Malee Baker Oot

Malee is a freelance writer, outdoor enthusiast, and overzealous amateur photographer. She currently lives just outside Washington, DC with her sassy coonhound Baby Ruth.

5 Best Hikes for Fall to Enjoy the Burst of Autumn Colors

America’s national parks are especially spectacular in the fall. Summer crowds have thinned at many parks, and the cooler weather is ideal for hiking. And, as the days get shorter and temperatures drop, forests from the Rockies to the Great Smoky Mountains burst into a spectacular collage of color, in preparation for winter. Here are just a few of the best hikes for fall so you can admire the dazzling seasonal transition in America’s national parks. At the end of the summer, the beefy ungulates

The 6 Best Dog Backpacks for Hiking and Beyond

Hikes are always better with a dog. And, some pups are even willing to carry their own load, whether it is water and snacks for a day hike or food and bedding for a multi-day adventure. While not every pup is up for hauling a stash on a hike, fortunately, there are plenty of dogs who are up for the challenge – and for outdoorsy hounds, there are a variety of backpacks that offer a blend of durability and comfort. Planning a hike with your dog? Here are the best dog backpacks for you next hiking

9 Longest Hiking Trails in the World You Must Visit

There’s just something about long trails. Beyond the mileage and the physical component, distance trails require a different type of commitment and mindset—almost a lifestyle. And worldwide, the planet’s long trails also provide an intimate glimpse of some of the most fascinating and far-flung places on earth. From the Alps to the Appalachians, here are a few of the longest hiking trails on the planet. (And be sure to read up on how to prepare for a long distance hike if you plan to travel to th

How to Hike with a Dog: 6 Tips for Hikers to Keep in Mind

Dogs are almost always up for an adventure – and they can be the best hiking buddies for many outdoor adventurers. Most pups love nothing better than exploring a scent-laden trail – and expanding their horizons. Besides just burning energy, a hike can be an enriching way to spend time bonding with your dog and to practice training. Best of all, dogs almost never complain. Before hitting the trail with your four-legged adventure sidekick, there are a few things to consider to be sure your dog st

How to Clean a Tent After Camping in It

Sometimes, adventures get messy – and even the toughest gear needs a little freshening up. Plus, cleaning off the grit and grime that gathers on your tent after time outdoors will extend both the longevity and weather-resistance of your outdoor abode. You don’t want to jeopardize the quality of your best tent. Not to mention, it’s always measurably better for morale to begin a backcountry campout with a clean tent. Below we answer all the questions on how to clean your tent thoroughly and how of

The 5 Best Beaches for Camping Like a Castaway in 2021

Discovering a private stretch of beach is like stumbling on a slice of paradise. And, one of the best ways to seek out your own swath of shoreline is with a beach camping trip. Offering a chance to spy migrating marine creatures, catch epic sunrises, and fall asleep to the sound of the tide, a beach campout makes for an idyllic getaway any time of year. In the south, ocean temperatures are still warm enough for swimming well into the fall, and beaches situated along the Atlantic Flyway offer the

10 Tips for Staying Warm in Your Tent in Cold Weather

Being cold conspicuously changes the dynamic of a camping trip. Sometimes you can plan ahead for chilly temperatures, but other times, extreme weather can creep up on you, especially on longer expeditions. Fortunately, there are ways to stay warm in your tent, despite the icy weather. Here are just a few handy hacks to help make frigid nights in the backcountry a little more comfortable. First things first, just like with any other outdoor adventure, get an idea of what you’re getting into on y

Night Hiking 101: How to Hike in the Dark

Hitting the trail after sunset might seem counterintuitive, but there are plenty of reasons to take a moonlit trek. A night hike can be a uniquely engaging sensory experience, making even the most familiar trail feel like a novel exploration. And, hiking beneath starry skies provides plenty of opportunities to admire the cosmos and perfect your night photography skills. In the wilderness, there’s also a good chance you will encounter nocturnal or crepuscular critters, like dive-bombing bats, bro

The 10 Best National Forests to Visit in America

America’s National Forest system stretches over 193 million acres, including 154 protected forests and grasslands spread over 43 different states and Puerto Rico. But, with 158,000 miles of trails, along with more than 36.6 million acres of federally designated wilderness, there’s a lot out there to explore. For starters, here’s a shortlist of some of the country’s most stunning national forests. Just south of Glacier National Park, Montana’s 2.4-million-acre Flathead National Forest extends ov

Best Backpacking Trips for Adventurers To Take at Least Once

For many backpackers, America’s Triple Crown of Hiking – a title bestowed for completing the Appalachian Trail, the Continental Divide Trail, and the Pacific Crest Trail – is a life-list aspiration. But, beyond the country’s legendary long trails, there are plenty of other iconic treks. From the glacial peaks of the Cascades to the thickly forested foothills of the southern Appalachian Mountains, here’s are a few of the country’s most spectacular backpacking trips. Threading a rugged stretch of

Backpacking Guide: How to Backpack in 2021

Heading out into the wilderness with just a backpack is an unforgettable way to spend time outdoors. A backcountry expedition offers the opportunity to unplug from technology and unwind from the daily grind while providing the chance to admire jaw-dropping natural wonders, have intimate encounters with wildlife, and seek out epic stargazing spots. But, even for seasoned car-campers, making the leap to backpacking is a still big step. When you’re ready, here’s how to plan your first backcountry g

A road trip in West Virginia’s Monongahela National Forest

Soaring above the North Fork of the Potomac River’s South Branch, the 900-foot Tuscarora quartzite formation known as Seneca Rocks is an exceptionally photogenic natural landmark sculpted by more than 440 years of geological processes. The formation’s interior pinnacle, known as the Gendarme, toppled in 1987, and today, the crag includes both a north and a south peak. The first recorded ascents of the vertiginous crag began in the 1930s, although a climbing party that scaled the massif in 1939 d

Six National Wildlife Refuges to Kayak this Summer

Preserving precious patches of habitat across the country, America’s national wildlife refuges are hubs of biodiversity and havens for native wildlife. In the Southeast, more than 85 different national wildlife refuges provide sanctuary for endangered and imperiled species, including red wolves, loggerhead sea turtles, and red-cockaded woodpeckers. For recreational paddlers, the region’s refuges offer an abundance of extraordinary waterways to explore. Just west of the beaches of the Outer Bank

How to Tackle Your First Solo Hike

Hiking buddies are great and all, but solo trekking might be even better. Hiking alone offers the chance to unplug and savor a bit of solitude. It allows you to set your own pace. It can even lead to memorable encounters with reclusive wildlife. Hitting the trail alone also provides an opportunity to test your mettle and build confidence. Of course, heading out into the wilderness alone also inevitably involves greater inherent risk. But with the proper planning and preparation, a solo hike c
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