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True-or-false Games quiz

Posted on March 11, 2010 |
By Matt Dickerson



In honor of outdoor sports, our home state of Vermont, the recently completed winter Olympics and National Public Radio’s “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me” (hosted by Peter Segal and Carl Kassell) — and by demand of my reading public — I present yet another edition of my own sporadically offered quiz column. Last time, I offered a collection of strange outdoor products guaranteed to improve your hunting, fishing or camping experience. Contestants had to determine which one of them was false.

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Sports column: Thinking of the outside

Posted on February 18, 2010 |
By Matt Dickerson



We were at the top of the ridge. We’d been going steadily uphill for nearly an hour, winding our way up the slope heading north and east. Finally, we cut through a familiar pass between two hilltops, and were ready to start our descent.

Cross-country ski conditions weren’t great on the ascent, but they were okay: better than we’d expected. At the bottom of the mountain, where we live, the open meadows and farm fields were largely barren of snow. What little was left after the meltdown in January had gradually disappeared until only the woods still held white ground cover.

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Five ways to enjoy Vermont this year

Posted on February 4, 2010 |
By Matt Dickerson



Today’s column is brought to you by the number 5. Here are 5 things to do outdoors in 2010, and 5 ways you can do them.

ONE: Hike one of Vermont’s 4,000-foot peaks. There are five of them.

In increasing order of height, and starting closest to home, Mt. Abraham is 4,006 feet in elevation at the summit. It is not only the lowest 4,000-footer, but also the shortest to climb, with the Lincoln Gap trailhead starting already at 2,424 feet, leaving a vertical climb of 1,600 feet (counting the ups and downs) over 5.2 miles.

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On enjoying what's at hand

Posted on January 21, 2010 |
By Matt Dickerson



This decade began with snow as nice as anything Addison County has enjoyed in the past few years. (I’m speaking, of course, to those like me who enjoy the white stuff.) We had such deep, light, fluffy covering that it was difficult for my wife and I not just to walk out into the woods every morning on our snowshoes, no matter how much work was beckoning to us.

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New fishing gadgets arrive in new decade

Posted on January 7, 2010 |
By Matt Dickerson



One of my favorite NPR shows is “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me.” Hosted by Peter Sagal, it airs locally on VPR Saturday mornings from 11 a.m. to noon. One segment on this quiz show challenges contestants to distinguish between the real and the phony: actual news stories vs. made-up “news.” products on the market vs. imagined products, etc.

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A Season for what?

Posted on December 23, 2009 |
By Matt Dickerson



In my previous column I made light of the human propensity to whine — a trait at least as common among outdoor enthusiasts as in the general population. And November and December are especially good months for complaining. For one thing, it is the season for steelhead fishing and duck hunting. Of all hunting and fishing sports, these may be the two that inflict the most suffering, and thus also engender the greatest level of stoic pride among participants.

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Enjoying the conditions (afterwards)

Posted on December 10, 2009 |
By Matt Dickerson



Hunters and anglers are, in many ways, like normal people. Which is to say, we like to boast. Normal people who have hunters or anglers for acquaintances understand, and sometimes accept, that. The misconception that normal people have about hunters and anglers pertains not to whether or we are given to boasting, but to the nature of that boasting.

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It's important to remember to be grateful

Posted on November 26, 2009 |
By Matt Dickerson



When you take something for granted, you often lose it.

History and personal experience have shown this to be true of much, if not all, that is important. It is true not only of our possessions, but also of our relationships; health; traditions (including hunting, fishing and other outdoor traditions); clean soil, water, and air; wilderness (and more broadly the beauty and availability of those spaces where we engage in our most cherished outdoor activities); freedom (of all types); and the very food that will tastefully (and abundantly) adorn our tables this Thursday.

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Just what is a sport?

Posted on November 12, 2009 |
By Matt Dickerson



Just what is a “sport” anyway? I was reminded of that age-old question two weeks ago. I wrote my “outdoor sports column” on deep woods raking. But my editor, alertly recognizing that raking isn’t actually a sport, moved me out of the sports section into the “Clippings” section.

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Clippings: There's no place like the home lawn

Posted on November 5, 2009 |
By Matt Dickerson



A friend was recently in town for a visit. He’d just returned from 20 months with the Peace Corps on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia. Before that he’d been a student at Middlebury College. And before that, he’d grown up in Kansas. Now the trees in St. Lucia don’t have a season for shedding leaves. College students are not required to do lawn care. And Kansas doesn’t have many trees — just prairies, yellow brick roads, and ’70s rock bands.

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