Adventure-Inspired and Cairn Partner for a "What's in the Box" Monthly Highlight Reel

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September's Cairn box, which I wrote about on Cairn's blog
as part of the new partnership! (Photo courtesy of Cairn.)
Monthly subscription boxes are all the rage these days, and it's easy to see why.

Companies like Birchbox, FlickerboxBarkBox, and Love with Food capitalize on consumers' desire to try products in categories they're interested in, and deliver those products in neat little packages every month. It's a win-win; subscribers get goodies in the mail and companies have the chance to get their product in the hands of people who are likely to enjoy them, even buy them.

After receiving birthday gift subscriptions to Birchbox, Flickerbox, Craft Coffee (highly recommended) and a few others last year, I lamented at the absence of a subscription box specifically aimed at outdoorsy gear lovers. Oregon-based entrepreneur Rob Little noticed the same hole in the subscription box industry, and through the Bend Outdoor Worx outdoor industry startup incubator, he's working to fill that void with a subscription service called Cairn.

Trip Report: Hiking in the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge and the Case for Exploring Close to Home

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Along the west side of the impoundment, a large body of water
in the middle of the refuge.
Ever found yourself passing up chances to visit a close-to-home outdoor destination because it was just that - close to home? 

As a weekend warrior, you can bet I'll pick a day hike or backpacking trail it takes some work to get to because I prefer to visit harder-to-reach destinations when I have the time. It seems intuitive; why spend a weekend at a park half an hour away when I could get deeper into the woods if I saddle up for a longer drive?

Though I prefer seeking more remote locations when I can, there something to be said for giving every outdoor spot a fair shot at making it into my schedule. When I found myself with a free weekday, I opted to visit a destination I'd put off going to because it's exactly 20 minutes from where I live in Philadelphia. Though I didn't find wilderness and didn't expect to, I found exactly what I was hoping for the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) at Tinicum

Gear Review: Six Summer Outdoor Gear and Apparel Favorites by Columbia, Hydroflask, SealLine and More

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In a few short days, summer will officially come to an end. Though I'll miss the long days and late sunsets, I'm eager to welcome autumn with open arms. Soon, it'll be time for hot apple cider and apple picking, the leaves will do what they do in a spectacular fashion here on the east coast, and soon after, it'll be ski season. But I can't say a fair adieu to summer without paying homage to some seriously spectacular pieces of gear and apparel I took adventuring with me this summer.




Trip Report: Ghost Towns, Rattlesnakes, and Downpours - 27 Miles in Two Days on Pennsylvania's Old Loggers Path

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Six hours into the hike on day one! (T. Harrison)
Ever planned a trip you thought might be a little ambitious? Yeah? Me too.

Prior to a Labor Day Weekend adventure on Old Loggers Path, the longest I remember hiking in one day is around ten miles. When my hiking partner and I agreed to tackle the 27.1 mile loop in two days, our itinerary called for 17 miles on our first day and ten on the second. We knew it would be difficult, but given the elevation profile and the fact that it follows existing graded logging trails in a number of areas, we agreed it was both doable and an exciting challenge for both of us.

We read there were well-established car camping sites at the trailhead in Masten, a ghost town and abandoned logging camp. We drove straight there, bypassing campgrounds at nearby Ricketts Glen and Worlds End State Parks because honestly, who doesn't want to sleep in a ghost town? Though most of the drive was on well-maintained roads, a significant portion at the end, including a detour around a road that was out, took us on unpaved state forest roads.

Gear Review: Scarpa Ignite Women's Trail Shoes

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What happens when you combine the protection and stability of a traditional running shoe design with a women's-specific design and a bit of ingenuity? You get Scarpa's Ignite trail shoes - a balanced, comfortable pair of kicks made for outdoorsy ladies who like to hit the trails. I took my pair out on trails in Delaware’s White Clay Creek State Park, Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area in Maryland, around the streets of Philadelphia, and mountain biking to see how they held up. Trails were mostly dry with some wet, muddy spots, as is usually the case around here in the spring and summer - perfect testing grounds.

The Ignites run true to size; the size ten fit my feet like gloves. There’s plenty of room for your forefoot to move around, but I didn’t have to crank on the laces to get them just right for my narrower feet. My feet didn’t budge inside them and I didn’t notice any sore or irritating spots. The lacing system is standard, and the laces didn’t slip at all.