Outside Podcast

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One day in 2005 or 2006, a young wolf in Idaho headed west. He swam across the Snake River to Oregon, which was then outside the gray wolf’s range. After he established a territory, he became the most controversial canid in the state. Dubbed OR4 by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, he was the alpha male of the first pack to live in Oregon in more than half a century. For years, biologist Russ Morgan tracked him, collared him, counted his pups, weighed him, photographed him, and protected him. Environmentalists rejoiced. Cattle ranchers called for his death. OR4 continued making bold raids on livestock and became known for his enduring competence as a hunter, father, and survivor. But nothing lasts forever.
This thrilling re-creation of the classic hypothermia feature by Peter Stark brings the listener through a series of plausible mishaps on a bitterly cold night: a car accident on a lonely road, a broken ski binding that foils a backcountry escape, a disorienting tumble in the snow, and a slow descent into delirious hypothermia before (spoiler alert!) a dramatic rescue. "I started thinking about how one little mistake leads to another and another in an accumulation of mistakes that leads to an untenable situation," says Stark. "Frozen Alive" is a fascinating, accurate description of our physiological response to extreme cold, deepening listeners’ respect for how the human body metamorphoses when cooled.
Recent months have seen a media frenzy around the return of great white sharks to the waters surrounding Cape Cod. And with good reason: over the summer, great whites were routinely spotted off the iconic vacation destination’s most popular beaches. In 2018, a Cape boogie boarder died after being bitten by a shark—the first fatal attack in Massachusetts since 1936. But behind the headlines about freaked-out tourists and angry locals, the real story on the Cape is about how we learn to live with fear—or, just maybe, get past it. Produced in collaboration with our friends at the Outside/In podcast, this episode investigates the extreme reactions we have to living alongside one of the world’s most terrifying predators.  
The 2018 Carr Fire was one of the worst wildfires in California history. By the time it was contained, it had burned 359 square miles, destroyed close to 2,000 buildings, and killed seven people. It also spawned a massive fire tornado—only the second ever recorded. Meteorologists examining the damage afterward estimated that the vortex had generated winds of up to 165 miles per hour. When a blaze like that is coming your way, the only sane thing to do is run for your life. But Gary and Lori Lyon did the opposite, staying to defend their home. Outside contributor Stephanie Joyce has the story on why, in an era of increasingly intense fires, someone would dare to stand and fight an inferno.
For the past few years, journalist Leah Sottile has been looking at the question of who owns public lands in the West. Her reporting began with the Bundy family, which infamously challenged the authority of the federal government on its ranch and then with an armed occupation of Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. That investigation resulted in the award-winning audio series Bundyville. Now, Sottile is back with a new project that begins with the case of a man named Glenn Jones, who in the summer of 2016 blew up the house of a friend and former coworker in the tiny town of Panaca, Nevada. To her surprise, she would come to learn that that bombing had roots in the very same conflict that began with the Bundys.
These days our smartphone addiction has gotten so intense that many of us now habitually use the devices even when we’re supposedly unplugging. We listen to podcasts on our trail runs and endlessly document our weekend adventures for Instagram. All this has author Cal Newport deeply concerned. Newport has made a name for himself as a sort of canary in the digital coal mine, writing about the perils of our screen-dependent modern lifestyles. Last winter he published Digital Minimalism, a manifesto that proposes a reimagining of our relationship with technology that begins with a 30-day digital diet. Outside editor Christopher Keyes talks with Newport about his radical—but very simple—approach to technology and how it can work for everyone. 
In 2008, Katie Arnold was hiking a trail near her home in Santa Fe with her baby daughter strapped to her chest when a man attacked her with a rock. Two years later, Arnold’s father died shortly after being diagnosed with cancer. Overwhelmed with grief and anxiety, she tried many remedies but the only one that worked was running. Eventually she began racing ultras and became an elite competitor, winning the iconic Leadville 100. In this conversation with Sarah Bowen Shea, the host of Another Mother Runner podcast, and professional endurance athlete Yuri Hauswald, Arnold talks about her new memoir, Running Home, and the unique healing power of endurance sports.
Recovery is the new frontier of athletic performance. The quicker you recuperate, the more you can train, and pro athletes across sports have been revitalizing their careers by taking time off. Now a wave of new recovery technologies are being pitched to a broader market: boots that improve blood flow, cryochambers, infrared pajamas. Science writer Christie Aschwanden saw all this and started looking into some of the product claims—and into classic recovery techniques like ice, massage, and ibuprofen. At a live event at Powell’s Books, in Portland, Oregon, she spoke with Outside Podcast host Peter Frick-Wright about her new book Good to Go, in which she lays out the surprising answers to the most important recovery question of all: What works and what doesn’t?
Over the past year, professional surfing has undergone a remarkable and very unexpected evolution. Beginning in 2019, the World Surf League is offering equal prize money to men and women at all of its events, making it one of very few global sports leagues to do so. A key part of this story was the push to get women included in the big-wave contest at Mavericks, on the Northern California coast, an effort headlined by 31-year-old Bianca Valenti. In a way, her whole career had been leading up to this mission. Outside executive editor Michael Roberts reports on Valenti’s journey from a teenager frustrated by the bro culture that ruled surfing to the front lines of a movement that could have a lasting impact on all of sports.
Pararescue specialists—known as PJ’s in the military—are the most elite unit in the Air Force. But if you want to be a PJ you have to make it through Indoc, a brutal nine-week training course that’s designed to test your motivation and resolve. And there’s no easier way to make someone uncomfortable than sending them underwater for a long, long time. Staff Sergeant Travis Morgan had spent what felt like his whole life preparing for Indoc. He knew that only a small percentage of candidates made it through the program, and that most people quit during pool training. What he wasn’t expecting was to find himself facing elimination because he could hold his breath way too long.
Maybe you saw the fire coming, maybe you didn’t. Maybe you were ready for it, maybe you weren’t. Maybe you did everything right. Maybe not. Maybe you just lost everything. Maybe that’s not even the worst of it. For this final episode of our  wildfire series, we asked fiction writer Joseph Jordan to imagine the experience of someone whose home has been destroyed by flames. He came up with a haunting story that captures our modern relationship with wildfire, in which a single catastrophic blaze is neither the start or end of anyone’s troubles.
To reduce the intensity of megafires in America, we’d need to treat and burn about 50-80 million acres of forest. So, how do we do it? What would it cost? How long would it take? Is it possible? In this episode we look at whether or not there’s anything we can do about wildfires in the West and the likelihood that we’ll take action on potential solutions.
There are between eight and ten thousand wildfires in the United States each year, but most quietly burn out, and we never hear about them. The Pagami Creek Wildfire in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area was supposed to be like that. It was tiny and stuck in a bog that was surrounded by lakes. It was the kind of fire you could ignore. Computer models predicted that it would just sit there. But those models didn’t account for a rare convergence of atmospheric events had prepped the forest for an unprecedented burn. And Greg and Julie Welch were camping right in its path. In the first of four episodes investigating American wildfires, we tell the Welch’s extraordinary story and look at the factors that lead to this unexpected blaze.
Climbing was Shelma Jun’s fallback sport. A snowboarder and mountain biker, she found her way into a climbing gym after injuring her shoulder and looking for an activity where she wouldn’t risk more impact. As a friend told her, you can’t fall very far if you’re attached to a rope. In 2014, she created an Instagram account called Flash Foxy to celebrate the crew of hard-charging New York women she’d begun climbing with. After gaining thousands of followers, she co-founded the Women’s Climbing Festival, which sold out in under a minute last year. In our final installment of this series looking at inclusivity in outdoor communities, James Edward Mills spoke to Jun about the influence a rising generation of female athletes is having on a sport long dominated by men.
Kellee Edwards had a dream of getting her own show on the Travel Channel. She also had a plan. As a black woman trying to break into the overwhelmingly white and male world of travel television, she figured she would have to be overqualified to get noticed. So she got certified as a scuba diver, learned to pilot her own aircraft, and traveled solo to remote corners of the planet. In just a few years, she went from working as a bank teller to hosting the Travel Channel show Mysterious Islands. Outside contributor Stephanie Joyce wanted to know: What’s that trip been like? This episode incorrectly states that Kellee Edwards pitched her show, Mysterious Islands, to the Travel Channel. In fact, the production company Departure Films pitched the project.
Maverick’s, the monster surf break off the Northern California coast, has long been a proving ground for the world’s best big-wave surfers. But the contest held there most years has never included women, despite the fact that female surfers have been dropping in on giant swells for decades. In fact, the inaugural event at Maverick’s, held in 1999 and called Men Who Ride Mountains, took place several weeks after Sarah Gerhardt caught her first wave there. She wasn’t a professional surfer—she was a graduate student at the nearby University of California at Santa Cruz, where she had just started a Ph.D. in chemistry. Fast forward to today, and Gerhardt was one of six women invited to compete in a Maverick’s event. Outside contributor Stephanie Joyce caught up with the pioneering athlete to talk about her remarkable path.
To write her three bestselling books about the ocean, Susan Casey went deep with great white sharks in California, followed big-wave surfing icon Laird Hamilton in Hawaii, and chased wild dolphins around the world. Her willingness to literally immerse herself in the topic of the ocean—she’s a former competitive swimmer—has allowed her to craft captivating stories that chronicle our relationship to the sea. And yet she’s a relative newcomer to the life aquatic. In the mid-1990s, she was Outside magazine’s creative director, helping guide the publication to an unprecedented three consecutive National Magazine Awards. She was later the editor-in-chief of O, The Oprah Magazine before she began authoring books. It seems that every time she tries something new she becomes one of the best at it. Outside editor Chris Keyes sat down with her to ask: How does she do it? And why is she so concerned about the future of the sea?
Bee venom is similar to a rattlesnake’s. It rapidly disperses in your tissue, and when you’re stung, the pain you feel is a combination of proteins and peptides attacking your cell membranes. Each sting contains enough venom to incapacitate a small mouse, but bees won’t really hurt you unless you’re allergic. Or at least, that’s what you thought until you disturbed a hive of Africanized bees, which have been known to chase attackers for more than ten hours.
There are several thousand species of mushroom, but only a handful that will kill you. And the toxins found in poisonous mushrooms are some of the deadliest natural poisons on earth. Just seven milligrams—one quarter of a grain of rice—is enough to kill an adult. When you picked some mushrooms off the forest floor, you planned to make a nice risotto. But now you’re in the hospital, fighting for your life.
When something goes wrong in the wilderness, someone needs to evacuate and get help. When that someone is you, and every minute counts, the stress is enormous. And you just might not be fast enough. Scott Pirsig and Bob Sturtz were on a spring canoeing adventure in the Boundary Waters, a million-acre wilderness in northern Minnesota, when Bob suddenly started acting weird. He complained of a headache. Then he became disoriented, lost control of his hands, and stopped speaking. He’d suffered a stroke, which meant time was everything: the longer it took to get him to a hospital, the more brain cells he’d lose. If it took more than a few hours, he’d die. So Scott zipped his friend into his sleeping bag, begged him to stay put, and paddled off at a sprint into dense fog. What happened next forever changed both men.
Writer Mark Sundeen spent the last three years chronicling the lives of three couples who have dropped out of mainstream society, trading cars, technology, and electricity for freedom and hard work on the new American frontier. The result is his latest book, The Unsettlers: In Search of the Good Life in Today's America, a fascinating, timely, and deeply personal examination of what it means to be a non-conformist in the modern age. Editor Chris Keyes talks with the frequent Outside contributor, who wrote a feature for the January/February 2017 issue on the tiny-house movement and has been described as the "our poet laureate of alternative lifestyles."
“If you're not at the table, you're on the menu,” says Sally Jewell. Hopeful, thoughtful, slightly ticked-off, and surprisingly emotional, the outgoing Secretary of the Interior talks with Outside editor Chris Keyes about the presidential election and what it means for the future of public lands. Can environmental protections be dismantled? Will they? Are we going to see an increase in Malheur Wildlife Refuge-style occupations? America's chief steward reflects on leaving her post and what we can expect from the next administration.
John Muir rhapsodizing about Yosemite is one thing, but Outside contributing editor Ian Frazier has had it with people calling their favorite outdoor spots “cathedrals,” “shrines,” and “sacred spaces.” When he made his case in an issue of Outside, it struck a major nerve with readers. Frazier explains his argument, reacts to reader letters, and reads the story that ignited a firestorm.
Falls are the leading cause of death in the backcountry. Nothing else comes close. And while many are freak accidents that amount to nothing more than bad luck, some are more nuanced and interesting—and personal. If you found yourself stuck at the bottom of a canyon with a broken leg, what would you do? And why? In this episode we go inside the thought process of a real-life survivor—one who happens to host a podcast about survival.
As the host and creator of the MeatEater podcast and Netflix series of the same name, Steven Rinella spends a lot of time talking about hunting, fishing, and cooking. He is a proud voice in what’s often called the hook-and-bullet crowd. But he’s also a staunch conservationist, a longtime contributing editor of Outside magazine, and the author of American Buffalo, a book that explores the important role of the buffalo hunt throughout North American history. This makes him uniquely qualified to bridge the divide between hunters and outdoor recreationists. In a recent column for the magazine, Rinella argued that it’s never been more important for these two groups to forge a political alliance. Outside editor Christopher Keyes chased him down to talk about the need to find common ground in order to protect our most cherished public lands.
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Podcast Details

Created by
Outside Podcast
Podcast Status
Active
Started
Mar 22nd, 2016
Latest Episode
Sep 17th, 2020
Release Period
Weekly
Episodes
165
Avg. Episode Length
35 minutes
Explicit
No
Order
Episodic

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