Spring Backcountry Safety

It was a long, gnarly winter in many parts of the country, but spring is most definitely here and undoubtedly singing a very sweet siren song to any and all outdoors-folks. It’s an exciting time to get into the backcountry, whether on skis or snowshoes or along hiking trails that have thawed out. The days are lengthening, the angle of the Sun is increasing for warmer weather, and the intoxicating phenological signs of the season are unfolding: north-bound flocks of waterfowl, melodious songbirds in the budding thickets, frog choruses from the marshes and hollows, wildflowers starting to strut their stuff … Continue reading

Cave No Trace

by John Waller With a heavy clunk, Phyllis removes a metal bar that gates a cave entrance in the Guadalupe Mountains of New Mexico. It’s a small entrance, with an upward grade and not much room to spare when a body wiggles through. At the age of 77, Phyllis Bonneau is an unlikely character to push forward into this dark hole. With a few grunts and the sound of knee and elbow pads grating across limestone, she emerges through the hole: A cave system, miles in length, sprawls before us in the blackness. I’m with my buddies Scott, Liam, and … Continue reading

The Ultimate Hurricane Survival Kit Checklist

With the impacts of hurricanes Florence and Michael still being felt along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, and the Category 5 Super Typhoon Yutu currently bringing winds of 180 miles per hour to the Northern Mariana Islands, we wanted to highlight some fundamentals of hurricane safety here at the Mountain House blog. A Reminder of Hurricane Danger As last year, when hurricanes such as Harvey, Irma, and Maria devastated Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and other parts of the U.S., the past couple of months have demonstrated the vital need to understand the dangers posed by tropical cyclones, the proper precautions … Continue reading

An Intro to Public Lands in the USA

From county forest to national park, public lands in the United States are some of the most beloved among outdoorspeople for their recreational opportunities and their rich scenic and ecological attractions. What is public land? In the USA, this general category refers to lands in public ownership: from the vast acreage held in public trust by the federal government (most of which is long-held “public domain”) to lands managed by states, counties, and municipalities. From land trusts and non-profit organizations to timber companies and private citizens, many other landowners allow some form of outdoor recreation on their property, but there’s … Continue reading

The Most Popular National Parks In the USA

The United States established the world’s very first national park: Yellowstone, that geothermal and wildlife wonderland in the Middle Rockies, back in 1872. Today the National Park Service manages nearly 60 parks (in addition to a slew of national recreation areas, historic sites, and other units), which in 2016 saw nearly 331 million visitors: a record level. Within this grand system of public lands you’ll find some of the most sublime scenery and precious ecosystems in the country: from the boreal lakes of northern Minnesota to the redwood rainforest of the California coast, from the Brooks Range crests of Arctic … Continue reading