July/August 2011

Ursula and Jim took advantage of a run of splendid summer weather earlier this week to hike up to Madison Spring Hut. We’ve been tracking renovations to the nation’s oldest mountain hut since work started last fall. Jim had some work to do up that way, and Ursula needed to break in new hiking boots…

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When most people think of Tanglewood, the Berkshire summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, they probably think — as I did before I saw it myself — of classical music inside grand performance halls and elegant concert-goers strolling through formal, manicured grounds. “Kids and the outdoors” never crossed my mind. And so I got…

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It’s a major check on the life list of many New England hikers: summiting all 48 of New Hampshire’s 4,000-footers. Whether you’re on the trail to this hiking milestone, or have already accomplished it, check out these resources and gear that celebrate this iconic list. First of all, here’s the official list of the 48…

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Black Diamond just unveiled its latest innovation in carabiner design: Magnetron Technology™. Essentially, Black Diamond has created auto-locking carabiners that use tiny magnets to prevent the gate from accidently coming open. Here’s how it works. A small steel insert is placed inside the nose of the carabiner. Two tiny locking arms are located on either…

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Early July — traditionally the Fourth of July — is when wild blueberries come into season around here, replacing wild strawberries like blue follows red in red, white, and blue. Some years we’re able to eat them together with cream and get the full patriotic effect. Blueberries have seemed to arrive late this year, though,…

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Early childhood is the classic time for being afraid of the dark — and for an interesting reason. Children learn to use their imaginations starting around age two. For several years, their ability to imagine all sorts of things outpaces their ability to distinguish between the real world and the world of make-believe. It’s no…

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If you own a GPS unit and use it for backcountry navigation, it’s crucial that you understand this term. Simply put, a datum is a model of the earth’s surface that has been created using a specific reference point. There are dozens of datums in use worldwide. Each of them is slightly different, which means…

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Driving back after dropping off Ursula and Virgil at circus camp this morning, I heard Richard Louv on New Hampshire public radio. Louv wrote the international bestseller Last Child in the Woods and gave us the term “nature-deficit disorder” to describe an epidemic of disconnection between children and nature. Louv was on the radio to…

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Part 13 in an ongoing series highlighting Northeast-based gear companies. The small town of Biddeford, Maine, is quite the hot spot for local gear makers. Two of the 12 companies I’ve profiled to date hail from there (STABILicers and Hyperlite Mountain Gear). Now there’s a third: Sterling Rope. Sterling Rope produces a full product line…

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Growing up along the Maine coast, Judith Hansen came to love the smell of salt in the air, the sound of waves against a rocky shore, and the ways of shorebirds and other coastline animals. Even before her son Justin could walk, she introduced him to the same pleasures. “I kept looking for a guidebook…

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