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Dispatches : Exploration

Giro Donne Day 4: Ca' Tiepolo di Porto Tolle to Rosolina Mare

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Biking is tiring in a really satisfying way. Hammer all day on a bike and you'll feel fulfilled and ready for food and rest. Driving in a car for four hours after hammering all day is brutal. Packed into the backseat with your teammates, your feet swell and even if you sleep you're not rested.

Like the athletes who do the Giro Donne, we packed into the Renault—with three in the back and two up front, and we drove south into the heat. It was midnight before we got to bed and yet we left the next morning at 7 a.m. to drive another four to five hours to the start of our Stage 4, the 2007 Stage 2, from Ca' Tiepolo di Porto Tolle to Rosolina Mare.

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Alite’s Gear Lending Library Gives Urbanites an Outdoor Education

Tae_rangerstation Alite Designs cofounder Tae Kim at the Ranger Station library. Photo: Mary Catherine O'Connor

Tae Kim grew up in Anchorage, Alaska, where, he says, “your crazy uncle teaches you how to go camping.” (His crazy uncle really did teach him how to go camping.) But in the lower 48, he found the concept of “the outdoors” much less accessible to people. Looking at most outdoor gear company offerings, you’d think the only way to go outside is to go huck a cliff, or climb a mountain, to take on a major expedition.

After a six-year stint as design director at The North Face, Kim co-founded Alite Designs in 2008. Specializing in packs, tents and camping accessories, San Francisco-based Alite targets young, hip, urban consumers who want to spend more time outside but don’t really know how to get out there.

“Tents are a huge hurdle for people to go out and buy,” he says, and what’s the point in buying a tent if you’re not sure you’ll use it more than once? “Our whole mission is to get people outside, especially young people. We want to make sure they’re not scared or inadequately equipped. A lot of these people grew up in suburbia and moved to the city and never really spent time outside,” he says.

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Opening the Wilderness: Does a New Hunting Bill Put Parks in Danger?

Shutterstock_Kalakutskiy MikhailPhoto: Kalakutskiy Mikhail/Shutterstock

This fall, Hal Herring plans to go backcountry hunting with his son near his Montana home. If they both take an elk, they'll be able to provide the family with enough meat for the following year. But should House bill 4089 pass into law, he's worried that such a hunting trip could be jeopardized. Somewhat ironically, H.R. 4089, the Sportsmen's Heritage Act, is described as pro-hunting legislation.

The bill, which has passed through the House and is awaiting a vote in the Senate, uses language that its opponents—which include wilderness advocates, conservationists and some hunting groups—believe could lead to motorized vehicles being allowed into protected wilderness areas. Other parts of the bill would open the door to hunting and shooting in national parks system lands that currently ban those activities. The bill would also require state approval before the president could declare any new national monument, a move that punches a hole in the Antiquities Act—a legislative tool that has been used to protect many important areas in the past, including the Grand Canyon. 

Road to Ruin?
If the roadless areas in which Herring hunts were open to motorized access the game would be more scarce and the regulations and limits around access would likely become more onerous, he says.

"We need to cease and desist this endless attack on roadless areas and wilderness by people who have no idea what they're talking about," says Herring, who, aside from being an avid hunter and angler, is a journalist. "We already have millions of acres on which to cavort on ATVs. Road access into wilderness means more regulated hunting."

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Expedition Watch: The Shackleton Epic

James-caird-in-surfJames Caird in surf. Photo: Frank Hurley

In 1916, after losing his boat The Endurance on an expedition to Antarctica, Ernest Shackleton and five crew members hopped in a row boat named the James Caird and set off on an 800-mile journey from Elephant Island, Antarctica, to South Georgia Island. He left behind 22 crew members in his last ditch effort at survival. Shackleton and co. spent 17 days at sea in the 23-foot wooden boat before landing on South Georgia. Then, Shackleton and two men crossed miles of mountainous terrain to get to a whaling station. After arriving and getting a boat, he returned to Elephant Island on his fourth attempt and rescued the rest of his crew. "It is perhaps the greatest survival journey of all," says Tim Jarvis.

Jarvis is a 46-year-old Australian/Briton who hopes to recreate Shackleton's double using only period gear. He's created a replica boat, gathered replica clothing, and assembled a core of salty cohorts. The only modern equipment he'll bring will be emergency rescue gear. Here's the kicker: He's still looking for few more good men and women to join him—via the Internet. This actually isn't so far off from what some believe Shackleton did to find crew for his expeditions—he allegedly used newspaper classifieds. If you want to join, read on for details of the journey and what Jarvis wants in a crewmate.

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Telluride MountainFilm Festival Kicks Off: 6 Must-See Movies

HomeMTF06-main st bannerNo better place to be on Memorial Day weekend. Photo: MountainFilm

Telluride MountainFilm Festival kicks off today— always one of the best reasons to decamp to this gorgeous box canyon in southern Colorado’s San Juan Mountains. The schedule’s packed with outdoor screenings, panel discussions, power breakfasts with a who’s-who of adventure icons, and a Memorial Day wrap-up picnic. (Not to mention some of the most inspiring environmental, cultural and action flicks of the year, including heart-thumping footage from the usual suspects: Dean Potter, Andy Lewis, aka, “Sketchy Andy," and Jimmy Chin.)

But adrenaline’s not the only thing on the agenda. Mountainfilm gives lots of love to quieter—though no less aspirational—outdoor pursuits, from a guy who lives his life on his bike to a backcountry nursery school in Scotland to the story of teenage girl ski jumpers and youth activists who are suing the government for global warming and the kid-friendly animated eco-shorts “Do Unto Otter” and “Hi! I’m a Nutria.” Here are our top five picks for the must-see sleepers of the long weekend:

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