Hiking Pennsylvania: The Pinnacle and Pulpit Rock via the Appalachian Trail

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Spotting the blazes can be tough on this trail!
Winter is less than a month away, and one of my favorite Philadelphia-area hikes is perfect no matter the season - the Pinnacle and Pulpit Rock via the Appalachian Trail.

It's long, but not too long, hilly, but not too steep, and boasts some of the best views in the area if you're willing to make the trip. It’s a must-do hike if you’re a local or if you’re planning a visit to the area.

Getting to the Trailhead 

The Pinnacle and Pulpit Rock trailhead is accessible via Reservoir Road  in Hamburg, Pennsylvania. I can get away with typing the road and city names into Google Maps to get there, given the number of times I've done the drive, but plugging "40.58213, -75.94299" into your GPS will get you within the vicinity of the trailhead parking lot.

Once you're on Reservoir Road, follow it until until you see a yellow gate. The parking lot will be on your left and a water treatment facility will be on your right.

A Food Lover's Foray into Drinkable Meals: Ambronite Supermeal Review, Giveaway, and Discount Code

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Scroll down for your chance to win
some Ambronite to try for yourself!
Imagine you're running between meetings at work and don't have time to stop for lunch. Or, you're heading out on the trail and need a solid meal, but don't want your stomach stuffed with food while you're hiking. Better yet, you're back from a long trip in need of dinner and all you have in the house is snack food you can't make a meal out of.

Any of this sound familiar? These are all situations I've found myself in over the past few weeks. As a staunch proponent of not buying into hype about meal replacement shakes and the like, I was skeptical when the opportunity to give drinkable supermeal Ambronite surfaced. Why would I add water to a powdered mix and call that lunch or dinner when I could prepare a full meal with adequate nutrition myself?

When I'm running between meetings, I'm likely to grab a snacks to tide me over. If I'm on the trail, I'll nosh on jerky or trail mix for lunch. When I'm back from a trip with no food in the house, I'll either order takeout or make whatever's easiest. None of these quick fix options pack the nutritional punch I need during meal time, including essential vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients.

Backpacking New York: Gourmet Dining at Echo Lake and Exploring Overlook Mountain in the Catskills

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The trail up from Echo Lake, bathed in autumn leaves.
My typical backpacking methodology involves careful gear and food selection to ensure I carry as little as possible. I'm successful if I come home having eaten every bit of food and worn ever piece of clothing I brought. No ounce is wasted. On a recent trip, we threw that methodology right out the window.

Have you ever looked at a packing list for a backpacking trip and thought, man, this is completely nuts?

My partner in crime picked Echo Lake within the Indian Head Wilderness as the destination for a dual birthday weekend celebration. Given the hike in is just under four miles, rather than conserving weight to move quickly and cover mileage, the goal was to get to the lake, set up camp, and eat and drink like kings and queens all weekend. And that's exactly what we did.

Hiking to the Overlook Mountain House and Echo Lake

The trail to Echo Lake begins at a parking lot up steep, winding Meads Mountain Road across from Karma Triyana Dharmachakra in Woodstock, New York. This is the best map I've found for the area. Though there was plenty of parking when we arrived mid-morning on a Friday, the lot is usually overflowing on weekends.

Hypothermia 101: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention

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Managing your body temperature with layers goes
a long way when it comes to hypothermia prevention.
When it comes to staying safe while enjoying your favorite activities in cold weather, preparedness
and knowledge are some of the best tools you can take with you on your adventures. Aside from having the right gear and knowing how to use it, knowing how to prevent, diagnose, and treat basic ailments you're more likely to face in cooler temperatures can be a life-saver.

While planning a cold weather backpacking trip, I got to chatting with my partner in crime, who happens to be a paramedic, about one of the most common cold weather-related injuries - hypothermia.

Spending a day hiking on a windy, exposed ridge in the snow? Sweating through your layers when it's chilly out without a dry set to change into? Accidentally falling in a creek midway through an overnight backpacking trip in the winter? You're at risk.

Before you head outdoors in the cold, make sure you know what someone who's hypothermic looks like, the ailment's cause, and how to prevent anyone in your party from being afflicted with it.

Why Bicycle Adventures, Joe's Bike Shop, and Others are Closing on Black Friday, and How You Can #OptOutside

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Last month, outdoor retailer REI announced that all of the company's 143 retail stores will close on Black Friday this year.

Instead of making a push to increase sales on one of the biggest shopping days of the year, one of the biggest companies in the industry is encouraging folks to avoid being a part of the consumerist frenzy and spend time outdoors.

For some, Black Friday shopping is a tradition. This year, some companies will join REI in hoping to start a new one. Using the hashtag #OptOutside, REI is encouraging people to share their plans for spending time outside instead of their plans to spend time shopping. REI is also paying nearly all of their 1,200 employees to take the day off (source).