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Archive for the ‘Outdoor Web’ Category

Photo Contests

April 21, 2010 Leave a comment

For all of the photo and film fans out there, it’s a great time to get inspired.

Trailspace blog just completed it’s first ever member photo contest.  There were 227 entries and the winners are nothing but spectacular.

"Freeze" by Scott McWatty, the Grand Prize winner and first place in the Nature and Wildlife category. Courtesy of trailspace.com.

The inspiring thing is that these are just people who are interested in wildlife photography, like you and me.  As Scott, the featured photographer above, said, “I’ve basically self taught myself through a lot of trial and error and help from several generous souls on some online photography forums.”

There are contests like this on the local level too.

Right now the Morgantown Adventure Photo and Film Festival (MAPFF) is in full swing.

Dozens of photos are on display at Black Bear Burritos in downtown Morgantown where you can vote on your favorite photo and help choose the 2010 winner.

The film portion of the festival will be held tomorrow, April 22nd, at the Warner Theater just up the road.

So come down and support local artists and hobbyists like yourself!

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Used Gear Sale at Adventure’s Edge

April 15, 2010 Leave a comment

Are your closets filled with old gear that has somehow accumulated over the years?  I know mine are.

But don’t despair!  Adventure’s Edge in Morgantown, WV will sell your gear for you (if there is anyone out there that is still willing to buy those old boots).

The sale is on Saturday the 17th so try to drop your gear off soon.  Different payment options are available – just ask when you come by or call (304) 296-9007.

For those of you whose closets are empty, now is the perfect chance to fill them up.  There are usually tents, snowboards, skis, clothes, backpacks and even kayaks.  It’s definitely worth checking out if you are in the area.

More posts to follow soon with pictures from this weekend.

Let’s Get Real

March 8, 2010 Leave a comment

Last Wednesday, a body was found of a 41 year-old man, Richard Code, who attempted surviving in the Ontario wilderness with minimal supplies.  He apparently planned to use the information he had learned from the popular Discovery Channel show, Survivorman, to make it through the trip.

He left behind GPS coordinates with his landlady who reported his absence after he did not return on the expected date.

A lot of people will undoubtedly blame Les Stroud, the host of Survivorman, for misinforming and misleading Code and the public but is that a fair reaction?

In a world that prefers reality shows to reality, it is not surprising that there is a breakdown between the two.  Unfortunately in this case, instead of spray tans and gelled hair from the Jersey Shore, Code was dealing with a legitimate life and death situation.

I believe that Stroud has been responsible throughout the making of his show and has given the audience adequate warning that, while his show is entertaining, the act of surviving in the wild is not.

I see Survivorman as more of a survival brochure than a resource.  In a brochure you can read what is expected in a survival situation, but you don’t actually gain any concrete knowledge or, more importantly, experience.

Instead of using Stroud as a scapegoat in this situation, maybe we should realize that television does not and will not replace years of education and experience gained in the outdoors.  As a society, we need to start using television for what it really is – entertainment not reality.

Outdoor Education

March 4, 2010 Leave a comment

I wanted to share a post I saw on the Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine editor’s blog.  It’s all about kids and the outdoors.

A short synopsis – Will Harlan, an editor at BRO, went to an Asheville, NC middle school to talk to some of the kids about the outdoors.  He also asked the kids to write down their most memorable outdoor experience and published these on his blog.

Here are some of the best…

  • “My favorite outdoor moment was when I was at cross country practice and we went running in the rain.”
  • “The beach is fun. I like jumping through the waves. I also like getting sand stuck to my skin after I’m wet. Fish are friends not food.”
  • “When I went caving, we had to walk through big puddles. We also saw some bats that were close enough to pet.”
  • “The reason I like the outdoors is anything outside. You can’t do as much inside like for example you cannot play football inside your house but you can play outside.”

The one thing that I noticed about most of the entries is that they were extremely positive and enthusiastic.  Basically, they remember their experiences better when they are happening outside.

Most of these students speak about the outdoors like they want to go back which, I think, solidifies the importance of outdoor education.

I wish I could have been exposed to the outdoors more in school.  Think about the opportunities – physical education, all kinds of natural science, literature possibilities, and the list goes on.

Why aren’t we encouraging the children of America to explore their surroundings more?  Let’s not throw out the classroom model, but let’s not limit the classroom to a school.

Best places to backpack around Morgantown

February 9, 2010 Leave a comment

Today I’m going to highlight some of my favorite spots to go backpacking in the surrounding area.  They aren’t exactly secrets but after many years of exploring the region, these three spots stand out as some of the best.

First, we’ll stay close to Morgantown.  The Quebec Run Wild Area is only about 20-30 minutes away from town making it perfect for a quick overnight trip.  Since I get off work around 7:30 or so, Quebec Run usually is my “go to” spot for after work trips.

The nice thing about this area is the quiet.  There aren’t any huge vistas or overlooks but that is probably what makes QR special.

You don’t have to fight the crowds or fight for a campsite.  The creek is easy to cross but strong enough to swim in and of course accessibility is extremely easy.  The biggest drawback is that the area is popular for hunters so make sure you wear your blaze orange in hunting season.

Dolly Sods is one of the most unique wildernesses in the east, let alone in West Virginia.  Shaped by ancient glaciers and Red Creek (even though it’s pretty close to a river), DS has amazing views and unusual plants and animals.

Head up Red Creek towards the popular “Forks” area for an easy, low difficulty hike or try to make it to Lion’s Head overlook for more of a challenge.  Just be sure to keep your eyes open for unexploded WWII ordinance that still may be hiding in the forest (unlikely but, hey, who knows).

Lastly, Spruce Knob, the highest point in West Virginia, also provides some of the best opportunities for backpacking.

Just drive to the overlook area, park, and head down Huckleberry Trail towards Seneca Creek.  Once you’ve made it to the creek, get ready to enjoy yourself in the Judy Springs area (there’s actually a spring) or head downstream to find some quieter campsites (and an awesome waterfall).

The biggest drawback about the Seneca Creek area is its popularity.  Overuse can be a problem around Judy Springs because of easy access so bring an extra trash bag and help clean up some of the mess (and your own).

Unfortunately, the Seneca Creek area is also threatened by our thirst for fossil fuels.  Let’s hope it doesn’t end up on the list of places I used to enjoy most.

Surfing the interwebs

February 1, 2010 Leave a comment

I just thought I’d highlight two of my favorite local outdoor websites today.  Like I’ve said before, the outdoor opportunities are countless in our region but they can sometimes be hard to find.

Many of the local areas are only passed along by word of mouth and there are a lot on private land with restricted access.  Even so, there are plenty of other places to get lost in across the West Virginia and the surrounding states.

The first website I’m going to talk about is “Morgantown DIY Outdoors.”

With a nice, navigable layout, this website caters to anyone who wants to head outside.  You can choose areas from a map or choose what kind of activity you’d like to do (and there are plenty).

Once you choose your desired location, there are usually directions, descriptions, travel times and contact information.  Every once in a while you can even print off a map of the area.

This website was constructed by the Outdoor Recreation Center at West Virginia University so don’t be surprised at the WVU theme.

The next site I’ll highlight is simply called the “HikeSite.” Originally designed just to give information about the Dolly Sods area, HS has now expanded to include North Fork Mountain, Spruce Knob, Seneca Rocks and the Roaring Plains area.

The best part about this site is the interactive map of Dolly Sods.  The map includes pictures that are linked with locations throughout the wilderness area.

Both of these sources are a good starting point to plan your next trip but make sure you talk with someone who knows the area too.  First hand opinions always reveal more than maps.

If you have any other sites you think fit into the same category, let me know!