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Boreal Bliss

Photo Essay: Up North

Come June, those of us in the northern latitudes leave the hearth behind and burst into the sunlight to savor a precious few months of warmth, pressed for time before the days grow short again. This often entails going yet farther north, and in Minnesota, “up north” often means the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. We spent a long weekend in a cabin outside of Ely (“Ee-lee”), a gateway town to the BWCA.

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Come for the Uranium, Stay for the Adventure

72 Hours in Moab

Forty miles south of an absolutely barren stretch of I-70 on the Colorado-Utah border sits the unlikely adventure travel capital of the Southwest desert. What Moab, Utah lacks in vegetation it makes up for in the sheer volume of red-rock activities local adrenaline junkies have dreamed up. We came to Moab with one thing in mind: to summit Ancient Art Tower — but our free days were easily filled with stunning hikes in Arches National Park, exceptional sport climbing and bouldering along the Colorado river, and more than few local craft beers and wines.

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Hit the dusty trail(s)

Single Track Mind: The Best American Mountain Bike Trails

Picking our 10 favorite mountain bike trails for our week of cycling is like asking a parent to pick their favorite kid: we love them each for different reasons. Still, armed with a Rolodex of memorable rides, we set out to catalog the best of the best. The IMBA (International Mountain Bike Association) and other groups have been creating mouthwatering single track all over the world as diverse as the styles of bikes in your local shop — and they keep getting bigger, better and longer.

limits-promo-logoThis roundup is part of a new original GP series, LIMITS, dedicated to exploring the physical and mental borderlands of human capability. And beyond.
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Mortgage house, book ticket, feed soul

Have Rod, Will Travel: Three Bucket List Fly Fishing Destinations

If you have a hankering for more exotic fish than you can find in the nearest stream, river, or lake, consider packing a bag with a few travel rods and the rest of your gear and giving destination fly fishing a try. That’s all well and good (great, really), but as always, you should strive for the cream of the crop. Here are three trips worthy of the bucket list of any fly fisher.

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Summer? Not so fast.

Photo Essay: Ski Bums, Party On: End-of-Season Ski Shindigs

You can bet that after a few months on the run from ski patrol, when all the rules are thrown out for one weekend, snow bums’ll throw a world class party. If your idea of fun is seeing guys throwing down tricks while skiing and boarding in togas and Speedos — and plenty of ladies hitting the slopes in bikinis — we’ve got a few of the best end-of-season parties for you to put on your schedule.

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The Road is Life

Kit: Road Trip

With age comes the ability to do a long highway cruise better than we ever could as a youngster. Summer’s right around the corner, so we’ve compiled above all the gear you’ll need to make new memories on the road. Get what you need and hit the road, Jack. Grab the wheel and point it west, take a buddy and leave the rest.

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The Youngest Man to Ski to the North Pole Solo

30 Minutes With: Ben Saunders

One of only three people to have skied solo to the North Pole — the youngest to do so by over a decade — Ben Saunders is also an avid cyclist, Twitter presence and Land Rover enthusiast. We chatted with him about his own heroes, what scares him and his next epic adventure.

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[Cacao] farm to table

A Traveler’s Bounty: Cuban Cacao

Back safely in the U.S., I removed the cacao ball from my running shoe. I unwound the plastic wrap from the dark brown orb and sniffed it. My best friend, Mycah, and his wife, Ashley, had picked it up at a cacao farm in Baracoa, a small town on the eastern tip of Cuba. This was the good shit. I pictured myself shaving it over ice cream to impress a date or using it to flavor chili. Oh, this chocolate here? I got it from a guy in Cuba. Chef François Payard showed me how I could actually use it.

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Gear for a 3-week Caribbean journey

Kit: Cuba

Packing for three weeks of travel could easily balloon into roller bags, laptop cases and fanny packs. If you’re staying in luxury hotels and somebody else is handling your gear, fine. Bring the sheepskin robe. But if you may have to spend full days carrying your luggage on your back, then you’re limited to the essentials. Here’s what I stuffed into my GORUCK GR2 for three weeks in Cuba.

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Getting attached to GORUCK's Weekend Bag

Tested: Trekking Across Cuba with the GORUCK GR2

On my first night with the GORUCK GR2 ($395) we slept together in a bus station — and we’ve been going steady since. Specifically, after a flight from Cancun to Havana and midnight bus from Havana to Santa Clara, in the geographical center of Cuba, I looped a carabiner through the side webbing of the GR2, clipped it to my jacket’s pit vents, rested my head gently against her rugged 1000D cordura, and knocked off for six hours in a metal row chair.

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A Photo Essay

Dispatches From Cuba: Photos and Stories From a 20-Day Journey

It started with an email from my buddy.

Condor,

Meet you in the lobby of the Islazul Gran Hotel De Camaguey @8am on March 18th, 2013. I will be in touch – Peregrine.

Actually, we’d talked about the possibility of a Cuba trip when Mycah — his name isn’t always Peregrine — and his wife found out the she’d been awarded a fellowship to study urban agriculture there. I had not booked my tickets. I wasn’t really sure I’d go because it was near a grand between the flight to Cancun and the next one to Havana, plus I’d been traveling a lot the past year. I told him it was 50/50. Then in early March I was offered a quick business trip to Cancun ending in mid-March. You don’t balk when serendipity tugs at your Johnson, so I shot off a quick email reply: F*ck it. Tickets booked. See you there.

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You've got twelve weeks. Get busy!

Five All-American Summer Adventures

We love winter and all it brings: fires, warm sweaters, skiing and flasks of Scotch. But come June, we’re ready to bust out and undertake some adventures that can only be done in the warmer months. Memorial Day is traditionally when bikes and boats and boots get dusted off and you hit the ground running until the Labor Day slow down. This summer, why not go a little further and tackle something truly epic? We’re here to help with five great summer-only adventures. There are only twelve weeks of summer, so get planning.

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An inside look at the insider's home of horse racing

Racing Home: A Visit to Keeneland

Kentucky is the undisputed mecca of the thoroughbred industry in the U.S., both for breeding and racing. Each year since 1875 this truth has been reaffirmed on the first Saturday in May, when sport’s brightest spotlight turns toward Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby. Its reputation as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports” is well-deserved. The same goes for the race’s record attendance numbers, which eclipse both the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes. But those who follow the sport beyond the Julep-fueled weekend of seersuckers and sundresses know that much of the prestigious race’s success is owed to another place a mere 80 miles east.

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Integral travel companion

Tested: TUMI Tegra-Lite International Carry-on

I have terrible luck checking luggage, and the list of destinations where I’ve arrived with only the clothes on my back spans the globe: Iceland, Sri Lanka, Portugal, Germany. The problem is, most carry-on bags are unwieldy, anonymous “roll-aboards” or lumpy backpacks that are better suited for campus or the trail. The TUMI Tegra-Lite ($595) bucks those trends and has quickly become my second favorite travel companion, behind my wife.

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Mr Hasemeyer tests gear, tries not to die

Pampered by Powder: A Day on the Slopes with Skiing World Champion Chris Davenport

Scrambled eggs, Canadian bacon, homestyle potatoes, a bowl of oatmeal and two cups of coffee: when preparing to take on Squaw Valley with Chris Davenport, simply a two-time World Champion skier who recently scaled and skied Mt. Everest, one must fuel up. So I did.

Sitting on 3,600 acres northwest of Lake Tahoe near the California and Nevada border, Squaw Valley offers skiers the chance to take on wide open runs (groomed and not) of greens, blues and blacks, most of which are clean of trees (death sticks), allowing the average skier to be more daring with less severe consequences. This range in terrain, altitude and weather presented the perfect setting to test my new gear — a Bern helmet, Gordini gloves, and Obermeyer jacket and pants — while being guided by this veteran pro.

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GP's Guide to the Conch Republic

72 Hours in Key West

Some people might wonder: Why would a person go all the way to the southernmost point in the continental United States for a fish sandwich? Well, the short answer is that we didn’t go to Key West just for a fish sandwich — we scoped out a hotel, went fishing, drove scooters and jet skis, and drank beer. The long answer is that the hogfish isn’t any old sea critter you can pick up at Whole Foods, and the place that serves it ranks very high on the list of best waterfront bars in America (just behind the Beachcomber in Wellfleet, MA, in this author’s black book). But we were principally after a filet of fish. Besides, if you get just one good memory in 72 hours, that’s a pretty good one, for a long weekend.

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A room for you and the conch-ubine

Stay: Hyatt Key West

At the invitation of the Hyatt Key West, we shacked up there for a long weekend to explore the island, the last stop in the Keys. While the other Keys are known for their beaches (Bahia Honda), diving (Key Largo) and fishing (Marathon), Key West is known principally for its eccentricity: it’s the place that values individuality, the arts, fresh seafood, rowdy bars, polydactyl cats and drag shows. The Hyatt is refuge amid the stir.

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Shark Magnet

Underwater with the Bremont Supermarine 2000

When Bremont offered to send their newest dive watch, the Supermarine 2000 ($5,900), for a review, I wanted to give this timepiece a fittingly rigorous program. After all, the company’s tagline is “Tested Beyond Endurance”, and some of its watches had accompanied adventurers on polar expeditions and round-the-world motorcycle journeys.

The Supermarine 2000 is arguably Bremont’s most rugged and capable watch to date. Its chronometer-certified movement is surrounded with a patented floating carrier, making it highly resistant to the effects of shock and vibration, a technology proven out in the company’s Martin-Baker watches, which have been tested on equipment used to test fighter jet ejection seat components. The movement is also encased inside an anti-magnetic Faraday cage which protects it against harmful magnetic influence. And while Bremont’s Supermarine 500 already boasted an impressive water resistance of 500 meters, the newest diver is rated to four times as deep. Of course, for a dive watch, all these features, while impressive on paper, are worthless if the watch doesn’t perform well underwater. So it was time to take it diving.

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Wounds deep, strength deeper

Kickstarter: Operation Route 66

Sometimes it’s not about what side of the issue you’re on, but rather remembering the importance of humanity. In a recent cross-country motorcycle trek, the father and son team of Kurt and Nick Gerber of Chicago-based Gerber & Scarpelli Photography interviewed the honorable veterans of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for their feature-length documentary, Operation Route 66. The result: a moving journey.

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Remember to flip the pages, not tap

National Geographic State Recreation Atlases

We cling to our smartphones like Wesley Snipes to a tax attorney — but even the coolest apps are worthless when your battery bar’s hurting. A new line of National Geographic Recreation Atlases ($18), described as “part road atlas, part trail guide, part trip planner”, serve as a great old-school solution getting the most out of your next vacation.

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On Safari in Kenya

Where The Wild Things Are: 10 Days in Kenya

The Masai Mara National Reserve on Kenya’s southwestern border with Tanzania is blanketed with large mammals, so heavily in fact that it takes a day or two to register that the animals are real and not holographic or cutouts from a National Geographic photo spread. This is what happens when you combine a life spent mostly staring into a computer with the ease of international travel. One day I’m in Crown Heights, Brooklyn; 24 hours and four airplane meals later, I’m on safari in the African savanna.

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Know the password

Secret Society: Modern Speakeasy Style and Design

Not much is secret anymore. We probe the strange, glorious depths of the world, wherever they be. Then we post them to Facebook. Secret Society: Modern Speakeasy Style and Design ($125) divulges with a bit more class. The hulking book bulges with the descendants of ’20s speakeasies — secret clubs that no longer hide illegal…

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The watch company that came in from the cold

Saxon Snow: To the Heart of German Watchmaking with A. Lange & Söhne

Gear Patrol’s Jason Heaton travels to Saxony, home of A. Lange & Söhne, to explore the region, experience the watchmaker and learn its storied history. Read on for our short film, photo essay and his story — filled with snowy drives, German culture, precision watchmaking and an incredible company that came out of the cold.

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Carpe Vita!

1 Second Everyday App

If the world really does end on the 21st, this app will be useless. But if Zero Hour doesn’t hit, 1 Second Everyday could be a life changer. Using your iPhone camera, this personal hobby turned TED Talk turned funded Kickstarter project chronicles your life one second at a time. Its creation story is blessedly…

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Slipping through time, nearly untouched, in a Belizean Cave

Immaculate Tomb: Exploring Actun Tunichil Muknal

In the Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve of Western Belize, late in 1989, Dr. Thomas Miller jumped into a tributary of the Roaring River and swam inside an unnamed cave’s vine-covered mouth. But the American geologist wasn’t in pursuit of a lost Maya relic; he was there to study geomorphology: the formation of caves. What he found, however, led him to contact Dr. Jaime Awe, director of the Belize Institute of Archaeology, who recorded his findings in 1992.

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Baggage for a lifetime

Canvas & Leather: A Visit to J.W. Hulme

It’s no secret that it’s boom time for American-made heritage products, and companies as diverse as Stormy Kromer, LL Bean and Randolph Engineering are making the most of it. Even within this resurgence of handmade Americana, there is a further niche: Minnesota-made. Maybe it’s the popularity of the urban lumberjack aesthetic or a just a fondness for Midwestern honesty, but there’s no denying that brands from America’s icebox are hotter than ever.

We’ve highlighted some Minnesota companies before — Red Wing Shoes, Duluth Pack and Faribault Woolen Mills — but we recently got a chance to visit another venerable company nestled right in the gritty urban heart of Minnesota’s capital, St. Paul: J.W. Hulme. We stopped in, hoping to see what this bespoke baggage maker is all about.

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12 gifts for the adventure seeker

12 Guys of Christmas: The Adventurer

He shows up at Christmas dinner with new scars and less digits from his latest cage dives and winter Alpine ascents. His tales, most of them true, scare Aunt Betty to tears and enchant the kids. And while the adventurer’s gifts for you usually amount to a carved tribal trinket or a rock from a…

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12 gifts for the traveler

12 Guys of Christmas: The Globetrotter

These guys seem to have racked up a bigger airline status than Clooney and more time on the road than Kerouac. They call ports of call home and know how to navigate the TSA, border checkpoints and a nasty comped bar hangover with ease. Whether a job takes them to exotic first-world destinations or their…

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12 gift ideas for the fitness obsessed

12 Guys of Christmas: The Athlete

The fitness fanatic is the man that puts in a quick 5K before the rest of us have even tossed the beans in the burr grinder. His body fat is measured in fractions, and biceps in feet. His dinner conversations involve things like basal metabolic rate; his pecs flex, noticeably, when he passes the pepper….

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12 gift ideas for the active adventurer

12 Guys of Christmas: The Outdoorsman

The outdoorsman on your list is easily identifiable: he’s rarely home and smells faintly of man sweat and wood smoke when you do catch him between excursions. His particular passion falls within an extensive of range possible pursuits (noodling for catfish, anyone?), but one thing is for certain — he does them outside. His look…