Over 50, Outdoors

Adventure, fitness, travel, gear
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    No service, no sequester

    No service, no sequester

    You’ve got two weeks off, America, and there’s gas in the station wagon. The tent is packed, along with your camp stove and a jug of DEET. You were thinking of maybe Yellowstone or Yosemite. But now you’re anxious, which is exactly how you’re supposed to start your vacation. But this is a more acute...
    Retired park rangers: Don't drill, baby

    Retired park rangers: Don’t drill, baby

    U.S. Park Rangers are trained to work in extreme and dangerous environments, in deserts void of human touch and uncivilized wildernesses, among mindless beasts and insects. So they are prepared—or at least better prepared than most of us—to operate at the fearsome intersection of federal bureaucracy and the oil industry.   A group of retired...
    When 5% less means obliteration

    When 5% less means obliteration

    You can probably cut your caloric intake by 5 percent and be just fine. (Maybe better.) Some other things you can easily cut by 5 percent:  Time watching TV. Old t-shirts. Beer. Caffeine. Old books.   Cut some other things by 5 percent and you’ll feel the bite, but you’ll survive: Time with loved ones....
    Kiss your sweet pass goodbye

    Kiss your sweet pass goodbye

    Do active old people—those who hike, bike, ski and get about outdoors—think of themselves as self-reliant, fiscal conservatives? Do they see themselves as people who are proud to pay their fair share?   Probably not. Or they shouldn’t, if they do.   We’re not talking about Social Security or Medicare here. (Yes, those programs do...
    Travel notes: Do not try to leap over volcanic steam cracks

    Travel notes: Do not try to leap over volcanic steam cracks

    This ought to be an unnecessary warning, along with “Don’t pet the bison.” But it remains true that what is obvious to you and me might not be clear to someone else. In this case, a 15-year-old visiting Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Said teen thought it would make an excellent story if he were to...
    Jackson Hole fills gap, removes snow

    Jackson Hole fills gap, removes snow

    The citizens Jackson Hole, Wyoming (population 9,710)—an almost-gateway to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and a pleasant tourist town in its own right, if you don’t mind the town square with its frankly creepy antler arches—has taken on the job that couldn’t be managed by government of the United States of America (population 313,914,040)....
    A "Vertigo" moment for the NPS

    A “Vertigo” moment for the NPS

    The National Park Service is like your cool aunt who can never quite get it together. Despite all her great beauty and abilities and the consensus that life just wouldn’t be the same without her, she’s eternally on the edge of a collapse. Lipstick on her teeth, one corner of her deck railing is loose...
    What would “more accountable” parks look like?

    What would “more accountable” parks look like?

    If we hated election season anymore, we would advocate for monarchy. We would trade this rancorous debate for no debate. We would replace distortions of political ads for the relative integrity of other ads. For chiropractors and mattress stores.   But we aren’t there yet. We still pay grudging attention to what the sides are...
    What happens after the parks reopen?

    What happens after the parks reopen?

    The first priority now, in the aftermath of Sandy, is to take care of the people who have lost their loved ones, homes and worldly goods. They need food and water and a jump-start. The complicated and interlaced systems that keep the East Coast hive functioning—all that needs to be drained, cleaned and in many...
    There will be dope-slapping

    There will be dope-slapping

    “Do you think God is going to come down here and save you for being stupid? He doesn’t save stupid people, Abel.” Those lines—from There Will Be Blood, a movie about an obsessed oil driller—came to mind reading the Center for American Progress’ recent report on oil and gas drilling within national parks. Surprising fact:...
    Mother Nature’s drive-through

    Mother Nature’s drive-through

     Can it be that Americans prefer to enjoy the outdoors from the climate-controlled womb of their cars? That’s one way to read recent stats from the National Park Service, as relayed by USA Today. Overall, visits to the parks are up, but the time spent in each park is down by about 15 percent. In...
    Happy National Parks Week!

    Happy National Parks Week!

    A gentle reminder: in the United States, this is National Parks Week. Free admission to all 397 properties managed by the National Park Service, “84 million acres of the world’s most spectacular scenery, historic landmarks and cultural treasures.” (Note to the National Park Foundation, which penned the citation above: the parks are inarguably excellent places...