September/October 2011

New pants the next size up, with knees as yet unscraped or torn: Check. New shirts without food stains or pen marks: Check. New pencils, binders, and protractors: Check. New lunch boxes: Nope. This year, not only did we not buy new lunch boxes for the kids, we didn’t buy any new containers to go…

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Part 14 in an ongoing series highlighting Northeast-based gear companies. Jack Stephenson was a pioneer in outdoor equipment. In the 1950s, he was one of the first to use lightweight nylon fabrics in tents and down sleeping bags, replacing the cotton and polyester materials in common use at the time. He developed some of the…

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We were at the edge of Tropical Storm Irene’s serious flooding last weekend here in west-central New Hampshire. As I write this, water is receding from the streets of the closest town center, though we’ve been told to expect several more days without power at home. Luckily, Howe Library in Hanover, 20 miles away, makes…

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Small things can make a big difference for quality shuteye, especially on a cold night. Here are some tips: When camping on sloped ground, pitch your tent head end up to avoid slipping sideways. Make a pillow by filling your stuff sack with extra clothes. Wrap it in fleece for softness and warmth. Use straps…

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The next time you pick up an outdoor magazine, take a close look at the pictures. You’ll quickly notice that the main subject is almost never placed dead center in the picture. Now find a few shots that feature a horizon line between land and sky. Notice how the horizon line almost always divides the…

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“As I walked through the wilderness of this world, I lighted upon a certain place…and I laid me down in that place to sleep; and as I slept, I dreamed a dream.” So opens John Bunyan’s 17th century Christian allegory, Pilgrim’s Progress, a book that’s been in print for three and a half centuries. And…

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DID YOU KNOW? Rocks, hard-packed soil, and snow steal body heat faster than softer organic materials like forest duff and wood. The ground is your cold, hard nemesis. You need a good sleeping pad to protect against it. With the right one beneath you, you’ll keep heat loss at bay and sleep in dreamy comfort…

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There’s a woman riding a moose in downtown Greenville, near the shores of Moosehead Lake. Her feet are bare. A smile stretches across her young face. She clutches a camera near her eye, ready to capture the moment. Wind sweeps back her long dark hair, revealing another objective of this ride: A thin black strap…

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The hum of traffic always fades. Even when it’s still there, beyond the trees—Interstate 495, Route 2, the Mass. Pike—my mind filters out the buzz and focuses on the soundtrack of the Bay Circuit Trail. In Sharon and Concord and Hamilton it’s the same: Songbirds sing and woodpeckers peck. Occasionally a turtle or fox stops…

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