Hiking

Proper Way to Go Backpacking

If it is your first time to go backpacking, there are basic things you need to find out so you can survive the trip. You are basically going to live on whatever is inside your backpack and if you want something that is durable, buy one of the best carry-on backpack available. By using something that is made of high quality, you are going to notice the advantage it has over other backpacks that are not well-made. If you plan to go on a long backpacking trip, make sure you have everything you need and follow the tips that will be mentioned here.
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A Voice On The Wilderness

One of the most rewarding things about being a guide is watching my passengers slow down to the point where they let the landscape work its magic on them. How on the first day of a river trip, my passengers will be swaddled in layers of protective clothing, ointments and potions, and then they shed them little by little, day by day, until finally their skin becomes a color indistinguishable from the river.

How at first

How at first, they are so shy with their bodies, so modest about their athleticism, until a couple of near misses on the trip’s biggest rapids require everyone to give better than their best. How, once they start to recognize the birds and the flowers and the age of the rock layers, this new knowledge delights them beyond all reason. How their conversation too becomes more naked and demanding, how more and more of everything gets laid bare.

In just five days of slow and elemental travel, the river can bring even the most disconnected person back to the land and back to herself. In our modern lives–which so often endorse the ordinary, acknowledge the explicable and reward repetition–adventure is our last connection to the wild world we came from, which always was and still is full of mystery and surprise.

Adventure is good for people

There’s no question in my mind that adventure is good for people. I’ve seen what it does for them. I know what it does for me. And yet the question that presents itself in the wake of the adventure craze is, How good are people for adventures? Are we, in our enthusiasm, obliterating the very places we need if we are to keep our spirits of adventure alive?

As the places we go for wilderness and solitude get buried under more and more waves of adventure seekers, it is only natural that we look for what remains untouched. Nepal is overrun, so we go to Bhutan. Peru is passe, so we try Bolivia. Alaska has too many RVs, so how about Antarctica? Should we ask ourselves now if any undiscovered places will be left on Earth in 50 years to serve as the landscapes of adventure? Can we remember, even in the heat of the moment, that what makes an adventure exciting is less the remoteness of the location or the degree of difficulty and more our capacity for wonder when we engage the world?

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Female Athletes

When we invited celebrities to toast female athletes, we discovered that the athletes had become celebrities.

Here is what I know about work: You do it steadily, you enjoy it and you expect that, over the long haul, it will pay off. But you rarely see the progress or a single seismic change while you’re in the thick of it. Until one day, everything comes together. For us, that happened when we invited the most inspirational athletes of the past year to accept honors at the third annual Women’s Sports & Fitness Champions Awards.

Female celebrity athletes

What a great feeling to watch female celebrity athletes be honored by athletic-minded celebrities. Mia Hamm and Julie Foudy received an award on behalf of the U.S. World Cup Soccer Team from Katie Couric and her soccer-playing daughter, Ellie; Goldie Hawn presented to wheelchair marathoner Jean Driscoll; actress-model Tyra Banks honored WNBA superstar Cynthia Cooper; Chevy Chase and his daughter introduced golfer Juli Inkster; and track legend Jackie Joyner-Kersee helped us wish luck to a cast of Olympic hopefuls on their way to Sydney.

Each athlete made an eloquent acceptance speech. Swedish hurdler Ludmila Engquist offered a list of roles to live by, which had helped her win a medal at the world championships while undergoing chemo for breast cancer: “`Never give in’–Winston Churchill. `Live a normal life’–my doctor. `Nothing is impossible’–me.” Cynthia Cooper paid homage to her late mother: “She taught me to hang tough and finish what I started.” (more…)


The Interesting Adventure

Maybe the first thing that has to change is the language with which we talk about our destinations. The days of bagging peaks and taming rivers are over. We need to be willing to celebrate the fact that Everest has allowed us to stand, for a moment, on her summit, or that the Salmon River has allowed us safe passage without drowning this time.

We need to think of the wild places we go to test ourselves as something not to be conquered but to be cared for. We need to earn our right to our adventures by honoring our bargain with the land.

GUARANTEED WHALE SIGHTINGS

Reads a sign in Provincetown, Massachusetts; GUARANTEED WHITEWATER EXCITEMENT, says a brochure on my desk. In all the rush to capitalize on the adventure craze, marketers seem to have forgotten that the words adventure and guarantee are antonyms. The fact that nothing can ever be guaranteed is the very essence of adventure.

No organization, no matter how rich and powerful, can promise that it will rain enough to fill the river, that the whales will be in the same spot they have always been before, or that bad weather can be held back long enough for us to reach the mountaintop, long enough even to bring everybody back alive.

We are all guilty of one form or another of disrespect. Even if we take nothing away from the land, we still leave footprints, both actual and cultural, on the wild and distant lands we visit. And the inhabitants of those places are forever changed because of this.

It does not escape my notice that I may be the very worst type of offender, because although I believe I treat the landscapes and the cultures I encounter with great respect, I come home and write about them, encourage others to visit them and inevitably change them forever from what they were.

Some people believe in wilderness for wilderness’s sake

That there ought to be places, both inhabited and not, that people of the modern world just can’t go. I have to admit it’s an attractive argument, but it comes from as separatist a view of the world as the one that says the sole purpose of nature is to be our playground. (more…)


Some Wonderful Places Outside

SNOW SPORTS

Mushing huskies in Maine

Zip up your parka and explore the hemlock forests, frozen shorelines and glassy ice surfaces of the Rangeley Lake region from behind a team of frisky Yukon sled dogs. Between mushing lessons, you’ll do some vigorous cross-country skiing.

Who: Appalachian Mountain Club, 603-466-2727. When: Just one weekend in winter; 2001 dates to be determined. How much: 2 days, $360 for members; $400 for nonmembers. Travel advisory: Don’t skimp on the polypropylene: You’ll need to change twice a day to stay dry and warm.

Extreme skiing in Chile

Ever dreamed of starring in a Warren Miller ski film? If you’re an advanced-intermediate or better skier, here’s your chance. After a week with the XTEAM in Valle Nevado, led by extreme skiers such as Dan and John Egan, Rob and Eric DesLauriers, and Dean Decas, you’ll carve expert turns and plow through powder like a pro. Taking advantage of the challenging South American terrain, you’ll also learn to ski steeps, couloirs and trees.

Who: XTEAM Advance Ski Clinics, 800-XTEAM-70. When: August. How much: 7 days, $2,540. Travel advisory: Do not underestimate the searing equatorial sun. Pack some heavy-duty sunblock, a pair of UV-protective sunglasses and a baseball cap or visor.

Skill building in Colorado

Telemark ski through pristine aspen forests and then camp down for the night in a snow cave you built yourself during the Winter Multi-Skill Intensive, held in the Sawatch Range of the Rocky Mountains. In addition to teaching snow sports–such as ice climbing, mountaineering and telemark skiing-this backcountry primer tutors you in winter survival smarts, including cold weather physiology, avalanche safety and snow-shelter construction.

Who: Colorado Outward Bound School, 800-477-2627. When: December 29-January 20. How much: 23 days, $2,395. Travel advisory: Only hearty backcountry enthusiasts who are comfortable on telemark skis and are ready to handle nearly a month of nonstop outdoor activity need apply. (more…)


Moving Words

“I love your emphasis on building strength, muscle and confidence I’m canceling my subscriptions to fashion magazines.”

–Lisa Jung, Ellsworth, Maine

Yes, Sweat

When I first saw the word diet on your cover, I cringed. But then I read “Move It and Lose It” (January/February 2000), which is the only real way to lose weight. Here’s to the exercise diet!

Julie Parkins

London, Ontario

Tri-umphant

Thank you for three great articles in the January/February issue: “Athlete of the Century: Babe Didrikson,” “Move It and Lose It” and “Sweat Now, Age Later.” The first gave me historical perspective, the second gave me a vision of attainable results in the present, and the third gave me a positive view of my aging body’s possibilities in the future.

Rachel Hollowgrass

Oakland, California

Senior Power

I really enjoyed “Sweat Now, Age Later,” about women who are still active even though many people think of them as senior citizens. The article inspired me to give a Women’s Sports & Fitness subscription to my grandmother, an incredible, fit woman. Keep up the good work!

Angela Gallegos

Raleigh, North Carolina

As a 57-year-old pre-Title IX athlete, I was thrilled with your January/February issue and especially with your story “Sweat Now, Age Later.” Finally, a magazine for female athletes that proves age isn’t a factor. (more…)


How to See The Olympics

How to see the Olympics or add oomph to your serve–she’ll answer anything

What’s better: three sets in a row for each muscle group or three trips around the weight room?

J.C., Medford, MA

Well, others may prefer that you don’t hog a machine, but doing three consecutive sets is better for you. “It takes about two minutes for the muscle to recover completely,” says Wayne Westcott, fitness research director of the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Massachusetts. So doing three sets with only about 90 seconds rest in between makes muscles work harder. Even better, do three different moves for the same muscle group, like a set of triceps dips, followed by a set of triceps kickbacks and a set of triceps extensions. “Mixing it up helps build more comprehensive strength,” Westcott says, “because you’re involving more muscle fibers.”

I want to increase the power of my tennis serve. Any advice?

P.M., Lexington, KY

Try channeling Venus Williams, who holds the Guinness world record for her 127-mph power serve. Not psychic? Build Venus-like strength. “The power of your serve comes from the legs and the trunk rotation,” says Tim Howell, director of tennis at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa in Ojai, California. His favorite move: racquet crunches. Hold your racquet with both hands in front of you as you sit up and twist your torso first to one side and then the other. For the legs, walking lunges (try coveting the whole length of the court) will build the strength you need to create momentum for your serve.

What’s the cheapest way to go to the Olympics?

K.P., Chester, NJ

Unless you can stuff yourself into Jenny Thompson’s gym bag, there really is no cheap way to go to the Games in Sydney. Cartan Tours (www.cartan.com) will plan the whole thing for you (airfare, hotels, tickets) with week-long packages that start around $5,000. (more…)