Outdoor Skills and Safety

As the world continues to practice physical distancing and many remain isolated to their homes, coping with that alone time is a challenge. The Mount Washington Observatory (MWOB) staff, though, are no strangers to finding ways to occupy their time while in isolation, as their work shifts require spending a week or more holed up…

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  To slow the spread of COVID-19, countries around the world now require citizens to practice “social distancing.” Many are confined to their homes for most of the day, with offices, schools, gyms, bars, restaurants, and public spaces closing for weeks. Daily lives and routines have been upended, and we seek creative ways to stay…

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  Thru-hikers on the Appalachian Trail face many challenges while striving for their goal. Just ask the Crawfords, a family of eight from Bellevue, Ky., who in 2018 became the biggest family to complete a thru-hike of the 2,192-mile trail. Sure, there’s the elevation gain over rocky paths, whining kids on the trail, and even…

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  Dr. Tom: How do I recognize and treat waterborne illness in the backcountry? Safe drinking water is a vital component of any successful outdoor trip for proper hydration. While it may be necessary at times, anyone who drinks surface water in the backcountry is at risk to develop a waterborne illness, regardless of how…

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  During a vigorous day hike, an adult may burn as many as 6,600 calories—but not all calories are created equal. Our bodies require a scientific combination of hard-working nutrients to sustain normal function. What’s the secret recipe? We asked Nicole Cormier, a registered dietitian whose clients include backpackers and athletes, to share what our…

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Bears aren’t the only threat to your food in the backcountry. Mice, squirrels, and other small critters are also known to ransack camper food supplies, especially in and around trail shelters. To protect your food, you can hang it on one of the ubiquitous “mouse mobiles” that hang in shelters (typically a threaded can on…

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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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Humans replenish glycogen—which stores energy and builds endurance—by consuming carbohydrates, ideally from whole-food sources, according to registered dietitian Nicole Cormier. Cormier’s Super Cookies provide plenty of carbs, as well as protein and good fat, to keep you nourished on the trail. Plus, you can pronounce all of the ingredients. Ingredients: 2 cups oats 3 ripe…

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Visitors leaving the eastern Pennsylvania wilderness could find they’ve picked up a hitchhiker—or 20. A large swath of the state, from the Poconos to Philadelphia, has since 2017 been under quarantine for the spotted Pennsylvania lanternfly—an invasive, plant-hopping bug that threatens $14 billion worth of crops and hardwoods in the Keystone State. As researchers work…

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  You don’t have to venture far to get a taste of untamed nature, thanks to the efforts of more cities establishing urban wilds within their footprint. Often protected and managed through public–private partnerships, these areas are almost entirely unmaintained, allowing flora to grow with minimal human interference. They play a critical role in health…

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