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Home soil advantage

Posted on May 6, 2010 |
By Matt Dickerson



Our house sits in the woods. In front, across our driveway, we have a small open space where we have a garden and a few fruit trees. Off to the side is a partially shaded, overgrown, unproductive blackberry patch. Most of our land, however, is wooded. We have trees nearly touching our walls on three sides.

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Tying on with grandfather

Posted on April 22, 2010 |
By Matt Dickerson



One of my life’s regrets is this: When I was young and foolish — which is to say, before I became middle-aged and foolish — my father offered me a fly-tying tool kit that once belonged to my great-grandfather.

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It can't come soon enough

Posted on April 8, 2010 |
By Matt Dickerson



Opening day of fishing season can’t get here soon enough.

To some degree, that statement is always true. At least emotionally. It’s not too long after the Vermont fishing season closes at the end of October before I’m beginning to miss the sport. Some time around February, maybe even late January, I start actively longing to get out on the water, to stand in a moving river with a fly rod in my hand.

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Paper chase marks start of trout season

Posted on March 25, 2010 |
By Matt Dickerson



With all respect due to the aficionados of the quadrennial FIFA World Cup Football tournament, the Olympics (there is already discussion about the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia), or the upcoming opening day of the Major League Baseball season, there may be no event or season as eagerly anticipated by a small but rabid collection of Vermonters as the start of the fishing seasons.

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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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