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This campsite had been in the clouds for several days, and everything was soaked. Starting a fire required skill, patience, and a few tricks.

Standout gear for cold-and-wet conditions in the Appalachians

Last week my guiding season kicked off in the beautiful — but soggy and unseasonably cold — mountains of West Virginia, with four 3-day/2-night learning-intensive Backpacking Fundamentals courses, split between two guide teams. Based on the conditions assessment that we performed during the Planning Curriculum, we expected rain and cool temperatures. But I was hoping for […]

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Seneca Creek

Backpacking gear list: West Virginia & Appalachians in May

My guiding season starts this Friday in West Virginia, where Alan Dixon, Joseph “Stringbean” McConaughy, Ron Bell, Matthew Bright, and I will be leading two consecutive intro-level 3-day trips (May 10-12 and 13-15). Seneca Creek National Recreation Area encompasses Spruce Knob, the state’s high point, and is not far from other popular backcountry areas like Dolly […]

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The Quarter Dome Air retails for just $200, and includes a tarp and well designed bridge-style hammock.

In my pack: Six items for rain & ticks in West Virginia

Next month I am guiding two 3-day overnight backpacking trips in West Virginia, which has all the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains but a fraction of the backcountry traffic versus the range’s more eastern destinations like Shenandoah National Park. I’m being joined by Alan Dixon, Joe McConaughy (“Stringbean”), Ron Bell, and Matt Bright. This week […]

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On a recent training hike in Boulder's foothills, wearing the Black Diamond Rhythm Tee and carrying the Osprey Aether Pro 70 pack, loaded with 50 pounds.

Long-term review: Black Diamond Rhythm Tee with NuYarn, innovative nylon/merino blend

At the end of a Black Diamond media lunch at Outdoor Retailer last November, I was given a t-shirt that we’d been quickly briefed about but that seemed like vastly inferior product seeding relative to the new powder skis and airbag packs that’d really wow’d us. I’m notoriously particular about my athletic clothing, and I expected this […]

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first-day-of-school-1986

For sale: My childhood home

Thirty-three years ago my parents moved to 51 Donald Lewis Drive in Seekonk, Mass. — along with their three kids, ages 7, 5, and 2 — and on Monday put this classic Colonial on the market. With this post I’m not trying to help their sale, but simply mark a milestone as I occasionally do […]

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Extensive snow coverage on the north side of Mather Pass, looking towards Palisade Lakes, after a very wet winter. Taken June 28, 2006.

Snowpocalypse 2019: Expected “summer” conditions in the High Sierra & southern Rockies

California, Oregon, Nevada, and the Four Corners states have been drenched this winter, with snowpacks now about 150 percent of their normals. If you have scheduled backpacking trips in the High Sierra or southern Rockies in June or July, and to a lesser degree August, here is some reading for you: 1. Today on my […]

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