In this Feb. 9, 2014 photo, David Siemk of Morton Grove, Ill., uses hatchets and spiked shoes called "crampons" while ice climbing at the more than 100-foot-tall Wildcat Canyon icefall at Starved Rock State Park new Utica, Ill. The shoes are generally composed of 10 steel spikes pointing down for traction and two pointing forward to stab and hold in vertical ice. (AP Photo/NewsTribune, Scott Anderson)

Perfect conditions for perfect climbing

UTICA, Ill. (AP) — Year-round tourist attraction Starved Rock State Park does not attract mountaineers every year.But an extremely cold December, January and February, with… Continue reading

In this Feb. 9, 2014 photo, David Siemk of Morton Grove, Ill., uses hatchets and spiked shoes called "crampons" while ice climbing at the more than 100-foot-tall Wildcat Canyon icefall at Starved Rock State Park new Utica, Ill. The shoes are generally composed of 10 steel spikes pointing down for traction and two pointing forward to stab and hold in vertical ice. (AP Photo/NewsTribune, Scott Anderson)
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Refuge Notebook: Time to apply for summer jobs at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

Are you interested in working at one of the premier wildlife refuges in the nation this summer? The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge has a few… Continue reading

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Homer Cycling Club’s Big Fat Bike Festival this weekend

The Homer Cycling Club’s Big Fat Bike Festival is today through Sunday. Events include beach bonfires, a group ride from Anchor Point to Homer, burger… Continue reading

In this Feb. 6, 2014 photo, Steve and Kathy Muench ride the trails at Jug Mountain Ranch near McCall, Idaho. Fat bikes sport oversized balloon tires run at low air pressures that are specially designed to ride on packed snow and other surfaces. (AP Photo/The Idaho Statesman, Roger Phillips)

Snow fun: Clunky bikes with fat tires catching on

MCCALL, Idaho (AP) — You’ve probably seen these in a bike shop, in a bike rack, or even hanging from the ceiling of a bar… Continue reading

In this Feb. 6, 2014 photo, Steve and Kathy Muench ride the trails at Jug Mountain Ranch near McCall, Idaho. Fat bikes sport oversized balloon tires run at low air pressures that are specially designed to ride on packed snow and other surfaces. (AP Photo/The Idaho Statesman, Roger Phillips)
In this image released by G.C. Media, Victor Mooney, right, stands inside his custom built row boat "The Spirit of Malabo," as he prepares for the Goree Challenge, his fourth attempt at crossing the Atlantic to raise funds for HIV/AIDS, on Wednesday Feb. 19, 2014 in Maspolamas, Gran Canaria.  (AP Photo/G.C. Media,Handout)

Sunk, but undefeated, NYC man faces Atlantic again

NEW YORK — A tenacious New Yorker who has been trying for nearly a decade to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean, but has been… Continue reading

In this image released by G.C. Media, Victor Mooney, right, stands inside his custom built row boat "The Spirit of Malabo," as he prepares for the Goree Challenge, his fourth attempt at crossing the Atlantic to raise funds for HIV/AIDS, on Wednesday Feb. 19, 2014 in Maspolamas, Gran Canaria.  (AP Photo/G.C. Media,Handout)
In this photo taken Thursday Jan. 30, 2014 beginner skiers make their way to the terrain-based learning center for new skiers at Cranmore Mountain ski area in North Conway, N.H. Instead of teaching new skiers how to stop first, terrain-based skiing teaches new skiers skills with banks, berms, and bumps that naturally slow them down without sliding down the mountain out of control. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

Ski resorts turn to terrain-based teaching

NORTH CONWAY, N.H. — Allison Willette’s first few skiing lessons left her with a sore butt and aching knees but not a lot of skills.… Continue reading

In this photo taken Thursday Jan. 30, 2014 beginner skiers make their way to the terrain-based learning center for new skiers at Cranmore Mountain ski area in North Conway, N.H. Instead of teaching new skiers how to stop first, terrain-based skiing teaches new skiers skills with banks, berms, and bumps that naturally slow them down without sliding down the mountain out of control. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
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Refuge Notebook: Genetic diversity of wildlife on the Kenai Peninsula is a mixed bag

There are 1,786 plant and animal species known on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. That’s extraordinary biodiversity for this latitude with perhaps another 3,000 species,… Continue reading

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An Outdoor View: The first king

Like your first kiss, you never forget your first king salmon.I was born in 1937, and raised in Sedro-Woolley, Washington, within walking distance of the… Continue reading

In this photo taken on Feb. 9, 2014, Houston Laws tows his recrafted sled across the ice at Mendenhall Lake near Juneau, Alaska, during a training run for the Susitna 100, a 100-mile ski, bike or run event that starts on Saturday, Feb. 15. It will be the first of four 100-mile races Laws hopes to complete in 2014 to achieve an Alaska ultrarunning "Grand Slam." The Alaska grand slam consists of the Susitna, the White Mountains 100, the Sluice Box 100 and the Resurrection Pass Trail 100.  (AP Photo/The Juneau Empire, Klas Stolpe)

Extreme Alaska challenge: 100-mile run, with sled

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Man against nature.The theme is as old as time, or as old as man has existed in time.Juneau’s Houston Laws has… Continue reading

In this photo taken on Feb. 9, 2014, Houston Laws tows his recrafted sled across the ice at Mendenhall Lake near Juneau, Alaska, during a training run for the Susitna 100, a 100-mile ski, bike or run event that starts on Saturday, Feb. 15. It will be the first of four 100-mile races Laws hopes to complete in 2014 to achieve an Alaska ultrarunning "Grand Slam." The Alaska grand slam consists of the Susitna, the White Mountains 100, the Sluice Box 100 and the Resurrection Pass Trail 100.  (AP Photo/The Juneau Empire, Klas Stolpe)
Snowshoers enjoy a stunning view of Mount Rainier on a trek near Paradise, Wash., Jan. 20, 2014.  Synchronizing your steps atop snowshoes is an art - one that was practiced well before its rise in popularity as a winter recreation. (AP Photo/Roger Werth, Longview Daily News)

A crash course in smooth snowshoeing

PARADISE, Wash. (AP) — It seems simple enough: strap, stand, step — one foot in front of the other.But synchronizing your steps atop snowshoes is… Continue reading

Snowshoers enjoy a stunning view of Mount Rainier on a trek near Paradise, Wash., Jan. 20, 2014.  Synchronizing your steps atop snowshoes is an art - one that was practiced well before its rise in popularity as a winter recreation. (AP Photo/Roger Werth, Longview Daily News)
USGS photo Launching a Raven Unmanned Aircraft System (aka drone) at Haleakala National Park in Hawaii to survey invasive plants and animals.

Refuge Notebook: Counting moose with drones? Maybe sooner than you think

Imagine you are at the controls of a Piper Super Cub flying at tree-top level 150 feet above the ground. As you fly 10-mile long… Continue reading

USGS photo Launching a Raven Unmanned Aircraft System (aka drone) at Haleakala National Park in Hawaii to survey invasive plants and animals.

The unexpected

The unexpected can make a fishing trip memorable.By “unexpected,” I don’t mean the times when the outboard quits and can’t be resuscitated. I mean the… Continue reading

This Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2014 photo shows chocolate mint peppermint growing in a pot in New Paltz, N.Y. With Valentine's Day coming up, thoughts naturally turn to chocolate. Chocolate mint peppermint is a chocolate-y alternative. (AP Photo/Lee Reich)

These plants are the next best thing to chocolate

With Valentine’s Day coming up, thoughts naturally turn to chocolate. How nice it would be for gardeners to give their beloved a living, growing, chocolate… Continue reading

This Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2014 photo shows chocolate mint peppermint growing in a pot in New Paltz, N.Y. With Valentine's Day coming up, thoughts naturally turn to chocolate. Chocolate mint peppermint is a chocolate-y alternative. (AP Photo/Lee Reich)
In this June 8, 2013 photo, Donnie Kolb pauses on a long stretch of gravel road with central Oregon's Fork Rock formation visible in the distance. Kolb has been organizing gravel bicycle rides for the past five years, usually keeping his events a bit on the down low.  His outings are unsupported, unsanctioned, have no entry fee and crown no winner. (AP Photo/The Bulletin, Gabriel Amadeus)

Gravel roads offer miles of pedal-pushing

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Donnie Kolb has been organizing gravel bicycle rides for the past five years.Usually keeping his events a bit on the down… Continue reading

In this June 8, 2013 photo, Donnie Kolb pauses on a long stretch of gravel road with central Oregon's Fork Rock formation visible in the distance. Kolb has been organizing gravel bicycle rides for the past five years, usually keeping his events a bit on the down low.  His outings are unsupported, unsanctioned, have no entry fee and crown no winner. (AP Photo/The Bulletin, Gabriel Amadeus)