Over 50, Outdoors

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    Never forget the Icy Finger of Death

    Never forget the Icy Finger of Death

    You’ve been baking under the sun for a few weeks now. There’s more to come. Summer feels like an energy leech, sucking away your strength, your enthusiasm, your life force. You long for winter. So it’s time to remind everyone that cold, though attractive right now, can be as terrifying and lethal as fire. To...
    Koreans love the outdoors like Americans love spectator sports

    Koreans love the outdoors like Americans love spectator sports

    Twenty-five years ago, when Koreans were known for having the world’s longest work week (nominally six days, often longer), they still found time to get outdoors. Hiking clubs were a big deal. Camping was less popular because it requires a couple days of leisure in a row, but it was still popular.   Over the...
    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...
    A third of Minnesota’s lakes have cocaine in them

    A third of Minnesota’s lakes have cocaine in them

    Minnesota—a relatively unpolluted state if you don’t count the iron mine tailings and farm run-off—today released Pharmaceutical and Endocrine Active Chemicals in Minnesota Lakes. This study of 50 lakes looked at the presence of 125 chemicals, including DEET (found in 76 percent of the lakes, making it the most frequently discovered chemical), bisphenol A (second...
    Old Brit wrestles shark, saves children

    Old Brit wrestles shark, saves children

    Oh, you can say it isn’t Jaws. You can point out that the poor animal was probably sickly, possibly dying. But it doesn’t diminish the fact that 62-year-old Welsh grandfather Paul Marshallsea, along with a couple of other old dudes, walked into the ocean off Queensland and harassed a shark until it swam off, apparently...
    We weren’t going to do a New Year’s list

    We weren’t going to do a New Year’s list

    It is a not particularly esteemed journalistic reflex to concoct lists around January 1. I’ll take a risk and say that it started with doing recaps of the past year: the best of, the worst of, the most this or that. Since then it has spread, mostly because it is a lazy kind of way...
    Nature shower with a friend in 2013

    Nature shower with a friend in 2013

    Here’s a New Year’s resolution you’ll want to follow through on: take more nature showers, ideally with a friend. Or friends. As is usually the case with good ideas, there’s nothing new about this except the way we talk about it. “Taking a nature shower” is just another way of saying you should walk in...
    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...
    Fire and rain

    Fire and rain

    Mother Nature has been kicking up her heels over the past few weeks. In the sense that she’s been leveling leg punches to the head of mankind. She’s also been working on what looks like a preview of the end of days, using two strikingly opposed mechanisms. Colorado has been on fire. The nightmare burn...
    Happy Tax Day!

    Happy Tax Day!

    Your taxes are due. Pay them, because you must.  Then ask yourself if you’re getting your money’s worth. It won’t matter. Even if you don’t like the hand you’ve been dealt here, you still have to pay. And pay. If you’re paying, it’s because you’re making money. In this economy, that’s a good problem. You...
    Boundary Waters video even more beautiful knowing the place is on fire

    Boundary Waters video even more beautiful knowing the place is on fire

    Missing Hatchet from Nate Ptacek on Vimeo. Freelance photographer and cinematographer Nate Ptacek has put together a video (set nicely to music by the Fleet Foxes) of a September canoe trip through Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. It’s a pleasant wintertime reminder of what’s so great about the woods…and there’s a special frisson when...
    Sunday quote: December 11, 2011

    Sunday quote: December 11, 2011

                  “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” ~ Henry David Thoreau,...