Articles

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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I’m a map junkie, always looking for my next cartograph­ic fix. To me, maps are more than just drawings—they’re adventures waiting to happen, gateways to exciting new worlds. And for backcountry travel, I crave the best topograph­ic maps I can get. The U.S. Geological Survey publishes topos for the con­tiguous U.S. at a scale of…

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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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In 1955, Emma “Grandma” Gatewood became the first woman to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. She was 67 years old and walked the entire route in a pair of Keds sneakers, carrying only an army blanket, a change of clothes, and a shower curtain for shelter. Her pack was a strapless handmade denim sack toted atop…

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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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Outdoor gear has a rough life. Thrown in the dirt. Tossed on the rocks. Snagged by branches. Nicked by knives, crampons, and other unfriendly objects. The rigors of the trail inevitably take a toll on your equipment, leading to minor rips, gaping tears, and the occasional calamity. Don’t let a gear problem slow you down…

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As everybody knows, blisters are annoying. At best, they’re a painful inconvenience. At worst, they’re de­bilitating, trip-breaking agony. And when you’re hik­ing or playing outdoors, your feet are ground zero for blister formation. So rather than suffer through the unpleasantries of puffy pain, learn how to prevent it in the first place. ANTI-FRICTION DEVICES  Blisters…

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We know there’s no such thing as a healthy tan, so we dutifully apply sunscreen before we head out. But is there more to it than that? Are we using enough of the right product to ward off premature aging and skin cancer? This summer, protect your youthful looks, maintain your winter pale, and shield…

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Starting in the middle of May, female horseshoe crabs ready to spawn heave their tank-like bodies onto the moonlit sands of Delaware Bay. In what’s known as “spawning aggregation,” the crabs ready to lay eggs arrive en masse, often numbering more than 300,000 in a single spot on a single evening. “They are shell-to-shell and…

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Want to learn about local trees? For starters, stop worrying about their names. So says Nancy Ritger, AMC’s senior interpretive naturalist, who advises hundreds of budding tree aficionados at AMC’s Pinkham Notch Visitor Center each year. “It’s much more important to learn the patterns.” With that in mind, here are a few of her favorite…

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