outdoor recreation - Mountain House Blog
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Overnighting in a Fire Lookout Tower

Historical landmarks and symbols of our complicated and ever-evolving relationship with wildland blazes, the fire lookout towers of America’s wildernesses and semi wildernesses also make one-of-a-kind backcountry accommodations. Scores of decommissioned towers are available for rent, offering charming and generally pretty unforgettable overnight lodgings with invariably awesome views.   A Snapshot History of America’s Fire Lookout Towers For decades, fire lookout towers (sometimes called firewatch or ranger towers) provided surveillance of wildfire activity in rough, rugged, often roadless country. As fire suppression became basically nationwide policy in the early 20th century, lookout towers proliferated—especially via Civilian Conservation Corps work during … Continue reading

River Safety Tips: How to Cross a River

Crossing rivers is often the riskiest element of a typical hiking or backpacking trek. Even a midsized stream has the power to potentially knock you off your feet. River crossings must be undertaken with an abundance of caution and sharp-eyed study, and often the correct decision is not to cross at all. We know a lot of your Mountain House lovers out there are avid hikers and backpackers who are likely to run into at least a modest-intensity river crossing on occasion, so we thought we’d run a refresher article on river safety tips! The First Step in River Safety: … Continue reading

The Wide World of Winter Sports

The ancient roots of many of the most popular winter sports lie, of course, in the realm not of recreation but of practical locomotion in snowy winter and mountain landscapes. Practical, sure, but that certainly doesn’t mean there hasn’t been a strong aspect of pleasure to snow travel from day one: the thrill of skiing down a mountain slope that in summer had to be carefully and laboriously descended, or of floating easily over snowdrifted deadfall and thickets in the white woods on snowshoes, or of cruising at a thrilling clip along frozen riverways by dogsled. Winter recreation—its DNA encoded … Continue reading

Up a Tree: A New View on Outdoor Recreation

Here at Mountain House we keep a keen eye open for stories to share with our community, particularly those that encourage folks to get outside and explore. And wonderfully, people are doing just that! From hiking the PCT, to summiting mountains, to discovering natural wonders in our own backyards, outdoor recreation seems to be at an all-time high. Great news, right? Well yes. But … we’re also keeping an eye open for other stories, too. Because as more and more people get outside and turn little-known areas into popular “must-see” experiences, there’s a risk that some ecologically-sensitive areas could be … Continue reading