Exploring Nature

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Trip Report: Mima Mounds Preserve Trail

Mima is derived from a Native American language meaning “a little further along” or “downstream.” Modern scientists argue about what causes these phenomena, but what I find fascinating is that the Mima Mounds are not unique; mounded forms are found across the United States. In California they're called “HogWallow Mounds,” and New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming have “prairie mounds.” In the Northern Great Plains they're known as “Pimple Mounds.” Read more…

A Sense of Hope

The black eyes glared right at me, a penetrating stare that seemed to pierce my flesh. He then opened his mouth and flexed his shoulders, leaning toward me. His red epilates glowed in the sun as his song rang out; a sharp two whistles, trill, and then another whistle. At the same time, he expanded his tail and flared his wings slightly, and all the while those eyes scowled. Read more…

How To: Micro-Adventure Ideas

Popularized by Alastair Humphreys, a micro-adventure is "an adventure that is short, simple, local, cheap – yet still fun, exciting, challenging, refreshing and rewarding. " As summer arrives, many of us want to maximize our time outside. But it’s not always easy to get out after work or on a busy weekend. Fortunately, opportunities for outdoor exploration are right outside your door. Join us as we take a look at a few of the micro-adventures you can take any day of the week. Read more…

Canyoning in the PNW

In November of 2001, my friend Stacy and I began our regular journey eastward, heading home to our respective states of Tennessee and Connecticut after a season of teaching Outdoor Education in California. We were both excited to visit Zion National Park on the way home for a few weeks of exploration. Both climbers in our 20’s, Stacy and I hoped to rappel through a slot canyon. Read more…

The Braided River Story: Activating Conservation Impact for Public Lands

Since its earliest years, Mountaineers Books titles like The North Cascades (1964) and The Alpine Lakes (1971) have influenced the creation of national parks and protected wilderness areas through images and stories. But in 2003, something incredible happened. Read more…

Did You Know: Steamboat Rock State Park

Steamboat rock is composed of Miocene Columbia River basalts, and sits 800ft above the desert floor. This monolithic basaltic rock overlies a much older intrusive igneous rock, and it sits in the channeled scablands in Eastern Washington, known as the Grand Coulee. Hiking the trail towards this magnificent rock you are walking on a soft, deep, sandy trail reminiscent of the beach. Steamboat Rock sits on a sand dune, a remnant from the past massive floods. Read more…

Trail Talk | As Goes the Caribou

One of the most beautiful and wild places on the eastern seaboard, the Chic-Choc Traverse was placed on Peter Potterfield’s 25 Classic Hikes of North America with good reason. In May 2000, my wife Heather and I did a recon trip to Quebec’s Chic-Choc Mountains in the 200,000-acre Parc National de la Gaspésie. Three months later we returned to backpack the 50-mile Chic Choc Traverse – one of the most stunning stretches of the International Appalachian Trail. We were hooked. Read more…

Mother Tree

I watched in fascinated disgust as dozens of insects squirmed and wriggled towards the edges of the bark where it met the soft damp core, searching for darkness and safety. Just moments before, my mother in an effort to teach me about the wonders of nurse logs had wedged her fingernail between bark and wood and carefully pried off a chunk of bark the size of her hand. “All those insects make their home in the log. They eat the wood and make it into soil so other trees can grow.” Then she replaced the bark as carefully as she had removed it. “Let’s not disturb them any further.” Read more…

Peak Performance | Mountain Mindfulness

Mindfulness has become a popular practice in yoga and other therapies, but it also has its place in the mountains. To be “mindful” means paying complete attention to what’s going on, both inside your head and outside of yourself, and being fully present in the moment. If you are multi-tasking, you are likely not being mindful. Likewise, if you are rushing to get things done, or tag the summit and get back to the car, you probably don’t have a good chance of being mindful. The other component of mindfulness is accepting yourself exactly as you are, or treating yourself the way you would treat a good friend. Read more…

Recommended Nature Reads

The birds are singing, the flowers are blooming, and it's clear that spring is upon us once again. The rhythms of nature bring comfort during difficult times, and remind us that in spite of everything the world keeps turning.  Read more…