Tales of the City

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Outside magazine, June 2000

I really enjoyed reading the tree-climbing story, “They’re Not Just for Monkeys Anymore” (March), by Fred Haefele. I can remember spending many summer days in my childhood perching with friends up in the Douglas fir in my backyard. As an adult I haven’t climbed many
trees, but I can’t imagine a bigger thrill than to be tied to some high limbs on a sunny, windy afternoon.

Sam Moss
Portland, Oregon

Your article about climbing old-growth trees was alarming. The question in my mind is not if these rare giants will be damaged, but when—with the 1,000th climber? The 5,000th? These climbers, no matter how much they say they love the trees, come off as just another bunch of selfish people
in search of the latest thrill. And frankly, the last thing I want to see when walking through Joyce Kilmer, John Muir, or any other old-growth grove is people dangling over my head. These folks should exercise some restraint and climb common younger trees.

Tina Scharf
Lincoln, Vermont
Tales of the City
I’ve been running and biking in Houston, Texas, the fourth-largest U.S. city, for the past 15 years, and it was great to read Rebecca Solnit’s description of trekking Vegas (“Leaving Las Vegas,” April). And New Yorker Paul Grand (“I’ll Hike Manhattan,” Dispatches) demonstrates vividly what some of us already know: The greatest ongoing adventure is the city where you live. Thanks for revealing the not-so-pedestrian endeavor of urban adventuring.

Richard Laurence Baron
Houston, Texas

What’s up with Outside? Your April issue contains articles about an adventurous stroll through Manhattan, a dangerous walk through Las Vegas, canoeing the treacherous Bronx River, and more pseudo-adventures of the urban variety. Is this some absurd attempt to appeal to a new demographic? I look forward every month to the day
Outside arrives so I can get a taste of beautiful wild places. I get enough of the city the rest of the month.

Tim Goncharoff
Santa Cruz, California

Everybody’s Gone Surfin’

I read your article “A Cool Breeze and Some Tasty Clear-Cut” (Dispatches, February) about the new SnoDad backcountry surfboard with great interest and called coinventors Curt Buchberger and Steve Dukich to pick their brains. The following Wednesday they pulled up in my
driveway with a new board for me and three demos in tow. We headed up to Schweitzer Mountain, near Sandpoint, Idaho, and away we went. SnoDad rocks the deep pow! Skiers and boarders howled as we surfed the mountain. Curt and Steve, you guys have invented the next rage.

Jerry Higgs
Hayden, Idaho
Toeing the Line
Kudos to Rob Buchanan on his superb, delightful, and insightful piece on resilient surfer-entrepreneur Jeff Hakman (“Mr. Sunset Rides Again,” April). In the spirit of accuracy, however, I must offer this postscript. A “cheater five” is not hanging five toes over the nose of
the board. That is—appropriately—”hanging five.” Sorry, dude, but a cheater five means getting five toes stretched out almost to the tip of the nose, but not quite.

Paul Keller
Rhododendron, Oregon
Wild Bill
My compliments to Ben Soskis for recognizing President Clinton’s efforts to protect the remaining wild areas in our national forests (“Public Property: Keep Out!” Dispatches, March). Facing a Congress determined to shoot down any conservation proposal, the president went straight
to the people. In public-opinion polls, more than three-quarters of Americans say they support his plan to protect our wild-forest heritage. While the leadership in Congress curries favor with the timber and mining industries that profit by ruining our public lands, the vast majority of Americans want to protect these 60 million unspoiled acres—our
favorite places to play outside.

Tanya Tolchin
Sierra Club Wild Forest Protection Campaign Washington, D.C.
Branching Out
After reading your article on Julia “Butterfly” Hill’s 738-day stay in a redwood tree named Luna (“The Butterfly Has Landed,” Dispatches, March), I thought, “Wow, this woman has guts.” Some people commit their lives to their family, others to God, and some to their work. But
Julia has taken commitment a step further. She has not only fought for a cause she strongly believes in, but she has fueled a passion in many others, and by raising national awareness of the destruction of the redwood forests, she has probably saved hundreds more trees.

Meghan Johnston
Dillon, Montana
Make Mine Rare
I would like to thank Linda Genteel (Ear to the Ground, Dispatches, April). After reading how she forced her wolf, Prince Wolfgang, to eat nothing but veggies, I was inspired to force my pet rabbit, Prince Victim, to eat nothing but meat in order to dispel
biologists’ silly theory that rabbits are herbivores. Prince Victim hasn’t touched his meat yet, but I figure by the end of next week it won’t be safe to stick your fingers in his cage.

Mark Veilleux
Torrington, Connecticut

Correspondence may be sent by e-mail ( or addressed to the Letters Editor, Outside, 400 Market St., Santa Fe, NM 87501. Please include your full name and address.

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