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Life Lessons from a 97-Year-Old Lobsterman

Life Lessons from a 97-Year-Old Lobsterman

If the definition of a true outdoorsman is spending more of your life braving the elements than seeking shelter from them, lobsterman John Olson may be the finest example alive.On Halloween morning last year—the wind six knots, the temperature 38 degrees—Olson stands at the helm of a high-bowed wooden boat that shoulders aside the sea. Wearing rubber boots, brown work pants, and a navy jacket with enough dirt on it for him not to worry about keeping it clean, John has the straight-backed bearing of the World War II sailor he once was.“My mother wanted me to work in an office,” he says,...

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Suzanne Rico
Sep 9
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How Do You Become the Gnarliest Daredevil on Earth?

How Do You Become the Gnarliest Daredevil on Earth?

BASE-jumping pioneer Jeb Corliss is one of the original madmen, a fiend for the extreme who has miraculously survived multiple crash landings in a sport that rarely allows second chances. Now, at 44, with a self-diagnosed psychological disorder, he's embarking on his most fraught journey yet: into the depths of his own mind.On a warm, breezy February day in 2000, Jeb Corliss strapped on a parachute and stepped to the edge of a 310-foot sandstone cliff in South Africa.To Corliss’s left, the Umgeni River poured green and clear off the cliff to become Howick Falls, a gargantuan shaft of water...

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Daniel Duane
5d ago
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4 Laws of Muscle

4 Laws of Muscle

At a conference in 2012, Luc van Loon was presenting some exciting data from a . After a heroic research effort that took 2.5 years and 500,000 euros, he and his colleagues had managed to shepherd a large group of frail, elderly subjects through a six-month strength-training program. Those who had taken a daily protein supplement managed to pack on an impressive 2.9 pounds of new muscle. Success! Old people could be strong!But van Loon, an “” (his actual title) of exercise physiology and nutrition at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, wasn’t celebrating. On his phone was a photo one...

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Alex Hutchinson
Nov 9
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How a 6-Year-Old Survived Being Lost in the Woods

How a 6-Year-Old Survived Being Lost in the Woods

Cody Sheehy is standing in a grassy meadow in northeast Oregon, surrounded by dark pines, spruce, and juniper trees. Cody, 39 years old and six foot two, grew up in a ranching family here in remote, rugged . When he was six years old—a mere 40 pounds and three and a half feet tall—he got lost in these woods while playing with his older sister during a springtime family picnic. Within a few hours, a search party began looking for him, crisscrossing the Blue Mountains on horseback all night as rain fell and temperatures hovered just above freezing. They never found him.Instead, Cody, who is...

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Emma Marris
Nov 19
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My Priceless Summer on a Maine Lobster Boat

My Priceless Summer on a Maine Lobster Boat

During her college break, the author went all in on solitude—living alone on a Down East island and working for one of the area’s few female skippers. Luna Soley reflects on a time of loneliness, hard work, and natural beauty.Instead of a bilge pump, I brought lupines and daisies. Stupid, I thought. Twenty years old and you think you’re invincible, think your life is some romantic story. Ahead of me, terns swerved in and out of my circle of vision, blurring into the fog. I’d left just minutes before, but already I couldn’t see the mainland. My yellow plastic kayak, pink and white flowers...

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Luna Soley
Nov 11
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Shoot or Spray? The Best Way to Stop a Charging Bear

Shoot or Spray? The Best Way to Stop a Charging Bear

Imagine: You’re on a backpacking trip in Alaska, bushwhacking along an overgrown trail, when—hey now!—you’re up close and personal with a 400-pound griz. You, A) turn screaming and bolt past your buddies; B) unshoulder your .30/06 and level it between said griz’s eyes; or C) quick-draw your hip-holstered canister of pepper spray.If you picked A, you just made the bear’s . If you’re leaning toward B, you’re probably a bear-country veteran with a lot of faith in, and probably decent skill with, firearms. If you went with C you may be among the converted who believe a growing body of research...

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Nick Heil
May 7
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Climbing's Little Helper

Climbing's Little Helper

By the time Jesse Easterling stumbled into the  emergency clinic, he was nearly incoherent. It was a chilly afternoon at Base Camp, May 17, 2009—two days before the beginning of summit season, when a clear weather window would send hundreds of climbers scurrying up the south side of the peak. Easterling, a stocky 27-year-old insurance salesman from Seattle, entered the clinic—a simple tent staffed by two doctors—wearing a T-shirt and talking gibberish.“What’s your name?” asked Dr. Torrey Goodman, 53, an altitude specialist from Hawaii in her first season working on the mountain. Easterling...

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Devon O'Neil
Mar 14
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Meet the Italian Bike Hero Chasing Drug Dealers on Two Wheels

Meet the Italian Bike Hero Chasing Drug Dealers on Two Wheels

Coronavirus hasn't stopped Italian heartthrob and two-wheeled avenger Vittorio Brumotti from righting society's wrongs. The cyclist has delighted audiences with his TV news segment "100% Brumotti," shaming people for parking in handicapped spaces and taking on no less than the Mafia. We ride along with Italy's favorite bike hero.It’s a Wednesday evening in March, and the coronavirus pandemic is ravaging Italy. The viewers of Striscia la Notizia, a popular satirical news program, are shown “100% Brumotti,” a segment in which Vittorio Brumotti, a noted trick cyclist, roams Italy on his bike...

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Tom Vanderbilt
Sep 15
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Orange Skies. Endless Smoke. Our Climate-Change Future Is Here.

Orange Skies. Endless Smoke. Our Climate-Change Future Is Here.

I keep thinking it can’t get any harder to breathe, and somehow it still does.This week on the West Coast feels like something out of a dystopian novel. Old-growth forests and entire towns are burned over. Mill City, Oregon, is ash, as is Malden, Washington, and the fires are still growing and moving. The winds are high, and the relative humidity is low. This morning it took way too long for the sun to come up at my home in Seattle.I have lived somewhere close to the edge of an area ravaged by wildfire for nearly all of my adult life, and yet the violence and speed of such occurrences still...

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Heather Hansman
Sep 11
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51 Years Later, the Cuyahoga River Burns Again

51 Years Later, the Cuyahoga River Burns Again

On March 20, 2019, fish caught in Ohio’s Cuyahoga River were declared  by federal environmental regulators. It was a major milestone in the river’s recovery—once one of the most polluted waterways in the country—because 50 years earlier, it caught on fire. Public outrage around that 1969 fire spawned a national reckoning on water pollution and led to the creation of the Clean Water Act, the Environmental Protection Agency, and Earth Day. Earlier this week, however, the Cuyahoga caught fire again. It’s a timely reminder that much of the progress made on water pollution during the past 51...

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Wes Siler
Aug 28
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Seven Days on Wyoming's Glorious Wind River Range

Seven Days on Wyoming's Glorious Wind River Range

This is the tenth year of my blog at Semi-Rad.com, and since I started it, I’ve been fortunate to get to do some pretty wonderful adventures. Throughout this year, I’ll be writing about 12 of my favorites, . This is the eighth in the series.In the predawn hours before the first day of our trip, I stared at the ceiling of the van above the mattress as I tried to get back to sleep—“tried to sleep,” of course, to an insomniac, meaning “tried to think of everything that we should have packed for a six-to-eight-day backpacking trip, even though it was way too late to purchase or acquire anything...

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Brendan Leonard
Aug 14
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Outdoor Rec Just Got Its Own Stimulus Bill

Outdoor Rec Just Got Its Own Stimulus Bill

Earlier today the Senate passed the Great American Outdoors Act, allocating billions to support outdoor recreation in two separate ways. The first is by providing $9.5 billion over the next five years to help the National Park Service and other federal land-management agencies address their maintenance backlogs. Federal public lands are suffering from $20 billion in deferred maintenance costs, with $12 billion of that accumulated by the National Park Service. The second is to mandate that the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), widely considered the nation’s single best funding tool...

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Frederick Reimers
Jun 17
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A Cave Kingpin Is Buying Up America’s Underground. What’s His Plan?

A Cave Kingpin Is Buying Up America’s Underground. What’s His Plan?

John Ackerman has spent millions procuring a majority of the known caves in Minnesota, which add up to dozens of miles of underground passageways and likely make him the largest cave owner in the U.S. He collects and charts them in the name of preservation, but his controversial methods have created many opponents.The cave’s entrance was a rusting, three-foot-tall, red casing pipe rising out of the ground behind a Minnesota farmhouse, surrounded by a quiet, flat stretch of prairie grass. Just 2.5 feet across, it was topped with a green, diamond-plated steel cover and might easily have been...

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Matthew Sherrill
Jun 17
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Patagonia and Columbia Have Joined Forces to Fight Trump

Patagonia and Columbia Have Joined Forces to Fight Trump

In the outdoor industry, Patagonia has always been among the more  opposing the Trump Administration’s effort to roll back environmental protections and undermine public lands. Now, the iconic outdoor company has teamed up with another industry giant, Columbia Sportswear, to throw their support behind an effort to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from gutting regulations that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For both companies, it’s not only the right thing to do for the planet, it’s also good business. Last month, the two gear manufacturers joined forces to file an ,...

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Ryan Van Bibber
May 5
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What Happens to a Cyclist's Body When It's Hit by a Car

What Happens to a Cyclist's Body When It's Hit by a Car

Last summer, 34-year-old Andrew Bernstein, known to his friends as Bernie, was riding his bike alone on a road outside Boulder, Colorado, when he was . The driver fled the scene and left him laying in a ditch, where he would have soon died if a passerby hadn’t noticed him and called 911. Bernie was a passionate amateur cyclist who competed regularly in elite track races, but in an instant his body was shattered and his life was forever changed. Unfortunately, his experience is : 857 cyclists were killed by drivers on American roads in 2018, making it the deadliest year in almost three...

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May 5
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To the Driver Who Hit Me and Ran

To the Driver Who Hit Me and Ran

Here’s what you did when you hit me with your van. And, yes, I understand that it almost certainly wasn’t you who hit me, but since what happened to me was caused by an unidentified assailant who was likely driving while either distracted, drunk, high, using a phone, speeding, or just angry that there was a cyclist on the road, and as you have probably driven in one or more of those states, this is about you and what you did to me—and what you could do to another cyclist.You plowed into me from behind when I was riding on a nearly empty road. Your speed was so fast relative to mine that I...

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Andrew J. Bernstein
May 4
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Every Second Matters: The True Story of the White Island Eruption

Every Second Matters: The True Story of the White Island Eruption

Last December, around 100 tourists set out for New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island, where an active volcano has attracted hundreds of thousands of vacationers since the early 1990s. It was supposed to be a routine six-hour tour, including the highlight: a quick hike into the island's otherworldly caldera. Then the volcano exploded. What happened next reveals troubling questions about the risks we're willing to take when lives hang in the balance.Later, everyone who saw White Island erupt would remark on how quiet it was, how magnificent, and how swift. At 2:10 P.M., nothing. At 2:11, a...

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Alex Perry
Apr 15
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Lake Superior Is the Country's Most Overlooked Playground

Lake Superior Is the Country's Most Overlooked Playground

As the world comes to a standstill as we try to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, we encourage all of you to hunker down right now, too. In the meantime, we'll keep publishing news to help you navigate the state of travel today (), as well as stories about places for you to put on your bucket list once it's safe to get back out there.It's 12:56 a.m. and I’m spiraling down a rabbit hole of fear. There are the yellow ATTENTION: BEARS IN THE AREA. USE CAUTION signs plastered everywhere. Through my tent flap, lightning is illuminating swaying pines, which are bending with such ferocity that they...

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Stephanie Pearson
May 23
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The FBI of the National Park Service

The FBI of the National Park Service

The 911 call came in at 5:55 p.m. on September 29, 2012. A woman had fallen from a ledge in Rocky Mountain National Park; she was alive but unconscious. “I need an alpine mountain rescue team immediately,” said the woman’s husband, a slight quaver in his voice.A middle-aged couple from the Denver area, Harold and Toni Henthorn had been celebrating their anniversary with a weekend trip to Estes Park when their afternoon hike turned tragic. As Harold’s cellphone battery dwindled, the dispatcher coached him through CPR protocol. Harold was calling from a remote location on the park’s Deer...

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Rachel Monroe
Oct 16
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Bureaucracy Could Make the Pacific Northwest Backcountry Less Safe

Bureaucracy Could Make the Pacific Northwest Backcountry Less Safe

Oregon’s Clackamas County is a thickly timbered, 1,879-square-mile outdoor-recreation paradise. It’s home to , a sprawling river system, several wilderness areas, a national forest, and more than 61 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. Around 10,000 people every year, and millions more play in the woods and waterways surrounding the peak. For years, the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) has relied on three volunteer to keep all those people safe: (PMR), (PNWSAR), and . These groups have 100 years of combined institutional history, plus nearly 400 highly trained volunteers who are on...

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Nancy Bouchard
Apr 9
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The Woman Who Lives 200,000 Years in the Past

The Woman Who Lives 200,000 Years in the Past

As we confront the reality of COVID-19, the idea of living self-sufficiently in the woods, far from crowds and grocery stores, doesn't sound so bad. Lynx Vilden has been doing just that for decades, while teaching others how to live primitively, too.There is no easy way to reach Twisp, a blink of a town in north-central Washington’s Methow Valley. You could fly into Spokane and cut northwest for 175 miles. Or you could take a turboprop from Seattle over the mountains to the world’s apple capital, Wenatchee, and then get in a car and follow the Columbia River north for two hours. Or you...

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Katherine Rowland
Apr 2
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"We Are Dead, Gone, and Free": The End of a Frontier Couple

"We Are Dead, Gone, and Free": The End of a Frontier Couple

Artist Eric Bealer was living the remote, rugged good life in coastal Alaska with his wife, Pam, an MS sufferer, when they made a dramatic decision: to exit this world together, leaving behind precise instructions for whoever entered their cabin first. Eva Holland investigates the mysteries and meaning of an adventurous couple who charted their own way out.Eric Bealer arrived in Sitka for the last time in a boat weighed down with his art. It was late March 2018. Bealer, an who specialized in , had just traveled for two days from his homestead on Lisianski Inlet, through the rough winter...

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Eva Holland
Mar 30
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State Parks Are Becoming Coronavirus Isolation Zones

State Parks Are Becoming Coronavirus Isolation Zones

On March 10, Waffle House cook and National Guard veteran Joey Camp arrived at Georgia’s Hard Labor Creek State Park. Camp had tested positive for COVID-19, but after four days in the hospital, his symptoms had abated, and he was relocated to a 26-foot RV trailer in the park for . Camp was the first beneficiary of a novel idea being tested in Louisiana and Georgia: state parks being turned into refuges where infected patients can recover in peace.Georgia governor Brian Kemp  that a one-acre section of Hard Labor Creek State Park, which is about 45 minutes east of Atlanta, would be secured...

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Boyce Upholt
Mar 20
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One Man's Wild Quest to Reach the Bottom of Every Ocean

One Man's Wild Quest to Reach the Bottom of Every Ocean

It was a Sunday in Tonga, so the kingdom’s business had come to a halt. Stores were shuttered, traffic was quiet, even the airport was closed. King Tupou VI strolled out of his oceanfront palace and down the main street of Nukualofa, capital city of the island of Tongatapu, to attend church along with the rest of his South Pacific nation. Men wore their best sarongs; women wore taovalas—coconut-fiber aprons—over long dresses. The scene was all very ordinary except for one thing, and it was visible from the palace’s front lawn: a moored at the pier, bristling with heavy cranes, stacked with...

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Susan Casey
Oct 26
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