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.

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

8 Things to Do on a Road Trip through Southern Maryland

Just 40 miles south of Washington, D.C., a bulge in the Potomac River has become the final resting place for more than 150 sunken vessels, including a longboat from the Revolutionary War. Now protected as the Mallows Bay-Potomac National Marine Sanctuary, the ship graveyard harbors the remains of an entire emergency fleet of wooden steamships, hastily constructed during the first World War, when German submarines were creating havoc in the seas. Even with shipyards around the country churning ou

10 things to do on a Southwest Virginia road trip

Spread over the ridges and valleys of Appalachia, Southwest Virginia lays claim to some of the Old Dominion state’s most spectacular natural wonders. The region is blanketed by massive swaths of the Jefferson National Forest, threaded by the oldest waterway in the U.S., and crowned by the highest peak in the state. Southwest Virginia is also celebrated as the birthplace of country music, spearheaded by legends like the Carter Family and the Stanley Brothers. Then, there’s moonshine. During Prohi

Why an Inflatable SUP Might Be Right for You | Salamander Paddle Gear

So, you’re considering buying a stand-up paddleboard (SUP)? Good decision. Whether you want a core workout, a board to ride ocean waves, or a way to explore a local lake, a stand-up paddleboard is the perfect adventure accessory. The hard part is deciding on the right SUP to suit your needs. When you’re shopping for a board, you should consider several things, including the shape, length, and construction of the board. Plus, you should take into account the types of paddling you prefer, whether

Chasing Winter: 7 Best Places to Hit the Slopes When It’s Summer in the States

For some folks, finding powder year-round is what it’s all about. Fortunately, the arrival of summer in the United States doesn’t have to mean shelving the skis for the season. When it’s warming up in the Lower 48, there’s still plenty of snow to be found in the Southern Hemisphere. From the high Andes to the Southern Alps, here are seven of the best places on the planet to hit the slopes when it’s summertime in the U.S. Nestled in Australia’s Snowy Mountains within the bounds of Kosciuszko Nat

Red Wolves: Hanging in the Balance

Gravel crackles under my tires and horseflies ping off the windows as I slow to a stop beside a mound of black bear scat, near the northeastern edge of North Carolina’s 152,000-acre Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. I turn off the engine and scan the dew-slickened pasture beside the road, hoping to see the flash of a cinnamon-colored coat. But other than the turkey vultures circling overhead, it’s still. Just as I’m about to start the engine, I notice some movement. In the distance, three dark blotches hover at the edge of a grove of loblolly pine. When I blink, the smudgy splotches sharpen into distinct shapes, a black bear and two cubs, ambling toward the road. I watch them for a moment, but they are not who I’m after. I’m looking for one of the rarest creatures on earth — the red wolf.

10 of the Best Day Hikes in America

For hikers, America offers a scenic smorgasbord. It has 419 national park system sites scattered throughout the country and it’s home to some of the planet’s most celebrated long-distance footpaths, including the Appalachian Trail in the East, and the Pacific Crest Trail in the West. The U.S. is also brimming with epic day-hikes, from the high peaks of the Sierras to the blue-hued summits of the Smokies. For all those hikers who can’t spend months tackling an epic long-distance trail, here are a

The Roving Dolphins of the Potomac River

The Roving Dolphins of the Potomac River A significant number of bottlenose dolphins frequent recovering East Coast waterways, but researchers still know little about them. In the early 1600s, English explorer John Smith described the Potomac River as an Edenic waterway teeming with wildlife. Early colonists also reported gargantuan sturgeon and massive schools of fish – and at his waterside estate, Mount Vernon, George Washington himself had three commercial fisheries on the Potomac River. O

How to Pack for Your First Safari

Whether it’s a visit to the Serengeti for the annual wildebeest migration, a trip through the Okavango Delta in a dugout canoe, or a mountain gorilla spotting trek in the Virunga Mountains, an African safari is an unforgettable experience. But, packing for your first safari can seem like a formidable task. While every trip is unique, there are a few gear essentials that will ensure you stay comfortable, healthy, and make the most of your inaugural safari. Forget about being fashionable on safar

Why You Should Visit a State Park This Year (Plus a Few of Our Favorites)

While America’s national parks deservedly draw attention, the country’s most iconic protected areas can also be flooded with visitors. State parks, on the other hand, are often overlooked. But these natural assets protect some of the country’s most spectacular features, from the biodiversity-rich waters of the Florida Keys to the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest, and are filled with recreational opportunities. With alluring options in all 50 states, state parks may not get the attention of t

In the midst of a prolonged drought, Zimbabwe is undertaking a massive wildlife relocation

In the midst of a prolonged drought gripping southern Africa, Zimbabwe is undertaking a massive relocation in an effort to save imperilled wildlife plagued by water scarcity. The Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority reported that more than 200 elephants have died over the last two months at drought-afflicted protected areas, including Hwange and Mana Pools national parks. In mid-November, the agency announced plans to move 600 elephants along with 2,000 impalas, 50 buffalo,

5 Best Places to Go Sailing in Scandinavia

In Scandinavia, water is everywhere. The Scandinavian Peninsula is etched with approximately 17,625 miles of coastline, and dappled with more than a half-million lakes. Naturally, the region has a rich sailing history. Scandinavians were using sails by the seventh century, and the region’s storied Vikings famously scoured the seas of northern Europe from the end of the 8th century until the second half of the 11th century. And these days, being on the water is still a way of life in many parts o

Here’s How to Take On the Trek to Everest Base Camp!

Climbing Mt. Everest is a serious alpine challenge that’s only for the most experienced high-altitude climbers. It takes a commitment of time and money that most people don’t have. But travelers to Nepal can still get a taste of the experience by making a trek to Everest Base Camp, the starting point for most who seek to reach the summit. The trek to Base Camp offers an up-close encounter with the planet’s highest peak while traversing the Solu Khumbu region and showcasing Sagarmatha National Pa

The Best Trails and Ales Near Philpott Lake

How to Experience the Best Trails and Ales Near Philpott Lake Southwest Virginia's Philpott Lake is a hidden gem for outdoor lovers. The 3,000-acre lake spreads into Franklin, Henry, and Patrick counties, backlit by the mountains of the Blue Ridge and surrounded by nearly 20,000 acres of mixed hardwood forest. A landscape left largely wild and undeveloped, the area around the lake is peppered with recreation areas, nature preserves, and the iconic Blue Ridge Parkway, providing a smorgasbord of

5 Must Hike Long-Distance Trails in Europe.

Get those backpacks packed and get ready to hit these epic long distance trails in Europe. From the foothills of the Alps to the chiseled cliffs of the Adriatic Coast, Europe is crisscrossed with options for day-hikers and backpackers. Serving up an abundance of adventures on foot [from windswept tracks threading regions rich in archaeological wonders to alpine circuits navigating seas of cloud-steeped peaks]. With the profusion of trails lacing the continent, it’s hard to pick just one trek,
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