Last week we gave you a big old serving of national parks. And now (much as we love our public lands) we're back to regular programming. But we couldn't help sneaking in a couple more centennial treats from this week. Thursday marked the National Park Service's official 100th birthday, after all. We also have some quality mountain literature and some podcasts full of questionable language—but really, have you heard of Truman Everts? Tears! Fires! Eating songbirds! Now tell us you're ever going to get tired of national park stories.
Very Long Weekend Reading
'Yellowstone: A Journey Through America's Wild Heart' by David Quammen
Find an excerpt from Outside contributor Quammen's newest book, a follow-up to two years of reporting on the park for National Geographic, over at PopSci:
There were three pens, all located discreetly up little drainages beyond sight from the Lamar road—one at Rose Creek, one at Crystal Creek, one farther upstream at Soda Butte—and containing a total of 14 translocated wolves. At first the wolves scarcely dared step out of the crates. They had been abducted by aliens, after all, and who knew what might happen next?
Somewhat Long Weekend Reading
The Hapless Explorer Who Helped Create the National Park System
One of the more bizarre stories we've published this year:
Everts’ first meal in five days came on wings benumbed by cold. Lying under a tree as a blizzard blanketed the region, a small, confused songbird landed right in front of him. “I instantly seized and killed it, and, plucking its feathers, ate it raw,” he wrote. “It was a delicious meal for a half-starved man.”
With the September storm raging, Everts abandoned hope of being found by his fellow explorers. He stumbled through what he estimated were ten miles of mush and snow—park historian Whittlesey puts it at closer to three or four—until he found a collection of hot springs at the foot of what he called Mount Everts. Freezing and soaked through, he lay down beside the blistering springs for warmth. There he stayed for seven days, waiting out the snow.
Let's Be Realistic and Add These to Your Future Reading List
The Best Mountain Books of the Year
The Boardman Tasker Awards shortlist came out on Wednesday, awarding the five best pieces of peak prose for 2016. Without further ado:
- Alone on the Wall by Alex Honnold and David Roberts: The 31-year-old has already done enough to fill a book, so he and talented climber/writer Roberts did exactly that.
- The Bond: Two Epic Climbs in Alaska and a Lifetime's Connection Between Climbers by Simon McCartney: The British alpinist remembers tackling Denali with his climbing partner—an attempt that almost killed him.
- Eruption: The Untold Story of Mt. St. Helens by Steve Olson: Olson unpacks the May 1980 eruption through the eyes of the people (from scientists to loggers) who were forced to make tough decisions when it finally blew.
- Wild Country: The Man Who Made Friends by Mark Vallance: The story of cams, from the man who first created them in the seventies.
- The Maverick Mountaineer: The Remarkable Life of George Ingle Finch: Climber, Scientist, Inventor by Robert Wainwright: You've likely heard of Finch as an early proponent of supplemental oxygen. Wainwright has a lot more to say about the climbing anti-hero.
Ski Porn Preview
Follow our writer's lead: Pour yourself a glass of wine, load up these snow-packed trailers, and bask in the knowledge that powder season is nigh. Here's our rundown of the most anticipated ski movies dropping soon—complete with the songs that will likely become soundtrack to all your winter road trips. (What will be the next My Silver Lining?)
'WTF Is TFC?'
Outside/In embeds with a legendary trail crew in the northeast. Now try and guess what TFC stands for.
'Bears, Tigers, Leeches, and Spicy Food'
A rerun from How to Do Everything that we're glad to see resurface. Featuring hypothetical large-animal fights and less-hypothetical-than-we'd-hope survival advice from Bear Grylls.
Google Goes to the National Parks
We'd love to execute these dream itineraries at classic national parks—wreck diving in Dry Tortugas! Iceberg kayaking in Kenai Fjords!—but for now, we'll settle for experiencing it secondhand in Google's all-out NPS birthday gift. Being based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, we're partial to the Carlsbad Caverns portion (around 2:40). Whether or not you have VR goggles, this is a fun one to poke around for a few minutes (or hours).