Simple Pleasures

Brook trout water remains a simple pleasure, as do the trout themselves. I could walk the mountain runs of the Alleghenies for days on end with no rod and remain content. Looking and knowing that the magical little fish are there is enough.     I’ve been away too long. Too much pavement, too much […]

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Parable

Life was good in Woods Dale. Springs fed the forested Appalachian valley, emanating from limestone aquifers that lay just a meter or two below the ample duff. Rain visited frequently as well, leaving sodden wood and leaves in its wake, drops falling with metronomic precision from living leaf tips to last year’s withering leaf blanket. […]

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Excursia

It was a near disaster – a blizzard of epic proportions. My little hometown just east of the Pittsburgh metro area was covered in over two inches of snow! There were school cancellations and a lot of grown-ups calling in to work, I’m sure. There hasn’t been a lot of snow this year so two […]

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Rise of the Elk

I think we often underestimate how early environmental devastation came to the eastern states. Around 1800, the Connecticut River had been dammed and one of the inestimable runs of shad and Atlantic Salmon halted. Maine lost most of its evergreens (and hardwoods too) in the early 1800’s. It’s tall pines had gone for ship masts […]

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Utopia in the Marshes (Waters of the United States Rule slips below the surface.)

Well, here it is: the most controversial thing I will write this year. Let’s get on with it.     The response to rescission of the Obama-era Waters of the U.S. rule seems nearly uniform among outdoor and conservation minded individuals, something akin to a scowling Thunberg reprimanding, “How dare you!” Now what stands between […]

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The Land of the Living

I can look around the forest and field of Westmoreland County and I can see environmental devastation. I can see fragmented forest that’s a dim reflection of the primeval Seventeenth Century canopy. I can see bright orange streams, tainted for decades by the arteries of acidic water ruptured during the heyday of deep bituminous coal […]

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Perfect Places

There aren’t any. Let me just get to the point. I don’t know of any perfect places.     The outdoors is what we make of it as we pursue our individual pursuits. If we read writers like Thoreau, Muir and Nessmuk, we come away from that writing with the definite perception that so much […]

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