Winter Hiking

This story was originally published in the Summer/Fall 2019 issue of Appalachia. Dan McGinness is among the hiker elite in New England, where many of us admire his exploits. Four years ago, he endured a scary, unplanned overnight in mid-December. He agreed to show me where he’d hunkered down that night so that I could…

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As J.R. Harris likes to tell it today, the first time he saw grass, he tried to smoke it. He’s joking, of course, but the rib illustrates how shocking an introduction to the backcountry can be for a 14-year-old city kid. Climbing off the bus at Ten Mile River Scout Camps in Narrowsburg, N.Y., Harris…

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One of the most frequently visited shelters in the White Mountain National Forest will be out of commission this September. Guyot Shelter, which housed 3,513 guest overnights in 2018 alone, will be razed and rebuilt following years of accumulated damage from rain and snowstorms. With construction planned for the busy fall hiking season, the closure…

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If you’re out adventuring in sub-freezing conditions, you should be regularly stuffing calories into your face. You want to ensure you have ample energy to generate body heat and sustain the level of exertion that is required to snowshoe, ski, or otherwise tromp through a snow- and ice-covered landscape. The challenge is that many common hiking…

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Oceans, glaciers, rivers, lakes, and streams cover 71 percent of our planet. The 2015 Waters of the U.S. Rule ensures protection of these water sources from pollution and other exploitation. For now. Under the Trump administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of the Army have moved to rescind the rule and return to previous…

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Part 1: You are the leader on a 4-day winter backpacking trip in the White Mountains. Your group consists of seven participants of varied skill level. All have some experience winter camping. Your co-leader has Wilderness First Aid (WFA) and winter backpacking experience. This is day 3 of the trip. Today’s plan is to summit a…

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Moonlight can transform even the most mundane landscapes into silvery utopias—especially in winter, when bare branches provide bountiful unobstructed views and snow reflects the magical moonglow. Whether you’re looking for a shorter hike to catch a glimpse of a full moon or a longer trek to more remote vistas, there’s a moonrise hike for you….

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Getting home safely while winter hiking means knowing when to call it quits. The mountain, the trail, the journey: They’ll all still be there another day. A responsible hiker sets a turnaround time before hitting the trail, especially in winter, when daylight fades much earlier than other times of the year. But there are also…

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Sometimes, warm is worse when hiking on ice. Greg Maino won’t forget one mild winter day, when melting ice made for a treacherous hike up Hunger Mountain in Vermont’s Worcester Range north of Montpelier. Maino, an experienced Vermont hiker and skiier, and his friends, all of whom were new to the area, struggled over slippery…

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Winter snow lingers into spring in locations across the Northeast. The sun rises higher in the sky with each passing day. And if you’re outside reveling in it all, the underside of your face is about to get some serious UV exposure. Time to slather up with some quality sunscreen—and make sure you apply it to…

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