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There are some places on Earth where happy, childhood memories are anchored so firmly that we should never revisit them. We should let them stand in our minds, forever undiluted by age and perspective, remaining precisely as they were during one very specific moment in time. With years in between, even if these places look the same, I promise they won’t feel the same and, if you’re at all like me, harboring a romantic notion that our youthful worldview was generally better, you’ll quickly be disabused. You’ll pick them apart, the idyllic replaced by the real, and come away having...

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I have never been entirely sure, despite a certain amount of supporting geologic evidence, that Northern Vermont’s Green Mountains are an extension of the Appalachians. So be it I say, in this contemporary age when facts and proof no longer always walk hand in hand, for mountains like Mansfield, Camel’s Hump, and Sugarloaf. Let them – and all others south – belong to that ancient range worn down through the eons from summits taller than the Hindu Kush. They can join their brethren from the Smokies and lay claim to a heritage as old as any mountains on Earth. I...

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Over a million acres burned in Montana this summer. More than any year in recorded history. For two and a half months, the entire state woke to blood-red sunrises, sky-blocking plumes of smoke, air quality as poor as in any smog-cloaked city, and the constant fear that with a single spark more fires would rage. Homes were destroyed, firefighters lost their lives, and millions upon millions of dollars were spent, but as our president thundered about North Korea, Hurricanes Irma and Harvey chewed paths of destruction through Florida and Texas, and wild land fires threatened Los Angeles, not much was...

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Tomorrow, if the weather channel is to be believed, it will snow. Insects will freeze, flowers will wilt, pika will remain inside their rocky homes where they’ll sample their stores of summer-gathered grasses, and the world will sport its first white coat of its longest season. Yes, tomorrow it may snow, but not today. Today, summer is firmly in control. Even the approaching storm and my autumnal sense of change can’t convince me otherwise. I’m at the trailhead to Glacier Lake in Montana’s Absaroka Mountains, already sweating as I leave the beaten path in favor of my own course up...

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If there’s such a thing as a universal thread running through my universe, connecting the years, setting place markers, binding in some small way the smaller purpose of one man’s existence here on Earth, mine is made of monofilament. It runs through the guides of a bamboo fly rod, down into the waters of an early-fall stream, where its terminus is a tattered grasshopper fly anchored in the upper jaw of a male brook trout. I have come back to this place, high in the mountains of Montana on a hazy, September day to remind myself of this. To confine...

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