Slumber and Siestas

Slumber and Siestas
Backpackers, especially thru-hikers, often experience fatigue. There are endless reasons that keep you from getting asleep or staying asleep – stormy weather, screeching owls, howling coyotes, obnoxious weekend hikers, aching bones, fear, a snoring partner, the worry about not getting to sleep, etc. Waking up after a night of inadequate rest will greatly hinder your hiking performance ...

Listening In: Earthly Sounds in a Man-Made World

Listening In: Earthly Sounds in a Man-Made World
I always find it ironic when I see a jogger or hiker in the woods wearing earbuds. It seems that while this person is taking the time to travel through the natural world, they are at the same time filtering part of it out. It is the equivalent of visiting a museum wearing a blindfold. ...

Treat Chapped Lips Naturally 1

Treat Chapped Lips Naturally
Anyone spending time hiking, cycling or skiing, has experienced chapped lips. The condition of dry, chapped lips often starts as a minor annoyance, but can lead to painful and unsightly cracking and bleeding, as well as a more severe condition called angular cheilitis (also called perleche), a fungus that causes painful splitting at the corners ...

Leaf Foliage Lesson

Leaf Foliage Lesson
“Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.” ~Stanley Horowitz Autumn is a spectacular time of color in many areas, and the Appalachians are no exception.  From radiant reds to mustard yellow, the vibrant display of color is short-lived, earning leaf-peeping peak priority. What causes ...

Map Skills Primer

Map Skills Primer
Knowing how to read a topographic map is an essential skill for navigating the backcountry. Make sure you understand how to follow a topographic map before your hike — especially if you plan to be in a remote area. Here we’ll cover the basics and provide some online sources for finding topographic hiking maps. We will also feature some external ...

Walking in Circles 1

Walking in Circles
“The belief that people walk in circles when lost is mainly based on anecdotal evidence and has never been studied systematically in a real desert or forest.” (Current Biology, August 20th 2009) It is a common scenario: when we get lost in the wilderness, we wind up walking in circles.  Much to our dismay, at ...