Outdoor

When You Wipe With the Wrong Leaves

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Identifying poison oak and poison ivy are pretty basic skills.
You learn, you memorize, you take the knowledge for granted.
After a few beers, I headed for the trees.
I plucked a leaf, did my thing, and rejoined the party.
I thought I was sitting too close to the fire or that maybe my shorts had taken on a little too much sand.
I excused myself again, spread my sleeping pad under the trees, and went fetal.
“Is this what you touched?” He snatched a leaf and waved it in my face.
It takes on seawater and stores the salt in its leaves.
Back in camp, word spread fast.
I was gifted an alcohol wipe, which brought no relief to my sand-abraded skin.

How You Too Can Help Protect Rivers in Our National Forests

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“Rogue user-created trails and even the actual access points are heavily impacted,” said Mark Shelley, the National Forest Foundation Director of the Eastern Region.
“We need to firm up the trails and reduce ecological damage.” Keeping the river running clear not only benefits the trout but the many people who love to fish, hike, paddle, guide, hunt and mountain bike in this beautiful area, as well.
Luckily, the Chattooga has an ardent advocate in the nonprofit National Forest Foundation (NFF), which works closely with the U.S. Forest Service and local partners to help restore and enhance our national forests.
Recently the NFF included the Upper Chattooga River Scenic Corridor in its Treasured Landscapes, Unforgettable Experiences program.
[Many] of us rely on this region’s bountiful natural resources for our livelihoods and recreation.” Shelley said the Treasured Landscapes campaign will allow local groups to come together to share in the restoration and stewardship of the Nantahala National Forest and the Chattooga River.
REI is donating $170,000 to the NFF for the creation of sustainable trails and multiple-use access launches at these three points.
To help block rogue trails, build new sustainable trails and put up educational signage, the NFF intends to work with the North Carolina Youth Conservation Corps.
Each time REI members make a purchase with their REI Co-op Mastercard, REI will make a donation to the National Forest Foundation—up to $1 million.
* As the nonprofit partner of the U.S. Forest Service, the NFF works to restore and enhance ecosystems, trails, rivers, campsites and more in our treasured national forests.
*REI will donate $0.10 per REI Co-op Mastercard purchase transaction made between 4/1/2017 and 12/31/2017 to the National Forest Foundation, up to $1 million.

The Smash-and-Grab School of Weekend Maximization

The Smash-and-Grab School of Weekend Maximization

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He wanted to climb big objectives in Alaska, but when he read Joe Puryear’s book, Alaska Climbing, most of the big trips were two-week expeditions, some longer.
“When you can apply that to your life and aspire to do things you aren’t able to do today, that’s where you see these amazing things happen.” Morals: If you can, live near an airport; train hard to maximize your microadventures.
“I like balancing the reality of a career and my athletic goals,” she says.
In residency, they both worked 80-hour weeks with one or two days off each month.
On top of work, there are things we want to be home for.
If we can pack in more between those responsibilities, I think life is more full.” Morals: Find like-minded, motivating partners; sneak adventure in between core responsibilities.
“I think residency makes you realize you can always do more than you think,” she says.
“I’ve realized you don’t really need a big chunk of time.
Warrior Wisdom “Alpine starts teach you that you can do a whole lot on very little sleep.
You have your 9-5 life, but you have your 5-9 life, too.” Morals: Make the most of flexible hours; Sleep when you’re dead.

5 Alpine Lakes to Hike to Right Now

5 Alpine Lakes to Hike to Right Now

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5 Alpine Lakes to Hike to Right Now.
Hiking to an alpine lake.
Here are five of the most Insta-worthy lake trails.
But the Evergreen State’s third national park hosts one of the region’s most scenic alpine lakes—minus the crowds: Deep within North Cascades National Park, which sees just 29,000 visitors per year, is the Diablo Lake Trail.
Sky Pond Where: Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado Distance: 8.3 miles Difficulty: Intermediate/Difficult You’ll have to work to enjoy the beauty of Sky Pond in Rocky Mountain National Park.
The first four miles start easily, snaking through thick pine forests and passing the 30-foot-tall Alberta Falls before reaching Timberline Falls (also roughly 30 feet tall).
Take in views of Taylor Peak, Powell Peak and the Sharktooth, all over 12,000 feet tall, surrounding you and the alpine lake.
With thick, tall pines lining the trail, you’ll have plenty of shade as you make your way toward the water.
Continue on the Red Pine Lake trail, which will add an additional 2.3 miles onto your trek and take you to another remote alpine lake.
Once you arrive at Lake Solitude (which remains icy well into the summer), you’ll enjoy sweeping views of Teewinot Mountain, Mount Owen and Grand Teton.

INDUSTRY NEWS | OUTDOOR

Hunters, the Saviors of Public Lands

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Hunters, the Surprising Saviors of Our Public Lands.
Yet America’s public lands and America’s tradition of sport hunting are so intertwined that they’re virtually synonymous.
And the latter is responsible for conservation in this country.
Hunters pay billions of dollars that go toward protecting this habitat.
It’s also what Zinke is threatening to undo.
Tawney credits this increase largely to the GOP’s ongoing war on public lands.
No other traditionally conservative group is currently waging such a public campaign against current GOP policy.
Hunting employs over 700,000 Americans.
Will the protest of a core and vocal group of GOP voters be enough to save our national monuments?
“Zinke should know that sportsmen are watching,” says Tawney.

Bear-Proof Your Camp

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The Right Gear to Bear-Proof Your Camp.
The sun was setting over the Idaho mountains, the ham and spuds were warming up, and the whisky was on the rocks.
Then two black round ears appeared over the Coleman stove.
It turned into a very short camping trip.
Here’s a sample: Stringing your food from a tree branch is the tried-and-true method of securing your groceries.
This method is cheap and light and provides hours of entertainment as you seek a suitable tree and attempt to lob the rope over the limb without entanglement.
BUY IT NOW Bear-resistant panniers and coolers Your run-of-the-mill cooler is no match for Yogi and Boo-Boo.
You can visit the website of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee and download the list of government-approved, grizzly-tested grub boxes.
Military grade zip-top bags keep the scent in.
It worked like a charm on a recent float trip, when an unexpected portage forced us to camp on a small bench that had no large trees.

5 Survival Items You Can’t Pack Enough Of

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5 Items Every Survivalist Can’t Pack Enough Of.
Despite my best planning, I ran out of 550 cord on a recent camping trip.
Just make sure you carry enough.
The average pack contains 25 to 30 matches.
If conditions are damp and windy, it may take several matches to get a fire lit, leaving you with the capability to only light a few fires per pack.
Matches are so small and light, there’s no reason to limit your stock on the trail.
Food is the fuel that keeps your engine running.
Carrying extra food is a like an insurance policy against going hungry.
I’ve run out of cord, and you probably have too.
At least a hundred feet of 550 cord should be included in your gear, though that’s barely enough for a bear bag line and a few lines for your rain fly.

Sportsmen Remain United on Conservation

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Don’t Believe the Lies.
No one I know seems to be able to say, definitively, what has happened to us and to our beautiful republic.
The nattering pundits of television and the internet claim that we are a nation hopelessly divided.
They—these expensively coiffed soap-locks; these poltroons of right, left, the bizarre, the interplanetary, and the fungal—claim that our very own citizens seethe with hatred for one another, that we agree on nothing, that we batten on the potent energies of scorn and the thinnest gruels of despair, that we’ve forsaken all we once held self-evident and in common.
A new poll shows extraordinary unity among us Americans—right and left, rich and poor—when it comes to hunting and fishing and our unique and hard-won brand of conservation that makes them possible.
But first, any reader worth his or her salt will want to know who conducted this poll, how it was conducted, and who stands most to benefit from publishing its results, so here are the answers: The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership conducted the poll in partnership with Public Opinion Strategies to find out as much as possible about how American outdoorsmen feel about conservation.
As to who benefits from the poll?
“What’s most interesting in this is that there seems to be no division between political parties when it comes to people’s actual beliefs on these conservation issues,” Joel Webster of TRCP recently told me.
I was fascinated by the poll, since I’ve overdosed on the news lately, and to listen to the news is to see a nation whose citizens are at one another’s throats.
The belief is false—we are already banded together, Americans all, disputatious and ornery as ever.

Survive With Just a Headlamp

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How to Survive With a Headlamp.
Flag down rescuers Flash your light in groups of three to indicate distress.
Wave it to create a visible arc.
Out of battery?
Tap lightly around the side of the lamp with a sharp rock to separate the silver cup behind the bulb.
Catch fish If your batteries die or you can’t ignore your hunger, repurpose reflective elements to attract fish.
Then smash the headlamp casing and fashion a gorge hook (pictured) from a shard of sharpened plastic.
Start a fire Strip and splice wires from the guts of the lamp until you can touch the ends to either terminus of a AA or AAA battery.
This shorts the battery, turning the wire red-hot with electrical current.
Use your needle to work loose nylon strands from the headband to use as thread.

Foraging Safely

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How to Forage Safely.
If I don’t have a field guide with me, how can I tell if a plant is safe to eat?
Plan B is a song and dance we call the Universal Edibility Test.
If you’re an impatient eater, beware: this is not a quick process.
First rule out known baddies like poison ivy, then wildcards like mushrooms, many of which can kill you in just one bite.
If there’s still no reaction, ingest a small piece and wait eight hours.
Feel good after eight more hours?
Can I achieve the same effect using sunlight?
– Shelby Terraza, via email All UV rays destroy pathogen DNA, but unlike an easy-to-use Steripen, sunlight takes some coaxing.
A new PET water or soda bottle works best.