Hike Safe

  The winter months are a busy time for search and rescue (SAR) personnel in the Northeast. The region’s famously unpredictable and brutal winter weather leads to many misadventures that require professional rescues—but the vast majority of these incidents are preventable. Careful planning and preparation can help you avoid the many scenarios that lead to…

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Hiking in the winter demands more. More preparedness and more planning. More outdoor experience and ability, and—perhaps most easily overlooked—more time. The cold months require better decision-making and a more cautious mindset. The same trail you hiked in summer six months ago is a different world now. Just as a wind chill intensifies the cold,…

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  Excerpted and adapted from Essential Guide to Winter Recreation, from AMC Books. Making your way across brooks, streams, and open water carries hazards any time of year. There’s always the chance you’ll slip and end up in the drink. When it’s well below freezing and ice is involved, the dangers multiply exponentially, although there…

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Three months after many Americans began physical distancing to stop the spread of COVID-19, most states are beginning the slow process of reopening their economies and public spaces. For outdoor enthusiasts, this means a return to some natural recreational areas that haven’t been accessible for the last several months. But despite the urge to get…

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With the summer air warm and the water cool, it’s always tempting to jump in for a swim in a river. Swimming in rivers can be great fun, but before you take the plunge, pause to consider the nature of flowing water. LEARN MORE: Read how to run a rapid, whether you’re an expert or…

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When rescue teams found James Clark on Mount Washington’s Lion Head Trail at 1:15 a.m. on June 14, 2019, the 80-year-old Dublin, Ohio, resident was barely clinging to life. The day before, Clark had set out with his two teenage grandsons on what was supposed to be a day hike to the summit of New…

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Dr. Tom: If I encounter someone in the backcountry showing signs of hypothermia, what should I do? Anyone who enjoys the Northeastern outdoors should possess basic knowledge in recognizing and treating hypothermia. While we sometimes think about hypothermia as a winter problem, it can set in any time of the year. There have been documented…

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Aerogel is a nearly weightless super-insulator, used by NASA in satellites and other space technology. A commercial version, Primaloft Gold Aerogel, first hit the outdoor gear market in 2017 as a synthetic and ultra-warm insulation. L.L.Bean had exclusive rights to use it during its first year of release, notably in the company’s Packaway Jacket ($169,…

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Winter transforms a trail. The hiking is beautiful, and snow can cover and even out rocky, rooty paths, sometimes making them easier than in the other seasons. At the same time, deep drifts make some areas impassible without snowshoes, and steep slopes can become icy slides. Hikers should venture out with the season’s beauty, and its…

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The trail to Pennsylvania’s Glen Onoko Falls became a victim of its own success. Widely considered one of the best waterfall hikes in the East, this short, steep trail leading to a series of falls—including the namesake Glen Onoko—is now closed to visitors. The Pennsylvania Game Commission, which manages the land on which the trail…

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