that track speed, distance, and location. There’s a reason, however, why manufacturers dub these smallest GPS units “wrist-top computers” instead of “watches.” They still require a linebacker-sized wrist to fit comfortably…

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Teaching children to identify trees is an “evergreen” topic for AMC naturalist Meaghan Murphy. During three summer seasons at Mount Cardigan and Pinkham Notch, she’s seen that children enjoy figuring out which tree is which. Before Murphy teaches children how to find the trees in the forest, she tells them about two types of forest…

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Mashable, a digital media news site, recently published a list of 12 iPhone apps designed to enhance the outdoor experience, ranging from detailed topo maps to survival information, tree and bird identification guides to collections of state park maps. A few are free; most of the rest cost $3.99 or less. View the complete round-up…

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In the most recent issue of AMC Outdoors, Senior Editor Marc Chalufour described how Biddeford, Maine, fifth-grader Matt Perkins got to school one day a week last winter. Each Wednesday morning, Matt would show up at Biddeford’s Community Bicycle Center bundled in layers of clothing, wearing a hat underneath his bike helmet, and rolling a…

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Last year as the school year was starting, I wrote about my conversion to “green” lunches. We’d been buying local and organic fruit and vegetables for some time; the change of heart was more about how we wrapped, bottled, and containered Ursula’s and Virgil’s lunches. After gentle prodding from Jim, who as chief lunch-packer and…

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On day three of my five-day bike tour, I stopped riding. Gravity and the south side of the Kittatinny Ridge had defeated me. I’d expected a day of uninterrupted, flat pedaling along the Delaware River. But small nuisances that don’t show on a map—that you wouldn’t even notice in a car—mounted. A bit of flood…

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I hike in bitter winter, surf in gnarly seas, and backpack alone in remote places. So what do I consider my most dangerous activity? Biking on city streets. Fast-moving, fourwheeled danger is everywhere in the urban jungle—and no seat belts or airbags protect cyclists in the event of a collision. To minimize the chances of…

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