Outdoor Education Archives - Appalachian Mountain Club

Outdoor Education

It’s a cold, sparklingly clear day in March, and the White Mountains are filled with hikers, skiers, and snowshoers, each leaving distinctive tracks in the piles of late-spring powder. It seems like everyone is chattering about the weather; each group we pass has something to say about the glorious conditions. We’re on our way to…

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If you think fireflies’ flashes are simply random, pretty bursts of light, think again. “They’re not just putting on a fantastic light show for our enjoyment,” says Sara Lewis, a professor of biology at Tufts University and the author of Silent Sparks: The Wondrous World of Fireflies. “Those are the silent love songs of the…

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Since AMC opened its first hut in New Hampshire’s White Mountains in 1888, staff members (a.k.a. “croo”) have had the reputation of being tough and resourceful—perhaps none more so than those who reported to Joe Dodge. Working in Greenleaf Hut or Pinkham Notch under the watchful eye of AMC’s legendary hutmaster in the first half…

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Like many who read this blog, I spend plenty of time in the outdoors, personally and professionally, and my mother frequently expresses concerns for my safety. I always assumed my mom was referring to the inherent risks involved with outdoor activities when she mentioned my safety — until recently. During one of our conversations, she…

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If your kids are like mine, they’re naturally observant and curious—which can make everything from a simple walk in the woods to a challenging mountain hike an opportunity for questions. Lots of questions. We polled AMC guides on the common queries they hear from kids on the trail. We’ll leave the answer to the most…

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It’s 3 a.m., and I’m huddled in my car. Outside the safety of this metal box, Mother Nature is releasing her wrath. Rain and snow are pouring sideways; the wind roars with a vengeance; and thunder and lightning boom, crash, and flash like dueling percussionists in the sky. In the distant shadows, I see my…

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  Morning is still asserting itself—early light eking through dusty windows, aroma of freshly brewed coffee wafting in from the kitchen—as eight strangers settle into mismatched couches and chairs on an unseasonably warm Thursday in October. The group gives off a mix of excitement, anxiety, and grogginess, some having driven from as far as New…

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Just inside the door to AMC’s trails workshop in Pinkham Notch, N.H., there’s a battered wood tool bench with a faded logo spray-painted on its side: a pair of double-bit axes forming a cross. Actual axes and ax heads cover the bench’s surface. Many are rusted and missing handles; others feature jagged shards of wood…

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Leading teams of hikers and climbers on the snow and ice poses many of the same challenges as a three-season adventure, but the stakes are raised considerably. Shorter days make turn-around times more critical, surviving an unplanned night out requires more know-how, and a white-out blizzard can quickly disorient even a seasoned navigator. Below are…

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If you are a trip leader for the AMC, you probably started your journey as a participant as its one-of-a-kind leadership training experience.  Hopefully, this prepared you well for leading trips in your favorite outdoor activity.  If you are not yet a leader, perhaps you have attended an AMC outing, focused on safety & fun,…

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