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Dispatches : Adventure

Dean Potter's Moonwalk

Yes, this video of climber Dean Potter walking a highline at Cathedral Peak as the sun sets and the moon rises is old. It originally appeared as part of "The Man Who Can Fly," a National Geographic special. But the full clip was just released on Vimeo two weeks ago, a teaser for the re-airing of the  special on Friday, January 11, at 5 p.m. EST. Filmmaker Michael Schaefer shot the scene from more than a mile away using an 800mm lens with a 2x lens converter.

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Adventure Video of the Week: Strong

“We are all going to make mistakes. It’s truly learning from them that makes life really sweet,” says skier, climber, and parent Roger Strong in the video embedded above.

On April 6, 2011, Strong took off on his favorite backcountry run in Snowqualmie Pass, Washington, and was picked up by an avalanche and thrown into a tree. His tibias were ripped from his femurs and his ligaments were shredded. "His knees were literally hanging by just skin," says filmmaker Fitz Cahall. "The connective tissue and bone connections were gone."

Cahall joined Strong a year after the accident as the pair returned to the tree where Strong almost died. The resulting film, Strong, chronicles how the skier's life has changed since the incident.

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Expedition Watch: Jez Bragg Runs Across New Zealand

Screen Shot 2013-01-09 at 2.33.30 PMMan's best friend. Photo: JezBragg.Blogspot.com

In addition to the 50 sunsets and sunrises that ultrarunner Jez Bragg plans to take in while trying to run 2,000 miles across New Zealand's newest cross-country trail in the fastest time ever, there are less dramatic sites that require more of his attention. For example, there are seven sheep for every person in New Zealand, which means a lot of herding dogs. On day 18, at 3:30 p.m., Bragg was in the middle of a long run when he ran into a cowboy with five such dogs. The chance meeting led him to refocus his attention on the trail beneath him. "Five dogs means high statistical probability of dog poo," read a post on his blog, written from the perspective of his shoes, which had already trudged over more than 600 miles of terrain. "I am running almost 100km today, having my back pressed into dog poo would be the last straw."

Here's a bit more on Bragg's 50-day planned journey, in case you'd like to follow along.

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How Do Wrinkled Toes and Fingers Help You During Water Sports?

Shutterstock_77773525-1Hold on to that paddle. Photo: Shutterstock

Scientists previously thought that the smooth, hairless surfaces of fingers and toes wrinkled up like raisins after they got wet because water passed into the outermost layer of skin, causing it to swell. But recent studies have shown that the wrinkling is not a result of osmosis, but rather an autonomic nervous system reaction: placing hands or feet in water causes a constriction in blood vessels which reduces the pulp in digits. The loss of internal pressure causes ridges and valleys to form on glabrous skin. The question, of course, is why?

A new study published by three scientists in the journal Biology Letters suggests the physical change may have developed as a way to improve grip on wet objects. In other words, prune-like fingers and toes that form during long surfing and kayaking sessions may actually help you hold on to your board or paddle.

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Picture of the Week: Arroyo Sledding

SKI6247Five-year-old William "rides the bump." Photo: Peter Sullivan

We had a dry start to winter here in Santa Fe, but by the time this picture was taken, on December 29, there were four inches of snow most everywhere in town. Just not on this sunny, south-facing arroyo, where Peter Sullivan spent the afternoon with his four boys and their pal, Pippa, inventing a new and somewhat suspect sport: dirt tobogganing. And getting totally filthy in the process.

SAYS PETER: We didn't have any destination. We were just going for a walk on the trails behind the house [where we were staying]. The arroyo is part of the city's green space, and the kids just spontaneously crawled down into it. It's steep enough that it's more of a ravine than an arroyo. At first, they climbed up five feet and slipped down, almost by accident. You could see them thinking, "That was fun!" Then they went up 20 feet and slid down, and kept doing it over and over. The dirt was soft. There was no snow. At one point, Liam scrambled up an outcropping and jumped off. I was like, Oh God.

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