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Fall Camping Tips with BACKPACKER's Gear Editor

Watch Kristin Hostetter on CBS' Early Show

On Saturday, BACKPACKER's Gear Editor Kristin Hostetter went to New York to share autumn camping tips on the CBS Early Show. So how'd our print superstar fare on TV? I'd say she crushed:

Watch CBS Videos Online

Nice! Not even the hokey asides from the well-meaning but under-informed hosts could keep Super Kristin from getting off her game. Hostetter, you've got massive onscreen potential—but that doesn't mean I want to see you standing next to Ryan Seacrest next week. We still need you 'round BACKPACKER way.

—Ted Alvarez

Backpacking & Camping In Style (CBS)
Tuesday, October 21, 2008 in: News & Events, Gear, Video & Media
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Morning TV Survival Blowout

Biker attacked by bear on TODAY Show, stranded Mt. Adams hiker on CBS

Petra Davis, the 16-year-old Alaskan mountain biker attacked by a grizzly during a race near Anchorage, appeared on the TODAY Show to talk with Meredith Viera about her horrific mauling, recovery, and hopes to race again someday. Her coach, Peter Bassinger, also talks about finding his pupil in such bad shape that he couldn't even recognize her. Check it:

Miracle survivor Derek Mamoyac of Philomath, Oregon, also turned up on CBS, where his rescuer and father talk about how he survived five days alone on Washington's Mt. Adams by crawling, drinking creek water, and eating centipedes. Check out Steve Howe's analysis of Mamoyac's lucky break over at the Survival Blog, and watch it here:

—Ted Alvarez

Teen who survived bear attack: ‘Mostly it was scared’(MSNBC)

Stranded, Hurt Climber Ate Bugs To Survive (CBS)
Monday, October 20, 2008 in: News & Events, Survival, Video & Media
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Backpacking Brooklyn

Two men set out to find wilderness amidst metropolis

Anyone who's lived in New York City knows that the concrete canyons and nonstop humanity can get a little oppressive. The parks are nice, but when you truly want to get away, it can be a chore to get anyplace wild: Planes, trains, automobiles, and a truckload of cash are likely to be involved before you can ever think about doing anything remotely resembling backpacking.

None of that deterred these two guys. They simply grabbed a tent, threw on their packs full of outdoor gear, and set out across the Brooklyn shoreline in search of a little wilderness. Check out what they found:

The Door To RedHook : Backpacking in Brooklyn from anfw on Vimeo.

Toxic waste sites aside, I'd say it wasn't a bad camping trip. I've certainly had worse...

—Ted Alvarez

Backpacking in Brooklyn

Thursday, October 16, 2008 in: Video & Media
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Baked Alaska

Time-lapse video shows climate change eroding coastline

Even to believers, the long-term effects of climate change can seem like an abstraction. Not so in Alaska: Global warming exacts a daily, measurable toll on the region's weather, wildlife, and even physical landmass. Warming oceans are literally carving the northern coastlines away — sometimes by as much as 100 feet a year.

Seeing is believing: Climate scientists from the University of Colorado took photos of a section of Alaska's Beaufort Coast every two hours for a month. When the pictures are sequenced together as a time-lapsed film, the results are stunning:

Whoah. Some Inuit communities actually live on the coast and have to worry about their homes dropping into the sea. It's probably too late to reclaim Alaska's disappearing coastline, but maybe we can stave off the ocean before it swallows other oceanside communities. Like, say, Florida.

— Ted Alvarez

Via The Thin Green Line
Friday, September 26, 2008 in: Environment & Green Living, Video & Media
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Suicidal Animals Make Me Sad

Global-warming PSA can cause tears, guilt, and unexpected phone calls to Mommy

Taking a page from the Bambi's-mother-getting-shot playbook of manipulative animation, advertising agency McCann commissioned a global-warming PSA for Portugal's nature and conservation association, Quercus. The spot features cute animals rendered with high-quality computer animation, all preparing to off themselves because of global warming. You might want to get out the hankie for this one:

Effective, no? There's not much science to back the idea that animals will kill themselves if we don't fix the climate change crisis, but I'm still feeling pretty guilty.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to crawl under my desk with a bottle of vodka and cry myself to sleep.

— Ted Alvarez

Suicidal animals star in global-warming PSA (AdFreak)
Wednesday, September 24, 2008 in: Environment & Green Living, Video & Media
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Speedgoat On CNN

AT ultrarunner Karl Meltzer gets a little face time

Karl "Speedgoat" Meltzer might not be in range of nabbing the Appalachian Trail speed record, but he's getting attention for the intensity of his effort just the same. Check out a worn and weary Karl on CNN Headline News show "News To Me:"

I can't say I'm a fan of the show's "IN YOUR FACE!" graphics and narrative style, but it's nice to see a trail warrior like Karl get a little airtime. I'd say he deserves it, what with the trenchfoot and all.

— Ted Alvarez

News To Me (Where's
Wednesday, September 03, 2008 in: News & Events, Video & Media
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Bears Gone Wild

Break-ins driven by natural need for hybrid cars, electronics

The Summer of the Bear continues. This time, black bears upstaged their more famous grizzly cousins by breaking into a Circuit City and trashing a Toyota Prius.

Thanks to these incidents, we have important new bear behavior observations: 1) They crave the latest consumer electronics at bargain-basement prices just as much as we do, and 2) they're not so much into the hybrid-car thing.

A startled black bear busted through the glass door of a Colorado Springs Circuit City yesterday, cracking another glass and snooping around before leaving and disappearing into a residential area. The 250-pound bear had been pursued by police since 4:30 a.m., and took momentary refuge under the soft, blue glow of about a thousand plasma TVs around 7:13 a.m. Wildlife authorities don't believe the bear to be a threat, and expect it to make its way up a drainage into the mountains soon. Thankfully for us all, the store's security cameras captured the event in charming stop-motion video.

Meanwhile, another black bear several thousand miles north in Juneau, Alaska, somehow trapped itself inside a 2006 Toyota Prius. Not satisfied with the car's sleek design, incredible gas mileage, or reduced carbon footprint, the large black bear proceeded to shred the dash, claw the upholstery, and rip off panels. Before leaving, he or she decided to show the utmost contempt for eco-drivers and Toyota engineers alike by defecating in the front seat. Either this bear is more of a Hummer fan, or it doesn't think the Prius goes far enough. Either way, it looks like the owners will be riding a bike until their insurance company sorts it out.

Bears — they're so like us.

Frantic bear pays visit to electronics store (Rocky Mountain News)

Video: CNN

Trapped black bear trashes Toyota (Juneau Empire)
Wednesday, July 16, 2008 in: Nature & Wildlife, Video & Media
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Wolf vs. Mama Bear and Cubs

OK, so it's more of a schoolyard taunt and less of an out-and-out brawl, but USGS motion-triggered cameras caught an interaction between a large black wolf and a bear sow with two cubs in Glacier National Park. Their paths crossed in a clearing near an elk carcass both parties had fed on at separate times.

Yes! The mother bear is obviously not pleased, and she expresses this by chuffing and bluff charging her lupine antagonist. But the wolf sometimes seems to just be merrily horsing off, seeing how close he can nip at the cubs without getting caught. And as the cubs practice their own swipes and bluff charges, it looks like they're treating it as play also.

But the behaviors at heart are dead serious: USGS research biologist Kate Kendall told AP, "I have no doubt that if the mom was not there and the wolf had the opportunity, it would eat the cub." Eeek.

The remote, motion-triggered cameras are part of a larger effort by the USGS to monitor the progress of grizzly bear recovery in Glacier. Documenting wolf-bear interaction is quite rare — this is sort of like the nature equivalent of Lance Armstrong going head-to-head with Muhammad Ali and two of his kids. Good stuff.

— Ted Alvarez

Video: wolf-bear interaction at elk carcass (USGS)

Video captures wolf, grizzly bear interaction (AP)
Thursday, June 26, 2008 in: Nature & Wildlife, Video & Media
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Video: Riding Off the Rails

Summertime is here, and the bikes are out. Tomorrow is Bike To Work Day in our home base of Boulder, and everyone's already hankering for the July 5 start of the Tour de France.  While it's great to see everyone taking their two-wheelers everywhere, let's be careful: Don't pull a Frank Schleck, who careened off his bike, over a railing, and into a ravine during the Tour de Suisse this week:

Miraculously, after taking a moment to compose himself, Schleck continued basically unharmed. We'll credit that to his incredible physical stamina and a heaping serving of luck.

— Ted Alvarez

Via The Goat
Tuesday, June 24, 2008 in: Video & Media
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Smokey the Bear Returns

Most of us remember growing up with Saturday-morning PSAs featuring Smokey the Bear, the gentle cartoon bruin in a U.S. Forest Service hat, kindly reminding us of his famous credo: "Only you can prevent forest fires." That ad spot, Thundercats, and a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch pretty much encapsulates my childhood.

Well, as of today, Smokey the Bear is back — bigger, badder, and more computer-generated than ever before. The Ad Council has teamed once again with the USDA Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters (NASF) to reawaken a new generation to the dangers humans play in starting forest fires with a major wave of television, radio, print, outdoor, and Web ads.

But he's not exactly the same bear; a lot's changed since his introduction in 1944. For one, he's clearly been working out, and while his shirtlessness before seemed merely appropriate for a bear, now it seems almost...intimidating. He's also in the business of creepily morphing out of anyone he pleases, T-1000-style. Check it out for yourself:

I had no plans to spark an ATV in a tinder-laden forest, but consider me scared straight nonetheless. As a slogan, "Get Your Smokey On" sounds perhaps a bit too much like parents trying to rap circa 2002, but the prospect of anyone in the world spontaneously changing into a towering, guilt-tripping bear ought to get the message across nicely.

Bonus: Can you guess the new celebrity voice of Smokey (when he's not possessing people, of course)? Click here for the answer.

— Ted Alvarez

Smokey The Bear (Official Page)

  Smokey Bear Returns with a New Look to Remind Americans Only You Can Prevent Wildfires (PR Newswire)
Tuesday, June 03, 2008 in: Environment & Green Living, News & Events, Video & Media
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