Matthew Dickerson: Exploring the rail trail

The bike trip started with seven miles of continuous downhill—and quite a bit more if we’d had the time to continue all the way to St. Johnsbury. But we had to turn around. And that’s what made me a little nervous, because those seven miles of downhill also meant seven miles of continuous uphill to get back to the car, which is where we were hoping to be before the thunderstorm hit.My wife, Deborah, and I had been wanting to bike the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail (LVRT) for some time. We’d driven past the east … (read more)

Matthew Dickerson: The success and/or failure of a father-in-law

I have a confession. Although all three of my sons have gone on fishing trips with me from time to time, none is especially interested in fly fishing. If I bring one of them with me somewhere wild and beautiful — a national park in Alaska or Wyoming, for … (read more)

Matthew Dickerson: Alaskan rivers and first fish on flies

Neither Kira nor Tuesday had ever been fly fishing before. But there they were in Alaska taking a three-week environmental writing class taught by my friend David O’Hara (from South Dakota’s Augustana University). And there I was, helping teach the class. … (read more)

Matthew Dickerson: Four days on the Snake River: Part 3

3rd in a series; read the previous installments here.Morning light creeps into Hell’s Canyon, carving the hillsides with light and shadow in just a few minutes as neatly as the water has been carving it for millennia. I look up the slopes for a glimpse of … (read more)

Matthew Dickerson: Four days on the Snake River: Part 2

2nd in a series. Read the first installment here.It’s the third morning of our four-day float trip with ROW Adventures down the Snake River along the Idaho-Oregon border. My wife Deborah and I sit in the shade of one of the rare clusters of trees near the … (read more)

Matthew Dickerson: Four days rafting Snake River, Part 1

Hell’s Canyon. With 8,000 feet of elevation difference between river level and the highest peaks of the enclosing ridgelines, it’s the deepest river gorge in North America — even deeper (and wider at the brim) than the Grand Canyon. It’s also the terminus … (read more)

Many Vermont lake trout are born in a hatchery

SALISBURY — There have been occasional years when, for one reason or another, I didn’t make it down to the fish hatchery off Route 53 in Salisbury. But I try to make it an annual pilgrimage.The hatchery, more accurately known as a “fish culture station” a … (read more)

Matthew Dickerson: Big boat, small lake

It’s the day before my birthday. I stand on the bow of my brother’s new boat. Since he moved from Alaska back to coastal Maine a few years ago, he’s been looking for a motorboat for Casco Bay. Something he and his wife could use to hop among the bay’s num … (read more)

Matthew Dickerson: The dangers of virtual meetings and travel to remote places

It was two years ago this month that the Outdoor Writers Association of America had its most recent in-person conference. We gathered in Little Rock, Ark., in a hotel on the banks of a flooded Arkansas River. I met representatives of tourist bureaus from … (read more)

Matthew Dickerson: With a sense of wonder

My wife and I got out canoeing this week for the first time this year. We made our way onto Bristol Pond (a.k.a. Winona Lake) with our canoe, two paddles, two life jackets, one water bottle, a cell phone camera, a slathering of sunscreen (already applied) … (read more)

Matthew Dickerson: The naming of fish and birds

Identifying and naming creatures. It started many years ago for me with species of trout, but it has since spread — to birds, to trees, to flowers, and even to insects. Not that I’m particularly good at it. Several years ago I was selected as artist-in-re … (read more)

Matthew Dickerson: Signs of trout abound

I took my dog for a short walk this afternoon. As I circled back through the woods into my yard from the opposite side, a small patch of vibrant yellow drew my attention. The first two dandelions of the spring had popped up and were on full display. Direc … (read more)

Matthew Dickerson: Connecting through, and being shaped by, the outdoors

Over the past few months, I’ve had the delight of getting to know a long-lost cousin. The reacquaintance has taken place by Zoom. It’s been virtual not only because of the pandemic, but also because my cousin lives in the Vancouver area, which happens to … (read more)

Matthew Dickerson: Our climate through the lens of one outdoor sportsman

I’d seen signs of it for years. One Christmas morning early this millennium when our kids were young, we arrived at the family cabin in Maine for our annual gathering with relatives to find that the lake had not yet frozen over. That being the first time … (read more)

Matthew Dickerson: Fishing porn and the year that wasn’t

My good friend David O’Hara introduced me to the term “fish porn.” At the time, we were collaborating on our 2014 book “Downstream: Reflections on Brook Trout, Fly Fishing, and the Waters of Appalachia” (Cascade Books). Contrary to what some might imagine … (read more)

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