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 Cash.

America’s national parks are hit harder by climate change than the rest of the country

Driving glacial retreat, sea-level rise, and loss of forest diversity, global climate change is already affecting ecosystems across America – especially in the country’s national parks. Now, a new study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters suggests America’s national parks are being more intensely impacted by climate change than the country as a whole, becoming both warmer and drier. Led by Patrick Gonzalez, adjunct professor at the University of California, Berkeley, the stu

The Most Chilling Legends of the Southeast—And How to Explore Them

From the Shenandoah Valley to the Great Smoky Mountains, the Southeast is brimming with spine-tingling lore. With mysterious disappearances, legendary creatures, and heaps of hauntings, the region has plenty of intrigue. These are a few of the most chilling legends still lingering in the Southeast. Check them out—if you dare. After sunset, when the ethereal glow of phosphorescent foxfire illuminates the dense forests and waterlogged thickets of the Great Dismal Swamp, the place can play tricks

Sandstone Massifs, Secret Swimming Holes, and Stunning Wildlife: Exploring Madagascar’s Isalo National Park

I swear my kidneys are shifting as our van rattles over the dirt track running from the silken tarmac of the Route Nationale 7 to the southeastern edge of Madagascar’s Isalo National Park. Through the windshield, all I can see is an amber wall of rock, rising above the pockmarked road. After trundling through a coffee-colored stream, our beleaguered vehicle eventually shudders to a stop at the foot of a towering sandstone escarpment. Spreading morning sunlight illuminates ribbons of ochre, apric

8 Seriously Unique Ways to Experience the Wildlife and Ecology of Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes

Overlaid by lush woodlands, rolling hills, wildflower-filled meadows, and, of course, the region’s namesake waterways, the Southern Finger Lakes region is truly unique. The area is a haven for wildlife, and an abundance of parks and natural areas provide endless options for nature lovers to explore. See this beautiful section of the country for yourself with these adventures that will take you on a tour of area’s wild side. The diversity of habitats encountered in the Southern Finger Lakes regi

How to Experience New York's Wine Country By Bike

Forget about driving—the forested foothills, plunging gorges, and pleasant pastures of the Southern Finger Lakes region are best admired on two wheels. The area has options for all sorts of cyclists, from rough-and-tumble singletrack seekers to road riders hungry for century circuits with jaw-dropping panoramas. Here are a few of the best ways to experience New York’s idyllic wine country by bike. The country roads lacing the Southern Finger Lakes region provide cyclists the opportunity to pie

The 9 Best Easy Day Hikes in Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes

With stunning gorges, gushing waterfalls, vast expanses of dense forest, and, of course, the iconic, glacier-carved lakes—the Southern Finger Lakes region in New York has plenty to entice visiting hikers. Even better, the area is also teeming with panoramic footpaths, from leisurely, lakeside loops to historical rail-trails to tree-covered pathways ideal for birders and wildlife enthusiasts. With so many options in the Southern Finger Lakes region, it’s tough to pick just one local trek. These

The Complete Guide to Water Sports on South Holston Lake

Lakes are scarce in the Old Dominion state, making watery expanses like Southwest Virginia’s South Holston Lake particularly precious. Spreading along the western edge of the Appalachian Mountains, the 7,850-acre lake is shared by Virginia and Tennessee, and is easily accessible from towns throughout Southwest Virginia, including Abingdonand Bristol. Besides being among Virginia’s more sizeable reservoirs, South Holston Lake is also one of the most picturesque. Almost two-thirds of the lake is f

How to Have an Uncommon Health and Wellness Getaway in Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes

With glistening glacial lakes, vast expanses of pristine forest, bountiful family farms, and charming towns, the Southern Finger Lakes region of New York is the ideal place for a one-of-a-kind health and wellness getaway. In the Southern Finger Lakes region, it’s easy to combine fresh air and exercise with fresh farm-to-table cuisine for serious relaxation. Slow down and spend a weekend soaking up the restorative serenity of this scenic region of the state. No visit to the Finger Lakes is compl

10 Unique Places to Stay in the Southern Finger Lakes Region

The landscape of New York’s Southern Finger Lakes region is anything but ordinary. The region’s gently rolling blue hills, shimmering lakes, wildlife-rich forests, and endearing towns offer a whole range of accommodation options, with something for every type of traveler—from off-the-grid adventurers to farm-to-table foodies to artistically inclined culture vultures. Break the mold and plan a getaway at one of these unique accommodation options in the Southern Finger Lakes region surrounding Cor

7 Unique Ways to Experience Virginia's Philpott Lake

Framed by the undulating foothills of the Blue Ridge, Southwest Virginia’s Philpott Lake is an idyllic escape, teeming with outdoor adventures. Located just outside Martinsville, Virginia, the sprawling 3,000-acre lake is cradled by 7,000 acres of mixed hardwood forests—it feels like a slice of pristine wilderness. But the lake’s proximity to Martinsville also means there are plenty of ways to pair outdoor exploits and cultural excursions, all while savoring the serene Blue Ridge backdrop. Here

Blueways and the Blue Ridge: Why a Visit to Philpott Lake is a Must

Blueways and the Blue Ridge: Why a Visit to Philpott Lake is a Must Cradled by the rolling foothills of the Blue Ridge, Philpott Lake might just be the most spectacular body of water in Virginia. Located just northwest of the town of Martinsville, the 3,000-acre lake spreads into Franklin, Henry, and Patrick counties, framed by 7,000 acres of mixed hardwood forest. Besides the beautiful scenery, the lake is studded with nearly a dozen parks and recreation areas, offering an enticing buffet of B

An Angler’s Guide to the Fishing Scene at Philpott Lake

An Angler’s Guide to the Fishing Scene at Philpott Lake Nestled in the rolling foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains just 30 miles off the Blue Ridge Parkway, Philpott Lake is an idyllic place for fishing. The 3,000-acre lake offers anglers a consummate slice of serenity and a number of highly sought species of fish, from the deep-dwelling walleye to the largemouth bass lurking along the craggy shoreline. “I’d say its biggest draw is the lack of development on the lake,” says George Palmer, a

An Insider's Guide to the Finger Lakes Trail

While we hear plenty about the Appalachian Trail, New York’s long-enduring Finger Lakes Trail(FLT) has managed to slip beneath the radar of most East Coast hikers and backpackers. Meandering across the southern portion of west-central New York for 580 miles, the trail showcases some of the most spectacular scenery in the Empire State—past family farms and historic towns, through hardwood forests, and along precipitous gorges, all while skirting the region’s ancient glacial lakes. While charting

Climate change could spark human-wildlife conflict in some of Africa’s critical lion areas

Like other large carnivores around the world, Africa’s lions are disappearing. Lions once wandered practically the entire African continent, absent only from the Sahara Desert and the tropical forests of the Congo Basin — but today, the cats roam only about 8% of their historic range. Over the last two decades, Africa’s lion population is estimated to have decreased by 43%. The bulk of the continent’s lions now live in just six stronghold countries in eastern and southern Africa. One of the prim

8 Happy Hour Spots to Check Out in DC -UpOut Blog

In a town where it’s easy to spend upwards of $15 on a craft cocktail, happy hour is a precious opportunity, not to be squandered. For the frugal, fortunately the city is swimming in happy hour specials, sure to entice even the most parsimonious bar flies. While there are plenty of bargain libations waiting to be discovered, these a few of the best deals to be had around town. Hardly a hole in the wall, Chef Geoff has become a household name in the capital area, with locations in Cathedral Heig

Your Complete Guide to the Appalachian Trail in Southwest Virginia

Ask almost any thru-hiker, and they’ll tell you, the 170 miles of the Appalachian Trail in Southwest Virginia are among the highlights of the trip. From the leafy banks of Whitetop Laurel Creek to the cloud-nestled high country of Mount Rogers to the ridgelines above Burkes Garden, Southwest Virginia is home to some of the most memorable portions of the legendary 2,190 mile footpath. Beyond the scenery, the region is also renowned for celebrating the culture of thru-hiking, famed for welcoming t

5 More Awesome Day Hikes in Southwest Virginia

Home to the state’s highest peaks and wildest spaces, Southwest Virginia is a wonderland for trail lovers, from hardened weekend warriors to casual day-hikers in search of a little fresh air. The region is overlaid with some of the country’s best-known trails—like the Virginia Creeper and the Appalachian Trail—in addition to countless regional footpaths in the massive Jefferson National Forest. You don’t have to look far to find amazing hiking opportunities that showcase tumbling waterfalls, clo
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