Over 50, Outdoors

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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...
    Badlands glamping in Canada

    Badlands glamping in Canada

    Canada has badlands. I know. Big surprise.   And they look pretty bad. Weirdly capped hoodoos and pointed hills and sharp banded walls where a river has cut through the landscape over the millennia. Also, scorching hot. Plus, as a bonus, Alberta’s badlands come with many, many huge dinosaur skeletons. (Some assembly required.)   In...
    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)....
    That sharp pinching sensation? Might be the sequester

    That sharp pinching sensation? Might be the sequester

    At first glance, the sequester seemed like nothing more than a Great Unpleasantness. Much bickering, many threats and accusations, many teeth gnashed by people who said the across-the-board cuts were irresponsible and idiotic. But there was no obvious sense of urgency, which is why your federal leaders declined to hammer out a deal.   A...
    >60 R2R2R

    >60 R2R2R

    Darkest January.  You have been indoors too much. You’ve counted the fireplace bricks. You know how many paces it is from wall to wall. The terrible and terrifying stories of cabin-fevered trappers suddenly seem plausible. You’re not capable of dismembering anyone. But you can understand how it could happen.   Not should.   Not yet....
    Are we being teased about a new CCC?

    Are we being teased about a new CCC?

    We were as ecstatic as we get to read that the federal government is going to do something obvious and excellent, which is reconstitute the Civilian Conservation Corps.   At a time when we have too many unemployed (and more to come, as the war in Afghanistan winds down), and crumbling national parks, and young...
    Does the Forest Service hate the President?

    Does the Forest Service hate the President?

    Last week, the U.S. Forest Service trumpeted  the news that it would be offering four fee-free days in 2013. This is dandy, but not as dandy as it sounds, for two reasons.   First, “fees are not charged on 98 percent of national forests and grasslands, and approximately two-thirds of developed recreation sites in national...
    A  Curious Obsession

    A Curious Obsession

    In early March of 1979, Ranger Steve and I were traveling Highway 2 from  East Glacier, Montana to Kalispell.  Having just reviewed an epic production of Barefoot in the Park by the East Glacier Players, we were headed west to do a little alpine sliding. The entire area was besieged  with slides and major avalanches...